EFFECTS OF TEACHING METHODS (LABORATORY AND DISCUSSION METHODS) ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN WRITING AND BALANCING CHEMICAL EQUATION
Background of the study
The importance of students’ learning to put their latent skills to optimal use is self-evident as education inculcates decision-making abilities in students, Magalong(2001) . Learning of different subjects may not yield similar results as there are many factors that affect students’ achievement but teaching methods almost have same effect on students learning. Science is a body of knowledge that carefully and systematically collects data, verifies and predicts events about the natural world.
Nzewi (2010) defined Science as the study of natural phenomena, while Miller and Levine as cited by Mandor (2002) saw science as a body of knowledge with the goal to investigate and understand nature, to explain events in nature and to use these explanations to make useful predictions. In view of the above definitions, science therefore solves man’s problems and improves his/her welfare economically, medically, technologically, and so on. There are so many branches of science, such as chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, etc.
Chemistry as an aspect of science studies the composition, properties and uses of matter (Ababio, 2007). It probes into the changes that matter undergoes under different conditions. Chemistry focuses on the properties of substances around us. Most of the things you can touch, taste or smells are chemicals. It is the explanation for everyday life, like why laundry detergent works better in hot water or how baking soda works or why not all pain relievers work equally on a headache. Chemists can make informed choices about every product that they use, Adelude, (2000).
Writing and balancing of chemical equations are topics in chemistry usually introduced to students at their first year of senior secondary education. They are symbols used instead of words in describing chemical reactions. Writing and balancing of chemical equations are very important topics in chemistry and are the basis for understanding chemical language. In fact, they are one of the basic fundamentals or stepping stone in understanding chemistry, Samule, (2002).
Usoro (2007) defined chemical equations as changes that take place when there is breaking and formation of bonds during a chemical reaction. It is a statement in formula which shows the relative number of moles of particles involved in a chemical reaction. Adigwe (2006) defined a balanced chemical equation as a cognitive map of the motion of the reactants and products, their stoichiometric relationship, physical states and direction of the reaction, reversible or irreversible.
There exists a number of teaching methods for teachers to use. They include: lecture, discussion, discussion, laboratory, individualized instructional, field-trip, peer-teaching methods and so on. Ameh and Dantani (2012) observed that because chemistry as a subject is bulky in nature the subject teachers usually adopt lecture method in teaching in order to cover the syllabus within the stipulated time and this does not give room for proper understanding of the subject. In view of the foregoing, this study examined the acquisition of chemistry knowledge using two instructional methods namely, Laboratory and discussion methods with the aim of determining the effect of each method on the achievement of students in senior secondary schools.
Laboratory method is an activity-based, student-centred teaching method where students learn by carrying out activities in the laboratory, Lalong (2010). These activities include, touching, seeing, feeling, weighting, measuring, demonstrating, carrying out tests/experiments and any other practical activities in the laboratory. A deeper understanding of the science and technological processes can be achieved through laboratory activities which encourage active participation and serve to develop critical thinking and also provide concrete experiences to substantiate the theoretical aspect that might have been taught. Mkpa (2001) maintains that laboratory activities provide exercises/problems based upon real physical situations and also appreciation of the various methods used in experimental science.
Such methods include understanding competence in the use of apparatus, training in awareness of the problems involved in precise laboratory work. These methods help learners to construct definitions of concepts, formulate relevant questions and theories relating to any assumptions and arguments used in the experimental process. According to this author, the laboratory teaching method serves the following purposes; Motivating students by stimulating interest, developing understanding of scientific inquiry and expertise, inculcating scientific attitudes into students and encouraging social skill development.
Omosewo (2009), asserted that laboratory work promotes competence in the skill of gathering information, organizing, communicating, interpreting observing, drawing conclusions and making inferences. Okeke (2011), viewed the laboratory as providing conceptual understanding, procedural knowledge and hence investigative enterprise. The author suggested that if the laboratory is to serve its purpose successfully, then the students must be actively involved in doing their own thinking, evolve solutions to problems, make use of their own hands and heads and therefore grow in skill development at the end of every laboratory exercise.
On the other hand, discussion method of teaching involves a group of people in a class who come together to exchange ideas, facts, opinions and expressions orally about a topic of mutual concern and interest under a guide Adesh (2003). The researcher maintains that in a discussion class the students talk to each other about the concept or problem until there is an agreeable understanding to it mentally.
This method encourages the learner to be independent of the teacher and discover knowledge and also see relationship on their own. As a teaching method, discussion encourages learning through active involvement of students in the lesson. Hence, this study intends to examine the effects of teaching methods (laboratory and discussion methods) on secondary school students’ achievement in writing and balancing chemical equation in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti state.
Statement of the Problem
There have been so much cry and agitation from the educational stake holders about the poor performance of students in Chemistry. Several factors have been identified as responsible for the poor performance of the students in Chemistry. One of such factor has to do with idiosyncrasies of classroom interaction which are in parts traceable to the insufficient interaction between the teachers and students.
It is on the basis of those outlined facts that this study was carried out to find the comparative effects of discussion and laboratory methods of teaching on Chemistry student’s academic performance in Senior Secondary School.
Purpose of the study
The general objective of this study is to investigate the effects of teaching methods (laboratory and discussion methods) on secondary school students’ achievement in writing and balancing chemical equation in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti state. It intends to specifically;
- find out if the mean achievement scores of students taught using the laboratory method differ from those taught using the discussion method.
- ascertain if the mean achievement scores of students taught using the laboratory method differ from those taught using the lecture method.
- examine the mean achievement scores of students taught using the discussion method differ from those taught using the lecture method.
Significance of the Study
The significance of the classroom interaction in any subject cannot be over emphasized. In secondary schools, there has been no particular teaching method established in the conventional classroom situation.
To the students, the findings of the study will help the students to achieve high in chemistry and promote their retention in chemistry which will make them have interest in science courses in higher schools of learning and also appreciate environmental sustainability.
Therefore, the result of this study is expected to assist the Chemistry teachers to consciously structure their class so as to induce in the learners the knowledge necessary for meaningful Chemistry learning. Also, the result is expected to help the curriculum innovators to prescribe the structuring meaningful classroom teaching method necessary for promoting higher performance of students in Chemistry.
To future researchers; the results of this study will serve as a base line data for future research into other methods of teaching. It will also serve as a reference material for future studies. Finally to the curriculum developers, the findings of this study will be used for suggesting/integrating instructional materials and implementing the use of discussion and laboratory methods of teaching and learning.
Delimitation of the Study
The study is delimited to senior secondary schools in Ikere-Ekiti Local Government Area. It comprised of senior secondary school two Chemistry students in public and private secondary schools in Ikere-Ekiti Local Government Areas of Ekiti State. The study covers some selected S.S.S II Chemistry curriculum contents.
The following research questions are generated for the study:
- How do the mean achievement scores of students taught using the laboratory method and those taught using the discussion method?
- What is the difference in the mean achievement scores of students taught using the laboratory method differ from those taught using the lecture method?
- What is the and those taught using the lecture method?
The following hypotheses have been formulated from the research questions to guide the study:
- There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of chemistry students taught Chemistry using the laboratory method and those taught using the discussion method.
- There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of chemistry students taught Chemistry using the laboratory method and those taught using the lecture method.
- There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of chemistry students taught Chemistry using the discussion method and those taught using the lecture method.
Definition of Terms
The following terms were operationally defined in this study:
Teaching: This is the process of transferring ideas through methods by the teacher to the students’ in order to ensure learning.
Learning: This is the process of acquiring new ideas which involve change in behavior after acquiring new concept.
Students: someone who is studying at a secondary school etc
Classroom: a room that you have lessons in at a school or college
Teacher: someone whose job is to teach, especially in a school
School: a place where children are taught