Background of the Study
Education can be described as a process by which people are prepared and trained to live and function effectively, efficiently and productively in and around their environments (Ukeje, 2002). The growing stage of youngsters is that particular period of time that provides them with the opportunity to develop the principles of life, make career decisions and begin the pursuit of one’s goals, thus education is an important aspect for the youths. Education should include that kind of training that should be the extension to the fields of interest of these youths. The main motto of education is to provide knowledge, make every one aware about proper conduct and gain technical competency. Education helps in the development of an individual, physically, mentally and socially. The importance of education particularly secondary school education to youths is that it helps prepare them for greater responsibility.
Thus secondary school education should help the youngsters to define their career objectives, make them capable of deciding as to what they want from life, and enable them make progress in their fields of interest. Education is a means through which young and old members the society are taught about the expected behaviour of the society and the rules of polity, the values, skills attitudes and knowledge that equip the individual to achieve personal and society development and progress. According to Danladi (2006), education is a process of teaching and learning in which students acquire practical knowledge, value and skills for effective participation in the society. He further asserted that, the process of acquiring the relevant knowledge, attitude, values and skills must be made as concrete as possible for easy learning.
A teaching method comprises the principles and methods used for instruction to be implemented by teachers to achieve the desired learning in students. These strategies are determined partly on subject matter to be taught and partly by the nature of the learner. For a particular teaching method to be appropriate and efficient it has to be in relation with the characteristic of the learner and the type of learning it is supposed to bring about. Davis (1997) suggests that the design and selection of teaching methods must take into account not only the nature of the subject matter but also how students learn. In today’s school the trend is that it encourages a lot of creativity. It is a known fact that human advancement comes through reasoning. This reasoning and original thought enhances creativity. The approaches for teaching can be broadly classified into teacher centered and student centered. In Teacher-Centered Approach to Learning, Teachers are the main authority figure in this model. Students are viewed as “empty vessels” whose primary role is to passively receive information (via lectures and direct instruction) with an end goal of testing and assessment. It is the primary role of teachers to pass knowledge and information onto their students.
The need to understand the process of student learning in order to improve the quality of that learning has been identified in the education literature. In addition, the outcomes of this learning have been identified in quantitative, qualitative or attitudinal terms. To this end there have been a number of models of student approaches to learning (Diseth and Martinsen 2003; Leung and Kembla 2003,). Each model has considered the antecedents, and by way of application, the effectiveness of various learning approaches. Marton and Ramsden (2008) suggest that the problem with most higher education research on teaching and learning is that it focuses on learning as gathering information to use later, and on teaching as transmitting information and techniques that support this conception of learning. Instead, most studies have focused on either the teaching context or the outcomes of learning. This omission has meant that educators often experience difficulty in understanding what students conceive learning to be, how they perceive the learning task, or how they approach learning.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) stated that the broad goal of the secondary school education is to prepare individuals for: “useful living within the society and higher education”. To achieve this objective, secondary school education in Nigeria has six years duration given in two stages – three years of junior secondary school followed by three years of senior secondary school. The curriculum designed for senior secondary school is comprehensive and broad based, aimed at broadening students’ knowledge and outlook. Subjects offered in senior school are in three groups – core subjects, vocational and non-vocational subjects. One of the vocational subjects Generally, the education of a nation is evaluated in part by the quality of its teachers. The quality of teachers itself depends largely on the kind of training they received both at the academic and professional levels. For these reasons, teachers of science need good training to enable them meet a better requirement and enough academic information in a variety of the basic science subject as said by Bajah S.T. (1982). Akpan (1992) observed that Nigeria problems have been that of implementation. He said that a visit to primary and secondary school science classrooms by a well informed and concerned science teacher will show that the nursed hope in curriculum reform are expensive venture in the past decade. So therefore, turning out, in the nearest future, qualified and dedicated scientist, engineers, medical doctors etc from these schools are in serious danger.
Furthermore, Akueshi (1997) warned that the world is developing scientifically and technologically in every sphere of human endeavours; we should thrive to join this technologically train or else we shall be leftbehind and it will be disastrous and unpleasant. As a result of poor teaching method, poorly equipped science laboratories over dependence on print materials, students performed poorly in science subjects in Nigeria. Despite all the efforts made by government to promote science education in Nigeria coupled with several research works that has been carried out, the problems of teaching and learning science are still persisting. The problems are according to Bajah (1982) between 1959 and 1982: are Lack of laboratory, lack of qualified science teachers, and institutional objectives in science teaching. According to Adebayo (1999) on educational policy 1977, he stated that Lack of finance to execute the project, shortage of manpower, lack of facilities and lack of policy itself (i.e. the planning and implementations) are factors responsible for poor performance in science subjects in our secondary schools. Adeyemi (1993) and Adeyegbe (1990) stated that even though a number of science curriculum reforms were inquiry based and problem – solving in style research finding have continued to show that teaching and learning in science remain problematic. Ayodele (1999) stated the problems as in adequacy of textbooks, lack of learner’s interest, unqualified science and psychological fears of science subjects as factors responsible for poor performance in science subjects.
Textbooks are not adequately available. The ones that are available are written by foreigners with their language and cultural background, making it difficult for indigenous teachers try to complement by writing textbooks, most of their work lack in standard, probably because they are horridly written just to bridge gabs, without adequate research. Most laboratories are not well equipped, schools rely more on imported laboratory apparatus and equipment and grants are never enough. Although government took a giant step by establishing science laboratory manufacturing industries like ‘PRODA’ Enugu, such industries have been long neglected by the same government that established them.