KNOWLEDGE AND MISCONCEPTIONS OF SOME BASIC BIOLOGY CONCEPTS BY NIGERIA SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION STUDENTS.
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This study examined the effect of qualification and experience of Biology teachers on the status of ecology teaching in Kwara State. This study sample included one hundred and forty two (142) Secondary Schools selected by random sampling technique. The researcher designed teachers’ questionnaire which were administered to four hundred and fifty (450) teachers selected from eight (8) Local Government Areas of Kwara State. Researcher-designed validated questionnaire was used to elicit information from the respondents on the status of ecology teaching. Three research questions and two hypotheses were formulated. Frequency counts and chi- square statistics were used to analysis the data collected.
Finding of this study revealed that 68% of Biology teachers agreed with the contents while 32% disagreed. However both qualified and unqualified teachers had viewed ecology teaching the same way that is ecology teaching was not properly done due to the fact that some Biology teachers skip certain areas of the syllabus that they find difficult to teach. Similarly, experienced and less experienced teachers had the same views about ecology teaching in Kwara State. Based on the findings, the following recommendations were made: fieldwork and practicals on Ecology should be carried out satisfactory in the schools, teachers should be sponsored to seminars and workshops specifically on Ecology teaching.
Biology deals with the study of all the varied aspects of living organisms. It is one of the science subjects, offered by candidates sitting for the senior school certificate (SSC) ordinary level examinations. Biology is the most popular subject among the pure science subjects (Idodo, 1996). Biology at the senior secondary school level can be grouped under such headings as: Cell and Unicellular Organisms, simple multicellular animals, insects, the arthropods, higher animals, reptiles and birds, mammals, flowerless plants, flowering plants, physical processes found in living organisms, respiration, food substances, nutrition of green plants, transport systems, excretion, ecology, etc.
Ecology is the study of interactions of organisms with their physical environment and with each other. No plant or animal is independent of its environment. If organisms must survive, then the environment must provide suitable conditions for their existence because they are likely to be affected by conditions around them (Stone, 1990). Ecological studies deal with any of the three levels of the organization of the organism, the individual, the population and communities. It deals also with the way in which the organisms at each of these levels of organization function in harmony with the non living physical environment. Ecology has many useful applications aimed at maintaining a healthier and more productive biosphere for the life of humans and other living organisms. It provides for the judicious use of natural resources often referred to as conservation. (Ndu, 1990).
The sub topics under ecology at the senior secondary school level are basic ecological concepts, Aquatic habitants, Fresh water, Swamps, Marsh, Estuary, Grass land, Major biomes of the world, ecology of Population study and Problem of survival etc. The following are the objectives for teaching senior secondary school Biology: 1. To provide basic literacy in Biology for functional living in the society. 2. To acquire essential scientific skills and attitudes as a preparation for the technological application of Biology. 3. To acquire basic concepts and principles of Biology as a preparation for further studies.
To stimulate and enhance creativity (National Biology Curriculum, 1993 page 20-22. The focus of the secondary schools is to produce students that will proceed to tertiary institutions for further education. Some researchers reports shows that teachers found some concepts in ecology difficult (Ndukwe, 1988). Okeke and Ochuba (1986) worked on the level of understanding of ecological concepts. The study revealed low understanding of the three selected concepts by secondary school certificate students on some selected ecology concepts such as population, habitant and ecosystem.
Apart from the three selected concepts, the findings call for further investigations of the other ecology concepts so as to improve the understanding of these concepts among secondary school students and to know the best method to be employed in teaching them. Jegede and Lagoke (1986) worked on the status of ecological field works in Nigerian secondary schools and found out the teachers did not have a positive attitude towards the teaching of ecological work. Adeniyi (1985) worked on misconceptions held by junior secondary school students in selected ecological concepts and found out that the absence of Yoruba equivalent of the ecological concepts was a factor for such misconception held by students.