EXAMINATION OF THE EFFECTS OF INQUIRY AND DEMONSTRATION TECHNIQUES ON PERFORMANCE OF BIOLOGY STUDENTS’ IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, ABUJA, NIGERIA
This study assessed the effects of Inquiry and Demonstration methods on Performance of Biology Students’ in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria. The study was anchored on five objectives which include to: determine the performance of students taught Biology using Inquiry and those taught using conventional method in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; investigate the performance of students taught Biology using demonstration and those taught using conventional method in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; and to compare the performance of students taught Biology using inquiry and demonstration compared to those taught using conventional method in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Also, five research questions and five hypotheses were postulated in line with the stated objectives. Relevant literatures were reviewed on the key variables for this study. The study adopted quasiexperimental research design. The target population of the study comprised 23,422 SSII students consisting of 12,350 males and 11,072 females. A sample of 342 SSII students from six intact classes was purposively sampled from the entire 56 secondary schools in Abuja. The instrument used for data collection was a multiple-choice objective test titled “Biology Inquiry and Demonstration Performance Test (BIDPT)”. The instrument was validated by the researcher’s supervisors. The reliability of the instrument was pilot tested using a test/retest method. The reliability coefficient of the test/re-test scores was computed by means of Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient (PPMCC) and a reliability value of 0.849 was obtained. The data was collected through the administration of pre-test and post-test. The biodata of the respondents was analysed using descriptive statistics which involves frequencies and percentages while mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions. Independent t-test was used to test all the hypotheses at 0.05% level of significance. Findings of the study showed among others that students taught Biology using Inquiry method performed far better than those taught using conventional method in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (.000 <0.005). The performance of students taught Biology using demonstration method was far better than those taught using conventional method in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (.000 <0.005). Students taught Digestive System in Biology using inquiry method performed far better than those taught using conventional method in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja (.001 <0.005). The study concluded that, students tend to learn concepts in Biology as well as skills and how to solve problems using practical method and that Inquiry based learning require the student to do more than just report on a topic. Recommendations were made to include that teachers should use guided inquiry in teaching Biology more than unguided inquiry since the method has proved effective in enhancing students’ academic performance in Biology. And that Ministry of Education and relevant academic and professional bodies like Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) and Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) should enlighten teachers on the use of inquiry and demonstration teaching methods through organized in-service trainings, workshops and seminars.
1.1 Background to the Study
A decree was signed on February 4, 1976, establishing the Federal Capital
Territory, Abuja and setting up the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA),
The FCT has borders on the north with Kaduna State, on south-east with Nassarawa State, on the south-west with Kogi State and on the west with Niger state. There are six
Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory and fifty six secondary schools in Abuja. The secondary education is divided into junior and senior secondary level. Therefore, this research focused on senior secondary school in which Biology is offered as a
Science subjects constitute a major part of the subjects being offered in most postprimary institutions in Nigeria today. The importance of science subjects has been emphasized by Federal Government in the National Policy on Education, Section 5, Item 22 (c) which states in specific terms that ―The Secondary School Education shall provide trained manpower in the applied science and technology (National Policy on Education – FRN, 2013). The National Policy on Education further added that science subjects constitute part of the core subjects at both Junior and Secondary School levels. The importance attached to science by the Federal Government could be due to the general belief that science is capable of improving and changing skills, attitudes and cognition by increasing pupils‘ store of knowledge about themselves, their environment and their world.
The importance of Biology in the development of any nation cannot be underrated especially in Nigeria where the national income rests on petroleum and petrochemical industries. Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy (Aquarena Wetlands Project, 2004). Biologists study the structure, function, growth, origin, evolution and distribution of living organisms (Bagley, 2014). Modern Biology is a vast and eclectic field that recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, and evolution as the engine that propels the synthesis and creation of new species.
It is also understood today that all organisms survive by consuming and transforming energy and by regulating their internal environment to maintain a stable and vital condition.Nwagbo and Chikelu (2011), also agreed that Science is a great enterprise which nations depend on, in-order to advance technologically. Science therefore, is receiving much emphasis in education because of its significance and relevance to life and society. Biology as a branch of science and the prerequisite subject for many fields of learning contributes immensely to the technological growth of the nation.
In spite of the importance of Biology in nation building, students‘ attitude, interest and performance in Biology in West African Examination Council (WAEC) have not been encouraging (Iliyasu, 2006). A lot of efforts have been made in research work through conferences, workshops and seminars organized to find solutions to students‘ poor performance and low interest in Biology but still the students‘ academic performance in the subject is below expectations (Onu, 2004). The poor performance of students in secondaryBiology (WAEC Chief Examiners Report, 2014), has made it a matter of necessity to think about what can be done to improve the situation. Most of the misconceptions about biological concepts by the students in secondary schools are carried to tertiary institutions which may lead to their poor performance in Biology (Onu, 2004). Thus, when students misperceive Biology with incorrect scientific understanding then, the teaching/learning process of Biology in secondary school will be crippled.
On the other hand, the quality of Biology education bears a direct relationship with the quality of the Biology teachers and their methods of teaching. Hence, the purpose of teaching science (Biology in particular), according to Nwagbo and Chikelu (2011), which is, ―to make the students learn to know what they are taught; that is, teachers teach to impart knowledge and skills to students‖, cannot be justified without the use of appropriate
or good method of teaching. Maikano (2007) and Dukawa (2007), observed that most teaching methods employed at the secondary school in Biology teaching is conventional method and this lead to the poor academic achievement in the subject. With increasing number of studies on inquiry and demonstration (Maizuwo, 2011; Kikas, 2004), even if the new teaching strategies (Inquiry and Demonstration) are effective in correcting misconception, it is difficult for them to be applied to school educationbecause they require more time to process compared to Conventional teaching-learning methods.
Thus, it is necessary to establish a teaching strategy, which is highly applicable to School education curricula and effective in teaching Biology, and in which most students are interested. Effective teaching of Biology depends on the available suitable methods employed by the teachers at different levels on different concepts. These include,
Laboratory, Lecture, Discussion, Guided Discovery, Expository, Concept Mapping, Problem Solving, Field Trip, Project, Demonstration and Inquiry Teaching Methods among others (Maizuwo, 2011). In this study, therefore, Inquiry and demonstration teaching methods was employed in the teaching of Biology and to see its effect on shifting misconception students harboured which has affected their academic performance.
Education Broadcasting Corporation (2004), simply defined inquiry as seeking for truth, information or knowledge by questioning. In another perspective, Onan inAniaku (2012), defined inquiry as student-learning method that encourages students to create personal knowledge by questioning and use of investigation process. Inquiry teaching method is also a term used in science teaching that refers to a way of questioning, seeking knowledge or information or finding out about phenomena, it involves investigating data and arriving at a conclusion (Sola and Ojo, 2007).
Inquiry helps students to learn and experience Biology first-hand, by taking on the role of scientist. The student use Inquiry process to develop explanations from their observations (evidence) by integrating what they already know with what they have learned (Opara, 2011). The author added that the students learn discrete Biology concepts and skills and how to solve problem using practical approaches. In Inquiry situation students learn not only concept but also self-direction, responsibility and social communication. It also permits students to assimilate and accommodate information.
According to Sola and Ojo (2007), Inquiry is a way people learn when they are left alone. Cheval and Hart (2005), classify Inquiry teaching method into three classes, namely: structured Inquiry, guided Inquiry and open Inquiry.
There is a debate as to which type of Inquiry is best. According to Waddy (2014), the types of Inquiry teaching methods include:confirmation inquiry, structured inquiry, guided inquiry, and open/true inquiry. Any form of Inquiry (structured, guided, or open) can be useful to students when taught appropriately well. Structured Inquiry is the most teacher-centred of the types of Inquiry where you give students an open question and an investigation method. They must use the method to craft an evidence-backed conclusion (Guido, 2017).This type of Inquiry is commonly seen in science classrooms in the form of laboratory exercises. The teacher provides fairly structured procedures for the Inquiry activity, and Students carry out the investigations. Structured Inquiry could be described as the most conventionalmethod to Inquiry (Cheval and Hart, 2005). On the far side of the spectrum is an open Inquiry. This type of Inquiry requires the least amount of teacher intervention and is student-centred. Students often work in groups and plan all phases of their investigations. This is the purest form of Inquiry conducted in science classrooms (Cheval and Hart, 2005). Guided Inquiry falls in the middle of the Inquiry instructional spectrum. In Nigeria the emphasis for student-centred learning and use of inquiry teaching method was intensified with the introduction of Universal Basic Education (UBE) scheme in 2004 with the aim of eliciting high cognitive process in student (Federal Ministry of Education, 2008).
Demonstration method of teaching and learning is a method in which teachers dramatize topics to be taught by either the use of items or recorded materials, while Students are made to practice the skills demonstrated in readiness for the time they will be asked to display their level of efficiency in the performance of those skills. It is one of the effective methods of learning Biology education subjects or courses as it explains steps/acts of an operation/principles and shows how a process, procedure or an experiment to be carried out, what to do, and why it should be done that way (Ajoma, 2009). Demonstration teaching strategy is of key importance in teaching sciences (Vladimir inMaizuwo, 2011). Demonstrations should be relatively short (as compared with other methods of teaching), performed with the simplest equipment that ensures the same effect and it is vital that the science behind them is well understood at the secondary school (Maizuwo, 2011). Teacher-demonstration method therefore, is a teacher-centred method of teaching whereby the teacher illustrates a procedure to be followed and thereafter students follow those procedures to solve the given problems. For instance, Gracia (2015), illustrated an example using Human Biology System Foldable. The teacher demonstrates how to draw the diagrams on cardboard and how to fix the foldable on the diagrams drawn. The students then learn by imitating the teacher. According to Aliyu (2008), teacherdemonstrationis a method of teaching whereby all new subject matter is presented and explained by the teacher before it is imitated by students in the class. This study was therefore carried out so as to salvage the students‘ poor performance as a result of the ineffective teaching and learning method used in teaching Biology in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
This study was inspired in response to students‘ persistent poor performance in Biology. This perhaps can be partly ascribed to inadequate teaching and instructional methods adopted by Biology teachers. This according to Marakinyo (2009), the falling level of academic performance is attributed to teacher‘s non-usage of verbal reinforcement and inquiry teaching methods. Opara (2011), noted that inquiry teaching when fostered in different ways (guided or unguided) can ultimately and positively affects students understanding, achievement and interest in Biology. Inquiry teaching method was chosen in this study because; even though it is highly scientific in nature it is seldom practiced in our tertiary institutions (Sola and Ojo, 2007). Biology as a science subject is bulky in nature.
As a student and later as a Biology teacher, the researcher observed that the science teachers used lecture/conventional method in teaching to enable them cover the syllabus within the stipulated time; and this did not give room for proper understanding of the subject. The Chief WAEC Examiner Report (WAEC, 2014), noted that the rush over the topics to cover could be responsible for the poor performance in Biology. Identification of this problem is a first step in trying to look for a way toremedy poor performance in Biology. It has been shown that if the right method or methods is used in teaching Biology, then problem of poor performance can be minimized (Heeman, 2005; Bryan, 2007). However, the rate of failure of students in science subjects, particularlyBiology in the secondary schools, has assumed a serious dimension. This is evident in the West African
Senior SchoolCertificate Examination results from 2011 to 2015 forFederal Capital Territory public schoolsAbuja was 9.2%, 21.4%, 32.2%,17.7% and 30.2% respectively which reveal very poor performances. NECO/SSCE results from 2011 to 2015forFederal
Capital Territory public schools is 5.7% ,23.4%, 39.0%, 36.9% and 58.7% respectively. These also revealed poor performances. According to Ajaja (2011), these poor performances were occasioned by the very poor state of resources for teaching and learning Biology; and the unchallenging environment under which the business of teaching Biology takes place. The state of the Biology laboratories in schools ranged from total absence of laboratories to ill-equipped ones. The researcher added that the situation therefore calls for a search for alternative methods that will shunt the use of laboratories but yet guarantee effective learning by students.
In the light of this, Biology teachers need to seek suitable ways of tackling the current massive failure in Biology if they are to halt the drifts of science students to art and social sciences.Adunola (2011) inGanyaupfu (2013), had this view, and observed thatregular poor academic performance by the majority students is fundamentally linked to application fine effectiveteaching methods by teachers toimpartknowledge tolearners. In order for the method used for teaching to be effective, the author maintains that teachers need to be conversant with numerous teaching strategies that take recognition of the magnitude of complexity of the concepts to be covered.
The researcher interaction with the Biology teachers in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja showed that many of them do not think of any teaching method apart from the lecture method and reviewing past question papers as means of imparting knowledge in Biology to their students.This, to the researcher, does not provide a good way for student tolearn; most especially as was observed by John (2009), who said that Biology is not a subject that can be mastered by mere memorization of the basic rules.
It requires total involvement of the learners in the learning process, sound theoretical knowledge and intensive practice in application of basic principles. It is as a result of these problems that the researcher was prompted to carry out an investigation to assess the effects of Inquiry and Demonstration methods in teaching Biology.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This study was carried out with the objectives to:
- determine the performance of students taught Biology using inquiry method and those taught using conventional method in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
- investigate the performance of students taught Biology using demonstration method and those taught using conventional method in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
- compare the performance of students taught Biology using inquiry anddemonstration with those taught Biology using conventional methodin secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
- find out the academic performance of students when taught Digestive System in Biology using inquiry and conventional methods in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; and
- ascertain the effect of the use of demonstration and conventional methods on academic performance of students when taught Transport System in Biology in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
- What is the performance of students taught Biology using Inquiry and conventional methods in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja?
- What is the performance of students taught Biology using demonstration and those taught using conventional methods in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja?
- What differences exist in the performance of Students‘ taught Biology using inquiry and demonstration methods compared to those taught using conventional method inSecondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja?
- What is the performance of students taught Digestive System in Biology using inquiry and conventional methods in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja?
- What effect has demonstration and conventional methods on academic performance of students when taught Transport System in Biology in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were formulated and tested in the course ofthis study:
H01: There is no significant difference in the performance of students taught Biology using inquiry and those taught using conventional methods in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
H02: There is no significant difference in the performance of students taught Biology using demonstration and those taught conventional methodsin Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
H03: There is no significant difference in the performance of students taught Biology using inquiryand demonstration methods compared to those taught using conventional method in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
H04: There is no significant difference in the academic performance of students when taught Digestive System in Biology using inquiry and conventional methods in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
H05: There is no significant difference on academic performance of students when taught Transport System in Biology using demonstration and conventional methodsin secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
The study was based on the assumptions that:
- Inquiry method of teaching has effect on students‘ performance in Biologyin Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
- Demonstration method of teaching has effect on students‘ performance in Biologyin Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
- Difference exist in the performance of students‘ taught Biology usinginquiry and demonstration method compared to those taught using conventional methods in Secondary Schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
- Difference exists in the academic performance of students when taught Digestive
System in Biology using inquiry and conventional methods in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
- Difference exists in the use of demonstration and conventional methods on academic performance of students when taught Transport System in Biology in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The study is of great benefit to Biology Teachers, Students, Curriculum Planners,
Ministry of Education, Textbooks Publishers, Parents/guardians, Educational
Administrators and Future Researchers. Biology teachers benefitted by using the appropriate teaching methods; Inquiry and Demonstration in inculcating the principles and concepts of Biology to their students which will enhance the Students‘ academic performance. In addition, it will aid the teachers inpreparing students for higher learning of Biology in Universities or Colleges as well as clerical job in public and private sectors of the economy, making this study imperative.The findings from this study would assist the teachers to increase their confidence and to improve their teaching strategies particularly in remedying misconceptions held by students in Biology at the Secondary School level. The findings from this research work provided a teaching/learning strategy that teachers‘ of Biology could adopt so that students in their classes will benefit maximally, thereby meeting the needs of individual students in the class. This research formed a different dimension of innovations in the teaching and learning of Biology.
Findings from this study could motivate students to achieve excellent grades in Biology which the researcher believed could had a ripple effect in their performance in other subjects as a result of increased confidence. It will improve students ‗achievement and interest in biology, thereby increasing the number of students who will go into the study of important science courses like Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing, Biotechnology and Agriculture. Students, who may be potential teachers, may benefit more from the findings of thestudy; as it will help them improve their understanding of the identified andrelated concepts of Biology. Hence, improve their academic performanceand be able to teach it effectively.
Moreover, it will equally be of great use to the curriculum planners as it assisted them to suggest relevant methods for teaching different topics in the curriculum. Students‘ academic performance will improve through the use of appropriate teaching methods. The findings will also influence the curriculum innovation programme in Biology. The findings from this study would therefore shed light on the instructional strategy that is suitable for both sexes. The Federal Government of Nigeria will benefit by using the findings of this study to engage teachers and administrators in training programmes that can model this new educational approach.
The Federal Ministry of Education at both the State and Federal level benefitted from this study by using the findings of this study to engage teachers in various form of workshops, seminars and conferences in training programme that can model and modify this new teaching and learning methods. The findings in this research are useful to Parents/Guardians who are interested in seeing improvement in the performance of their students in the science subjects.
This study would help the educational administrators towards decision making and enforcement of the use of inquiry and demonstration methods by the Biology teachers. Additionally, this study would be relevant to the textbook writers and publishers as it will assist in designing course workbook with effective teaching methods. Meanwhile, it has stirred up further researches as regarding methods of teaching and inculcating Biology at the Secondary School levels.
1.8 Scope of the Study
This study assessed the effect of Inquiry and Demonstration methods on students‘ performance in Biology in secondary schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The research is limited to students offering Biology in SS II classes in the six sampled schools in Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The choice of the class was because at this level, the students are exposed to comprehensive principles, practical and procedures in Biologyas a science subject. The study was delimited to two teaching methods (Inquiry and
Demonstration) in the teaching of Biology and its effect on academic performance.
EXAMINATION OF THE EFFECTS OF INQUIRY AND DEMONSTRATION TECHNIQUES ON PERFORMANCE OF BIOLOGY STUDENTS’ IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY, ABUJA, NIGERIA