Background of the study
The success of any nation’s education and manpower development is crucial to that nation’s economic growth. Education is the bedrock of any country’s economic development and technological advancement. Education, as one of the oldest industries, is the primary tool used by society to preserve, update, upgrade, and maintain the social heritage in a balanced state. According to the Federal Ministry of Education (2013), education’s goal is to teach students rational thinking, knowledge, skill, self-efficiency, and self-reliance in addition to literacy. One of the major goals of education in Nigeria, according to Uza (2014), is the acquisition of appropriate skills, development of mental, physical, and social ability that houses human and individual endeavor to live and contributes to the development of society. Teachers are expected to use innovative teaching methods during instruction in order to achieve the educational goal, resulting in poor academic achievement. This pattern of poor student achievement in class subjects indicates that the vast majority of students who enroll in examinations graduate without understanding the fundamentals of those subjects. According to research reports (Agba, 2004), most teachers prefer to use traditional teaching methods when delivering curriculum. As a result, Efe and Efe (2011) advocated for teachers to use a variety of innovative teaching methods, such as problem-solving, in delivering lessons as an intervention. Poor teaching and learning methods obstruct learners’ acquisition of functional knowledge, science process skills, and the development of problem-solving abilities. According to ipaye (1991), the traditional lecture method is ineffective in achieving the goals of teaching Social Studies. Ipaye (1991) came to the conclusion that Nigerian students’ performance in the West African School Certificate Examinations (WASCE) had deteriorated over time. As a result, he suggested that professional teachers experiment with new teaching methods in order to stem the tide of poor exam performance. Adewuya (2003) also discovered that, as a result of the lecture method used in schools, the rate of absorption in secondary schools is as low as 20 to 30%. In Ekiti State, Nigeria, Abdu-Raheem (2010) concluded that the lecture method is ineffective in teaching Social Studies in secondary schools.
In order to meet this challenge, education must seek more dependable and effective ways of instruction for pupils, in order to develop abilities in learners that will enable them to compete successfully in a technology and scientific-dominated society. Long (1991) suggests that instructors will need to be adaptable, dynamic, insightful, and ready to cope with change while presenting a new vision for teacher educators. He went on to say that competent instructors will be able to reflect on their teaching practices in order to suit the requirements of their pupils. When compared to the traditional technique used by science instructors in Nigeria, these novel tactics have not been used (Owolabi, 2006). Questioning, sorting, field excursions, interviewing, brainstorming, role-playing, projects, utilization of resource individuals, library searches, and other creative activities are all used in problem-solving (Adewuya 2003). All of these methods encourage students to engage in problem-solving tasks such as critical thinking, seeking further information, evaluating, exploring, and accumulating topics and ideas, forming hypotheses, experimenting with assumptions, and collecting and analyzing data.
Statement of the problem
Over the years, complaints have been raised regarding the deteriorating quality of education in Nigeria. The average students’ performance in the senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE) and the national examination council (NECO) is nothing to write home about which unfortunately does not favour the technical growth and advancement of the country. Considering the significance of education, it is vital to focus on teachers’ problem-solving abilities to bring about desired improvement in students’ learning result and physics most notably in senior secondary schools.
Recent research have demonstrated that there is a tremendous influence of teachers’ problem solving abilities on students’ learning styles which in turn impacts their performance. For example Rockoff (2004), Hanushek (1998, 2005) revealed that teachers’ problem solving abilities and competency in terms of quality contributes for at least seven percent and one standard deviation rise in students’ academic success. The low performance of pupils in the subject has been a serious issue to many stakeholders in the topic. Like any other science topic, the curriculum of this activity-based course stress the use of the activity-based style of learning. Unfortunately, as reported by researchers such as Lakpini (2006) and Lawal, (2009) teachers shy away from activity-based teaching method and rely mostly on easy go lecture method which in most cases are often inadequate and inappropriate for meaningful learning to take place. It is on this point that the study explored the teachers’ problem-solving skills and their impact on students’ academic achievement.
Objective of the study
The broad objective of this study is to examine teachers’ problem-solving skills and their impact on students’ academic achievement using Lagos State as case study. Specifically, the study seeks to:
1. Determine if problem-solving method can enhance critical thinking among secondary school student.
2. Ascertain if brainstorming as a problem-based technique has the capacity of inculcating problem solving skill into secondary school student.
3. Investigate if problem-based teaching method is more innovative and preferable that the traditional lecture method.
4. Examine if teacher’s problem-solving skill as a student centred method is capable of influencing student academic achievement.
HO1: Brainstorming as a problem-based technique is not capable of inculcating problem solving skill into secondary school student.
HO2: Teacher’s problem-solving skill as a student centred method is not capable of influencing student academic achievement.
Significance of the Study
This study is built on the framework that the findings will have both practical and theoretical significance. The study will benefit teachers, students’ curriculum planners and educational administrators. The study might be deemed theoretically significant because it will provide insights into the current existing theories which could influence problem solving. Curriculum planners would utilize the information from the findings of the study in curriculum planning. The information could help the curriculum planners to determine the adequacy of problem-solving aspect of senior secondary biology curriculum.Finally, the study would contribute empirically to the body of existing literature and it would serve as a reference source to students or other researchers who might want to carry out their research on the similar topic.
Scope of the study
The broad objective of this study is to examine teachers’ problem-solving skills and their impact on students’ academic achievement using Lagos State as case study. The study will determine if problem-solving method can enhance critical thinking among secondary school student. It will ascertain if brainstorming as a problem-based technique has the capacity of inculcating problem solving skill into secondary school student. It will investigate if problem-based teaching method is more innovative and preferable that the traditional lecture method. The study is however delimited to selected secondary schools Ikeja Local Government.
Limitation of the study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. More so, the choice of the sample size was limited as few respondent were selected to answer the research instrument hence cannot be generalize to other corporate organizations. However, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.
Definition of terms
Teaching Method: A teaching method comprises the principles and methods used by teachers to enable student learning. These strategies are determined partly on subject matter to be taught and partly by the nature of the learner.
Problem-Based Learning: Problem based learning (PBL) is a teaching strategy during which students are trying solve a problem or a set problems unfamiliar to them. PBL is underpinned by a constructivist approach, as such it promotes active learning.
Problem-Solving Skill: Problem solving method, student learn by working on problems. This enables the students to learn new knowledge by facing the problems to be solved. The students are expected to observe, understand, analyze, interpret find solutions, and perform applications that lead to a holistic understanding of the concept.
Academic achievement: Academic achievement is the extent to which a student or institution has achieved either short or long term educational goals. Achievement may be measured through students’ grade point average, whereas for institutions, achievement may be measured through graduation rates.