AN INVESTIGATION ON THE EFFECT OF FIELD-TRIP ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN BASIC SCIENCE AT JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN UMUAHIA NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ABIA STATE.

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CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

  • Background to the Study

Field trips offer an opportunity to motivate and connect students to appreciate and understand classroom concepts, which increase a student’s knowledge foundation, promoting further learning and higher level thinking strategies. Tal and Morag (2014) described field trips as students experiences outside of the classroom at interactive locations designed for educational purposes. A field trip is a visit to an area outside of the normal classroom where students can try new things, have different experiences, and learn valuable life lessons. Students can see new sights and have hands-on opportunities in a wide variety of experiences. Field trip is a teaching strategy that provides concrete experiences to learners to aid their understanding of content, ideas, and concepts (Omosewo, 2009). A visit to a zoo might be enough to create passion and dedication to the subject area for some students. In the context of this study, Field trips mean learning outside the classroom.

A field trip, which may also be termed as an instructional trip, school excursion, or school journey, is defined by Krepel and Duvall (2013) to be a school or class trip with an educational intent, in which students interact with the setting, displays, and exhibits to gain an experiential connection to the ideas, concepts, and subject matter.  Field trips may be planned for five purposes: 1) To provide firsthand experience, 2) To stimulate interest and motivation in science, 3) To add relevance to learning and interrelationships, 4) To strengthen observation and perception skills, and 5) To promote personal (social) development (Michie, 2010). Field trips take students to locations that are unique and cannot be duplicated in the classroom. Each student observes natural settings and creates personally relevant meaning to the experience. Interactive exhibits help students play with concepts, activities often not possible in the classroom. Earlier course content suddenly becomes relevant as students assimilate and accommodate new understanding and cognition (Lei, 2010). The connection between the field trip venue and the classroom links the field trip’s experiential learning with prior experiences and learning from the classroom (Lei, 2010). Patrick and Tunnicliffe (2013) proposed that field trips to zoos are important educational activities to create a better understanding of biodiversity. Shelley (2010) stated that field trip falls under the category of teaching strategy because of the high potential for hands-on learning for the participants and is a fun day away from school. The students are able to see the concepts learned in class work in the real world through direct observation in their natural environment by the process known as field trip. In this research, conventional instructional delivery will be studied.

The conventional instructional delivery, according to Umar (2012) involves the presentation of concepts through talking, reading, note-taking and memorization of facts without actually involving students in activities or practical works that would stimulate their interest to perform better. Utulu (2017) Conventional/traditional method of teaching fall into teacher centered instruction whereby the teacher identifies the lesson objectives and takes the primary responsibility for guiding the instruction by explanation of the information and modeling. Some instructional delivery approach that fall into this method includes; Demonstration methods and lecture methods of teaching among others. This research will dwell on lecture method. Lecture method is the most popular and widely used expository method of teaching. A lecture is an oral presentation intended to present information or teaches people about a particular subject. Lectures are used to convey critical information, history, background, theories and equations, (Ahmad 2014). In traditional method of teaching, more emphasis was on learning the theory without any practical approaches. Teachers are considered as learned scholars who talk continuously to the students without getting any response or feedback, resulting in insufficient interaction between teachers and students, (Harris 2010). A student’s talent will not be brought out completely as he/she will be afraid of the teachers. Traditional methods are not enough to promote adequate level and quality of students’ learning (Ukpai 2014). They tend to be teacher-centered method, while ignoring the students-centered aspect of teaching and learning in Basic science.

Basic science, formerly known as integrated science, is the first form of science a child comes across at the  secondary school level; hence Basic Science prepares students at the junior secondary school level for the  study of core science subjects (physics, chemistry, biology) at the senior secondary school level (olarewaju, 2014). This implies that for a student to be able to study single science subjects at the senior secondary school level successfully, such student had to be well grounded in basic science at the junior secondary school level. In view of this, Basic science involves helping children develop basic scientific ideas and understanding, which will enable them to explore and investigate their world. Ukpabi in Omiko (2012) defined Basic Science as a science in undifferentiated form which stresses the fundamental unity of science. Basic science involves the study of elementary biology, anatomy, earth/solar system, ecology, genetics, chemistry and physics as a single science subject in the Junior Secondary school. It offers the basic training in scientific skills required for human survival, sustainable development and societal transformation. Basic science studies also involve bringing together traditionally separate science subjects so that students grasp a more authentic understanding of science.

The study of Basic science (Integrated science) is a new way of studying science (Omiko (2012). Anaekwe (2010) Basic Science was introduced into this country Nigeria a few decades ago. It started with few schools, and now all the junior secondary schools in the country have adopted it.  According to the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2014) the aims of Basic Science (Formerly Integrated Science) should be directed at enabling students who are exposed in it, to acquire skills such as; observe carefully and thoroughly, report completely and accurately what is observed, organize information acquired, generalizing on the basis of the acquired information, predicting as a result of the generalization, designing experiments (including control where necessary) to check predictions, using models to explain phenomena where appropriate; and continuing the process of inquiry when new data do not conform to predictions.

To achieve these objectives, it is suggested that the teaching and learning of Basic science should involve the use of innovative methods of teaching like discovery, problem-solving, open-ended field trips and laboratory methods and among others (Omebe and Omiko, 2015). Oriaifo (2011) explained that teaching the science subjects through the application of field trip techniques strengthens science education. Therefore, taking students out of the classroom regardless of where the school is located, to the natural habitat of the living organism, to observe, identify and manipulate is very vital in studying Basic Science both for male and female. Therefore, it is necessary that this aspect of education be reflected in the models of teaching and learning with its constant evolving needs.

Teaching is a process of impacting knowledge which involves many activities on the part of the teacher and the learners (students). Nzeribe (2012) defined teaching as the conscious and deliberate effort by a mature or experiences person to impact information, knowledge, skills and so on to an immature or less experienced person, with the intention that the latter will learn or come to believe what is taught‘. Teaching has also been seen as an attempt geared towards assisting the learner to change his behaviour in a specific context. According to Paul (2012) teaching could be a change of attitude, knowledge, idea, skill or appreciation. Learning is a term that refers to the process of acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, habits and attitude. From the psychological point of view, Ngwoke (2014) referred to learning as a process which causes a change in behaviour of an individual which results from experience or interaction between the individual and his environment. Learning according to the cognitive learning theorist is a process of constant organisation, restructuring and reorganisation of perception into a meaningful whole (Nnachi 2017). According to O‘Bannon (2002) teaching methods describes various ways information is presented to the students specifying the nature of the activities in which the teacher and the learner will be involved during the teaching and learning process for enhancing the academic achievement.

Academic achievement is based on the degree of intellectual stimulation that the child could receive from learning situation (Obeka, 2009). According to Blaiv (2010) to achieve is to accomplish or gain by effort or do something successful with an effort and skill.’ Love in Okafor (2011) on the other hand maintained that academic achievement concerns with mental health care. According to him, mental health has its basis, physical health, and intellectual skills which lead to satisfactory means of adjustment, social sensitivity and adequate self concept. Achievement according to Adeyemi (2010) is the scholastic standing of a student at a given moment. It has to do with the successful accomplishment of goal(s). Achievement is the outcome of education to which a student, teacher or institution has been able to realize their educational goals (Ezeudu, 2016). Achievement implies something that somebody has done successfully especially using his/her own efforts and skills (Okeke, 2016). Achievement is the act of obtaining a result through efforts in the quality and quantity of students’ work. On the other hand, Bitrus (2014) stated that academic achievement is a measure of knowledge gained through education process usually indicated by test scores, grade point average and degree. This is why some schools define this as a certain grade point average (GPA), or ranking in class. According to Nwagbo (2013) academic achievement can be defined as performance of students in schools. It could be getting high grades and a high GPA level.

Academic achievement according to Josh (2010) is defined as knowledge acquired and skills developed in school subjects, generally indicated by marks obtained in tests in an examination. Achievement is the glittering crown which reflects a sense of sincerity, candidness and perseverance on the part of achievers and also parents, teachers and all those helping to achieve it. Adeyemo (2011) stated that academic achievement means achievement a student makes in school namely; his marks in the examination, which is the criterion for the achievement of a student. The purpose of testing an achievement is to help the teacher and the students evaluate and estimate the degree of success attained in learning a given concept. This study intended to consider the interaction effect of teaching method and gender on student mean achievement scores in Basic Science.

Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between male and female, particularly in the cases of men and women, masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them (Osiki, 2011). Gender is a social construct, it is biologically determined and a concept equivalent to race or class. This definition suggests that gender is socially or culturally constructed characteristics and role, which are associated with males and females in society. According to Okeke (2010) gender is referred to as a socially constructed roles and socially learned behaviors and expectations associated with males and females. Opre and Opre (2011) defined gender as broad categories that reflect our impressions and beliefs about females and males. It refers to a set of categorical beliefs regarding the characteristic attributes of a person (men and women) based on his or her belonging to one of the two genders. An issue of contention in Nigeria today is the issue of gender in our society including the educational system. In recent times educators have expressed diverse views about gender and achievement especially in sciences (Afonja, 2012). While some are of the view that males do better than females, others disagree with this view, arguing that achievement is a factor dependent on several factors such as socio –economic background, teaching method among others. Okoro, (2016) indicated that a significant difference exists in the achievement of male and female students as regard to field trip and lecture method. These contrasting views on gender differences of students’ achievement have prompted the researcher to compare the effects of field-trip and lecture method on students’ academic achievement in Basic Science at Junior Secondary Schools in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State.

  • Statement of the Problem

The traditional teaching method which is the talk and chalk approach to teaching has become an inherent attribute to the Nigerian teachers. To them, they are master know-it-all as a result they tend to impart their knowledge to the learner as though the learner’s brain is a machine which is capable of absorbing everything presented unto it. The duty of the learner is to sit, grasp and assimilate all information. This has not augured well with Basic Science students in Junior Secondary Schools.

In most of our Secondary Schools, both students and teachers of sciences in particular Basic Science complain of difficulties in getting on with the subjects, mostly those topics involving practical or hands-on activity. Students claim that the subject or probably the topic is very vast and often they do not cover much before they write their examinations.  Surprisingly, In Umuahia North Local Government Area, it was observed that most teachers still rely on the lecture method while neglecting the use of fieldtrips in their instructional deliveries. Students offering Basic Science therefore graduate from secondary schools with theoretically based knowledge without being exposed to practical knowledge of Basic Science. This may affect retention and achievement of students in internal and external examinations in Junior Secondary Schools.

In this 21st century, effort is being placed on paradigm shift in the students from being a passive learner into a learner who actively involved in the learning process and discovers knowledge for them. A lot of innovative instructional strategies have been used to teach science subjects at the elementary and high schools in the developed countries of the world, among which are field trip instructional strategies.

However, there are a few, if any, empirical study that have been carried out on the effect of fieldtrip strategy on students’ academic achievement. Most previous studies are theoretical in nature, dwelling extensively on the importance of fieldtrips in the teaching and learning. Therefore, this study is posed to compare the effects of field-trip and lecture method on students’ academic achievement in Basic Science at Junior Secondary Schools in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of the study was to compare the effects of field-trip and lecture method on students’ academic achievement in Basic Science at Junior Secondary Schools in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. determine the mean achievement score of students taught Basic Science using field-trip and those taught Basic Science using lecture method,
  2. determine the mean achievement scores of male and female students taught Basic Science using field-trip and lecture method,
  3. find out the interaction effect of teaching method and gender on student mean achievement scores in Basic Science.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What are the mean achievement scores of students taught Basic Science using field-trip and those taught Basic Science using lecture method?
  2. What are the mean achievement scores of male and female students taught Basic Science using field-trip and those taught Basic Science using lecture method?
  3. What are the interaction effects of teaching method and gender on students’ mean academic achievement in Basic Science?

1.5 Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses formulated were tested at .05 level of significance:

H01:     There is no significant difference between the mean achievement scores of students           taught Basic Science using field-trip and those taught Basic Science using lecture           method.

H02:     There is no significant difference between the mean achievement scores of male and          female students taught Basic Science using field-trip and those taught Basic Science           using lecture method

H03:     There is no interaction effect between teaching methods and gender on students’   academic achievement in Basic Science.

 

1.6 Significance of the Study

The result of this study will be of immense benefit to Basic Science teachers, curriculum planners, Ministry of Education, and researchers.

The outcome of this study will expose Basic Science teachers to more effective techniques of promoting learning, which help to minimize student’s low achievement in the subjects. It will make their teaching/learning activities successful. Since guided inquiry method is interaction-oriented, it will equally enable them see the need why they should ensure that their classes posses qualities of guided classroom which include being democratic, and allowing active participation of learners. In a class where all these qualities exist, students will be active, inquisitive and will be able to transfer what they learnt in the classroom to real life situation Also, it will enable basic science teachers to adjust their teaching pattern and recognize students’ ownership of ideas which will be negotiated in the classroom. This will enable the teachers to enjoy teaching as students achieve highly

The findings will be of use to the curriculum planners, to plan basic science curriculum in such a way that the contents will be filled with activities which teachers and students will do together. Curriculum planners would find the result of this study a relevant tool for curriculum reforms and improvement in line with the Nigerian curriculum 6-3-3-4 which recommends students centered pedagogical method that can assist in achieving the national educational goals which include, the acquisition of appropriate skills, mental, physical and social abilities and competence that will equip the individual to live in and contribute to the development of the society.

The Federal Ministry of Education and other researchers will through this study organize workshops, seminars and conferences for review of pedagogy in science teaching to address the issue of integrating new ideas on teaching of basic science. It might help them in identifying the concept of learners’ cognitive style and teaches instructional style in educational programme planning that could be included in later review of basic science curriculum. It will provide useful information to teachers training institutions. These institutions can enrich their method courses or develop new programme of instructions based on the findings of this study

Finally, it is hoped that this study will add to the existing body of educational research literature, which might be harnessed for further research in this and other related fields.

  • Scope of the Study 

This study was delimited to the effects of field-trip and lecture method on students’ academic achievement in Basic Science at Junior Secondary Schools in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State. The content scope of the study was delimited to (1) Simple machine (gear), (2) simple machine (wheel and axle). (3) Simple machine (efficiency of machine) (4) simple machine (screw thread). The researcher focused on using field-trip and lecture method in the teaching. The study focused on public Junior Secondary Schools (JSSII) students in Umuahia North L.G.A, Abia State. The reason for JSSII students was that they are more exposed to the teaching of Basic science and can be used as a research sample because they are not preparing for any external examination.