Assessment of the Resources Available for the Effective Teaching and Learning of Biology in Senior Secondary Schools
Historical Background of the Biology Curriculum
According to Onwuka (2004), the educational system of any country should be based on the needs and demands of the people. In line with this, Akujieze (2007) noted that the attempt to base the education of Nigeria, especially science education on the needs and demands of Nigeria people has culminated series of commissions, committees and conferences. Notable among these are the Phelps Strokes Commission of 1920, the Ashby commission of 1950, the Alvan Ikoku conference on curriculum. All these conferences, committees and commissions were geared towards providing a functional science education programme in Nigeria. According to Idika (2008), the different commissions, conferences and committees were set up at different stages of development of science education in Nigeria. In other words, a new commission, committee or conference arises as a result of a new need or problem in the country, or as a result of criticism on the preceding one. These various commissions, committees and conferences have effects on the development of science education in Nigeria. Onyeokoro (2003) opined that the effect of the Ashby report was seen among others in diversification of senior secondary science curriculum. The importance of the national conference on curriculum development to Nigerian educational system is evidenced in the fact that this conference was instrumental to the setting out of educational goals and the formulation of the National Policy on Education (NPE) in Nigeria. According to Iwunwah (2004), the conference formulated these National Philosophy on Nigeria Education:
- The inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the society.
- The training of the mind in building valuable concepts generalization and understanding of the world around us.
- The acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competency both mental and physical.
- Equipping the individual to live in the society.
- The acquisition of a relevant and balanced knowledge of facts about local and world phenomena. As a result of the philosophy for Nigeria education and other development in Nigeria, both the federal and state ministries of education put up a draft for a National Policy on Education (NPE) and a seminar to make proposals for NPE was held. Among the issues considered in the seminar are:
- A curriculum review with emphasis on science and technology
- The role of the teachers, the parents and local communities.
The result of this seminar was the publication of the NPE in 1977. The new NPE became effective as from 1982. The aim of the introduction of the NPE in 1981 (FRN, 2004) is to make education functional and responsive to the societal needs and problems. In order to achieve the goals of the NPE, the federal government introduced new curricula syllabuses for primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in the country. Since the introduction of the NPE in 1982, according to available literature, no review or amendments have been made on the education policy. Also research findings by Onyeokoro (2003) Iwunwah (2004) and Idika (2008), shows that the education policy has not made appreciable impact on our secondary school system. According to the authors, some states in Nigeria for some reasons appear indifferent to the education policy, while others showed mere lip-service to it. The Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC, 2005) listed the objectives of secondary school biology curriculum in Nigeria as follows:
(i) To enable the children to appreciate how their environment are related to them and how they are related to their environment.
(ii) To prepare the students for higher education and to have interest in biology career, e.g. medicine.
(iii) To enable the individuals understand their body, their functions eg circulation of blood, respiration, excretion etc.
(iv) To enable the children acquire scientific skills. These include laboratory and field skills.
(v) To enable the individual understand certain key biology contents, necessary for a successful living.
(vi) To inculcate the habit of critical observation;
(vii) To enable the individual question some superstitious beliefs;
(viii) To illuminate the problem of sex, reproduction, population, growth, pollution, disease control, health, food production for the benefit of the society
; ix) To make room for technological advancement;
x) To increase the student aesthetic appreciation of nature; Every educational programme should be monitored periodically to assess the extent to which the objectives of such a programme have been achieved. Hence the motivation of the present researcher to evaluate the NCSSB in Anambra State in terms of:
- Its relevance to the national goals for secondary school education.
- Its attainability by the students with respect to the students’ level of physical and mental maturity. In summary, efforts have been made by Nigerian government to evolve a clear-cut science education programme which will identify priority areas and give direction as to the national needs. The question now is to what extent are the current science education practices in Nigeria relevant to the Nigerian environmental needs?
Adequacy of Instructional Resources for Effective Biology Education
According to Kola (2007), instructional resources refer to information carrying technologies (teaching aids) that are used for instructional purposes with the hope of delivering educational information very quickly and effectively. Education consists of two components classified into outputs and inputs. While inputs consist of human and material resources, outputs are the goals and outcomes of the educational process. Both the inputs and outputs form a dynamic organic whole and if one wants to investigate the educational system in order to improve its academic achievement, effect of one component on the other must be examined. Instructional resources, without which even a good curriculum cannot be properly implemented, are needed in the process of teaching Biology for effective learning. Instructional resources are the hardware and media used in teaching, learning and research (Onwuegbu, 2006). This underscores the provision of a functional equipped Biology Laboratory for effective teaching of the subject. The effective teaching of some school subjects, like Biology which can be very abstract and quite confusing, calls for the provision of functional laboratories. When Biology is taught through a practical approach, a lot of enjoyable learning takes place (Bajah, 1984). To teach Biology, it is imperative that this subject should be observed and experienced rather than just read and heard from the instructor. Available literature support the fact that human beings remember 10% of what they see; 50% of what they see and hear; and about 75% of what they do, see and hear (Piaget, 1966). Piaget (1973) emphasizes the importance of laboratory practicals which he noted are indispensable in learning Biology because they excite all the senses of the body. Aderounmi (2006) in an empirical study found out that essential instructional resources are not adequately provided for use in secondary schools in Nigeria. This inadequacy in the provision and utilization of learning materials has been of serious concern to educators in the country. Mapadrum (2002) and Obah (2008) emphasized that the availability and adequacy of resources utilization promote effective teaching and learning activities in secondary schools while their inadequacy affects the academic performance of students negatively. Omeoduogu (2000) posited that the teachers are responsible for the translation and implementation of the curriculum, no curriculum can achieve the desired result unless there is adequate provision and effective utilization of learning materials. Instructional resources bring about effective learning since it stimulates students’ senses as well as arouse their interest in learning. Akinsola (2000) sees instructional resources as the sum total of all the factors used directly or indirectly for the purpose of educational training to support, facilitate or encourage the acquisition of knowledge and skill.
WHAT ARE RESOURCES
Resources otherwise called instructional materials are educational input such as object of study which facilitates teaching and learning process and bring about success in the classroom (Usman, 2007). Learning becomes real and immediate because resource material aids utilization, emphasizes understanding and practical activities. Resource material stimulates a learner to develop interest thereby achieving the desired goal. According to Ojo (1995) defined resources for communicating science as human and non- human resources that promote or enhance interactive learning of science. Agwu (1994) opined that resources in an educational sense are those things in the school or its environment that may be used to help teaching or learning.
Types of resources and their uses in teaching science effectively
There are different types of resources that can be utilized to teach science effectively. This includes Material, Human and Physical Resources etc. Resources in education have been in use for a long time now going as far back to days of Plato, one and his students believed in the effective of resources in enhancing learning. Even the ancient Chinese believed that what is easily forgotten, what is seen is easily remembered what is done is fully understood Sambo (2008).
- ICT Equipment: ICT equipment include computers, the internet, CD-ROMS and other software, radio, video and digital cameras etc. The development of information communication technology (ICT) is an ovation that plays a great role in teaching of science and technology. The development of videotapes, overhead projector and computers has made the learners more interested and involved in the learning of science. The ICT real-time experiment, saves time of capturing in laboratory and allows spending more time for interactions for the analysis of others variables and for the rapid repetition of experiment.
- Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Examples are connectives Moocs (Moocs) and instructivist (Moocs), etc emphasis is placed on learning ecology, and it is an online tools and resources, in the process of learning and networking. Moocs are learner – centered ecologies at learning in which learners participate in the flow and generation of knowledge by creating networked technologies such as blogs, wikis, Twitters, and Facebook. Additionally, the participation of Moocs, requires learners to assume active roles in a spirit of openness in forming their learning experiences and networking activities to develop digital competence to manage the abundance of resources. Moocs promote the ideals of restructuring the spacing of learning from classroom to open network ecology that enable learners to have greater control over their learning experience, content, and us of technologies Mohsen (2017).
- Motion picture: this provides several techniques in motion picture photography, which will quicken the understanding of science abstractions. Slow or speed up time, focus attention, enlarge or reduce object for better perception.
- Television: it can be used to present to students with a learning programmes, it assist the learner by helping him to understand what he is learning by seeing it presented in a simple and clear manner. Practice skills, which use the skills he is learning and solve problems by using his newly acquired knowledge and test his learning e.t.c.
- Models: these are substitute to unavailable objects, either because they are so small, they cannot be seen with naked eye (e.g. bacteria/virus) too large to be brought into the class (aero planes) or two abstract (like the atom). The teacher then tries to create imaginative picture of these objectives.
- Apparatus for Experiments: according to Maduabum (1992) student need a rich store of concrete sensory experience to aid understanding of their learning. He went further to stress that modern technology has placed within the reach of the teacher, a vast array of teaching aids, providing an escape from verbalism and aiding concrete learning. It is a known fact that whenever appropriate apparatus is used for practical and demonstrations, students learning are enhanced. Bajah (1983) quotes an experienced integrated science teachers are saying, ‘give me enough test-tubes and beakers and I will teach most of the topics in integrated science’.
- Textbooks: textbooks serve as good service of information for both. Students can be directed to seek out additional source of information. Some science books cover wide variety of scientific activities; which have been designed to encourage and promote the learners natural curiosity. The activities allow them to predict experiment and evaluate. Many of the activities leave the learner with a question and ideas to further investigate. Most science textbooks include a list of suggested activities, recommended readings and review questions, which the learner can use or modify to suit his needs.
- It provides a common experience for the whole class. Students are often required to use the same textbook for a particular subject. Hence, they share the same experience from reading at which is essential in promoting a more intelligent class or small group discussion and other similar activities involving cooperative endeavor. They are readily available, students can always refer back to the textbook to review or verify points. Commenting about permanency of the textbook Rowntree (1974) said ‘at least go back to the beginning and start again, see the whole shape of the argument in black and white and above all, re-read it whenever you like’.
- Printed materials e.g. Learning Activity Package: the whole process of learning activity package (LAP) is student centered. The teacher is only brought in when there is need for it. LAP encourages students to work out the learning activities and proceed themselves.
Human resources in science is a person or group of persons with a field of specialization in its profession or occupation and capable of teaching adequately a concept content area in science. The importance of human resources in learning science cannot be overemphasized. Without human resources, teaching and learning will not take place effectively especially in science where the teachers must always be around to guide and direct students in the learning process. Okebukola (2002) asserts that science teachers should work beyond stereotyped science teaching-learning process and utilize the available human resources to facilitate science teaching learning process. Conscientious teachers are aware of the instructional advantages to be gained by using carefully selected resource person.
- They provide students with a vivid and realistic contact with life outside the school that could not otherwise be achieved.
- A resource person who is immersed in an important enterprise related to the course content is a real and exciting experience for students.
- Resource individuals often expose students to the activities and functions of the community in a meaningful and helpful way. Timothy (1998) identified eight advantages of using human resource personnel in teaching science:
- Owing to their specialization in the field they are most competent to treat related topics.
- They can serve as a compliment to the teacher since teachers themselves cannot claim expertise in the entire field.
- Human resource will enable pupils to appreciate and prepare for other area in science curriculum.
- It enhances interaction between education science and society.
- It makes learning more interesting, enjoyable, meaningful and permanent. It appeals to all the sense organs of the learner.
- It is less expensive especially when the resource person is within the environment.
- It can supplement laboratory lesson and some as teaching aids to the teacher
These are; 1. An abandoned farm field which offers and excellent to observe the process of ecological succession. 2. A wood or forest near the school may be instructive for discovering seasonal changes in animals, their interdependence on each other, finding examples of useful and harmful animals. 3. A vegetable or flower garden may be instructive for studying how plants obtain light, moisture, their preparation for plating or transplanting e.t.c. A creek or pond may be useful for observing lands of flower and fruits in a moist environment, also animal are adaptations to life in or near waters e.t.c. (Wuyep 1997). In summary, resource materials can be used to supplement or compliment the teacher’s tasks. Teachers should no longer rely solely on words to make their meanings clear there is the need to use resource materials. These can be used to make out meanings more vivid and interesting. Balogun (1982) identifies three educational reasons why there is the need for science. According to him resources in science teaching enable the learner to:
- Develop problem-solving and scientific attitude
- Acquire scientific appreciation and interest
- Develop functional knowledge and manipulative skills
Utilization of Instructional Materials for Science Teaching and Learning
According to Offorma (2002), instructional materials include those that facilitate teaching and learning activities and consequently the attainment of the lesson objectives. Therefore, one can rightly say that instructional materials are the materials, which the teacher uses in teaching in order to make his teaching real and meaningful. The use of instruction materials depend on what the teacher makes of them (Onyejemezi, 2002). By implication, instructional materials do not achieve any of the attributed values on their own rather, their usefulness depends on what the teacher makes of them. If the science teacher does not have the knowledge and manipulative skills of using these instructional materials in teaching, the learner will definitely find it difficult to learn. A good science teacher should possess the skill of designing, developing and utilization of instructional materials to bring meaning to the door posts of the learners. When learners come face to face with the teacher through the proper use of instructional materials the lesson is always effective. Most of the instructional materials are available in schools, homes, markets, information centers, libraries and even on the road. For a school to conduct an effective teaching and learning of science, laboratory equipment and resource materials must be available for the science teacher who himself must be professionally competent in coordinating the functions of these materials. Research has shown that learning is facilitated significantly by the use of instructional materials provided that the conditions of learning are identified, the objectives well stated, the abilities of the students are matched with the instructional functions of the materials (Miyake, A. Friedman, N.P. & Emerson, M.J. 2000). Anyanwu (2003) identify three ways by which the teacher should prepare for the use of instructional materials, these are; by previewing before they brought to the class, the teacher has to have a first knowledge by using it him/her self before the class. First knowledge – the teacher should have a full knowledge of the parts, names operational level of the intended instructional materials and actual presentation – this is the period the teacher operates and uses these materials in instructing the children. The following however, are the basic guidelines and requirement for utilization and use of instructional materials in effective instructional delivery.
- Specification of Objectives: Clear objectives which are behaviorally stated are user ring guides in instructional materials using process; they direct the sequence, methods, content and techniques of instructional processes. They provide scientific basis of valid evaluation instruments construction and administration.
- Maximal Fit with Instructional Tasks: Instructional materials must be appropriate to be situationally determined and individually responsive.
- Preparation and Preview: For effective and successful use of teaching for proper teaching-learning situation, the teacher must in advance prepare himself, the learners and the environment, the materials as a matter of must should be previewed by the teacher in order to follow its process of presentation sequentially.
- Multi-Dimensional Presentation: Proper and creative use of a variety of instructional materials at different level of lesson planning can be adequate in achieving various instructional objectives, reason because it will enrich variety of learners mind as they attain better goals more easily than with the use of a single medium.
- Environmental Situation: The environmental variables such as physical, cultural and social in which the instructional materials are utilized for learning have significant effect on their effectiveness. Sound-motion films for instance with their attention – complex properties can be successfully presented in less quite environment.
- Measure for Outcomes: Instructional materials should be evaluated in terms of their suitability, practicability to the instructional objectives, appeal to the cost effectiveness, learner achievement level, consistency with content call for improvement in utilization techniques, etc. The following are some of the instructional materials that science teachers should be familiar with and constantly make use of when teaching.