THE EFFECT OF INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGY ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ INTEREST AND ACHIEVEMENT IN CHEMISTRY
Chemistry is a branch of science that studies the structure and composition of matter. Chemistry has been referred to as the “central science” because effective chemistry study lays a solid foundation for an early learner’s scientific and technological development. While emphasizing the importance of chemistry education, Oriaifo (2002) stated that chemistry provides the learner with specific knowledge skills and attitudes that enable him/her to be useful to himself/herself and society at large.
Chemistry is a subject that is widely taught in Nigeriaâ€TMs secondary and tertiary education systems. A credit pass in chemistry is required at the secondary level for students to continue their studies in fields such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Agriculture, Engineering, Home Economics, Biological Science, and other science-related fields of endeavor.
Chemistry does not begin and end in the classroom or school, as is commonly assumed; chemistry phenomena are practiced in our daily lives both inside and outside of the classroom. Some examples of home chemistry practices include the process of heating (cooking/warming) our food, the process of washing our clothes with soap or detergents, the addition of limestone when cooking (eg beans, unripe plantains, etc), the process of boiling grinded fresh tomato to allow the liquid to dry, the addition of salt to perishable food stuffs to preserve them, the process of boiling and filtering impure water to make it clean for drinking, the process of putting stainless steel These are just a few examples.
This demonstrates how chemistry principles are applied in our daily activities, even in our various homes. These principles are not only used in our cities, but also in our small towns and villages. For example, in most villages, local soap is made from the ashes of burned plantain peels and used (or bleached) palm oil; quality drinking water has long been a problem in our local villages, so most people in rural areas use alum to purify their drinking water; and virtually all of the different cooking practices in our local villages are based on chemistry phenomena.
Despite the importance of the subject and its practical applications, students’ achievement has long been poor and unsatisfactory year after year (Inomiesa and Unuero, 2003; Udo, 2008; WAEC Chief Examiners report 2007,2008, 2009 and 2010; Ogbu, 2012; Omoifo 2012). WAEC,2009 revealed that weaknesses in candidates’ chemistry performance were attributed to a lack of relevant textbooks, inadequate preparation for examination, and non-familiarization with examination syllabus,
which was essentially attributed to the wrong way and manner teachers teach chemistry, that the teachings did not stimulate and sustain students’ interest in chemistry (Njoku 2007). A long history of poor student performance has given rise to numerous claims (Nwagbo, 2002&Njoku, 2007). Â
Students, parents, teachers, the government, and even non-governmental organizations in Nigeria have been concerned about the steady decline in students’ performance in chemistry and related subjects. According to Asiyai (2005), teachers have used various teaching methods such as discussion, questioning, guided discovery, expository, and so on to improve students’ performance in external examinations such as West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO), and so on.
However, these methods have not produced the desired results. Â These teaching methods include the traditional lecture method, which is commonly used in most Nigerian secondary schools because most schools are overcrowded and the chemistry classes are overcrowded, the chemistry syllabus is broad, and the teaching time is frequently too short compared to the chemistry scheme, have not been able to salvage the poor performance in chemistry. Adesida, Agbaji, Atere-Roberts, Bello, Dakare, Ihuoma, Kashim, Okonkwo, Otegbeye, and Yabaya (2002
If there is to be a meaningful improvement in the teaching and learning process of chemistry, interest must play a significant role. According to Graber (2011), Piaget considers interest to be a decisive factor in the learning process in 1974; he defines interest as the dynamics of assimilation, and every equilibration process is based on interest. Many other authors believe that developing interest in a topic is an important prerequisite for self-directed learning as well as an important goal for school learning in terms of life-long learning, out-of-school behavior, and career choice.
Since 1965, Herbartâ€TMs modern pedagogy has emphasized the importance of interest not just as a means to an end, but as an end in itself. Modern interest research has confirmed Herbart’s hypothesis, demonstrating that interest-based motivation to learn has a positive effect on both the studying process and the quantity and quality of learning outcomes (Hidi, Renninger & Krapp, 2004). Enrollment in sciences in general, and chemistry in particular, has decreased due to a steady decline in interest in chemistry and the sciences. Omoifo (2012) reported a low rate of enrollment in science and technology education.
The question now is, why is there such a high rate of poor chemistry performance? Why are students so uninterested in chemistry? Is it true that chemistry is also practiced at home? Does chemistry extend beyond the four walls of the classroom? Do the students realize that the process of heating (cooking/warming) our popular bean cake (i.emoi-moi, a common African delicacy) is known in chemistry as a water-bath? Do the students understand that the warm feelings they get when they add detergent to a small amount of water are an example of an exothermic reaction occurring between the water molecules and the detergent?
Do the students understand that adding limestone to cooked foods (e.g., beans, unripe plantains, etc.) increases the rate of the chemical reaction? Do the students understand that the process of boiling ground fresh tomato to allow the liquid to evaporate, leaving only the tomato, is an example of a chemistry separation technique known as evaporation?
Do the students understand that inserting a stainless steel spoon or nail into boiling meat increases the rate of reaction and the stainless steel spoon or nail acts as a catalyst? Do the students realize that the process of making our African delicacy fufu from cassava is a chemical process known as fermentation? Do the students understand that the combustion of materials in the presence of air (oxygen) is also a chemical phenomenon?
Do the students understand that the rusting of a clean nail after exposure to air and water is an example of a chemical change? Â These are just a few examples of how students’ home chemistry (i.e. local practice) is related to their school chemistry. This demonstrates how chemistry principles are applied in our daily activities, even in our various homes. Will incorporating local practices thus increase students’ interest and achievement in chemistry?
A review of science education literature from the last two decades, as well as summaries of chief examiners’ reports of results from external examination bodies such as the West African Examination Council (WAEC), show that all is not well in the teaching and learning of chemistry.
Students’ performance in chemistry as a subject is deteriorating. On average, more than 40% of students who take chemistry in their senior secondary school exams fail. Poor performance as measured by WACE is aided by National Examination Council (NECO) results (Omoifo, 2012).
Poor enrollment in chemistry and related courses is a clear indication of a serious lack of interest. Because chemistry principles are used in our daily human activities, as well as its uniqueness in the field of sciences, students should be very interested in chemistry, and enrollment should be high. However, enrollment in the subject has been low over the years, indicating that interest has waned significantly.
The inability of students to relate chemistry lessons to everyday practices in their home environment is also concerning. Will incorporating local practices increase students’ interest and performance in chemistry?
To that end, this study is an attempt to incorporate local practices (chemistry at home) into school-based chemistry instruction.
The study will be guided by the following research questions:
Will there be a difference in performance between students taught chemistry with local practices (experimental group) and students taught chemistry without local practices (control group)?
Will there be a difference in interest between students taught chemistry that incorporates local practices (experimental group) and students taught chemistry that does not incorporate local practices (control group)?
Will there be a gender difference in incorporating local practices?
Will there be a gender gap in the desire to incorporate local practices?
Hypothesis of Research
The following hypotheses will be tested for significance at the 0.05 level.
Ho1: There is no statistically significant difference in achievement between students taught chemistry with local practices (experimental group) and students taught chemistry without local practices (control group).
Ho2: There is no statistically significant difference in interest between students taught chemistry with local practices (experimental group) and students taught chemistry without local practices (control group) (control group).
Ho3: There is no significant difference in gender achievement among students taught chemistry using local practices.
Ho4: There is no significant difference in gender interest among students taught chemistry using local practices.
The Study’s Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of instructional strategy in cooperating local practices on chemistry interest and achievement. To accomplish this stated goal, the paper will focus on the need to pique, stimulate, and sustain students’ interest in the subject. It will also evaluate the impact of gender and the students’ home environment on student achievement in relation to their disposition and perception of the subject.
The Study’s Importance
The study’s findings will be significant in the following ways:
This study will generally assist the chemistry teacher in guiding and directing the teacher in the preparation of the lesson plan in order to ensure the addition of instructional skills/materials that will relate to students’ local practice in their home environment to ignite, stimulate, sustain, and develop student interest, thereby improving the students’ achievement in chemistry in particular and sciences in general.
It will demonstrate to teachers the importance of developing instructional techniques that connect chemistry to students’ local practices in their home environment.
The study will be extremely valuable to chemistry students because it will bring to their attention that the chemistry phenomena in their lessons are what they are locally used to in their environment; this will develop genuine interest in chemistry classes if effective and efficient learning is to take place, allowing them to retain what is learned better and improve on their achievements.
The findings of this study will make it more important than ever for curriculum planners to specify appropriate instructional strategies for increasing student interest and making the subject students centered. This, in turn, will help teachers and students develop an interest in chemistry classes.
The findings of this study will provide a different point of view to the government and non-governmental organizations if the issue of poor performance of students in chemistry and sciences in general is to be addressed holistically. It will emphasize the importance of organizing policies, seminars, lectures, and workshops aimed at developing/improving students’ interest in chemistry in order for the nation to advance to a higher level in science and technology.
The findings of this study will be a source of method, materials, and reference for future researchers studying similar topics.
Limitation and Scope
In this study, the term â€oeclassâ€ refers to both theory and laboratory classes in secondary school. As a result, the current study’s scope will be limited to chemistry as experienced by students in secondary school chemistry classes.
This research will be carried out in Yenagoa Local Government Area, one of Bayelsa State’s eight LGAs. This local government was chosen because it has the most secondary schools in the state and is the state capital. Chemistry classes in Senior Secondary II (SSII) are of particular interest.
The subject matter of this study will be limited to chemistry S.S.II. Topics from Week II to Week V work plan
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