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Strategies for Effective Teaching Of Biology In Secondary Schools

Effective teaching of biology: Abstract

This research work focused on strategies for effective teaching of biology in secondary schools in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebony State. The main purpose of this study was to investigate strategies for effective teaching of biology in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Specifically, the study aimed at: Determining if suitable teaching methods would be effective for teaching biology, ascertaining if the use of instructional materials would be effective for teaching biology, determining if the involvement of qualified teachers would be effective for teaching biology, ascertaining if the use of appropriate textbooks would be effective for teaching biology. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. 30 respondents made up of teachers of secondary schools in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State made up the study. Data were collected through the use of a structured questionnaire and were analyzed with mean and standard deviation, the result showed that use of suitable teaching method, use of instructional materials for teaching, an involvement of qualified teachers, and use of appropriate textbooks are strategies that can be adopted for effective teaching of biology. Based on these findings, Conclusion, Recommendations, Suggestions for further study were all pointed out.     

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

          Science generally is the study of the natural things around us. Biology is a branch of science that involves the study of living things; it is a fascinating study that ranges from microscopic cellular molecules to the biosphere encompassing the earth’s surface and its living organism. Students of biology are made to be aware of possible career opportunities that are open to them. Those interested in pursuing a biology related career will find out that it is not only of great benefit and use to the country but also highly satisfying and beneficial personally (Ozor, 2003).

          The subject is expected to be taught in a lively activity; for example, agriculture as a subtopic in biology will actually help the student in practicing production of foods for themselves and the immediate community. The new knowledge which scientists obtained by investigation is added to the existing body of knowledge (Ndu, 2014). Man’s whole struggle in life is for survival, man is all the time attempting to control his environment for his maximum benefit. Man has used science and technology (the application of science) for the benefit of man to improve the quality of life.

          Since 2000, study after study has made it clear that there is an alarming crisis in relation to students’ interest in science either as a possible future career or as an intrinsic interest that will continue after school (Fensham, 2008). Dainton (2004) examined the flow of candidates in science and technology into higher education and documented a swing from biology in the school age population as a whole to other courses showing a decline in the population of biology students. This also is an indication of lack of interest by students in biology.

          The list of countries experiencing declining interest of students in biology is on the increase particularly among the developing countries (Fensham, 2008). One factor which has contributed to low interest in biology by students is the method adopted for teaching and learning of biology. Fensham in Igwe (2006) listed three views of students which contribute directly to low interest in biology, namely:

i.        Biology teaching is predominantly transmissive

ii.       The content of school biology has an abstractness that makes it irrelevant

iii.      Learning biology is relatively difficult for both successfully and unsuccessful students.

          Consequently, the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2004) stated that biology should be taught at the secondary level so as to make the students acquire meaningful and relevant body of knowledge, the ability to apply biology knowledge to everyday’s life, laboratory and field skills in biology and to have scientific attitudes that are pragmatic and environmentally conscious. It also makes the students to acquire skills and principles  that give rise to easy application of this subject matter.

          The biology curriculum for secondary schools recommends that in order to teach the practical and theory successfully, adequate number of professionally qualified teachers must be employed. Practical work is part of the study of biology and this should go hand with theory.  It involves field study, collection of specimens, drawing diagrams and experimentation. To make this practical teaching effective, there should be adequate supply of equipment and regular supply of instruments, such as charts, real specimen, there must be sufficient flow of fund, material resources, organizing biology field trips, film shows and invitation of guest lecture.

          Teaching has been defined in various ways. Generally it can be seen as guiding the students to select, use, produce or create information. Many approaches have introduced to teaching of biology so as to make the student more interested and improve their performance by appropriate methods.

          However, this is yet to reflect in the school certificate examination results. The discovery method of teaching was preferred in the teaching of biology because this affords students opportunity to learn and find answers themselves (Gabriel and Tunde, 2008).

          The manpower needs of Nigeria in the area of biology are high, yet majority of the secondary school students have declining interest in the subject as a career. The passes in biology remain low compared to other science subject. Research has been carried out in various ways to improve the level of student’s performance and it has shown many causal factors of poor performance of students in biology among which include the teaching strategies adopted and it appears to be paramount.

          A teacher’s method of instruction use of materials and planning can all affect a student’s success. To become an effective teacher of biology, a teacher should use a variety of methods to make the biology curriculum accessible to students of different cognitive levels and learning styles. Teachers should continually evaluate the effectiveness of their chosen methods by measuring students’ process (Igwe, 2003). Some important  topics like Kreb’s circle, the circulation of blood due to their complexity are being avoided by some teachers while some show non-challant attitude towards the practical aspect the large chunk of the mark, and this can lead to student’s poor performance in public examinations.

          Cole (2005) asserted that the existing science methods show little or no concern for the subject matter and method which would stimulate interest and make effective the training of manpower for essential biology profession.

          Izegwire (2000) further suggested role playing, projects and workshops. Akinpelu (2003) added that for teaching and learning of any subject to be effective and time efficient, teaching strategies (method, means and media) should be employed. The above situation if allowed to continue would lead to continuous poor performance. The researcher has therefore packaged this study on strategies for effective teaching of biology in Onicha Local Government of Area of Ebonyi State. This researcher is concerned that the above conditions could lead to continuous poor achievement in public examinations. Hence, the problem of this study in question form is; what are the strategies that could enhance to teaching of biology in senior secondary schools in Onicha Local Government Area in Ebonyi State?

Statement of the Problem

          The teaching of biology should be geared towards making man see himself as a living things and the more he knows about life and living things in general, the better we can understand our own bodies and how they work in health and disease. This is why the study of biology is considered essential in education. It finds application in medicine, public health animal husbandry, agriculture, horticulture, pest control and other related fields.  

          However, close looks at some of the secondary schools in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State show that they have a number of problems. For instance, almost all the secondary schools in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State lack a biology laboratory, qualified biology teachers, availability of textbooks, instructional materials and use of innovative teaching strategies.

          When students are taught biology in the senior secondary schools only theoretically without the practical aspect, due to the above conditions of the schools, the teaching of biology will not be done effectively and also when a teacher cannot use varieties of methods in teaching biology then biology teaching cannot be done effectively.

Purpose of the Study

          The main purpose of the study was to investigate into strategies for effective teaching of biology in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Specifically, the study aimed at:

1.       determining if the use of suitable teaching methods would be effective for teaching biology.

2.       ascertaining if the use of instructional materials would be effective for teaching biology.

3.       determining if the involvement of qualified teachers would be effective for teaching biology

4.       ascertaining if the use of appropriate textbooks would be effective for teaching biology.

Significance of the Study

          The results of this study would be of immense benefit to education stakeholders: teachers, students, school management, curriculum planners, government and future researchers.

          The result will be beneficial to biology teachers. This study will serve as a guiding instrument for biology teachers in their effort to achieve healthy and qualitative education in effective strategies of teaching biology. It is hoped to provide a mirror for future initiation and implementation of school curriculum with the sole aim of saving the nation from the danger of educational backwardness. This result will provide modalities for teachers to practicalize biology for effective understanding of the subject.

          The result of this study will be of importance to students. This is because it would help the students to know some strategies they could apply while learning biology. It would also help to know the materials they could provide such as textbooks and instructional materials for learning biology.

          The result of this study will be of importance to the government, this is because by this results government will realize the need to provide more fund for purchasing of

instructional materials, textbooks for students and recruit qualified biology teachers for the schools. Government also can through its agency on curriculum review to recommend appropriate teaching methods to the teachers.

          The result of this study will be of importance to the school management. This is because; by this result the school management would know the appropriate strategies for teaching biology and enforce it for instructional delivery even for other subject area.

          The result of this study will be of importance to the curriculum planners. This is because the result would have revealed areas of weakness in secondary school biology curriculum as it concerns strategies for effective teaching of biology. From this, there would call for a review of the curriculum to accommodate this strategies.

          The result would be beneficial to future researchers. This is because it would serve as a ready material for their own research work as the availability of this results will make the library of knowledge richer for biology teaching.

Scope of the Study

          This study is delimited to the strategies for effective teaching of biology in the secondary schools in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. This study will make use of biology teachers.

Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

1.       How would the use of suitable teaching method as a strategy be effective for teaching biology?

2.       How would the use of instructional material be a strategy for effective teaching of biology?

3.       How would the involvement of qualified teachers be a strategy for effective teaching of biology?

4.       How would the use of appropriate textbooks as a strategy be effective for teaching biology?

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