1.1 Background to the study
Biology as a branch of the general body of knowledge (science), has been defined by different scientists according to perception and understanding of the subject. Biology is a branch of science which deals with the study of living things (Ramalingam, 2005). According to Merriam-Webmaster Dictionary (2011) biology is defined as the general body of knowledge that studies living organisms and vital processes. Okwo and Tawtiyas, (2000) defined biology as a science which involves systematic study of living things and interaction with each other and their environment. Kalu, (2007) simply defined biology as the science of life. Biology as a science of life is concerned with the characteristics of living things, their forms, functions and relationship with one another and with their environment among others. Among science subjects (chemistry, physics and biology), biology is the most popular (Ibrahim, 2008). It is a core (compulsory) subject for all Senior Secondary students in Nigeria.
Due to immense benefits of the subject (Biology) to both individual and societal development, the Federal Ministry of Education (FME, 2005) in the National policy on education, made biology a core science subject at the senior secondary school (SSS). The objectives of biology Program are:
Adequate laboratory and field skills in Biology;
Meaningful and relevant knowledge in biology;
Ability to apply scientific knowledge to everyday life in matters of personal and community health and Agriculture;
Reasonable functional scientific attitudes and
Emphasis of content and context of the syllabus is placed on: field studies, guided-discovery/Biology as inquiry (FME, 2005).
The subject has opened many careers for students such as in medicine, pharmacy, nursing, veterinary science, food technology, agriculture, etc. Apart from career opportunities from biological studies, the subject has also contributed to the survival of man like in raising desired stocks through cross breeding of various varieties of plants and animal species. Other achievements made through the application of biological techniques for the interest of man include: the development of vaccines and drugs for preventing and curing diseases, invitro fertilization which helps infertile couples to have babies, increased food production, awareness of genetic diseases and their prevention, etc. (Ramalingam, 2005). Biology therefore contributes to national development through its various uses to mankind.
According Vanguard news (2017), it was noted that Mr Demianus Ojijeogu, the Head of Public Affairs Department, WAEC, Nigeria said that, these benefits of biology notwithstanding, students’ performance in the subject at SSCE is poor but improved slightly in the 2016 and 2017 exams compared with the previous years. In addition, students find some topics in biology difficult and uninteresting (Nwachukwu & Nwosu, 2006). Topics in biology like respiration, gene, allele, mitosis, ecosystem, mendelian ratio, evolution, etc are perceived difficult by students (Johnson & Mahmoud, 1980; Fakunle, 1983; Okoli, 2006; Ugwuadu & Obi, 2009).
These difficult topics are mostly found in some physiological topics, ecology, genetics and evolution (Ugwuadu & Obi, 2008; Fakunle, 1993; Adeniji, 1983).
Many factors are responsible to students poor performance and difficulty in understanding some biological concepts and some of these factors includes lack of facilities, poor teaching method among others (Olafinboba,1979, Akinsola & Igwe, 2002; Kafuoru & Memeh, 2007; Nwagbo, 2001). On teaching methods, research reports reveal that most science teachers use the traditional lecture method in teaching biology. The method does not enhance students’ academic achievement especially in the acquisition of process skill (Gbamanja, 1991; Olariwaju, 1986). In addition, the lecture teaching method is defective because it involves verbal presentation of pre-planned lesson to the students which requires little or no instructional aid and so does not promote students’ higher level of thinking (Padron & Waxman, 1991). The teaching method is therefore teacher-centred with reduced students' participation since students remain passive during the lesson. For example, students may not be allowed to ask questions or contribute ideas in a lesson involving the use of lecture teaching method. (Okoli, 2006; Bajah, 1983; Abdullahi, 1982).
On the other hand, innovative teaching method such as Field trips are rich in educational possibilities as students learn from actual hands-on experience, rather than by simply reading or hearing about something. A field trip is a visit to a place outside the regular classroom which is designed to achieve certain objectives, Field trips give opportunity for a student to get out of the classroom and experience something new. The located place for field trip can be zoos, colleges, school farm, Natural Park, industry and forest or game reserve. Majority of the biology field trips are designed to show particular places and processes and are thus expository in nature. The natural settings are used as extension of biology laboratory for students’ investigation. The biology curriculum in used emphasizes on discovery learning by the students, and it is most appropriate and timely. Field trips serve as access tools for the students.
Students should be thoroughly exposed in the learning process to bring out the best in them. The aim of any good teaching is to effect a change in the behavior of the learner. The learner's change in behaviour otherwise known as learning, takes place when a learner is exposed to different learning experiences (Nnachi, 2007). The learning experiences are presented to the learner through instructional methods. Indeed, The choice of any instructional method depends on many factors such as age, and developmental level of the learner, the previous learning experiences of the learner, subject matter content, the objectives of the lesson, the available resources (human and materials), time, space and the physical settings (Rusbult, 2001; & Maduabum, 1989).
Achievement can be said to be the extent of success attained by an individual on a task he or she has earlier been exposed. Achievement refers to the degree of success reached or attained in some general or specific area (Enyi as cited by Eze, 2008). Achievement is the measurement of the effect of specific programme of instruction or training (Kulbiras cited in Gimba, 2012). It can also be defined as something that somebody has succeeded in doing, especially after a lot of efforts. It is an act of finishing something successfully. Relating this to academic achievement in this context means success in academic performance after teaching and learning have taken place. The problem of poor achievement of students could be attributed to poor foundation in basic science from junior classes. As a result, the students at senior classes find it difficult to cope with the concept at this level. This difficulty could be connected with poor teaching methods employed by teachers. These poor teaching methods could lead to lack of achievement on the part of the learners. In the light of above, this study is poised to investigate the effects of field trip and lecture teaching method.
Other variables can also influence achievement. One of such variables is students gender. Gender is the different, socially constructed roles and responsibilities expected of males and females. Gender is a factor that has influenced many educational attainments all over the world. Akinsola and Igwe as cited by Eze (2008) stated that gender issue is an important factor in educational setting and could be a militating factor to high achievement of learners in biology.Therefore, if differences in achievement occur, they may be caused by other factors. Some studies show that males and females respond differently to specific teaching methods, questions and discussion (West Virginia University for women studies, 1997). This is in line with Okeke's (2001.), assertion that instructional strategies are known to produce different effects on learners. Thus the need to investigate the effect of gender.
1.2 Statement of The Problem
Several studies on achievement in biology concepts among Nigerian final year secondary school students revealed under achievement ( Adeniyi, 2004, Soyinbo, 1996, Okafor, 2002, Uzochi, 2007, Usman, 2008, Ibrahim, 2008 and Ajaja, 2010). The poor performance has been attributed to many factors such as method of teaching (ie using lecture method, discussion, indoor laboratory) across all concepts in biology (Okafor, 2002 and Usman 2000) and teacher factor due to poor mastery of subject matter which result in skipping of topics, (Shuaibu and Usman, 2002, Okoli, 2006; Okeke, (2007). One is in doubt as to the effect of two teaching methods (field trip and lecture) on enhancing students' achievement in biology. Therefore, this study is determined to investigate the effect of field trip and lecture teaching methods on students achievement in biology in Dekina LGA.
1.3 Purpose of The Study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of field trip and lecture teaching methods on senior secondary school biology students in Dekina Local Government Area. The specific objectives are as follows:
To determine the difference in students’ achievement in biology when taught through field trip and lecture method.
To determine the difference in male and female students’ achievement in biology when taught through field trip and lecture methods.
1.4 Significance of the study
The research shall elucidate the nature of the effect of field trip and lecture teaching method on senior secondary school biology students Dekina Local Government, Kogi State. It shall also serve as a veritable source of information on issues of field trip and lecture teaching method in students’ results. The finding of this study will be quite significance in the educational sector.
It is hoped that students develop interest in the study of biology because it teaches about living thing and its environment.
It is hoped that, it helps teachers in conducting relevant research in pedagogy of biology.
It is hoped that, it helps educational authorities in recruiting and training effective biology teachers.
1.5 Research questions
The following questions are postulated in order to achieve the main purpose of the study.
What are students’ achievement in biology when taught with field trip and lecture teaching methods?
What differences exist among male and female students’ achievement in biology when taught with field trip and lecture teaching methods?
H1: There is no significant difference between the students taught lecture teaching method and field trip and students’ academic achievement in biology.
H2: There is no significant difference in academic achievement in biology between students from rural and urban schools who are taught by field trip and those who are lectured.
1.7 Scope and limitation of the study
The study shall appraise the effect of field trip and lecture teaching method on senior secondary school biology students in Dekina Local Government Area and elucidates the use of field trip and lecture method in teaching and learning of biology. The study is limited to teaching and learning of biology.
The researcher encountered a number of constraints in the course of this work to include; data sourcing or data inconsistence due to poor nature of information management in Nigeria. In spite of these problems, efforts were put in place to enhance the quality of this study.