Impact of language laboratory for effective teaching and learning of mathematics in junior secondary school (a case study of enugu north local government area).

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1.1 Background of Study

Science explains the natural existence of man and his activities. Science could be seen as problem solving in order to improve the living standard of man. There are different definitions of science by different schools of thought; Owolabi (2004) defines science as an integrated part of human activities. It is seen as a dynamic human activity concerned with manipulating spherical world. It is seen as “knowledge covering general truths and laws, obtained and tested through scientific methods as concerned laws with the physical world”. Science can be seen as the bedrock of national development. A nation that is not scientifically advanced is termed a backward nation. Science is used by humans to solve daily problems and control the environment.

The usefulness of science cannot be under-rated. There are many areas of life that science has contributed such as in medicine, geophysics, hydrology, agriculture, communication, technology, education, transportation, healthcare to mention a few. Agriculture has improved greatly through the introduction of high yield improved agricultural seeds. Science has led to breakthrough in medical care. Diagnostic machine for checking different ailments and diseases are now controlled and diseases cured through science. The usefulness of science to humanity cannot be over emphasized.

Mathematics is defined as the abstract science of number, quantity, and space, either as abstract concepts. It is a fascinating study that ranges from microscopic-cellular molecules to the biosphere, encompassing the earth’s surface and its living organisms (Sarigin, 2010). Mathematics is a core subject that is mandatory in all secondary schools in Nigeria as it is a pre-requisite to the study of many courses relevant to humanity which include the following; Medicine, Pharmacy, Biochemistry, Agriculture, Anatomy, Physiology, Botany, Zoology, Mathematics, Ecology, Entomology Immunology, Molecular Mathematics, Evolutionary, Genetics and population dynamic among others. Mathematics can be conveniently taught in a laboratory which is a place designed and equipped with materials for teaching and learning. It is obvious that most secondary schools lack physical laboratories and where they exist, there are inadequate or lack of equipment. One of the problems militating against effort to enrich science is inadequate or absence of teaching aids or materials which include; indoor or outdoor laboratory, reagents, chemicals and unqualified teachers. Nwoji (1999) reported that some essential facilities were not available in the school visited (Baike 2000).

The importance of Mathematics is so much that it needs to be taught with language laboratory to arouse students’ interest. Tabotndip (2004) lamented that abstract teaching goes on today where teachers do not use apparatus and students are not using textbooks. It is reported that most secondary schools do not have Mathematics laboratory, the few existing ones have been converted into classrooms to create space for the overwhelming population of students arising from the Universal Basic Education (UBE) and Universal Primary Education (UPE). As a result of WAEC specification on SSCE examination, some schools resorts to multipurpose laboratory.

There is need for a single laboratory for each of physics, chemistry as well as Mathematics practicals. This ought not to be so for they have their disadvantages such as fire or chemical outbreak or accidents. In case of Mathematics, the charts, specimen and models may not be displayed for recognition and observation. Learning occurs when all the facilities for study are harnessed for work during a teaching and learning experience (Azikwe1990,Tabotndip 2004). Visual imaginary e.g. pictures charts etc has become the most powerful means of communication in the society today. (Ajayi 2004).

Outdoor activities in form of outdoor laboratory learning could be encouraged in form of Mathematics garden, field trips or around the school wall since the activities of the indoor laboratory cannot unfold true happenings in nature or forms of living things e.g. reproduction of amphibians in water, observation of flowering plants, taxonomy of plants and animal. Morphology of living things can be studied in the laboratory to an extent but their activities, influence and interaction with one another in their habitat would be better studied outside the laboratory. This method of instruction promotes inquiring strategy. Inquiring is a process that encourages students to solve problems in a logical systematic manner using the process skills (James, and Permida (1997, 2000).

The Mathematics garden as an outdoor laboratory plays a very important role in the teaching and learning process that includes:

  1. Free movement of teacher and students in terms of observation of specimens and objects.
  1. It promotes good relationship between students and their teacher.
  2. It encourages inquiry, discovery and meaningful learning.
  3. It exposes the students to study plants and animals in their natural habitat.
  4. Biological garden helps the teacher to collect specimen without travelling long distances.
  1. It also reduces the cost of providing materials during WAEC examination.

There are still some Mathematics concepts and phenomena that require indoor laboratory attention such as chemical reactions in Mathematics (Physiology) e.g. osmosis, turgidity, etc. in plants and some physiological activities in animals.  It is necessary therefore to introduce the use of materials in teaching and illustration of Mathematics concepts for a meaningful study to take place.

These materials include; concrete objects, charts, stored specimens and other teaching materials. It is on this background that the study is focused, finding out the effect of language laboratory on academic achievements and retention of SS 2 Mathematics Students.

Language laboratory are teaching aids or materials used to illustrate the teaching process and make instruction more compressive to the learner. According to Franzer,  Okebukola, and Jegede (1992) professionally qualified science teacher no matter how well trained would not be able to put his ideas into practice if the school setting lacks the equipment and materials necessary to translate potentials into reality. The use of teaching aids or language laboratory is an important tool in the teaching of Mathematics. The objective of any educational process determines the content, methods and materials needed for achieving such objectives. Different language laboratoryare used for different concepts in Mathematics. Yero,

(2000) mentioned four types of instructional aids or materials, which include the following: –

  1. Visual Aids: – these are materials that make visual impression – that is, it interprets the vision of the eyes. They include chalk board, posters, models, motion pictures, projected transparences. ii. Auditory Aids: – these appeal to the sense of hearing and include record players, tape recorders and language laboratories.
  • Audio – visual Aids: – these involve both hearing and visual senses e.g. based on sound and vision. Advancement in modern technology has led to the production of devices known as Information Communication Technology (ICT), which is also used in


  1. Stimulation Devices: – These include devices built to stimulate the actions and function of real thing or object. Language laboratory according to Oriade (2000) have the characteristics of holding attention of almost all the students because they reinforce verbal messages by providing a multi-media approach.

The importance of language laboratory according to Oriade (2000) emphasized that no matter how good a curriculum maybe, absence of the use of language laboratory can jeopardize its effective implementation. The selection and use of language laboratory depend on the teachers, if the science or Mathematics teacher does not have the skills to manipulate the materials, learning becomes difficult. Teachers should be committed and enthusiastic to use language laboratory in teaching Mathematics concepts. The provision and application of language laboratory should be reinforced in the school system, for it is on this note that the effect of language laboratory on academic achievements of Mathematics students, could be determined by their interactive and participation in class which is based on the teacher’s presentation of the Mathematics concepts or subject matter. Both achievements and long term achievement could be measured by test analysis designed. An instructional material stimulates student’s participation in class, increase knowledge and affects the achievement of Mathematics students. The use of inappropriate teaching materials results such as wrongly labeled charts results in several academic problems which according to Josiah and Okaoboh (2001) ranges from mass failure or under achievement in public examination to the gradual deteriorating situation in educational institution at all levels. Language laboratory are seen as an improvement and great relief for teachers in impacting knowledge and making the message clearer, more interesting and easier for the learners to assimilate (Onasanga and Adegbija 2008).In their view, there is no need teaching if what is learnt cannot be recalled.

Retention is the ability to store what has been learnt and recall what has been stored in the memory. According to Bichi (2002) retention is the ability to retain and later remember information or knowledge gained after learning in to memory. The nature of the materials to be coded contributes to the level of retention. Language laboratory contribute to quality and level of retention in terms of meaningful, concreteness and image evolving characteristic.(Adeniyi 1997). The study therefore investigates the effect of language laboratory on the academic achievement of teaching and learning process in Mathematics concept. Logoke,(1992) in Bichi (2002) investigated the retention ability of two groups of students; experimental group taught biological concepts using the analogical linage strategy while the control group was thought (skeletal system) same concepts using the traditional teaching method. The results showed that the experimental group performed significantly better and retained more of the Mathematics concepts taught than their counter parts in the control group. Akale and Usman (1993) and Eniayeji (1995) opined, that carefully selected and skillful use of teaching materials make facts and information better retained and learning more meaningful. It is on these findings that this study is focused. The study tends to consider gender factor in terms of Mathematics achievement and retention.

Gender issue has been the concern of all classes and groups of people all over the world especially researchers and educators. The issue of gender is considered and treated based on certain facts such as social and cultural beliefs, pattern of life and priorities of individuals. In the colonial days, boys were allowed to attend school while girls remained in the house to do house chores. Today there is no disparity on gender. From the findings of Ifamuyiwa (2005), a total of 215 candidates that sat for school certificate further mathematics involving 181 males and 34 females; result analysis showed that though the females were much fewer; 16% female, 34% of male, they relatively performed better. Even though there was poor performance of some female student’s which was attributed to certain factors such as negative and discouraging attitudes of female teachers, parents to the ideas of women engaging in “male careers” such as engineering.

The learning of boys and girls is associated with the society’s gender norms and perpetuated through informal education in the homes and society. (Erinosho1997).Studies have confirmed the inferiority of females in science enrolments and achievements.(Arends, (1991),andAgholor, 1993). According to Aleboisus, (2000) there is inequality in access to education, health and employment. This study tends to access the effect of language laboratory on academic achievements and retention among JSS 2Mathematics students in Enugu North Local GovernmentArea of Enugu State considering gender factors.

          1.2       Statement of the Problem

One of the main problems facing most secondary schools in the Nigerian society today is the relative decline in the academic achievements of the students especially in the sciences. The secondary schools in Enugu State are no exception. The academic achievements of students in the sciences have been on the decline (Ajagun 2000) and being able to reach the desired goal can be termed achievement. Most research findings in academic achievement in sciences are applicable to Mathematics as a science subject. The poor achievements in Mathematics could be attributed to some factors such as: – lack of use of apparatus Tabotndip(2000), lack of fund to purchase material Ezeudu(1995). From experience as a teacher, there are other factors that contribute to poor achievement in Mathematics which include: –   Lack of facility for imparting knowledge.

  • Inadequate equipment in laboratories where they exist.
  • Lack of teacher’s zeal to make use of language laboratory or improvise in the absence of standard materials.
  • Lack of students’ exposure to practical lessons and insufficient time for practical


  • Lack of interest in creativity in the part of teachers and poor teaching strategies.
  • Large size of the classes, leading to inadequate or poor management of classes.
  • Unqualified or inexperience teachers handling Mathematics classes.

Analysis of students’ poor achievements in recent WAEC examination and result poses a great concern to the nation. James and Pemida(2000)  in a paper termed “Mathematics education through the biological garden” is of the view that Mathematics stands out distinctly to be taught and learnt among other science subjects by making use of available materials. According to James et al (2000) mere collection of specimens taken to the laboratory do not give room for active participation of students and thus, does not contribute to scientific attitude of students. The transfer of knowledge from school to life situations, to the development of decision making skills and values, cannot be nurtured through the conventional chalk and board nor can it be effective through traditional laboratory experiments but the use of more interactive strategies that can facilitate participatory learning and independent enquiry (UNESCO 1987 –2006). Mathematics is developing more rapidly today than in past and so in Connell (2000), the skill and techniques of imparting useful biological knowledge, lecture and text book as a sole source of knowledge should give way to newer educational techniques that require the use of language laboratory.

Available literature shows that much of Mathematics teaching is carried out through chalk and board with little or no emphasis on the use of language laboratory. This study therefore investigated effect of the use of language laboratory on academic achievements and retention of Mathematics concept among JSS 2 student in Enugu North area of Enugu State.

          1.3       Objectives of the Study

The study has the following objectives, to:

  1. Investigate effects of the use of language laboratory on the academic achievements of JSS 2Mathematics student’s in Enugu State.
  1. Investigate effect of the use of language laboratory on the retention ability of JSS 2 Mathematics students in Enugu State.
  1. Examine the gender-related effect of language laboratory and academic achievements of Mathematics students.
  2. Examine the gender-related effect of language laboratory and retention ability among JSS 2Mathematics students.

          1.4       Research Questions

The following questions are set for answering:-

  1. What is the effect of the use of instructional material on the academic achievement in Mathematics among JSS 2 students in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State?
  2. What is the effect of the use of language laboratory on the academic achievement of boys and girls among JSS 2Mathematics students?
  3. Is there any difference in the mean retention scores of JSS 2Mathematics students taught Mathematics concepts using language laboratory and that of their counterparts taught same concepts without the use of language laboratory?
  4. What is the effect of the use of language laboratory on retention ability of male and female JSS 2Mathematics students in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State?

          1.5       Null Hypothesis

The following null hypotheses were formulated for the study and were tested at 0.5 level of significance.

H01: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students taught Mathematics concepts using language laboratory and those taught without language laboratory.
H02: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male and female students taught Mathematics concepts using language laboratorye.g chart and specimens.
H03: There is no significant difference in the mean retention scores of JSS 2 students taught Mathematics concepts using language laboratory and those taught same concepts without language laboratory
H04: There is no significant difference in the mean retention scores of male and

female students taught Mathematics concepts with the use of language laboratory.

          1.6       Significance of the Study

This study is significant to Mathematics teachers in Enugu State in particular and in Nigeria in general. Teachers and would find this study relevant and useful in teaching and learning procedures.

The use of language laboratory would help curriculum planners in the area of practical works.It will be helpful to examination bodies such as WAEC and NECO in setting examination questions with emphasis on area of practical works.

Science equipment manufacturers and science book publishers etc. will find this study relevant in areas of science language laboratory production to schools.

This study will be helpful for further research on retention.

          1.7       Basic Assumptions

The study has the following basic assumptions:

  1. That Secondary schools in Enugu State have adequate facilities for academic activities in schools.
  2. That teachers are trained and encouraged to use language laboratory in teaching Mathematics
  3. That secondary school teachers are familiar with the use of language laboratory in teaching Mathematics.

          1.9       Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study would have covered more schools and areas of Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State but due to constraints time and material resources, it was confined to JSS 2Mathematics students in four (4)public schools in Enugu North Local Government

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