Background of the Study
Education can be described as a conscious effort by the instructor (teacher) to bring about a positive change in the life of the learner(s). It is also defined as the sum total of all experiences which occur in humans’ life from birth to death. It is a process by which any society through schools, colleges and other institutions deliberately transmits knowledge, values and skill from one person to another. To Anasi, (2012) education is described as a key component of personal and national development. It is a process of becoming the best people can be in life, in that it provides mankind with knowledge and information which could bring about desirable changes in the way people think, feel and act. To Battle and Lewis, (2002) in this period of globalization and technology revolution, education is considered very important for every human is linked with an individuals’ well-being and opportunities for better living. It ensures the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable individuals to increase their product in productivity which also lead to new source of learning which enhances the economic growth of a country (Saxton, 2000). Education has been recognized as an instrument “par excellence” as by the Federal Government of Nigeria (NPE 2012). It is the most important instrument of change that leads to societal transformation and self-actualization.
To achieve this great aim of societal transformation through education, the Nigerian education has been segmented into various stages including pre-primary, primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational education in other to provide a learning module for a target age and a class of learners. School provides knowledge about all aspect of life in a society to enable learners to understand the history, current trends and also be able to project future occurrences (Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004). Specifically, secondary education serves as a bridge between the primary and tertiary education and its broad goals includes the preparation of the child for useful living within the society (FRN, 2004), a just and egalitarian society, a great and dynamic economy.
A close look at the educational sector in Nigeria has revealed diverse problems and challenges in this 21st century that threaten the possibility of attaining the lofty goals clearly spelt out in the National policy on Education.
The bulk of the problems and challenges have been found to center on the performance of learners. According to Simon and Collins (2003), there is a declining student’s interest in science courses and career is a worldwide concern that has prompted science education reform effort on an international scale. As science has become ever more deeply embedded in our everyday life, how ordinary people perceive science has attracted growing attention not only from the scientific community, but also from social scientists (Simon and Collins, 2003). A significant amount of research in science education is devoted to understanding words we improve the quality of science education and increase enrolment in science courses. One of the key factor in learning science teachers and student’s attitude towards science subject (Opara, 2011). One of such science areas that has received scientific attention is Chemistry.
Chemistry is an experimental science and cannot be separated from laboratory work. For students to have meaningful learning coupled with in-depth understanding of chemistry, they need to be able to conduct experiments and be familiar with a range of laboratory skills. It is therefore necessary to give them supplementary experience in laboratory work. But not knowing the concept behind the experiment, results many students struggling to collect data and analyze the experimental results. They are busy creating and developing their own understanding of the principles associated with that data. This sort of problem happens at the secondary school level where students struggle with the preparation of numerous types of laboratory reports as their necessary responsibilities (Barbara, Gary, and Lyubov, 2003). To Retno Dwi Suyanti,(2010), chemistry is a part of science that is seeking the answers to the questions of what, why and how natural phenomena relates to the composition, structure and properties of a substances. There are two issues related to chemistry, i.e. as the products (chemistry knowledge in the form of facts, concepts, principles, laws, and theories) and and also as the processes (scientific work).
The formal investigation about influence of these factors on students’ academic performance is dated back to the 17th century (Mann, 2005). Generally, these factors include gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status of parents, age of the learners, methods of teaching studying habit, student teacher relationship, availability and utilization of instructional material and school climate. Unfortunately, defining and measuring the quality of education is not a simple issue and the complexity of these process increases due to the changing values of quality attributes associated with different scholars and researchers view (Blevins, 2009 and Parri, 2006).
Teaching involves the imparting of knowledge, skills and attitudes to an individual. It is an investment in human capital and a key determinant of economic growth. World Bank, (2007) observed that Secondary education will be one of the key factors for increasing economic growth and social development, as education is a tool for economic growth. Ibrahim (2005), noted that despite efforts made at national level by the Kenya Government to encourage students to study science, the students’ performance is still poor, especially in Chemistry. According to Kenya National Examination Council (2009), KCSE Report, practical examinations are the major contributing factor to poor academic performance in sciences since students are not exposed to facilities as required.
Science teaching is a process of imparting knowledge, skill and attitude to learners. Science is a human activity where people are actively searching, seeking and verifying new knowledge. It is tentative, empirical and subjective.
Instructional Delivery refers to the interaction among the student, the teacher, the content, and the knowledge/skills/dispositions students will need for learning and collaborating with others in a diverse society and rapidly changing the world. The process of instructional delivery involves applying a set of skills to support student’s engagement.
It has been proven that teachers have an important influence on students’ academic performance.
They play a crucial role in this educational attainment because the teacher is ultimately responsible for translating policy into action and principle based on practice during interaction with the students (Kara 2013) concluded that the most important factor that influences students learning is the teacher. Teachers are standing as the interface of transmission of knowledge, values, and skills in the learning process to the students. If the teacher is ineffective, students under the teachers care will achieve inadequate progress academically. Hence, teaching methods adopted by teachers affect students’ performance.
Teachers have their personal methods of teaching which they carry out from one learning situation to another and they also moderate their methods to suit the content, for example teaching method in the laboratory will be different from that in the classroom. Instructional delivery technique is affected by the teacher’s beliefs about what is good teaching, their personal preferences, personality and abilities, and the content to be impacted as evidence in the example given above. Instructors develop a teaching method based on their beliefs about what constitutes good teaching, personal preferences, their abilities, and the norms of their particular discipline.
According to Wikieducator (2009), the various teaching techniques can be classified as lecture method where the teacher is responsible for providing the learning experience to students and students are recipients of the experience. Demonstration or personal model; wherein the teacher demonstrates or models behaviour but student participation is then necessary for learning. Discussion method which is a guide by the side model, with the responsibility of learning predominantly with the learners; and Discovery method where the teacher delegates and is entirely responsible for learning, from motivating themselves to self-evaluation during learning. In each of these methods, students respond differently thereby leading to variation in their level of comprehension and performances. It is against this background that this study examines the relationship between instructional delivery techniques and academic performance of secondary school students in Chemistry in Eket Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.