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BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The words “science” is often misconstrued by many people. While some view it as a white man’s “juju”, others construe it as a kind of magic, like the tero blind men who went to see the elephant, many people who attempt to define science make valid but fragmentary definition of it. Little do people realize that many of man’s daily activities involve doing science? For example, when you wake up in the morning and take a glass of water and not kerosene you are doing science. When your mother strikes a stick of match, light a candle and watches it melts, she is doing science. When the baker adds yeast to floor to make it rise, he too is doing science. The barber in your village also does science when he applies soap solution to his customer’s hair to make it soft, for he is applying the knowledge of science. Thus, science is not magical as some people think. Science is all around us. Ofuebe (2007), defined science as a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding of the working of our world. Ali (2002) believes that the word science stands for a variety of information, abilities and operations about the natural environment. He believes that science is more concerned with various investigative processes and activities with regards to developing acquiring and controlling knowledge, skills, and capabilities attitudes about the natural factors of the environment. From these processes reliable and verifiable information are accumulated for use in science and other disciplines. According to Aniodoh (1991) viewed science as “a body of knowledge arrived at through systematic and procedural processes based on tentative observations and experiment”. In the sight of the above, science may be viewed as a way of thinking in the pursuit of understanding nature, a way of investigating and a body of established knowledge. Thus, science is a product as a well as a process. Ambuno, Egunifomi, Osakwe (2008) noted that, with science, the world today wouldn’t have been what it is. Technological advancement has completely changed the world. This has permeated into all spheres of our lives which include communications, health, agriculture, building etc. Exploration of the universe and improvement in conditions of living in our homes, schools, roads etc are all based on science in terms of modern equipment and materials. In fact, with the world changing very fast as a result of human activities and population growth, what may save our planet earth is scientific inquiring for solutions to prevailing problems and those we may face in the future. Some biological research has been carried out by scientists leading to many discoveries in medicine, technology, agriculture and genetics.
For further information on the positive impacts of science, Aniodoh (2001) supported the above view which he said that through science and the help of technological know-how, man is able to construct shelter of various kind as dwelling, markets, schools, hospitals etc.
Biology as one of the science subject is defined as the study of life and structure of living things. Biology is the study of living things and concerns itself with the study of the structure, behaviour, distribution, the origin of plants and animals and their relationship with their environments. Abugu (2007) stated that biology is a natural science in which we study living organisms – plants and animals. Furthermore Iloeje (1981) viewed Biology as the science in which we study living things. Based on the above statement, man lives in a novel world, there are animals, plants, rivers, oceans, deserts, mountains, and so on, all round him. Being a curious being, man takes delight in exploring his world, the seeks to have a world view of the universe, the strives to investigate all matter around him – their origin, nature, characteristics and other features, the inquires in his inquiry, he asks a lot of questions and in his search for answers to such questions, he needs to be systematic and unbiased. To achieve his goal, he engages in experimentation and observation, which are fundamental to science. Like other science subjects, biology in secondary schools is composed of practical activities. In all the sciences, biology geared towards simplifying the theoretical content, so as to enhance effective instruction and learning of the subject. Allan, Rob and Jonathan (2000), stated the reason for emphasizing practical activities in biology like a realization of practical; work to be predecessor to real science knowledge. Practical work stimulates learner interest in the science subject they are studying, when they are made to personally engage in useful activities; knowledge obtained through practical; work and experience, promote long term memory that theory alone cannot do, from this reason, it becomes obvious that a learner acquired more in any science lesson, if giving the opportunity to do activities, ranging from manipulating apparatus, classifying, designing, experimenting, hypothesizing to maker inferences and verifying results. Hence, there is an urgent and serious need to justify the exposition of the students biology practical activates as well as studying its effect on student’s achievement in biology. Unfortunately, the ugly situation observed in the majority of our secondary school and students in lack of exposure of the students to practical activities. This contributes to persistent poor performances in biology.
Eze (1995) stated that biology as one of the science subjects in all field of studies develops human thinking faculty to accurate observation, he also stated that practical are very necessary in teaching of biology but some teachers deliberately refuse the use of practical in teaching. Their reason is that the use of laboratory materials waste a lot of time. Biology education programme should be built on the skills, knowledge and experiences, developed by the students, through participation in practical; Biology practical work assist students in utilizing their knowledge and skills acquired in real field outside the classroom. Opul, Ezeh and Ezemagu (2008) reported that much stress has been placed upon practical work for there is no substitute for it, for practical experiment must be the basis of knowledge in biology. Hence, it become imperative at this point to find out the level of academic achievement in biology practical activities, taught to biology students in Enugu, East Government Area Eya, Eze and Ani (2003), and cry about the falling standard of the science education in Nigeria over the years, Researchers have pointed accusing fingers to several factors as being responsible and prominent among these factors is the teacher factor. The neglect of the practical aspect of biology in schools has been blamed on such factors as the inability of the school authorities to provide materials and equipment for practical work, teachers’ failure to recognize the importance of practical work in science teaching. Aniodoh (2001) in his study noted that a sound theoretical and practical knowledge of biology is needed for the management of our natural resources, provision of good health facilities, adequate food supply and favourable life environment. Thus, the teaching and learning of biology has to be encouraged in the school.
In the light of the above, it should be a general concern of every Nigerian including the researchers to view this backwardness with some seriousness. There is great need to look into the issue of teaching and learning of the core science subjects – biology etc. Biologists usually study all forms of life including ourselves, other animals, plants and microscopic living things such as bacteria which is too small to see with our naked eyes. Biology is needed in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, food technology etc.
Aniodoh (2001) observed that effective teaching and learning require accurate and exact observations, carefulness and thoroughness of technique and logical interpretation of data. He emphasized that practical work is the part of the study of biology and should go hand in hand with theory. The National Policy on Education (1981) stipulates that biology should be taught at the secondary school level. And in pursuance of the goals of the policy, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in their syllabus (1998 – 2003) came up with the following aims and objectives in the teaching of biology in secondary schools:
- To understand the structure and functions of living organisms as well as to appreciate nature
- To acquire adequate laboratory and field skills in order to carry out and evaluate experiments and projects in biology
- To acquire necessary scientific skills, for example, observations, classification and interpretation of biology data
- To impart relevant knowledge in biology needed for future advanced studies in biology
- To acquire scientific attitude for problem solving
- To be able to apply biological principles in every day in matters that affect personal, social, environmental, community health and economic problems. It is of great importance in order to achieve the above objectives that there should be effective teaching and learning.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Not much attention has been giving to the performance of the students in senior secondary school subjects most especially in biology and biology practical aspect of biology in schools has been blamed on such factors as the inability of the school authorities to provide materials and equipment for practical work, teachers failure to recognize the importance of practical work in science teaching.
` According to Anidodoh (2001) in his study noted that a sound theoretical and practical knowledge of biology is needed for the management of our natural resources, provision of good health facilities, adequate food supply and favourable life environment. Thus, the teaching and learning of biology has to be encouraged in the schools. Moreover, this neglect, no doubt has relegated these subjects to the background in our senior secondary certificate examination. A close look at the 2008 – 2010 SSCE result records confirms that student’s performance has been very poor generally and particularly in biology practical, failure is a great problem as it will effect the students performances in science senior secondary school; that is why the researchers have decided to look into the cause and effects of biology practical;. This increasing number of dropouts in the area of the study is a clear pointer to the theme.
In the light of the above, it should be a general concern of every Nigerian including the researchers to view this backwardness with some seriousness. There is great need to look into the issue of teaching and learning of the science subjects – biology etc. Biologists usually study are forms of life including ourselves, other animals, plants and microscopic living things such bacteria which is too small to see with our naked eyes. Biology is needed in medicine, nursing, pharmacy food technology etc
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to find out the effect of biology practical on academic achievement of male and female senior secondary school biology students in Enugu East Local Government. Specifically, the study intends to find out
- Whether there is any significant difference in the mean scores of students taught biology using practical methods and theory methods.
- Whether there is any significant difference between the mean scores of male and female students taught biology using practical methods.
- Whether there is any significant difference between the mean scores of urban and rural schools students taught biology using practical methods.
SIGNFICANT OF THE STUDY
The result obtained from the study will benefit the following people: Government, Teachers and Students
Government: The study will help to motivate the Government to equip secondary schools with necessary practical equipment for the teaching of biology.
Teachers: This will assist classroom teachers in the organization of practical that would help to develop skills and knowledge in the students. It will also enable trained teachers to adopt those teaching and learning methods that would aid them in organization of their subjects matter for the students.
Students: When students understand more, the importance of biology practical skills, they are equipped to secure employment and this would in no small measure make them contribute meaningfully to the development of the society. Practical method of teaching can also increases the interest of the students to practical works.
The following three research questions guided the study
- Is there any difference in the mean scores of students taught biology using practical and theory methods?
- Is there difference between the mean scores of male and female students taught biology using the practical methods?
- Is there any difference between the mean scores of rural and urban students taught biology using practical method?
There is no significant difference in the scores of students taught biology using practical method and those taught using theoretical method.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is limited to secondary schools in Enugu East Local Government, to meet up with the cost
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