AN INVESTIGATIVE STUDY ON THE VIEWS OF BIOLOGY STUDENTS ON THE PROBLEMS OF LABORATORY AND MANAGEMENT AND SAFETY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
This study aimed at investigation of the roles of the laboratory in students’ academic achievement in biology in secondary schools in Ebonyi State of Nigeria. Four research questions and two hypotheses guided the study. A sample of 240 students selected through simple random sampling technique from ten secondary schools in the 3 Education Zones in Ebonyi State was used for the study. A questionnaire instrument developed by the researcher was used for data collection. The instrument was validated by three experts one from measurement and evaluation and the other 2 from biology education. The data collected were analysed using mean and standard deviation statistics. t-test was used in testing the hypotheses. The results showed that the use of the laboratory helps to: develop scientific attitudes in the students towards the learning of biology especially practicals, develop scientific skills for problem solving in students among others. Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made: biology should be taught in the laboratory, government should build and equip the science laboratories, employ more qualified biology teachers in the secondary system. Key words: Laboratory, biology, teaching, achievement, students.
1.0 Background to Study
The laboratory in the school has been defined by several authors in different ways. Maduabum (1992) sees a laboratory as a place where scientific exercises are conducted by the science teachers for the benefit of the students (learners). The laboratory exercises include; experiments, and other activities which help the students in acquiring scientific skills. Ezeliora (2001) defined science laboratory as a workshop where science is done or where scientific activities are carried out under conducive environment. She also sees the laboratory as a place where science equipment, materials or instruments are housed for security and safety. Igwe (2003) observed that a laboratory can be indoor such as the sufficiently designed and equipped room found in most schools or outdoor involving such places as riverside, workshop, field and even market for carrying out scientific studies. He further stated that whatever the type of laboratory employed in science teaching, the same laboratory experience should be attained, and that is a participation in the series of experimental, observational and demonstrating activities which provide opportunity for students to develop understanding of practical and theoretical concepts through solutions of problems.