IMPACT OF LABORATORY PRACTICAL ON SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE. - UNIPROJECTS

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IMPACT OF LABORATORY PRACTICAL ON SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE.



IMPACT OF LABORATORY PRACTICAL ON SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE. A CASE STUDY OF IKERE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Laboratory activities have had a distinctive and central role in the science curriculum and science educators have suggested that many benefits mount up from engaging students in science laboratory activities. Over the years, many have argued that science cannot be meaningful to students without worthwhile practical experiences in laboratory. Unfortunately the term laboratory or practical have been used, too often without precise definition, to embrace a wide array of activities. Lots of arguments have been raised in the past to give justification or rationale for its use. Even though laboratory sessions were generally taken as necessary and important, very little justification was given for their inclusion.
Some laboratory activities have been designed and conducted to engage students individually, while others have sought to engage students in small groups and in large-group demonstration setting
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. This includes medicine, forestry, agriculture, biotechnology and nursing. The study of Biology in senior secondary school can equip students with useful concepts, principles and theories that will enable them face the challenges before and after graduation.
          Biology as one of the science subject is bent in making one to be conversation with the environment he/she lives in appreciate the meaning of scientific life, to develop unbiased mind and to be intellectually homes with serve as ideal to the future citizen. Fortunately, it is a fact that Biology is the commonly chosen science subject of most secondary pupils are confirmed by the west Africa Examination council (WAEC) record.
The place of laboratory practical in teaching biology cannot be over emphasized, little wonder why  Tairab (2014) Opined that practical work has helped students in knowledge acquisition, like Daramola (2013), and Ogunniyi (2007), advocated earlier that science, which would be taught in secondary schools, should be technologically oriented, which means to teach science with its practical application which strengthens the fact that in recent times, science teaching has taken a new trend Science belonged to the laboratory as cooking belongs to the kitchen and gardening to a garden. This is the state where science teaching is best done in the laboratories. Ndu (1980), also emphasized the practical teaching of science by saying that meaningful learning of science cannot be achieved without practical aspect of science stressing that science disciplines are not only the acquisition of facts but also embrace the processes. Woolnough (1994) also found that majority of secondary school teachers indicated that about 40% to 80% of the class time was spent in practical activities. Hodson (2002) in his own work, classified the reasons given by teachers for engaging in practical work into five major categories like to motivate learners by stimulating interest and enjoyment, teaching laboratory skills, to enhance learning of scientific knowledge, give insight into scientific methods, develop certain scientific methods, these coincides with the classification of practical work reported by Gott, Welford, and Foulds (1988) when they identified five types of practical works like, inquiry practical, investigative practical, skill practical, illustrative practical, and observational practical.
Although Abimbola, I.O, Dada, F.(2015) stated that some practical scientific experiences may be acquired in everyday life, the most important part of the experience is through practical work which gives the student the appreciation of the spirit of science. Therefore, there is no adequate substitute for retention of facts and which also makes learning more permanent because, practical work closely linked with theoretical work help to maximize opportunity to practice those scientific methods.
Laboratory Practical activities in biology provide opportunities for students to actually do science as opposed to learning about science. Nzewi (2008) asserted that laboratory practical activities can be regarded as a strategy that could be adopted to make the task of a teacher (teaching) more real to the students as opposed to abstract or theoretical presentation of facts, principles and concepts of subject matters. Nzewi maintained that practical activities should engage the students in hands-on, mind-on activities, using varieties of instructional materials/equipment to drive the lesson home. Nwagbo (2008) stated that:
The use of practical activities (approach) to the teaching of biological concepts should therefore be a rule rather than an option to biology teachers, if we hope to produce students that would be able to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and competence needed to meet the scientific and technological demands of the nation.
The search for a more effective approach for the teaching and learning of biology that will enhance the acquisition of process skills has persisted over the years. This is because, the acquisitions of science process skills are the bases for scientific inquiry and the development of intellectual skills and attitudes that are needed to learn concept
Acording to Nwagbo (2008), a number of factors have been identified as contributing to the non-acquisition of skills by secondary school students which invariably lead to poor performance and one of the factors is the teacher variable, that is, the teachers’ method of teaching. Furthermore, Okoli (2006) indicated that many science teachers prefer the traditional expository/lecture method of teaching that is, a teaching technique in which one person, the teacher, presents a spoken discourse on a particular subject and shy away from activity-oriented teaching methods which are student centered (such as inquiry method, discovery method, investigative laboratory approach). Nwagbo (2008) observed that such teacher-centred approach which places the teacher as the sole possessor of knowledge and the students as passive recipients of knowledge may not enhance achievement or promote positive attitude to biology. Apart from teaching methods, gender is also implicated in students’ achievement in science.
This project will concentrate on the teaching of Biology and the problem of teaching biology practical in selected secondary School in Akoko South East Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Statement Of Problems
The relevance of laboratory practical in the development and performance of students in biology cannot be over emphasized. Several researches stated earlier indicate the need for effective practical lesson using appropriate equipment. Yet many biology  teachers tend to avoid organizing laboratory practical lesson to their students. Some of the reasons for poor performance of students in examinations include poor science teaching due to teacher’s incompetence. Furthermore, most secondary schools teachers of biology concentrate on meeting the demand of West African Examination Council (WAEC) practical examinations. This has drawn the attention of concerned individuals on the genesis or causes of the situation.
There are evidence of effective teaching of biology practical in School and this has affected the performance of student in biology. This could be due to lack of equipment and materials or lack of proper training of the teachers handing the practical.

Research Question
1.     What impact does laboratory practical activities have on students academic performance?
2.     What are the problem facing teaching and learning of biology practical in senior secondary school
3.     Does teachers’ qualification has any effect on students’ performance in Biology laboratory practical?
4.     What is the attitude of students and teachers’ toward the use of laboratory practixal in teaching of Biology?
5.     Is there enough equipment in the laboratory for effective teaching?
Purpose Of The Study
              This research study carried out in order to know the impact of laboratory practical on students academic performance
The specific objective are
1.     To determine the impact of  laboratory practical activities have on students academic performance?
2.     To find out the problem students and teacher facing in teaching biology practical
3.     To determine if teachers’ qualification has any effect on students’ performance in Biology practical?
4.     To investigate the attitude of biology student and teacher towards the use of  laboratory practical in teaching and leanring of Biology?
5.     To find out if  there are enough equipment in the laboratory for effective teaching of biology?
     Significance Of The Study
              This study is aimed at crating awareness on how vital biology is, not only to the student but also to the public at large with regards to health education. Improvement in science and technology medicine e.t.c.
              It is also aimed at making the federal Government see the benefit of providing schools with proper and adequate laboratory, equipment e.t.c
              This study will also help in making adequate preparation for the teaching of Biology practical
     LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
               Although, covering a large population would have given more accurate information, this study is based on only five selected secondary schools.
              This is due to the fact the scope of the work to be covered is too vast compared to the time within the writer’s disposal. I do hope that the schools chosen on which the research is carried out, would serve as a guide to giving a picture of the type of information needed.
                   If a large population were worked on as all the different secondary Schools are expected to cover the same WAEC syllabus



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