The Provision and Utilization of Laboratory Materials for Teaching Biology in Secondary Schools


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1.1   Background to the Study

Modern Science is the firm base upon which modern advances in Technology depends. Many breakthroughs that man has recorded in the quest to improve his life were achieved through the knowledge of science; it therefore became pertinent that science be taught at all levels of education. At the senior secondary level science is departmentalized into Biology, Chemistry and Physics.

Biology which is the study of different forms of living things, their evolution, structures, functions, growth, distribution and taxonomy occupies a unique position in the secondary school science curriculum. It serves as a pre-requisite to the study of other lucrative and challenging professions like; medicine, nursing, pharmacology, biochemistry, agriculture among others. The vital role of the study of this discipline in the economic, industrial and public life of the learners and the general humanity cannot be overstressed (Ibe and Ukpai 2013; Akambi and Kolawole, 2014).

Biology as a science subject is based on practical and experiment. Its objectives as contained in the National policy on education (FRN, 2013) include among others to equip learners with meaningful and relevant knowledge of Biology, adequate laboratory and field skills. It is only through utilization of Biology laboratory materials that the above objectives and goals can be achieved.

Unfortunately, the teaching and learning of Biology over decades is yet to adequately meet the expectation of the people in the above areas. This is evident in the overall poor Biology laboratory materials have been identified as part of the teaching-learning facilities teachers and students use to express ideas without difficulties, thus making the lesson interesting, motivating and easy to understand.

Utilization of laboratory materials defines the extent or how often the available science laboratory materials are used during classes or laboratory sessions, these materials includes beakers, Petri-dish etc. According to Lawal (2013), such materials promote learning by doing, make the classroom lively, real, and meaningful and have the potential to make the content worth learning.

Adebimpe (1997) and Daramola, (2008) however noted that the availability of this materials enhance creativity, curiosity and perseverance on the part of the teacher, such skills are only realizable through well-planned training programme on the utilization of this materials.

The teacher can arrange students in his class to collect or gather several cheaply available of materials that can be useful for teaching and learning such as bones of animals, empty discarded cans, fruits, utensils and household items, cut pictures from magazines and newspapers and other items from their environment. This is why Eshiet (1996) identified that environment as the largest laboratory and learning system ever imagined.

However unlike the conventional laboratories and classrooms with specific teaching/learning materials and facilities, such environment enables learners learn better and at their own pace at times. The use of laboratory materials enhance infractions of large scale teaching/learning activities to acquire experiences which will definitely enhance learning in the affective, psychomotor and cognitive domains of knowledge.

Every teacher must try to supplement available teaching materials in other to make the learner active in the course of lesson delivery mostly Biology. When this laboratory materials are used it will promotes creativity and self-reliance and at the same time, contributes meaningfully to effective teaching. Some Laboratory material can be readily acquired, modified or developed by ingenious teachers to suit various needs and purposes in the teaching/learning process (Nkang, 2012).

Laboratory materials are essential and significant tools needed for teaching and learning of Biology in school in other to promote teachers’ efficiency and improve students’ performance. They make learning more interesting, practical, realistic and appealing. They also enable both the teachers and students to participate actively and effectively in lesson sessions. They give room for acquisition of skills and knowledge and development of self- confidence and self- actualization.

Olumorin, Yusuf, Ajidagba and Jekayinfa (2010) observed that laboratory materials help teachers to teach conveniently and the learners to learn easily without any problem. They asserted that laboratory materials have direct contact with all sense organs mostly microscope and skeletal systems.

Agwagah (2000) had noted that Biology teachers in most cases do not use laboratory materials in their Biology classroom because of unavailability of these materials, so most of the Biology concepts are taught abstractly. At times this may be because some of the Biology teachers believed that these laboratory materials to be used for teaching these Biology concepts are not in existence or most times are not utilized which leads to continuous failure of Biology in public examination in Nigeria.

Laboratory materials are the material developed or acquired to assist or facilitate teachers in transmitting an organized knowledge, skills and attitudes to the learners within an instructional situation, (Nwachukwu, 2016). To be precise, an laboratory material are educational resources used for illustrating the content of instruction, thereby making learning more concrete and less abstract. The provision and utilization of laboratory materials not only provide the necessary concrete experience but also help students integrate prior experience.


The Provision and Utilization of Laboratory Materials for Teaching Biology in Secondary Schools

1.2   Statement of the Problem

The continuous record of students’ poor attitudes towards the study of Biology is a serious problem in the Nigeria educational system, most especially at the secondary school level. Many factors have been blame for this among them is unavailability and utilization of laboratory materials.  Eshiet (1996) observed that not much attention has been given to the issue of enriching the science laboratories for effective teaching/learning of Biology.

It has become a great concern for researchers, educators and all educational stake-holders over the years. It was observed that students usually fail in examinations owing to improper teaching methods and lack of essential teaching materials for instructional delivery (Afolabi, 2009).

The act of teaching is fundamentally concerned with passing ideas, skills and attitude from the teacher to the learner. In Nigeria, for example experience has shown that spoken words alone in the communication of ideas are grossly ineffective and inefficient in producing desired learning outcomes. On the foregoing, scholars like Mutebi and Matora (1994) have emphasized the effect of availability and utilization of laboratory materials on teaching/learning.

According to them, we learn and remember 10% of what we hear 40% of what we discuss with others and as high as 80% of what we experience directly or practice. It was on this background that the researcher was interested to carry out the research on the provision and utilization of laboratory materials for teaching biology in secondary schools in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area.


1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was on the provision and utilization of laboratory materials for teaching biology in secondary schools in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area. Hence, the study sought to:

  1. Determine the laboratory materials availability and teaching/learning of Biology in secondary schools.
  2. Examine the extent to which laboratory materials are utilized in teaching/learning of Biology in secondary schools.
  3. Examine the effects of the utilization of laboratory materials on the teaching/learning of Biology in secondary school.

1.4   Significance of the Study

It is anticipated that the findings of this study would be of immense benefits to the teachers, students, curriculum planning and researchers in the following way:

  1. It would reveal the laboratory materials available for teaching Biology and other science subjects in secondary’ schools.
  2. It will reveal the extent to which available laboratory materials are utilized by teachers in the teaching and learning of Biology and other science subjects.
  3. It would add to the body of existing literature on the utilization of laboratory materials and the teaching of Biology and other subjects.
  4. Finally, the findings of the study would serves as a reference material for further research on availability and utilization of laboratory materials in relation to the teaching of not only Biology but other schools’ subjects.

1.4  Research Questions

The following research questions were raised in line with the specific objectives of the study.

  1. To what extend does the availability of laboratory materials affects the teaching/learning of Biology in secondary schools?
  2. To what extend does laboratory materials utilized in the teaching/learning of Biology in secondary school?

3. To what extent does the utilization of laboratory materials affects the teaching/learning of Biology in secondary schools?

The Provision and Utilization of Laboratory Materials for Teaching Biology in Secondary Schools

1.6  Limitation of the study

The study was faced with difficulties which include:

  • Time factor: the period for the completion of the study was short and the researcher could not cover all the secondary schools in the study area.
  • Financial constraint: Finance available for the study was not enough to support the research in the process of data acquisition.

1.7   Delimitation of the Study

The study was on the provision and utilization of laboratory materials for teaching biology in secondary schools in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area. It was delimited to selected secondary schools in the study area.


1.8   Definition of Terms

The following terms used in the study were conceptualized by the researcher as explained below:

Laboratory Materials: These are materials that are found in Biology laboratories which enhance the teaching and learning of Biology. 

Utilization: The process or act of putting something to use (application).

Teaching: The educational process whereby a teacher imparts knowledge and skills to a learner or group of learners.

Biology: Science subject in schools that deals particularly with living things.

Availability:  Refers to the extent to which materials is made reachable for individuals use.

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