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THE PROBLEMS OF TEACHING BIOLOGY PRACTICALS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS


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THE PROBLEMS OF TEACHING BIOLOGY PRACTICALS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS

ABSTRACT

This project was carried out to find out the problems in teaching Biology practicals in senior secondary schools in Yaba Local Government Area in Lagos state, district 4.

Opoh (2008) and Onah (2002), observed that Biology practical is the scientific study of the life and structure of plants and animals and their relative environments in real or experimental set up. Furthermore, the present researchers findings made it evident that there are many methods to make Biology practicals more effective and efficiency in educational system.

Chapter one and two is the background of the study and the review of related literature respectively. In chapter three, the research method and overall design of the study was presented. Chapter four, dealt with data presentation and analysis of data. The educational findings of the study, recommendation and summary were contained in chapter 5.references and appendices were inclusive

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

According to Oxford Advanced Learner Dictionary (2000) defined “problems” as a thing that is difficult to deal with or to understand effectively. According to the Oxford advanced learner dictionary (2000) defined practical as an ideal method or a course of action, right or sensible, likely to be successful.

Practical work is very essential to the effective teaching of students in school. Every citizen will be able to participate more effectively in any life situation, he can speak out on questions that involve both biology principles and human welfare, such knowledge will out come from were bookwork, but from practical application of the materials learnt to real life situation.

Science is the study of the natural things around us. Biology being a branch of science involved the study of living and non living things. (Sanjini, 2001). Similarly, World Book Encyclopedia (2000), defined Biology as the scientific study of living thing. Traditionally, biology is divided into two branches Viz; Botany and study of plants and Zoology the study of animals. Some of the usefulness of biology were cited by Sarojiet (2001), as follows: it helps;

(1)     Scientific research and development of new tools and techniques which in variably improve the quality of our lives,

(ii)    Finding applications in medicine, dentistry, vetenary, science, agriculture and horticulture,

(iii)     Biotechnology which include fields like genetic engineering and hybridoma technology.

(iv)     Dealing with ecological problems such as over population, food storage, erosion, pollution, and diseases etc.

Biology practicals is the scientific study of the life and structure of plants and animals and their relative environment in real or experimental set-up rather than dwelling in the theory and ideals (Opuh, Eze and Ezeagu (2008). On its preamble to the international senior secondary school certificate Examination syllabus, West African Examination council WAEC (1998: 2003), buttresses the uses of biology practicals in teaching and learning of biology in the secondary schools. The syllabus was designed to asses candidates in;

(i)       Understanding of the structure and function of living organism as well as appreciation of nature.

(ii)      Acquisition of adequate laboratory and fields skills in order to carry out and evaluate experiments and projects in biology.

(iii)     Acquisition of scientific skills example observing, classifying and interpreting biology data etc, to its previous edition WAEC Syllabus (2001), stated that great importance should be attended to experimental work and we   control experiments, it was recommended that, whenever possible throughout the whole course candidates should be aware of practical application of what is being studied.

From the foregoing, we can understand that biology practical lessons is most essential for effective teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools. Whereas, Akinpelu in Aguokogbuo (2002), defined  teaching as a deliberate effort by a matured or experienced person to impact information, knowledge, skills and so on to immature or less experienced person. Consequently, national teachers institution NTI (2000) course book on education, defined learning as the acquisition of new knowledge, ideas, skills, values and experience which enable the individual to modify or alter his action. It also involves the utilization of newly acquired knowledge or experience as well. It further stated that leaning brings about permanents change to the learners.

The national policy of education (2004), defined secondary education, as the education children received after primary educational level and before the tertiary state. According to post primary school management Board PPSMB statistical rewards PRs (2000), there are thirty-three secondary schools in Yaba local government Area in Lagos district 4.

Yaba Local Government Area, is in Lagos district 4 (Lagos state) The area is predominantly are urban settlement with a few rural communities some of the secondary schools in Yaba Local government includes, Aje comprehensive junior high schools, Akoka junior high school, Belina college, Ciffman college, Eletu Odigbo senior high school e.t.c

1.2   STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Biology as a science subject requires trained technicians and the laboratory attendant employed. In few schools laboratory attendant are school dropouts with no basic knowledge of how to prepare specimen for biology practical. In most cases, these laboratory attendants lack technical know how to operate, maintain repair or service the few available equipment whom they had broken down. According to Nwamonu (2003), students perform poorly in biology practical leading to their failure in biology examinations Similarly, WAEC chief Examiners (2000) reported that performance of candidate in biology fell below expectation. The report discussed the candidates weaknesses under the following sub headings;

(i)           Poor spelling                

(ii)          Poor observation

(iii)        Poor mathematical skills 

(iv)        Poor deductive    reasoning,

(v)      Mis-interpretation of question and

(vi)     Poor knowledge of biology. The examiner lamented that

“there were many candidates who could not answer correctly a single question in section A. in most cases, they have wild guesses and quite unrelated answer that were sometime unbiological”.

Based on the poor academic performance (2000) stated that the objectives of biology practicals are not being realized to a satisfactory extent. He pointed out that the poor academic performance in biology practicals are caused by, lack of well equipped laboratory, inadequate qualified biology teachers, limited time table hours, poor observation, poor drawing and  labeling and poor comparism of specimens, etc. these state of affair is disturbing . It also emphasis on the West Africa School Certificate to Benin City of Nigeria also observed that the biology laboratory were inadequate. As a result the students were not adequately involved only practical lessons. The students only watched teacher’s demonstration exercise.

This study therefore intends to examine the problems of teaching Biology practical in Yaba Local Government Area of Lagos district 4.

1.3   PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

Based on the background and problems of this study, the main purpose underlying the project is to investigate the problem of teaching biology practical in senior secondary schools (SSIII) in Yaba Local Government Area in Lagos state. The study specifically seeks to;

1.   To determine the problems of teaching biology practical in senior secondary in Yaba Local Government Area in Lagos District IV, Lagos state.

2.   To determine how equipped the biology laboratory with necessary apparatus are.

3.   To determine the performance of male and female in the learning of biology practical in senior secondary schools in Yaba Local Government.

4.   To determine whether the urban secondary schools perform better than rural senior secondary school.

1.4   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The practical activities in biology are designed to help students acquire basic scientific skills and improve the performance and achievement as well. The study tends to uncover the benefits of  biology practicals to the students, parents, teachers, government and the entire society.

If the result of this research is properly initialized, it will;

(i)       Promote the ideals that science is both a product and process in students by arousing their interest in biology practical work.

(ii)      Motivate the parents to provide the basic requirements to practical lessons for their children.

(iii)     Convince the biology teachers that practical lessonaire mostly essential for effective teaching and learning of biology.

(iv)     Make the government, through the ministry of education to realize the need for provision of science equipment to schools and posting of qualified biology teachers to secondary schools, it is not the issue of jack of all trades master of none. Teaching has attained professionalism and specialization

(vi)     Help the Nigerian society in their quest for improved technology and industrialization.

1.5   RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following questions was formulated to guide the study;

(i)       What effect has biology practicals on academic performance of senior secondary school biology students?

(ii)      Does female students like biology practical than male students?

(iii)     Which sex (i.e) male or female performs better in the biology practical?

(iv)     Are Biology laboratory well equipped with necessary apparatus?

(v)      Urban senior secondary schools do they perform better than the rural schools?

(vi)     What effectiveness has biology practical on effective learning?

1.6   SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study of the research work was specifically based on the, senior secondary school in Yaba Local Government Area of Lagos District 4. The scope of the study is also limited to the problems of teaching biology practical in senior secondary school students SSIII in the area.

1.7   DEFINITIONS OF TERMS

-      BIOLOGY: Being a branch of science is the study of living and non-living things.

-      BIOLOGY PRACTICALS: This is the scientific study of the life and structure of plants and animals and their relative environment in test and experimental set up rather than dwelling in theories and ideas.

-      PROBLEMS: Is defined as a thing that is difficult to deal with or to understand effectively.

-      PRACTICALS: Is defined as an ideal, on method or a course of action, right or sensible likely to be successful.

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