THE TEACHING OF INTEGRATED SCIENCE (ITS) IN THE PRIMARY SCHOOLS, PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The science curriculum at any time and place is determined by the existing theories and ideas about the nature of science. Because such theories and ideas have varied from place to place and from time to time, even for the same place; the science curriculum and its introduction have never remained static. Several programmes have been set up in various parts of the world to develop science curriculum and teaching, with an aim to suit the prevailing situation in such areas. As a result of the changing views about science, its content and materials have been subjected to modification in accordance with the reigning theories. In the 1960s the U.S.A, set up a programme called Science a Process Approach (S.A.PA.) which was developed and sponsored by the America Association of the Advancement of Science (A.A.A.S). For the A.A.A.S, science processes should precede the contents that is to say, the programme encouraged a study of the science procedure which would result in the child having the opportunity to develop intellectual skills similarly there were programmes in the United Kingdom, for example, The Nuffield Junior Science and the African Primary Science Programme (A.P.S.P) was based in East and West African.
The relative backwardness of primary education in the Northern states of Nigeria stimulated the consideration by the Federal Government, the governments of the then six northern states, and UNESCO to form a joint project which would improve the quality of primary education (Lassa, 1977:1). Discussion resulting from such moves were held at Zaria between the Institute of Education (A.B.U Zaria), the government of the six Northern states UNESCO and UNESCEF. The outcome of that meeting was the initiation of a programme called UNICEF/UNESCO programme but later became the Primary Education Improvement Project (P.E.I.P).
In June 1970, a writing panel made up of T.T.C. Tutors, ministry personnel and others met to decide on writing syllable and books on science and other subjects. Decisions centred on having a fresh science syallbus which was based mainly on units taken from the African Primary Science Programme (A.P.S.P) but preference was made to the Nuffield Junior Science Programme and materials for science. Later, however, the panel decided to abandon this approach and follow the steps suggested by the Nigerian Educational Research Council (N.E.R.C) through adopting a process approach method similar to that of the American science. A process approach.
By December 1971, the first book titled Primary Science One was instructions for the teaching of 26 lessons. This book centred on activities, which would provide opportunities to practical process type skills such as observation, classification measurement, etc. Brown, (1978:2) and these activities involved both the teacher and the pupils. By 1972, Primary Science one was on trial in 66 piloted schools. A panel meeting in June 1972 established the guideline for primary school three, part of it was written by the end of the year, the whole book being completed by June 1974. Primary science four was produce in 1978. Book four came out in 1976 and book five and six came out in the 1980.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
It is important while discussing the P.E.I.P to realize as in any other programme of its dimension there bound to many challenges which if not well met will cause the down fall of the programme; for example there could be administrative, financial and manpower challenges.
Integrated science or primary science is identified as a problem approached discipline through which man studies and learns about problems of survival in his environment. The aim of this research is to identify problems leading to poor performance in pupils and teachers in some selected primary schools in Igabi Local Government Area to recommend possible solutions that can help in improving its teaching. In our search for these problems, the following questions are asked:
- What are the classes that are taught primary science?
- What is the number of qualified integrated science teacher in your school?
- How many of these teachers teach integrated science?
- What are their qualifications?
- Are the materials used by the teachers (i.e. textbooks) suitable for both the teachers and learners?
- Are there other teaching aids used by the teachers apart from the textbooks?
- What methods are used in imparting the knowledge of integrated science to the learners?
- Do the school provide a special workshop for the teaching of the subject?
- Is there current and recommended approved primary science syllabus in the school?
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research is aimed at the causes of poor performance in primary science in our primary schools today. Thereby giving necessary suggestions and practical ways by which the instruction can be improved so that its set goals and objectives can be achieved. The researchers decided to choose:
- L.E.A. Primary School Jaji i.e. child friendly
- Army Children’s School Jaji
- L.E.A. Primary School Birni Yaro Tasha
- L.E.A. Primary School Tudun Wada Rigachikun
For sample studies with the believe to the researchers that this will be of immense help to the integrated science teachers in the classroom and also to the educational planners.
This research work concentrated on four (4) primary schools in Igabi Local Government and its environs.
1. L.E.A. Primary School Jaji – child friendly
2. Army Children’s School Jaji
3. L.E.A. Primary School Birni Yaro Tasho
4. L.E.A. Primary School Tudun Wada Rigachikun
Considering all the problems faced in teaching integrated science, it would require a wide and more detailed research and bigger book than this. Thus, the application of the evidence found is not to be generalized with other schools in the state but restricted to primary schools in Igabi Local Government Area only.
1.5 DEFINITION OF TERMS
i) Integrated Science: A jointed knowledge that is based on testing and providing facts.
ii) Primary Schools: Schools in which children receive formal education before going to secondary school.
iii) Teaching: Passing knowledge to somebody with some guided activities.
iv) Curriculum: Course content design for the learner.
v) S.A.P.A: Science – A Process Approach.
vi) A.P.S.P: Africa Primary Science Programme.
- A.I.E.P: Primary Education Improvement Project.
- Teaching Aids: Materials use in aiding teaching and learning.
- Integrated Workshop: A special room exclusively meant for teaching Integrated Science.
Hypothesis have been advanced to guide the study:
1. That there was language problems, that is, the science terminologies cannot be easily translated into local languages.
2. That there are no enough trained teachers for this discipline Integrated Science.
3. That there are inadequate teaching aids for the teaching of the subject.
4. It was assumed that the same ministry is concerned with the running of the schools in terms of personnel enrolment and retention funds and other facilities.
5. There is still a problem in teaching controversial topics.