1.1 Background of the study
Physics as one of the branches of science is a “sine qua non” for economic and technological development of any nation. Its role to scientists, engineers, chemists and other practitioners of physical and biological sciences cannot be over-emphasized. The discoveries in communication industries, the automobile and transportation industries, the field of health and medicine and many more make use of the concepts of physics. Physics is, therefore, very much required for the aforementioned scientific and technological national development. But unfortunately, it has been noted by some researchers that physics achievement at secondary school level has been low (Kalijah, 2003). This low achievement has been attributed to many factors such as method of teaching. When inappropriate teaching method is employed in teaching, consequently the achievement by the students in that subject area is bound to be low. Also Okoronka (2004), Okoli (2006) and John (2009) in their different studies observed that factors contributing to low achievement in physics and in other science subjects may be linked to the use of instructional strategies which have not totally incorporated learners’ previous knowledge. Some physics educators such as Okoli, John &Adeyomo (2003) have recommended some instructional methods over the years to curb the problem of under-achievement. It is against this background, therefore, that the researcher sought for an appropriate teaching method that will engender students to achieve higher in physics. Thus, this study is undertaken to investigate the effect of constructivist teaching strategy in Dutsin-ma metropolis.
According to Mbajiorgu (2003), the constructivist view tends to encourage learners to interpret and incorporate new information into the already existing schemata. In constructivist classroom,new ideas are constructed based on comparison with current and previous knowledge.
Here, the students interpret things they see and experience by comparing similarities and differences to ideas they already have. In constructivist classroom environment, learners are the central focus. The interaction is among the learners and the teacher’s guide them. As the students share their experiences with the group, they learn from each other. This is in contrast with a traditional classroom where lecture method is used. In constructivist classroom, the students’ active participation is encouraged and this allows the instructor to see many aspects of students’ capabilities such as in the areas of communication and problem solving skills. Some examples of activities that encourage constructivist learning are experimentation, research projects, field trips, class discussions, among others. The constructivist method, which is student-centered, may change the trend of achievement in Physics. (Constructivist teaching method is a method which holds that knowledge is personally constructed and reconstructed by the learners based on their prior knowledge and experience. Akinbobola and Folasade (2009) explain that constructivist learning is based on the cognitive theory of learning, which holds that learning takes place as a result of intuition.This implies that individuals intuitively bring a number of events together to serve a purpose in knowledge construction. Gray (2011) notes that constructivist teaching is based on the belief that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of learning and knowledge construction, rather than passively receiving information. Constructivism therefore is a set of beliefs about knowing and learning that emphasizes the active role of learners in constructing their own knowledge with new experiences.
D’costa (2010) opines that Constructivist teaching fosters critical thinking and creates motivated and independent learners.It can be inferred from the foregoing definitions that the constructivist method is a method of teaching that encourages the students to be active participants in the classroom. It also helps them to construct their own knowledge based on the previous learning. It means that learners are actively involved in the knowledge construction and not mere spectators. This reveals that there is no dull moment during the knowledge construction. In this method of teaching, the teacher serves as a guide and the learner takes the responsibilities of constructing his or her knowledge based on his or her previous experiences. The method is learner centered. In teaching physics, the constructivist teaching method will offer the students the opportunity to construct ideas, skills and knowledge based on their previous experiences. The theoretical framework of constructivism holds that learning always builds upon prior knowledge that a student already has.
This is because all learning is filtered by pre-existing schemata. Achor (2007) is of the view that the learning style of the constructivist student is cognitively independent of the teacher, since he/she is self-driven, self-motivating and self-inquisitive. The teacher acts as a facilitator and agent of learning, who evaluates by emphasizing understanding while the students are engaged in problem solving. Furthermore, guided discovery, anchored instruction and social constructivism are some aspects of constructivism.
Constructivist teaching method has been found to be efficacious in teaching science and other language area like English. Eze (2007) conducted a research on the effect of constructivist teaching method on student’s performance in physics in Enugu education zone and the results shows that students in the experimental group that were taught with the constructivist instructional method achieved higher than those taught with lecture method in the control group,
AlsoUkozor (2011), conducted a research on effect of constructivist teaching strategy on senior secondary school students’ Achievement and self- efficacy in physics in Ibadan. He found that constructivist teaching strategy had significantly better effect on students’ achievement and self- efficacy in physics.Furthermore, Ursula (2014) conducted a research in Abiastate on the effect of constructivist teaching model on SSS physicsstudent’s academic achievement and interest. He found that student taught physics using constructivist teaching methods than their counterpart taught using conventional method and also have higher interest in physics. This study is carried out on constructivist teaching strategy on Physics secondary students’ achievement in waves and optics conceptsin Dutsinma metropolis
Gender isalso a variable this research is measuring and so many researches have been conducted on gender. Among which is a research conducted by Afolabi and Akinyemi (2009) on Constructivist Problem Based Learning Technique and the AcademicAchievement of Physics Students with Low Ability Level in NigerianSecondary Schools in Taraba state and the findings indicated that there was no significant gender difference in the performance of students taught with constructivist strategy and their counterpart, also researches by Doris (2016),Obiekwe (2008) &Akinbobola (2010) on constructivist teaching strategy in Nigerian secondary schools found out that there were no significant gender difference in the performance of students taught with constructivist strategy and this is why the researcher intends to find out the effect of Constructivist teaching strategy in senior secondary school students’ achievement in waves and optics in Dutsinma metropolis.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Many teachers handling science subjects in most of our secondary schools specialize in science, not in science education Omosewo (2009). Therefore, these teachers lacked appropriate instructional strategies for teaching and often used lecture method. Science education in Nigerian schools is faced with many challenges; one of such challenges is the out-of-field teaching. This is when a teacher is assigned to teach subjects for which he or she has not got adequate training and qualification (Ingersoll, 2002). These categories of teachers need a change of teaching method as most of them teach by the lecture- based instruction. This lecture method has been criticized for lack of effective interactive approach The performance of students in science subjects in the resent time has not been very good (Erinosho, (2013); Crouch, Watkins, Fagen& Mazur, (2007). The concern for every Nigerian is what causes poor performance. Among the causes of poor performance is the teachers’ method of teaching (Wanbugu, Changeiywo&Ndritu, (2013); Oladejo, Olosunde, Ojebisi&Isola, (2011)). Based on this, it is important to review the different type of teaching methods in science education, their disadvantages and the need for a shift of paradigm.
The teaching of physics in Nigerian secondary schools has been with the use of traditional method of instruction. However, the achievement of student’s in the subject especially at SSCE level has consistently remained poor. This implies that student’s academic achievement from the use of this method of teaching is not supportive and encouraging. Meanwhile, the introduction of constructivist teaching method into secondary school classroom in other countries has proved to be effective in improving teaching and learning process. This study therefore determined the effect of introducing constructivist teaching method on students’ learning outcome on senior secondary school students’ achievement in waves and optics in Dutsinma metropolis.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objective of the study is to determine the effect of constructivist teaching strategy on the senior secondary students’ achievement in waves and optics in secondary schools in Dutsin-ma metropolis. Specially, the study will seek to:
- To find out if there is significant difference in the mean scoresof experimental group taught using constructivist teaching strategy and those taught with conventional method.
- Determine the difference in the achievement of male and female students when taught using constructivist teaching strategy.
1.4 Research Question
The following research question will guide the study:
- Is there any difference in the achievement of physics students taught with constructivist teaching strategy and those taught with conventional method?
- Is there any difference in the achievement of male and female physics students taught using constructivist teaching strategy?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
H01. There is no significant influence in the academic achievement of physics students taught using constructivist teaching strategy and those taught using conventional method.
H02. There is no significant difference in the academic achievement of male and female physics students taught with constructivist teaching strategy.
1.6 Significance of the study
The study has the following significance:-
This study is of great significance as it will provide insight into how to improve students’ interest and academic achievement in physics by using constructivist teaching strategy,
It will help the governments Federal, State and Local on the appropriate teaching strategy (constructivist teaching strategy) for effective teaching and learning of physics in secondary schools. It will also help the governments to know the progress they are making in terms of teaching Strategies and how they help in promoting academic achievement and interest of the students.
The study will help the curriculum planners in planning a standard curriculum that will lead to attainment of the desired educational goals.
It will help teachers in making good choice of teaching strategy that will promote students’ interest and academic achievement.
1.7 Scope of the study
This research is restricted to SSII students in Dutsin-ma metropolis because of the time and financial constraints. The population is all students of SS II secondary schools in Dutsin-ma metropolis.
1.8 Operational definitions of terms.
Students’ achievement: That is the students’ performance (score) in physics as measured by the achievement test that will be given to them in the course of this study.
Constructivist teaching strategy: method of teaching incorporating student’s previous knowledge and active participation.