Background of the study
Educators are beginning to show an increased awareness of the importance of the way students learn. Many of the standard methods of conveying knowledge have been shown to be relatively ineffective on the students’ ability to master and to retain important concepts (Sharma, 2012). Learning through some methods of teaching is passive rather than active. The conventional methods (lecture) do not tend to foster critical thinking, creative thinking and collaborative problem- solving (Blair, 2007).
Lecture method of teaching is the oldest method applied by teachers. This teaching method is a one way channel of communication or dissemination of information. Thus, Students’ involvement in this teaching method is just to listen and sometimes take down some notes if necessary during the lecture, combine the information and organize it. Lecture method of teaching has failed to provide teacher-student interactions and also encourages note cramming without understanding content. Moreover, students’ attention wane quickly during lectures and information tends to be forgotten quickly when students are passive. Lecture method also, emphasizes learning by listening which is disadvantageous for students who prefer other learning styles. No one can deny the fact that schools are becoming diverse in terms of students background, and as a result, teachers are being more challenged to find effective ways to meet with diverse needs of their students. Educators confront classrooms in which different students exhibit assorted academic and behavioural characteristics and they are increasingly looking for successful instructional and classroom management techniques (Carrier, 2005). It is now being recognized that there are better ways to learn than through the traditional methods (Wood& Gentile, 2003). One of these ways to learn is through project method.
Project based learning (PBL) has emerged to become an instructional approach that is gaining and growing interest within the domain of Economics education community. Healim and Esche (2000) described project based learning as an instructional method that challenges students to learn and how to learn and do academic works cooperatively in groups to seek solutions to real world problems.
In the word of Pific and Hadgraft (2009) addressed the key ingredients of project based learning and postulated that it should not be confused with design projects or case studies where the focus is predominantly on the application of existing knowledge and integration of what is already known. Project based learning goes beyond this, students will encounter some concepts for the first time and therefore they need strategies for acquiring this new knowledge. The application of this approach to the study of certain concept is motivated by several factors derived both from the research literature and teaching experience.
According to Binnie (2002) in reported in a study conducted in South Africa pointed out that “the use of projects method was very helpful in assisting the learning of the students. Their active involvement in the tasks encourages them to think which enhance their learning. The use of real data collected by them motivates them because they will want to know the conclusions of what they have done.
Project work approach seems to have the components to motivate teachers and students to develop a cooperative work mainly aiming at the students to perceive and understand all the necessary stages required to arrive at logical conclusion (Biajone, 2006). Project-based learning is a systematic teaching method that engages students in acquire knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks. Research shows that learners not only respond by giving useful information but they also actively use what they know to explore, negotiate, interpret and create.
Lecture and project based learning methods can be used by Economics teachers to improve their students skills, knowledge and retention in the subject. This could be achieved through engaging or involving students in the learning process or make them to be actively involved especially when dealing with the practical aspect of economics which the theoretical knowledge gained through the use of lecture method could be applied. Economics is one of the elective subjects’ offered in the senior secondary schools. Economics is a social science that studies human behaviour with reference to resource allocation in terms of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.
According to Robbins (1935) defined Economics is a social science that studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. This definition is said to be the most appropriate and widely acceptable. This is because Economics studies the behaviours of consumers at the market with respect to how they buy and price. Also, in time of scarcity of goods, Economics knowledge can help one to comprehend and interpret what is really wrong. These are part of the aims of Economics.
According to the Federal Ministry of Education (F.ME) in her National Curriculum for Senior Secondary School Economics Curriculum (2008), the objectives of the subject economics is to enable students:
- Understand basic economic principles and concepts as well as the tools for sound economic analysis.
- Contribute intelligently to discourse on economic reforms and development as they affect or would affect the generality of Nigerians.
- Understand the structure and functioning of economic institutions.
- Appreciate the role of public policies on national economy.
- Develop skills and also appreciate the basic for rational economic decisions.
- Become sensitized to participate actively in national economic advancement through entrepreneurship, capital market and so on.
- Understand the role and status of Nigeria and other African countries in International economic relationships.
- Appreciate the problems encountered by developing countries in their effort towards economic advancement.
The study of Economics is very important to human being since the knowledge acquired in Economics will help the individual to make the best use of scarce resources. Economics is very important to the growth and development of our nation. It plays an important role in the development of the human and natural resources of a country.
A good knowledge of Economics can help an individual in a good decision making. For instance: an entrepreneur with the knowledge of Economics is bound to make more rational and rewarding business decision than his counterpart without such knowledge. The study of Economics enhances good citizenship in the sense that much of government policies today are Economics in nature. For instance, issues like inflation, unemployment, income, inequality, population explosion, external debts, balance of payments disequilibrium etc. are the things that dominate government policy today.
The study of Economics prepares a student for a career. Economics provides a good background for careers in business administration, banking, marking, politics etc. It provides training for students intending to become professional economists who serve as special advisers in governments and research specialists in business corporations and universities. This could be achieved if these students are well taught in the classroom using methods of teaching like project method of teaching that would make have knowledge about the subject from their own effort. Also, the exposing of these students to practical nature of economics could help them be specialist in business in the future because this idea could only developed based on how the teachers have taught them to love and have interest in the subject to that level. Therefore the subject Economics is very important that teachers teaching it are expected to apply methods which they think could help students appreciate it. The teachers are also expected to follow the guidelines or procedure in the recent Economics curriculum.
Economics is one of the subjects in education curriculum of senior secondary school. In recent review, the former twenty six (26) themes have been restructured into 16 themes with 49 topics spread over the three years of senior secondary school. The study of Economics makes a student to be a rational human being and as well think critically when engaged in their daily activities. The students of Economics will apply the knowledge acquired from the subject to other fields of studies like Mathematics, Social studies, Business finance etc. the knowledge of Economics will make a student to make a reasonable choice. They will also allocate their resources to productive ventures.
Economics is a living subject which when properly taught and learned in a more practical and realistic way will result in a good academic achievement. Academic achievement has been one of the most important goals of the educational process. (Karthigeyan & Nirmala, 2012). Karthigeyan and Nirmala (2012) also added that academic achievement is a major goal which every individual is expected to perform in all culture.
Academic achievement refers to knowledge and skills attained by a student in school subjects. Igbo and Ihejiene (2014) defined academic achievement as the successful result of an interaction between a teacher and a student. There are also factors that influence academic achievement of every learner like parental education, parental occupation, type of family, family size, age of the learner and gender.
Gender refers to society’s division of humanity, based on sex, into two distinctive kinds. Gender could be defined as more than biological differences between men and women (Ministry of Women Affair, 2014). It is the perceptions male and female have about themselves. In academics, it has been argued that on most occasions, the male students could do better in class than the female students. Most studies show that on average, girls do better in school than boys (cited in Zembar & Blume, 2011) which implies that girls get better or higher grades compared to boys. In calculative and more practical subjects or courses, boys tend to perform better than girls. However, Abdu-Raheem (2012) reported in a study that there is no significant difference between the achievements means scores of male and female students in the experimental and control groups. The author went further to add that there is no significant difference between the retention mean score of male and female students in the experimental and control groups. Also, the author noted gender does not play any significant role on students’ achievement and retention in social studies.
Gender has remained a burning issue and has also remained relevant in education because it has been linked to achievement and participation in certain professions (Solonade, 2004). Certain cultures restrict particular gender to certain professions like farming, engineering and trading to mention a few (Olaloye and Afuwape, 2004). However, there have been conflict finding on how gender influence academic achievement. It seems the influence of gender varies according to school subjects.
Academic achievement could also be influenced by other factors other than gender. School location may positively or negatively have effect on academic achievement of students. Location is the place or position where someone or something is or where something happens (Macmillan dictionary online, 2009). In most remote or rural areas, secondary schools lack teachers who are qualified to teach Economics as a subject. Even as a result of the rural area, some qualified teachers might be posted there, but most a times, they would rather work their ways to remain in the urban schools. Owoeye and Yara (2011) asserted that the academic achievement of urban schools were better than rural schools. Also, a study conducted by Osokoya and Akuche (2012) revealed that school location had a significant effect on students’ outcomes in practical Physics. This implies that location could have effect on students’ academic achievement in Economics with respect to location.
The poor performance of students in Economics has been consistence with respect to the WAEC Chief Examiners Report of 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2009 which has been partly ascribed to inadequate teaching and instructional methods adopted by Economics teachers Derek (2007) in supporting this view reported the seriousness of the deplorable performance of secondary school students in science subjects and identified persistent use of the traditional mode of instruction as one of the major short-coming affecting the learning and higher achievement in science subjects. Economics is both mathematical and theory based subject. The subject is bulky in nature. The subject teachers usually adopt lecture method in teaching in order to cover the syllabus within the stipulated time and this do not give room for proper understanding of the subject. The Chief WAEC Examiner Report also noted that the rush over the topics to cover could be responsible for the poor performance.
Statement of the Problem
The new national policy on education (2008) for senior secondary school made Economics an elective subject and is expected to be studied at the senior secondary school level. Sometimes, poor handling of the subject have resulted to the poor performance of the students. Some teachers assigned to teach Economics in some schools are not qualified to do so due to the fact that they are not specialists in the subject. As a result, such teachers only read about the subject topics from a textbook and in a parallel form use the lecture method to deliver the topic to the students. This has led to the poor performance of the students.
In Nnewi Educational Zone of Anambra State, research has unveiled that students’ achievement in Economics in some schools is poor, according to WAEC Chief Examiner’s report of 2003 identified student weaknesses as disobedience of the rubrics, poor coverage of the syllabus, illogical presentation of facts, outright misinterpretation of some questions and inability to draw and label diagrams properly, 2004 report identified students weakness as disobedience of the rubrics, outright misinterpretation of the questions, inability to draw and label diagrams properly, inadequate communication skills, poor coverage of the syllabus, 2007 report identified students weakness as lack of basic mathematical skills to tackle the questions in the data response section; disobedience of the rubrics, mere listing of points without proper explanations; outright misinterpretation of the questions, inability to draw and label relevant diagrams properly; inadequate coverage of the syllabus and 2009 report identified students weakness as poor coverage of the syllabus, inability to draw and label diagrams properly, outright misinterpretation of the questions, and disobedience of the rubrics. These reports from the Chief Examiner of WAEC concerning students poor performance in Economics was also found in the report of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. All these imply in general that students out-rightly misinterpret some questions. Students have poor mathematical skills to tackle questions in data. Students could not explain points they have listed. This could be that students were not taught with teaching methods that are practical oriented and they were not deeply involved or did not fully discover their knowledge on their own and gain experience for themselves in the subject Economics. This study is therefore intended to seek solutions to the following questions.
- Can project method of teaching improve students’ academic achievement in Economics as a subject compared to lecture method?
- Is it possible that the use of project method can affect male and female students’ academic achievement positively in the subject Economics?
Purpose of the study
The major purpose of this study is to find out the comparative effect of project and lecture method on secondary school student academic achievement in Economics.
Specifically the study is aimed at investigating:
- The mean achievement scores of students taught Economics with lecture method and those taught with project method.
- The mean achievement scores of male and female students taught Economics using lecture method.
- The mean achievement scores of male and female students taught Economics using project method.
- The mean achievement scores of urban and rural students taught Economics using lecture method.
- The mean achievement scores of male and female students taught Economics using project method.
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will be of practical benefit to students, teachers, curriculum planners, and educational administrators.
Students will benefit from the findings of this study in such a way that their academic performance will improve or they will achieve better in Economics as a subject as a result of the project teaching method applied by the Economics classroom teacher. In addition, if students’ achievement is enhanced, they would achieve better in national and international examination like WAEC, NECO, and JAMB with respect to Economics papers.
Teachers will benefit from the findings of the study in that they will become aware of the fact that the use of lecture teaching method cannot enable students to achieve better in the subject Economics. Also, it will serve as an eye opener to the teachers to be testing other teaching methods that will be students-centred where students will be deeply involved in the learning process. That is to say that the findings will be of good help in deciding a particular method to adopt as a strategy for teaching Economics in the senior secondary which will greatly help students to comprehend and retain what they will be taught.
Curriculum planners will benefit from the findings of this study in that they will instruct teachers teaching Economics to apply teaching methods that will involve students greatly and not just the Economics teachers playing a greater part. The findings will make the Curriculum planners to include in the Economics curriculum the teaching methods which are likely to be of great benefit to students and result to better performance.
Educational administrators will benefit from this study in that they will try to work with government to make them know that Economics teachers need to be trained and re-trained, workshops and seminars need to be organized and conferences as it will be of great benefit to them. Also, the professionals invited to train and educate the Economics teachers will expose them to new methods and approach of teaching the subject to bring about better understanding of the subject in the classroom.
Theoretically, the significance of this study will be based on Ausubel’s theory of meaningful learning. Ausubel theory of meaningful learning focused on teaching learners’ new topic which has a relationship with something they had already known before or topic which they could comprehend using their previous knowledge. This theory will be of great benefit to study as it will help teachers to always make any topic they intend to teach to have a link or relationship with the previous topic they had taught the students before. With this, students could borrow idea from what they had known before to comprehend the new topic.
Scope of the Study
The geographical scope of this study was Nnewi Educational Zone of Anambra state. The content scope of this study will be comparative effect of project and lecture method on secondary school student academic achievement in Economics. Also, the study examined the effect of project and lecture methods on students’ academic achievement in Economics with respect to gender and location. The students for the study was Senior Secondary School I students. The rationale for this decision is that the topics to be taught during the field work are junior secondary school topics which are related and have been taught to students at the junior secondary school level. These topics are in the Economics curriculum for Senior Secondary School I. They are measures of central tendency which include arithmetic mean, median, mode, bar chart, pie chart. Students were taught these topics in Mathematics in their junior secondary school days and they are just entering senior secondary school I. This implies that such knowledge could still be in them. Also, the theory of production is a topic they were taught in Business study under production and manufacturing in junior secondary school II and III.
- What is the mean achievement score of students taught Economics with lecture method and those taught with project method?
- What is the mean achievement score of male and female students taught Economics using lecture method?
- What is the mean achievement score of male and female students taught Economics using project method?
- What is the mean achievement score of urban and rural students taught Economics using lecture method?
- What are the mean achievement scores of male and female students taught Economics using project method?