ABSTRACT: The study investigated Laboratory Facilities Utilization and Teaching of Biology in Secondary Schools. In order to achieve this, one research question was raised by the researcher. The population of the study comprised of all Biology teachers in all the nine (9) public secondary schools in Eket Local Government Area. The sample size of fifteen (15) Biology teachers was used in the study. The instrument for data collection was Questionnaire on Laboratory Facilities Utilization and Teaching of Biology (QLFUTB). The data collected were analyzed using simple percentage statistical tool. Based on the findings, it can be concluded that: laboratory facilities utilization influence the teaching of Biology in secondary schools in Eket Local Government Area.
Laboratory Facilities Utilization and Teaching of Biology in Secondary Schools
From the result obtained, it was recommended that teachers should always incorporate laboratory facilities in order to reduce abstraction on the teaching and learning of Biology. Also teachers should be encouraged by the school authorities and the government to use laboratory facilities in teaching/learning process through seminars, work-shop, in-service programmes and symposium.
1.1 Background to the study
Modern science is the base upon which modern advances in technology depends. Many breakthroughs that man has recorded in the quest to improve his life were achieved through the knowledge of science. At the senior level of education, science is departmentalized into Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Science education plays prominent roles in determining scientific and technological advancement of every individual and the nation as a whole. According to Alebiosu (2015), the major goal of science education is to develop scientifically literate and personally concerned individuals with high competence for rational thought and actions. Also, science educators significantly contribute to the development of scientifically literate persons who will further use the achievement and experiences in science and technology for the benefit of mankind. Hence, steps toward developments in science education are inevitable.
Bilesanmi-Awoderu (2012) noted that in Nigeria the Federal Government recognized the potency of science education in improving the nation’s technological and industrial development. Hence, there have been some concerted efforts on the part of successive governments to improve the participation and academic achievement of science students.
Science is the foundation upon which the bulk of present day technological breakthrough is built. Nowadays, nations all over the world including Nigeria are striving hard to develop technologically and scientifically, since the world is turning scientific and all proper functioning of lives depend greatly on science. Owolabi (2014) defined science as an integral part of human society. Its impact is felt in every sphere of human life, so much that it is intricately linked with a nation’s development. Science as a field of study has done a lot for mankind. For instance, life has been made a lot easier for man as a result of the advancements in science.
Through science, man has been able to better understand his environment and this has enabled him to manipulate the conditions of his environment to suit his own benefit. Science has also made it possible for man to acquire his desired needs easily. It has reduced human needs to the barest minimum. Ogunleye (2000) observed that science is a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of our world. This understanding helps man to know more about the universe. Without the applications of science, it would have been impossible for man to explore the other planets of the universe. Also, the awareness of the existence, of other planets would not have been realized without science.
Many investigations have shown that students in Secondary schools are not very much interested in science (Esiobu, 2015; Okonkwo, 2010). Besides, Biology as the core-science subjects has remained one of the most difficult subjects in the senior secondary school curriculum NERDC (2014). A study by Amos (2017) revealed that the performance of Nigerian students in terminal examination in Biology was generally poor. This was attributed by the author to many factors of teaching strategy itself was considered as an important factor.
Jegede, (2016) reported factors responsible for students’ general poor performance in science, technology and mathematics, are poor selection of instructional facilities, inability of the Biology teachers to put across ideas clearly to the students and inadequate number of learning facilities in schools as against consistent increase in the number of students. Similarly, Biology as a science subject is activity oriented and the suggested method for teaching it which is guided discovery method is resource base (Wilson, 2014). This suggests that the mastery of Biological concepts cannot be fully achieved without the use of laboratory facilities.
However, the teaching of Biology without laboratory facilities will certainly result to poor teaching in the subject in secondary schools. Franzer, (2012) stressed that a professionally qualified science teacher no matter how well trained, would be unable to put his ideas into practice if the school setting lacks the equipment and materials necessary for him or her to translate his competence into reality. Bassey, (2012)asserted that the study of Basic Science is facilitated through use of a laboratory for the demonstration or investigation of Biological fact or phenomenon. The overall objectives of the Biology teaching as enumerated in FMR (2013) where to enable learners to:
- 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.
A closer look at these objectives will show that for a successful attainment of these goals a lot of laboratory and field work must be done by the students. Without the necessary equipment and effective use of these equipment students would not be able to meet these objectives. Studies on the methodology of science have shown that students learn more from science lessons when they are given the opportunities to learn through doing than when they are allowed to observe (Hofstein, 2014). They enjoy measuring, manipulating apparatus, classifying data, designing experiments, testing of hypothesis and making inferences. These processes can only be developed and acquired if the students are allowed to participate in science instruction through a well-equipped laboratory experience.
Currently in our schools, there is gender difference in science achievement and these have attracted some debate. Ikoks, (2015) in a study on trends in student’s achievement in Science observed that male students performed significantly better than female students.
Ibritam, (2011) found out that boys and girls performed equally better academically when laboratory facilities are available and accessible for used by Science teachers. It is therefore asserted that learners can achieve more if given the opportunity to use the available equipment at their disposal. Moreover, laboratory facilities play a paramount role in the teaching and learning of science subjects and inevitably the student’s academic achievement in the subjects. Despite the effort, aimed at improving science education in Nigeria there has been in recent times a growing public anxiety about fallen standard of education especially in the science subjects like Basic Science. One of the disturbing problems of the Nigerian education system is the inability of most of the students to perform well in examinations in most Nigerian public secondary schools (Okafor, 2014).
The role of the laboratory facilities has becomes a key component in understanding Science. It provides students with the opportunities to questions, observes, samples experience and experiment with scientific phenomena in their quest for knowledge of living things. Availability of laboratory equipment could help students connect to the object of study and increase students’ participation laboratory equipment if available for teaching and learning can increase students’ interest in science and develop students understanding of scientific concepts and skills. It allows collaborative working and gives students the skills to tackle global challenges (Hofstein and Mamlok-Naaman, 2013). The absence or the insufficient supplies of these learning resources undoubtedly affect academic performance of students in science subjects. Laboratory facilities utilization increases the research aptitude of the students and thus making the bright future of students.
From the above assertions, it can be seen that there is a significant effect of laboratory facilities on the teaching effectiveness of teachers in Science and no research known to the researcher is been conducted in Eket Local Government Area that tends to examined the effect of these materials on the teaching of Biology which is evidenced in the students’ academic achievement. This creates a breach to be filled in the search to qualitative science education in the study area. This therefore formed the background that this study is setup to examine the effect of laboratory facilities on teaching of Biology in secondary schools.
Laboratory Facilities Utilization and Teaching of Biology in Secondary Schools
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The Nigeria vision 20-20-20 will be in mirage if the poor academic performance of students in sciences is not checked on time. The researchers observed that memorization of facts have replaced experimentation in some of Nigerian schools. Hence, technological advancement and breakthrough remain a hope of many decades to come. Dependency on expensive imported textbooks that are always deficient in supply which also makes students to view science as a foreign concept that should be memorized rather than understood is the worry of this research. This is made manifest in poor achievement and low interest in science generally, and in Biology particularly among Secondary School students.
Considering the role of science and technology in the development of any nation and more so in a country considered to be developing like Nigeria. Science educators believe that achievement of students at their full potentials and sustained interest in science especially Biology, could be a function of appropriate lesson delivery techniques on one hand, but also of the relevance, adequacy and applicability of the materials and equipment upon which science lessons must be based.
The present researcher therefore is poised to investigate the effect of laboratory facilities on teaching of Biology in secondary schools in the study area. The findings of this study will thus provide answers to questions such as: Does students taught with laboratory facilities perform better than students taught without laboratory facilities? Based on these facts, the study seeks to find out laboratory facilities utilization and teaching of Biology in secondary schools.