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PROBLEMS FACING TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BIOLOGY IN NIGERIA. A CASE STUDY OF SOME SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background To The Study

The term science has to do with nature; it is derived from the latin word scientia which means knowledge. It is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanation and predictions about the universe. It can equally be defined as the field of study which tries to describe and understand the nature of the universe in whole or part. According to Hyacinth (2004) science in its broadest scene refers to all human activities involving organized knowledge of natural phenomena. It also refers to a system of acquiring knowledge here system uses observation and experimentation to describe and explain natural phenomena.

Science is a great enterprise which nations depend on, in-order to advance technologically. Science therefore, is receiving much emphasis in education because of its significance and relevance to life and society. Biology as a branch of science and the prerequisite subject for many fields of learning contributes immensely to the technological growth of the nation. This includes medicine, forestry, agriculture, biotechnology and nursing. The study of Biology in senior secondary school can equip students with useful concepts, principles and theories that will enable them face the challenges before and after graduation.

Biology as one of the science subject is bent in making one to be conversation with the environment he/she lives in appreciate the meaning of scientific life, to develop unbiased mind and to be intellectually homes with serve as ideal to the future citizen. Fortunately, it is a fact that Biology is the commonly chosen science subject of most secondary pupils are confirmed by the west Africa Examination council (WAEC) record.

The term biology is derived from two Greek words “bios” and “logos” which mean life and study respectively. Biology therefore means the study of life or study of living things. According to stone etal (1985), biology as a science is defined as a scientific study of living organisms. It is therefore a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution and taxonomy. It have several branches; including the two big branches of biology which are botany (the study of plants) and zoology (the study of animals), morphology (the study if external structure of living things) physiology (the study of how living things function), Ecology (the study of relationship between living things and their environments), Genetics (the study of how living things inherits characters from their parents) Cell biology (the study of cell structure and functions).

According to Okeke (2000). Students who did well in biology could have prospects of becoming: Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Dentists, Biology teachers, Medical technologist, Food technologists, Genetic Engineers, Microbiologists, Biochemists, and other science subject.

Biology has its origin from Europe but today all the nations of the world accord priority attention to science and technology in development efforts. The reason for according such priority attention to science and technology being that it carries the promises of great economic improvement and equally serve as a gateway to national development in the age of fast developing technology, has become necessary for all countries of the world especially the developing ones to organize and improve the teaching of science throughout the school stage. It is through science that we get the fundamental bases to develop technology.

Biology often overlaps with other sciences, for example biochemistry with biology and chemistry, Astrobiology with biology and astronomy. Social science such as geography, philosophy, psychology and sociology can also interact with biology, for example in administration of biological resources, developmental biology etc. it is a vast subject containing many subdivisions topics which are five unifying principle that can be said to be fundamental of modern biology.

Cells are the basic unit of life
Living Organisms consumes and transforms energy
Organisms regulate the internal environment to maintain a suitable and constant condition.
Genes and the basic unit of heredity
New species and inherited characters are the product of evolution.

Sub-discipline of biology are recognized on the basis of the scale at which organisms are studied and methods used to study them, Biochemistry examines the rudimentary chemistry of life, molecular biology studies the complex interactions systems of biological molecules; then cellular biology examines the basic building block of all life, which is the cell, physiology examines the physical and chemical functions of the tissue, organs, organ of facts and presentation of information about the natural world. The pace of the development of a given country is always determined by the type of education which operates in that country. What is needed in biology is students involvement in the exploration of important ideas of biology.

Effective teaching of biology is a process by which a biology teacher adopt all the possible method used in teaching in the classroom to make sure that students understand biology and be able to respond positively during assessment or to produce a good result. Teachers’ effectiveness is exhibited in the teaching method, classroom managements, the material as well as the way students are being handled, a good teacher always bear in mind the individual differences of the students while presenting the lesson and frequently check the student’s understanding of his or her points to make sure that they are getting of understanding his lesson. This also includes the ability of the teacher to answer question asked by the students, having knowledge about his or her subject matter and ability to show students how to conduct appropriate research.

Effective teaching is crucial, in order for students to reach educational success in and outside classroom setting, therefore, there has been some factors militating against effective teaching of biology in senior secondary school in Ikere Local Government Area, which some of them are as follows:

Unqualified biology teacher: Inappropriate training background of science teachers especially biology teachers and qualification of biology teachers are the major factor that militate against effective teaching of biology because some biology teachers in some senior secondary school did not undergo enough training to enable them get skills, qualities and enough knowledge of the subject matter and how to impact the knowledge to the students.
Poor method of teaching biology in senior secondary school: For teaching to be effectives one must use different methods of teaching. According to Eke (2001), teaching is effective if only it produces or yields the desired results, the ability of the teacher to adapt to different situations and produce a desired result in the classroom is a mark of teaching effectiveness. Vennier and Faith (2001) are of the opinion that all the teaching activities are supposed to produce learning, so that test of effective teaching will be amount of learning that occurs.

When the following methods are used, teaching of biology can be effective. According to Bigmen (1999), activity method, inquiry method, and discovery method which elicit student’s interests and enhance their level of attainment or comprehension of biology. Activity method the methods that encourage students to participate actively during the lesion while teaching at the same time. Oforkansi (2008) defined activity method as a method whereby the students learn through active involvement rather than being passive or being at the receiving end.

According to Ofokansi (2008), discovery means finding out. Exploration, manipulation and experimentation are components scientific enquiry that help one to discover. This approach demand that the teacher create the problem and allow the pupil/students to find answer for themselves. The author also said that enquiry involve active participation by the student/pupil rather than transmit a preconceived notion about situations.

3.Inadequte supply of biology equipment: In some schools, many laboratories equipments like microscope, glass tube, Beaker, slide, Bones of vertebrates etc. charts of different animals development, systems, organs, etc, work book for practical and textbooks are not adequate for the students in learning of biology. Biology is a science subject which is all about practical and also when combined with other science subject one will be able to study courses like medicine, nursing, pharmacy etc in higher institution. Beaty and Woolnough (1990) are of the opinion that the obsolete and insufficient teaching of biology in senior secondary schools. They stressed that the teacher may be competent enough and have all the qualities to impact the knowledge to the students but to the obsolete and insufficient availability of biological equipment the aim is defeated.

Teachers attitude towards the teaching of biology: the teachers personalities such as the way the teacher walks, talks, reacts to issues, his/her code of conduct and dressing code has become the major factors which leads to the ineffective teaching of biology. It goes with the saying that the personality of such teacher affect the effective teaching of biology in a great way. Enwieme(2001) continuous to stressed that teachers personality invariably affect the effectiveness of teaching of biology. Oforkansi(2008)opinion that personal qualities do not only enhance teaching and learning but also promotes the tone of the school as well as the profession.

In summary, ineffective of teaching of biology in Nuskka Local Government Area could be due to the several reasons such as classroom management, communication, teachers qualification, supply of biology equipment, teachers personality, negligence of seminars, and workshop by the teachers of biology, inadequate illustration and practical aspect of biology is another factors, infrastructural facilities and absences of laboratories etc.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Biology is one of the core science subjects, which is supposed to be the most interesting subject to students in senior secondary schools. It has been discovered that the effective teaching of biology has been very important. But the rate at which students fails biology in result time’s shows that effective learning has not been attained by these students. Aganga (2000) observed that “Many secondary schools, especially the public schools have insufficient competent teachers as well as biological equipment in their different schools”. Therefore, there is the need to answer certain questions to re-enforce their effectiveness in teaching.

1.3 PURPOSE OF STUDY

The purpose of the study is to find out the problem facing teaching of biology in senior secondary schools in Ikere Local government area. Specifically the study aims at finding out.

The extent to which senior secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area have qualified biology teachers.
To what extend does teacher teaching method have effect on teaching and learning of biology.
to examine if the use of instructional material have effect in teaching of biology
The extent to which teachers attitude affect the teaching of biology in Ikere Local Government Area.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

In the course of this work, specific research questions to be answered are:

Does teacher qualification have effect in teaching biology in Ikere Local Government Area
What method of teaching do biology teachers usually used in teaching biology in Ikere Local Government Area?
To what extent do secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area have adequate supply of biology equipment?
To what extent do the attitude of teachers affect the teaching of biology in Ikere Local Government Area?

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Updated: June 21, 2017 — 5:42 pm

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