PROBLEMS OF TEACHING PRACTICAL BIOLOGY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
According to Oxford Advanced Learner Dictionary (2000) defined “problems” as a thing that is difficult to deal with or to understand effectively. According to the Oxford advanced learner dictionary (2000) defined practical as an ideal, on method or a course of action, right or sensible, likely to be successful. Practical work is very essential to the effective teaching of body in school. Every body citizen will be able to participate more effectively in any life situation, he can speak out on questions that involve both biology principles and human welfare, such knowledge will out come from were bookwork, but from practical application of the materials learnt to real life situation. Science is the study of the natural things around us. Biology being a branch of science involved the study of living and non living things. (Sanjini, 2001). Similarly, World Book Encyclopedia (2000), defined Biology as the scientific study of living thing. Traditionally, biology is divided into two branches Viz; Botany and study of plants and Zoology the study of animals. Some of the usefulness of biology were cited by Sarojiet (2001), as follows: it helps; (1) Scientific research and development of new tools and techniques which in variable improve the quality of our lives, (ii) Finding applications in medicine, dentistry, vetenary, science, agriculture and horticulture, (iii) Biotechnology which include fields like genetic engineering and hybridoma technology. (iv) Dealing with ecological problems such as over population, food storage, erosion, pollution, and diseases etc. Practical biology is the scientific study of the life and structure of plants and animals and their relative environment in real or experimental set-up rather than dwelling in the theory and ideals (Opuh, Eze and Ezeagu (2008). On its preamble to the international senior secondary school certificate Examination syllabus, West African Examination council WAEC (1998: 2003), buttresses the used for biology practical in teaching and learning of biology in the secondary schools. The syllabus was designed to asses candidates in; (i) Understanding of the structure and function of living organism as well as appreciation of nature. (ii) Acquisition of adequate laboratory and fields skills in order to carry out and evaluate experiments and projects in biology. (iii) Acquisition of scientific sill example observing, classifying and interpreting biology data etc, to its previous edition WAEC Syllabus (2001), stated that great importance should be attended to experimental work and we control experiments, it was recommended that, whenever possible throughout the whole course candidates should be award of practical application of what is being studied. From the foregoing, we can understand that biology practical lesson is most essential for effective teaching and leaning of biology in secondary schools. Whereas, Akinpelu in Aguokogbuo (2002), defined teaching as a deliberate effort by a matured or experienced person to impact information, knowledge, skills and so on to immature or less experienced person. Consequently, national teachers institution NTI (2000) course book on education, defined learning as the acquisition of new knowledge, ideas, skills, values and experience which enable the individual to modify or alter his action. It also involves the utilization of newly acquired knowledge or experience as well. It further stated that leaning brings about permanents change to the learners. The nation policy or education (2004), defined secondary education, as the education children received after primary educational level and before the tertiary state. According to post primary school management Board PPSMB statistical rewards PRs (200), there are six secondary schools in Igbo Etiti local government Area.
Igbo Etiti Local Government Area, is in Enugu (Nsukka) The area is predominantly are urban settlement with a few rural communities some of the secondary schools in Igbo etiti local government includes, community High School Ekwegbe, Community secondary school Ukop Ekwegbe, Community secondary school, Umuna, Community secondary school Umunko and special science secondary school Ukehe.
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Biology as a science subject requires trained technicians and the laboratory attendant employed. In few schools laboratory attendant are school dropouts no basic knowledge of how to prepare specious for biology practical. In most cases, these laboratory attendants lack technical know how to operate, maintain repair or service the few available equipment whom they broken down. According to Nwamonu (2003), students perform poorly in biology practical leading to their failure in biology examiners. Similarly, WAEC chief Examiners (1993), reported that performance of candidate in biology fell below expectation. The report discussed the candidates weaknesses under the following sub headings;
(i) Poor spelling
(ii) Poor observation
(iii) Poor mathematical skills
(iv) Poor deductive reasoning,
(v) Misinterpretation of question and
(vi) Poor knowledge of biology.
The examiner lamented that “there were many candidates who could not answer correctly a single question in section A. in most cases, they have wild guesses and quite unrelated answer that were sometime unbiological. Based on the poor academic (1999) stated that the objectives of practical biology are not being realized to a satisfactory extent. He pointed out that the power academic performance in biology practical are caused by, lack of well equipped laboratory, inadequate qualified biology teachers, limited time table hours, poor observation, poor drawing and labeling and poor comparison of specimens, etc. these begin stated of affair is disturbing . The also emphasis on the West African School Certificate to Benin city of Nigeria also observed that the biology laboratory were inadequate. As a result the students were not adequately involved only practical lessons. The students only watched teacher’s demonstration exercise This study therefore intends to examine the effect of Biology practical ineffective academic performance of students in Enugu Igbo Etiti local government area of Enugu state. Specially, one would like to ask;
(i) Does female students like biology than male?
(ii) Which gender (i.e) male and female performance better in the biology practical?
(iii) Are biology laboratory well equipped with necessary apparatus.
(iv) Urban senior secondary school does the performance better than the rural schools.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Based on the background and problems of this study, the main purpose underlying the project is to investigate the problem at teaching biology practical in senior secondary schools (SSIII) In Igbo Etiti local government area in Enugu state. The study specifically seeks to determine the problems of teaching practical biology in senior secondary in Igbo Etiti local government area, of Enugu state. We believe that the result of the research will be of significance with the current reforms in biology education.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The practical activities in biology are designed to help students acquired basic scientific skills and improve the performance and achievement as well. The study tends to uncover the benefits of practical biology to the students, parents, teachers, government and the entire society. If the result of this research is properly initialized, it will;
(i) Promote the ideals that science is both a product and process in students by arousing their interest in practical biology work.
(ii) Motivate the parents to provide the basic requirements to practical lesson for their children.
(iii) Convince the biology teachers that practical lessons are mostly essential for effective teaching and learning of biology.
(iv) Make the government, through of the ministry of education to realize the need for provision of science equipment to schools and posting of qualified biology teachers to secondary schools, it is not the issue of jack of all trades master of none. Teaching has attained professionalism and specialization (vi) Help the Nigerian society in their quest for improved technology and industrialization.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study of the research work was specifically based on the, senior secondary schools in Igbo Etiti Local government area of Enugu state. The scope of the study is also limited to on the problems of teaching practical biology in senior secondary school students SSIII in the area.
The following questions was formulated to guide the study; (i) What effect has biology practical on academic performance of senior secondary school biology students? (ii) Does female students like biology practical than male students? (iii) Which gender (i.e) male or female performance better in the biology practical.? (iv) Are Biology laboratory well equipped with necessary apparatus. (v) Urban senior secondary schools do the performed better than the rural schools? (vi) What effective has biology practical on effective learning?