1.1 Background to the Study
Oxford Dictionary Sixth Edition, 2005 defined Science as the concerted human effort to understand better the history of the natural world and how such natural phenomena work, with observable physical evidence as the basis of that understanding which is done through observation and experimentation. Omiko (2015) sees science as body of knowledge obtained through experimentation and observation of the daily natural phenomenon. Igwe (2003) sees science as “knowledge attained through the study of the operation of general laws of nature, especially that knowledge which is obtained, tested, approved and accepted through scientific method.
There are basically three subjects that make up Basic Science which are studied at the secondary school level: they are Biology, chemistry and Physics. Science is considered as the core foundation upon which the present day’s technological breakthrough and scientific concept is built. Thus, Science that deals with the study of matter, identification of the substances of which matter is composed; the investigation of their properties and the ways in which they interact, combine, and change as well as the use of processes to form new substance, (Reld and Shah, 2007). It is its knowledge which is essential to the students of other related field of studies as; biology, geology, physics etc. Modern foundation of basic science was believed to have been laid in the 19th century when intellectual and technological advances enabled the scientists to breakdown substances into ever smaller components and consequently to explain many of their physical and chemical characteristics, and its applications relatively to human demands. Perhaps, it is based on the above that National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004) suggested that the mastery of Basic Science concepts cannot be achieved without the effective use of improvised teaching materials. Hence, the inadequacy of these learning materials will certainly result to the poor academic achievement of the students in the particular subject concerned. However Adeyegbe (1998) suggested that the students’ achievement in Science up to date was nothing to write home about. And he also pointed out that most students find science difficult to understand owning to its abstract nature.
Evidently, many of the senior secondary school students usually drop Basic- science at the end of SS I class, as being considered the most difficult concept in the school curriculum (NERDC, 2005). Therefore, based on this development and for proper academic achievement of the students, many more research works have been carried out to determine the causes of under academic achievement of students in Basic Science and other related subjects. And among such findings are as a result of poor laboratory facilities, lack of improvised teaching materials and inability of most science teachers to put across the concepts of Basic Science vividly to the students (Jegede, Otuka and Eniayeju, 1999). Thus, Maduabum (1998) 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/her to translate his competence into reality.
Meanwhile, to improve students understanding and their academic achievement, they have to be taught Basic Science with hands-on and different teaching-learning materials, so as to enable them acquire both the cognitive and manipulative skills needed for appreciated academic achievement in chemistry. However, in this study, the learning materials used were of improvised and standard models. Though, experience over the years has shown that teachers have been depending on excessive use of words to express process. This practice is termed the “chalk-talk” method. Today, advances in technology have made it possible to produce materials and devices that could be used to minimize the teachers’ talking and chalk method of teaching and at the same time make the message clearer, more interesting and easier for the learners to assimilate (Onasanya, 2008).
A model is a copy of real object Kieffer (2000). It is a representation of a system that allows for investigation of the properties of the system and in some cases prediction of future outcomes. Models, aimed at facilitating understanding by eliminating unnecessary components and as well to explain, control and predict concept or event on the basis of past observation: Onasanya (2008), gave various kinds of models used in educational activities as instructional materials, namely; atomic models, molecular models, theoretical models, diagrams, and concrete models etc. These models are mostly material objects which are likeness of natural or man-mode structures or systems and which are intended to highlight and explain or describe structure, functional processes and relationship in the original. Onasanya (2008) also gave a summary of the role of concrete models which include; simplification of complex phenomena, bridging of gaps in distance and time between phenomena and classroom events, enhancing the student’s academic achievement and ability to communicate in science. However, he also stressed the values of models for improvised design as follows; this requires no special machine for projection, the teacher usually confident in manipulating the material, their improvisation encourages more creativity and diversification of teaching methods, they are very easy to preserve and they could be produced within, minimum cost and maximum efficiency. Therefore, it is based on the above mentioned factors that the researcher decided to investigate the impact of improvised teaching materials on effective teaching and learning of Basic Science in selected schools in Kuje Area council of Abuja, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Due to the prevalent students’ poor performance in Basic Science examinations, Ogunleye (2000) carried out a survey study on the effective learning and teaching problems of science subjects in secondary schools in Ondo State. And he found out that most of the contributing factors to the poor academic achievement of students in science subjects, in senior secondary schools is as a result of lack of qualified teachers to teach the subject.
Momo (2000) conducted a study on the effect of instructional materials on students’ academic performance in science subjects in Kwara State. He correlates materials resources with academic achievement of students in various science subjects. And from the results obtained, he concluded that material resources have significant effects on students’ academic achievement in science subjects. Therefore, inadequate or under utilization of resources materials either improvised or standard ones for the teaching-learning of science subjects in secondary schools in Nigeria would definitely hamper students’ academic achievement in such science subjects as; physics, biology and chemistry. Therefore the problem of this study is to investigate the impact of improvised teaching materials on effective teaching and learning of Basic Science in selected schools in Kuje Area council of Abuja, Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study was to investigate the impact of improvised teaching materials on effective teaching and learning of Basic Science in selected schools in Kuje Area council of Abuja, Nigeria. Specifically, the researcher hopes;
- To examine the effects of improvised teaching materials on students’ academic achievement in Basic Science
- To investigate the effects of the use of improvised teaching materials on male and female students’ academic achievement in Basic Science.
- To find out the effects of interaction between materials and gender on students’ academic achievement in Basic Science.
1.4 Research Questions
The research questions for this study shall be:
- What are the effects of improvised teaching materials on students’ academic achievement in Basic Science?
- What are the effects of the use of improvised teaching materials on male and female students’ academic achievement in Basic Science?
- What are the effects of interaction between materials and gender on students’ academic achievement in Basic Science?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following statements were generated as research hypotheses for this study:
- There is a significant relationship between improvised teaching materials and students’ academic achievement in Basic Science
- There is no significant relationship between the use of improvised teaching materials and male and female students’ academic achievement in Basic Science
1.6 Significance of the Study
The use of improvised teaching materials gives the learner the opportunity to touch, smell or taste objects in the teaching and learning process. Consequently, knowledge passed unto the students at different levels of educational instructions should be well planned and properly allied with relevant instructional materials for clarity and comprehensibility. Hence the significance of this study to the students, teachers, curriculum planners, educational system and society at large. Thus, to the students, the effective use of instructional materials either improvised or standardized would enable the students to effectively learn and retain what they have learnt and thereby advancing their academic performance in the subject in question. This is because according to Nwadinigwe (2000), learning is a process through which knowledge, skills, habits, facts, ideas and principles are acquired, retained and utilized; and the only means of achieving this is through the effective use of instructional materials. However, the study would also help to enhance teachers’ teaching effectiveness and productivity. This is in line with assertion of Igwe (2003) who noted that it is only the teachers who will guarantee effective and adequate usage of instructional materials and thereby facilitate success. Consequently, a teacher who makes use of appropriate instructional materials to supplement his teaching will enhance students’ innovative and creative thinking as well as help them become plausibly spontaneous and enthusiastic. This study was intended to make appropriate improvised materials in place of the standardized materials for teaching basic concepts in science in order to enhance students’ interest and performance in the study of the concepts, especially in schools that lack standardized instructional materials. Also the study will help to reveal the perceptions of teachers and students on the use of improvised instructional materials. Furthermore, it will help to know the effectiveness of improvised teaching materials in teaching Basic Science concepts.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study sets out to investigate the impact of improvised teaching materials on effective teaching and learning of Basic Science in secondary schools in Nigeria. Besides, the study is delimited only to selected secondary schools in Kuje Area Council of Abuja, Nigeria.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.