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Effect of Field Trip Teaching Method on Biology Students Academic Performance

Effect of Field Trip Teaching Method on Biology Students Academic Performance

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1.1       Background to the Study

Field trip is an outdoor or field work or learning exercise undertaken by teachers and students in certain aspects of a subject to give students the opportunity to acquire knowledge. It may also be referred to as trips to various places to obtain information directly by seeing things as they really are (Obeka 2010).

Field visits make schoolwork more tangible and memorable by connecting it with the outside world. A field trip sparks questions and ideas at the start or end of a lesson. It is one of the most interesting and enjoyable experiences for kids studying science, particularly Biology (Zumyil, 2016).

A lot of factors affect the performance of biology students. These factors bear so much influence on the performance of biology students. Over the years, research studies (Akande, Mogbo, Bello & Yaki, 2018; Duyilemi & Bolajoko, 2014; Joda, 2019; Osuafor & Okonkwo, 2013) have indicated that academic performance of students who enroll in biology has not been encouraging.

It is disheartening that candidates‟ performance in biology for five years; 2014 to 2018 are 56.17%, 57.42%, 61.68%, 55.57% and 55.10% respectively (WAEC Chief Examiner’s reports, 2014 to 2018). The performance of students improved above average from 2014 to 2018 with the highest percentage of 61.68% in year 2016. Although it was a remarkable improvement but this is still not good enough for a country like Nigeria that is in dire need of scientific knowledge such as biology.

Agaba (2013) attributed the poor performance in biology to lack of commitment to academics while Obi and Idoha (2013) added the dearth in science resources. Further, Agaba opined that for students to achieve better in biology, instructional materials should be used in the teaching of the subject because biology requires real objects and activities/experiment that can convert topics that seem imaginary to concretize for students understanding.

Among all science subjects (Chemistry, Physics, and Biology), Biology is the most popular. Biology has the largest student enrollment at the secondary school level in Nigeria, which is evident in the WAEC Chief examiners’ repor over the years. WAEC (2017), reported that Biology had 1,087,921 candidates, Chemistry 704,494 while Physics recorded 666,992 candidates who sat for West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

WAEC (2018), reported similar figures; Biology 1,087,884, Chemistry 728,998 and Physics 704,504. WAEC (2019) also reported that Biology had 1,086,449 candidates, Chemistry – 762,595 and Physics 728,924 candidates who sat for the examination that year. Biology will continue to hold a distinctive place in the school curriculum in the future, particularly because basic understanding of Biology is required for study in a variety of disciplines such as Medicine, Agriculture, Pharmacy, Micro-Biology, Biochemistry, and Psychology, among others (Njoku, Nwagbo and Ugwuanyi, 2020).

Effect of Field Trip Teaching Method on Biology Students Academic Performance

It goes without saying that no student planning to pursue these courses of study can do without Biology. Despite the importance and popularity of Biology among Nigerian students, performance at the Senior Secondary School level is still inadequate.

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Educational field trip according to progressive method of learning by which the students goes through the necessary learning experiences under the leadership and guidance of the teacher (Shakil, 2011). Field trip is a study trip taken outside the classroom to obtain direct experience from a natural setting.

It is organized to improve students’ interest in learning, for collecting data, materials or objects for classroom lessons as well as to observe objects or phenomena not possible to bring within the classroom. Field trip is a planned exercise taking place outside the four walls of the classroom.

It offers opportunity for learners to get firsthand information on people, places and things for the permanency of learning experiences (Instructional Strategies Online, 2013). Field trip is a tour planned by teacher to benefit the student learning process. The trip is planned for learners to experience theory in practice.

Using field trip in teaching and learning leads to teacher‐learner interaction outside the classroom. These interactions take place in a new learning environment and result in a meaningful teaching and learning process. Fakomogbon, Ibrahim, and Gegele (2007) noted that the basic technology curriculum requires child‐ centered and activity‐oriented teaching and learning processes.

Nowadays it is imperative to use different teaching methods and learning processes as well as strategies to ensure student understanding. Since field trip is a method of teaching used to collect firsthand information in the course of investigation, this will enable both teachers and students to create meaningful and productive learning both on the field and in schools.

Omosewo (2009) explained that field trip can be used as a chance to collect data for later analysis, to generate artwork and stimulate discussions both on site and back at schools and universities in tutorials, seminars and workshops.

The use of field trip as a method of teaching helps to bring about an effective learning of Basic Technology. It is of enormous benefit because it enhances the observation of learning experiences in the field of engineering works where engineering materials such as plastic, ceramics, rubber, wood and metals are used.

Field trips are an interactive method of teaching which give both male and female students equal opportunity to widen their practical and cultural experience by varying their learning environments.

Thus, Amosa (2013) remarked that no evidence of superiority is expected to be noticed in the academic performance based on gender, if both males and females students are exposed to learning experiences equally.

There is need therefore for biology teachers to get acquainted with the methods that are suitable or effective in teaching of biology called. Dorgu (2015) pointed out that good teachers follow no one method, instead they use whatever methods or materials that seem best for the particular combination of individual situations.

The present study will investigate the effect of field trip on academic performance of students in ecology. Field trip teaching method encourage co-operation between the teacher and the learners and may improve performance of the concept of ecology.

Therefore, for effective teaching of ecology, the use of field trip which makes use of the environment could achieve much and bring home the actual meaning of concepts. Field trip is that instructional strategy that allows students to obtain direct experience from a natural setting (Abdul, Oyeronke &Adunni, 2015).

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It is a visit to out of school environments in order to observe the real world and obtain some specific information. The theoretical basis for field trip is Vygotsky’s Socio-cultural theory of learning “that learning takes place in social environment.”

Leaving the school premises is a social experience and one, which provides a change of tempo and scenery for students. Field trip exposes students to new experiences and can increase interest and engagement in science regardless of prior interest in a topic (Omeodu & Abara, 2018).

On field trips, learners sharpen their skills of observations, perception and objective report of observations by utilizing all their senses (Shakil, Faizi & Hafeez, 2011). It makes the students to be more imaginative and inquest live observers. However, there are also disadvantages that should be considered before planning for field trip.

They include lack of chaperones, students may misbehave, budget constraints, safety concerns and time management. While a field trip may be an exciting time for students and teachers, these challenges may end up making it an unpleasant experience, thereby ruining the learning experience if not properly managed by the Biology teachers and their students. This could mean that conventional lecture method of teaching may prove more effective in improving the performance of students in ecology.

Effect of Field Trip Teaching Method on Biology Students Academic Performance

Conventional lecture method is a teacher-centered method whereby the teacher is seen as an authority imparting knowledge to the students. It could involve a mix of different methods, but it is mainly the lecture or expository methods that are commonly used.

Although, conventional lecture method of teaching has been shown in a number of studies to be less effective compared to other innovative methods, teachers still adopt them for teaching and learning.

This is because conventional lecture method is suitable for teaching large groups of students and for covering large content area. By implication, all methods of teaching science in general and biology in particular could boast the performance and retention of biology concepts.

 1.2   Statement of the Problem

The traditional teaching method which is the talk and chalk approach to teaching has become an inherent attribute to the Nigerian teacher. To them, they are master “know-it-all‟; as a result they tend to impart their knowledge to the learner as though the learner’s brain is a machine which is capable of absorbing everything presented unto it. The duty of the learner is to sit, grasp and assimilate all information. This has not augured well with the Nigerian school-child as there has been a large report of student poor performance in internal and external examination.

In this 21st century, effort is being placed on paradigm shift in the students from being a passive learner into a learner who actively involves in the learning process and discovers knowledge for them.

The issue therefore is how can the Nigerian students be effectively taught to ensure proper conceptual understanding of biological concepts?. This prompts the researcher to undertake the study on the effect of field trip teaching method on biology students academic performance.

Effect of Field Trip Teaching Method on Biology Students Academic Performance

1.3     Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine the effect of field trip teaching method on biology students academic performance. Specifically, the study has the following objectives:

  1. Investigate the effects of field trip teaching method on the academic achievements of students taught ecology concept at the SSS level.
  2. Investigate the effects of field trip teaching method among urban and rural Senior Secondary students taught ecology concept in biology.
  3. Determine the retention level of students taught ecology concepts using field-trip teaching strategy and those taught using lecture method.
  4. Determine the retention level among urban and rural students of experimental group taught ecology concept using field trip teaching method.
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Research Questions

The following research questions are set to guide the study;

  1. What is the effect of field-trip teaching strategy on students’ academic performance in ecology concept in Zaria Educational zone?
  2. What is the effect of field trip on students’ academic performance in urban and rural experimental schools in ecology concepts in the study area?
  3. What is the effect of field trip on students’ retention ability in ecology concept among senior secondary school in Zaria educational zone?

4        What is the effect of field trip on retention level of urban and rural experimental schools students in the study area?

Null Hypotheses

This study has the following null hypotheses:

Ho1   There is no significant difference between the mean scores of the students taught ecology concept using field trip and those taught using lecture method.

Ho2: There is no significant difference in the mean scores of the urban and rural experimental schools student’s taught in ecology concept using field trip teaching method.

Ho3:    There is no significant difference between the mean scores of students in the experimental group and control group in retention ability using field trip teaching method.

Ho4:    there is no significant difference in the mean scores of urban and rural experimental schools student’s in retention level taught ecology concept using field trip teaching method.

Significance of the Study,

The findings of this study will hopefully help to uplift the standard of biology teaching in senior secondary schools in a number of ways.

Encourage active participation of the students which will help in meaningful learning and teaching, help in minimizing the high failure rate of secondary schools students in biology. Serve, as a foundation for further research studies on field trip, particularly in teaching other science courses.

Help the teacher to effectively teach ecology concept in senior secondary school so as to minimized the failure rate of final year Biology students,

It also helps the curriculum planners in designing ecological concept toward field work. Serve as an encouragement for teachers to use field trip for difficult concepts in science

.Encouraged parents to pay for their children/ wards to go on field trip. Serve as a foundation to other research.

Scope of the Study

This study investigated the effects of field- trip on Retention and Academic Performance in Ecology among Secondary School Students in Zaria, Nigeria. The delimitations of the study include:

  1. The study is restricted to SS1 students because ecology concept appears more in SS1 Biology syllabus. See appendix “H”.
  2. Four Senior Secondary Schools will be selected for the study i.e two from urban areas and two from rural areas

Mr. Harrison

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