This study focused on the effects of project and lecture methods on secondary school students’ academic achievement in Economics in Anambra State. The study adopted quasi experimental research design. The population consisted of 2243 male and 2528 female students from 49 secondary schools in Nnewi Education Zone. The sample size for this study was one hundred and forty-six (146) Economics students of S.S.I in Anambra State. Multi-stage sampling technique was adopted for the study. The instrument for data collection was a designed Multiple Choice Economics Achievement Test (MCEAT). Five research questions and five research hypotheses were stated to guide the study and were analysed using simple mean, standard deviation for research questions and Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) to analyse the research hypotheses. The finding of this study shows that: students taught with project teaching method achieved better than those taught with lecture teaching method; male students achieved better on the average (i.e. mean) compared to their female counterpart taught using lecture method of teaching; male students achieved better on the average (i.e. mean) compared to their female counterpart taught using project method of teaching; urban students achieved better on the average (i.e. mean) compared to their students from rural areas taught using lecture method of teaching; urban students achieved better on the average (i.e. mean) compared to their students from rural areas taught using project method of teaching. The research hypotheses tested revealed that: there is a significant difference in the achievement mean score of students taught Economics using lecture method (i.e. control group) and those taught using Project method (i.e. experimental group); there is no significant difference in the achievement means score of male and female students taught Economics using lecture method (i.e. control group); there is a significant difference in the achievement means score of male and female students taught Economics using project method (i.e. experimental group); the result shows there is no significant difference in the achievement means score of urban and rural students taught Economics using lecture method (i.e. control group); the result shows there is a significant difference in the achievement means score of urban and rural students taught Economics using project method (i.e. experimental group). Based on the findings, the recommendations were made that project method of teaching should be applied by teachers Economics since it makes students to be actively involved in the learning process. The government, ministry of education, and educational administrators should organise workshops, seminars, conferences etc. where knowledge about new innovative techniques could be exposed to the Economics teachers and how to use them in the classroom.
Background of the study
Educators are beginning to show an increased awareness of the importance of the way students learn. Many of the standard methods of conveying knowledge have been shown to be relatively ineffective on the students’ ability to master and to retain important concepts (Sharma, 2012). Learning through some methods of teaching is passive rather than active. The conventional methods (lecture) do not tend to foster critical thinking, creative thinking and collaborative problem- solving (Blair, 2007).
Lecture method of teaching is the oldest method applied by teachers. This teaching method is a one way channel of communication or dissemination of information. Thus, Students’ involvement in this teaching method is just to listen and sometimes take down some notes if necessary during the lecture, combine the information and organize it. Lecture method of teaching has failed to provide teacher-student interactions and also encourages note cramming without understanding content. Moreover, students’ attention wane quickly during lectures and information tends to be forgotten quickly when students are passive. Lecture method also, emphasizes learning by listening which is disadvantageous for students who prefer other learning styles. No one can deny the fact that schools are becoming diverse in terms of students background, and as a result, teachers are being more challenged to find effective ways to meet with diverse needs of their students. Educators confront classrooms in which different students exhibit assorted academic and behavioural characteristics and they are increasingly looking for successful instructional and classroom management techniques (Carrier, 2005). It is now being recognized that there are better ways to learn than through the traditional methods (Wood& Gentile, 2003). One of these ways to learn is through project method.
Project based learning (PBL) has emerged to become an instructional approach that is gaining and growing interest within the domain of Economics education community. Healim and Esche (2000) described project based learning as an instructional method that challenges students to learn and how to learn and do academic works cooperatively in groups to seek solutions to real world problems.
In the word of Pific and Hadgraft (2009) addressed the key ingredients of project based learning and postulated that it should not be confused with design projects or case studies where the focus is predominantly on the application of existing knowledge and integration of what is already known. Project based learning goes beyond this, students will encounter some concepts for the first time and therefore they need strategies for acquiring this new knowledge. The application of this approach to the study of certain concept is motivated by several factors derived both from the research literature and teaching experience.
According to Binnie (2002) in reported in a study conducted in South Africa pointed out that “the use of projects method was very helpful in assisting the learning of the students. Their active involvement in the tasks encourages them to think which enhance their learning. The use of real data collected by them motivates them because they will want to know the conclusions of what they have done.
Project work approach seems to have the components to motivate teachers and students to develop a cooperative work mainly aiming at the students to perceive and understand all the necessary stages required to arrive at logical conclusion (Biajone, 2006). Project-based learning is a systematic teaching method that engages students in acquire knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks. Research shows that learners not only respond by giving useful information but they also actively use what they know to explore, negotiate, interpret and create.
Lecture and project based learning methods can be used by Economics teachers to improve their students skills, knowledge and retention in the subject. This could be achieved through engaging or involving students in the learning process or make them to be actively involved especially when dealing with the practical aspect of economics which the theoretical knowledge gained through the use of lecture method could be applied. Economics is one of the elective subjects’ offered in the senior secondary schools. Economics is a social science that studies human behaviour with reference to resource allocation in terms of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
According to Robbins (1935) defined Economics is a social science that studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. This definition is said to be the most appropriate and widely acceptable. This is because Economics studies the behaviours of consumers at the market with respect to how they buy and price. Also, in time of scarcity of goods, Economics knowledge can help one to comprehend and interpret what is really wrong. These are part of the aims of Economics.
According to the Federal Ministry of Education (F.ME) in her National Curriculum for Senior Secondary School Economics Curriculum (2008), the objectives of the subject economics is to enable students:
- Understand basic economic principles and concepts as well as the tools for sound economic analysis.
- Contribute intelligently to discourse on economic reforms and development as they affect or would affect the generality of Nigerians.
- Understand the structure and functioning of economic institutions.
- Appreciate the role of public policies on national economy.
- Develop skills and also appreciate the basic for rational economic decisions.
- Become sensitized to participate actively in national economic advancement through entrepreneurship, capital market and so on.
- Understand the role and status of Nigeria and other African countries in International economic relationships.
- Appreciate the problems encountered by developing countries in their effort towards economic advancement.
The study of Economics is very important to human being since the knowledge acquired in Economics will help the individual to make the best use of scarce resources. Economics is very important to the growth and development of our nation. It plays an important role in the development of the human and natural resources of a country.
A good knowledge of Economics can help an individual in a good decision making. For instance: an entrepreneur with the knowledge of Economics is bound to make more rational and rewarding business decision than his counterpart without such knowledge. The study of Economics enhances good citizenship in the sense that much of government policies today are Economics in nature. For instance, issues like inflation, unemployment, income, inequality, population explosion, external debts, balance of payments disequilibrium etc. are the things that dominate government policy today.
The study of Economics prepares a student for a career. Economics provides a good background for careers in business administration, banking, marking, politics etc. It provides training for students intending to become professional economists who serve as special advisers in governments and research specialists in business corporations and universities. This could be achieved if these students are well taught in the classroom using methods of teaching like project method of teaching that would make have knowledge about the subject from their own effort. Also, the exposing of these students to practical nature of economics could help them be specialist in business in the future because this idea could only developed based on how the teachers have taught them to love and have interest in the subject to that level. Therefore the subject Economics is very important that teachers teaching it are expected to apply methods which they think could help students appreciate it. The teachers are also expected to follow the guidelines or procedure in the recent Economics curriculum.
Economics is one of the subjects in education curriculum of senior secondary school. In recent review, the former twenty six (26) themes have been restructured into 16 themes with 49 topics spread over the three years of senior secondary school. The study of Economics makes a student to be a rational human being and as well think critically when engaged in their daily activities. The students of Economics will apply the knowledge acquired from the subject to other fields of studies like Mathematics, Social studies, Business finance etc. the knowledge of Economics will make a student to make a reasonable choice. They will also allocate their resources to productive ventures.
Economics is a living subject which when properly taught and learned in a more practical and realistic way will result in a good academic achievement. Academic achievement has been one of the most important goals of the educational process. (Karthigeyan & Nirmala, 2012). Karthigeyan and Nirmala (2012) also added that academic achievement is a major goal which every individual is expected to perform in all culture.
Academic achievement refers to knowledge and skills attained by a student in school subjects. Igbo and Ihejiene (2014) defined academic achievement as the successful result of an interaction between a teacher and a student. There are also factors that influence academic achievement of every learner like parental education, parental occupation, type of family, family size, age of the learner and gender. Gender refers to society’s division of humanity, based on sex, into two distinctive kinds. Gender could be defined as more than biological differences between men and women (Ministry of Women Affair, 2014). It is the perceptions male and female have about themselves. In academics, it has been argued that on most occasions, the male students could do better in class than the female students. Most studies show that on average, girls do better in school than boys (cited in Zembar & Blume, 2011) which implies that girls get better or higher grades compared to boys. In calculative and more practical subjects or courses, boys tend to perform better than girls. However, Abdu-Raheem (2012) reported in a study that there is no significant difference between the achievements means scores of male and female students in the experimental and control groups. The author went further to add that there is no significant difference between the retention mean score of male and female students in the experimental and control groups. Also, the author noted gender does not play any significant role on students’ achievement and retention in social studies.