AN APPRAISAL OF THE AVAILABILITY, USE AND IMPACT OF LABORATORY IN THE LEARNING OF CHEMISTRY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS. (CASE STUDY OF AMUWO ODOFIN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA)
In today’s age of science and technology when scientific knowledge has grown exponentially, technological innovations have progressed at a rapid pace, and the effects of science and technology are clearly witnessed in all aspects of our lives. This study examined the availability, use and impact of laboratory facilities in the learning of chemistry in Amuwo Odofin Local Government area. During the study, a total number of one hundred (100) questionnaire copies questionnaire copies were administered to senior secondary schools students, using the simple random technique. The data collected were analyzed using frequency, percentage and chi-square statistical techniques. Findings indicated that, test tubes, beakers, conical flasks, separation funnel, measuring cylinder, standard volumetric flask, aspirator bottle, pipette, burette, retort stand with clamp, Bunsen burner, tripod stand and chemical weighing balances were found available in chemistry laboratories of public schools located within Amuwo Odofin Local Education District of Lagos state. Some of the laboratory equipments were adequately used while some were not. The finding also revealed that, chemistry practical has had a significant impact on students’ learning.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Table of content
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.2 STATEMANENT OF THE PROBLEM
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
1.7 LIMITATION OF STUDY
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERM
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 The Constructivist Model of Learning
2.2 Origins of Experimental Science
2.3 Importance of Science Practical Work
2.4 Doubts about the Importance of Laboratory Work
2.5 Constraints to Students Teaching During Chemistry Practicals
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Population of the Study
3.4 Sample and Sampling Technique
3.5 Research Instrument
3.6 Validity of the Instrument
3.8 Method for Data Collection
3.9 Method of Data Analysis
4.1 Demographic Characteristics of Students
4.2 Test of Hypotheses
CHAPTER FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.2 CONCLUSION 75
5.3 RECOMMENDATIONS 75
5.4 SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER RESEARCH 79
1.1 Background to the Study
In today’s age of science and technology when scientific knowledge has grown exponentially, technological innovations have progressed at a rapid pace, and the effects of science and technology are clearly witnessed in all aspects of our lives, it is obvious that science and technology education plays a key role for the futures of societies. Because of its importance, all societies and particularly developed countries have continuously sought to improve the quality of science and technology education (Aydoğdu, 2006).
The usefulness and effectiveness of the introductory laboratory have been bones of contention in teaching chemistry as far as one cares to go back in the literature. Laboratory instruction is costly, and, since its effectiveness has been difficult to substantiate compellingly, some responsible administrators have viewed it is a luxury we cannot afford. Most teachers have a deeply rooted, intuitive feeling that laboratory experience is essential to learning and understanding our subject, and they fight hard for maintaining such instruction in the face of frequently expressed doubts and occasionally formidable opposition (Arons, 1993).
In the present age, new information is constantly added to the existing information in chemistry education. Therefore, the main objective of chemistry education at secondary level should be to equip students with the skills of accessing information, rather than trying to transfer information to students. Instead of learning by rote, students should be equipped with problem solving skills for new situations and transferred accumulated knowledge properly. Furthermore, their skills of accessing and producing information should also be improved (Gedik, Ertepınar & Geban, 2002).
Laboratories play a significant role in effective chemistry education. Laboratory classes are supplementary to chemistry education and make up a crucial part of chemistry courses. Laboratories are very important to comprehend abstract chemistry concepts (Demirtaş, 2006).
Şahin-Pekmez (2001) inquired why science teachers felt they need to carry out experiments in their classes. Teachers’ responses included:
- helping students understand and learn better,
- enhancing their interest in classes,
- improving their manual skills,
- helping them discover knowledge on their own,
- improving their observation skills,
- enhancing their problem-solving skills,
- ensuring students learn through experience.
Hofstein and Naaman (2007) reviewed and reported several studies conducted in various countries about laboratory applications. In their evaluation, they stated that laboratory applications aimed to enhance students’ science processes and problem-solving skills and their interest in and attitudes toward scientific approaches in accordance with the objectives of basic science education. Garnett and Hackling (1995) argued that laboratories will contribute to improving students’ conceptual understanding, application skills and techniques, and ability to analyze inter-variable relationships. Gott and Duggan (1995) and Şahin-Pekmez (2000) asked science teachers, “What kind of activities do you perform in science laboratories?” to which they received answers such as demonstration experiments, group work, and rotational experiments (weekly alternating performance of different experiments by each student).
In order to construct knowledge on their own and to acquire problem-solving skills, students need to study in a laboratory environment that brings science process skills in prominence. Science process skills form the basis of the ability to conduct scientific research. These skills constitute a general definition of the logical and rational thought that an individual uses throughout his/her lifetime (Aydoğdu & Kesercioğlu, 2005).
An effective laboratory environment requires the following conditions: teachers should be prepared and planned for classes and have previous experience for the experiment to be carried out in the class; students should have conceptual pre-knowledge about the experiment; students should be provided an environment to use and reinforce such knowledge; basic and higher-level science process skills should be used; links should be established between the subjects taught in classroom and laboratory and their daily lives; and the laboratory environment should introduce innovations (Aydoğdu & Kesercioğlu, 2005).
Furthermore, a teacher who is not properly equipped with these skills may experience difficulties to deliver these skills to his/her students. It is observed that the teachers not possessing science process skills and cannot use laboratories efficiently and avoid performing experimental activities, thus chemistry courses are mainly presented theoretically (Şahin-Pekmez, 2001).
In their study, “Evaluating the Applications of Science Laboratory”, Uluçınar, Cansaran and Karaca (2004) aimed to determine the extent to which the laboratory method is used in the teaching of science courses (chemistry-biology and other science) and teachers’ opinions about the aim of such applications and their effects on learning. The participating teachers stated that they could not efficiently use laboratories in course instruction because of several reasons including, insufficient laboratory conditions at schools and overcrowded classrooms etc. The researchers suggested that for efficient laboratory applications; class sizes should be reduced; weekly hours of science courses should be increased; safety of laboratories should be enhanced; and teachers should be occasionally provided with in-service training about curricula innovations. The present study will aim to examine the availability, use and impact of laboratory in the learning of chemistry in senior secondary schools.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Developing countries have thousands of chances available for their development in science education. Many developing countries are trying best in science education; however, the situation of Nigeria is very dismal for science education, particularly at senior secondary school levels. First of all, the availability of equipments, apparatus and material and chemicals are very less provided to schools. Most of the science teachers are indolent and incompetent for their subjects. They have bookish knowledge but very less professional ability and competency for teaching science as compared to the teachers of the advanced countries.
The best of all is that science teachers do not use science laboratories with the available equipments, apparatus and material and chemicals. The availability of resource inputs has no value for academic objectives as until they are actually used; therefore, the use of science laboratories is very important for the achievements of science education.
When framed thusly, students frequently fail to engage in any meaningful form of inquiry. Their lab work amounts to empty, ritualistic procedures—the systematic execution of material procedures fully disconnected from their conceptual understanding of the associated subject matter. Perhaps it would be more apt to refer to it as a ‘rhetoric of procedure’ sort of approach.
Lack of chemistry labs in some schools; sharing chemistry, physics, and biology labs; unsafe labs due to the use of hazardous substances in experiments has been some major and common problems in schools.
Overcrowded classrooms, lack of time and materials; equipment costs, and insufficient laboratory applications in chemistry classes at schools due to the inability of teachers to use labs effectively and their negative attitudes toward laboratory applications all demonstrate the inefficient use of laboratories.
The government is spending enough in the education sector but still low quality resource inputs are provided to schools. Overall, quality of education has a declining trend in Nigeria; particularly science education that is reaching its lowest ebb; therefore, the need is to identify the factors responsible for the present state of affairs.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to investigate the availability, use and impact of laboratory facilities in the learning of chemistry in Amuwo Odofin Local Government area. The specific objectives of this study are to:
- Determine the availability of chemistry equipments, apparatus, and materials in senior secondary schools science laboratories.
- Investigate the extent of use of chemistry equipments, apparatus and material in senior secondary schools science laboratories.
- Ascertain the impact of chemistry practical on students in senior secondary schools science laboratories.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The relevance of this study will include the following:
- The project will be of immense benefit to teachers because of the reliable information revealed.
- It will provide other stakeholders in the education industry such as parents, supervisors and parents with more information about the availability and usage of chemistry laboratory in schools.
- It will also serve as secondary source data to those writing project on similar topics.
- The information revealed will highlight the need to use student-active laboratory approaches so as to enhance students’ research skills including problem analysis, research plans, research management, data recording, and interpretation of the findings
- The study will to demonstrate the importance of laboratory work in chemistry education for chemistry
1.5 Research Questions
The research will sought to provide answers to the following questions:
- Is there a significant availability of chemistry equipments, apparatus, and materials in senior secondary schools science laboratories?
- To what extent are chemistry equipments, apparatus and materials used in senior secondary schools science laboratories?
iii. How has chemistry practical affected students learning in senior secondary schools science laboratories?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses will be tested at 0.05 level of significant during data analysis:
HO1. There are no significant availability of chemistry equipments, apparatus, and materials in senior secondary schools science laboratories.
HO2. Chemistry equipments, apparatus and materials have not been adequately used in senior secondary schools science laboratories.
HO3. There is no significant relationship between chemistry practical and students learning in senior secondary schools science laboratories.
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
The availability and use of chemistry laboratory in senior secondary schools is an encompassing subject.
- Based on this, the researcher will limit his findings to science teachers’ and science students’ alone in Amuwo Local Government Area.
- Also the study will be limited to four selected senior secondary schools in Amuwo Local Government Area. The appraisal of this project will cover both science students’ and science teachers in the following four (4) selected schools:
- Navy Town senior secondary school.
- Festac Girls Secondary School
- Satellite Senior Secondary School
- Amuwo Senior Secondary School
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The following constraints may be encountered
- Attitudes of Respondents: – The attitude of respondents in some cases may not be very encouraging. Many of them may show great apathy, some may withhold necessary information about themselves, while others may give wrong information for reasons best known to them. The researcher would persuade the respondents in filling the questionnaires, assuring and explaining to them that information provided would be used only for research purpose.
- Lack of inadequate material: The nature of this research work demands a critical search for materials usage; materials such as journals, textbooks, magazines and other relevant materials, and this has posed a great challenge to the researcher and has made the research a tedious exercise. Internet source, libraries, and other sources will help to ease this burden.
- Transportation problem: There are some secondary schools that are very difficult to reach as a result of poor communication, distance and bad roads. The researcher will make use of schools located in urban areas in order to avoid these unpleasant situations.
- Unavailability of much data due to the fact that the study is restricted to science teachers’ and science students’ alone in those selected schools. The researcher will increase the sample size in order to avoid this situation.
1.9 Definition of Terms
Chemistry: The science of matter; the branch of the natural sciences dealing with the composition of substances and their properties and reactions.
Chemistry Laboratory: An environment where chemistry experiments take place.
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