Teachers’ Characteristics And Students’ Academic Performance In Biology In Senior Secondary Schools

ABSTRACT: The study investigated Teachers’ Characteristics and Students’ Academic Performance in Biology in Senior Secondary Schools. Three research questions and three research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A survey design was used for the study. The population for the study was made up of all the Biology teachers currently teaching Biology in senior secondary 2 in all public secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area. Ten Biology teachers currently teaching in senior secondary two (SS2) classes were randomly selected from five secondary schools to constitute the sample size. The instrument used for data collection was Teacher’s Characteristics Questionnaire (TCQ). Mean, standard deviation and independent t-test statistics were used to analyze the data obtained.

Teachers’ Characteristics And Students’ Academic Performance In Biology In Senior Secondary Schools

The result revealed that there is a significant influence of teachers’ educational qualification, years of experience and communication skills on academic performance of Biology students in secondary schools in Abak Local Government Area. Based on the findings, it was recommended that qualified teachers should be employed and in-service training should be provided for the teachers to increase their knowledge, skill and competence for better academic performance of students in Biology.



1.1       Background to the Study

Biology is a branch of natural science derived from the Greek word βίος, bios, “life” and the suffix λογία, logia, “study of”. Biology is therefore, the study of living things and their vital processes. Modern principles of other fields such as chemistry, medicine, and physics for example are integrated with those of Biology in areas such as biochemistry, biomedicine, and biophysics. Biology is subdivided into separate branches for convenience of study, though all the subdivisions are interrelated by basic principles. Thus, while it is custom to separate the study of plants (botany) from that of animals (zoology), and the study of the structure of organisms (morphology) from that of function (physiology), all living things share in common certain biological phenomena for example, various means of reproduction, cell division , and the transmission of genetic material (Willie 2016).

Biology is given great emphasis in senior secondary school curriculum. Since it provides students with the ability to acquire; adequate laboratory and field skills, meaningful and relevant knowledge, ability to apply scientific knowledge to everyday life in matters of personal and community health, others are agriculture, functional and reasonable scientific attitudes (Federal Ministry of Education, 2008).

Similarly according to Mege (2014) the study of Biology guides students in discovering the marvelous logic, efficient simplicity and the design behind a myriad of complex events in nature. The technological revolution has added an infectious new excitement to the lessons of Biology. Biology education today provides access to new knowledge, helping people understand how things happen in the natural and physical environment. The employment outlook for Biology education students is excellent.

Graduates of the Biology education in secondary schools are prepared to have the necessary basic preparation to enter a career in industry or pursue an advanced degree in science and other science related courses. Successful completion of the Biology teaching degree programme leads to recommendation for admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Despite the importance of Biology, the study of it has been bedeviled with certain challenges which include inappropriate method of teaching, poor learning environment, student’s perception of the subject as difficult, availability of instructional aids, among others (Mutodi and Ngriande, 2014). These hindrances according to researchers like Ekanem, (2014) and Kevin (2006) had led to the poor academic achievement of students in school examinations. Be that as it may, the important role of the teachers in learning is unquestionable.

Teachers have a lot of influence on the classroom practice. Teachers should have and apply specific abilities without which their influence may not be reflected for learners to be able to make connection between what is taught in school and its application in problem solving in real life. The teacher has to be effective in their teaching. Adeogun (2015) opined that the quality of educational system depends on the quality of its teaching staff and that a school without human resources may not be able to achieve the goal and objective of the educational system, Ekanem (2011) also noted that teachers are the major indication and determinate of quality education.

Correspondingly, Okokon (2017) put forward that the importance of teachers’ characteristics in realizing educational goals and objectives in any educational system cannot be overemphasized. Teachers’ characteristics are the instructional behaviours exhibited by the teachers towards goals attainment. These include: teachers’ qualification, teachers’ years of teaching experience and teachers’ communication skills. Successful teachers’ characteristics are those that have been found by researchers to be related to improved achievement of students’ cognitive, affective and psychomotor outcomes in education (Udo, 2018).

Furthermore, bedrock of an educational system has on a core of devoted, knowledgeable, competent and well-trained professional teachers which must commit themselves to the effective delivery of the lesson contents to the learners (Ekanem, 2011).      

Ademulegun (2011) asserted that there is an established correlation between what teacher knows and what they teach. Thus the ability to teach effectively depends on the teacher’s knowledge and knowledge occurs in a variety of forms. Teachers’ effectiveness is impeded if the teacher is unfamiliar with the body of knowledge taught. The implication of this for teacher is that they must thoroughly understand the content of what they teach.

Usman (2013) asserted that shortage of qualified teachers is responsible for the poor academic performance observable among the learners while Ademulegun (2011) argued that learners taught by more qualified and experienced teachers in terms of knowledge of the subject matter perform better than those taught by less qualified but experienced teachers.

It is evident from the aforementioned that, one key overriding factor for the success of teachers’ teaching effectiveness is the teachers’ personal characteristics such as teachers’ qualification, years of teaching experience and teachers’ communication skills as it is assumed that these teachers’ characteristics may influence students’ academic performance in Biology in secondary schools in the Abak Local Government Area. It is against this background that this research investigated teachers’ characteristics and academic performance of students in Biology in selected secondary schools.

Teachers’ Characteristics And Students’ Academic Performance In Biology In Senior Secondary Schools

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Biology being the core science subject that is offered by science students in senior secondary level of education and at college and university level has been faced with the challenges of poor performance of students as observed by the researcher during her experience during teaching practice. The teachers have blamed the students for not reading and for displaying lackadaisical attitudes towards learning of the subject. Owing to the fact that no education can rise above the level of its teachers, the researcher was triggered to ask, “Could teachers’ characteristics such as qualification, teaching years of experience and communication skill contribute to this poor academic performance among Biology students?”

Some researchers have observed that variables such as gender, and attitude are some of the characteristics that could influence the teaching effectiveness of teachers hence affecting students’ academic performance adversely. It is this existing gap that this present study intended to fill up by undertaking the research on teachers’ characteristics (qualification, years of teaching experience and communication skills) and academic performance of Biology students in secondary schools.

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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.