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1.1 Background to the Study
The influence of instructional materials in promoting students’ academic performance and teaching and learning in educational development is indisputable. The teaching of Agricultural Science in Nigerian secondary schools needs to be properly handled. Agriculture contributes to the nation’s economic development, hence, the need to be taught thoroughly if it is to meet the educational and economic development. Moreso, that Agricultural Science is one of the subjects in Junior and Senior Secondary Schools; and as a vocational subject, it cannot be taught effectively without the use of appropriate instructional materials (Ajayi, 1988). The curriculum content of the senior secondary school levels consists of three major concepts of production, protection and economics. Learning by doing was emphasized in the curriculum so that the students should be able to produce food and other agricultural products for themselves and their community. A series of activities were suggested in the curriculum to ensure the development of psychomotor skills in agricultural science by the students. The programme further recommended that: each student be guaranteed adequate equipment, farm space, farm structures and regular supply of fertilizers and animal feeds. In addition to having a farm, each school should keep at least two farm animals. Students achievement should be continuously assessed through various forms of tests and during field and laboratory practicals and individual assessment should be carried out for activities in crop production while group assessment be restricted to performance in animal production activities. Hence for effective and positive production in any
establishment, there must be enough working tools to be used by the personnel (Oyedun, 2000).
The teacher alone cannot provide all the needed condition for an effective teaching and learning process, other supporting materials should be provided. The students learn better when most of the senses are appealed to the instruction and use of instructional materials in agriculture science education has added a new dimension in the positive promotion of the teaching and learning process. It provides the much need sensory experiences needed by the learners for an effective and meaningful behavioural change. Instructional materials are meant to improve the quality of education for effective academic performance of agricultural science students in schools. The performance of the students on the intended learning outcome provide the validation – loop on the success of the interaction and instruction (Bakare, 1986).
Teachers normally dodge the use of instructional materials in most of their teaching topics, while they try to do all they could during their practical teaching in their course of study; even though some of these materials are not usually available in the schools for teachers’ use. Also, in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, agricultural science practicals use a lot of specimens. Such includes soil samples, insect pests, seed samples, bone meal, fish meal, survey equipments, simple farm tools, farm machinery and implements, termitarium, fruits, sprayer, fertilizer, herbicides, cage, tilapia fish, watering can, feeding trough, hides and skin, weed specimens, hook and line etc., but most of these materials are only made available for students’ use for the purpose of examination. These specimens are those that have not been seen or used before by the students. “In most of the secondary schools, instructional materials are not judiciously
used as it ought to be. Many teachers teach in abstract without using the required materials” (Ibrahim, 2000).
In making use of any instructional materials, such materials must be previewed that is, having full knowledge of the material; prepare the environment where it will be used; prepare audience by means of making sure that the materials to be used will attract attention, arouse, motivate and provide the rationale that could be used in the beginning, middle or end. The effectiveness of utilizing appropriate instructional materials in teaching and learning of agricultural science is not void of quality instructor. In order to give quality education to the younger generation, there is need for employment of more competent, experienced and qualified agricultural science teachers.
The need to identify the suitable instructional materials, by which students can be made to comprehend the extent of the subject easily and intelligibly, is the focus of this study. An indepth look at the secondary schools agricultural science programmes revealed that there is the need for improving all phases of the programmes (IMAA, 2004). For example, there is need for the introduction and use of instructional materials and equipments for use in both the classrooms and school farms. The broad aim of any good training materials are to induce and support the learning process that leads to improve on-the-job performance through affecting changes in the knowledge, attitudes, skills and practices of the learners. With the above reasons, it is worth investigating the influence of instructional materials in the teaching of Agricultural Science in our Secondary Schools, for better performance of students in their examination and chosen career in the field of agriculture. If instructional materials are used in Secondary Schools,
it would help improving the teaching and learning and hence the academic performance of students in Agricultural Science effectively.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Many of the school authorities have very lukewarm attitudes over the provision of needed tools, equipments, and farm inputs required for effective agricultural science, especially practical in secondary schools. This non-challant attitude tend to retard genuine efforts of some teachers of agricultural science in the secondary schools. Inspite of the emphasis being placed on agricultural science as one of the subjects in secondary schools, there is usually not enough time provided in the time-table for a meaningful agricultural science work (Adeyemi, 2000). Agricultural science teachers are always interested to finish the syllabus before the external examination – Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) conducted by West African Examination Council (WAEC).
Hence, the prosecution of a functional education in relation to agricultural science in secondary schools still leaves much to be desired. In view of this difficulties, most teachers of agricultural science still resort to the theoretical method of teaching the subject. This undoubtedly, is contrary to the improvement of agricultural science education, which is greatly needed at this period of our development with emphasis on practical oriented learning (Mammudu, 1996). The researcher has taught for a number of years in some secondary schools and had visited a number of secondary schools as a resource person. Through these experiences, the researcher observed that most teachers in secondary schools in the state did not fully make use of instructional materials in the teaching of agricultural science to their students. This negligence of the effective use of
the instructional facilities and materials in teaching and learning of agricultural science common to both the trained and untrained teachers affected the successful academic performance of students in agricultural science in secondary schools in Kwara State.
The desire to embark on this research study therefore, stemmed from the fact that there is problem of poor performance of secondary school students in agricultural science in the state. This poor and general backwardness in agricultural science have been recorded for some years now by the examination bodies of Senior School Certificate Examination conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC), school promotion examinations and the special qualifying examination, conducted by the State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, introduced for students in senior secondary schools respectively – (Department of Statistics, Planning and Research, Ministry of Education, Ilorin, 2007). The statistics obtained from fifteen secondary schools in Kwara State have indicated that there is a progressive decline in the performance of students in agricultural science subjects. Statistics from the various examination offices of the schools revealed that out of a total of 1,964 agricultural science students that registered and sat for the West African Examination Council in 2009, only 610 passed and 1,354 students failed from the 15 secondary schools – representing 31% passed and 69% failed (School Examination Offices, 2010).
Anything that saves students from performing poorly in agricultural science, will also save parents or guardians from wasting their hard-earned money. It may put an end to parents or guardians wasting their hard-earned money re-enrolling their wards to repeat agricultural science examinations which they are not guaranteed passing even after several attempts. The unusual way some agricultural science teachers approach the
teaching of agricultural science has contributed to the students’ development of negative attitude to both the subjects and the teachers. Most of the secondary schools cannot meet up with the academic (practical) requirements of this subject as they lack instructional materials for adequate teaching and learning of the subject.
The central problems which are attributed to the students’ poor academic performance in agricultural science in secondary schools’ in
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