1.1 Background to the Study
The concept of improvisation in Mathematics teaching has come to stay with us. According to Balogun (1982), no matter how generous and rich an education authority might be, they are generally not always in a position to provide their schools with all they need. Improvisation could be seen as the act of providing teaching materials from our locality when there is shortage or lack of the standard ones. Eshiet (1996) defined improvisation as the sourcing, selection, deployment of relevant instructional elements of teaching/learning process in the absence or shortage of the accredited teaching/learning element for a meaningful realization of specified educational goals and objectives.
In the Mathematics classes, teaching aids are needed to supplement the teacher’s oral explanation with the students’ visible experiences. This is why Abdullahi (1982) stated that scientific materials used in teaching enable the students to become actively involved intellectually, perceptually and physically in the learning process. However, for an improvised material to be valid, the material should provide the desired results expected, improve the lesson effectiveness and reduce to minimum the risks associated with the usage of the equipment. The reduction in the risk of usage is a good justification for this improvisation because of its harmless nature in the study of radioactivity.
Radioactivity is a concept in the Senior Secondary School Syllabus taught under atomic structure. This concept has never been set in practical in the Senior School Certificate Examination in Nigeria. This is because the equipment for the experimental set-up is absolutely lacking at this level. This is why this improvisation is very necessary.
The availability, utilization and adequacy of instructional materials in the process of communication between teachers and students are a modern trend in education and hence, need not be over-emphasized. They are now regarded as indispensable tools in educational theory, practice and achievements. Today’s school environment presents a new episode, a paradigm shift from teacher talk-chalk episode, to a situation where a learner can be a teacher to himself and the teacher, a learner in his own world, through the use of instructional materials (Ekanem, 2006).
Generally speaking, different definitions for instructional materials abound. Abimbade (1997) viewed instructional materials as a broad-based range of resources that can be used to facilitate effective and efficient communication in the teaching learning process. To Ibe-Bassey (1992), it is a communication medium that carries instruction between the instructor and the learners with the instructional intent of facilitating learning. Moore (1995) reported of an experiment which learners in a completely resource-based learning system scored significantly higher than their counterparts in a traditional classroom with only an audio laboratory. Davies (1998) supported Moore’s view by pointing out that the use of instructional materials promotes the learners’ perception, understanding, reinforcement and retention. Schramm (1977) and Adeyanju (2005) defined instructional materials as information carrying technologies that are used for instructional purposes with the hope of delivering educational information very quickly and very widely. Good (1975) sees it as a device with instructional concept and functions that can be used in the teaching-learning process.
From the above definitions, one can see instructional materials in two dimensions. First, as channels through which messages, information, ideas and knowledge are disseminated, and secondly, as a collection of materials that can be used effectively for communication. Whenever such materials are used for teaching and learning, we refer to them as instructional materials. Therefore, instructional materials are a broad range of informational carrying resources that form an important component of instruction that can be utilized for efficient and effective teaching and learning (Ekanem, 2013).
According to Ekanem (2013), instructional materials are classified into different groups by different people depending on the perspective from which it is being examined. They can be classified based on the design of high and low technological materials, by utilization, hardware and software technology, projected and non-projected materials; print and non-print materials; big and small media, as well as audio, visual and audio-visual materials, among other groupings. Inyang-Abia (1991) also defined, classified and supported the need for the availability and utilization of instructional materials in the educational process in social studies.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The incessant use of words in the teaching/learning process by the teachers to convey information to the students is one of the outstanding problems confronting the education sector. It is noted that students need a rich store of concrete experiences. It has also been noted that even in the midst of enough instructional materials, teachers cannot make optimum utilization of the available materials in the teaching/learning process.
Most teachers of mathematics do not appreciate the role of instructional materials in the teaching/learning process, and hence, making learning very difficult, if not impossible, for the students. The researcher himself feels nauseating and monotonous in the continued usage of chalk and talks method of passing information to the students with its attendant low level of understanding and retention. All these: non-availability, non-utilization and underutilization of instructional materials, poor funding/equipment of schools, and poor attitude of the students towards learning in Mathematics classes, constitute the problem in the mind and outlook of the researcher. Hence, the researcher wants to see the effect of improvised materials on teaching/learning of Mathematics.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate how instructional materials improvisation and utilization influences students’ academic performance in Mathematics in Ika Local Government Area. The sub-objectives are:
(i) To examine the concept of instructional materials and their importance to the teaching and learning of Mathematics in secondary schools.
(ii) To determine the effect of improvised materials on the students’ retention of concepts in mathematics in secondary schools in Ika Local Government Area.
(iii) To investigate teachers’ utilization of instructional materials in the teaching/learning of Mathematics or otherwise as well as to proffer solutions as to how to solve the problem of non-availability and hence non-utilization of instructional materials in the teaching/learning of Mathematics secondary schools in Ika Local Government Area.
Originally posted on April 22, 2021 @ 2:04 pm