1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Science Education is the field concerned with sharing science content and process with individuals not traditionally considered part of the scientific community. The learners may be children, college students or adults within the general public; the field of science education includes work in science content, science process (the scientific method), some social science and some teaching pedagogy (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/science_education).Science Education is an integrated field of study which considers both subject matter of science disciplines such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics among others as well as a process involved in the teaching and learning science (Okeke, 2007).Science Education emphasizes the teaching and learning science processes and principles. This is intended to lead to fundamental and applied research in the sciences at all level of education to achieve a common goal.
Godwin, Adrian &Johnbull(2015) opined that science education is a tap root upon which the bulk of the present day technological breakthrough is build. Ogunleye (2010) observed that science education is a dynamic human activity which concerned with understanding the working of our world. To improve the knowledge of students and also develop their skills, science education has been seen to be important. It embodies all education processes aimed at providing unlimited opportunities for learners to understand and utilize necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes required to operate effectively in a scientific and technological society.
Physics is the study of matter and energy and how they affect each other (Adeyemo, 2010). It is an ancient and broad field of science. Physics is not just for rocket scientist, we are surrounded by physics at all time and whether we realize it or not we use physics every day.
Emenalo (1980) sees physics as a single subject or discipline of great power and elegance, capable of providing the essential elements in the intellectual and cultural development of individual at all levels. Physics is one of the science subjects taught at secondary school level of the Nigeria Educational System (Isola, 2010). The Federal Ministry of Education FME(2008) regards physics as a crucial subject for effective living in the modern age of science and technology. This means that it is necessary that every student is given an opportunity to acquire some physics concept, theory, principle and skills. These concept, theory, principle and skills are clearly explained in the objectives of physics education enshrined in the new secondary school physics curriculum (2008).
According to National Policy on Education Federal Government of Nigeria(2013), the objectives of physics education are to: provide basic literacy in physics for functional living in the society; acquire basic concepts and principle of physics as a preparation for further studies; acquire essential scientific skills and attitudes as a preparation for technological application of physics; and stimulate and enhance creativity.
Folorunso (2006) reported that in Nigeria, the attainment of this designed goal which ought to be status quo of science learning and achievement is marred by poor teaching arrangement in classroom.
The current shift in emphasis in science curricula objective reflecting student-centered process approach to science is a radical departure from the traditional emphasis on the teacher-centered product approach. This new trend requires that the students should be actively involved in the learning process through adequate and meaningful hand-on-activities during every classroom instruction in science.
However, research reports show that contrary to the demands of the new science curricula in Nigeria, science teachers still decide to split science instructions into theory and practical (Njoku, 2004). The practical work is never attended to until the final few weeks to public examinations. According to Ekpo (1999) any effort to separate science into practical and theory lesson amount to perpetuating a dichotomy which is anti-thesis of true science. Reports show that such attempts have resulted in most schools in Nigeria shifting practical work until the second term of the final year (Ekpo, 1999; Galadima, 2003). The results have been students’ persistent poor achievement in physics in particular and science in general.
Onwioduokit (2013) pointed out that students’ performance in physics in senior certificate examination from 2002 – 2012 hence always been below average.
Many reasons has been adduced for the observed low level achievement in senior secondary school examination by physics students, this include among others students attitude towards physics (Kaya & Boyuk, 2011). Poor thinking and learning environment and lack of modern equipments Adegoke (2010)and poor teaching methods adopted by many physics teachers in explaining a concept (Bassey, 2013).
However, the federal government of Nigeria through National Policy on Education (2004) emphasized practical based and child-centered learning, as opposedto theoretical aspect of teaching that students simply obtain information from teacher without building their engagement level with the subject being taught (Boud & Feletti, 1999). The approach is least practical and more theoretical and memorizing (Teo & Wong, 2000). It does not apply practical-based learning to encourage students to learn real life problems based on the applied knowledge since the teacher controls transmission and sharing of knowledge, the teacher may attempt to maximize the delivery of information while minimizing time and effort. As a result, both interest and understanding of students may get lost. To address such shortfalls, Zakaria, Chin & David (2010) specified that teaching should not merely focus on dispensing rules, definitions and procedures for student to memorize, but should also actively engage students as primary participant.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
For the past years, the achievement in physics among senior secondary school students in West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), National Examination Council (NECO) and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) standardized examination have not been encouraging.
Teaching of physics is by no means a simple task as learning on the part of students; depending on the way a concept is presented to the students and the way they are actively interacting with the learning experiences.
Unfortunately, teaching and learning of physics concept in senior secondary two (SS2) class has been a major challenge which prevents many students to choose some physics oriented courses in the higher institutions of learning.
Worried arising from this incessant trend in students’ achievement in sciences, many researchers have sought to find out the reason for the downward trend in achievement of senior secondary school students.
Hence, there is need for changing of the teaching arrangement of physics concept to what will promote meaningful learning, problem-solving and critical thinking for a diversity of students.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to compare achievement of senior secondary two (SS2) physics students taught the concept of simple pendulum practically before theory and those taught the same concept theoretically before practical.
Precisely, the specific objectives of the study are to:
1. Compare the mean achievement scores of SS2 physics students taught the concept of simple pendulum practically before theory and those taught the same concept theoretically before practical.
2. Compare the mean achievement scores of male and female SS2 physics students taught the concept of simple pendulum theoretically before practical.
1.4 Research Questions
1. What is the difference between the mean achievement scores of SS2 physics students taught the concept of simple pendulum practically before theory and those taught the same concept theoretically before practical?
2. What is the difference between the mean achievement scores of male and female SS2 physics students taught the concept of simple pendulum theoretically before practical?