The Impact of Biology Teachers and Laboratory Facilities for Effective Teaching and Learning of Biology
The study sought to assess the impact of biology teachers and laboratory facilities on effective teaching and learning of biology in Taraba state. In order to achieve the purpose of the study, two (2) specific objectives were drawn which aided the formulation of the research question. A descriptive survey design was used as a research design for the study. The population of this study comprised all the public senior secondary school year one biology students in all the schools in Jalingo L . G .A. of Taraba state in the 2019/2020 session. The total population of SSI biology students in Jalingo L. G. A. was one thousand seven hundred and fifty-two (1752). The sample size for the study is two hundred and ten (210) students. In composing the sample the researcher used the purposive sampling technique. Data generated were analyzed using chi-square. The result of the findings showed that there is a significant impact of biology teachers and laboratory facilities for effective teaching and learning of biology in Taraba State. Based on the above findings, it was recommended that the state government and principals of secondary schools should ensure adequate provision of relevant and modern learning resources for effective teaching of biology. Another recommendation is that there is an urgent need for the organization of regular workshops/seminars for biology teachers, headteachers, and principals on the important use of learning resources. The result of the findings showed that there is a significant impact of biology teachers and laboratory facilities for effective teaching and learning of biology in Taraba State.
1.1 Background to the Study
Science is the bedrock for development in any nation in the world. Every nation in the world needs science for development, independence, sovereignty, self-reliance, and growth. This is because science and technology provide the basic tools for industrialization and economic development in the areas of communication, transport, energy, information, pollution, and waste control, among others. Science education is the foundation for sustainable development as they protect human scientists from ignorance, illiteracy, disease, and poverty
In Nigeria, the study of science is of great importance, and a lot of emphasis has been laid on the teaching and learning of science with the major aim of science education, as contained in the National Policy on Education, being to equip the students to live effectively in this modern age (FRN, 2013). This can be achieved by inculcating in the learners the necessary scientific skills and attitudes.
The major goal of science education is to develop scientifically literate individuals that are concerned with a high attitude toward rational thoughts and actions. Some of the objectives of teaching science in secondary schools in Nigeria according to Maduekwe (2006) include the preparation of students to observe and explore the environment, development of scientific attitudes in students such as curiosity, critical reflection, and objectivity, also helping students apply the scientific skills and knowledge gained to solve everyday life problems in their environment, develop self-confidence and self-reliance through problem-solving activities in science.
Science is a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of our world. This understanding helps man to know more about the universe (Ogunleye & Babajide, 2011). Without the application of science, it would have been difficult for a man to explore the other planets of the universe. Science comprises the basic disciplines such as Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Biology.
Biology as a science subject is practical and experiment-based. Its objectives as contained in the National policy on education (FRN, 2013) include among others equipping learners with meaningful and relevant knowledge of Biology. This objective can be achieved through the availability and utilization of biology laboratory facilities. The teaching of biology with a focus on the quality of life will involve both changes in the biology curriculum and its relationship with other projects, and the development of a wider range of teaching and learning strategies than biology teachers are commonly using at present. It will also call for a change in emphasis in teaching, especially it relates to community development and to the development of intellectual processes required for problem-solving in a social context.
Learning biology is a means of helping individuals to fulfill their own personal potential. This helps the individual to learn to live in a society and both to contribute to it and benefit from it (Sands & Hull, 2015).
Learning is the result of the constructive activity of the student. Teaching is effective when it supports those activities appropriate to achieving the curriculum objectives, thereby encouraging students to adopt a deep approach to learning. Poor teaching and assessment result in a surface approach, where students use inappropriate and low-order learning activities. A good teaching system aligns teaching methods and assessment to the learning activities stated in the objectives so that all aspects of this system are in accord in supporting appropriate student learning. (Biggs, 2019). Good teaching is a collective responsibility, for which the Institution as a whole is ultimately responsible and which it must support through proper resourcing, staff development, and its reward systems. The 3P model (Brggs, 2019) helps to put in place three common theories of teaching, depending on what is seen as the main determinant of learning: (a) what students are; (b) what teachers do; and (c) what students do.
The majority of Further Education teachers have entered without formal teacher training some higher universities and Institutes/Colleges of Higher Education offer full-time BED and PGCE courses with a Further Education option (Russell, 2014).
The Impact of Biology Teachers and Laboratory Facilities for Effective Teaching and Learning of Biology
Quality in education boils down to qualifying in the curriculum. The definition of quality in teaching is: Planning delivering and evaluating the optimum curriculum for the individual pupil in the context of a range of learners (Wilson, re88). Factors such as staffing standards and finance for specific kinds of in-service may have direct implications for the quality of work a teacher can do. For more information to assist in the important task of making teaching in the colleges of further education more efficient and effective are given by Cannon & Newble, (2010); Cotton (2005); Curzon (2007); Fry et a/., (2010); Newble & Cannon (2005); Reece & Watker (2000).
Laboratory activities have been traditionally used to accomplish a wide variety of goals, cognitive, practical, and effective. Students carrying out practical work appeared to develop better self-reliance and manipulative skills, but were less attentive to the task at hand and required more time to cover the subject as fully (Cunningham, 1946; Bradley, 1968). It is not unreasonable to suggest that the laboratory provides unique conditions for the acquisition of these cognitive, practical, and effective skills. Hence, the assessment and subsequent evaluation of these laboratory skills are important tasks for the teacher, in terms of both assessing student performance and providing important evaluative feedback (Giddings et a1., 2011). The life of the students and their learning in the laboratory can be improved by improving both the instructional materials and the instruction of the teachers (Woolnough, 2011).
The teacher is undoubtedly the key factor in realizing the potential of the laboratory. Teaching in the laboratory requires a special approach to science (for example science as inquiry), special instructional skills (running discussions before and after laboratory work), special management skills (budgeting time, managing small groups, guarding safety), and special attitudes (patience, tolerance of uncertainly readiness to encounter failure open-mindedness) (Tamir, 2011).
Systems for evaluating students’ activities in the laboratory can be classified into four main categories: Written evidence (written reports or items on paper and pencil tests), laboratory practical examinations; audiovisual and computer stimulations: and continuous observational assessment (Giddings et al. 2011). Practical assessments should be restricted to direct observation and judicious measurements of outcomes Bryce et al, 2011). Henry 2002) documented claims that lab work led to many different desirable outcomes in the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains. Such outcomes included better understanding Bruner, 2006), familiarity with techniques and apparatus (McDonell, 2015), and manipulative skills (Kerr, 2014). Lab work is also claimed to influence a variety of effective outcomes.
The Impact of Biology Teachers and Laboratory Facilities for Effective Teaching and Learning of Biology
These include scientific attitudes, e.g. critical judgment and attitude to science, and maintaining interest in the subject Kerr, 2014). Equipment and facilities must be maintained and replaced on a regular basis. Computers and other instrumentation must be accommodated in order to provide secure and easy access for students to use in laboratory activities. Most of the studies have dealt mainly with teaching and learning in Further Education. Some work on teaching and learning science has been reported but there is little information on teaching and learning biology subjects in Further education. In fact, most of the work has been done for this subject in secondary education. It is very useful to study review and generate a written appraisal related to teaching and learning of biology in Further education. It is very important to describe the influence of the biology laboratory on student learning and the evaluation of student performance.
Over the years, science education in Nigeria has faced various challenges. The school curriculum offers a child-centered teaching-learning approach as students are encouraged to take up the science-related subjects including biology, which occupies a unique position in the school curriculum and is central to many science-related courses (Yusuf and Afolabi, 2010). In Nigeria, the inclusion of science subjects in the school curriculum is to promote national development as the nation adopts more science-oriented policies and programmes in education (Oriahi et al., 2010).
Researchers agree that teachers are one of the most important school-based resources in determining students’ future academic success and lifetime outcomes (Chetty et al. 2014; Rivkin et al. 2005; Rockoff 2004). As a consequence, there has been a strong emphasis on improving teacher effectiveness as a means to enhance student learning. Goe (2007), among others, defined teacher effectiveness in terms of growth in student learning, typically measured by student standardized assessment results. Chetty et al. (2014) found that students taught by highly effective teachers, as defined by the student growth percentile (SGPs) and value-added measures (VAMs), were more likely to attend college, earn more, live in higher-income neighborhoods, save more money for retirement, and were less likely to have children during their teenage years.
This potential of a highly effective teacher to significantly enhance the lives of their students makes it essential that researchers and policymakers properly understand the factors that contribute to a teacher’s effectiveness. However, as we will discuss in more detail later in this report, studies have found mixed results regarding the relationships between specific teacher characteristics and student achievement (Wayne and Youngs 2003). In this chapter, we explore these findings, focusing on the three main categories of teacher effectiveness identified and examined in the research literature: namely, teacher experience, teacher knowledge, and teacher behavior
Education is the compilation and product of many and varied resources. Among these, teachers stand out as a key to realizing the high standards that are increasingly emphasized in schools and school systems across the country. Despite general agreement about the importance of high-quality teachers, researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and the public have been unable to reach a consensus about what specific qualities and characteristics make a good teacher.
Even more concerning is the array of policy statements regarding teacher preparation that have been set forth in the face of volumes of inconclusive and inconsistent evidence about what teacher attributes really contribute to desired educational outcomes. Policymakers are left with questions surrounding what counts as a quality teacher—information that could be valuable in guiding policies regarding whom to hire, whom to reward, and how best to distribute teachers across schools and classrooms. Answers to these questions have potentially important implications for the efficiency and equity of public education.
The intense interest in teacher policy is motivated by several compelling factors. One factor relates to the high proportion of educational dollars devoted to teacher compensation. The single largest category of educational spending is devoted to the purchase of teacher time. A substantial portion of the 1999-2000 national investment in public education, which totaled over $360 billion, was used to employ almost 2.9 million teachers to educate more than 46 million public elementary and secondary students (National Center for Education Statistics 2000).
Guthrie and Rothstein (1998) assert that teacher salaries account for at least 50% of typical school district expenditures. Further, in their analysis of spending in the New York City public school system, Speakman et al. (2016) found that over 41% of the total expenditures in this district were devoted to the salaries and benefits of instructional teachers. An additional 6% was spent on other instructional personnel such as substitutes and paraprofessionals. This high level of investment mirrors the general sentiment among policymakers, researchers, and the general public that teachers are perhaps the most valuable resource allocated to student education.
Further, the enhancement of teacher quality is likely to be quite costly. Increases in teacher salaries, incentives such as loan-forgiveness programs, heightened teacher preparation requirements, and other efforts to prepare, recruit and retain high-quality teachers are all associated with substantial costs. These costs could be managed by targeting specific areas of need where teacher shortages are most pronounced, such as particular subject areas (e.g., mathematics and science), types of classrooms (e.g., special education), and geographic areas (e.g., urban settings).
Nevertheless, a clear sense of which teacher attributes really lead to improved educational outcomes should guide these important investment decisions, particularly given the many competing policy options to enhance teacher quality, as well as other attractive education policy proposals. In a context of limited resources, difficult policy choices must be made, and solid evidence should be used to guide those decisions.
The most consistently identified teacher effectiveness variable is time on task. That is, the more time that students spend learning specific academic content, the better they will learn it. The distinction is made between allocated time on task (the time that teachers allocate to particular instructional activities) and engaged time on task (the time that students actually spend engaged in instruction). Although no consistent relationship has been seen between allocated time on task and academic achievement, research has demonstrated that engaged time on task is positively related to academic achievement.
Strategies for maximizing engaged time on task have been identified and include effectively managing transitions, avoiding digressions and other irrelevant verbalizations, and managing classroom behavior. Sometimes, teachers can improve student-engaged time on task by examining the amount of allocated time for class and monitoring their own teacher behaviors more closely. For example, teachers may find that they start classes 5 minutes late, end classes 5 minutes early, stop during the middle of class to search for relevant instructional materials, and stop to manage inappropriate classroom behaviors. Once such target areas are identified, teachers can design strategies to improve each area that will result in increasing the amount of student-engaged time on task during classes.
Effective teacher presentations have also been identified. Teachers maximize achievement when their presentations contain elements such as structure of lesson, clarity of teacher presentation, redundancy in emphasizing important concepts, and enthusiasm. The structure includes enlisting students’ attention, providing a lesson overview that includes lesson objectives, providing outlines of the lesson and indicating when transitional points occur, and summarizing and reviewing key points as the lesson proceeds. It is important that students be made aware of the structure and objectives of the lesson so that they will know what is to be accomplished and how it will be accomplished.
For example, teachers who begin with statements indicating the order of the learning activities (e.g., “First, we will …,” “Second, we will be …,” “Finally, we will …”) provide the structure for the lesson for all students. Clarity includes presenting clearly and directly to the point of the lesson, avoiding vague or unfamiliar terminology, and providing concrete understandable examples. All teacher dialogue should be directly pertinent to the objective of the lesson.
Redundancy does not refer to unnecessary repetition; rather, it refers to emphasizing and restating the key elements of a lesson, particularly significant concepts and rules. Redundancy refers to the provision of multiple opportunities to practice learning newly presented content. Additional practice opportunities can vary in format and length given that the goal is to provide students with many chances to practice learning new information.
Many students not only benefit from redundancy but also require redundancy prior to mastering new content. Teacher enthusiasm helps to maintain students’ attention and helps to model a positive attitude toward learning. Components of teacher enthusiasm include appropriate body movements and gestures, animated facial expressions, vocal inflections, positive acceptance of relevant student contributions, and a high overall display of positive energy.
Teachers also can increase achievement when they teach at an appropriate rate of presentation and when they maximize active student engagement with instruction or instructional materials. Selecting an appropriate rate of instruction not only is very important but also can be very challenging for teachers during the current era of statewide high-stakes testing. For example, if it is apparent that students have not learned a concept, it becomes necessary to back up and re-teach that concept. This may require taking an additional class period or more depending on the students and the knowledge level required. The challenge for teachers is to ensure that all necessary content is covered before the end of the school year.
During teacher presentations, appropriate use of feedback and verbal praise is also associated with higher achievement. For example, praise that acknowledges student effort specifies what the student did to merit praise, and demonstrates the association between effort and achievement is positively related to student achievement. Another important characteristic of praise is that it is genuine.
Following teacher presentation, guided and independent practice activities are associated with long-term learning and academic achievement. Guided practice activities are conducted under teacher supervision until it is certain that students are able to proceed independently. Students undertake independent practice activities when the students have demonstrated acquisition of skills or concepts being taught and need independent practice to further reinforce learning. With both guided and independent practice, instructional tasks and materials must be directly relevant to instructional objectives.
Overall, a model of effective instruction for an individual lesson includes daily review, statement of objective, teacher presentation, guided practice, independent practice, and evaluation of learning objectives. Weekly and monthly review activities are also related to long-term learning and retention of important concepts.
1.2 Statement of the Study
Poor Teaching and Learning of students is mainly due to lack of motivation for teachers; poor infrastructural facilities; attitude of students to learning; lack of teaching skills and attitude by science teachers; and lack of opportunities for professional development of science teachers (Braimoh and Okadeyi, 2001; Olaleye, 2002). Other factors include syllabus, teacher’s qualifications, workload, experience and disposition, general lack of teaching skills and ineffective style of delivery of subject matter are also identified as some of the causes (Adepoju, 2011; Salau, 2016). Scientific issues involve the teaching of biological concepts through technology so as to develop science through interesting contexts.
Also, previous studies have shown that the rate of failure in biology at senior secondary certificate examinations is high. A number of factors could account for this; one of such factors is inadequate/insufficient laboratory facilities in secondary schools which can affect the ways practical activities are been conducted in our schools top the list in the science education literature. This established evidence that the use of biology laboratory facilities has a significant influence on the teaching and learning of biology.
However, effective teaching and learning of Biology in Taraba State have over the years encounters numerous setbacks some are attributed to the factors mentioned above, and certainty has not been achieved over the causes for poor teaching and learning of Biology, for this reason, this study “The Impact of Biology Teachers and Laboratory Facilities for Effective Teaching and Learning of Biology in Taraba State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main objective of this study is to examine The Impact of Biology Teachers and Laboratory Facilities on Effective Teaching and Learning of Biology in Taraba State. The specific objective includes:
- Investigate the Impact of Biology Teacher’s Attitude for effective teaching and learning of Biology.
- Examine the impact of teacher’s use of Laboratory facilities for Effective Teaching and Learning of Biology