Abstract: This study was carried out to investigate the Availability of Teachers and Laboratory Facilities for Effective Teaching and Learning of Biology in Secondary Schools. A review of related literature was used as guided in establishing principles for the study. In other to achieve the objectives of this study, four research questions were raised to guide the study. A survey design was employed in carrying out the study. All Biology teachers were used for the study. A total of twenty (20) selected teachers were drawn from all the eight (8) Secondary Schools in Okobo Local Government Area. “Teachers Availability and Learning of Biology Questionnaire, and “Laboratory Facilities Availability and Teaching of Biology Questionnaire were the instruments for data collection. The generated data were analyzed using simple percentage (%). The result of the findings revealed that the availability of laboratory materials affects the teaching/learning of Biology in secondary schools.
The findings also revealed that practical activities using the available laboratory materials enable learners to acquire cognitive skills such as formulation of hypothesis, making assumptions, designing investigations, understanding variables, observing, recording data etc and associated with these activities are scientific attitudes like curiosity, perseverance etc which are necessary for engaging in faithful science investigation, but when these facilities are not available for Teaching/Learning of Biology, student becomes passive learners. Also, the result from the finding revealed that the availability of Biology teacher influence the teaching/learning of Biology in secondary school. Finally, the result revealed that the availability of laboratory materials influence the teaching/learning of Biology in secondary schools.
Availability of Teachers and Laboratory Facilities for Effective Teaching and Learning of Biology in Secondary Schools
1.1 Background to the Study
Science involves regular hands on practical work for learners to develop scientific literacy to face global challenges. Aleyide (2010) opined that sound science education is accepted worldwide as bedrock of human development and progress, and also maintained that no educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers, and no nation can rise above the level of its teaching staff. For science teachers to play their roles in teaching science, laboratory facilities must be available and must be used appropriately to improve the performance of students.
The National Policy on Education (FME, 2004) states that science education shall emphasize the teaching of science process and principle. This will lead to fundamental and applied research in science at all levels of education. When laboratory facilities are appropriately utilized, they bring about more effectiveness in teaching and learning process, but this depends on teachers’ ability to use such facilities effectively (Ughamadu; 2012).
In the study of Biology as an integral branch of science, the facilities and equipments which students were exposed to remain crucial to the achievement made by them. The facilities and equipment here referred to infrastructures, manpower and laboratory equipment, all of which make learning fruitful and rewarding. For the past three decades, there has been tremendous increase in the number of students’ enrolment in biology when compared to other science subjects (Milgwa, 2010). This is because Biology is seen to be directly relevant to students’ everyday life. On the other hand, it could be observed that students’ performance in both Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) and the General Certificate in Education (GCE) are constantly been poor. This poor performance has been attributed to students’ inability to tackle biology practical questions (Nworgu, 2014).
According to Ogunkola and Olatoye (2014) practical work is the back-bone of effective science teaching and learning. It has been repeatedly emphasized that scientific enterprise is an activity packed one, involving continuous exploration and verification of facts. Science is learnt by doing, so the different school curricula should adequately provide facilities for practical work at every stage of learning experiences. Alebiosu cited in Ogunkoya and Olatoye (2014) opined that science is experimentation and its teaching specially focuses on making students learn through the working of hands, brain and the heart. Various studies on the methodology of science teaching such as inquiry, discovery and process approach have shown that students learn more from science lesson by doing rather than by observation. According to Ogunkola and Olatoye (2014) enhancing better understanding of products and process of science cannot be overemphasized and also added that the practical nature of biology is commonly regarded as an important source of pupils’ motivation.
Nwankwo (2012) said that teaching of biology involves three major domains of educational objectives namely cognitive, affective and psychomotor. He said teachers of biology mostly emphasize on cognitive domain at the expense of the other two domains. The development of psychomotor domain involves practical activities which require laboratory facilities and equipments. Mustapha (2012) stated that practical work in school science provides learners with opportunities to use scientific equipments to develop basic manipulative or inquiry activities and develop problem-solving attitudes needed for future work in science.
Etukudo (2014) opined that laboratory method of teaching is presumed to be capable of fully involving the individual learner in the learning and teaching activities as well as helps to remove individual differences and absent mindedness.
He added that laboratory offers singular privilege of manipulating apparatus or teaching aids to every student to obtain a desirable result. Also he said that the use of instructional materials which laboratory techniques offer, enhance better understanding of the curriculum content. Kuth in Etukudo (2014) said that experimentation and laboratory teaching are good pedagogy for discovery learning and mastering of abstract skills as well as building up of low ability learners. Ige (2010) noted that biology teacher is an indispensable human resource who has a vital role to play in utilization of all other resources and therefore must be aware of various types of facilities available. The teacher must also know to get the equipment/facilities and the situations where they can effectively be put to use. However, Ivowi (2011) observed that lack of science teaching equipments in our laboratories is one of the major problems facing science teaching in Nigeria. Based on the nature of biology and the teaching of the subject. Abdulrahman (2010) believes that practicing biology teachers who are not trained within the scientifically rich environments or moderately rich biology environment do not have the capacity to utilize any available resources or improvise in the absence of such resources.
1.2 Statement of the Problem.
Many secondary schools claim to offer science subjects, but a visit to these schools reveals that some of them only offer science subjects but they have no laboratories not to talk of laboratory facilities. In addition to this, the available laboratories in some of these secondary schools are ill-equipped to teach science subjects. According to Abdulrahaman (2010) secondary school laboratories are sparsely furnished and unused by science teachers to the extent that spiders and other insects have taken over the laboratories and their facilities. This may be due to negligence, lack of manpower or unqualified teachers to handle the facilities.
The problem of non-availability of laboratory facilities for effective teaching of Biology in our secondary schools persists thereby giving rise to poor academic performances, as discussion and lecture methods of teaching have been dominating the teaching and learning activities where students need to do practical work (Abdulrahaman, 2010). Based on this, he opined that students always perform very poor in the practical part of their examination thereby leading to poor academic performance in science courses. The study therefore seeks to examine the availability of teachers/laboratory facilities on teaching of Biology in secondary schools in Okobo Local Government Area.
Availability of Teachers and Laboratory Facilities for Effective Teaching and Learning of Biology in Secondary Schools
1.3 Purpose of the study
The main purpose of this study was to examine the availability of teachers and laboratory facilities for effective teaching and learning of Biology in secondary schools in Okobo Local Government Area.
Specifically, the study sought to:
- Ascertain the effect of availability of Biology teachers on the learning of Biology in secondary schools
- Ascertain the influence of availability of Biology laboratory facilities on the teaching of Biology in secondary schools.
1.4 Significance of the study
The findings of this research work will be of great benefit to the society in the following ways:
It provides administrators, school principals and science teachers with necessary information on the importance of laboratory facilities in the teaching and learning of science. These will also enhance maximum utilization of laboratory facilities by the teachers and their students. Furthermore, the findings would improve the performance of the students in Biology through the utilization of laboratory facilities and also upgrade them for further studies in science.
In addition, the outcome of the research will develop both scientific process and attitudes in the students. It will also help the curriculum planners to lay more emphasizes on the needs for availability of laboratory facilities and equipments as major tools in learning science in order to enhance teaching and learning process in this country. It will also stimulate the curriculum planners and administrators of schools to organize seminars and workshops for the teachers in order to expose or widen their knowledge on how to utilize and manipulate the available laboratory facilities and equipment instead of allowing insects and cobwebs to be in charge. It will also encourage students to practice science through science exhibition, projects and competition among different levels.
Finally, the outcome of the research encourages inspectorate division of Ministry of Education to be up and doing in checking how the laboratory facilities are utilized by the teachers and their students so as to advise the government on the need to build more school laboratories and provide more laboratory equipment and materials to cater for the large class syndrome in the secondary schools. This will also discourage teaching and learning by regurgitation of facts and encourage experimentation and exploration which are activity based and in line with one of the objectives of the National Policy on Education.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions were raised to guide the study.
- To what extent does the availability of Biology teachers affect the learning of Biology in secondary schools?
- To what extent does the availability of Biology laboratory facilities affect the teaching of Biology in secondary schools ?
1.6 Limitation of the Study
The limitations for this work were that of duration since the period of the research was during the researcher’s engagement in other academic work. Also, lack of finance as well as lack of reference materials was also the challenges that were faced in this study.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
There are many factors affecting the teaching/learning of Biology in secondary schools, but this research work was restricted to availability of teachers/laboratory facilities and teaching/learning of Biology in public secondary schools in Okobo Local Government Area.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following key concepts were defined as used in the study:
Laboratory: This is a place equipped and used for explanation to scientific laws and theories are verified, proven and explain to students while teaching Biology.
Laboratory Facilities: These are the non-human resources (equipment and apparatuses) which are used by teachers in the provision of explanation to scientific laws and theories while teaching Biology in the laboratory.
Teaching: This is the act of helping people to learn effectively.
Biology: This is the study of plants and animal.