Identification of Difficult Teaching Topics in Integrated Science in Schools
There is a general impression that integrated science is difficult by very nature. Teacher rationalize integrated science as highly structured and so abstract that is study requires special intellectual telnets, Agarkar (1998). Some teacher hold the view that integrated science wide subject. thus teachers see the subject as some thing esoteric tat is to be feared, Brown (1997) articulated the fact that the inherent notion held by many Africans that integrated science is a very difficult subject which is capable of thinking widely, is at the centre of the phobia which the teachers exhibit got integrated science and which has claimed many causalities over the years. Raymond (1996) therefore, posed the question “How” then children to be as courageous as to face something which is capable of making the teachers of integrated science think widely and going on constant research? The teachers would prefer to teach another subject rather than to involved herself teaching integrated science subject.
Furthermore, Goel (2000) opines that the nature of integrated science is such that it demands a lot of practical. It requires observing critically, and analytically, not every teacher specialized in that subject.
Some teachers in integrated science know how to carried out the practical. Sue to they do not specialized in this area. Hence teachers consider integrated science as a difficult subject.
2.2 QUALIFIED INTEGRATED SCIENCE TEACHERS
In terms of adequate number qualified integrated science teachers we have in most cases, what cocoas (1999) has termed enough milling warm bodies to keep order in the classrooms. Our problem is to find enough teachers who can also teach. The production of qualified integrated science graduates at the Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE) and university levels constitutes a vicious circle. ]
This few number of qualified integrated science graduate Produced at the NCE level do not have enough avenue in universities to solve the problems by mounting integrated science programme simply aggravated it, further, by not producing enough graduate in the subject who would eventually relieve the shortage problem. One way to break this vicious circle and generate an increasing input of competent integrated science teachers into our educational system, is to mount integrated science degree programme in many of our universities and for NCE graduate as well as school certificates holders. It is pertinent to note that the observation practicing teachers that non-availability level is a science educational teachers at university level is a major factor that contributes to lack of interest, motivation and creativity in teaching integrated science Agarkar (1998). As a result of the gap, teachers look down on integrated science. There is general belied that it is a science subject only suitable for less able, the a science oriented teachers and for those who do not intend to pursue science subject beyond O level stage. Even now that integrated science is being studied in some collage of education, it is difficult to recruit teachers for the course Rao (2001) simply because teachers reason that those who study integrated science as a teaching subject at the level may be restricted in their future academic advancement as long as there are not enough universities in Nigeria that offers a degree course in integrated science. Teachers like students, wants to have something to forward to in terms of additional or higher qualifications. Of lesser importance to them however, is that the subject is comprestigous from the stand point of the fact that, it is lacking in the list of academic disciplines. Also many teacher do not want to be associated with integrated science teaching because they feel that they cannot effectively tech it and thus makes staff recruitment equally difficult. Beside there is the psychological feeling of sentenced to teach the junior classes only. It is worthy of note that Bajagh (1999) in a contextual appraised of integrated education in Nigeria draw attention of the government. The problem of status of the integrated science teachers who might be considered a perpetual junior teacher must be critically examined. The crises in our classrooms today where teachers of integrated science felt academically threatened and insecure mjust be attended to.
2.3 FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT
Integrated science curriculum in Nigerian emphasis activities based hearing and child centered leaving. This play a great demand on laboratory space, equipment and resourcefulness of the teachers. But the disturbing reality of our secondary school is the total absence to laboratory space or facilities for teaching integrated science. Where the facilities exist, there are grossly inadequate. In same cases, teachers in the lower forms of secondary school are hardly allowed the use of science laboratory which obtansibly exist as the exclusive preserve of the upper form. Greenwald, N.L (1996) findings.
One discovers that majority of Nigerian junior secondary school do not have separate science subject. It is more common to find out that while chemistry is taught in a chemistry laboratory, physics and biology are taught in one laboratory. Integrated science usually has not adequate laboratory space, more often than not it is taught in an ordinary classroom with an occasional practical work held in the physics and biology laboratory. Some school however, have a sample laboratory earmarked for integrated science. And some school Oriafo (1999) has observed that’ equipment, materials and chemicals are not stocked specifically for the teaching of integrated science. The consequences are that the integrated science teacher is left to the mercy of the physics, chemistry and biology teacher who provide her with requisite apparatus for class activities and demonstration exercises. These other integrated science teachers are usually unable to reach her requirement at the time of need.
He continue, the out come of such a situation, is that most integrated science teachers handle the subject negligently and very superficially.
Desforges (1995) in this study of problems in the teaching of integrated science in junior secondary schools (J.S.S.) also draw attention to the poor situation on none availability of laboratories for the study of integrated science is guaranteed among other factors, by adequate equipped science laboratories which must be made accessible to teachers. Also it should be realized even with the best of teachers, without adequate equipment and hands on materials, integrate science teaching will and must be at the best, a compromise with circumstance. Suffice to say that a professionally qualified science teacher, no matter how will trained would be unable to put his ideal into practice if the school setting lack the equipment and materials necessary for he to translate his computer into reality. National research council (1996).
2.4 Areas of Difficulties teaching topics in Integrated
One can understand that no subject is so easy to teach. So every subject is difficult to teach. Therefore, in teaching may under their motivation and create fear in them in teaching the topics.
Recent trends in integrated science have been identified and analysed by Barrow (1994). According to him at the global level, there has been a shift of emphasis from an expository method of teaching from students centered to teacher centered.
Integrated science as a subject has many area and branches. Some teachers who find some of the major area difficult may not necessary find the topics under them interesting to teach. Due to this fact, many authors of junior secondary school integrated science text books and examiners claim that a reasonable percentage of percentage of teachers on that topic relating to man in space as well as relating to recall and use of basic scientific principles.
According to Nwosu and Nwecha (1981), claim that teacher have difficulty chemical symbols, physical measurement and formular. For instant Anani (1997) reports that integrated science was carried out in carbben to identify the specific areas of needs. The result of series of diagnostic in the content areas of man in space, environment pollution, wild life conservation etc. The teachers in those area, is a velar indication that teachers find the topics difficult.
The findings of the above research were significant. The survey touched on the major difficult topics of teaching integrated science. This was the situation about years ago presumably, the status of integrated science teaching in the country has since risen. In many case the results of Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN), survey provides a frame of reference for determining whether such changes and improvements as had been anticipated and assumed with the introduction of the modern integrated science approach, have actually take place. Very recently Jegede (2000) opined that most of the Nigerian integrated science teachers are of single subject specialization. He move further by saying that he was not surprised because of the difficult topics in teaching integrated science, because no one gave what he/she did not posses. This will explain why majority of integrated science teachers concentrate their teaching on their area of specialization from the teachers view point, the justification of restricting their teaching within their areas of specialization lies on the principles of teaching what they know best. Greenwaled (2000) the out line that most teachers handle the subject negligently and superficially. The problem of high cognitive demand of integrated science teachers curriculum a cording to Osondu (1995) have some light on teachers perceived.
The difficult topics in the contextual materials of the integrated science teachers association of Nigerian integrated science both independently revealed that the difficulties involved were higher in physics topics than chemistry and biology subject.
2.5 CAUSES OF THESE DIFFICULT TEACHING TOPICS IN INTEGRATED SCIENCE
A number of factors can be attributed to the teachers the difficult topics in integrated science. One of these factors is one of the early foundation given to teachers in integrated science, Oriafo (1999), writes that most teacher lack basic foundation in integrated science. This is because in most cases, these teachers are not specialized to teach integrated science to junior class. As a result, on getting to teach integrated science in the J.S.S. class, they find some difficulty to teach. Some teachers have the misconception that integrated science is difficult.
In line with William/Mary (1997), states that some teacher have the notion that no matter how well they are taught, they cannot understand those difficult topics in integrated science curriculum. Integrated science is a subject involved all the science subject in secondary school. A greater portion of the blame for teachers of low moral in teaching integrated science have apportioned to lack of trained and qualified integrated teachers. Experiences in the field have shown that there is always shortage of staff in integrated science and this has always contributed to the difficult topics of some teachers in integrated science. Since this present inadequate and ill prepared teachers for the teaching of integrated science. According to Bankefa (1995). Most teachers who are not particularly skilled in integrated science teach the subject simple because the time table said it has to be taught. He went on to say that the majority of teachers who teaches integrated science are not qualified to teach it. He further indicated that teachers who are trained under these unqualified teachers are bound to teach. On junior secondary school for especially in science area. According to Tinyer (1995) opined that most secondary schools do not have enough integrated science teachers even those who are not competent enough to teach the subject.
Classroom climate and its effect on teachers out come is another area, which has been widely explored. For instance Relly (1995) studied the need for laboratory for teaching integrated science. The laboratory method has several advantages that make if light useful in teaching of integrated science. According to Nwafor (1980), laboratory work provides teachers with concrete teaching experience. Relly further reported that classroom influence the difficult topics in teaching.
2.6 TEACHING METHODS
Many researchers have shown that the quality of teachers and the teaching method adopted by them help very much in teaching of integrated science. As Jegede (1995) rightly observed, most of the teachers of NISP (Nigerian Integrated Science Project) are of single subject specialization who left more comfortable teaching topics that pertained to their own area of subject specialization and as a consequence taught. Only selected topics to teachers as opposed to following the books.
This is not surprising for as the expression goes, (know one gives what he does not possess). This may will explain the tendency of their area of specialization. Appropriate academic qualifications and professional training are desirable to teachers of all subjects, but particularly for integrated science teachers who do not only have to teach these subjects effectively but also have responsibilities for safe conjunct of practical work. Kapar D.L. (1994), also emphasis on it take place in any country unless its teaching staff were well trained. Unfortunately the nations economy does allow for adequate provision of the necessary training facilities to enhance adequate training of integrated science teachers. The result of this was summarized by Raymond (1996) when they stated that, the best teacher and nicest of all books are not available unless the interest due to financial constrained are not able to go for further studied to increase and up date their knowledge in science. Such teacher are not always aware of new scientific discoveries and research findings.
A teachers concept of what science is, influenced not only the teacher but how he/she teaches. Just as we in our daily meal time vary out diet in order to supply the essential nutritional inputs to attain fullest satisfaction. So also do teachers need to vary to ensure overall effectiveness, how a course is taught take away from it to retain during subsequent years. The design of a course, and all the accompanying resource materials such as books, apparatus, films etc. only make available to the teacher possible ways of proceeding, for this techniques to be effective, the teacher should comprehend the rational of the course and develop an appropriate techniques out of, so many available.
A techniques that develops self confidence and self reliance in the teacher may be considered more useful than one that aims at coverings a syllabus.
2.7 APPROPRIATE TO THE TEACHING OF INTEGRATED SCIENCE
A lot of work has been done on the methods as they affect the teaching of integrated science and other science subject.
The ability of the teacher to select most suitable instructional strategy will not only remove the difficulties to be encountered in presenting a particular task to the teachers, it will also facilitate easy. Understanding of the task by the teachers Barrows (1994) encountered some of the fundamental teaching methods, which includes.
- Discussion method
- lecture method
- discovery method
- Laboratory method
- Demonstration method
- field trip method
According to him for effective teaching of integrated science to take place, the skillful teachers need to use many difference methods and techniques at his command. He considered on the method as best for every teaching effective. He further stated that, the success in purpose, the pupil on the class and curriculum contents of the movement of type of subject matter being taught.
Considering the method of demonstration and practical work in teaching, Agarkar (1998) has the opinion that a true understanding of concept can not be acquired through lecture method. Lecture method does not involve active participation of student.
Taiwo (1975) writes on the guide lines for selelction of content on the living things for children emphasized the use of field trips. He believed that they way to fulfill different needs of individual is to offer him opportunities for a wide range of experience possible by taking him and bring materials into the classroom and then encouraging him to observe clearly and suggest what he wills.
The field trip also an adequate method of teaching science. It involves the teacher taking the students out of the classroom environment to the happening in nature and technological setting such experience gained dumping field trip work are valid, lasting and often more meaningful to the teacher by Goel (2000).
The laboratory method has several advantages that make it highly useful in teaching of integrated science. According to Nwafor (1995), laboratory work provide the teacher with concrete teaching experience. Laboratory activities help the teacher to develop scientific attitudes. It also gives the teacher the opportunity to participates in and having appreciation for the method of science by workman (1995).
However, the laboratory method of teaching has its limitations, which include difficulty in organization. It is time consuming and expensive. According to Kaspar J.L eds (1994) revealed in his study of the guided discovery expository methods as one that enhances effective teaching of science subject.
The problem a teacher of science usually encounters is to decide which leaching method(s) to adopt at a particular topic.
This article was extracted from a Project Research Work Topic
“IDENTIFICATION OF DIFFICULT TEACHING TOPICS IN INTEGRATED SCIENCE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN ENUGU URBAN AREA IN ENUGU STATE”