1.1 Background to the study
Education is a fundamental and pivotal key to sustainable development, peace and stability of any nation. Education is adopted as an instrument for effective national development and growth so as to produce citizens that are dynamic both in thought and deeds, self-sufficient, effective, and united and show civil responsibility. The increasing awareness of the importance of education to the upliftment of the individual and societal standards has awakened in people and nations a conscious effort at devoting their meager resources to acquiring qualitative education because it has been identified as the mainstay of societal development through the production of human resources to occupy the various institutions that makes up the society. As an institution, it provides platform for transmitting the required skills, knowledge, culture and norms to citizens and therefore ensure societal continuity. Education in a broad sense is a process by which an individual acquires many physical and social capabilities demanded of him by the society in which he is born to function. In an ideal sense, it is an agent of change, the single most significant complex of socio control tools for national development is found in the educational system be it formal or informal.
The National Policy on Education (FME, 2010) emphasizes the need for teaching and learning of science processes and principles. The policy recommends practical, exploratory and experimental methods of teaching. In this regards, Okebukola (2014) stated that the basic tools that science uses in the learning of science processes are the instructional materials. Studies have shown that the use of instructional materials have improved achievement (George, 2018) and Nwagbo (2016). Instructional materials are wide varieties of equipment and materials use for teaching and learning by teachers to stimulate self-activity on the part of the students. This implies that the mastery of Biology concepts might not be fully achieved without the use of instructional resources that the students are abreast with. The teaching of Biology without instructional materials may certainly result in poor academic achievement. Folorunso (2014) observed that there is lack of adequate and appropriate instructional resources for effective teaching of Biology in schools.
Science as a career in education is the bedrock on which modern day technological breakthrough is hinged. Different authors according to their own understanding have defined science. Igwe (2013) defined science as a systematic study of the nature of the behavior of the materials and physical universe through observation, experimentation, measurement and recording. In addition Esu (2014) defined science as a systematic and objective way to study the natural world. Science is often an exciting and satisfying enterprise that requires creativity, skill and insight. Rape (2012) defined science as a structured body of knowledge about nature, which embraces systematic methods of positive attitudes for its acquisition. Science is sub-divided in to subject like chemistry, physics, health science and others.
Biology is one of the science subjects in secondary schools offered at the secondary level in the Nigerian secondary schools, (FRN 2014). Biology is a very important science subject and a requirement for further learning of numbers of science related professional courses like medicine, agricultural science, pharmacy and others. In contemporary Nigeria, more emphasis is placed on science and technological development. As a result of this, students are being encouraged to take up science related subjects (Bassey 2011). Today, Biology pervades literally every field of human Endeavour, and plays a fundamental role in educational advancement. This is seen in all the technological advancement in the world today, which is because of the scientific investigation. However, the issue remains that in most secondary schools in Nigeria, there is high rate of failure in the subject. Studies have shown that secondary school students are exhibiting how interest in biology (Esiobu, 2015).
According to Ajayi (2014), improvisation is the provision of alternatives to real things. Improvisation is the making of substitute when the real equipment or materials is not adequate or available (Okebukola, 2012). It is the art of providing and using alternative materials or resources in the absence of the real or factory made one. Oyediran (2010) also defines improvisation as the art of using materials or equipment obtained from local environment or produced by the teacher, and with the assistance of the local personnel to enhance instruction. In other to teach by inquiry method or use activity based instructions, improvisation is required since instructional materials seem not to be adequate (Okebukola, 2012). Moreso, Bassey (2011) defined improvisation as the process of making equipment and materials by the students or by engaging the services of others in the absence of real materials or manufactured ones. Generally, improvisation of instructional materials is an attempt to adapt and make use of local resources in the teaching/learning process when the ready-made materials are not available or are in shortfall or not within the reach of users instructional materials. According to Okebukola (2012), improvisation in the context of biology can be seen as the process of using alternative resources for enhancing biology teaching in the absence of the real ones. This initiates the production of the alternative resources, which is constructed by either the teacher or the local artisans eg. Carpenters blacksmiths etc. the teacher may use the students for improving some of the needed materials or equipments.
Improvisation is a technique of originating a very new tool, instrument, materials, device or modifying existing onse for serving a particular purpose. Esu (2014) however noted that improvise materials demand adventure, creativity, curiosity and perseverance on the part of the teacher, such skills are only realizable through well planned training programme on improvise materials. Fajola (2018) sees improvise materials from the creativity involved. This creativity is substitution and construction. Substitution in improvise materials simply implies the techniques whereby an already improvise material is used in place of a piece of equipment that is not available whereas construction involves making of a new instrument to serve in place of the unavailable original one, where substitution is not possible. Esu (2014), however asserted that improvise materials provides connectivity between students abstract and real experience of teaching and learning. Improvise materials are teacher-oriented activity used to effectively carryout the teaching/learning process successfully. It is on this note that this study seeks to investigate the improvised materials availability and utilization and the teaching of Biology in Ikono Local Government Area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Evidence from the studies received shows that failure rate in biology at senior certificate examinations is high. This could be attributed to a number of factors; one of such factors is lack or total absence of instructional materials for the teaching and learning of Biology due to the fact that instructional materials make teaching/learning meaningful and help to improve students’ academic achievement. However these advantages of instructional materials have not reflected in the education system because at times instructional materials are not available in schools.
Studies indicated that failure in some science subjects is traced to teacher-related factor such as regular promotion, adequate man power and also student’s/ parental background be it educationally or economically. Another notable cause of student’s failure biology the approaches adopted by the teachers in the teaching processes. These approaches cut across the teaching methods and materials (instructional material/teaching aids) used in the teaching. In the teaching/learning of biology, local and standard materials are mostly used but in the case where standard materials are not available for teaching and learning biology in secondary schools, it is necessary to embrace the use of improvised material as this could maintain the student’s performance in science subject. With the modern economic crisis, most of the standard instructional materials cannot be afford. Hence, this study sought to find out the level of improvised material availability and utilization in the teaching of biology among secondary schools in Ikono Local government Area.
Originally posted on March 16, 2021 @ 3:50 pm