EFFECTS OF CONCEPT MAPPING AND EXPERIMENTAL TECHNIQUES IN TEACHING BIOLOGY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY ABUJA, NIGERIA. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON EDUCATION
1.1 Background to the Study
The subjects at the Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria are divided into Arts, Social Sciences and Sciences depending on the course each individual intends to offer after the secondary education. In Nigeria, the sciences are taught in subjects such as Physics, Chemistry and Biology. As a biology teacher of many years, experience has shown that even though a large populace of students show interest in offering biology as a subject and think it to be the simplest of the sciences, there have been a consistent poor achievement in both internal and external examinations. On the order hand even though biology lessons are supposed to be taught with practical lessons I have observed over the years that most biology teachers do not teach their lessons with praticals. The
National Curriculum for Senior Secondary Schools Volume Three (3) Science in (Ajaja 2009) stated the specific objectives to be achieved by each subject (curriculum).
Adequate laboratory and field skills in Biology;
Meaningful and relevant knowledge in Biology;
Ability to apply scientific knowledge to everyday life in matters of personal and community health and agriculture; and
Reasonable and functional scientific attitudes. (Ajaja, 2009)
Biology occupies a unique position in the school curriculum; this is because Biology is central to many sciences related professional courses such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Agriculture, Nursing, Biochemistry, Dentistry, Microbiology, Laboratory Technology and all other related courses. It therefore becomes binding on anyone wishing to offer any of the courses listed above or any related to such to offer Biology as one of the prerequisite subjects in the secondary school to gain admission into the University.
Although Biology is a prerequisite to these courses, poor achievement in Biology is alarming according to reports from Okebukola (1998), Ajaja (2002), Ahmed (2008) and randomly collated WAEC results by the researcher from 10 schools in six area councils of Federal Capital Territory, between 2006 – 2010 in 2011 and also my experience in students poor performance in biology internal examinations. These consistent poor performances in Biology external examinations among Senior Secondary Schools students have given a lot of concern to educators, curriculum planners and students themselves Okoye (2004). Various teaching methods are used for instruction in the teaching of Biology. These teaching methods have been summarized into Expository,
Practical or Activity Oriented and Constructivism. Okoye and Okechukwu (2006), Nwokenna (2010). Expository methods according to Nwokenna (2010) which include lecture method, demonstration, project, field trip and discussion methods. They concentrate on presentation of concepts, facts and principles by the teacher while the students are merely asked to listen and take notes.