BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The interest in an object or activity is aroused as a result of effort to satisfy a felt need. The individual’s need arouses his/ her interest or motivates him/ her to take action or to participate in activities that would lead to the satisfaction of the need, Njoku (2003) in Eriba & Achor (2010). The researcher adds that interest is congruent with motivation and both constructs are action oriented, having originated from need. There is therefore an assumed link between what the biology teacher does in the class and how the learner’s are motivated to learn. It may be more appropriate to examine what happens in a classroom currently. Particularly, one would like to know the kind of interaction that takes place in the biology class between the teacher and the leaner and the materials.
Classroom interaction refers to a technique consisting of objective and systematic observation of the classroom events for the study of the teacher’s classroom behaviour and the process of interaction going on inside the classroom (Eriba& Achor, 2010). It can be described as a classroom process in which teachers and students have a reciprocal effect upon each other through what they say and do in the classroom (Matelo, 2006). It is an interpersonal transaction between the teacher and student which occurs at different levels.
This encompasses a lesson situation during which the teacher and students through their verbal and non- verbal actions have reciprocal effect on each other. In particular, the relationship between students and their teachers is an essential part of teaching and learning process and it is expected to have a great effect on their lives. Audu & Achor (2003) stated that interaction in the classroom entails an active encounter of the teacher and the student through verbal, gestural and resource instrumentality to bring about effective communication in a teaching learning process. For both parties to be actively involved in the teaching and learning, the method in use ought to create opportunity for the required interaction to take place.
Interaction in the secondary school biology class is a precursor to learning by students in the learning process. This is because the type of interaction pattern that goes on in the classroom could have a major impact on how well students achieve the goals on instruction. Biology is both process and product derived from experimentation. This means that science involves doing experimental work. Biology as a science subject is a practical course being concerned with the study of life. The entire environment which life exists can serve as their laboratory while the entire living organisms (biotic) and the non- living (a biotic) components of the environment serves as resources (Nwagbo, 2008). Biology is the most popular science subject offered by both sciences oriented and arts based students in the senior secondary certificate examination (SSCE) in Nigeria (Nwachukwu & Nwosu, 2007). This explains why a large number of senior secondary school students sit for biology in SSCE which is conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).
Teacher- student interaction in the classroom is a two- way process. Each participant influences the other’s behaviour that is the student’s condition their teacher’s behaviour and vice versa. There has been contrasting opinions on gender related issues in interaction. Onyegegbu (2004) in a research reported that girls participated in fewer interactions than boys. Ibitoye (1998) carried out a research on gender differences and achievement in Agricultural science and found out that there was no significant difference in the achievement of male and female student in the subject. Since previous studies have variously shown differences in gender and interaction in classroom.
Over the years, there has been a decline in the performance in biology school certificate examination (Chief Examiner Reports, 2002). This could be attributed to poor performance in practical biology school certificate examination. This poor performance in practical may be linked to biology activities carried out in the mundane, unimaginative manner (Onyegegbu, 2001). It would be appropriate to extend it to interaction in practical classroom especially in biology classroom.
Nigeria that related reports are mixed. Considering the need to improve the biology performance level and prepare the students for a diverse global workplace, it becomes necessary to investigate the interaction pattern in senior secondary practical biology classroom. Effective teaching of any subject will not only stimulates student’s interest in the subject but also enhance their achievement in the examination. To achieve effective teaching and learning process, there is the need for use of instructional materials.
Instructional materials are the different teaching aids or apparatus which a classroom teacher employs to facilitate his or her teaching for the achievement of the stated objective. Agun (1992) defined instructional materials as those materials which are helpful to the teachers and students and which maximize learning in various areas. The use of instructional materials in teaching of agricultural science is very important because it provides a concrete basis for conceptual thinking motivates people to learn and captures pupils’ imagination if used correctly (Ajalla, 1997).
The cognitive domain of learning involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills. It includes the recognition of specific facts, procedural patterns and concepts that serve in the development of abilities and skills Achievement test is a test given at the end to find out the extent to which a student has achieved something, acquired certain information or mastered certain skill as a result of planned instruction or training. The importance of instructional materials in teaching and learning of agricultural science especially at the primary and Junior Secondary Schools cannot be over emphasized considering its effect on the development of intellectual skills on the students.
Many research findings have shown that Secondary School Students exhibit dwindling interest in science subjects Resaecher reported that researches on the reasons for the lack of interest in science among students included: lack of qualified teachers, lack of practical works, insufficient allotment of time for Integrated Science on the school time-table and poor method of teaching, non/poor use of instructional materials etc. These he maintained were among the major factors militating the successful implementation of the core curriculum in Integrated Science. For a start, there was therefore, the need to investigate the effects of the use of instructional materials on students‟ performance in Integrated Science. Thus, this work was designed specifically to unveil the effects of use of instructional materials on students educational performance in Integrated Science.
Statement of the Problem
The use of instructional materials in schools is not encouraging. As a result, it makes the morale and interest of the students in agricultural science low. This is because teachers adopt the verbalistic and theoretical method as a way of teaching and learning the subject, mainly due to non- availability of instructional material in schools. The question now is, to what extent does the use of instructional materials effect learning and students achievement in Biology in secondary schools.