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AVAILABILITY OF LABORATORY FACILITIES FOR EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BASIC SCIENCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 Background of the study
Science ability is crucial for the economic success of societies (Lipnevich, MacCann, Krumm, Burrus, & Roberts, 2011). It is also important in the scientific and technological development of countries (Enu, Agyman, & Nkum, 2015). This is because basic science skills are essential in understanding other disciplines including engineering, sciences, social sciences and even the arts (Patena & Dinglasan, 2013; Phonapichat, Wongwanich, & Sujiva, 2014; Schofield, 1982). Abe and Gbenro (2014) point out that basic science plays a multidimensional role in science and technology of which its application outspread to all areas of science, technology as well as business enterprises. Due to the importance that basic science engulfs, the subject became key in school curriculum. According to Ngussa and Mbuti (2017), the basic science curriculum is intended to provide students with knowledge and skills that are essential in the changing technological world.
Factors that can influence basic science performance are demonstrated by Kupari and Nissinen (2013); Yang (2013); Tshabalala and Ncube (2016), when they show that poor performance in basic science is a function of cross-factors related to students, teachers and schools. Among the students’ factors, attitude is regarded by many researchers as a key contributor to higher or lower performance in basic science (Mohamed & Waheed, 2011; Mata, Monteiro & Peixoto, 2012; Ngussa & Mbuti, 2017). Attitude refers to a learned tendency of a person to respond positively or negatively towards an object, situation, concept or another person (Sarmah & Puri, 2014). Attitudes can change and develop with time (Syyeda, 2016), and once a positive attitude is formed, it can improve students’ learning (Akinsola & Olowojaiye, 2008; Mutai, 2011). On the other hand, a negative attitude hinders effective learning and consequently affects the learning outcome henceforth performance (Joseph, 2013). Therefore, attitude is a fundamental factor that cannot be ignored. The effect of attitude on students’ performance in basic science might be positive or negative depending on the individual student. In response to this problem, this study seeks to investigate students’ attitudes towards learning basic science in Nigeria.
In accordance with Syyeda (2016) attitude has three main components: affect, cognition and behaviour. The components are interrelated and involve several aspects contributing to the overall attitude towards learning basic science. We draw from the ABC (Affective, Behavioural and Cognitive) model (Ajzen, 1993) to investigate the students’ attitude towards basic science and the Walberg’s theory of productivity (Walberg, Fraser, & Welch, 1986) to interpret results about the factors influencing a like or dislike of basic science and those impacting students’ performance. Walberg’s theory postulates that individual students’ psychological attributes and the psychological environments surrounding them influences cognitive, behavioural and attitudinal learning outcomes. This theory will be relevant for this study because it is a suitable lens through which we can explain the reasons for the attitudes that students form towards basic science. In line with the ABC model, our study focuses on investigating attitude aspects, including: students’ self-confidence in their basic science ability, basic science anxiety, basic science enjoyment, perception about the usefulness of basic science and intrinsic motivation. Questions that guided the study are as follows:
1. What are the students’ attitudes towards learning geometry and basic science?
2. Why do students acquire a like or a dislike towards geometry in basic science?
3. What is the relationship between each attitude aspects and students’ performance (grades) in basic science and geometry?
4. What is the relationship between attitude and student grades in basic science and geometry?
This work is relevant since poor performance in Science Technology Engineering and Basic science (STEM) particularly in basic science is seen as a barrier towards achieving economic and social development, both at the individual and national level. In Nigeria, like any other country within Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), students consistently perform poorly in basic science and science, which makes Nigeria lose economic advantages over other countries. Students’ achievement in countries within SSA is ranked far below the average point in international assessments (Bethell, 2016; 38). Bethell further points out that the long-run development of countries in SSA requires significant improvements in STEM education if they are to benefit in a competitive global economy driven by new technologies. In this regard, it is important to find ways to improve students’ performance in the subject. The study of students’ attitudes towards basic science with associated factors and their connection to academic performance is certainly worth examining. The results will provide teachers, students, parents, and other education stakeholders with information that will help to develop strategies to improve students’ learning of basic science.
Laboratory facilities brings to live abstract learnings in basic science through experiments and experimental procedures. These performed experiments gives series of visual teachings with makes it easier for students to understand. By laboratory practicals in geometry secondary school students are able to have a better grasp of the realities of geometry and have deeper insights into the possibilities of geometry, and this could trigger their imaginative faculties to explore their potential in basic science in a broader sense. This whole psycho-educational facor could in a great way improve on students attitude towards geometry and basic science in general.
According to Umeh (2006) material resources are structured facilities that are used to ensure affective teaching and learning such as the laboratories
All science laboratories have certain general features and requirements in addition to which each separate science has its own special demand which requires a special laboratory and facilities. For example all modern laboratories need to have a preparation room with storage facilities and shelves for chemicals, tools as well as work benches for the preparation of solutions. They must have sufficient space for free movement
1.2 Statement of the problem
lack of basic science laboratory and basic science teachers’ non-use of laboratory technique in teaching basic science is one of the major factors that contribute to poor academic achievement in basic science by secondary school students. The West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Chief examiners’ Reports (2010, 2011, 2012& 2018) affirmed that candidates lack requisite practical skills to answer the questions raised in number and numeration, which point to the fact that the most desired technological, scientific and business application of basic science cannot be sustained.
This makes it paramount to seek for an approach for teaching Geometrythat aims at improving its understanding and academic achievement by students. Ogunkunle(2000) asserted that lack of basic science laboratory and basic science teachers’ non-use of laboratory technique in teaching Geometryis one of the major factors that contribute to poor academic achievement of students in Geometryat junior secondary school.
Despite the fact that Basic science Laboratories serve as fundamental sources of creative thinking, skill development and problem solving for Junior Secondary School students, its facilities are seldom used by Basic science teachers (Shreedevi & Asha, 2014). Well-equipped Basic science Laboratory at the basic school level has given birth to scientific and technological growth in manpower among developed nations (Imoko & Isa, 2015).Beyond availability of Basic science laboratory materials, Malik (2017) opined that adequate use of Basic science laboratory prepares students for a useful and meaningful living, because Basic science is the language and key to everyday activities of mankind in the world of science and technology. For the fact that Basic science Laboratory is equipped with numbers, symbols, objects, counting devices, measuring materials, number patterns and relationships of quantities, it is central to basic science curriculum at the primary and secondary levels in Nigeria (Akanmu, 2017). Nneji and Alio (2017) observed that Basic science as a subject does not only deal with manipulation of numbers, but goes further to explain practical relationships between the numbers, attributes and application of the numbers to solving day to day practical life problems.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of basic science laboratory on the academic achievement of students in Geometry at junior secondary schools.
(1) Effect of basic science laboratory approach on students achievement in Geometryat Junior Secondary School level.
(2) Effect of Basic science laboratory approach on male and female students achievement in Geometryat Junior Secondary School level.
(3) Interaction effects of basic science laboratory and gender on students achievement in Geometryat junior secondary school level.
The following research questions were addressed in the study:
(1) What are the achievements of students in Geometry before and after exposure to math lab facilities and conventional method?
(2) Do students differ in achievement by gender when taught Geometryusing basic science laboratory facilities?
The following hypotheses were formulated and tested at 5% level of significance:
Ho1: There is no significant effect of the usability of Basic science laboratory facilities on the mean achievement scores of students taught Geometry
Ho2: There is no significant effect of gender on the mean achievement scores of students taught
Geometry using basic science laboratory approach.
Ho3: There is no significant interaction effect of Basic science laboratory method and gender on
students mean achievement scores in geometry.
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