1.1 Background of the study
Communication in the classroom may be an important component of every student’s learning, necessitating the need to build in students the skills to communicate, criticize, and analyze their own and other students’ work When supported by the instructor. This not only helps them learn faster, but it also helps them develop critical thinking skills and fosters cooperative learning (Kanl, & Emir 2013).
In the twenty-first century, several developed and developing countries are questioning their traditional educational philosophies and programs, where the lecturer is the transmitter and the student is the receiver, for the education of thinking, problem-solving, evaluator, decision-maker, responsible, creative, up-to-date individuals who fit this age of information and technology. Education programs, lecture material, education plans, and statistically determined education output are all regarded studies in terms of cultural reproduction and social order maintenance in the classical sense (Tanner and Tanner, 2007).
Notably, traditional education has been criticized for ignoring student life, limiting student participation, and defining a student’s task based on school books and course outline (Dewey, 1997), necessitating the need for progressive education, which requires individuals who solve problems, argue, question, change, and lead, rather than accumulating information. This requirement highlights the importance of the problem-based learning (PBL) method, which allows students to work in groups on a scenario designed for the topic. According to Gagne (1959), the primary goal of an educational program is to educate pupils how to solve issues in both their academic subjects and their personal lives. This is vital because issue solving abilities assist an individual in actively adapting to their surroundings; it is also a requirement for folks to become inquiring and problem-solving individuals (Marzano, 1989). As a result, those with these credentials should be able to think at a higher level. Problem resolution guides a person’s thinking (Kalayc, 2001).
According to Gagne (1985), problem solving activates the most complex cognitive processes and allows for the simultaneous application of numerous key skills such as learning by doing, developing cause-and-effect relationships, and evaluating the relationships between concepts and occurrences. Progressive techniques, such as problem-based learning (PBL), have become vital at this juncture, as Dewey predicted, since they motivate students to conduct research, discover, and apply their creativity (Delisle, 1997). The contemporary requirement for problem solving, discussing, questioning, altering, and leading individuals who apply information rather than amassing it has so exposed PBL’s significance. Individuals’ talents in all of these areas are greatly enhanced through PBL (Tatar and Oktay, 2011; Peterson and Treagust, 1998). Several research (Klnç, 2007; Harland, 2003; Mayer, 2002) show that PBL has an impact on the development of these skills in students.
1.2 Statement of the problem
It is now obvious that the teaching and learning process has grown more varied and engaging, with the option for more personal contribution from students, as classroom instructions should be developed in ways that empower learners with problem-solving skills. This is required because, while Nigerian schools have a long history, the landscape of education has evolved from teacher-centered to learner-centered, necessitating the adoption of a problem-based learning method. Problem-Based Education directs students to do research, learn, discuss, choose the best option among many solutions, and apply what they have learned through scenarios that can be encountered in real life; in short, it is an approach that teaches students research, teamwork, and observation from multiple perspectives through scenarios that can be encountered in real life (Deveci, 2002; Kaptan and Korkmaz, 2002). PBL posits that learning occurs as a result of cognitive and social interaction in a problem-oriented media. PBL is characterized as a constructivist educational paradigm that incorporates the teaching of general principles that can be applied to comparable situations as well as information that can be applied to future challenges, according to this premise (Norman and Schmidt, 2000; Greeno, Collins and Resnick, 1996).
Independent studies, on the other hand, frequently focus on a specific sort of application or operation in order to establish the influence of PBL on success when compared to traditional instruction. However, few studies have looked at the impact of PBL on academic achievement in secondary schools that are not private. The researcher felt motivated to investigate this topic because there was a current study in this field that needed to be done. Upon this premise therefore made the study to focus on Problem Based Learning approach and its effect on student academic achievement in private secondary schools in Rivers State.
1.3 Objective of the study
The broad objective of this study is to examine Problem Based Learning approach and its effect on student academic achievement in private secondary schools in Rivers State. Specifically the study
1. To determine if Problem Based Learning approach enhances students critical thinking skills.
2. To establish if Problem Based Learning approach can lead to improved students cognitive research skill and social interaction during classroom instruction.
3. To determine if Problem Based Learning approach can equip student with problem-solving skill necessary for future occurrence.
4. To elucidate some factors impeding teachers effective use Problem Based Learning approach during classroom instruction.
1.4 Research Hypothesis
H01: There is no significant impact of Problem Based Learning approach on students academic performance.
H02: Problem Based Learning approach have no effect on students cognitive research skills improvement and social interaction.
1.5 Significance of the study
This study unearths the relevance of Problem Based Learning approach to student achievement in private school. This observation is relevant to students as it will improve the learning process of some students in appreciating and accepting this discovery learning method. The findings of this study will be useful to tutors as they will develop better ways of applying the Problem Based Learning method as this results in effective learning. Findings from the study will also be used by academia and scholars as it will serve as a reference material to guide them in researching related topics. Finally, the study will also contribute empirically to the body of knowledge and identify gaps for further studies.
1.6 Scope of the study
The scope of this study borders on Problem Based Learning approach and its effect on student academic achievement in private secondary schools. The study will determine if Problem Based Learning approach enhances students critical thinking skills. The study establish if Problem Based Learning approach can lead to improved students cognitive research skill and social interaction during classroom instruction. It will determine if Problem Based Learning approach can equip student with problem-solving skill necessary for future occurrence and elucidate some factors impeding teachers effective use Problem Based Learning approach during classroom instruction. The study is delimited to selected private schools in Port Harcourt metropolis in Rivers State.
1.7 Limitation of the study
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing to the nature of the discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. More so, the choice of the sample size was limited as few respondent were selected to answer the research instrument hence cannot be generalize to other . However, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.
1.8 Definition of terms:
Problem Based Learning: Problem-based learning uses complex, real-world issues as the classroom’s subject matter, encouraging students to develop problem-solving skills and learn concepts instead of just absorbing facts.
Learning outcome: Learning outcomes are statements that describe the knowledge or skills students should acquire by the end of a particular assignment, class, course or subject.
Academic Achievement: Academic achievement represents performance outcomes that indicate the extent to which a person has accomplished specific goals that were the focus of activities in instructional environments, specifically in school, college, and university.