• Wednesday, 18 December 2019

    EFFECT OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN BIOLOGY


    EFFECT OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES  ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN BIOLOGY

    CHAPTER ONE
    INTRODUCTION
    Background to the study
    Biology is widely used in various fields since it covers a wide range of activities. However, the decline in biology achievement has been a source of concern to many stakeholders such as educators, government, parents, students themselves, to mention but a few. Among the reasons for the decline in biology achievement in schools is the fact that many students experience biology anxiety in the traditional classroom. This is a classroom where students are not actively in developing knowledge; they receive information passively and are less motivated. This passivity has caused much concern among plays a significant role in enhancing the country’s socio economic and technological development. The West African Examination Council (WAEC) Chief Examiner’s report 2016 noted that the persistent poor achievement of students in biology at senior schools certificate Examination (S.S.C.E) leaves one in doubt about the effectiveness of instructional materials approaches used by the biology teachers for the teaching and learning of biology. Therefore, teaching methods must be re-examined and organized in such a way that there should be more emphasis on instructional methods that will emphasize less lecture, more student directed classes, more discussion and biology teachers should design classrooms that will make students feel more successful. Students must have a high level of success or a level of failure that they can tolerate. Studies have shown that students learn best when they are active rather than passive learners (Nwagbo, 2008). Authors have argued that everyone is capable of learning, but may learn in different ways.
     Therefore lessons must be presented in a variety of ways. For example, new concept can be taught through play acting, visual aids, and hands on activities, technology and cooperative groups. However, the quality of education that teachers provide to student is depend upon what teachers do in their classrooms (Zakaria & Iksan, 2007). The teaching method used in the class is one of the factors that make students become passive and have less interaction with each other in doing Baird (1994) have criticized the traditional (Lecture) method used by teachers because only hardworking students can benefit from it. Therefore, to enhance the understanding of biology, students must be more active in the classroom and must creatively acquire knowledge, especially in understanding and solving biological problems. Students should be given the opportunities to develop, to interact, and to share with friends through cooperative learning activity. Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. It is an educational approach which aims to organize classroom activities into academic and social learning experiences. There is much more to co-operative learning than merely arranging students into groups, and it has been described as “structuring positive interdependence (Brown and Ciuffetelli, 2009). Stressing their point, the writers explained that cooperative learning requires students to engage in group activities that increase learning and adds other positive outcomes which include academic gains, improved race relations and increased personal and social development. In addition, students who fully participate in group activities, exhibit collaborative behaviors, provide constructive feedback, and cooperate with their groups and there is every likelihood of their receiving higher test scores and course grades at the end of the instruction. Cooperative learning is an active pedagogy that fosters higher academic achievement and it has also been found to increase attendance, time on task, enjoyment of school and classes, motivation, and independence.
                Brown and Ciuffetelli (2009) and Siltala (2010) discussed the 5 basic and essential elements to cooperative learning as:
    1.      Positive interdependence: Students must fully participate and put forth effort within their group and each group member has a task/role/responsibility. Therefore, members must believe that they are responsible for their learning and that of their group.
    2.      Face-to- face promotive interaction: members promote each other’s success and students explain to one another what they have or are learning and assist one another with understanding and completion of assignments.
    3.      Individual and group accountability: Each student must demonstrate mastery of the content being studied and each student is accountable for their learning and work, therefore eliminating “social loafing”.
    4.      Social skills: Social skills that must be taught in order for successful cooperative learning to occur include effective communication, interpersonal and group skills such as leadership, decision–making,trust-building,friendship-development,communication and conflict-management skills.
    5.        Group processing: Group processing occurs when group members (a) reflect on which member actions were helpful and (b) make decision about which actions to continue or change. The purpose of group processing is to clarify and improve the effectiveness with which members carry out the processes necessary to achieve the group’s goals.
    Contributing Webb, Troper, and fall, (2015) explained that in cooperative learning, students are encouraged to be active participants in the construction of their own knowledge. The authors added that cooperative learning also encourages students to interact and to communicate with peers in harmony. In this way, cooperative learning promotes values such as honesty, cooperation, mutual respect, responsibility, tolerance, and willingness to satisfy a consensus, and execution of duties in cooperative learning can develop self-confidence in students. There are several numbers of cooperative learning techniques available. Some of them utilize student pairing, while others utilize small groups of four or five students. These techniques have been created into structures to use in any content area (Melihan & Sirri, 2011). Among the easy to implement structures are Think-pair –Share, Think-pair-write, variations of Round Robin, Reciprocal Teaching Technique, Jigsaw, Jigsaw II and reverse Jigsaw, Inside-outside circle, Reciprocal Teaching, STAD (or student- Teams – Achievement Divisions), Rally Table, TGT (or Team Game Tournament). For the purpose of this study, the researcher decided to explore the effect of TGT cooperative learning on SS2 students’ academic achievement in biology. Team game tournament is an effective technique of cooperative learning wherein groups are created that function in the class for a period of time. In this technique the groups revise at portion of material before writing a written test. This motivates those students that have the fear of writing the test and to learn and reinforce what has been already learnt. This method was basically to increase student’s skills, increase interaction and self-esteem between students. In this technique the students study in the class. The material is supplied and is taught in groups or individually through different activities. The students after receiving the material review it and then bring 2-6 points from their study into their assigned groups. Since the tournament is based on a material there is a specific answer. To use TGT technique, students are placed into small groups to study and prepare for a trivia game. This gives students incentive to learn and have some fun learning the material and knowing it is a group exercise so not one student is to blame if a team loses (Slavin, 2015). The writer went ahead to explain that this game is characterized by students working in heterogeneous groups, and playing the games make the students to more into homogeneous and higher level groups. The students compete in the tournament after a designated time to study by forming groups of 4-5 students where the stronger students compete with the weaker students and winner of the respective team is moved to a high level team while the students who don’t score well are moved to an easier level. This ensures that students of the same ability are competing with each other. The technique is an effective tool to teach biology as it motivates and helps students acquire skills and mastery with the help oft heir peer and through healthy competition. A study by Zakaria, chin, and Daud (2010) found that cooperative learning improves students’ achievement in biology.
    Zakaria et-al further explained that cooperative learning of materials and helps students to achieve better grade Shimazoe and Aldrich (2010) stated that in cooperative learning, students tend to enjoy biology, and this enjoyment motivates them to learn. Melihan and Sirri (2011) concluded that cooperative learning method is more effective that traditional teaching method in the academic success of students. Students today have a need for practical biology; this implies that biology needs to be relevant to their everyday lives. Students enjoy experimenting and to learn biology, students must be engaged in exploring, conjecturing, and thinking rather than, engaged only in rote learning of procedures, therefore, there is the need to explore TGT cooperative learning.

    Cooperative learning can be defined as a teaching method that involves students in learning process in order to understand and learn content of the subject (Slavin, 2011). Traditional class activities create a win-win situation, where one can only succeed if other loose, while cooperative learning is direct opposite to it, here conquest of all is success of all. Cooperative learning has edge over other teaching methods in terms of its effectiveness for improved cognition, social skills and motivation. Two major attributes that have distinguished cooperative learning from traditional learning include interdependence (positive) as well as accountability as each member of group is important for success (Slavin, 1990). Its competence in terms of augmenting academic achievement has been proved many research studies (McMaster & Fuchs, 2002; Johnson, Johnson & Stanne, 2000, Nichols, 2002, Winston, 2002). Cooperative learning also improve positive attitude towards learning (Johnson & Johnson, 2008), improved social relations (Johnson & Johnson, 2005), in addition to high self-esteem and cohesiveness (Sahin, 2010). Cooperative learning can be also stated in terms of instructional strategy in which students work together to achieve learning target (Abrami, Poulsen & Chambers, 2004). It is also presented by Polloway, Patton and Serna (2001) that the cooperative learning method when used as a teaching activity, improves motivation, class participation and academic achievement of students.
    Cooperative learning has been used many researchers as instruction strategy with positive and improved results. A few studies have been carried out in local context also, for example Iqbal (2004) conducted a study the examine the effect of cooperative learning on academic achievement on secondary school students in the subject of mathematics, he reports that there was a significant difference between the achievement scores of the students taught by the cooperative and traditional method. The students who were taught by the cooperative method show high scores. Similarly Bibi (2002) and Siddiqui (2003) has carried out their research by using cooperative learning for improving
    performance of ESL learners, the results were positive. Similarly, study carried out by Arbab (2003) for two weeks on general science students also proved that students taught with cooperative learning method has improved results than control group. Additionally Kousar and Perveen has presented in two separate studies on 7th and 8th graders in 2003 that students who were taught social studies with cooperative learning method have scored high grades than others. It is clear from above citation that research on cooperative learning in local context had been carried out either in science subject, English language learners or on school students, this study is different in both aspects; one it has dared to chose subject of “education” which is considered an arts subject and is taught generally through lecture method, two the participants of the study is college students, who are usually not taken as sample due to
    multiple reasons, including burden of course work and short time.

    Academic achievements of students have been found to be enhanced by the use of cooperative learning (Lampe, Rooze & Tallent-Runnels, 1998; Johnson & Johnson, 1989; Slavin, 1990, 1991; Webb, 1989). Stevens and Slavin (1995) stated that, the fact that ithas been linked to increases in the academic achievement of learners at all ability levelsis another reason for its use. Bramlett (1994), Megnin (1995), and Webb, Trooper, andFall (1995) in their contributions noted that cooperative learning activity engages thestudent in the learning process and seeks to improve the critical thinking, reasoning, andproblem-solving skills of the learner.
    While research efforts on cooperative-learning indicate that it enhances student
    achievement (Johnson & Johnson 1989; Slavin 1990; 1991; Webb 1989), Lampe, Roozeand Tallent-Runnels (1998) stated that peer interaction is central to the success ofcooperative learning as it relates to cognitive understanding. They further noted thatcomprehension is facilitated. Lampe et al (1998) again emphasized that as learners, someof who might normally "turn out" or refuse to speak out in a traditional setting, becomeactively involved in the learning process through group interaction. Stahl and Vansickel(1992) noted that every  cooperative-learning strategy, when used appropriately, canenable students to move beyond the text, memorization of basic facts, and learning lowerlevel skills. This method which results in cognitive restructuring leads to an increase inunderstanding of all students in a cooperative group.
    Apart from academic benefits, cooperative learning has been found to promoteself-esteem, interpersonal relationship and improved attitudes toward school and peers(Johnson & Johnson, 1996). Lampe et al (1998) stated that in a competitively structuredclassroom, except for the few "Winners" or students who succeed, self-esteem can suffer.
    When competition is promoted, students may learn to value winning at all costs, andcooperation may be discouraged (Lampe, et al 1998; Conrad, 1988). Although theadvocates of cooperative learning are not opposed to all competition, they do opposeinappropriate competition (Johnson & Johnson, 1996; Johnson & Johnson, 1991). Stahl(1992) stated that inappropriate competition tends to widen the existing differences andabilities, which, in turn, can widen negative perceptions of others on the basis of gender,race, or ethnicity. Studies by Glassman (1989), and Johnson, Johnson and Stanne (1986)and comments by Johnson and Johnson (1996) and Trowbridge and Bybee (1996) oncooperative learning found cooperative-learning groups to equalize the status and respectfor all members, regardless of gender. Research by Klein (1985) noted by Lampe et al (1998) revealed that competitively structured classrooms have the effect of favouringboys or reinforcing sex role stereotypes that may limit opportunities for girls. Incooperative learning this usually is not the case, where interaction among students isintense and prolonged and students gradually take responsibility for each other’s learning(Borich, 2004).
    In general, cooperative learning can be said to lead to the formation of attitudeand values, provision of models of prosocial behaviour, presentation of alternativeperspective and viewpoints, building a coherent and integrated identity, and promotion ofcritical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving behaviour (Borich, 2004; Stevens &Slavin, 1995; Abruscato, 1994; Zehin & Kottler, 1993). All these result in collaborativeskills improvement, better self-esteem and increased achievement. (Johnson & Johnson,1996).
    Science teaching and learning today is to a great extent focused on activities bywhich the learner acquires facts, rules and action sequences (Kpangban & Ajaja, 2007).
    In a student-centered instructional approach like this, using student ideas meansincorporating student experiences, points of view, feelings, and problems into the lessonby making the student the primary point of reference. A completely studentorientedlesson is always initiated by asking students questions and assigning specificroles to them on the content to be taught and their answers and dispositions wouldbecome the focus of the lesson. This approach, according to Borich (2004), is intended toheighten student's interest and to encourage positive attitude and feeling towards thesubject. Research by Johnson and Johnson (1991) on learning together and alone showedthat cooperative learning enhanced more positive attitude towards subject members andthe teacher.
    Evidences from research works in Nigeria indicated that very little researchefforts had been directed at cooperative learning. This approach has been highlyrecommended for teaching at all levels, as stated by the Federal Government of Nigeria
    STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
    Despite the relative importance of biology in science and information based courses as well as in medicine and social sciences, students‟ performance in the subject in both internal and external examinations has remained consistently poor.
    Science educators are trying to identify the major problems associated with the teaching and learning of biology in the nigeria schools. Despite all these noble efforts, the problem of poor performance in  has continued to surface in nation‟s public examination. Researchers also conducted studies on the factors responsible for students academic performance in biology.
    Yet performance and  attitude of students in biology is generally poor . Many students especially in the study area have fear and lack of interest for biology; they shun away from biology  classes, paid little or no attention to lessons and as a result, continue to experience difficulties in answering questions, particularly in genetics and biology in general. Therefore, they have very poor performances and retention in terminal and promotional examinations. To corroborate the above statement West African Examination Council (WAEC) Zonal coordinator reported that 80% of candidates that sat for the WAEC examination in the year 2015/2016 failed  Biology. This agrees with the report of registrar and chief executive of National Examination Council (NECO) who said that 71.92% of candidates who registered for biology in the examination failed the subject.
    This without any argument cooperative learning was reported as effective strategy of teaching biology at various places (Johnson & Smith, 1998). Hence, in an attempt to possibly promote the performance students in biology while non cooperative attitude of students  towards the teaching and learning of biology have effect on their academic performance, in view of this, the aimed of this study is to find out the effect of non cooperative attitude on students academic performance
    OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
    The major objective of this research work is to investigate the effect of non cooperative attitude of students on academic performance in biology
    The specific objectives of this study were:
    i.                    To identify the effects of non cooperative attitutude on students’  achievement.
    ii.                 To investigate whether the cooperative learning method is more effective than the regular  methods of teaching with respect to academic achievement of students in biology
    iii.               II. To establish the attitudinal change towards cooperative learning as a method of learning  biology
    RESEARCH QUESTION
    ·        What are the effects of non cooperative attitude on students’  achievement.
    ·        Does cooperative learning method more effective than the regular  methods of teaching with respect to academic achievement of students in biology
    ·        To what extent does  the attitudinal change of cooperative learning as a method of learning  biology
    Research hypothesis
    2          Is there any difference between the mean performances scores of students taught  Biology using cooperative learning strategy and their counterparts taught using lecture method?
    2) Is there any difference between the mean retention scores of students taught geometry construction using cooperative learning strategy and that of students taught using lecture method?
    Significance of the Study
    The significance of this study lies in its potentiality of addressing key issues to the teaching and learning of biology as a compulsory  science subject  as well as being it prerequisite for further education. This study is significant for the following reason:
    This study will be of tremendous assistance to all involved in the teaching and learning process. Specifically, it is hoped that this study would be of help to the biology teachers. It is hoped to provide a more efficient method of teaching biology considering the worldwide reports about the capability of cooperative learning strategy. It is hope to promote students personal relationship as they relate with one another during lessons‟ periods and equally enable the slow learners to learn from the past learners in the group.
    The result of this study may also provide curriculum planners necessary information that may be importance when curriculum review is needed. The curriculum planners may use the result to measure students‟ performance in achieving the set objectives of SS III biology curriculum. On the other hand, professional bodies and associations would also be beneficiaries of this study as their members meet annually to review and update their members‟ knowledge in current researches in the field of mathematics education.
    Fellow researchers might also find the study valuable from the design, method and the research gap been identified for their further study in the field. Text book publishers may also find the study valuable as they consider good methods of teaching when writing text book.
    The problem areas of the students identified from this study would serve as a vehicle for further research work, the result of this study may further show how to overcome the difficulties.

    Scope of the Study
    In this study, the researcher investigated the effect of non-cooperative attitude on students academic performance  in Ekiti state. Senioir secondary schools (SSS) III in Ikere Local government area  were considered during the research. The choice of SS III was because; they are the students preparing for SSCE examination. Five selected secondary schools will be used for the study.

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