1.1 Background of the Study
Improvisation is the practice of using alternative materials and resources, due to lack or insufficiency of some specific first-hand teaching materials, to facilitate teaching. Improvisation of biology materials capitalizes on the use of local resources to minimize cost of biology equipment and materials. It enhances creativity and productivity in teachers and students and at the same time contributes meaningfully to biology teaching.
Instructional materials according to Oladejo, Olosunde, Ojebisi, and Isola (2011) are those things which help in the biology teaching and learning process. It helps to promote understanding of the biology concept and generalization by making biology lesson practical and realistic.
There are some pre-requisite for successful improvisation in biology. These are:
Funds must be made available for the purchase of the basic tools.
Adequate funds must also be provided for the purchase of local materials.
Low-cost materials should be purchased at minimum cost from sources
other than from the scientific suppliers.
In secondary schools, the school carpenter, electrician or technologist should give maximum cooperation.
According to Oluwagbohunmi and Abdu-Raheem (2014), the effect of instructional materials is to communicate more permanently, health related issues, and information is retained when supplemented with aid. Certainly biology instructional materials when carefully selected and skillfully used will make teaching and learning more effective.
The educational values of instructional materials in biology are enormous. It is however important that the biology teachers and students are aware of the most important contributions they can offer to facilitate teaching and learning. Instructional materials are important for the following reasons:
They promote meaningful communication in biology class.
They ensure better retention and make biology teaching and learning more permanent.
They help overcome the limitations of the biology classroom by making the inaccessible accessible.
They stimulate and motivate biology teachers to teach and biology students to learn.
They encourage active participation especially if biology students are allowed to provide and manipulate biology materials used.
They make teaching and learning to be real among others.
Any biology teacher who has the interest of the biology student at heart is bound to think of the ways and means the teacher will employ to make the teaching and learning process more effective and more interesting to the biology student. One of such ways can be through the combine provision of instructional materials by both the biology teacher and biology students which this study is investigating.
Instructional materials in biology can be in different forms such as textual and non-textual, the visual the auditory and audio-visual. Onasanya and Omosewo (2011), indicate that there is a need for research on the use and effectiveness of instructional materials in the classroom that would enhance teaching. With these concerns in mind, and the performances of biology students in public examinations conducted by West African Examinations Council and National Examinations Council in Nigeria. The current study is carried out to address the issues of the effect of teachers and students made improvised instructional materials and students performance in biology in Etinan local government area of Akwa Ibom State.
The use of instructional materials in teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools in the 21st century is not absolutely new. What is new is the source of the instructional materials which this study hopes to introduce recently into the teaching and learning process. With the evolving partnership in education and the need for improve academic performances, efforts are on the increase in the provision of instructional materials to teaching and learning; a development that is suspected to be beneficial to both teachers and students.
Many biology teachers are not knowledgeable or find it difficult to provide/improvise instructional materials when teaching because of lack of training on its application/improvisation for effective use and dissemination of knowledge. On the other hand, parents and students do not see the need to partner the school on the improvisation of instructional materials. Hence, biology teachers and students are faced with the problem of talking about instructional materials without making bold attempts to provide it in the teaching and learning process (Abdu-Raheem, 2014).
It is virtually important that both biology teachers and students keep in mind the purpose for which instructional materials are used. The characteristics and special need for students to be taught by them and the bases for selecting the materials most likely use to help learners achieve the objective of their study. For example, teachers must know when to use a biology instructional material to clarify important concepts rather than explaining it in a biology text book.
The students’ academic performance in biology from 2014 -2018 in public examinations in Nigeria has not been encouraging. There have been complained from parents, West African Examinations Council (WAEC), and National Examinations Council (NECO) Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) on the low performance of students in Biology. There is still a high rate of failure in biology as revealed by the analysis of the May/June Senior School Certificate Examinations results of 2014-2018 (WAEC, 2018). What could be responsible for this poor performance? Could it be as a result of instructional materials provision during the teaching of biology or from the lack of instructional materials used in teaching biology? If the instructional materials are provided, could the provider of the instructional materials have effect on the performance? The findings of this study hopes to provide statistical answer for this question.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Despite the importance of instructional materials in biology teaching and learning, there is still a high rate of failure in biology revealed by the analysis of May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) results from 2014 – 2018 (WEAC, 2018). Educators are seeking for alternative ways to teach biology so as to improve the performance of biology students in public examinations. The problem of the study posed as a question is ‘how can teachers and students made improvised instructional materials affect students’ performance in biology in Etinan local government area of Akwa Ibom State’?