Teachers’ Demonstration and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science

ABSTRACT: The study examined Teachers’ Demonstration and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science. Research questions and two research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and were all tested at 0.05 levels of significance. The design used was quasi-experimental. The target population was made up of five thousand three hundred and twenty seven (5327) junior secondary two (JS2) Basic Science students in Essien Udim Local Government Area. One hundred Basic Science students randomly selected from two secondary schools constituted the sample size. The Basic Science Achievement Test (BSAT) was the instrument used for data collection. A split-half method was used to determine the reliability of the instrument and the reliability index of 0.80 was obtained. Mean, standard deviation and independent t-test statistics were used to analyze the data obtained.

The result revealed that there is a significant difference in academic performance of students taught Basic Science using teacher’s demonstration and those taught using conventional lecture methods that there is no significant difference between mean academic performance of male and female students taught using teacher’s demonstration in Basic Science. Based on the findings, it is therefore recommended that Basic science teachers should incorporate demonstration method of teaching during lesson delivery in the subject.



This chapter presents the background to the study, statement of problem, purpose of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, delimitations and limitations of the study and definition of terms. 

Teachers’ Demonstration and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science

1.1 Background to the study

Science in a broad sense existed before the modern era and in many historical civilizations. Science in its original sense was a word for a type of knowledge rather than a specialized word for the pursuit of such knowledge. In particular, it was the type of knowledge people can communicate to each other and share. It is the bedrock on which modern day technology breakthrough is hinged and also a systematic study of the nature of the behavior of the material and physical universe through observation, experimentation, measurement and recording.

Fape (2007) defined science as rationally structured knowledge about nature which embraces systematic methods of positive attitudes for its acquisition, teaching, learning and application. The objectives of science education in this country according to Maduekwe (2006) includes the need to prepare students to observe and explore the environment, explain simple natural phenomena, develop scientific attitudes including curiosity, critical reflection and objectivity, apply the skills and knowledge gained through science to solve everyday problems in the environment, develop self-confidence and self-reliance through problem solving activities in science. Since the world is turning scientific and all proper functioning of lives depend greatly on science.

The major goal of teaching basic science is to develop scientifically literate individual that are concerned with high competence for rational thoughts and actions. The overall objective of basic science as enumerated in federal ministry of Education 2007 were to enable students develop interest in science and technology, apply their scientific and technological knowledge and skills to meet societal needs, take advantage of the numerous career opportunity offered by the science and technology, become prepared for further studies in science and technology, to avoid drugs abuse and to be safety and security conscious. Basic science is resource intensive and in an era of poor finding or scarcity of resources.

Basic science as an integrated science course is taught at the primary and junior secondary school level so as to prepare the students for the core science subjects. Basic Science is a revolutionary new introductory science curriculum developed for students considering a career in Science. Basic science formally known as Integrate science is the first form of science a child comes across at the secondary school level for core subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Geography and Biology) at the senior secondary school level. This implies that for students to be able to study science subjects at the senior secondary school level successfully, such students has to be well grounded in Basic Science at Junior secondary school level. In view of this, basic science is given great emphasis in Junior Secondary School Curriculum. Thus Basic Science provides

  1. Students at the junior Secondary schools level a sound basic for continuing science education either in single science subject or further integrated science.
  2. It enhances the scientific literacy of the citizenry.
  3. It allows students to have general view of the world of science.
  4. It allows students to understand their environment in its totality rather than in fragments.
  5. Serves as unifying factors for the various science subjects (Federal Ministry of Education, 2008).

Countries all over the world, especially the developing ones like Nigeria, are striving hard to develop technologically and scientifically. Basic science as an integrated science course is taught at the primary and junior secondary level so as to prepare the child for the core science subjects. The fundamental aim of Nigerian basic science project which is a process-oriented curriculum is to develop in students’ science oriented skills. (Teachers’ Demonstration and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science)

The philosophy of the 9-year Basic Education Curriculum as stipulated by the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council is that every learner who has gone through the 9-year of basic education should have acquired appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills as well as the ethical, moral and civic values required for laying a solid foundation for life-long learning as a basis for scientific and reflective thinking. In line with the philosophy, the 9-year Basic Education Curriculum as developed by the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) from the Primary and Junior Secondary Curricula has been reviewed to meet the needs of the pupil and students respectively (Obioma, 2012). (Teachers’ Demonstration and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science)

It is also pertinent to highlight the three components of the Curriculum according to the corresponding levels and the age of the pupil sand students from primary 1-3, 4-6, and JSS 1-3. The 9-year Basic Science Curriculum (Basic 1-9) has three components namely:

  • Lower Basic Educational Curriculum for Primary 1-3 (age 6-8 years) i.e. Basic 1-3
  • Middle Basic Educational Curriculum for Primary 4-6 (age 9-1 years) i.e. Basic 4-6
  • Upper Basic Educational Curriculum for Junior Secondary 1-3 (age 12-14 years) i.e. Basic 7-9 (NERDC, 2009). The framework of the Basic Education Curriculum reflects the following:
  • The curriculum is designed to properly target pupils and students’ needs and interests to make provision for appropriate core and elective subjects for a well-rounded education at the different age levels.
  • The lower and middle Basic Education Curriculum (Pry 1-6) will be in full use by the year 2014 and the Upper Basic Education Curriculum (for JSS 1-3) will be achieved by the year 2011.
  • Every child is expected to complete primary 6 before being placed in Junior Secondary School (JSS), (FRN, 2008). (Teachers’ Demonstration and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science)

The fundamental aim of the Nigerian Basic Science Project which is a process oriented curriculum is to develop in students’ science oriented skills. The teachings of basic science make students have first-hand experiences of the way a problem situation is tackled by a scientist; inquisitive about their physical and biological environment; enable students to comprehend the major unifying science concepts and pattern such as the principle of conservation of energy, the structure of materials and the law of gravitation. It provides opportunities for students to use measuring instruments such as thermometers, voltmeters, ammeters and observational aids such as a simple microscope, and it also make students acquainted with science process skills such as measuring, observing, experimenting, inferring, predicting, classifying, communicating, and recording of data.

However, many factors have hindered the successive implementation of the core curriculum in basic science. These factors according to Chukwuneke and Chikwenze (2012) include teachers’ method of teaching, learning environment, student’s view of the subject, availability of instructional aids, among others these hindrances had led to the poor academic achievement of students in school examinations. Research has revealed that the measurements of students’ previous educational outcomes are the most important indication of students’ future achievement. It is generally assumed that the students who showed better or higher achievement in the starting class of their studies also performed better in future academic years (Alu, Shoukat, Zubair, Haider, FahadMunir, Hamid-Khan, Awais and Ahmed, 2013).

Moreover, many of our standard methods of teaching have been shown to be comparatively unproductive in the students’ ability to master and then retain vital concepts. The traditional methods of teaching (lecture, recitation, and laboratory) do not tend to foster collaborative problem-solving, critical thinking and creative thinking (Wood and Gentile 2003; Costa 2014). With regard to the prevailing scenario in engineering education, in general, students are taught memorization and routine application, and not reasoning methods, analysis, synthesis and evaluation (Somalingam and Shanthakumari 2013).

Employers complain that today’s secondary school graduates are severely lacking in basic skills particularly communication, problem-solving, the ability to prioritize tasks and decision making (Selingo, 2015). A high dropout rate is a current problem in the science classes. The institutions have to raise the student success ratio and have to reduce the numbers of dropouts (Paura and Arhipova 2009; Marcus 2012). In class demonstrations by teachers, a standard constituent of science courses in schools and universities, are generally believed to help students understand science and to stimulate student interest (Crouch, 2004). Most students get a great deal more out of visual information than verbal information (spoken and written words and mathematical formulas) (Felder, 2000).

Teacher demonstrations provide a multi-sensory means to describe a concept, idea, or product that may otherwise be difficult to grasp by verbal description alone (Cabibihan, 2013). Teacher demonstrations strategy has emerged to become an instructional approach that is gaining rising interest within the science education (Hadim and Esche 2002). Research has found that diverse students benefit vastly when they have the opportunity to participate in activities, interact with materials and manipulate objects and equipment (Carrier, 2005 and Hadgraft, 2009). An earlier work that made use of demonstrations by teachers in Basic Science education reported an increase in student attendance from thirty percent to eighty percent (Kresta 1998).

Ogwo and Oranu (2006) affirm that demonstration strategy is the most widely used Teaching Strategy for acquisition of practical skills as it includes the verbal and practical illustration of a given procedure. The authors have further added that the strategy is highly effective because it contains active of the students. Cabibihan (2013) used working models for in-class demonstrations and reported that a multi-background, multidisciplinary, and multinational student audience had responded favorably to the in-class demonstrations. It was also reported that the students’ academic achievement could be attributed to the immediate appreciation of concepts from the practical examples that the students experienced from the demonstrations.

Jaksa (2009) has utilized a number of demonstration models in his teaching in physics. In conclusion, the author reiterates the effectiveness of demonstration models as a tool to improve learning and to engage students. Adekoya and Olatoye (2011) and Daluba (2013) have studied the effect of demonstration strategy using working models in an aspect of Basic Science and reported that this Teaching Strategy brought about the most significant positive impact on the students’ academic achievement.

However, basic science is the only core science subject taught in junior secondary schools in Nigeria. Because of its promising role in promoting self-reliance through the provision of employment opportunities and production of staple future scientists for the populace, its teaching as a course offering in our schools and colleges has been made compulsory by the federal government. The Federal Republic of Nigeria in its attempt towards the attainment of these laudable goals outlined the basic objectives of teaching Basic science at the secondary school level as enumerated in FMR (2013) where to enable students:

  • Develop interest in science and technology;
  • Apply their scientific and technology and skills to meet societal needs;
  • Take advantages of the numerous career opportunities offered by science and technology;
  • Become prepared for further studies in science and technology..

The above objectives can only be attainable through effective instruction and motivation of students by teachers of Basic Science. Surprisingly, most teachers of Basic Science in our secondary schools today are still known to have difficulty in teaching some Basic Science concepts thus leading to students’ poor performance in such areas especially in prescribed external examinations like Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination. Again, there has been a general perception of Basic Science by an average Nigerian student, that it is a subject that is dominated with practical and is majorly meant for students that are intellectually incapacitated (Adah, 2011).

The way and manner students perceived the subject, arises from the fact that instructional approaches adopted by teachers both in the classroom during teaching and learning process are not impressive. The effect of this is lack of interest and poor performance of students in the subject. Similarly, the poor performance of students in Basic science may be attributed to poor teaching strategies and skills (Vincent and Akpan 2014). These problems have led to desperate search for appropriate teaching strategies that would best be used to realize the aims of Basic Science teaching, thereby improving learning and skills acquisition. The teacher’s teaching strategies are decisions about organizing people, materials and ideas to provide learning (Nwachukwu 2005).

Weston and Cranton (1986) viewed teaching strategies as both the teaching method and the materials used in the process of teaching. Some of these teaching strategies include inquiry, discussion, lecture and demonstration, among others (Vincent and Akpan 2014).

Also, to arrest students’ attention, interest, curiosity and promote their performance, the use of activity stimulating and student-centered approach like demonstration method instead of depending on the conventional approach need to be embraced. Demonstration method refers to the type of teaching method in which the teacher is the principal actor while the students watch with the intention to act later. Here the teacher does whatever the students are expected to do at the end of the lesson by showing them how to do it and explaining the step-by-step process to them (Ameh, Daniel and Akus, 2007).

Mundi (2006) described it as a display or exhibitions usually done by the teacher while the students watch with keen interest. The author further added that, it involves showing how something works or the steps involved in the process. Some of the advantages of this method as outlined by Olaitan (2014) and Mundi (2012) include: It saves time and facilitate material economy; the method is an attention inducer and a powerful motivator in lesson delivery; students receive feedback immediately through their own products; it gives a real-life situation of course of study as students acquire skills in real-life situations using tools and materials; it help to motivate students when carried out by skilled teachers and it is good in showing the appropriate ways of doing things.

Teacher’s demonstration strategy is a method of teaching concepts, principles of real things by combining explanation with handling or manipulation of real things, materials or equipment (Akinbobola and Ikitde, 2011). “In the matter of physics, the first lessons should contain nothing but what is experimental and interesting to see.

A pretty experiment is in it often more valuable than twenty formulae extracted from our minds” a famous quote by Albert Einstein (Moszkowski, 2010). The novelty, spectacle and inherent drama of an in-class demonstration can provoke significant interest from students. Psychologists termed this kind of interest, situational interest which spontaneously creates interest among all students (Schraw, 2001). The demonstration strategy is effective for long-term memory retention and appropriate to college students’ study skills (McCabe 2014). The act of demonstrating readily helps to kindle more natural interactions between the students and the teacher. Their active responses and completely spontaneous observations provide an excellent opportunity for the teacher to connect with them and with their unedited ideas.

Conventionally, lecture method is a common strategy teachers employ in the teaching of Basic science. It is also referred to as talk and chalk or textbook method (Gbamaja, 1991). In the course of employing the method, the teacher dominates the teaching with very little participation on the part of the students. Here the teacher is seen as the repository of all knowledge while the students are passive recipients of knowledge transmitted by the teachers in the process of learning. The method has the advantage of covering a wider area within a short time but it is not student centered and students do not gain mastery of concepts. Having critically examined these two methods of teaching, the question now is what the effect of teacher’s demonstration and students’ academic performance in Basic Science in secondary schools?

Teachers’ Demonstration and Students’ Academic Performance in Basic Science

1.2 Statement of the problem

Education sector in Nigeria has series of challenges. The important area of basic science challenge is inability to select appropriate instructional strategy by teachers in schools. Improving quality in education requires adequate competent teachers, appropriate facilities, materials and methods which are lacking; these form part of the problems in the study. Thus, one the major challenge for the of educational system is the teachers’ knowledge of selecting appropriate instructional strategy for teaching basic science at all levels, which also affect the quality delivery of educational institutions, teacher’s training and production.

The inability to select appropriate instructional method in junior secondary schools is a problem to students learning, they do not learn at the same space. This study therefore, is geared towards finding out if the use of teacher’s demonstration could bring a solution to the problem of poor students’ achievement in Basic science. Hence, this study is to determine the effect of teacher’s demonstration on students ‘achievement in Basic science in secondary schools

About Peter Lawson 2732 Articles
Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of onlineproject.com.ng. A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.