FACTORS AFFECTING THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ELECTRICITY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

FACTORS AFFECTING THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ELECTRICITY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Electricity which is a form of energy resulting from the existence of charged particles, such as electrons or protons, either statically as an accumulation of charge or dynamically as a current.  The fundamental objective of learning and teaching of electricity in school today is to understand the meaning, concept, models, theories, tools, thesis and strategies of explaining and teaching it to a clear state of assimilation to all students learning electricity, since adequate understanding of electrical circuits is difficult, the argument goes, teaching of electricity should focus on important applications, for example electricity at home and/or electrical energy saving ( Berg & Grosheide, 1993 ). However, several focus on the effective strategies to render learnable essential features of more traditional subject matter such as that of understanding of function of electrical circuits.

The teaching and learning of electricity should be a focus course in secondary school curricula, which has been the object of many investigations, books and conferences (Duit et al, 1985; Calliot, 1992). The s     emerging picture world-wide is not promising given that an adequate knowledge of, for example, electrical circuits has rarely been acquired by students by the end of secondary education. Research results provide a fairly clear view of a variety of students' topic-specific alternative ideas. Moreover, it emerges that students encounter deep-level conceptual and reasoning difficulties in understanding introductory electricity which the usual or innovative teaching tends to ignore rather than explicitly take into account.

Electricity as a sub-topic under physics in secondary school is an important subject that must be credited by students before gaining admission into any tertiary institution especially the university to study relevant courses like electrical/electronic engineering, physics, computer engineering etc. The importance and technicality of this subject makes it necessary that relevant instructional materials should be used to teach it to the learners. This fact is supported by Macaulay (1989) who asserts that visual aids make lesson come alive and help students to learn better.

It is against this background that this study attempts to examine the extent to which the utilization of instructional materials could advance senior secondary school students performance in electricity. Poor academic achievement in the study of electricity could be attributed to many factors among which teacher’s strategy itself was considered as an important factor. This implies that the mastery of electrical concepts might not be fully achieved without the use of instructional materials. The teaching of electricity without instructional materials may certainly result in poor academic achievement.        

Electricity came into existence in 1600, Williams Gilbert a physician who served Queen Elizabeth the first of England. Before William gilbert, all that was known about electricity and magnetism was that the lodestone possessed magnetic properties, it has then assume many roles especially as electricity and lightening were one and the same.

The study of electricity is fundamental to modern lives, it provides clean, safe light around the clock and it quietly breathes life into the digital world we tap into with our smart phones and computers. When we take a fresh look at electricity, we see that keeping America powered up is actually an amazing feat an everyday miracle. Although people have known about electricity since ancient times, they have only been harnessing it power for about 250 years. Benjamin Franklin’s electricity experiment including his famous kite experiment in 1752 showed just how little we know about electricity in the era of American revolution and the first industrial revolution. In the time since Franklin’s experiments, our grasp of electricity has grown tremendously, and we are constantly finding new ways to use it to improve our lives.

One of the first major breakthrough in electricity occurred in 1831, when British scientist Michael Faraday discovered the basic principles of electricity generation. Building on the experiment of franklin and others, he observed that he could create or “induce” electric current by moving magnets inside coils of copper wire. The discovery of electromagnetic induction revolutionized how we use energy. In fact, faraday’s process is use in modern power production, although today’s power plants produce much stronger currents on a much larger scale than faraday’s hand held device.

One of the greatest pioneers in electricity was Thomas Edison, who saw electricity as his “field of fields” to reorganize the life of the world. Working tirelessly on electricity from his laboratory in New Jersey in the 1870s, Americans greatest inventor brought the incandescent electric light bulb into practical use by the end of that decade and patented the incandescent light bulb in 1880. Edison light bulb was one of the first applications of electricity to modern life, he initially worked with J. P. Morgan and a few privileged customers in New York city in the 1880s to light their homes, pairing his new incandescent bulbs with small generators. Edison’s electric lighting systems were basic by today’s standards but bold at the time. They not only threatened the existing gas lighting industry but radically challenge the status quo by introducing to an entirely new type of energy. In a few short years, Edison transformed electricity from a science experiments into an exciting, safe, and coveted luxury.

The ever growing applications of electricity explain the increasing use of fuels like natural gas, oil, and coal in power generation as opposed to direct uses such as heating or transportation. In 1900, for example, less than two percent of natural gas, oil, and coal were use to make electricity. A century later, 30 percent of our use of natural gas, oil, coal was devoted to electric power. Smil explains electricity’s appeal: “electricity is the preferred form of energy because of it high efficiency, instant and effortless access, perfect and easily adjustable flow, cleanliness and silence at the point of use.

1.2                                STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

The act of teaching is fundamentally concerned with passing ideas, skills and attitude from the teacher to the learner. In Nigeria, for example experience has shown that spoken words alone in the communication of ideas are grossly ineffective and inefficient in producing desired learning outcomes. Every year, when the results of public examination are released, there has always been mass failure in physics. The reason for this could be ascribed to the fact that there are topics in physics that pose serious problem of comprehension to students. These topics cannot be taught effectively without the use of relevant instructional materials to make the learning practical. On the foregoing, scholars like Mutebi and Matora (1994) have emphasized the effect of instructional materials utilization on teaching and learning. According to them, we learn and remember 10% of what we ear, 40% of what we discuss with others and as high as 80% of what we experience directly or practice. However, the questions here are: does the use of instructional materials really influence students’ academic performance? Is teaching effectiveness enhanced by the use of instructional materials?

Could students’ learning be advanced by the use of instructional materials? Finding answers to these questions and more summarizes the entire problem of this study.

1.3                                OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The objectives of this study are:

i.                   To examine the influence of instructional material utilization on the teaching of physics in Senior Secondary Schools;

ii.                 To ascertain the extent to which Senior Secondary School students learning of physics can be influenced by the use of instructional materials.

iii.               To determine whether there will be any difference in the academic performance of secondary schools students in physics due to the use of instructional materials.

1.3     RESEARCH QUESTION

EARCH QUESTIONS

In order to achieve the objectives of this study, the following research questions were raised to guide the investigation:

i.                   Will the use of instructional materials influence the teaching and application of electricity in senior secondary schools?

ii.                 To what extent can senior secondary school students’ learning of physics is influenced by the use of instructional materials?

iii.              Will there be any difference in the academic performance of senior secondary school students in Economics due to the use of instructional materials?

1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

The following null hypotheses were stated for the study.

i.                   The use of instructional materials will not have significant influence on the teaching of electricity in senior secondary schools.

ii.                 The use of instructional material will not have significant influence on secondary school students’ learning of physics.

iii.              Will there be any difference in the academic performance of senior secondary school students in physics due to the use of instructional materials?

1.6                                SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The use of instructional materials gives the learner opportunity to touch, smell or taste objects in the teaching and learning process. Consequently, knowledge passed unto the students at different levels of educational instructions should be well planned and properly allied with relevant instructional materials for clarity and comprehensibility. Hence the significance of this study to the students, teachers, curriculum planners, educational system and the society at large.

To the students, the effective use of instructional materials would enable them to effectively learn and retain what they have learnt and thereby advancing their performance in the subject in question. This is because according to Nwadinigwe (2000), learning is a process through which knowledge, skills, habits, facts, ideas and principles are acquired, retained and utilized; and the only means of achieving this is through the use of instructional materials.

The study would help enhance teachers’ teaching effectiveness and productivity. This is in line with assertion of Ekwueme and Igwe (2001) who noted that it is only the teachers who will guarantee effective and adequate usage of instructional materials and thereby facilitate success. Consequently a teacher who makes use of appropriate instructional materials to supplement his teaching will help enhance students’ innovative and creative thinking as well as help them become plausibly spontaneous and enthusiastic. Oremeji (2002) supportively asserts that any teacher who takes advantage of these resources and learns to use them correctly will find that they make almost an incalculable contribution to instruction. He further says that instructional materials are of high value in importing information, clarifying difficult and abstract concepts, stimulating thought, sharpening observation, creating interest and satisfying individual difference.

The study is also significant to the educational system and society at large. This is because when teachers solidify their teaching with instructional materials and the learners learn effectively, the knowledge acquired will reflect in the society positively. Students will be able to understand the conceptual objectives of this sequence included description and interpretation of circuit behaviors and electrostatic phenomena in terms of the physical quantities V, I, R, E, Q and T. The cognitive objectives included the differentiation of the concepts of V, I and E, the development and use of appropriate models to account for electrical phenomena, the linking of electrostatic to electro-kinetic phenomena and the development of a systemic view for the electric circuit.

1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This study is focused on investigating the factors effecting of teaching and learning of electricity in senior secondary school in jos. Due to time and financial constraints, the study is limited to jos metropolis. This is because the researcher resides in this local government area and as such had the opportunity of having a comprehensive knowledge of the area and its environs. Besides, the study involves only the S.S-2 students of the senior secondary schools in jos metropolis.

The study would be limited to eight (8) schools in the Jos metropolis and these schools are

i.                   Baptist academy Jos

ii.                 Mafeng high school Jos

iii.              Divine grace school Jos

iv.              Baptist science grammar school Jos

v.                 Excellent bridge international school Jos

vi.              St.phillips academy  Jos

vii.            Federal government school Jos

viii.         Baptist high school Jos

1.8 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY

The only limitation faced by the researcher in the course of carrying out this study was the delay in getting data from the various respondents. Most respondents were reluctant in filling questionnaires administered to them due to their busy schedules and nature of their work. The researcher found it difficult to collect responses from the various respondents, and this almost hampered the success of this study.

1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS

The relevant terms below were operationally defined relative to their usage in this study.

§  Effect: This is the change (outcome) that is brought about in a person (s) or something by another person (s) or thing; that is the way in which an event, action or person changes someone or something.

§  Academic performance: This is regarded as the display of knowledge attained or skills, shown in the school subjects such achievements are indicated by test scores or by marks assigned by teachers. It is the school evaluation of students’ classroom work as quantified on the basis of marks or grades.

§  Utilisation: The act of using something to achieve a purpose

§  Instructional Material: What the teacher uses to make the lesson more interesting and understandable.

.                               Electricity: energy resulting from the existence of charged particles, such as electrons or protons, either statically as an accumulation of charge or dynamically as a current.


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