THE EFFECT OF VISUAL LABORATORY ON STUDENT’S ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN BIOLOGY: A CASE STUDY OF CALABAR MUNICIPALITY IN CROSS RIVER STATE
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The study aimed at investigating the effect of the laboratory on students’ academic achievement in biology in Cross River State. Four research questions and two hypotheses guided the study. A sample size of 133 students selected through simple random sampling technique from four Secondary Schools in Calabar Municipality was used for the study. A questionnaire instrument developed by the researcher was used for data collection. The data collected were analyzed using simple percentage. The study revealed that students taught with visual materials performed significantly better than those taught without visual materials and also that the use of projected visual materials generally improved students’ understanding of biology concepts and led to high academic achievements. Also the use of the laboratory helps to: develop scientific attitudes in the students towards the learning of biology especially practical, develop scientific skills for problem solving in students among others. Recommendations were made on how to improve academic achievements of biology students by encouraging the use of audio-visual materials in teaching-learning biology in the laboratory.
Background of the Study
The teaching and learning of biology should reflect the exciting nature of the subject and its surroundings. Visual laboratory aids serve as a channel between the tutor and the students in delivering instructions in biology laboratory. The effect of visual or projected instructional media on student’s achievement in biology cannot be over emphasized. The teaching of all science subjects in general and Biology in particular require a lot of instructional media. Student work in biology lessons should be practical and visual in nature wherever possible (YOK, 1996).
Biology remains one of the major subjects in Nigerian secondary school curriculum because of its viability. According Ahmed 2008, almost all students enroll for it in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE). Biology is introduced to students at senior secondary school level as a preparatory ground for human development, where career abilities are groomed, potentials and talents discovered and energized (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2009). The quality and quantity of science education received by secondary school students are geared towards developing future scientists, technologists, engineers, and related professionals (Kareem, 2003).
Audio-visual aids serve as a motivation on the teaching-learning process. It is use to draw the attention of the students and minimize boredom. Visual instructional materials are highly important for teaching; especially for inexperienced teachers. Projected instructional media is used to display moving or still pictures as well as opaque materials by a shining lamp onto the object from above. A variety of materials like book pages, objects, coins, postcards or any other flat materials that are non-transparent are projected and its effectiveness depend on the quality of the projected image. This media could help to reduce the abstract nature of the concepts and enhance students’ academic achievement in biology.
Numerous researches has been carried out on the effectiveness of different teaching methods in biology lessons (Galton and Eggleston 1979; Holstein and Lunetta 1982; Johnson 1991; Odubunmi and Balogun, 1991; Killermann, 1998), and especially methods of visual laboratory and slide demonstration are considered to be very effective in teaching and learning biology. The awful truth is that, teachers often use only lecture method (without visual aids or demonstrations) in biology lesson in general.
Projected instructional media are not available in many schools, where they are available; they are grossly inadequate in supply. The scarcities of instructional media in many schools today have resulted in ineffective teaching of Biology leading to poor achievement of students both in internal and public examinations. Eniayeju (2007) in support of this, reported that factors responsible for students’ poor achievement in science, technology and mathematics are, poor laboratory facilities, inability of science 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 schools and students’ enrolment.
Projected visual media are those channels, ways or medium by which information, skills; knowledge among others is transmitted to learners during teaching-learning process. It is a way of passing information from a facilitator to the learner. They assist in achieving the stated behavioral objectives when evaluation is carried out at the end of the lesson or programmes (it tests knowledge and ability) and help students to retain knowledge for longer periods (Awolaju, 2015).
Biology is so pertinent to national development because it serves as a spring board for many careers in science and technology; and has application nearly in every field of life. Achievement is the measures of accomplishment in a specific field of study (Musa & Agwagah, 2006 & Abakpa, 2011). The authors maintained that achievement of the students is the demonstration of the abilities to attain certain levels of instructional objectives outcome of their classroom instruction and experience. The utilization of the projected instructional media in teaching and learning of biology is essential; this is because projected instructional media are regarded as reinforce of cognitive, affective and psychomotor aspect of learning (Adikwu, 2013). The teaching learning process may lead to an effective retention of knowledge as students tend to remember what they see, touch, feel and manipulate.
Statement of the Problem
The continuous poor achievement of students in biology in Nigeria at the Senior Secondary School level in a matter of serious concern to all educationist and other stakeholders. Practically oriented classes are expected to enhance better understanding of the learned concept and thus improve students’ academic achievement. The studies on the practical teaching of the concept of photosynthesis are rare. This research is carried out to fill these gaps. The problem of this study therefore is that, will the use of visual laboratory enhance student achievement and retention in Biology? Will the use of visual laboratory close the achievement gap between boys and girls in biology? This and many more constitute to the basis for undertaking a research of this nature being the effect of visual laboratory on student’s academic achievement in biology.
Objectives of the Study
The primary aim of this study is the effect of visual laboratory on student’s academic achievement in biology. Specifically, this study aims to achieve the following sub-objectives:
- To determine if the use of the visual laboratory in teaching the biology, develops scientific attitudes in students towards the learning of the subject.
- Ascertain if the use of the visual laboratory in teaching the subject develops scientific skills for problem solving in students.
- Find out whether the use of the visual laboratory helps the students to match their abilities through the laboratory experiences they are exposed to.
The following research questions guided the study;
- Does the use of the visual laboratory in teaching biology help students from Calabar Municipality to learn scientific methods for science learning?
- Does the use of the visual laboratory develop scientific skills in students from Calabar Municipality for problem solving?
- Does the use of the visual laboratory in teaching biology help the students match their abilities through the laboratory experiences they are exposed to?
- Does the use of the visual laboratory in teaching the biology develop scientific attitudes in students from Calabar Municipality towards the learning of biology?
The following hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to guide the study;
H0: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students taught Biology in the visual laboratory and those taught outside visual laboratory.
H1: There is a significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students taught Biology in the visual laboratory and those taught outside visual laboratory.
H0: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students taught Biology using visual laboratory.
H2: There is a significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students taught Biology using visual laboratory.
Significance of the study
The study on the effect of visual laboratory on student’s academic achievement in biology will therefore be beneficial to biology teachers, steer government and proprietors of schools, science students and laboratory attendant in a number of ways. Steer Government and Proprietors of schools will recognize the need to adequately equip their schools with current and appropriate visual instructional materials. Prove the worth of audio-visual instruction materials in teaching learning processes. The findings of the study will inculcate in teachers the habits of using visual instructional materials appropriately in teaching learning biology to arouse interest and determination among students. Finally it will serve as reference materials to science students who intend to embark on a study of this nature in the near future.
Scope of the Study
A study of this nature seems so broad and as such will pose difficult challenges in gathering vital information; therefore this study was limited to some selected secondary schools in Calabar Municipality of Cross River State.
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