ABSTRACT: The focus of this study was an investigation into an Effective teaching of Practical Biology practical in senior secondary schools. Research hypotheses were postulated to guide the study. The design adopted for the study was survey design. The population for the study consisted of all the senior secondary two (SS2) science students offering biology in all the public secondary school in the study area. This amounted to a total of one hundred students forming the sample for the study. The instrument used to collect the needed data for the study was Biology Achievement Test (BAT). The findings of the study have to a large extent confirmed earlier studies which indicated that teacher’s variables is significantly correlated with Effective teaching of Practical Biology practical in secondary schools.
Based on the result of the investigation, it is worth noting that, qualification, years of service, and personal characters and good relationship with students will go a long way to enhancing Effective teaching of Practical Biology practical in schools. Recommendations were made among others that, Government should intensify on teachers in schools through workshops, seminars conferences and in-service training.
Effective Teaching of Practical Biology Practical in Senior Secondary Schools
1.1 Background to the Study
Effective teaching is more than just telling and testing but is guidance to learning activities. Odinaka, (2012) defines teaching as “a complex art of guiding the learners through a variety of selected experiences or learning tasks to bring about worthwhile or relatively permanent change of behaviours”. The teacher is the hub of the educational system because the school cannot be better than the teacher. Similarly, Abdullahi, (2012) argued that science teaching involves various activities including lecture, practical work, demonstration, group discussion, discovery and project.
Barness, (2013) averred that the use of well selected insrtuctional materials and apparatus contributes immensely towards clarity and understanding of the instruction. Therefore, the teacher constitutes the most vital factor in the educational system because it is based on their number, quality and devotion to duty that the effectiveness of education a system depends.
Effective teaching arouses from the quality and devotion to duty of a teacher. National Teachers’ Institute, (2000) opines that “education unlocks the door to modernisation but it is the teacher that holds the key”. Therefore, a teacher responsible for teaching practical courses holds the key of unlocking other courses that are theoretically learnt.
Teachers have been identified as the heart of educational process and the main determinant of quality and effectiveness of its results. According to Awake (2011), the main bottle neck to the improvement of students’ academic performance is recruitment of experienced and qualified teachers. He noted that teachers’ behavior is not only influenced by their belief, but also by their attitude towards teaching. And that attitude is defined as internal believes that influence personal action and learning directly through one’s experiences and exposure. Teacher variable toward teaching include: work value, teaching method, teacher’s qualification and teacher’s commitment among others.
Dada (2007) Submitted that teachers are more likely to exhibit more enthusiasm in preparation and presentation of lesson when they are affectionate towards learners than when they are apathetic or indifferent towards students (learners). It is crystal clear that the present of financial and material resources alone cannot get things done effectively except human beings are available with the necessary participation to make use of money and machine.
In the school setting, goals and objectives are achieved through the efforts of the people. Knowledge could be imparted if human resources are not available or adequate. It is also pertinent to say that teachers are indispensable human resources in the educational system. This is so because teachers interpret the aims and objective of education to ensure that the children are educated in accordance with them since quality outputs depends on quality inputs, the success and quality of education depends on effective teachers (Obadara, 2009). The concept of teachers’ behavioural trait, teachers’ productivity and teaching effectiveness are multi-dimensional. This involved interplay of various elements in the work force.
Furthermore, The cardinal objectives of biology education are to prepare students to acquire: adequate laboratory and field skills in biology; meaningful and relevant knowledge in biology, ability to apply scientific knowledge to everyday life in matter of personal and community health and agriculture and lastly reasonable and functional scientific attitudes (Federal Ministry of Education 2004). The study of biology in senior secondary school can equip students with useful concept principles and theories that will enable them face the challenges before and after graduation. Practical biology is the scientific study of the life and structure of plant and animals and their relative environment in real or experimental set-up rather than dwelling in the theory and ideas (Opuh, Eze, & Eze Magu, 2008).
Practical activities in biology provide opportunities for students to actually do science as opposed to learning about science. Nzewi (2008) asserted that practical activities can be regarded as a strategy that could be adopted to make the task of a teacher (teaching) more real to the students as opposed to abstract or theoretical presentation of fact principles and concepts of subject matters. Nzewi maintained that practical activities should engage the students in hands on, mind on activities, using varieties of instructional material/equipment to drive the lesson home. Nwagbo (2008) stated that the use of practical activities (approach) to the teaching of biological concepts should therefore be a rule rather than an option to biology teachers, if we hope to produce students that would be able to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and competence needed to meet the scientific and technological demands of the nation.
Practical work stimulate learners interest in the science subjects they are studying, when they are made to personally engage in useful activities, knowledge obtained through practical work and experience promote long-term memory that theory alone cannot do, for this reason, it becomes obvious that learners acquire more in any science lesson, if giving the opportunity to do activities and ranging from manipulating apparatus, classifying, designing, experimenting, hypothesizing to make inferences and verifying result.
Lastly, Biology as a branch of science is very important particularly in health, nutrition and agricultural science and therefore should be effectively taught and learns in schools in another perspective. Effective teaching of this subject particularly in secondary school level has to continue to raise the questions considering the abysmal performances of secondary school students over the years, especially in biology practical.
Effective Teaching of Practical Biology Practical in Senior Secondary Schools
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria, students achievement in secondary school biology has not been encouraging. Inspite of the desire for technological development, which need biology education there is persistent poor academic achievement of students in the subject, particular in practical biological. So many factors can be attributed to student poor achievement in biology practical, they include teachers use of inappropriate instructional approaches, lack of adequate laboratory facilities, poor organization of laboratory activities, lack of commitment to laboratory work by both teachers and students, partial or total absence of laboratory, lack of qualified biology teachers and mode of laboratory activities that are used in biology laboratory. The teachers are also blamed for lack of dedication to their duties which has in-adversely affected the academic performance of students. Whoever is culpable, the general view is that teachers are indispensable in the teaching and learning process.