IMPACT OF LABORATORY PRACTICAL ON SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE.

IMPACT OF
LABORATORY PRACTICAL ON SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE. A CASE
STUDY OF IKERE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA
CHAPTER
ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
Laboratory activities have
had a distinctive and central role in the science curriculum and science
educators have suggested that many benefits mount up from engaging students in
science laboratory activities. Over the years, many have argued that science
cannot be meaningful to students without worthwhile practical experiences in
laboratory. Unfortunately the term laboratory or practical have been used, too
often without precise definition, to embrace a wide array of activities. Lots
of arguments have been raised in the past to give justification or rationale
for its use. Even though laboratory sessions were generally taken as necessary
and important, very little justification was given for their inclusion.
Some laboratory activities
have been designed and conducted to engage students individually, while others
have sought to engage students in small groups and in large-group demonstration
setting
Science is a great enterprise
which nations depend on, in-order to advance technologically. Science
therefore, is receiving much emphasis in education because of its significance
and relevance to life and society. Biology as a branch of science and the
prerequisite subject for many fields of learning contributes immensely to the
technological growth of the nation. This includes medicine, forestry,
agriculture, biotechnology and nursing. The study of Biology in senior
secondary school can equip students with useful concepts, principles and
theories that will enable them face the challenges before and after graduation.
          Biology as one of the science subject
is bent in making one to be conversation with the environment he/she lives in
appreciate the meaning of scientific life, to develop unbiased mind and to be
intellectually homes with serve as ideal to the future citizen. Fortunately, it
is a fact that Biology is the commonly chosen science subject of most secondary
pupils are confirmed by the west Africa Examination council (WAEC) record.
The place of laboratory practical
in teaching biology cannot be over emphasized, little wonder why  Tairab (2014) Opined that practical work has
helped students in knowledge acquisition, like Daramola (2013), and Ogunniyi
(2007), advocated earlier that science, which would be taught in secondary
schools, should be technologically oriented, which means to teach science with
its practical application which strengthens the fact that in recent times,
science teaching has taken a new trend Science belonged to the laboratory as
cooking belongs to the kitchen and gardening to a garden. This is the state
where science teaching is best done in the laboratories. Ndu (1980), also
emphasized the practical teaching of science by saying that meaningful learning
of science cannot be achieved without practical aspect of science stressing
that science disciplines are not only the acquisition of facts but also embrace
the processes. Woolnough (1994) also found that majority of secondary school
teachers indicated that about 40% to 80% of the class time was spent in
practical activities. Hodson (2002) in his own work, classified the reasons
given by teachers for engaging in practical work into five major categories
like to motivate learners by stimulating interest and enjoyment, teaching
laboratory skills, to enhance learning of scientific knowledge, give insight
into scientific methods, develop certain scientific methods, these coincides
with the classification of practical work reported by Gott, Welford, and Foulds
(1988) when they identified five types of practical works like, inquiry
practical, investigative practical, skill practical, illustrative practical,
and observational practical.
Although Abimbola,
I.O, Dada, F.(2015)
stated that some practical scientific experiences
may be acquired in everyday life, the most important part of the experience is
through practical work which gives the student the appreciation of the spirit
of science. Therefore, there is no adequate substitute for retention of facts
and which also makes learning more permanent because, practical work closely
linked with theoretical work help to maximize opportunity to practice those
scientific methods.
Laboratory Practical activities
in biology provide opportunities for students to actually do science as opposed
to learning about science. Nzewi (2008) asserted that laboratory practical
activities can be regarded as a strategy that could be adopted to make the task
of a teacher (teaching) more real to the students as opposed to abstract or
theoretical presentation of facts, principles and concepts of subject matters.
Nzewi maintained that practical activities should engage the students in
hands-on, mind-on activities, using varieties of instructional
materials/equipment to drive the lesson home. Nwagbo (2008) stated that:
The use of practical
activities (approach) to the teaching of biological concepts should therefore
be a rule rather than an option to biology teachers, if we hope to produce
students that would be able to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and
competence needed to meet the scientific and technological demands of the
nation.
The search for a more effective
approach for the teaching and learning of biology that will enhance the
acquisition of process skills has persisted over the years. This is because,
the acquisitions of science process skills are the bases for scientific inquiry
and the development of intellectual skills and attitudes that are needed to
learn concept
Acording to Nwagbo (2008), a
number of factors have been identified as contributing to the non-acquisition
of skills by secondary school students which invariably lead to poor
performance and one of the factors is the teacher variable, that is, the
teachers’ method of teaching. Furthermore, Okoli (2006) indicated that many
science teachers prefer the traditional expository/lecture method of teaching
that is, a teaching technique in which one person, the teacher, presents a
spoken discourse on a particular subject and shy away from activity-oriented
teaching methods which are student centered (such as inquiry method, discovery
method, investigative laboratory approach). Nwagbo (2008) observed that such
teacher-centred approach which places the teacher as the sole possessor of
knowledge and the students as passive recipients of knowledge may not enhance
achievement or promote positive attitude to biology. Apart from teaching
methods, gender is also implicated in students’ achievement in science.
This
project will concentrate on the teaching of Biology and the problem of teaching
biology practical in selected secondary School in Akoko South East Local
Government Area of Ondo State.
Statement
Of Problems
The
relevance of laboratory practical in the development and performance of
students in biology cannot be over emphasized. Several researches stated
earlier indicate the need for effective practical lesson using appropriate
equipment. Yet many biology  teachers
tend to avoid organizing laboratory practical lesson to their students. Some of
the reasons for poor performance of students in examinations include poor
science teaching due to teacher’s incompetence. Furthermore, most secondary
schools teachers of biology concentrate on meeting the demand of West African
Examination Council (WAEC) practical examinations. This has drawn the attention
of concerned individuals on the genesis or causes of the situation.
There are
evidence of effective teaching of biology practical in School and this has
affected the performance of student in biology. This could be due to lack of
equipment and materials or lack of proper training of the teachers handing the
practical.
Research
Question
1.    
What impact does laboratory practical activities
have on students academic performance?
2.    
What are the problem facing teaching and learning
of biology practical in senior secondary school
3.    
Does teachers’ qualification has any effect on
students’ performance in Biology laboratory practical?
4.    
What is the attitude of students and teachers’
toward the use of laboratory practixal in teaching of Biology?
5.    
Is there enough equipment in the laboratory for
effective teaching?
Purpose
Of The Study
              This research study carried out in
order to know the impact of laboratory practical on students academic performance
The
specific objective are
1.    
To determine the impact of  laboratory practical activities have on
students academic performance?
2.    
To find out the problem students and teacher
facing in teaching biology practical
3.    
To determine if teachers’ qualification has any
effect on students’ performance in Biology practical?
4.    
To investigate the attitude of biology student and
teacher towards the use of  laboratory
practical in teaching and leanring of Biology?
5.    
To find out if 
there are enough equipment in the laboratory for effective teaching of
biology?
     Significance Of The Study
              This study is aimed at
crating awareness on how vital biology is, not only to the student but also to
the public at large with regards to health education. Improvement in science
and technology medicine e.t.c.
              It is also aimed at making the
federal Government see the benefit of providing schools with proper and
adequate laboratory, equipment e.t.c
              This study will also help in
making adequate preparation for the teaching of Biology practical
     LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
               Although,
covering a large population would have given more accurate information, this
study is based on only five selected secondary schools.
              This is due to the fact the scope
of the work to be covered is too vast compared to the time within the writer’s
disposal. I do hope that the schools chosen on which the research is carried
out, would serve as a guide to giving a picture of the type of information
needed.

                   If a large population were
worked on as all the different secondary Schools are expected to cover the same
WAEC syllabus

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