CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF INTEGRATED SCIENCE STUDENTS
ABSTRACT: The study was conducted to examine the effects of cooperative learning on students’ academic performance in Integrated Science in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Two null hypotheses were formulated inline with the specific objectives and research questions of the study. The quasi-experimental research design was adopted for the study. The population of the study consisted of 2456 Junior Secondary two students in Uyo Local Government Area. Simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample size of 240 students from eight (8) secondary schools in the study area. A researcher made test titled “Integrated Science Achievement test (ISAT)” was used as an instrument for data collection. The data generated from the study were subjected to statistical analysis using t-test statistic to test the hypotheses at .05 level of significance. The results of the study revealed that cooperative learning group performed significantly better than students in the individualistic group. Also, cooperative learning proved to be favourable to all categories of learners as there was no significant difference in the mean academic performance of slow and fast learners using cooperative learning method. It was concluded that cooperative learning is an effective method of improving students’ academic performance in Integrated Science. Consequently, it was recommended that Integrated Science teachers should adopt cooperative learning as an effective method for improving students’ academic performance in the subject since it has proved to produce better result than individual learning.
1.1 Background to the Study
Learning is basic to meaningful living. In formal education, it is the gateway to success since it is the principal instrument employed by students. Learning creates opportunities for academic growth and promotes the development of insight into life (kosomani and Ituen, 2009).
Man possesses the ability to learn. Indeed, it can be said that his survival as a living being depends on it. Learning enables man to acquire the skills with which he can adapt to and even change his environment. Learning is a continuous process in the sense that it starts from the womb and does not cease or stop until one goes to the grave. Learning does not however occur on its own. It comes up through interaction with another person or things. It may be intended or spontaneous (Eke, 2007).
Learning belongs to the mental realm. It is a mental activity. A baby who babbles and is reinforced by its mother or siblings is learning to speak. A pupil who is introduced to mathematical concept in school is learning as life is not static so we learn anywhere and everywhere. We overtly or covertly learn new concepts as we interact with people. Our interaction with people allows us to assimilate and accumulate ideals, which we continue to adjust and modify as we continue to learn.
Psychologists pay much attention to the mechanism of learning. How does man know what he claims to know? It seems that whatever we are doing or learning is a result of our accumulated experience as we try to respond to our physical environment. learning leads to a change or modification in the learner’s behaviour. Learning can be positive or negative as a child can learn bad behaviour from his peers (Umoh, 2006).
CO-OPERATIVE LEARNING AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF INTEGRATED SCIENCE STUDENTS
However, one learning technique which promotes co–operation among learners is the co-operative learning technique. It is one of the recommended learning technique in which students achieve learning goals by helping each other in social setting. Co-operation is a compulsory component of co-operative learning. Co-operation means working together to accomplish shared goals, within co-operation situation, individuals seek result that are beneficial for all members of a group. Students work together to maximize their own and each others’ learning.
Co-operative learning may be contrasted with competitive learning in which students work against each other to achieve an academic goal. It may also be contrasted with individualistic learning in which students work on their own to accomplish training goals unrelated to those of other student (Neuman, 2009).
To use co-operative learning effectively the teacher must realize that all groups are not co-operative groups. Some teachers use traditional learning group. In this instructional method members are assigned to work together, but they have no interest in doing so. The structure promotes competition at close quarters. On the other hand, in co-operative learning group, members of a co-operative group meet all reasonable expectations, which are given to them. In co-operative learning group, students work together on specific tasks or projects in such a way that all students in the group benefit from the interactive experience. Since learners are different in their intellectual capacity, their motivation and their linguistic skills also differ from individual to individual. Fast – learners and slow learners are particularly very difficult to motivate to learn these skills (Slavin, 2008).
Given this background therefore, the need for co-operative learning in fostering co-operation, learning experiences and understanding among learners cannot be over- emphasized.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, there have been public out-cry on the poor state of students performance in schools mostly in public examinations. The abysmal performance of students in school has kept tasking the already inadequate human and material resources in the Nigerian educational system. This singular problem has added weight and has continued to militate against the realization of the objectives of the teaching learning process. In fact, the downward trend in students’ academic achievement in school has become a recurring feature in our educational system and it is worrisome.
Nevertheless, efforts to improve academic performance of students in schools by the government, educators’ cooperate bodies and organizations as well as concerned individuals through the provisions of books, instructional and learning materials, school infrastructures and other educational materials have not yielded the desired result.
Consequently, parents have put the blame on the teaching methods and strategies adopted by teachers, while teachers in turn point accusing fingers on the reading culture among students.
However, it is against the background of the downward trend in the academic performance of student s in schools and with the assumption that the poor performance of students might not be unconnected with their learning approaches that this study “cooperative learning and academic performance of students in integrated science in Uyo Local Government Area” was carried out with a view to making useful recommendations that will promote effective learning among students as well as ensuring improved academic performance.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The overriding objectives of this study is to examine cooperatives learning method and students’ academic performance in integrated science in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.The specific objectives include:
- To examine the academic performance of students who adopt cooperative learning method and those who adopt individualistic approach to learning in integrated science in Uyo Local Government Area.
- To examine the effects of cooperative learning on academic achievement of fast- learners and slow-learners in integrated science in Uyo Local Government Area.
iii. To recommend for the improvement and promotion of suitable method of teaching Integrated Science to secondary school students.
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