ATTITUDE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS TOWARDS THE USE OF REFLECTIVE STRATEGIES IN TEACHING BIOLOGY

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the study

Biology is the study of life. It deals with the study of varieties of living organisms. It is one of the science subjects studied at the senior secondary school level in Nigeria. The study of the subject provides students with an understanding of the structure and functions of living organisms (man inclusive) and the relationship between these organisms and their immediate environment. It also enables the learners to acquire the attributes needed for the resolution of diverse human problems in and out of school. In view of the above, biology is looked upon as a subject which provides solution to most human activities and problems. According to the West African Examinations Council Syllabus (WAEC, 2003; 2009; 2013) and the National Examinations Council Syllabus (NECO, 2010), acquisition of biological knowledge gives the learners adequate ability to apply biological principles to everyday life in matters that are personal, environmental, economic and which relate to community and community health. Therefore, biology which is the most popular science subject among senior secondary school students in Nigeria (Okoye, 2006; Baram-Tsabari et al, 2009; Onwuachu & Nwakonobi, 2009) is expected to be effectively taught in schools by well trained and experienced teachers in order to achieve the objectives of teaching the subject at secondary school level. Unfortunately, in spite of the importance of teachers in the teaching and learning of biology, studies have revealed some inadequacies in the classroom practices of some teachers. Some of these inadequacies include poor communication of teachers as shown in their inability to properly communicate biological concepts to students to effect learning (Imhanlahimi & Aguele, 2006; Akinfe et al, 2012), poor utilization of instructional materials for teaching (Ehikhamenor, 2003; Olagunju, 2005; Oriade, 2008), inadequate assessment of students during teaching to assess the extent to which students have learnt (Winne, 2007; Bawa, 2011) and poor management of allocated time for teaching (Botson, 2002; Olaleye, 2011).

Statement of the Problem

Efforts in teachers‟ professional development have been concentrated on acquisition of pedagogical skills to be used in classroom practice so as to enhance students‟ learning and achievement. However, over the years, teachers have often applied these acquired skills repeatedly in a routine manner. Biology teachers have consistently executed the skills acquired during training in the same and monotonous manner without their consideration on how well these skills are applied each time in the classroom. They do not systematically consider and evaluate the way skills in communication, use of instructional materials, questioning, classroom management of time for instruction are executed in the class in terms of how appropriate and effective their choices may be. This may be the reason why students‟ achievement has also been found to be consistently poor in SSCE. The biology teachers lack the ability to appraise and reappraise what they do in the classroom and consider how it affects students‟ performance since this is not incorporated into teacher education curricula. In the light of the fact that teacher‟s activities in the classroom are vital in helping students learn concepts such as ecology in biology, the situation therefore calls for an intervention to appraise and reappraise teachers‟ practice in the classroom in order to concentrate on the use of instructional process, as this may influence students‟ performance and teachers‟ classroom practice in the subject. It is against this background that this study determined the effect of two reflective teaching strategies on teachers‟ classroom practices and students‟ achievement in biology.

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Updated: 9th May 2019 — 10:39 am