EFFECT OF SHADOW LEARNING AND PEER TUTORING ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN GENERAL CHEMISTRY
Background to the Study
What a lecturer does in the classroom depends to some degree upon his approach to learning situations. However, students’ negative attitudes toward learning may be related to the method of instruction (Dyer, 1995). Though teachers with high morale, motivation and a mastery of knowledge, learner difficulties and capacity to facilitate learning are important (Zadra, 2000), correct use of an appropriate teaching method is critical to successful teaching and learning. Knowledge of how teaching methods affect students’ learning may help educators to select methods that improve teaching quality, effectiveness, and accountability to learners and the public. It may also help them keep up with information technology, globalization and to avoid the status quo (Foster, Pinkest and Husman, 1991).The teacher does not only teach with the most relevant, meaningful and useful materials for specific students, he must also recognize and adopt a good and well-researched method of teaching that guarantees better understanding and also stimulates and motivate the students.
Instructional strategies are tools for reaching the set goals and objectives. The effective teacher has many teaching methods at his or her disposal and can select the ones that will be most effective for leading the learner to desired behavior. The level of students’ performance in the internal and external examinations cannot improve until teachers are able to employ appropriate strategies to impact desired knowledge and skills on the learners. Research has found that diverse students benefit immensely when they have the opportunity to interact with materials, participate in activities, and manipulate objects and equipment (Carrier, 2005; Prpric and Hadgraft, 2009). Through laboratories, demonstrations, educational games, simulations, field trips, and other interesting activities, students in secondary school classes have many opportunities to be engaged actively in the learning process (Blair, Schwartz, Biswas, and Leelawong, 2007).
Several methods of instruction have been employed for students’ interest depending on the situation. Varying factors ranging from socio-economic background, intelligence, attitude of students to teaching methods employed by teachers have been attributed to this poor achievement. Tawari (1986) observed that teaching methods that encourages students centered activities for developing reasoning and process slides through scientific approach are conspicuously lacking. For effective teaching to take place, the teacher must stimulate, encourage and maintain active participation of the students, through the selection of appropriate teaching methods. This would require a balance between what is taught and how it is taught. Ogbonna (2000) opines that one of the most influential factors in teaching is the teacher’s method of teaching.
Reciprocal peer tutoring is a form of cooperativelearning, which has been found to be an effectivetechnique for increasing students’ academic achievement(Sherman, 1991; Slavin, 1991). Conceptually, peer tutoring is similar to many activities ranging from the informalencounters of play to the most complex activities ofcooperation in which people help each other and learn bydoing so. This process transforms learning from a privateto a social activity by involving learners in the responsibility for their own learning and that of others.Researches have shown that both tutors and tuteesgain immensely from participating in reciprocal peertutoring (Slavin, 1996; Forman, 1994; Griffin and Griffin,1997). In this process, students function reciprocally asboth tutor and tutee. This dual role is beneficial because
it enables students to gain from both the preparation andthe instruction in which tutors engage and from theinstructions that tutees receive (Griffin and Griffin, 1997).This kind of peer tutoring will enhance the career decision-making of adolescents. Peer interaction has beenknown to be very influential in the development of behaviour patterns. Because of the forgoing, Gartner andRiessmann (1994) recommended that the principles ofpeer tutoring/counselling should be applied in schoolssince research evidence has shown that peer interactionimpacts significantly on behaviour pattern and attitude ofadolescents.
One of the advantages of peer support programmes isthat it provides a non judgemental acceptance, care, support, and it provides opportunities to give and receivefrom others, and it also creates a non- competitive empowering environment (Egbochuku and Obiunu, 2006).What this simply means is that these advantages encourage and creates the opportunity for peers to influence the development of attitudes and behaviours inways that are positive. If peer tutoring can influencebehaviour change, then it will most likely enhance careerdecision making process among secondary schooladolescents.
Statement of the Problem
Students’ low success level in chemistry has been a worry for a long time in many countries. The problem of effective teaching and learning of chemistry in Nigerian higher institutions has become a sensitive issue that needs urgent attention. It has been observed that the issue is affecting the performance of students in all levels of higher education. It has also been discovered that the poor academic performance of students is related to the teaching method used to teach them by the lecturers. In an attempt to put sound education on ground worldwide, many factors have been incriminated as being responsible for falling standard of education where it is perceived and established. Among such factors is the issue of teaching method. Ogbonna (2000) pointed out that one of the most influential factors in teaching is the teacher’s method of teaching. They have negative impact on teacher productivity, student learning input and academic achievement.
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