THE USE OF LABORATORY APPARATUS ON SKILLS ACQUISITION IN CHEMISTRY

CHAPTER ONE

1.1 Introduction

The world is living in the age of science and technology and our activities are being controlled and fashioned by science with the ultimate goal of transforming our society into a scientific and technological one so that its members can live conveniently in this modern age. Science has really revolutionalised many of the industrial and social activities of mankind. Abdullahi (2007) is of the view that science and technology are the foundation of national development and productivity and further added that to attain self-reliance and economic development, maximum premium must be placed on science and technology. Since Nigeria survival in the committee of nations would depend on her level of scientific and technological enterprise in line with National Policy on Education Objectives (FME, 2004), it also has indicated that the aim of science education is to, amongst others cultivate inquiry knowing and national mind for the conduct of a good life, democracy, and as well produce competent scientists for national development. In addition, it is to provide knowledge and understanding of the complexity of the physical world which can be achieved through the teaching of pure science such as chemistry. As a result of the decline in the standard of education in Nigeria, many Nigeria science educators have become concerned about factors that have contributed to poor performance and retention of students in science, especially chemistry (Soyibo, 1996 & Okafor, 2002). The importance of science in general and chemistry in particular cannot be over-emphasized as the country cannot be developed without science and technological advancement. Science as a branch of knowledge is the systematic study of things around us. The totality of the knowledge obtained from such studies constitutes scientific knowledge. Wasagu (2011) noted that, knowledge of science and technology is an important element of what it means to be an educated person in the 21st century and added that it is so because science and technology provides the only formidable base in which economic development of any nation can 2 successfully stand. This could be achieved through effective teaching of pure science such as chemistry. Chemistry is defined as a branch of pure science which deals with the composition, properties and uses of matter (Ababio, 1998). Okeke and Ezekannagha (2000) further defined chemistry as a branch of science that deals with the composition and changes of matter. Chemistry occupies a unique position as a result of its requirement as prerequisite to the study of courses like pharmacy, medicine, biology, agricultural science and so on Bajah (2000). Chemistry as a subject helps to develop the process skills of critical observation, experimentation, hypothesizing, manipulation of variables and equipment interpreting models and making references which were very important in the science process. These would not be actualized or achieved without chemists being exposed to laboratory apparatus. Many research findings, (lvowi,2004, Ajewole,2005, Ajaja,2007)on the teaching of chemistry in Nigeria have revealed that chemistry as a science subject is poorly taught because of the use of inappropriate teaching method where students are not practically exposed to laboratory apparatus (Johnson, 2008), For instance Ali (2004) asserts that, “the present methods of teaching science do not encourage the development and sustenance of process skill among science students”. According to Akuezuilo (2004) teaching is devoid of meaningful learning but oriented toward memorization and recall of facts. Okafor (2002) also observes that the slow pace at which science develop in Nigeria is linked to lack of qualified science teachers and poor teaching of science at all levels in the country. The recognition of the superiority of activity-based instruction methods over the other methods which allow manipulation of science has resulted in the recommendation of the process skills approach to science teaching as a method of instruction in science class (Feyzioghu, 2009). Many innovative science courses developed for Nigerian schools in the past 10-15 years including the Nigerian Integrated Science Projects (NISP) put emphasis on teaching and learning by inquiry and add that “the process skills approach is 3 meant to foster inquiry and manipulative skills in students and discourage rote learning (Adeniyi,2004).

Statement of the Problem

Chemistry over the years has developed through a series of discoveries such as those of Plato (428-347BC), Democratic (470-380BC), Dalton (1908), etc Chemists are supposed to use their senses to observe the activities that happen around them and further apply the science process skills such as observation, hypothesis, classification measurement, experimentation, inference and so on to solve day to day problem. These process skills require the use of laboratory apparatus which is not so in our senior secondary school as observed by (Mari 1994 &Sani 2007).

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Updated: 8th January 2020 — 2:31 pm

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