Instructional materials are materials used to impact knowledge into the mind of learners, this material can either be visual or audio-visual. Improvised instructional materials are those teaching and learning materials produced using locally available resources with the help of experts. The paper visualized the importance of improvised instructional material for the teaching of biology at all levels of education, highlighted some of the improviseable alternatives to standard equipment, pointed out the role of students, school authority and government in this important educational innovation so as to achieve the stated educational goals.
- Background of the study
The universal basic education (UBE) programme of Nigeria is designed among other things to facilitate the standard of literacy and improve societal development, the UBE is a nine year programame that cover six years of primary education and three years of junior secondary schools. The three years of junior secondary school is known as upper basic (Basic 7-9). This upper basic level is aimed at preparing the youths for gainful employment or progression into the senior secondary level and subsequent admission into higher education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). Undoubtedly, these functions are very essential to the survival, enhancement and development of the Nigeria society. However, the extent to which the upper basic education level achieves the set aims is largely dependent on the various subjects in the curriculum and how they are taught in schools. Biology is one of the vocational subject taught at the upper level of the Nigerian education system as a compulsory part of the curriculum. It is taught as an integral core subject which comprises nature of molecules, cells, photosynthesis, respiration, reproduction etc. Biology is an interdisciplinary field of study which helps families and individuals to understand and adapt to the effects of biological changes. Archurst and Anyakoha (2004) described it as one of the natural sciences which also includes chemistry, physics and health science. The social sciences i.e. sociology, political science, economics, philosophy, psychology and art in solving problems of families and individuals.
- Statement of problem
Evidence from the studies reviewed shows that failure rate in biology at senior certificate examinations is high. This could be attributed to a number of factors; one of such factors is lack or total absence of instructional materials. In teaching and learning, instructional materials play a key role towards concretizing learning. Instructional materials make learning meaningful and help to improve students’ academic achievement. However these advantages of instructional materials have not reflected in the education system because of the dearth of these instructional materials in our schools. Hence, the need for alternative instructional materials called improvisation. Biology is resource intensive and in an era of poor funding or scarcity of resources, it may be very difficult to find some of the original materials and equipment for the teaching of biology in schools adequately, improvisation becomes the next option. Studies have shown the importance of improvisation in teaching of biology. All these studies used conventional instructional materials but there have not been studies specifically on the effect of students improvised instructional materials on students achievement in biology. This study therefore is geared towards finding out if the use of students improvised instructional materials could bring a solution to the problem of poor achievement of students in biology.