1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
What has remained the main focus of great concern in the field of science education are the biases and misconceptions about women and science, i.e. science is a male enterprise (Erinosho, 2005). In Nigeria, and perhaps Africa, gender bias is still very prevalent (Arigbabu and Mji, 2008). This is a view to which Onyeizugbo (2007) has also alluded in pointing out that “sex roles are somewhat rigid in Africa, particularly in Nigeria… gender differences are emphasized”. It is common place to see gender stereotypes manifested in the day-to-day life of an average Nigerian. Certain vocations and professions (medicine, engineering and architecture) have traditionally been regarded for men and others (nursing, catering, typing, and arts) for women. Typically, parents call boys to wash cars, cut grass, fix bulbs, or climb ladders to fix or remove things. On the other hand, chores such as washing dishes, cooking, cleaning and so on, are reserved for the girls. In a nutshell, what are regarded as complex and difficult tasks are allocated to boys, whereas girls are expected to handle the relatively easy and less demanding tasks. As a result of this way of thinking, the larger society has tended to see girls as the “weaker sex”. Consequently, an average Nigerian child goes to school with these fixed stereotypes. These stereotypes persist because in terms of assertiveness, for example, men in Nigeria were reported to be more assertive than women among teacher education, law, pharmacy and medicine. Erinosho (2005) said that there were lots of disparities between men and women in some key institutions in Nigeria. The disparities, according to Erinosho, are as illustrated by Poole and Isaacs (1993) indicates that the conservative, reproductive nature and function of education continues from pre-service to professional teaching. Supporting these findings, Sikes (1991) concluded that “…student teachers do hold traditional stereotypes as part of their personal, taken – for – granted knowledge about the world. This is not unexpected because there is no reason to suppose that their gender socialization in the home and at school has been any less successful than that of anyone else.” Teacher education programme in the university do not seem to be able to counter the problems identified here because, as Sikes(1991) pointed out, “maintaining the status quo may be an important and intended function of education systems but it is also true that teachers have a propensity for unconsciously as well as consciously reproducing their own experiences.” Poole and Isaacs (1993) concluded that it should not be anticipated that students on completing teacher education programmes would be ready or able to break down the gender barriers they were likely to encounter in their personal or professional lives. It is not surprising then that the school, being a microcosm of society, consciously or unconsciously perpetuates stereotypical behaviour, and, indeed, teachers within the system exhibit gender bias in the classrooms (Arigbabu and Mji, 2008). For example, it has been reported that teachers, consciously or unconsciously, often mete out differential treatment to boys and girls in their classrooms (Rubble and Martins, 2011). Students, on their part, tend to have formed a stereotypical concept of mathematician and scientists whom they regard as a special group. In such a concept, female students (Mothers of tomorrow) do not see themselves as having the potential to become mathematicians and scientists (Arigbabu and Mji, 2008). From the ongoing, gender barriers have persisted even within the science classroom. There are mixed reports on the research on gender difference in science. Many researchers have provided reports that there are no longer distinguishing differences in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skill achievements of students in respect of gender (Abayomi and Mji, 2008; BilesanmiAwoderu, 2006; David and Stanley, 2008; Din et al., 2008; Freedman, 2008; Sungur and Tekkaya, 2007).Girls are being encouraged and sensitized into developing positive attitudes towards science. Other researchers have reported differently on this issue. For example, in one study carried out by (Eriba and Sesugh, 2006; Onekutu and Onekutu, 2008), they found that boys outperformed girls in science and mathematics achievements. Some other research studies reported that males are becoming the disadvantaged gender in schools, and that fewer males are interested in science (Alkhateeb, 2011; Bleuer and Waltz, 2008; Omoniyi, 2006; Weaver-Hightower, 2007). Gender difference also exists in areas of employment that require science-related qualifications. Weinburgh (2010) submitted that although females make up one half of the workforce, only 15% of mathematicians, scientists, and engineers are females. Teacher plays a vital role in addressing the problem of gender equity in science education. According to Levi (2010), there are three main roles a teacher must play, namely, (a) ensure provision of equal opportunities and respect for differences in the classroom, (b) ensure that boys and girls have the same experience, that is, treat boys and girls equally, and (c) compensate for gender differences in society. Formulation of change policy statements and intervention projects was brought about as a result of different societal influences on males and females. Biases and misconceptions about women and science has remained the main focus of great concern (Erinosho, 2005) and there are moves for policy and practice to enhance gender-inclusive science education. Although a number of studies have been done on issues related to gender as well as the teaching and learning of science, the focal point has been on gender differences in students’ performance in other core science subjects (Biology, Chemistry and Physics); teacher gender, most especially in Science, however, has not been given as much attention. Pre-service teachers are indeed tomorrow’s educational leaders. There has been no research work on gender differences in Science among pre-service teachers in Nigeria. If care of equity is taken at this level, it thus provides sound bases for reducing gender biases and misconceptions in the field of science. Therefore, the findings of this study will contribute valuable information to the body of knowledge related to gender and Science. In this study, we investigated gender differences in Science among Nigerian pre-service teachers in classroom.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
A clear connection exists between how pre-service and in-service elementary teachers with low levels of self-efficacy in science teaching tend to teach science and the impact of their practices on the development of science education reform (Davis, Petish, & Smithey, 2006). As explained next, the teaching practices of those with low levels of efficacy do not support reformed science education. "Scientific literacy is the capacity to use scientific knowledge, to identify questions and to draw evidence-based conclusions in order to understand and help make decisions about the natural world and the changes made to it through human activity" (PISA Assessment Framework, 2007). Science education reform strives to ensure all students achieve scientific literacy. However, a gaping disparity exists between what science education reform requires from teachers and how they teach science. Science education reform is defined by the projects and standards designed to improve science education. Projects such as Project 2061: Science For All Americans from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2009) outline grade level benchmarks to ensure progress toward science literacy, and their goal is to develop science literacy by targeting grade level scientific habits of mind such as keeping accurate records of data collected and using evidence to support claims. Standards, such as the National Research Council’s (NRC) (2015) National Science Education Standards spell out science learning and teaching expectations. These reform efforts emphasize that science teachers must be able to create learning environments where all students are guided toward scientific literacy (AAAS, 2009) in an authentic inquiry environment while paralleling in-class experiences with local and global realities (NRC, 2015). Standards for science teachers (NRC, 2015) state that all science teachers must be able to plan inquiry based science programs and facilitate effective learning environments. Teachers must also be able to assist diverse groups of students to become reflective thinkers cognizant of scientific inquiry. To meet this hefty demand, pre-service teachers must grasp scientific concepts and processes, pedagogical knowledge, and current science issues (NRC, 2015). The demand is especially challenging for pre-service teachers because their dispositions hinder the development of their teaching practices toward what reform science teaching necessitates. An alarming percentage of teachers feel unprepared and unqualified to teach science (Tilgner, 2009). Pre-service teachers’ lack of confidence, fear, and avoidance toward science prevent them from learning what is necessary to meet the needs of science reform (Appleton, 2006). Czerniak and Chiarelott (2009) add that, “Science education suffers from teachers’ inadequate preparation and negative attitudes”. A common characteristic of pre-service teachers is that they often report that their negative prior experiences with science have caused them to fear and avoid science (Davis, Petish, & Smithey, 2006). They are the victims of ineffective science practices and confidence-damaging experiences through an apprenticeship of observation (Lortie, 1975) and the effects of their experiences are difficult to overcome (Borko & Putnam, 2015). Research portrays pre-service teachers as having a weak connection with science (Appleton, 2006; Loughran, 2006a), and their negative science experiences result in their limited science content knowledge and ability to teach science effectively.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine pre-service science teacher’s gender difference in classroom. Other general objectives of the study are:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of gender difference on pre-service science teacher in classroom management
H1: There is a significant impact of gender difference on pre-service science teacher in classroom management
H0: There is no significant relationship between gender difference of pre-service science teachers and classroom management.
H1: There is a significant relationship between gender difference of pre-service science teachers and classroom management.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
A major concern in schools is to increase student achievement. One way to do this is to focus on classroom environment with the teacher at the centre which will influence student achievement and create the best environment in which to facilitate learning and engage students. The study is therefore significant for the following reasons:
• This study will be useful to both teachers and students who would want to know the factors that could make or mar student’s academic performance.
• Understanding classroom climate variables will allow for professional development for teachers to focus on areas to increase student achievement.
• Lastly, understanding the importance of teachers and their impact on student performance will help school administrators at secondary schools retrain teachers to make their teachings student centred.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on pre-service science teacher’s gender difference in classroom, a case study of selected secondary schools in Lagos state.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Pre-service Teacher: Also known as teacher candidates, this term is used to describe student teachers who are enrolled in a teacher preparation program and working toward teacher certification. They complete supervised field-based teaching experiences with the support and mentorship of cooperating teachers.
Science: The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.
Gender difference: Gender differences are variances between males and females that are based on biological adaptations that are the same for both sexes. This differs from sex differences in that sex differences are driven by actual biological gender disparity (such as distinct physical differences) rather than by differing environmental factors that affect our cognition and behaviour.
Classrooms: A classroom is a learning space, a room in which both children and adults learn. Classrooms are found in educational institutions of all kinds, from preschools to universities, and may also be found in other places where education or training is provided, such as corporations and religious and humanitarian organizations. The classroom attempts to provide a space where learning can take place uninterrupted by outside distractions.
OTHER SIMILAR EDUCATION PROJECTS AND MATERIALS