This study determined the effect of two modes of improvised instructional materials on secondary school students’ achievement in Obollo-Afor Education Zone. Five research questions and five hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The design was quasi-experimental pre-test – posttest non-randomised, non-equivalent group. The population for the study comprised all the 3,758 senior secondary two (SS II) students of the 37 co-educational schools in Obollo Afor education zone. The sample consisted of 149 (71 males and 78 females) students drawn randomly from four comparable schools. Students in two schools, one urban and the other rural were taught government using teacher-improvised instructional materials while students from the other two schools were guided in improvising instructional materials that were used to teach them. A researcher- made Government Achievement Test (GAT) was the instrument used for the study. The instrument was tested for reliability yielding a reliability coefficient of 0.65 using the Kudder Richardson (KR20). Mean, standard deviation and ANCOVA were used to analyze data. Results of the study showed that there was no significant difference in the achievement of students exposed to teacher improvised materials and those exposed to student improvised materials although students exposed to teacher improvised materials had a slightly higher adjusted mean score than their counterparts exposed to students improvised materials. Students’ mean achievement scores did not differ significantly due to gender although the females had a slightly higher adjusted mean score than their male counterparts. In addition, students mean achievement scores did not differ significantly as a result of school location although students in the rural schools had a slightly higher adjusted mean score than their urban counterparts. Furthermore, there was no significant interaction effect of mode of improvisation and gender on students’ mean achievement scores in government, and there was no significant interaction effect of mode of improvisation and school location on students’ mean achievement scores in Government. The educational implication of the findings is that the emphasis placed on teacher improvisation in curriculum design and implementation is misplaced. Students’ improvisation is also effective. Both teachers and students should engage in improvisation as a way to facilitate the achievement of educational objectives. The two modes of improvised instructional materials must be emphasized in the design and implementation of the curriculum by the ministry of education if the educational Objectives are to be realised in secondary schools. Government should, therefore, set up regular programmes for teachers on improvisation. Moreso, students’ improvisation should always be encouraged. Government should, through the ministry of Education, strengthen its supervision in schools to ensure that both urban and rural schools improvise instructional materials.
Background of the Study
The main purpose of learning is to effect change in behaviour of the learners. This is achieved through effective instructional delivery by the teacher. The success or otherwise of teaching – learning activities depends to a large extent, on how well the teacher communicates and to what extent the teacher is able to involve the learners in activities during and after instruction (Offorma, 1994). This is because the desired changes in learning behaviour can only come not merely through teachers’ instructional activities but also, learners active and meaningful participation. Learners’ participation can be promoted through the use of instructional materials. Abdullahi cited in Oladejo, Olosunde, Ojebisi & Isola (2011), defined instructional materials as materials or tools locally made or imported that could make tremendous enhancement of learning of a lesson if intelligently used.
Learning has been found to be optimally enhanced by adequate and appropriate selection and use of instructional materials by the teacher as well as the learner. Teaching and learning can only be effective when adequate and suitable instructional materials are used (Afolabi, Adeyanju, Adedapo & Falade, 2006). It is also believed that instructional materials affect the attitude, interest and motivation of the learners (Offorma, 1990). It is, therefore, very essential that teachers are acquainted with the knowledge with which to select and use learning materials effectively for the attainment of set goals (Offorma, 1994). Agun (1982) observed that availability of suitable instructional materials or learning resources, in good supply and rich variety and range, is essential in education and especially crucial for the achievement of curriculum objectives. Instructional materials are materials applied during the course of instruction to facilitate learning. These materials are either imported or locally made.
There are different types of instructional materials that teachers can use. These include real objects or representations of real objects. For example, models, display boards, still pictures, motion pictures, graphic, arts etc are used as representations of real objects. Depending on how instructional materials appeal to the senses, they could also be classified into three, namely: Audio, Visual and Audio – visual materials. Audio materials are materials that appeal to the sense of hearing while visual materials are materials that appeal to the sense of sight. Audio-visual materials are materials that appeal to both the sense of hearing and the sense of sight at the same time (Nwoji 2002). Different studies (e.g Johnson 2006, Njoku 2000 and Olayiwola 1996) have shown that instructional materials are not readily available in secondary schools. In view of this, teachers are left with no other alternative than to source materials from the local environment to design and produce alternative materials for instruction. This process of producing alternative materials for instruction is known as improvisation. and the materials produced in this process are known as improvised materials.
Improvisation is the act of designing and producing instructional materials from locally available resources by the teacher and or learners and utilizing such materials to facilitate effective instruction in the classroom. According to Eniaiyeju (1983), improvisation is the act of using alternative materials and resources to facilitate instruction wherever there is lack or shortage of specific first-hand teaching materials. The designing and production of such instructional materials may be successfully accomplished through the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the teacher or in co-operation with the students (Njoku, 2000). Improvisation, therefore, implies using simple and inexpensive materials which may be sourced locally to produce alternative instructional materials where first hand instructional materials are lacking.
Njoku (2000) justifying the need for improvisation of instructional materials observed that the dwindling economic fortunes of the country makes it imperative that teachers should improvise instructional materials, using resources available within the local environment. Olayiwola (1996) observed that the prevailing economic situation of a nation has its own effects on the provision of educational facilities and instructional materials. The present economic predicament in Nigeria has resulted in a situation whereby simple instructional materials have become luxury items in schools. Olayiwola (1996) added that some resource centres established in states and some universities for the purpose of producing, procuring and presentation of instructional materials are going moribund. The effect is that teachers, as well as the students, have to improvise instructional materials if they are going to attain the goals of education.
It is observed that teachers do not show serious commitment to improvisation. Marjiorie and Brown cited in Njoku (2000) noted teachers’ lack of commitment to improvisation when they warned that teachers should not use lack of instructional materials as an excuse to resort to poor teaching. Rather, teachers should ensure quality instruction by improvising the needed materials from the available local materials for their classroom instruction. The need for improvisation of instructional materials cannot be over emphasized. Jekeyinfa (2012) stated that the use of these materials would make discovered facts glue firmly to the memory of the students. Momoh (1980) found out that instructional material have significant effect on students’ academic achievement in different school subjects of which Government is one.
Government as a school subject or academic field of study is the study of agencies, political institutions and dynamics of the state (Anyaele, 2005). Government as a subject looks into the functions and relationship between the institutions involved in steering the affairs of the state. It studies international organizations of which the state has membership and the relationship between the state and other states. At the secondary school level it is called Government and is taught at the senior secondary school level (SS1-SS3).At the tertiary school level Government is called Political Science and is taught under several units. These include public administration, international relations, political theory, comparative politics, political thought, local Government and so on. Government equips the students with the knowledge of the processes of governance of their state and prepares them as citizens to be able to partake in the affairs of their state. According to the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC, 2012), the main focus of Government as a field of study is to help students understand the institution of the state and the process of governance so as to be able as citizens to actively participate in the process of national development and the political processes of the societies. In addition, Government as a field of study enables the citizens to understand and be able to defend their fundamental human rights (Anyaele, 2005). Knowledge of Government equally opens the eyes of the citizens and enables them to partake in the politics of their country. This perhaps accounts for the popularity of Government as a subject among Arts inclined students in Secondary Schools in Enugu State, Nigeria. Yet performance of students in the subject has not been encouraging.(see Appendix A page 111).
The various school curricula including that of Government are reviewed periodically. The NERDC (2012) in its reviewed Government curriculum, stated that in the last two decades, Nigeria’s socio-political terrain has undergone landmark changes. At the international level, new organizations have been formed and old ones have changed their names. Political boundaries, the NERDC continued, have also had great adjustments and as such if school curriculum must keep pace with these changes there is urgent need for it to become responsive. This is because there is a dysfunction between these changes and the old Government Curriculum. The aim of the periodic review of the various curricula is for students’ achievement in the various subjects including Government to be enhanced.
Government as a subject, however, has continued to record poor performance in spite of the interest of students in the subject. The National West African Examination Council (WAEC) Chief Examiner’s report (2013) decried mass failure of students in various school subjects including Government in both May/June and November/December West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) over the years. Taking the weaknesses of the students in the various subjects one after the other, it explained that poor performance of students in Government result from quite a number of factors. These factors include: poor understanding of the questions, inability to discuss answers well, illegibility of hand writing, disobedience to basic rubrics among other reasons. Students of Obollo Afor education zone have been observed to record poor performance in Government. A close look at the WASSCE summary result of academic achievement of Students of Obollo Afor education zone will show an evidence of this poor performance (see Appendix A page 111).
The NERDC (2012) recommended that in addition to the use of interactive and participatory approaches to make learning active, robust and interesting, documentaries, video clips, newspapers, materials from National Museums and Archives must be procured in order to realize the objectives of the new Government curriculum. However, it is unfortunate that these instructional materials mentioned are not readily available in many public schools in Enugu State. The teacher in this situation will be left with no other alternative than to improvise the materials for classroom instruction in Government. Offorma((1990) observed that most teachers fail to improvise instructional materials and also fail to ask the students to do so.