Abstract: The research examined Classroom Variables and Chemistry Students Learning in Secondary Schools. Null hypotheses were structured to guide the study. One hundred and fifty (150) SS2 students were randomly sampled out from the four targeted public Secondary Schools with the sample size of 25 students from each of the first two schools and fifty (50) students from each of the last two schools respectively. Chemistry Achievement Test (CAT) was used as the main instrument for data collection in the study. The data obtained from the instrument was subjected to independent t-test statistical analysis technique at 0.05 levels of significance.
The results of the findings revealed that classroom variables (class size) significantly influence students’ learning of Chemistry in secondary schools. It was recommended that school administrators should notified the government on the need to built more classrooms to reduce large class sizes, also that teachers work load should be reduced by employing more qualified science teachers and teacher’s assistants to cater for the need of students and that of the society as a whole.
Classroom Variables and Chemistry Students Learning in Secondary Schools
1.1 Background to the Study
Chemistry is indispensable to the scientific and technological development of any nation. The learning of chemistry has been and will remain tremendous important to mainland because chemistry is capable of explaining the natural phenomena and everyday life occurrences. The role of chemistry in technological and national development has acknowledged in the world over (Udofia, 2006). The teaching of chemistry according to Ureubu (1990) should help the students to comprehend to world around them and also better prepare them to improve on it.
Ogunniy, Okebukola and Fafunwa (1990) further state that science (chemistry) teaching should enable the child among others to acquire basic scientific knowledge and also help them to discover the order of complexity of the universe. Based on this, they discover the further believe that the child should be given first hand familiarity with the variety of natural, physical and man-made phenomena in the world around him.
The non-availability of equip laboratories, instructional materials, among others in the teaching and learning of chemistry in secondary schools and colleges. The author is of view that teaching and learning of chemistry should be welcome development. This is of conformity with Okebukola (2002) who stated that science (Chemistry) teacher should work beyond the stereotyped teaching/leaning process and utilize the available humans and natural resources in the environment to enhance effective teaching. It is against this background that science education has been accorded a prime position world wide (Okono, 2006; 67).
Within the context of science education, chemistry has been identified as a very important science subject and it importance in scientific and technological development of any nation has been widely reported. It was made a major subject among the natural science and other science related subject/courses in Nigerian education system. It has been a pre-requisite subject for offering most science oriented courses in tertiary institution and this calls for the need in teaching it effectively (Ahmed, 2003; 103) chemistry can be simply define as a branch of science concerned with the substances of which matters is composed their investigation, properties and relations (Ayak, 2002 68) it is one of the cardinal or major science discipline that has several branches, each with own uniqueness and opportunities. The teaching of chemistry in secondary institution and college has over a long time witnessed some constraints and hindrances.
Chemistry is supposed to be result oriented and students centered, and this can only be achieved when students are willing and the teacher’s pre favourably disposed, using the appropriate method and resources in teaching the students. Student by nature are curios; they need to be actively involved in the learning process in which they are continuously equipping, testing speculating and building their own personal Construct and knowledge (Ayeyalami, 2002;42).
It is only by personalizing such knowledge that it becomes valid, meaningful, and useful to them. In chemistry students need to actively construct their own personal awareness and meaning. To substantiate the argument, Usman remarked that the brain is not passive consumer of information and to learn with understanding, a learner must actively construct meaning of what to be learned.
Despite the important position chemistry occupied in our educational system and the effort made in chemistry and science in general and still low. Some of the reasons identified for this failure are laboratory inadequately teachers attitude, examination malpractice, time constrain for conducting of practice, non-coverage of syllables, class size non-professionalism and environment (Bajah, 1982;89) science practical in school is aimed at giving the student the opportunity to gain meaningful learning, acquire appropriate skills and attitudes that enables them love and contribute to the development of the society, it therefore shows that classroom variables are determinant or major factors that facilitate chemistry teaching/learning among secondary school and colleges.
The classroom in which the child stays to receive learning has consequence on the general pattern of his growth and development (Akaeze, 2014). According to Vincent, (2006) there is a high correlation between the classroom and the number of students as well as the level of participation of students in class activities. The classrooms have several variables such as class size, facilities, environment and many other variables.
According to Umoren and Akpan (2009) education aims at developing the individual and this can be achieve as the individuals plays his part in preserving, transmitting and transforming the culture, his potentials as an individuals should be evident to himself and the society and this can mainly happen in the classroom as the child interact with his peers in the class during the teaching/learning process.
However, according to a study conducted by Libarnary (2010) on classroom variables and teaching effectiveness in Kenyam schools, the author posited that for effective teaching to occur, the class size, class facilities and the class environment must be conducive and favourable to the teachers and the students that is why the author went on to say that school heads and teachers need to create a favourable environment in order to make classroom more child friendly. This environment begins with a well- designed and well- eventuated classroom with functional spaces, adequate facilities and equipment as well as adequate instructional materials.
Ntuk (2014) posits that many counties, a stimulating classroom is prepared by a teacher with the help of the leaner and the goal is to create stimulating classroom where children are inspired to learn and teacher have a range of skills and tool to successfully engage them in the process.
Ntuk (2014) in another related book asserted that the teacher roles in the classroom from the sociological view point embraces increased sensitivity to the larger cultural environment in which classroom is embedded. No classroom can exist in isolation of the broader and pervasive cultural influence with the attendant conflict and powerful forces which threaten to swamp the classrooms contrary to the sociology view, the socio-psychologists view the classroom as a political system, a microcosm of a country in which the various system of government are stimulated. This then formed the background to which the present study was conducted to investigate classroom variable in Chemistry student learning in secondary schools in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area.
Classroom Variables and Chemistry Students Learning in Secondary Schools
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The lack of effective learning of chemistry across secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria has led to host of other bandwagon effect across other science disciplines this is a result of the importance of chemistry as a discipline in the science amongst other science disciplines. The lack of effective teaching in chemistry has led to the production of half baked graduates in chemistry in which has significantly affected the productive capacity of the nation as when compared to their educationally advanced countries.
In order to improve science teaching/learning situation in our educational system, many expert have undertaken various researcher and discovered that classroom variables, school variables, teacher variables, and student variables greatly contribute to the teaching and learning situation of science in the system (Nwosu, 2002). From all indications, the influence of classroom variable such as class size, use of variable local resources, etc in teaching/learning of chemistry has not been researchable within the long span on the platform the research situation is made so as to find out the effect of classroom variables in chemistry students learning in secondary schools.