Effect Of Community Resources On Students’ Academic Performance In Biology

Biology Education Project Material

Effect Of Community Resources On Students’ Academic Performance In Biology


Abstract


This study examined the effect of community resources on students academic performance in biology in secondary schools in Uyo Metropolis Akwa Ibom state Nigeria. A descriptive research method was adopted. A sample of 10 principals, 10 Biology teachers and 100 students was drawn from a target population of 1222 respondents. Data was collected using interview schedule for Principals and questionnaires were used to collect data from teachers and students. Information was collected from twenty two secondary schools in Akwa Ibom Metropolis. Descriptive statistics in form of percentages, frequencies, tables and ranks were used to analyse data. Major finding of this study were that community resources were not regularly used in Nigerian secondary schools due to constraints of time, finance etc. The study also revealed that the respondents were conversant with community resources in their Metropolis. From the findings teachers should try as much as possible to use community resources in teaching Biology. This will improve the quality of instruction in schools and ensure student active involvement in life-like learning activities.


Chapter One


Introduction.

This chapter looks at the background to the problem, Statement of the problem, Purpose of the study, research objectives and questions, significance of the study, Delimitations and limitations of the study, assumptions of the study, theoretical and Conceptual framework and operational of terms of this study have been defined.


1.1 Background to the Study

It is generally agreed that learners learn best by observing and analysing life experiences. One of the educational reformers John Commenius who believed in universal education, was certain that the old restrictions of time and place and narrowly conceived curriculum concepts should be broken down into content, teaching and learning resources and activities, Whittich (1967).

Commenius further statedthat breaking down concepts would be best done by giving students opportunities to voice their own interests, enthusiasms, and curiosities by seeking answers. This meant observing for themselves the activities of people, visiting places and manipulating things. Clearly instructional materials add element of reality by providing such concrete examples.

Instructional materials include print and non-print items that are designed to impart information to students in the educational process (Bradley, Sankar and Raju 2005).

Among these items are textbooks charts community resources and many more.

The use of instructional materials in secondary schools has been widely researched and findings indicate that the benefits of using them are immense. The integration of instructional materials in classroom practice is believed to booster the quality of instruction by fostering student cantered pedagogies (Abdo and Semela 2010). Furthermore according to Mateer et al (2012), the use of relevant instructional media in the classroom is invaluable since it engages students, aids their retention of knowledge, motivates interest in the subject matter and helps to illustrate many concepts taught.

Ciffone (1998) defines community resources as people, places or things that can be found in all sectors of the community and can provide teachers with teaching materials (borrowed or donated), project ideas, guest speakers, field trips, and community service projects.

Community resources are part of instructional media which can be used in teaching. When well used community resources can enliven a class, encourage student participation and help students grasp difficult concepts. The outdoors can be effective avenue for learners to develop an understanding for basic concepts. These basic concepts extend far beyond the acquisition of simple facts by including relationship building, values formation, and increasing sensitivity and awareness of the environment surrounding the individual, (Ewert, 2006).

Dale (1969), states that full and well-rounded learning should be moved beyond our school walls and into the community. This is a laboratory which can help to bridge the gap between what we know and what we do in education. Utilizing the community and its resources expand the notion of the classroom to include the entire world of the student, (Sebolt 1972).

Olsen (1954) observed that a school cannot be realistic if it is confined to the four walls of the classroom, library or laboratory. If young people are to develop understanding, concerns and skills essential in the real improvement of human living, they must have every opportunity to learn through extensive first hand, problem solving experience. Books and visual materials are all important, but alone are not sufficient. That is why the community opens doors for experience between the school and the community. This can be achieved through the use of resource persons, field trips, community surveys, work experiences and service projects, and visits to factories, firms,social agencies and museums.

Dewey (1966) argued that it is the business of the school to set up an environment in which play and work shall be conducted with reference to facilitating desirable mental and moral growth. The problem of education is to engage pupils in the activities in such a way that manual skill and technical efficiency are gained and immediate satisfaction found in the work. Together with preparation for later usefulness those things shall be subordinated to education- that is, to intellectual results and the forming of a socialised disposition.

Brown, Lewis and Harcleroad (1969) called for more planned contacts with adults of the community since such elderly people open new worlds of experience for learners. They give an example of Michigan state university which organised a community resource workshop. It involved more than fifty teachers in a cooperative effort with twelve local industries and chamber of commerce in learning about the socioeconomic environment in which they worked. An outgrowth of the workshop was a booklet describing full details of potential field trip sites in the area.
Participants contacted more than a thousand community leaders (citizens with special talents and skills). Thus many community contacts were made and community resources explored that were of interest for future use.

Thompson (1981) argues that the community should be a laboratory for study in order that the content of the curriculum might be more relevant to the lives learners led and would continue to lead in their community. Some of the earliest community schools in Africa recognised the need for their teaching staff to be augmented by local people possessing skills in craft and farming and also traditional history and custom which the teachers, often draw from distant communities might well possess. Also present was the idea that children should learn that not all knowledge which was of value was to be found in textbooks but might also be learned from a storehouse of community experience.

Julius Nyerere’s policy ‘education for self-reliance’ called for inclusion of practical activity and productive work into the educational curriculum, not as a punishment but as an integral part of learning. Linkages between the school and the community were made by inviting local intellectuals, elders and others to share their knowledge and experience with the students, (Mbilinyi, 2003).

One of the first advocates for outdoor education we know today was L. B. Sharp in Ewert(2006) felt that which ought and can be best be taught inside the classrooms should there be taught, and that which can be best learned through experience dealing directly with native materials and life situations outside the school should there be learned.

The nature of biology offers unique opportunities for resources within the school community around the environment to be used to enrich students learning. It is a subject that is concerned with the immediate and the larger environment.

Community institutions, people and businesses are rich reservoir of instructional materials for biology teachers. The use of community resources in teaching can make students appreciate the local and international relevance of what they learn in school while affording them the opportunity to apply biology theory and context. This is supported by Chew (2008) who in her study on the development of localised instructional materials in Hong Kong, came to conclusion that teaching and learning in biology could be enhanced to a great extent by using instructional resources based on local contexts, because such resources would be more authentic and more relevant to student‟s needs.

Biology is an applied or vocational subject tailored towards enhancing the learner‟s capacity and ability for employment in the different sectors of the economy, both formal and informal. Biology also aims at equipping the students with entrepreneurial skills that can consequently encourage and lead to the realisation of self-employment (GON Nigeria, 2004). Many of these skills can be achieved by use of community resources.

Every town, whether rural or urban, has places and opportunities that exist for the benefit of the community learning. Britain has identified Libraries, parks, hospitals, town halls that offer potential for exciting learning. Use of Community resources enables the learners to develop skills in creative thinking, independent enquiry, team work and effective participation, (Ellis 2009). There are Places in Nigeria that offer opportunities for community teaching which include museums, railway stations, and factories and so on.

Biology subject prepares future entrepreneurs who play a big role in development of the economy.Ouma (2011) observed that Biology is an important subject to be taught only in secondary schools colleges and universities alone. Nigeria ought to reverse this trend and start teaching right from primary schools. We need to teach Biologyright from primary school. By using community resources, schools shall achieve the goals they have set for themselves.
Wanza (2008) in her a study on implementation of the Biology curriculum in public secondary schools in Lagos state, Nigeria found that teaching and learning resources were inadequate for effective implementation of Biology curriculum.

Biology is an elective to be selected from a cluster that includes Agriculture, Computer Studies and Home Science. With the use of community resources learners will be motivated and may have a positive attitude towards the subject. When students have interest, they tend to learn the subject materials better. Heightened student interest in class can lead to more students opting for the subject.


1.3. Statement of the Problem

In spite of the wide recognition of what can be achieved when using community resources/experiences, research shows that they have not become an integral part of instruction as one would have hoped. Teachers use only textbooks to provide instruction and rarely use teaching resources.

Azeb (1975) in her study on use of community resources in elementary schools in Ethiopia showed that most teachers assigned text books to the class as the main source from which they obtained their instructional materials.

Also a study conducted on teaching Biology in Botswana secondary schools, Sithole (2010) discovered that out of the total teachers sampled, (68%) had never used local people as guest speakers or resource persons. In a similar study, Mitiale (2011), observed that social studies teachers in Botswana make insufficient use of instructional materials.

The similar finding was observed by Mwangi, (2001) in his study on selection and utilization of instructional resources by teachers of English in Muranga Metropolis. He found out that most teachers did not recognise the potential of community based resources such as guest speakers and study tours and that Majority of teachers depended on textbooks as the main source of information. Some teachers unquestionably accept the orderly, systematic curriculum plan handed to them by higher authority, in their classroom teaching.

A lot of research has been done on community resources and their effect on teaching and learning. Their potential to motivate and engage students may be limited. However, little has been done to find out the extent community resources have been used in teaching and learning.


1.4 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to establish the effect of community resources on students academic performance in biology in secondary schools in Uyo Metropolis in Akwa Ibom state.


1.5. Research Objectives

The following research objectives guided this study.

  1. To find out the different types of community resources in use when teaching Biology in secondary schools.
  2. To ascertain how often community resources are used by Biology teachers while teaching.
  3. To identify factors that inhibits the use of community resources in teaching Biology at the secondary school level in Uyo Metropolis, Akwa Ibom state.
  4. To propose intervention measures towards improving use of community resources in teaching Biology in secondary schools.

1.6 Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions:

  1. What community resources are in use in teaching Biology in secondary schools in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state?
  2. How often do you use community resources in teaching Biology in secondary schools?
  3. What factors inhibit the use of community resources in teaching Business Studies in secondary schools?
  4. What intervention measures should be taken towards improving the use of community resources in teaching Biology?

1.7 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study are useful in the following ways.

  1. First the study should be valuable to secondary school Curriculum developers and planners like Nigeria Institute of Curriculum Developers. They will find the information generated by the study relevant to their short term and long term educational planning.
  2. Second the findings are expected to provide useful suggestions to other education stakeholders like the Ministry of Education in its quest to provide the necessary resources to implement the curriculum.
  3. And third the findings may further be beneficial to teacher training institutions to continue to create awareness on the importance of community resources for teaching especially in light of lack of finances to obtain expensive resources.

1.8 Delimitations of the study

The following were the delimitations of the study;

  1. The study was conducted in Uyo Metropolis in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria. The metropolis was selected because it is located in both urban and rural setting which is an advantage as it provides opportunities to sample a variety of community resources.
  2. The study focused on both public and private schools. The study involved Biology teachers, Principals of selected schools and Form three students.

1.9 Limitations of the Study

The following were limitations of the study:

The study limited itself to one Metropolis. For a more conclusive result rural and urban metropolis should have been studied. However it is not possible due to financial and time required for the study.


1.10 Assumptions of the Study

In the study, the following assumptions were made:

  1. Community resources enhance learner’s performance in Biology because they increase student motivation.
  2. Biology teachers are conversant with resources found in their local community that can be used to enhance their lessons.
  3. Most Biology teachers are aware of the benefits of using community resources for learning.

1.11 Theoretical Framework

This study is based on constructivism theory of learning. Constructivism draws on the developmental work of Piaget, Dewey among others. For Dewey knowledge emerges only from situations in which learners have to draw them out of meaningful experiences, (Dewey 1966).

Dewey suggested that people learn through authentic experience and reflection. He believed that learning is propelled by cognitive dissonance rather than reinforcement (White, 2009). Dewey also believed teaching using lecture, reinforcement or other externally imposed methods lead to less personally and socially meaningful learning. He felt real –world, practical problems lead to more experiential and lasting learning. In his theory of contemporary experiential education, he believed that learning through direct experience was the strongest form of learning, with an outcome that also builds a sense of community with the learner, (Ewert 2006).

Students cannot learn by means of rote memorisation they can only learn by “direct living” where concrete activities are combined with theory. The obvious implication of Dewey’s theory is that students must be engaged in meaningful activities that induce them to apply the concepts they are trying to learn.

A productive constructivist learning consists of learner-centred active instruction. In such learning, the teacher provides students with experiences that allow them to hypothesize, predict, manipulate objects, pose questions, etc. By using community resources, learners are exposed to study experiences that they have already discussed in the classroom. Community resources bring out realism and they apply the new knowledge and skill to previous learning.

This helps create a restructuring of thought, (White 2009).

Biology being a vocational subject should relate theory to practice. It is the teacher’s role to provide the relevant real world experiences and facilitate the whole process of learning.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1. Introduction

This chapter deals with the summary of the research findings, the conclusions based on the findings, the implications of these, recommendations for action and suggestions for further research.


5.2. Summary of research findings.

The study sought to find out the effect of community resources on students academic performance in biology in secondary schools in Uyo metropolis Akwa Ibom state.

The analysis of data enabled the researcher to come up with the following findings presented below based on the research questions.

5.2.1. Teachers background information.

The findings established that there were more male teachers 60% than female teachers. The study also established that majority (80%) of the teachers were professionally trained. Majority had bachelors of education degree followed with those with postgraduate and others made up of the smallest proportion.

60% of the teachers had a teaching experience of over five years. This clearly indicated that most of the teachers were experienced and should therefore be very aware of the important role of community resources in teaching and learning process as well as how to use them effectively.

Average class size of most of the teachers taught was (40) students and above whereas the ministry of education recommends the maximum number of students per class should be 45 students. Some of the teachers were teaching classes with more than 45 students. This is likely to have an effect on the use of resources by the teacher in the teaching process.

5.2.2. Availability of Community Resources used in teaching Biology.

Objective one of the study was to identify the community resources used in teaching Biology in secondary schools in Uyo Metropolis of Akwa Ibom state.

It can be concluded from the responses of majority of the students and head teachers that the community was resourceful and full of activities, people and places that could be used in teaching Biology.

All the three groups seemed to be well conversant with resources found in their metropolis. This was confirmed as they identified some of the community resources found in their metropolis except for airport and sea port, all other resources had responses from the teachers, students and head teachers. Results derived from data obtained from teachers, administrators and students revealed that all secondary schools of study were situated in communities which had adequate amount of resources.

5.2.3. Extent to which Community Resources were used in teaching Biology

The second objective sought to establish how often teachers used community resources in teaching Biology. Results derived from the data provided by classroom teachers indicated that the extent to which any particular community resources were used in teaching and learning was not adequate. Data provided by teachers showed that it was evident that they did not adequately use community resources. At no instance they were found using places or people from community. Even results of the data provided by students showed that they did not adequately use community resources during lessons.

It is apparent from the results provided by data obtained from teachers, administrators, students and observations that the extent and frequency of use of community resources in secondary schools was inadequate.

The results reveal that resource people and educational visits were been poorly used because the % was quite low with both the students and teachers.

5.2.4. Factors that inhibit the use of community resources in teaching Biology

Results of data obtained from teachers and administrators indicated that the factors which hindered the effective use of community resources during teaching and learning in secondary schools were:

Examination pressure particularly externally set and evaluated examination KCSE, Lack of parental and administration support in terms of providing finance, Inflexibility of the timetable being used by secondary schools in which periods lasted forty minutes per lesson considered too short to allow incorporation of community oriented teaching and learning methods as field trips, surveys, nature walk outside the school compound as indicated in Table 4.4.

Results provided by teachers and administrators show that their secondary schools were too large in terms of enrolment. Large classes affected the incorporation of community resources since teachers were influenced to design lesson delivery systems and strategies that suited the overcrowding conditions of their classes.

5.2.5. Intervention measures towards improving use of Community Resources in teaching Biology in secondary schools.

Respondents’ additional recommendations favoured more encouragement of the use of community resources. Among the changes suggested include, Co-operations from head teachers, some teachers suggested that the administration should provide funds for Biology projects by charging an extra fee for trips, they can also invite resource persons to the school with the support of school administration, teachers should change their attitudes and value their profession, and consider resources in the community as useful as other valuable educational materials, ministry of education officials should be cooperative and responsive to the needs of the schools and finally develop a criteria for selection of suitable teaching and learning resources from communities. Consider whether the selection will be carried out by a teacher orpanel.


5.3. Conclusion.

From the findings of this study, the following conclusion can be derived. First majority of Biology teachers made little or no use of community resources in enhancing their teaching of Biology. It is evident that use of resource persons and educational trips is not widespread. Secondly the teachers identified factors such as lack of funds, inadequate time to integrate community resources in their instruction, administrators non-support, the school timetable, and the syllabus militate the effective use of community resources by teachers.


5.4. Recommendations

The following recommendations were made based on findings of this study

  1. Biology teachers should try as much as possible to integrate the use of community resources in teaching Biology contents. This will improve the quality of instruction given in schools and also ensure the use of student centred approach in teaching.
  2. School authority particularly school administration should encourage teachers to use community resources through financial support, appropriate scheduling of standard timetable and organisation of regular student development programme to promote teachers efficiency.
  3. Ministry of education through inspectorate division should continually organise seminars and workshops for in servicing Biology teachers on importance and professional use of wide variety of community resources to facilitate teaching and learning.

5.5. Suggestions for further research

  1. More intensive investigation should be done on attitudes of teachers and school heads into the use of community resources in teaching Biology.
  2. Similar study should be carried out in other metropolis in Nigeria to determine whether the findings are similar.

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