Constructivist Learning Strategy and Academic Performance of Secondary School
The study was conducted to examine the effect of constructivist learning strategy on academic performance of secondary school students in Biology in Essien Udim Local Government Area. A quasi experimental research design was adopted for the study. The population of the study consisted of all (1286) SS2 students in 14 public schools in the area. The sample size was made up of 120 students from 4 selected schools. Two hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The instrument used for data collection was Biology Achievement Test (BAT) Data generated were analyzed by the use of independent t-test statistics. The findings revealed that constructivist learning strategy enhances academic performance of students in Biology than expository learning strategy. Therefore, it was recommended that Biology teachers should expose students to constructivist learning strategy in order to promote effective learning of the subject.
1.1 Background to the Study:
Effective teaching requires flexibility, creativity and responsibility in order to provide an instructional environment able to respond to the learner’s individual needs. As Tomlinson (2001) puts it, beyond the experiential evidence that pervasive uniformity in teaching fails many learners, there is reason in both theory and research to support a movement towards an instruction attentive to students’ variance manifested in at least three areas: the student’s readiness, interest, and learning profile. This makes teachers to always be ready to adopt and adapt teaching and instructional strategies to help students learn more. Several learning theories have been propounded tested among different sets of students in different subject areas. Such theories include the Behaviourist theory, the Cognitivist theory and the Constructivist theory.
The constructivist theory has aroused the interest of experts in the field of science and social science teaching in terms of designing a curriculum which enable the students to learn through activities and construction of meaning and knowledge. Constructivism is a learning theory which state that people learn best when they actively construct their knowledge (Kulshreshtha, 209). In this strategy, learners are seen as the makers of meaning and knowledge.
Constructivist Learning Strategy and Academic Performance of Secondary School
A constructivist teacher and classroom are distinguished from traditional teacher and classroom by a number of identifiable qualities; the teacher are actively involved, the environment is democratic, the activities are interactive and student centered; and the teacher facilitates a process of learning in which students are encouraged to be responsible and autonomous(Gray, 2005).
This is supported by the study by Adagboji Sambo Musa and Onche (2014), who contend that knowledge is not just handed down to learners from the teacher, but it should be actively constructed by the learner: Many educators instructional technologist, educational psychologist and curricularist in literature agree with the assertion by regarding constructivism as important determinant from which effective teaching and learning can be implemented.
Most educationist advocate for student-centered instruction which has some connection with constructivism theory of learning, with great emphasis on maximization of student activity and practice and minization of teacher domination in the teaching-learning transaction.
The constructivist view of learning is based on the premise that learners construct their own personal knowledge and meaning out of a given education experience. Knowledge construction can be made possible by solving authentic problem, which usually requires collaboration with others. (Jonassen, 1999). In addition to the real world or authentic problems and collaboration another essential element of constructivist approach is the learner’s prior knowledge.
Based on the above assertion, Kulshrestha (2009) is of the opinion that learners will not be able to solve any given problem unless they have the relevant prior knowledge and skills. They include case based learning, discovery learning, inquiry-based learning, problem-based learning and project-based learning among others (Kulshreshtha, 2009). It was suggested therefore, that proper implementation of constructivist strategies will enhance academic performance of students.
However, while some indication shows authentic constructivist pedagogies remains relatively uncommon in classrooms, many studies support the potential efficacy of constructivist approaches.
Abobot and fonts (2003) for example found is significant correlation between constructivist teaching and high students achievement research on guided discovery learning demonstrates that students engaging in guided discovery learning activities out perform in pure discovery curricular (Shanfer and Muers, 1997) and Mayer (2004) observed that constructivist approaches have great penitential but requires authentic implementation in order to achieve that potential.
It is against this background that the research study seeks to examine the effect of constructivist learning strategies on academic performance of secondary school students in biology in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In recent years, student poor academic performance in biology internal and external examination in secondary schools in Essien Udim Local Government Area has been said to be the result of ineffectives teaching method adopted by teachers in teaching the students. While many theories and principal of effective teaching might have been applied,
Constructivist approach can be seen as a more effective learning strategy (Ngussa and lazarus, 2014)
However, little is known about practical applicability of constructivist strategy and teaching learning of biology in secondary schools in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state.
Therefore, it’s needful to investigate the effects of constructivist learning strategy on academic performance of secondary school students in biology in Essien Udim Local Government Area.
1.3 Purpose of the Study:
The main purpose of this study is to examine the effect of constructivist learning strategy on academic performance of secondary school students in biology in Essien Udim Local Government Area Specifically, the study aimed at the following
(I) To investigate the influence of inquiry-based learning on academic performance of students in biology.
(II) To determine the effect of inquiry-based learning on academic performance of male and female student in biology.
1.4 Significance of the Study:
The findings of the study will be significant to educational planners, administrators, teachers and science student as follows.
(i) This study will aid science education planners to restructure curriculum in a way that would promote students effective leaning.
(ii) The findings of this study will enable educational administrators to ensure that science (biology) students are properly taught using adequate strategy.
(iii) The result of this study will help biology teachers and students to appreciate the effectiveness or otherwise of constructivist learning strategy in teaching of the subject.
(iv) This study would also be useful to future researchers that may investigate related variables
1.5 Research Hypotheses:
The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.
(i) There is no significant difference in academic performance between student exposed to inquiry based and those exposed to direct instruction in biology.
(ii) There is no significant difference in academic performance in biology between male and female students exposed to inquiry-learning.