THE IMPACT OF THE INQUIRY TEACHING METHOD ON STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
1.1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY
Mathematics is one of the essential subjects, which is why it is required at the elementary and secondary levels. Mathematics is one of the most effective and versatile mental tools that human intelligence has developed over the millennia for its own use. The topic continues to play an important role in the national development of any nation. (USMAN 2002).
In order to avoid confusion and a lack of comprehension, the mathematics teaching and learning process must be as clear as possible, given that mathematics deals with quantitative functions and relations as well as problems pertaining to scope and form. Therefore, it is considered a language of orderliness and inventiveness. (USMAN 2002).
Mathematics is the foundation of other scientific disciplines, such as engineering, applied and social science, agricultural science, and medicine. In modern society, mathematics is essential to the development of any science-based knowledge, including graphic, industrial, technological, astronomical, and solid analytic reasoning.
A goal of science education is to cultivate students' enthusiasm for science and technology. Today, the development of any nation is contingent on its technological and scientific progress. Teachers are expected to devise means of encouraging students to develop favorable attitudes towards mathematics and science-related subjects. (Sola &Ojo, 2007).
In secondary school mathematics, numerous topics are covered, such as algebra, trigonometry, menstruation, numbers and numerals, statistics, set theory, etc. Algebra is a branch of mathematics concerned with the properties of operations and the structures on which these properties are defined. According to Russell (2003), algebra is the branch of mathematics that employs letters and numbers.
This combination of letters and numbers creates a great deal of confusion for the pupils, particularly when the letter values fluctuate or one letter replaces another. Consequently, this causes some students to question whether they are acquiring mathematics or English.
Inquiry-based education Method is a style or method of instruction in which the student seeks to discover and create solutions to recognized problems through a procedure of diligent searching, sometimes with minimal teacher guidance. (Callahan, Clark &Kelloough, 1995). In addition to being a term used in science education, inquiry teaching method refers to a means of questioning, seeking knowledge or information, or discovering phenomena; it involves investigating data and reaching a conclusion.
(Sola &Ojo 2007). Students learn not only concepts but also self-direction, responsibility, and social communication in inquiry situations. Furthermore, it allows students to assimilate and accommodate information. According to Sola and Ojo (2007), inquiry is a method of independent learning.
As shown in Table 1, Cheval and Hart (2005) classify inquiry teaching methods into three categories: structured inquiry, guided inquiry, and open inquiry.
There is a debate regarding the best form of investigation. The general consensus is that students can benefit from any type of inquiry (structured, guided, or open) if it is taught effectively. Structured inquiry is the form of inquiry that places the most emphasis on the teacher. This type of inquiry is typically conducted in laboratory exercises in science classrooms.
Students conduct the investigations while the instructor provides fairly structured procedures for the inquiry activity. Structured inquiry represents the most conventional method of inquiry. (Cheval & Hart, 2007).
On the extreme end of the spectrum is an open investigation. This form of inquiry is student-centered and requires the least amount of teacher intervention. Students frequently plan all phases of their investigations in groups. This is the truest type of scientific inquiry conducted in classrooms. (Cheval & Hart, 2005).
Guided inquiry falls in the midst of the spectrum of inquiry instruction. When students are asked to create instruments or develop a process that results in a desired outcome, this method is frequently employed. For instance, a science teacher provides his seventh-grade students with materials to construct a rocket but no design instructions. The students must utilize their knowledge and imagination to design a rocket that will launch correctly, fly a predetermined distance, and land intact.
The instructor provides the problem and materials, and the students construct the rocket using their own scientific method or design. Procedure
As shown in Table 1, Cheval and Hart (2005) summarized these inquiry categories.
Types of research
Teacher assigns problems to students
to investigate by manual means
activities in addition to the
Materials and methods.
Students must ascertain the outcome
Laboratory experiments with
procedures and materials
Teachers supply students with
problem or query and
Materials. Students should
establish the procedure and outcome
Students are assigned problems or
what are the characteristics?
the properties of an acid
characteristics of a framework, etc.
The students choose the
problems and procedures
The class went on a field excursion to
investigate garden working
with a companion, identification is required.
research issues and methods
an investigation predicated on an investigation
based on observation
In this investigation, all types of inquiry were employed, and students were provided with topics and materials.
Students were instructed to devise a strategy for solving the provided problem. The lecture method is primarily used to introduce students to a new topic, but it is also an effective method for summarizing ideas, illustrating the relationship between theory and practice, and reiterating key points. (Sola &Ojo, 2007).
The lecture-demonstration method is a teaching strategy that combines oral presentation with doing in order to convey process, concepts, ideas, and facts, as well as observation. It is particularly effective for imparting observable skills. (Sola &Ojo, 2007).
According to Garba (1996), the lecture method is a traditional/conventional method of knowledge transmission; it is characterized by a one-way transfer of information from an active teacher to passive students. According to him, conventional method is characterized by the following:
(i) Students are completely passive listeners who passively assimilate the information/facts presented to them.
Students are responsible for taking their own notes in class.
(iii) Teachers or lecturers perform the primary activities, such as speaking, illustrating, or presenting the film or other aid.
The conventional approach has the following advantages:
(i) Knowledge, facts, or information are imparted to students who acquire some understanding of a subject.
(ii) It is less expensive than the alternative inquiry methodologies. The disadvantages of the conventional method are as follows:
(i) Passive learning on the part of the pupils, which renders them feeble and disinterested.
(ii) There is no immediate evaluation of the newly acquired knowledge.
Because some students may lose interest in his lecture, a soft-spoken teacher or instructor could cause a communication disruption.
In this study, the inquiry teaching method was chosen due to its scientific nature, student-centeredness, and incorporation of all scientific processes. (Sola &Ojo 2007).
1.2 DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM
Due to the fact that a number of factors contributed to the low academic performance of students in mathematics at the elementary and secondary school levels on internal and external examinations on an annual basis. According to the WAEC chief examiner reports for 2007-2014, Table 2 outlines the performance of students scoring below 50%. In addition to the fact that secondary school students have a lackadaisical attitude towards mathematics, this problem of widespread failure may be caused by the abstract symbolism of the subjects.
The researcher also notes that students have difficulty substituting numerals for letters. Therefore, a mathematics teacher should learn to implement strategies and activities that will generate and sustain students' interest in mathematics.
Table 2: Students' Performance in Mathematics on the May/June SSCE, 2007-2014
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
This study's objectives are to:
Determine the effects of the inquiry teaching method and the traditional/conventional teaching method on the algebra performance of senior secondary school students in Ogun State.
â¢ Determine the impact of inquiry-based instruction on students' algebra performance in Ogun State.
â¢ Determine the impact of inquiry-based instruction on the academic performance of male and female algebra students in Ogun State.
1.4 Importance of the Research
This study's findings will aid in the following ways:
The findings of this research will assist mathematics teachers in implementing them in their classrooms;