EFFECTS OF PROJECT AND DISCUSSION METHODS ON STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN EKITI STATE, NIGERIA

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EFFECTS OF PROJECT AND DISCUSSION METHODS ON STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN EKITI STATE, NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

The study investigated the effects of project and discussion methods on students‘ performance in Economics in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Five objectives were formulated for the study among which are to: ascertain the effect of project and conventional method on the performance of economics students in senior secondary schools, Ekiti State; determine the effect of discussion and conventional method on the performance of economics students in senior secondary schools, Ekiti State; and find out the performance of students taught economics using project and discussion methods in urban and rural senior secondary schools in Ekiti State. In line with these objectives, five corresponding research questions and hypotheses were formulated for the study. Relevant literatures on the key variables of the study were reviewed, while the study was anchored on three relevant theories, such as Constructivist Learning Theory, Gagne‘s Theory of Instruction, and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory. The study adopted quasi-experimental research design. The target population of the study was made up of 10,784 SSII students from the entire 183 public secondary schools in Ekiti State. The sample size for the study consisted of 212 SSII students from six schools with intact classes. This sample size was arrived at using purposive sampling technique. The instrument tagged ―Economics Students Project and Discussion Test (ESPDT)‖ was used for the purpose of data collection in the study. After validation by economics experts and researcher‘s supervisors, the instrument was pilot tested using a test/retest method. The two sets of scores obtained were subjected to Spearman-Brown formula and a reliability coefficient of 0.89 was obtained. Data for the study was collected through the administration of pre-test and posttest. The demographic data of the respondents was analysed using descriptive statistics which involves frequencies and percentages while mean and standard deviation was used to answer the research questions. Independent sample t-test and Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) were used to test the hypotheses advanced for the study at 0.05 level of significance. Findings from the study among others on hypothesis one did not reveal significant difference between the performance of economics students taught with project and conventional methods in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State (p-value .699 > 0.005). However, finding on hypothesis two revealed that students taught economics using discussion method had a better performance mean score than students taught using conventional method in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State (p-value .003 < 0.005). Finding on hypothesis three also showed that students taught economics using discussion method performed better than those taught using project method in urban and rural senior secondary schools in Ekiti State (p-value .000 < 0.005). In view of the findings from this study, conclusion was drawn that project method can be effective when combined with other methods in teaching economics. The result of the study also proved that different methods suit different purposes and abilities, discussion method has been proved to be more effective in developing social and analytical skills in students. Based on the findings of this study, it was recommended among others that Teachers of economics should ensure that daily class work and assignment given to students include relevant project activities as much as possible. Teachers should also promote discussion as a method of teaching economics as it will encourage and motivate students to participate actively in class. Furthermore, students‘ listening and speaking skills can be enhanced through discussion method.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1        Background to the Study

Ekiti State is one of the States in the South-Western region of Nigeria which comprises of six states out of thirty-six states of Federal Republic of Nigeria. The state has sixteen (16) local government areas with Ado-Ekiti as the State capital. The state was nickname(s) Land of Honour (Fountain of Knowledge). Certainly, the state has been recognised for her academic excellence in the educational attainment level in Nigeria. A number of notable secondary schools are located in the state. The secondary education like every other state is sub-divided into junior secondary and senior secondary level. Therefore, the focus of this study is on the senior secondary school where economics is being offered as a subject.

Economics as a social science does not only study the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, but the knowledge of economics education enables both the individual and the society to use less input to achieve greater output. It also makes both the individual and the society a functional and rational being. In view of this, economics school curriculum calls for means of its effective implementation in order to achieve the desired objectives for which it is intended. No discussion of the curriculum is complete without suggestions about methods of its effective implementation. Teaching methods are very vital to the teaching-learning processes in schools. The methods adopted by the teacher may either promote or hinder effective teaching-learning process. However, the dominant use of the conventional method by economics teachers have begun to be increasingly criticized and this has paved the way for a widespread growth of studentcentred learning as an alternative method. Sequel to this, multiple studies have shown that teacher effectiveness in the use of student-centred teaching methods have a profound effect on student learning (Nye, Konstantopoulos, & Hedges, 2004; Rivkin, Hanushek & Kain, 2005).

There are varieties of teaching methods for teachers to choose from, depending on the situation. There are methods that are teacher-student centred, for example, computer assisted instruction, engagement approach, discussion, problem solving, and so forth, and others are student-centred for example role play, individualized instruction, project method, discovery and so forth. Some of these methods are more appropriate for a particular group than others. For instance, some are good for younger learners and some for older students, while some are good for some subject areas than others. In addition, some are used to develop specific information that is not generally found in reference textbooks, others are used to illustrate certain procedures and skills, or to stimulate interests along the new line of thought.

Instructional methods according to Yusuf (2012) should be selected based on the type of instructional objectives that are expected to be achieved. Objectives set at the psychomotor and cognitive domains will require learner-centered teaching methods such as discussion, discovery, play way and project method. Also, the subject to be taught, the size and number of students, the time available for the teacher to cover the scheme of work or course outline, interest of the learner, age, class, intellectual capacity, students background and materials available should be put into consideration before selection is made. To ensure that all students have the necessary background to learn a subject, teacher can present basic information in a conventional way. The conventional (lecture) method is one of the most efficient teaching methods for presenting many facts or ideas in a relatively short time. Material that has been logically organized can be presented concisely in rapid sequence. The conventional method is particularly suitable for introducing a subject. A brief introductory lecture can give direction and purpose to a demonstration or prepare students for a discussion (The Air Force Instructor’s Guidebook, 2008). The conventional method is a method for instructing large groups. If necessary, the public address system can used to ensure that all students can hear the teacher. The conventional method is sometimes the only efficient method to use if student-to-teacher ratio is high.

Although the conventional method can be an effective and efficient teaching method, it has a number of disadvantages. The conventional method does not lead to maximum achievement in certain types of learning. Speech skills, cooperative group thinking, and motor skills, for example, are difficult to teach with the conventional method. Students can develop such skills efficiently through practice (The Air Force Instructor’s Guidebook, 2008). Moreover, the conventional method alone is generally not appropriate for presenting material above the comprehension level of the cognitive domain. This is because it allows for little or no student verbal participation. Conventional method may also be inefficient for comprehension-level lessons in which concepts and principles are developed. For instance, teaching of tools of economic analysis, and demand and supply should not be centred in the teaching of equations, formulas or definitions only, but should be taught using an appropriate methods that make students rediscover the main principles of economic analysis, and demand and supply through project activities and discussions of ideas, thus make students (citizens) more progressive, more capable of solving both the societal and personal problems, thereby contributing to the growth of their country‘s economy. Hence, this calls for a student-centred active learning process within which teacher is merely a guide. The active learning is a learning process in which the learner takes the responsibility of his/her learning and s/he is given the opportunity to make decisions about various dimensions of the learning process and to perform self-regulation (Acikgoz, 2003).

In active learning process, learning is no longer a standard process, but it transforms into a personalized process. Here, the skills of problem-solving, critical thinking and learning to learn are developed. Humans face various problems in their lives and they try to find particular ways to solve these problems. In this respect, it is important for students to be prepared for the future by facing real-life problems in their learning environment and producing appropriate solutions to these problems. What is expected from education is to enable individuals to become an effective problem solver in their actual lives (American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS] , 2003; Brooks & Brooks, 2003; Chin & Chia, 2004; Gallagher, 2007; Herreid, 2007; Tobin, 2003; Walker & Lofton, 2003). The most convenient method with regard to reaching this aim in teaching and learning environment is the project method. The basis of project method is rooted in Dewey‘s ―learning by doing and experiencing‖ principle (Dewey, 1978 cited in Akınoglu & Tandogan, 2007). The project method is an active learning which enables student to become aware of and determine his/her problem solving ability and learning needs, to learn, to be able to make knowledge operative and to perform group works in the face of real-life problems.

The project method turns the student from passive information recipient to active, free self-learner and innovator, and it slides the emphasis of educational programmes from teaching to learning. This enables the student to learn new knowledge by facing the problems to be solved, instead of burdened contents (Cuhadaroglu, Karaduman, Onderoglu, Karademir & Sekerel, 2003). By means of project method, some attitudes of students in relation to such areas as problem-solving, thinking, group works, communication, information acquisition and information sharing with others are affected positively. Hence, the most important role of the teacher in the project method learning being operated in a student-centred manner is to facilitate learning activities by guiding students. Teachers fulfil this role by monitoring discussions, asking questions, helping the resolution of occasional conflicts, enabling the participation of each group member to classroom discussions, giving examples when required, preventing scatter of discussions and making evaluations (Acikgoz, 2003; Cuhadaroglu et al, 2003; Duffy & Cunningham,

2006; Greenwald, 2000; Maxwell & Dornan, 2005; Nakiboglu & Altıparmak, 2002; Rhem, 1998; Posner & Rudnitsky, 2001).

Discussion involves two-way communication between participants. In the classroom situation, the teacher and students all participate in discussion. During discussion, the teacher spends some time listening while the students spend sometimes talking. The discussion is therefore, a more active learning experience for students than the conventional method as it helps to foster students‘ involvement in what they are learning, which might contribute to desired attitudinal changes. Discussion may be used in the classroom for the purpose of lesson development, making students apply what they have learnt or to monitor students learning by way of feedback.

Discussion may also be used, following a lecture or project method, to help students apply what they have learned. For example, following a lecture on ―types of financial institutions‖, the teacher may, lead a discussion directing students attention to the banks where each type is found, and the reasons for using one type than the other. The discussion method also provides opportunity to monitor students learning. The answers provided by students and the questions they ask, reveal the extent and quality of learning taking place. Teacher can use this information to repeat or modify an explanation to improve learning. They can also provide feedback to students, thereby helping to reinforce learning that has taken place. Discussion used in this way should follow after other methods of classroom instruction such as conventional or project method. In this way discussion contributes to the transfer of learning and enhances students‘ performance.

Performance is the measure of accomplishment in a specific field of study

(Abakpa, 2011; Elliot, Kratochwill, Cook & Traver, 2002; Kurumeh, 2006; Musa & Agwagah, 2006). They argued that performance in economics is the demonstration of the student‘s ability to attain certain level of instructional objectives out of classroom experiences. Reports on various teaching methods indicate that they improve students‘ learning and performance. Yet, results from public examination bodies on students‘ performance in economics are low. This therefore necessitated the need to explore other methods that may enhance students‘ performance in economics. As such, this study was carried out to find out the effects of Project and Discussion methods on students‘ performance in Economics in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State, Nigeria.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

There are hues and cries that economics teachers are still accustomed to conventional methods of teaching especially the lecture and didactic methods. Studies (Cook & Traver, 2002; Yerima, 2007; Yusuf, 2011) have confirmed that the negative attitude of students towards a particular subject (economics inclusive) is as a result of poor teaching methods. It has also been argued that economics teachers do not support the effective handling of the subject to boost academic performance of their students.

One of the leading causes of students‘ poor performance in economics in senior secondary schools as reported by various studies conducted (Kurumeh, 2006; Greenwald, 2000; Posner & Rudnitsky, 2001) has to do with the instructional methods used by teachers, which are inadequate to bring about desired level of performance and classroom participation in both male and female students. Often time, the mostly used methods by teachers are the ‗chalk and ‗talk‘ method and makes students to become passive. Other studies (Okebukola, 2002) also found that many Nigerian teachers mostly used the Conventional Lecture Method (CLM) that centres on the teachers, textbook, chalk and the chalkboard. Under this method, the teacher is seen as a disseminator of knowledge, the knower of the answer and a teacher who heavily relies on textbooks as the only available instructional material; conveys facts and procedures to students and hardly encourages students to engage in practical and creative learning activities.

The conventional method of teaching has been largely criticised for stiffing interest and creativity in students thereby limiting academic performance. The researcher has observed that the teaching and learning of economics were dominated with teachercentred instruction which might have resulted in poor academic performance of students in Economics in Ekiti State. Consequently, the teacher-centred instruction might cause the weak and slow learners working individually to give up when they get stocked, delay in completing assignment or skip them all together, performing poorly in their continuous assessment and their termly examination and may engage in malpractice during the examination. It is therefore expected that the teaching and learning of economics should be with the most appropriate method that can motivate, increase students‘ interest and above all, enhance their academic performance.

As revealed by the West African Senior School Certificate Examination results from 2010 to 2014, the performance of students in economics in public secondary schools in Ekiti State was 31.28%, 11.91%, 41.6%, 44.7% and 29.1% respectively which revealed poor performances. Also, as stated by the WAEC Chief Examiners‘ report of 2014/2015, it was revealed that students had inadequate knowledge of the subject (economics). The report showed that students lack knowledge of plotting graph, answering questions that involve calculations, use of wrong terminology, failure to expatiate points and so forth. These identified problems could have arisen due to insufficient knowledge and teaching methods employed on the side of the teachers. Also, this could be the reason(s) behind students‘ poor performance, as well as shunning and fearing the learning of such economics topics (like, tools of economic analysis, demand and supply, labour market and so forth) by students. Similarly, with increasing call for entrepreneurship as a way of curbing unemployment and social vices bedevilling the society, there is need to emphasise better methods of teaching the subject which is expected to boost entrepreneurship skills and management of knowledge among students.

Apparently, project and discussion methods is an instructional method that uses active learning strategies to engage students directly in the learning process, enhance academic performance and promote the development of important learning skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and ability to cooperatively work with each student. Properly implemented project and discussion methods can lead to increased motivation to learn greater retention of knowledge, deeper understanding and more positive attitudes toward the subject being taught (Collin & Obrain, 2003). In view of the stated problems, the researcher was prompted to find out the effects of project and discussion methods on students‘ performance in Economics in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State, Nigeria.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The main focus of this study was to find out the effects of project and discussion methods on students‘ performance in Economics in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. ascertain the effect of project and conventional methods on the performance of economics students in senior secondary schools, Ekiti State;
  2. determine the effect of discussion and conventional methods on the performance of economics students in senior secondary schools, Ekiti State;
  3. find out the performance of students taught economics using project and discussion methods in urban and rural senior secondary schools in Ekiti State;
  4. explore the performance of students taught tools of economic analysis using project, discussion and conventional methods in senior secondary schools in Ekiti

State; and

  1. determine the performance of students taught demand and supply using project, discussion and conventional methods in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State.

1.4        Research Questions

This study was guided by the following research questions:

  1. What is the effect of project and conventional methods on the performance of economics students in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State?
  2. To what extent do discussion and conventional methods have effect on the performance of economics students in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State?
  3. What is the performance of students taught economics using project and discussion methods in urban and rural senior secondary schools in Ekiti State?
  4. What is the performance of students taught tools of economic analysis using project, discussion and conventional methods in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State?
  5. What is the performance of students taught demand and supply using project, discussion and conventional methods in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were postulated for this study:

H01: There is no significant difference between the effect of project and conventional methods on the performance of economics students in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State.
H02: There is no significant difference between the effect of discussion and conventional methods on the performance of economics students in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State.
H03: There is no significant difference between the performance of students taught economics using project and discussion methods in urban and rural senior secondary schools in Ekiti State.
H04: There is no significant difference between the performance of students taught tools of economic analysis using project, discussion and conventional methods in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State.
H05: There is no significant difference between the performance of students taught demand and supply using project, discussion and conventional methods in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State.
1.6 Basic Assumptions

The study was premised on the assumptions that:

  1. the performance of economics students at senior secondary schools in Ekiti State do not differs when taught using project and conventional methods;
  2. the performance of economics students in Ekiti State sometimes differs when taught using discussion method as against conventional method;
  3. the performance of students taught economics using project and discussion methods in urban and rural senior secondary schools in Ekiti State are the same;
  4. no differences is evident in the performance of students taught tools of economic analysis using project, discussion and conventional methods in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State; and
  5. the performance of students taught demand and supply using project, discussion and conventional methods in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State are the same.

1.7       Significance of the Study

The search for innovations in teaching method is a continuous process in an educational system. The need to choose suitable instructional methods in the teaching and learning of Economics has been of great importance. This study is considered to be significant in a number of ways to Teachers of Economics, Curriculum developers, Ministry of Education Officials, Examination Bodies, Textbook writers, Parents, Students and future researchers.

Through the findings of this study, teachers will learn the characteristics of the conventional method, both its pros and cons, and provide some practical alternatives teaching methods for teachers who do not think the method fits their teaching philosophy. Similarly, the outcome of this study would help the teacher to check and improve on the method and quality of teaching which would in turn improve the performance of students in both internal and external examination. It would also help them in evaluating their performance in the teaching of the various aspects of Economics curriculum contents. The result of the study would reveal the aspects of the economics curriculum that are not properly implemented by teachers. This may lead to improvement in such aspects of the curriculum for greater performance among the students.

Economics teachers who teach students will utilize the outcomes of this study to promote effective ways to motivate and increase students learning of economics by guiding the students in their approach to problem solving and creating conducive environment for competency in project and discussion methods among students. The finding will also help in suggesting the way forward in the inculcation of project and discussion methods in learning economics concepts as well as aid towards solutions to arising problems. It is hoped that the result of this study will encourage economics teacher to plan sequence, and organize properly, the contents of economics in order to enhance and encourage students to avail themselves to the learning opportunities that are available in project and discussion methods.

Findings from this study will hopefully benefit the curriculum developers as they would utilize the factors that are found to promote effective ways of using project and discussion methods of teaching and developing materials that could effectively enhance the teaching and learning of Economics. This research will equally be of great use to the curriculum developers as it will help them to suggest relevant teaching methods for teaching different topics in the curriculum. Hence, students‘ academic performance will

improve through the use of appropriate teaching methods.

This study will be of great significance to Federal Ministry of Education and States Ministries of Education. The findings will stimulate them to re-orient their economics teachers through workshops and seminars/conferences on the use of project and discussion methods in their teaching process, to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at the secondary school level. In the same way, the outcome of this study would help the

Ministry of Education to check teachers‘ improvement on the method and quality of teaching which would in turn improve the performance of students in both the internal and external examination.

Bodies like Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) that carryout research, discuss and disseminate research findings can use the result of this research to facilitate effective teaching and learning of economics curriculum and seek to inculcate team spirit in students through project and discussion methods. This therefore would lead to improvement in the way the curriculum is being implemented by the teachers for greater performance among the students.

Parents would as a result of the findings be able to advise their wards on strategies that students can adopt for effective problem solving in economics. Teaching of Economics using projects method will enable students to search and find community actual problems, propose sound solutions to those identified problems and change them throughout their life. The practical experience will develop analytical, creative, participatory decision making, leadership and active citizenship skills and abilities among students, willingness and skills for realizing personal responsibility as a citizen. The students would be able to analyse various situations independently, express and defend personal opinions and attitudes and develop action plans.

Likewise, students can use the result of this research to adopt effective study habits and achieve better performances in test. As project and discussion methods turns the student from passive information recipient to active, free self-learner and problem solver, and slides the emphasis of educational programmes from teaching to learning. This research will enable student to learn new knowledge by facing him/her the problems to be solved, instead of burdened contents. By means of project and discussion methods, some attitudes of students in relation to such areas as problem-solving, thinking, group works, communication, information acquisition and information sharing with others will be affected positively. The outcomes of this research will afford students the skill to both merge their old knowledge with new knowledge and to develop their judgmental skills in a specific discipline or environment. Students will also acquire the skills of time management, focusing, data collection, report preparation and evaluation. Findings from this study hopefully will help develop self-control in students and teach them how to plan prospectively, facing realities and expressing emotions.

1.8       Scope of the Study

The main thrust of this study was to determine the effects of project and discussion methods on students‘ performance in economics in senior secondary schools in Ekiti State, Nigeria. The study was delimited to two teaching methods namely; Project and Discussion methods in teaching economics. The researcher was interested in these teaching methods because they are among the common teaching methods used by economics teachers and to determine their adequacy in motivating and enhancing students‘ learning and academic performance. The subjects for the study are economics students in SSII from Ekiti Baptist High School, Igede-Ekiti, Ekitiparapo College, Ido-Ekiti, Itapa High School, Itapa-Ekiti,

Doherty Memorial Grammar School, Ijero-Ekiti, Aisegba Community Grammar School, Aisegba-Ekiti and Corpus Christi College, Ilawe-Ekiti. These schools were sampled in order to have subjects with similar educational backgrounds. Other variables of the study include tools of economic analysis, demand and supply, and students‘ performance.

EFFECTS OF PROJECT AND DISCUSSION METHODS ON STUDENTS’ PERFORMANCE IN ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN EKITI STATE, NIGERIA

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