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EFFECT OF DIRECTED DISCOVERY ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT, INTEREST AND RETENTION IN CROP PRODUCTION IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Crop production is the cultivation of soil for raising of crops such as vegetables, fruits cereals, root and tubers, legumes, latex, ornamental spices, oil crop and fibre which are mostly used as feed for man, feeds for animals and raw materials for industries. According to Alaimo, Packnett, Miles, and Kruger (2008) crop production is an art and science of growing various crops in order to put food on the table of hungry growing world population. Williams and Mrclure (2011) opined, that crop production encompasses selecting of good and fertile land, land clearing, soil cultivation, seed bed preparation, planting of seeds, transplanting of seedlings pests and disease control, soil fertility management, harvesting, processing, storage and marketing of crop produces. McCouch (2004) stated that crop production especially in modern agriculture may involve plant breeding using molecular biology to select desirable traits in plants or genetic modification to insert desirable traits in plants to improve the quality of crops. National Bureau of Statistics (2013) opined that crop production is a part of the largest sector of the economy employing nearly 70 percent of the labour force. Crop production is contributing 38 percent of GDP and providing means of subsistence for the large growing population (National Bureau of Statistics, 2013).

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The relevance of crop production to economic national growth and development is unquantifiable because it provides food, shelter, employment and adequate manpower for a balance growth of the nations’ economy. Hence the justification for including it as a part of Agricultural science to be taught in the senior secondary school curriculum with the following educational objectives, to help the students gain the basic knowledge and skills, develop right interest and attitudes towards crop production and to provide them with entrepreneurial and job specific skills for self reliance in crop production (NPE, 2013)

Senior Secondary school is a system which exposes children training after a successfully completion of nine years basic education. The Curriculum designed for Senior Secondary is comprehensive and broad-based, aimed at broadening students’ knowledge on career education and job related course to stimulate their interest for higher academic achievement and for job preparation. For a child to be in secondary school and to be equipped with the knowledge, skill and attitude needed in life, he must be interested.

Interest is the likeness and curiosity one shows towards something or a task. According to Williams and Mrclure (2010), interest simply refers to the act of showing favourable curiosity or concern about something or somebody. Okoro (2006) opined that interest is a social construction developing within the dynamic relationship between the individual and a situation. Eze (2002) asserted that students’ interest in learning are associated with their anxiety to learn and that interest develops is as a result of individual’s reaction, feelings, and impressions about something and its related task or situation. In education, interest means a state of desiring to learn or know something. One may have positive or negative interest towards something. Abonyi (2005) stated that when interest is in the positive form, it leads to likeness and curiosity to the learning task which in turn result in higher academic achievement while negative interest leads to hatred of learning task or subject matter, which leads to low achievement. Therefore, students’ interest in this subject entails of likeness or dislike towards studying crop production which is also determined by the teacher of the subject.

The teacher of crop production in an effort to inculcate required skills in the students, selects instructional method and ensures that students’ interest is stimulated for maximum academic excellence. Adunfe (2005), advised that once a teacher decides on what he intends to achieve at the end of the lesson, he must select a procedure, content and method that is relevant to the stated objectives and cause the students to interact with the subject matter in accordance with principle of learning and finally, measure the students achievement in line with the stated educational objective.

Conventional teaching method had been in use since decades as an instructional means of conveying conceptual information or ideas from the teacher to the students. It is the traditional way of transferring the societal norms and values to the younger generation. According to Vesselinoiska (2001), conventional teaching method refers to the use of teaching and instructional strategies typically found in a teacher led classroom including didactic, drill, practice and expository method of teaching. Cantrell (2004) outlined conventional method of teaching to include the following: lecture, discussion, guest speaker, panel discussion, story telling, dramatization, reading of textbooks, manual or handout. For the purpose of this study, conventional teaching method is lecture method. Lecture method is an instructional method used by the teacher to impart knowledge to the students through oral presentation of the lesson contents. According Adunfe (2005) lecture method is a teaching strategy where a pre-packaged instructional content is delivered by the teacher to a large audience with minimal student-teacher interaction.  Balschweid (2001) reported that lecture method remains one of the more popular and widely used in classroom for transmitting information and ideas to the students by the teachers. According to him, characteristics of conventional include the following; teacher- centred, leader-active, learner –passive and content emphasis. In conventional method of learning, evaluation of the programme remains the property of the instructor, its criteria is hidden, the level of mastery is chosen by the instructor, even the questions asked are under the teacher’s control (Akinabobola, 2005). According to him, the tendency is that the students are unmotivated because they seemed to be programmed to do what the teacher simply wants them to do. Akibobola (2005) further stated that the learner does not use his initiatives and therefore may perceive a very low scope for the task he is required to perform. In the same vein,   Eze (2003) suggested the adoption of innovative teaching methods by blending conventional method with more activity-based instruction in teaching crop production in secondary schools. This means that a teacher could help the students learn better by using directed discovery while teaching.

Directed discovery is a teaching method where students learn through personal experience with limited subtle assistance from the teacher. It is an activity-based and inquiry-based instruction where the students are helped to develop inquisitive, conceptual, manipulative and problem-solving skills by systematic presentation of the basic ideas that can provoke students learning on their own. According to Davison (2006), in directed discovery instructional method thought provoking topics are introduced as questions for investigation by the students. He maintained that the instructional approach is a student-centred, activity-oriented teaching strategy in which the teacher uses varieties of instructional materials and probing questions to enable students discover answers to the problems at hand. Davison (2006) further stated that it allows interactions between the teacher and the students and amongst students themselves. Akinsete (2006) suggested that in teaching crop production more activity-based and effective instructional method should be adopted which could encourage a child to solve problems by seeking and asking questions to gather information. According to Adeoye and Alayonde (2009), lecture method is one of the conventional methods used by crop production teachers in delivery instruction to the learners. He further revealed that this method is mostly preferred by teachers in order to cover large volume of work without wasting time even though much success may not have been recorded in students’ achievement in crop production. Hence, Abdullahi (2007) opined that the conventional method should be blended with an activated-oriented and student- centred instructional method such as directed discovery to create opportunity for teacher-students interaction as well as students- content material interaction for maximum academic achievement due to better retention.

The term retention is the ability to keep in possession of what skill one have acquired in memory for a long time for future use. Any task well acquired supposed to be properly encoded in the long term memory for easy retrieval and use. Mayer (2009) stated that learners access, process, store and retrieve information for later use. Palmeri (2005) opined that the evidence to demonstrate that one has acquired skills is the ability to perform same task in similar situation. On the same view, Federal Republic of Nigeria (2013) had it in her structure that quality of instruction at all levels of education should be oriented towards inculcating acquisition of functional skills and competencies necessary for self-reliance. Retention in this study connotes the ability of the students to retain and retrieve what is learnt in crop production for higher academic achievement. The implication of this is that effort should be geared toward providing a child with an opportunity for him to develop the relevant skills that will enable him function effectively in the society within the limit of child’s capacity.

Achievement is the act of accomplishing a task successfully especially by effort or skill with courage. According to Joyce, showers and Fullan (2002) achievement connotes final accomplishment of something noteworthy after much effort in spite of obstacles and discouragement. Academic achievement refer to the degree of success attained by students in a tasks, courses or programmes to which they were sufficiently exposed (Aronson, (2002). Enyi (2004) stated that academic achievement is degree of success student reached in general or specific area of study. Nbina and Obomanu, (2011) opined that academic achievement is quantified by a measure of the students standing in relation to other students in the same academic level. Aronson (2002) asserted that student’s achievement connotes performance in school subjects as symbolized by a scores or marks on class work, test or examination. Academic achievement is both indicative and predictive. It is indicative when it reflects students’ level of success in a course and it is predictive when it is used as a criterion for determining students’ ability to undertake another task (Ekhasemombe; 2010). Nbina and Obomanu (2011) reported that crop production is an aspect of agricultural science students are dreaded of because of tedious activities involve. The authors further asserted that this and other factor such as students’ poor attitude and interest and method of teaching used by the teachers to teach the students may be the cause of low level achievement of students in crop production. In support of this assertion Oganu (2000) stated that poor academic performance of students has been identified as a problem in Nigerian public examinations. For instance, the chief’s report of WAEC(2010) analysis of percentage of candidates in eighteen popular subjects in West African Senior Secondary certificate examination for 2009, 2008, 2007 revealed 51.%, 56.38% and 57.21% percentage failure in agricultural science respectively. Information gathered from the schools through focused group discussion in the study area showed that crop production is one the areas of agricultural science students find difficult to understanding the content because they do not find themselves at the centre of instruction. This could lead to low achievement level of students in test and examination involving crop production because they are not sufficiently challenged to be at the centre of instruction during classroom activities. This low level achievement of students could be attributed to student poor interest, attitude and conventional method of learning used by the student. Another factor that may contribute to low level achievement of students in the study is conventional method of learning used by students and their differences in gender.

Gender refers the social and cultural attributes that distrincts male from female. According to Lee (2001) gender is socially defined as capabilities and attributes assigned to persons on the basis of their sexual characteristics. Abul (2007) stated that gender can affect students’ achievement in academic pursuit. Anothony (2007) opined that gender can be one of the factors that undermine students’ self-efficacy with the belief that male could perform better than female counterparts especially in practice. Therefore, there is need to investigate whether directed discovery will have different effect on male and female students’ achievement in crop production.

Statement of the Problem

The desire for effective teaching and learning of Agriculture which crop production is inclusive in Nigerian secondary schools has become a sensitive issue that needs urgent attention. This is because for more than a decade now, the different instructional strategies employed in teaching crop production have not improved students’ achievement to any appreciable extent despite the importance of crop production to the national development as a source of food production and employment opportunities (Ogunu, 2000).  According to Ugwu (2007) teaching procedures and techniques adopted by teachers of agriculture in teaching is affecting the performance of students in both internal and external examinations adversely. Similarly, Chief Examiners’ report has it that students’ academic achievement in Agriculture has not been encouraging (WAEC Annual Reports, 2007-2011), Obi (2005) attributed the poor performance of students in agriculture to the teaching method used by the teachers in delivering their lessons. This mean that the most desire objective of studying crop production has not been achieved. Hence, the need to seek for alternative teaching method that will increase students’ achievement, interest, as well retaining their retention in crop production. This study therefore aims at investigating the effectiveness of directed discovery method on students’ achievement, interest and retention in crop production.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of directed discovery method on students; achievement, interest and retention in crop science. Specifically, the study intends to determine the;

  1. mean achievement scores of students in crop production exposed to directed discovery method and those exposed to conventional method.
  2. mean achievement score of male and female students in crop production exposed to directed discovery.
  3. mean difference in students’ retention scores in crop production taught with directed discovery method and those taught with conventional method
  4. interaction effect of teaching method and gender on students’ achievement in crop production
  5. mean interest scores of students in crop production taught using directed discovery and those taught using conventional method.
  6. mean interest score of male and female students in crop production exposed to directed discovery and those exposed to conventional method.
  7. interaction effect of teaching method and gender on students’ interest in crop production.

Significance of the Study

The results of the study will be of great benefit to the following; secondary school curriculum planners, secondary school administrators, agricultural teachers, students, school guidance counselors, the government and the future researchers.

The study will be of immense benefit to the Secondary school curriculum planners. The findings of the study will provide empirical evidence for the curriculum planners on the effectiveness of the teaching method (directed discovery) in teaching crop production and other topics in secondary schools. The curriculum planners will incorporate it into new curriculum design and recommend directed discovery method as an instructional to be used by all the teachers in secondary schools

The findings of the study will be beneficial to the school administrators as they will be furnished with the information that will widen their understanding on the effectiveness  of directed discovery in delivery of lesson content.  This will further assist the administrators to make provision for capacity building of agricultural teachers by training teachers through workshops, seminars, symposia. Another ways the results of this study will be useful to the school administrators is after the results of the study has been published and has been recognized and included into secondary school curriculum by the curriculum planners to enable them to enforce the use of directed discovery as instructional delivery in the classroom.

The results of the effect of gender on mean achievement scores of the students taught crop production using directed discovery method as identified by this study will also be of  great benefit to agricultural science teachers as they will have first hand information of the effect of directed discovery method on students’ learning and how to cater for gender difference. It will also expose the teachers to the techniques involve in directed discovery method of instruction. The teacher can employ directed discovery learning techniques to improve their instructional delivery in order to bridge the gap between male and female achievement in crop production.

The findings of the study will be of immense   benefit to the students in secondary schools who will be spurred to greater achievement in crop production studies as they will be motivated by the findings from this research work. The students will benefit from the result of the study by getting a better understanding of crop production, The knowledge gained by students through this study will provoke critical thinking and problem-solving to enable them solve societal problems. The finding of the study will be made available for the school use through curriculum planners after the work has been published and recognized in the secondary school curriculum.

The findings of this study will be useful to the school guidance counselors. The information obtained from this study will serve as a guide to the school guidance counselors as they assist students in making better career choice.

The   study will be of great benefit to government and employer of labour who will enjoy the professional services of crop science graduates trained through the use of directed discovery. Since the directed discovery method improves students’ knowledge, performance and skill in crop production. The employers will find the graduates useful and employable.

Finally, the findings of this study will also be of benefit to future researchers because they will use the information provided as valuable reference material to carry out their research work. The findings of the study will be made available in the school libraries for easy access by researchers and further research in agriculture and other discipline.

Research Questions

The following research questions were posed to guide the study:

  1. What are the mean achievement scores of students in crop production exposed to directed discovery method and those exposed to conventional method?
  2. What is the mean achievement score of the male and female students in crop production exposed to directed discovery?
  3. What is the mean difference in students’ retention scores in crop production taught with directed discovery method and those taught with conventional method?
  4. What is the interaction effect of teaching method and gender on students’ achievement in crop production?
  5. What are the mean interest scores of students in crop production taught using directed discovery and those taught using conventional method?
  6. What is the mean interest score of male and female students in crop production exposed to directed discovery and those exposed to conventional method?
  7. What is the interaction effect of teaching method and gender on students’ interest in crop production?

 

Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated and  tested at 0.05 level of significant.

  1. There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students in crop production exposed to directed discovery method and those exposed to conventional method.
  2. There is no significant difference in the mean achievement score of male and female students in crop production exposed to directed discovery.
  3. There is no significant difference in the mean difference in students’ retention scores in crop production taught with directed discovery method and those taught with conventional method
  4. There is no significant difference in the interaction effect of teaching method and gender on students’ achievement in crop production?
  5. There is no significant difference in the mean interest scores of students in crop production taught using directed discovery and those taught using conventional method.
  6. There is no significant difference in the mean interest score of male and female students in crop production exposed to directed discovery and those exposed to conventional method.
  7. There is no significant difference in the interaction effect of teaching method and gender on students’ interest in crop production.

 

Scope the Study

The study focuses on the effect of directed discovery on students’ achievement, interest and retention in crop production in secondary schools in Enugu State. The study covers secondary schools in Enugu Education zone. Four senior secondary schools in the study area will be involved. The study will be delimited to  crop husbandry specifically to maize husbandry under which the following sub-topics are covered: climatic and soil requirement, land   preparation, varieties of maize, seeding/sowing of seeds, fertilizer application, pest and disease control, harvesting of crops and storage and uses of maize.

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