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EFFECT OF CONSTRUCTIVIST-BASED TEACHING STRATEGY ON LEARNING OUTCOME OF JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS

 


SUMMARY

This study investigated the effects of constructivist- based teaching strategy on the learning outcomes of junior secondary school students in Basic science (with convectional learning approach) in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State. Four Junior Secondary Schools were selected, in all a total of one hundred and sixty students were used for this study. The experimental group consists of eighty students who were instructed using the constructivist based teaching strategy while the other eighty students served as the control group were instructed using the conventional teaching method. A pre-test, post-test achievement test and attitude questionnaire was administered on all subjects after the treatment. The results obtained from the study show that:

*          there was a significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students instructed with constructivist-based teaching strategy and those taught using conventional classroom teaching method.

*          there was a significant difference in the mean achievement scores between male and female students instructed with constructivist-based teaching strategy and conventional teaching method.

*          there was a significant difference in the mean achievement scores between students of high and low abilities instructed with constructivist-based teaching strategy and those taught with conventional classroom teaching method.

*          there was a significant difference in the mean attitude scores of students instructed with constructivist based teaching strategy and those taught with conventional classroom teaching method.

*          there was no significant difference in the mean achievement scores between male and female students instructed with constructivist based teaching method.

*          there was a significant difference in the mean achievement scores between students of high and low abilities instructed with constructivist based teaching method.


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND TO THE PROBLEM

Basic science, formerly known as Integrated Science, is the first form of science a child comes across at the secondary school level; hence basic science prepares students at the Junior Secondary School level for the study of core science subjects (physics, chemistry, biology) at the Senior Secondary School level (Olarewaju, 2004). This implies that for a student to be able to study single science subjects at the Senior Secondary School level successfully, such student had to be well grounded in basic science at the Junior Secondary School level. In view of this, basic science is given great emphasis in the Junior Secondary School curriculum. The principal reasons why Nigerian Government started Basic Science teaching in Nigerian secondary schools are as follow:

  1. It provides students at the Junior Secondary School level a sound basis for continuing science education either in single science subjects or further integrated science;
  2. It enhances the scientific literacy of the citizenry;
  3. It allows students to understand their environment in its totality rather than in fragments;
  4. It allows the students to have general view of the world of science;
  5. The processes of science serve as unifying factor for the various science subjects. It is necessary for the learner to know these processes through integrated approach of learning science. (Federal Ministry of Education, 1991).

Despite government’s efforts to encourage science teaching and learning among Nigerian students right from the Junior Secondary School level, the enrolment of students in core science subjects and science oriented courses at the Senior Secondary School level and tertiary institutions level respectively, is not encouraging (Oludipe, 2010). This is as a result of Junior Secondary School students’ negative attitude towards science. Some students have developed negative stereo types of science and scientists, whom they view as “mad Scientist.” Other describes scientists as “hard,” “old,” “frightening,” and “colorless” (Rogers and Ford 2007). Several reasons have been suggested for these negative attitude including students’ undesirable experiences in previous science courses and with instructors, lack of needed skills to learn and apply scientific concepts, lack of motivation to work hard in science classes, home backgrounds, school and classroom environment, biases of peer groups, the media’s portrayal of scientists, and students perceptions of rewards associated with learning, to name a few (Rogers and Ford 2007). Science anxiety, the fear of science learning, and apprehension toward scientists and science related activities are also results of these factors (Rogers and Ford 2007). Oludipe, (2010) report also indicates that this negative attitude was caused, majorly, by teachers’ conventional (lecture) method of teaching science.

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Knowledge is not attained but constructed (von Glasersfeld, 1999). This statement came from a new challenge to the concept of traditional knowledge. Today, we are facing the challenge from an educational paradigm shift in secondary schools education in Nigeria. Parents and the general public have criticized the secondary schools and classroom environments, arguing that they are not ready to meet learner’s needs/ achievement and the demands of the industrial society in this 21st century information society. Some complain about current educational practices, raising questions about the inability of Nigerian science students to perform creative thinking as well as problem solving tasks when compared to other advanced countries.

There have been a lot of comments in books, particularly those written in Europe and America, which confirmed constructivist-based teaching strategy to be an effective way to structure learning activities. But there is surprisingly very little research effort, particularly in Nigeria that emphasized constructivist-based teaching strategy in science and even less that focused on Basic Science at the junior secondary school level.

1.4       RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

For the purpose of this study, seven hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.

Ho1:   There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students instructed with constructivist-based teaching strategy and those taught using conventional classroom teaching method.

Ho2:   There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores between male and female students instructed with constructivist-based teaching strategy and conventional teaching method.

Ho3:   There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores between students of high and low abilities instructed with constructivist-based teaching strategy and those taught with conventional classroom teaching method.

Ho4:   There is no significant difference in the mean attitude of students instructed with constructivist based teaching strategy and those taught with conventional classroom teaching method.

Ho5:   There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores between male and female students instructed with constructivist based teaching method.

Ho6:   There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores between students of high and low abilities instructed with constructivist based teaching method.

CHAPTER TWO

LITERATIURE REVIEW

This chapter will make an attempt to review related literatures to give solid support from earlier studies to this study. The organization of this chapter is as follows:

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 constructivist teaching and students’ achievement in basic science
  • 2.3 Principles and Strategies of Constructivist Teaching
  • 2.4 Empirical Studies

Epistemological base of Constructivist Teaching

Psychological base of Constructivist Teaching

Theoretical Assumption of Constructivist Teaching

  • 2.5 Constructivist Teaching And Students Attitude
  • 2.6 Constructivist Teaching and Low And High Ability Students
  • 2.7 Gender Issues In Science
  • 2.8 Appraisal of Literature Review

CHAPTER THREE

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

This chapter describes the procedure to be adopted in carrying out the study under the following headings:

3.1       RESEARCH DESIGN

This study is a quasi-experimental research and therefore a Quasi experimental research design was employed.

 

3.4       INSTRUMENT FOR DATA COLLECTION

The following instruments were used for the study, they are as follows:

A scheme of work consisting of selected Basic Science topics (acid, base and salt) which were taught for a period of three weeks. The students have not been exposed to these topics before the study.

  1. An instructional package for the constructivist strategy.
  2. An instructional package for the convectional (teaching) strategy.
  3. Basic science achievement test
  4. Students attitude to basic science questionnaire

The instruments 3 and 4 listed above were used as pretest, post-test and delayed post test in order to evaluate students’ learning outcome. The test items were selected from the Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination (J.S.S.C.E.) past questions. The JSSCE questions are standardized in nature because the Questions were written by the experienced test and measurement experts in the ministry of education using an approved table of specification.

BASIC SCIENCE INSTRUCTIONAL PACKAGE

WEEKS TOPICS/CONTENTS  
1. ACID ACID

–          Meaning of Acid

–          Sources of an acid

–          Properties of acid.

–          Uses of acid

Students should be able to:

-define an acid, list than sources of an acid,

-state the properties of acid.

-demonstrate the experiment on two bases of acid (laboratory acid or mineral acid and naturally occurring acid.

– outline uses of acid.

2. BASE BASE

–          Meaning of base

–          Example of base

–          Properties of base

–          Meaning of alkali

–          Difference between base and alkali.

Students should be able to:

-define base

– list examples of base

– State the properties of base

-define alkalis

– differentiate between base and alkali

– distinguish between acid and base.

 

3. SALT SALT

–          Meaning of salt

–          Examples of salt

–          Properties of salt

–          Uses of salt

–          Meaning of pH scale

–          Uses of indicator

Students should be able to:

–          define salt

-mention the examples of salt

– state the properties of salt

– outline the uses of salt

– define pH scale

– list the uses of indicator

 

3.7       RESEARCH PROCEDURE

Two intact classes in two of the four schools were designated ‘constructivist learning environment (CLE)’, while the remaining two intact classes in the other two schools were designated ‘traditional learning environment (TLE)’. The pretest was administered to both groups. The test instrument covered all the topics under the instructional package which was taught during the period of the study. At the end of each of the three weeks, the same test was administered to both CLE and TLE classes as a post-test. At each stage of post test administration, the items of the test were be rearranged to give the impression that the pretest, post test were different from each other. Two weeks after the administration of the post test, delayed posttest was administered to answer the question of whether there was student memorization of facts and information or whether understanding of the Basic Science concepts taught by the teachers, using different instructional methods, affected retention.

3.8       METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS

The data generated was analyzed using Paired t-test and independent group t-test analysis. The paired t-test will be used to analyze the pretest post test, pretest-delayed post test and post test-delayed posttest scores of the two groups; the independent t-test will be used to compare the learning outcomes of the two groups. Computation for the afore mentioned methods of data analysis was done using SPSS 18.00 package. All hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of confidence using a two-tailed test.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The focus of this chapter is to carefully analyze, interpret, present the data and discuss the findings with regards to the effect of constructivist-based teaching strategy on learning outcome of junior secondary school students’ in Basic Science in Agege Local Government Area of Lagos State.

 

4.1       Descriptive Analysis of Subjects

Table 4.1.1 A.  Distribution of Subject by gender

 

Group Male Female Total
Experimental 40 40 80
Control 40 40 80
Total 80 80 160

 

Table 4.1.1 B Distribution by Score

Group Above 60% Average 50% – 59% Below 50% Total
Male 35 29 16 80
Female 39 22 19 80
Total 74 51 35 160

 

Table 4.1.1 C Distribution by Scoring

Group Above 60% Average 50% – 59% Below 50% Total
Experimental 51 40 13 80
Control 23 11 22 80
Total 74 51 35 160

 

Table 6: Comparison of mean achievement scores between high and low students instructed with constructivist based teaching strategy

Group N X SD Df t-cal t-table Decision
High 23 16.52 1.473 20 0.913 0.399 Rejected
Low 22 9.727 2.511

 

5.3       RECOMMENDATIONS

In view of the findings from this study, the following recommendations are made:

  • Workshop, seminar and conferences for teachers in order to update their pedagogies using the constructivist based teaching method.
  • Policy on education should be geared toward the practice of self learning which is an attempt to make education more liberal and more universal in such a way that a learner can teach himself, if given the kind of environment and guidance by the teachers to enhance students learning by constructivist process in classroom where activities are planned and implemented

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