This study was designed to identify the instructional methods that can be used to effect collaborative learning method on senior secondary school students’ achievement in summary writing in Afikpo Education Zone. This study became necessary because of poor performance of the students in summary writing. Four research questions and four hypotheses guided the study. A sample of 90 teachers was drawn from 22 public schools in Afikpo Education Zone and was used for the study. Quasi experimental research design was used for the study. Three (3) sets of standardized items of the West African senior secondary school certificate examination past question papers of three respective years was adopted by the researcher which was not subjected to validation because the items was developed by experts. These sets of standardized items were used in collecting relevant data from the respondents. Mean and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions and ANCOVA was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The result showed that there was a statistical significant main effect for method F(1,64) = 11.667, P<.001; the main effect of gender was not significant F(1,64) = 1.401, P>.241, and there was non- significant interaction effect of method and gender F(1, 64) = 073, P>.788. Based on the findings and implications, it was recommended that curriculum planners should ensure that collaborative learning method be incorporated in secondary school curriculum. It was suggested that further research can be replicated using true experimental design.
Background of the Study
Education as an important tool for national development has become the concern of the government in Nigeria. It is believed that schools should teach the children, Pupils and students to learn their roles as leaders, group members and members of the public and so on. (Jekayinfa, 2009) says that the teacher should adapt the lesson to the environment of the children.
Summary writing could be seen as a programme of study in schools which is used to inculcate in the learners the knowledge and skills considered important in human relationship in the public. Summary writing as part of English language involve the experiences which deal with the problems of learning relationship in the school and the larger environment. It also includes human relationships with other culture. These experiences and their rightful application form the benefits which control summary writing interactions of individuals.
The general aim of curriculum planners for summary writing is to provide a forum whereby learners will be taught to imbibe the benefits in the public. The provisions and objectives set for the accomplishment of summary goals are sufficiently worthwhile to achieve the set goals. The benefits emphasized in the current curriculum of summary writing are those ones which are important to get across to the school students. (Adesina & Adeyemi, 2009).Common Wealth of Learning (2000), defined curriculum as a composite whole including the learner, the teacher, teaching and learning methodologies, anticipated and unanticipated experiences, outputs and outcomes possible within a learning institution. With the benefits and feelings for survival, aimed at in the national guide, it is hopeful that students at the end of the courses should be able to develop the right type of skill and learn more about their environment and others and the right type of skill to tackle summary writing as a school subject.
The aims and objectives of education that may help individual to develop physically and socially, and be able to contribute to national development as stated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), include the following:
(a)The inculcation of the right of values for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian public.
(b)The acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competence both mental and physical as equipment for the individual to live and to contribute to the development of his country.
These characteristics of national objectives are fully reflected in the summary writing objectives. Summary writing, apart from imparting knowledge and providing information necessary in life, also aims at helping students to acquire desirable skills and competences needed for the survival of the individual in the public.
Nigerian Research and development Council (2007) clearly spelt out the overall objectives of summary writing at both basic Education and senior secondary levels should enable pupils and students to achieve the following:
(a) Develop the ability to adapt to his or her changing environment.
(b) Become responsible and disciplined individuals capable and willing to contribute to the development of the country.
(c) Develop a sense of comprehension towards other people.
(d) Inculcate the right types of knowledge.
(e) Develop a sense of solidarity and sharing based on a sense of security in one’s own Identity.(p.6)
(f) Develop the capacity to be recognized in one’s own country.
Summary writing is a subject discipline through which individual learns about the problem of survival. In order for summary writing to perform its function properly, instructional strategies in the subject should be centered on methods of seeking the truth which include those of problem detecting, Problem-solving, learning by experimenting, discovering learning, and collaborative learning (Adeyemi, 2003). Summary writing has the special focus of positively influencing, modifying and changing student’s behaviour in the direction of acceptable manners and practices of the public. A competent teacher of summary writing must acquaint himself or herself with summary writing methodology and be well groomed in the application of the various methods of teaching summary writing.
A good summary writing teacher has to convince him/herself that he is committed to, interested in and enjoys teaching summary writing. It has become apparent that the lecture method, which is currently the predominant teaching approach in Nigerian secondary schools, is inappropriate and ineffective for achieving the high objectives of the summary writing programme. “Education for self-development”, which can be found in all reviewed national policies of education manual up to date, however, modern educators believe that the starting point of adequate skills development should be concentrated on student’s ability to develop cognitive and affective concepts, skills and opinions (Nmon,2011). It is expected that teachers in summary writing are expected to be fully grounded in the skills that will make the subject to actualize its objectives and also inculcate good skills and attitudes in the learners which will make them become functional members of the public.
In spite of the important place of Summary Writing in our educational system, students’ performance achievement in the subject has shown a fluctuating decline in Senior Secondary Certificate Examination in Ebonyi State. For instance, the Ebonyi State Examination Board, (2012), English Summary writing analysis of Afikpo Local Government of Ebonyi State has indicated that as at 2009, the percentage of males that passed was 18.31%, and in 2010 it increased to 24.53%, and in 2011 it dropped to 18.31%. While the percentage of the females that passed in 2009 was 21.53%, in 2010 it increased to 26.15%s and in 2011 it dropped to 21.53%. In the following figures, it has been revealed that the students’ performance achievement in summary writing is not stable due to several factors, one of which is the type of teaching methodology being adopted by the teachers, it has also shown that gender is a prevailing determinant of the students’ performance achievement in the subject. However, there is a general agreement that students’ achievement in summary writing could be traced to inappropriate methods of teaching by teachers. Of great concern to the researcher is that summary writing teachers mostly use the lecture method for imparting information, under the lecture approach, the teacher according to, Yusuf (2007) simply becomes only the expositor and drill master while the learner remains the listener and a store house of facts that can be retrieved when a student hears his name called by the teacher.
Factors which have been identified as contributing to the persistent low interest and poor level achievement in summary writing include the following:
- Poor teaching methods adapted by teachers.
- The prominent use of text and lecture instructional technique strategies by summary writing teachers.
- Learner variables such as gender and home background.
- Lack of organized strategies for concept formation, teacher characteristics and memory skills (Falade, 2001).
The method of teaching could be regarded as the vehicle through which a message is delivered (Salawu, 1999). There exist several methods of instruction which have permeated our educational system over the years, No particular method could be said to be most appropriate. Classroom experience shows that in most cases, two or more teaching methods are combined by teachers in classroom practice.
Lecture method is referred to as the traditional method or the conventional method it allows a great deal of information to be passed to the learners and favours handling of large classes. In spite of this advantage, (Okwuilagwe, 2002) says that the lecture method does not stimulate student’s innovation, inquiry and scientific attitudes; it encourages students to cram facts which are easily forgotten. Also, most teachers prefer the lecture method because most of them are familiar and trained with the method and they find it difficult to diversify to new innovative methods. However, there is still the need to search and incorporate modern instructional strategies or techniques which the advanced world has long accepted into their classrooms. Nigeria, as a developing country is still battling with incorporating the techniques that will facilitate learning, and this is hindered by some circumstances like the change in education policies, incessant strikes that disrupts schools activities and so on. Thus, this brings about collaborative learning which the researcher suggested as an effective way of teaching and learning process of summary writing.
The term collaborative learning involves students working together in small groups toward a common goal. (Amuradha, 2005). The students are responsible for one another’s learning as well as their own. Thus, the success of one student helps other student to be successful. Collaborative learning (CL), however, is a personal philosophy not just a classroom technique. It suggests a way of dealing with people which respects and highlights group member’s abilities and contributions. Magar (2004) says it improves grade and greater initiative to stay on tasks. The underlying premise of collaborative learning is based upon consensus building through cooperation among group members, in contrast to competition in which individuals compete against other group members (McGroarty, 1993).This type of learning brings about equality amongst the learners because they tend to help one another. Thus summary writing is all about learner and his relationship with his environment, because the classroom is a community and the learners will need to work effectively to achieve a goal.
The concept of collaborative learning, the grouping and pairing of students for the purpose of achieving an academic goal has been widely researched and advocated throughout the professional literature. The term collaborative learning is the instructional method in which students at various performance levels, students work together in small groups toward a common goal. For a subject like summary writing that has to do with interaction and discussion, the type of method that should be adopted should be the type that is learner-centered and oriented because this will bring about free flow of information through discussion and debates and by this, both the teacher and the learners will gain from the lessons.