BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Science and Technology education is a veritable tool for scientific and technological advancement of any nation. This fact is enshrined in the National Policy on Education of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN, 2014) which states that science and technology education should among other things equip students to live effectively in the modern age of science and technology. The policy also emphasized that science and technology teaching and learning are viable instruments for inculcating necessary scientific knowledge, skills and competencies. In order to inculcate the necessary scientific knowledge, skills competencies and attitudes in various developmental strategies such as World Declaration on Education for All (EFA) are put in place in Nigeria educational system. Other strategies like the NEEDS (National Economic Empowerment Development Strategies) and SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) were put in place. In order to meet these goals, the Nigerian Government overhauled its existing science and technology curriculum to cater for the needs of the nation as it aspires to be among the 20 top economies in the globe by the year 2020 (FRN, 2012). Basic Science and Technology education has become one of the best avenues to meet the global challenges facing the Nigerian nation. Despite the importance of Basic Science and Technology in the country’s quest for technological advancement, there has been seeming ineffectiveness in the teaching and learning of the subject which in turn is strongly affecting the attainment of the country’s laudable objectives and goals of developing a scientific and technologically literate citizenry.
Researchers such as Bukunola and Idowu (2012), Osokoya (2013), Alabi (2014), Oni (2014) Kabutu, Oloyede and Bandele (2015) and Samuel (2017) attested that the poor instructional strategies employed in the teaching of the subjects by teachers contribute to students under achievement. Students find it difficult to understand the basic concepts taught, hence a child that is not well grounded in Science and Technology at the basic level, will not show interest in offering core science and technology subjects at the Senior Secondary level. Cooperative learning groups have been promoted as a good way to bring about positive attitudes toward instruction, mastery of content, and self-esteem. For example, students who score in the 50th percentile when learning competitively would score in the 69th percentile when taught cooperatively (McKeachie, 2002). In a meta-analysis of research on cooperative learning in high school and college chemistry courses, Bowen (2009) found that students in the 50th percentile with traditional instruction would be in the 64th percentile in a cooperative learning environment. Affective outcomes were also improved by the use of cooperative learning. Relative to students involved in individual or competitive learning environments, cooperatively taught students exhibited better social skills and higher self-esteem, as well as more positive attitudes about their educational experience, the subject area, and the college (Johnson, Johnson & Smith, 2010). Towns, Kreke and Fields, (2009) used field notes and survey data to analyze students’ attitudes toward group activities in a physical chemistry class. The students viewed the group work as a positive force in their learning, and they also valued the interactions for promoting a sense of community in the classroom. One of the cooperative strategies, which is the focus of this study is Peer Tutoring learning approach. Peer tutoring is a flexible, peer-mediated strategy that involves students serving as academic tutors and statutes.
Usually, a higher performing student is paired with a lower performing student or students to review critical academic or behavioral concepts. Peer tutoring allows students to receive individual assistance. Moreover students have increased opportunities to interact in smaller groups. According to Spencer (2009), Peer tutoring increases self-confidence and self-eicacy. The term project method refer to a wider variety of educational programmes learning experiences, institutional instructions and academic support strategies that are intended to address the distinct learning need interests aspirations or cultural background of individual students and groups of students, to accomplish this goal schools teachers, guidance and counselors and other educational specialist they employ wide variety of education method from modifying assessments and instructional strategies in the classroom to entirely redesigning the way in which students are grouped and taught in a school (Adinoyi, 2009). The project method is an educational enterprise in which children solve a practical problem over a period of several days or weeks. It may involve building a rocket, designing a playground, or publishing a class newspaper. The project may be suggested by the teacher, but they are planned and executed as far as possible by the students themselves, individually or in groups.
Project work focuses on applying, not imparting, specific knowledge or skills, and on improving student involvement and motivation in order to foster independent thinking, self-confidence, and social responsibility (Kilpatrick, 2015). The main purpose of teaching is to transfer knowledge to the learners. For effective teaching and learning to take place, the teacher needs to use different methods and approaches in teaching. Unfortunately, poor achievement in Basic Science and Technology has been attributed to poor approach to teaching employed by teachers (Samuel, 2017; Alabi, 2014; Osokoya, 2013).