EFFECT OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING ENHANCED WITH ANALOGY ON RETENTION AND PERFORMANCE IN ECOLOGY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL SLOW LEARNERS, KANO STATE, NIGERIA
The study investigated the impact of cooperative learning enriched with analogy on retention and performance among secondary schools ecology slow learners in Dawakin Kudu Education Zone, Kano State Nigeria. The study adopted a pretest, posttest quasi experimental control group design. The population consisted of 5145 SS2 biology students made up of 3362 males and 1783 females. Stratified random sampling technique was used to select the sample due to gender difference in senior secondary schools in Kano state. Four schools were randomly selected using balloting method which involved picking from the container, two were females’ schools and two were males’ schools. One hundred and twenty (120) identified slow learners were purposively selected from the four sampled schools. 60 students were in the control group taught using lecture method; while 60 students were in the experimental group and taught using enriched cooperative learning strategy. The two groups were taught ecology concepts for six weeks. One instrument, Ecology Performance Test (EPT) was used for data collection and this instrument was adapted from WAEC objective past question papers which has a reliability coefficient of (r= 0.84). Four research questions were raised; one of which is: what is the mean difference between the mean scores of slow learners taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy and those taught with lecture method?. Four hypotheses were raised; one of which is: there is no significant difference on the mean scores of slow learners taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy and those taught using lecture method. These hypotheses were tested using t-test statistics at P≤0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study showed that slow learners taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy performed significantly better than those taught with lecture method. It was recommended that biology teachers should use enriched cooperative learning enriched when teaching ecology concepts.
Science and technology has been recognized worldwide as the key factor in the national development. Based on this relevance of science and technology in the world, developing countries like Nigeria recognize the importance for the nations to develop scientifically and technologically. One of the aims of the Nigeria National Policy on Education (FGN, 2013) is to equip students on how to live effectively in the modern age of science and technology. The gateway to the survival of a nation scientifically and technologically is science literacy which can only be achieved through science education (Bukunola & Idowu, 2012). Science education in Nigeria is facing a large number of problems as outlined by Nwagbo (2001) which include inadequate funding, poor orientation and poor instructional strategies among others. International Council for
Science (ICS), (2002) observes science education as a fundamental component of Basic Education that prepares students to live in a world increasingly defined by science and technology.
Science is derived from the Latin”Scientia” which means knowledge and it is a way of enquiry or finding out about the universe (Beli, 2007). According to Stone (1999) biology is a discipline which focuses itself with the study of life and living organism, their structure, function, growth, evolution among others. Some of the biology concepts taught at Senior Secondary School level include cells biology, living and non-living things, reproduction digestive system, hormones, sense organs, ecology, evolution, genetics among others (FGN, 2013). Aina (2009) identified variety of methods with which biology can be taught which include lecture, enquiry, guided discovery, field trips, and cooperative methods among others. Biology concepts can sometimes be difficult particularly when describing ideas that are abstract in nature which cannot be fully understood by the students for the first time (Chew, 2004). Oyedekun, 2002 and WAEC, (2006), have also shown that a number of concepts in biology which include evolution, physiology, ecology and genetics contain topics that pose difficulty for biology students to understand.
Analogy is like a bridge that span the gap between what the teachers wants the students to learn and the students’ previous knowledge. Analogy refers to those aspects of the teacher’s explanatory discourse in which a familiar situation similar to the unfamiliar phenomenon to be explained is used (Okigbo, 2010). The unfamiliar domain or phenomenon to be explained is referred to as target and the familiar domain is referred to as source. Olorukooba, Lawal and Jiya (2013), define analogy as a process of identifying similarities between two concepts, the familiar concepts is called the base and unfamiliar concept is called the target. An analogy builds on the framework of the learner’s existing knowledge so that students do not start from the scratch. According to Nowrgu and Otum (2013) Analogy is a comparison of something unfamiliar with something familiar in order to explain the shared principles. Analogy was developed to enhance mental activities of students in the learning of scientific concepts and conceptual schemes (Olorukooba, et a,l 2012). Therefore, this study determines the impact of cooperative learning enriched with analogy on retention and performance among SS II slow learners students.
Cooperative Learning is considered as an efficient technique to convert students into active learners in classrooms and it makes teaching and learning more satisfying, momentous, enjoyable and effective (Gupta & Pasrija 2012). Cooperative approach constitutes a paradigm shift in the area of learning .It is the learning strategy in which students work as a team in small groups while they share ideas and experience in the process (Johnson & Johnson 1990). Olorukooba (2001) on the other hand supports the claim that, students of small groups are allowed to work together, assist each other, and the conclusion reached are generally adopted by the group members. Cooperative learning has been proven to be effective for all types of students, including academically gifted and mainstream student because it promote learning and foster respect and friendships among diverse groups of students (Colorin, 2007). Olorukooba, (2001) and Slavin, (2008) have separately documented that when cooperative learning strategy is used, students tend to exhibit higher academic performance, critical thinking skills and deeper understanding of learning materials among others. Cooperative Learning is part of a group teaching and learning techniques where students interact with each other to acquire and practise the elements of a subject matter and to meet common learning goals. However, this study determines the impact of cooperative learning enriched with analogy on performance and retention of SS II slow learners students taught ecology concepts.
Lecture method which is predominantly used in senior secondary schools in Nigeria contributes to the poor academic performance in senior secondary school biology students in Nigeria (Usman, 2008), Oyedekun (2002), referred lecture method as a didactic which involve verbal presentation of ideas, concept, generalization and fact. Bichi (2002) and Usman (2008) had separately observed that lecture method encourages rote learning without profer understanding, thereby resulting in poor performance. Nwosu, (2003), suggested the use of alternative contemporary teaching strategies which would reflect the constructivist approach to learning. Adeoye (2004), maintain that no single method is best for the teaching and learning of science especially biology, he suggested that method that would involve students active participation are cooperative learning, problem solving, use of analogy can improve learning. Akubuilo, (2004), also suggested the use of activityoriented strategies such as cooperative learning strategy, guided discovery as well as the use of analogy.
Retention is one of the variables to the present study which is measured in collaboration with performance. This means that closely related to performance is retention. Bichi (2002), opines that, retention is the ability to recall and consequently remember things experienced or learned by an individual at a later time. Akinbobola and Falasade (2009), revealed that, when teaching is characterized by rote-learning, meaningless memorizing on verbalism, students make ineffective learning, and the facts thus learned are not long retained, nor do they seem to have much effect in teaching behaviour. Retention is defined as a preservative factor of the mind which in turn acquires the materials of knowledge through sensation and perception (Kundu & Tutoo 2002). These acquired materials in the mind need to be preserved in form of images for knowledge to develop. Whenever a stimulating situation occurs, retained images are revived or reproduced to make memorization possible. Hence, Biology concepts need to be presented to the learners in a way or method that touches their sub consciousness which can trigger quick recalling of the concepts being taught or learnt. Using such teaching method as cooperative learning, both high and low ability learners would be able to cooperate in terms of understanding and explaining their retention ability. However, in this study the researcher used cooperative learning enriched with analogy and taught ecology concepts in order to determine its impacts on performance and retention among slow learners, SS II Biology students.
Slow learners are students with below average cognitive abilities who are not disabled, but struggled to cope with academic demands in the regular class room (Yusha’u, 2012). Academically, slow learners are usually identified based on their attained scores on intelligence tests, with IQ between 75-89. A slow learner differs slightly from normal children in learning ability and cannot meet average academic standards. In this study, the researcher used the term ‘slow learner’ as those students who are doing poorly in schools, yet are not eligible for special education (Shaw, Grimes & Bulman, 2005). Slow learners are students who do not learn successfully due to general socio-cultural problems, frustration, inadequate use of diagnosed as “learning-disabled” by specialist in students psychology (Lescano, 2008). There are different reasons for slow learning, which sometimes might be due to mental disability, their background, illiterate parents, cultural problems, lack of emotional growth, the lack of a secure environment, limited opportunities for learning, absenteeism from school, untrained teacher and large class size (Sultan 2012).
Slow learners are students who find it difficult to keep pace with their classmates but they are not mentally retarded, they are capable of achieving academic success at a slower rate compared to their classmate (Malik, 2012). Pujar (2008) reveals that 27 percent of the students are borderline defective or slow learners whose IQ ranged between 75- 85. The slow learners both receptive and expressive language ability were typically limited. They are often delayed in working or talking. According to Shaw (2005), slow learners are students who are not mentally retarded, but are capable of achieving academic success at a slower rate compared to normal or regular class students only. A Slow learner is difficult to identify because there is no difference in appearance and can function normally in most situations (David, 2010). They usually have normal physical dexterity, adequate memory, and possess common sense. A slow learner initially wants to learn, but has a problem with the learning process. In this study, the researcher used cooperative learning enriched with analogy in teaching selected ecology concepts in order to determine its impacts on academic performance and retention among SS II, Biology slow learners.
Another important variable in this research is the issue of gender differences in academic performance. Bichi (2002) defines gender as the amount of masculinity and femininity found in a person and obviously there are mixtures of both in most human beings, the normal male has a preponderance of masculinity and the normal female has a preponderance of femininity. Several studies have also examined the influence of gender on students’ academic performance. Olatoye and Adekoya, (2009 & 2010) found no gender difference in academic performance of students exposed to different teaching strategies in science. Njoku (2007), observed that boys perform better than girls in science, Technical and Mathematical subjects. Oyedeji (1991) on the other hand reported the significant influence of gender on academic performance with boys having better scores than girls in the study. However, this study determines the impact of cooperative learning enriched with analogy on slow learners academic performance and retention in ecology concept of biology.
1.1.1 Theoretical Framework
The theoretical framework that guided this study was based on constructivism theory of learning. The theory of constructivism is attributed by Bruner (1960) and
Vygosky (1978). Bruner was one of the founding fathers of constructivism theory. Constructivist theory is of the view that learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based on their current knowledge (Bruner, 1960). He also revealed that, learners select and transform information and make decisions, relying on a cognitive structure, the various representations that an individual construct may be equally valid. Bruner (1966) claims that constructivism is also based on the idea that students construct their learning on past knowledge and that reasoning plays an importance role in the learning process. However, constructivism learning theory was applied in this study on teaching with- analogy because students construct knowledge and creation of new ideas from what they have already known.
Eventually Bruner (1978), was strongly influenced by Vygotsky’s writings and began to turn away from the intrapersonal focus he had for learning to social and political view of learning. Vygotsky (1978) opined that, through a process of ‘scaffolding’ a learner can extend beyond the limitations of physical maturation to the extent that the development process lags behind the learning process. Vygotsky also states cognitive development stems from social interactions from guided learning within the zone of proximal development as children and their partners co-construct knowledge.
In this study, the teacher’s role in constructivist teaching is to serve as facilitator of learning in which students are encouraged to be responsible, autonomous and construct their own understanding of each of the scientific concepts. In a constructivist classroom, ideally, analogy can help students to build meaningful relations between what they already know and what they are setting out to learn. In general, this activity of building relations plays a critical role in constructivist views of learning science, thereby involving students in the construction of knowledge and the creation of new ideas from what they already know. Thus, constructivists believed that students should not learn by receiving message but by interpreting a message. Among the new instructional strategies within the constructivism framework, cooperative learning strategy has been found to enhance student’s understanding of science concepts and also bring about meaningful learning (Olorukooba, 2001& Slavin 2009). However, constructivism learning theory was in line with this study which investigated the impacts of cooperative learning enriched with analogy on retention and academic performance of ecology concepts among secondary schools II slow learners.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Educational researcher David, (2010) revealed a significant high rate of failure in science subjects. The reasons given to explain the situation is that, the methods of teaching employed by the teachers always neglect the slow learners. Khan (2008) revealed that an untrained teacher could not understand the psychology of students and their problems, overcrowded class is also a problem which affects the learning processes and led in creating problem to slow learners and finally led to poor performance in their final senior secondary school examination. Poor performance of students in science subjects particularly biology, has assumed a serious dimension as reported by West African Examination Council (WAEC 2010 – 2014). The data in Table 1.1 was an indication of the failure rate in biology
over the years.
Table 1.1: Performance of Students in Biology in WAEC in Nigeria from 20102014
|Year||Biology total Total pass Entry||% Pass at
|Total Fail||% Fail
|2014||1, 90355 700128||36.78||1203427||63.22|
Source: WAEC Annual Report (2014).
Mari (2001) revealed that one of the problems of increased number of students in the class is limited range of teaching method and inability of teacher to provide for the specific learning needs of the individuals student and this has resulted into poor performance of students. In view of these problems, the activity-base teaching strategy such as cooperative learning strategy had been proposed in teaching science especially for slow learners. However, this study investigated the impact of cooperative learning enriched with analogy on retention and performance in ecology concepts among secondary schools slow learners’.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study are to:
- determine the impact of cooperative learning enriched with analogy on the performance of slow learners in ecological concepts;
- examine the difference in the mean scores of slow learners in the pre-test and posttest of the experimental group;
- determine the impact in retention ability of slow learners taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning strategy enriched with analogy; and
- find out the difference between the performance of male and female students taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning strategy enriched with analogy.
1.4 Research Questions
The study found answers to the following questions.
- What is the difference between the mean scores of slow learners taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy and those taught with lecture method?
- What is the difference between the mean scores of slow learners in experimental group before and after taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy?
- Is there any change between the mean retention scores of slow learners’ taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy and those taught with lecture method?
- Is there any difference between the mean scores of male and female slow learners taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy?
1.5 Null Hypotheses
The following hypotheses were formulated for testing at P ≤ 0.05 level of significance
Ho1: There is no significant difference between the mean scores of slow learners taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy and those taught with lecture method.
Ho2: There is no significant difference between the mean scores of the slow learners’ in the experimental group before and after taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy.
Ho3: There is no significant difference between the mean retention scores of slow learners taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy and those taught using lecture method.
Ho4: There is no significance difference between the mean scores of male and female slow learners taught ecology concepts using cooperative learning enriched with analogy.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would hopefully be useful to the followings:
- Biology students: would have the opportunity to learn by themselves with little guidance from their teachers and would enhance interaction among them and demands creative thinking in their cognitive structure. The teaching method would enable students to learn meaningfully and respond better to their class mates and to their teachers. The students would also attain companionship among them and will exercise their skills practically. This would enhance students’ performance and retention in Biology.
- Science teachers: would benefit from this study by adopting the strategy used in teaching ecology concepts, this make the lesson interested to the students In helping them to select the appropriate strategies for teaching ecology concepts so as to cater for different ability level and improve the students’ performance in biology.
- Curriculum planners of senior secondary school biology might consider the findings of this study and make appropriate review of the curriculum where necessary. This would help to enhance the performances of slow learners in biology thus reducing the rate of drop out in the subject.
- Professional Bodies: such as Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN),
Mathematics Teachers Association (MAN) and National Education Researches Department (NERD) among others would consider the result of the research with a view to using the strategy to promote science instruction in schools.
- Researchers and educationists would benefit from the findings of this study because results of this research would form a basic foundation for further studies using cooperative learning enriched with analogy.
- Curriculum developers: Curriculum developers might consider the findings of this study and make appropriate review of the curriculum where necessary
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research investigated the impact of cooperative learning enriched with analogy on retention and performance among secondary school ecology slow learners in Dawakin Kudu Education Zone Kano State. This research was delimited to SS II biology students of public secondary schools in Dawakin Kudu Education Zone Kano State, Nigeria. Four schools were sampled for this study; two were the experimental and were the control because all schools in Dawakin kudu education zone are either male or female schools only no co-education. SS II students were considered suitable for the study because of their experience in biology and stability in secondary education more than SSI students who have not yet gained much academic experience and the SSIII students are busy preparing for SSCE examination. The chronological age range of the students was 16 – 17 years old.
The research was limited to slow learners only and the topics for this research include the following:
- functioning ecosystem
- aquatic and terrestrial habitat and
- ecology of populations
This was choose because of their link to the environment in ecological studies, direct influence on human social life and It was consider abstract in nature and difficult to understand which has resulted in poor performance among secondary schools students
(Danmole & Femi 2004, WAEC 2006).
1.8 Basic Assumptions
The study has the following basic assumptions:
- That the biology teachers’ were experienced and qualified as recommended in the
National Policy on Education (FME, 2013).
- That the sampled schools ran the same academic calendar and use the same WAEC syllabus for biology.
EFFECT OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING ENHANCED WITH ANALOGY ON RETENTION AND PERFORMANCE IN ECOLOGY AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL SLOW LEARNERS, KANO STATE, NIGERIA