1.1 Background to the study
The importance of instructional materials in teaching and learning of Basic Science cannot be overemphasized. In fact, the successful implementation of the Basic Science curriculum depends a great deal on the quality and quantity of instructional materials available to teachers and students for use in schools. Instructional materials stimulate learner’s interest; help both the teacher and learner to overcome some limitations during the presentation of subject matters.
According to Eya (2004), instructional materials enhance learning and make it more pleasurable. They are used as a check to the teacher’s knowledge and means of transmission. Instructional materials help teachers to guide, coordinate, supervise and have enough time for correction thereby bringing variety in the classroom.
Instructional materials consist of a variety of equipment and materials used for teaching and learning by teachers, to stimulate self-activities on the part of students. These types of equipment include chalk-board, real objects, models, pictures, charts, television, computers, textbooks, projected and non-projected materials, etc. Usman (2002), explained that instructional materials make the lesson clearer, for instance, a Basic Science teacher can describe an atom as consisting of electron, proton, and neutron, but it is very hard to tell the students exactly what an atom looks like without a picture for clarity. This picture of an atom is an instructional material which helps the students to understand the lesson.
Instructional materials have been found to enhance the quality of the learning experience for learners in many ways. They help students to participate in the learning process and help to create a more relaxed learning environment. They provide storage banks for information that can easily be retrieved and used in the classroom.
Improvised Instructional Materials Utilization And Teaching Of Basic Science In Selected Junior Secondary Schools
In spite of the importance of improvised instructional materials, availability and adequacy of instructional materials in teaching and learning Basic Science pose a problem. This is because the supply of instructional materials to schools is affected by the level of funding of education in this country. Again, student’s population explosion and accessibility to local materials constitute a problem of instructional materials. Also, the inabilities of the government to supply the necessary instructional materials to schools pose a problem. Lack of these materials affects the teaching and learning of Basic Science. An attempt to reduce abstract concepts in order to ensure that students learn in a given Basic Science lesson led to the improvisation of instructional materials.
Nnabi (2004) reports that an improvisation is an act of using materials obtainable from the local environment or designed by the teacher or with the help of local personnel to enhance instruction. Improvisation helps the teachers think and research for cheaper, better and faster methods of making the teaching and learning process easier for students thereby promoting creativity and self-reliance. Improvisation of instructional materials is a solution to the unavailability and inadequacy of instructional materials in schools and helps facilitate the teaching and learning process. (Improvised Instructional Materials Utilization And Teaching Of Basic Science In Selected Junior Secondary Schools)
1.2 Statement of the Problem
With poor funding of the educational system, it has become increasingly difficult to produce and acquire the necessary instructional materials needed for effective teaching of Basic Science. As a result, a new direction to making instructional materials available has emerged. This trend is expressed as improvisation; it is designed to replace the ready-made ones (Ibe-Bassey, 2008). It calls for the resourcefulness of the teacher in solving a problem (Gbamanisa, 2002).
According to Esu, Enukoha, and Umoren (2004), improvisation means the process of making materials out of what is found in the immediate environment for the purpose of facilitating the teaching and learning process.
Improvised instructional materials are locally made materials intended to strongly appeal to sight. Improvised instructional materials become necessary due to the acute shortage of teaching materials in the country and the poor status of the school budget. A study by Nwafor (2004), indicated that out of the 2000 students surveyed in Kano State, only 257 representing 12.9% admitted that they were taught with instructional materials. Similarly, Akaya in Buba (2003) in his study of Taraba State pointed out that there was an acute shortage of both the printed and audio-visual materials for instruction.
Given the above deplorable condition in our schools, there is a need for the teachers of Basic Science, to use their creativity in providing the necessary materials and also use improvised instructional materials whereby students will be helped to become active learners rather than passive learners.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main aim of this study was to examine the influence of improvised instructional materials utilization and teaching of Basic Science. Specifically, the study sought to:
i. Ascertain the influence of improvised instructional materials on the ability of the teacher to communicate classroom instruction effectively to the learners.
ii. Examine the influence of improvised instructional materials and the time/energy required in the effective teaching of Basic Science.
iii. Assess the influence of improvised instructional materials on the stimulation of the teacher’s interest and effective teaching of Basic Science.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were raised for this study:
i. To what extent does the use of improvised instructional materials influence the teachers’ classroom communication in Junior Secondary Schools in Esit Eket Local Government Area?
ii. To what extent does the use of improvised instructional materials influence the time and energy of the teachers while teaching Basic Science in Junior Secondary Schools in Esit Eket Local Government Area?
iii. To what extent does the use of improvised instructional materials help in stimulating the teachers’ interest while teaching Basic Science in Junior Secondary Schools in Esit Eket Local Government Area?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would be of immense benefit to a lot of people. It would be of many benefits to students, researches, teachers, government and even school administrators.
1. It would be much significant to teachers who will realize the importance of instructional materials on students’ achievement. This is because what students see, feel and touch is retained and reproduced when needed, and having realized its importance they would always be ready to partake in the production of improvised materials when called upon to do so by the teacher.
2. The school authority and school administrators would benefit from these findings, this is because by the time it is known that improvised instructional materials enhance good teaching and learning, teachers would be encouraged to improvise when the original ones are not available.
3. School administrators would be encouraged to provide resources needed by the teachers to improvise materials. It would also point out the needs of materials from the local environment to be improved.
4. The study would be significant to the government in making educational policies. The study would point out the need for providing more funds to schools to purchase relevant instructional materials, for teaching and learning.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
Although the researcher had reached his aims, there were some unavoidable limitations. Only four schools in Esit Eket were used for the study, because of the short time given or the study to be completed and also a financial constraint that the researcher experienced.
In view of the huge financial involvement, the study is delimited to only four secondary schools in Esit Eket Local Government Area.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Instructional Materials: These are materials, either living or non-living that aid understanding in the teaching/learning process. Such materials include charts, pictures, models, chalkboards, real objects, slide projectors, computers, textbooks: projected or non-projected materials.
Improvised Materials: These are materials obtained from the local environment or designed by teachers and students or by the help of local personnel to enhance instruction and learning.
Utilization: This is a way in which things are used for a particular purpose.
Basic Science: Principally refers to the scientific disciplines of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics and the study of natural phenomena.
Teaching is the act of imparting knowledge or helping someone to acquire knowledge, competence, and values.