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1.1 Background of the Study
Biology is a branch of natural science that deals with the study of living organisms, including their structures, function, evolution, distribution and interrelationships. Biology occupies a unique position in the secondary school education curriculum because of its importance as science of life. In Nigeria the secondary school Biology curriculum is designed to continue students’ investigation into natural phenomena, to deepen students’ understanding and interest in Biological Sciences and also to encourage students’ ability to apply scientific knowledge to everyday life in matters of personal, community health and agriculture among others (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2009 and Federal Ministry of Education, 2009).
Biology is very important science subject and stands as the bedrock upon which are based many other science courses like medicine, pharmacy, nursing, Biochemistry, Genetics, Agriculture, Anatomy among others that are of great economic importance to a nation. Besides, the importance of Biology to mankind as science of life, it is of the science subject mostly preferred by many students in the secondary schools because it has less mathematical calculation unlike physics and chemistry and deals with non abstract things. Because of these reasons, biology has a very high enrolment of students in the external examination (Senior School Certificate Examination, SSCE) more than chemistry and physics. Regardless of the high number of students enrolment in Biology in the Senior School Examinations conducted by West African Examination Council (WAEC) and national Examination Council (NECO) reports from scholars and educators (Nwagbo, 2009; Biology Chief Examiner’s Report, 2007; Ige, 2009 and Opara, 2011) indicated that students’ academic achievement in Biology in the external examinations is poor.
The poor achievement of students in Biology in external examination is linked to the use of traditional technique (lecture/expository format) in teaching secondary school biology (Isiugo – Abanihe; LongJohn and Ibiene, 2010). The traditional/conventional teaching pedagogies often used by teachers in teaching biology include the lecture/expository technique and direct instruction among others. These traditional pedagogies of teaching Biology stress more on the transmission of knowledge in a manner that emphasizes memorization hence they have been characterized by some educators (Ibe and Nwosu, 2003), Sarva, 2011 and Kirshner, Sweller and Clark, 2006) as a poor pedagogy of teaching Biology and other science subjects. The conventional/traditional teaching pedagogies involve unidirectional flow of information/knowledge from teacher to the students and do not encourage process skill acquisition needed for proper understanding of Biological principles, concepts and facts. Guisti (2008) pedagogies as teacher-centered approaches to learning in the sense that the teacher and those up in the educational hierarchy are considered as the professor of knowledge to be transferred to students, and as such decides how the knowledge transfer take place. The unidirectional flow of information in the traditional teaching pedagogy makes students passive and unable to construct meaningful knowledge in the teaching and learning of Biology.
Oladapo (2009) also pointed out that despite the importance of Biology; the performance of student over the years has been on a downward trend. Poor academic performance could be attributed to many factors among which teaching pedagogy itself is considered as an important factor (Oladapo, 2009). This implies that without the use of proper teaching pedagogies academic performance in biology is poor. A professionally qualified Biology teacher would be able to put his ideas in practice through the use of relevant teaching pedagogies. Teachers teaching pedagogies can make or mar academic performance of students.
According to Alaezi (2000) the pedagogies by which the teachers present their lesson to student and engage them in the task at hand is very crucial to the achievement of the goals of education. The pedagogy adopted by the teachers may promote or hinder learning. It may sharpen mental activities which are the basis of social power. A teaching pedagogy can also be described as a way of teaching or method of teaching. It is a process, a course of action or method of operation which varies according to circumstances. Hence pedagogy of teaching can be identified and known by the type of activities pursued by teachers and students which may include cooperative learning inquiry learning, demonstration and discussion pedagogy among others (Adaezi, 2000). During the lesson session, pedagogies are limitless and one cannot with confidence determine the number of teaching pedagogies available to a teacher. However, a good Biology teacher should always emphasize pedagogies that will make his or her lesson real, interesting, practical and appealing to the interest of the students, their personal characteristics, their background and the classroom climate. These will enable the teacher to choose from time to time the best pedagogy to be used. Carefully designed teaching pedagogies depend on an intelligent analysis of the educational purpose, the students in the class and the curriculum content of the moment or the type of subject matter being taught.
Teaching pedagogies are decisions about organizing people, materials and ideas to provide learning (Nwachukwu, 2005). Weston and Cranton (2001) viewed teaching pedagogies as both the teaching method and material used in the process of teaching. Teaching pedagogies determines the approach a teacher may take to achieve learning objectives. Some of these teaching pedagogies are inquiry learning, discussion, cooperative learning and demonstration pedagogy among others. Teaching pedagogies can be classified according to the degree which students are actively engaged in the teaching and learning process. At one end of the continuum his pedagogies which are learner-passive and cognitive focused. Here students are directed to learning conceptual tasks through success pedagogies as traditional expository teaching, document analysis and audio-visual curriculum materials. At the other end of continuum lie the learner active, participating focused pedagogies which seek to engage students in the learning process. Examples include cooperative pedagogies inquiry/discovery pedagogies, demonstration, discussion and project method among others.
Teaching is a process of impacting knowledge which involves many activities on the part of the teacher and the learners (students). Teaching pedagogies therefore includes these various means and activities of the teacher and learner in the learning process geared towards acquiring ideas knowledge, skills and values that are built within the educational aims and objectives. According to O’Bannon (2002) teaching pedagogies describes various ways information is presented to the students specifying the nature of the activities in which the teacher and the students will be involved during the teaching and learning process. O’Bannon (2002) indicated that although there exist several pedagogies for teaching of Biology, inquiry pedagogy, cooperative pedagogy, discussion pedagogy and demonstration pedagogy remain the major determinant of students academic performance in Biology.
Inquiry pedagogy is a team often use in science classroom to express student centered approach due to the fact that it employs the scientific process in the search and construction of knowledge (Guisti, 2008). Biology is inquiry in nature and should be studied through inquiry pedagogy using scientific process and habit if students are to be achieve highly. Bybee (2011) defined inquiry as an outcome of science teaching characterized by knowledge and understanding of the processes and methods of science. Onan (2012) in another perspective defined inquiry as student-learning approach that encourages students to create presence knowledge by questioning and use of investigation process. This teaching pedagogy encourages investigation through questioning.
Cooperative pedagogy is one of the main teaching pedagogies that can be used to promote positive social interactions and to create an appropriate learning environment for biology students. Students places in a cooperative group, feel a sense of belonging. They learn to ask for and receive help. As others ask for their input, they learn that their suggestions are valued. They learn that their success is linked to the success of others. Group participation is learned along with other social skills necessary for working together (Madrid, 2001). Another benefit of cooperative pedagogy is that it helps students to work together effectively, regardless of their race, language or personal appearance. Cooperative learning activities are designed to sustain and develop positive attitude toward students from various racial and cultural backgrounds. Students learn to regard their peers as valued sources of support in their effort to become successful socially, linguistically and academically (Madrid, 2001).
Discussion pedagogy is when two or more students or people interact verbally with each other. It could be used deliberately in teaching and learning situation but sometimes it occurs spontaneously as a teacher uses one pedagogy of teaching or another. Discussion could be considered as a technique within a method (Umoren, 2001). Discussion pedagogy affords every number of the class opportunity to articulate this views on a particular issue and learning discovered in the process tends to last longer than when learning is imposed on the students (Etuk et al, 2004). In true discussion, Umoren (2001) maintained that the teacher’s contribution are very minimal and are made only when necessary.
The next sub variable in this study is demonstration pedagogy. Demonstration pedagogy simply means to display something (Dyel, 2011). It involve the introduction of new skills or ability to learn better way of doing something, usually it is accompanied with a lot of explanation and showing how something work or is done. It is employed in finding facts, identifying problem, and displaying materials. Under demonstration, a range of activities can be planned starting from showing the correct use of science (Biology) apparatus, illustrating a technique to planning a manipulation equipment and material in order for students to observe a scientific phenomenon. This teaching strategy help to promote students academic performance in Biology (Dyel, 2011).
The importance of teaching pedagogies cannot be overemphasized. These teaching pedagogies helps to arouse students interest, illustrate the specific steps in a problem, help students to understand abstract concepts and ideas in visual form and developing appreciation. Therefore, the study seeks to investigate the influence of selected teaching pedagogies such as inquiry pedagogy, cooperative pedagogy, discussion pedagogy and demonstration pedagogy on students academic performance in Biology.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It has been observed that one of the problem arising from realizing educational objectives of teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools is poor teaching pedagogies. Biology is a core and compulsory subject that is prerequisite for further studies at all levels of education. Unfortunately students performance has been dwindling over the years. This has been attributed to many reasons among which are evidenced in the inability of teachers to provide for the specific learning needs of the individual students leading to poor academic performance of students in biology. It has been observed that persistent use of the lecture format and managing large class size without any recourse to effective use of teaching pedagogies like inquiry pedagogy, cooperative pedagogy, discussion pedagogy and demonstration pedagogy despite the instructional value is one of the major reasons affecting students performance in biology.
Government and other stakeholders in education have made effort to improve teaching delivery through seminars and in-services training for biology teachers, unfortunately the failure rate is increasing on yearly basis. Therefore the study determine the influence of selected teaching pedagogies on students academic performance in Biology.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to determine the influence of selected teaching pedagogies on student’s academic performance in biology. The specific objectives are:
- To determine the difference in academic performance of students in biology taught using inquiry pedagogy and lecture format.
- To determine the difference in academic performance of students in Biology taught using cooperative pedagogy and lecture format.
- To determine the difference in academic performance of students in biology taught using discussion pedagogy and lecture format.
- To determine the difference in academic performance of students in biology taught using demonstration pedagogies and lecture format.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The finding of this study would be useful for improvement of Nigeria Biology education as follows:
The study may serve as an insight to researchers who might consult it in the process of carrying out similar study in the future. Education students in colleges and universities may also find the study valuable when they consult it in the cause of their studies. To school administrators, it will bring therefore the vital function that teaching pedagogies play in teaching and learning processes.
Government may also find the study useful because it attempts to show area where its intervention is required such as greater issues like, retraining of teachers, provision of structures and material resources, equipments that will promote effective teaching and learning. It is expected that government will further realize the potentialities of the various instructional materials as crucial tool to teachers for the attainment of instructional objectives and to that effect provide the needed financial and moral support to acquisition and proper utilization of such material.
Curriculum planner and policy makers on education may also benefit from the study in such a way that when engaged in further review of curriculum, interest group such as non-governmental organizations and students association will be contacted to make their input. It hopes to be of significant value to biology education teachers who are implementer of Biology curriculum. The study may avail Biology teachers with an opportunity to broaden their professional skills in the utilization of instructional strategies in instruction. Finally, the study will provide additional literature that could enrich this existing one in area of instructional pedagogies.
1.5 Research Questions
- What is the difference in academic performance of students in biology taught using inquiry pedagogy and lecture format?
- What is the difference in academic performance of students in Biology taught using cooperative pedagogy and lecture format?
- What is the difference in academic performance of students in biology taught using discussion pedagogy and lecture format?
- What is the difference in academic performance of students in biology taught using demonstration pedagogies and lecture format?
1.6 Research Hypothesis
For the purpose of this study, the following hypotheses were formulated:
Ho1: There is no significant difference between academic performance of students in Biology taught using inquiry pedagogies and lecture format.
Ho2: There is no significant difference between academic performance of students in biology taught using cooperative pedagogy and lecture format.
Ho3: There is no significant difference between academic performance of students in biology taught using discussion pedagogy and lecture format.
Ho4: There is no significant difference between academic performance of students in Biology taught using demonstration pedagogy and lecture format.
1.7 Basic Assumption of the Study
For the purpose of the study, the following assumptions were made:
- That this study will improve student academic performance.
- That this study will help to improve teachers teaching pedagogies in biology.
- That this study will enable the teachers to use a number of teaching pedagogies in the course of teaching biology.
- That this study will enable the teachers to know the importance of using cooperative pedagogy, inquiry pedagogy, discussion pedagogy and demonstration pedagogy in teaching biology.
- That teacher teaching pedagogies and academic performance of students in biology can be measured using appropriate research instrument.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
This study is delimited to the influence of selected teaching pedagogies on students academic performance in biology in Ikono Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. It focused on Senior Secondary two (SSII) students in Ikono Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom. The teaching pedagogies considered in this study are inquiry pedagogy, cooperative pedagogy, discussion pedagogy and demonstration pedagogy as it is used in teaching and learning of biology.
1.9 Limitation of the Study
The major factors which limit the scope of this study to Ikono Local Government Area were insufficient funds, shortness of time for the completion of the researchers academic workload and other factors.
1.10 Definition of Terms
- Academic Performance: Academic performance is the ability of students in school subject as determine by result of examination or test given.
- Cooperative Pedagogy: In this study, cooperative pedagogy refers to an arrangement in which students work in mixed ability groups and are rewarded on the basis of the success of the group as a whole.
- Inquiry Pedagogy: In this study inquiry pedagogy refers to as self-centered approach that encourages students to create personal knowledge by questioning and use of investigation process. It is also refers to as teaching pedagogy that encourages investigation through questioning.
- Discussion Pedagogy: In this study, discussion pedagogy refers to the verbal exchange of views, opinions or ideas between the teacher and the students.
- Demonstration Pedagogies: In this study, demonstration pedagogy refers to as the display of something. It involves the introduction of new skills or ability to learn better way of doing something.