Chemistry education has been identify to be one of the major bedrock for the transformation of our national economy, and hence must be accorded adequate attention. In this study, an attempt was made in ascertaining the remote caused for the poor performances reported in recent times in chemistry at the senior secondary level of education. About 100 people were interviewed in the course of this work ranging from ex- students, students to teachers. Teachers’ variables, student variables and environment related variables were investigated and the findings showed that these all contribute greatly to the poor performance of students in science subjects and chemistry in particular. The chemistry teacher, students, parents, senior secondary school administrators, curriculum planners, and the government are therefore faced with daunting challenge of re-awaking interest and providing enabling environment for the effective teaching of chemistry in particular and the science in general.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Chemistry education has been identified to be one of the major bedrock for the transformation of our national economy, and hence must be accorded adequately attention. Chemistry has been identified as a very important science subject and its importance in scientific and technological development of any nation has been widely reported.
Chemistry teaching is suppose to be result oriented and students centered and this can only be achieved when students are willing and the teachers are favourably disposed using the appropriate methods and resources in teaching the students.
Chemistry is the scientific study of interaction of chemical substances that are constituted of atoms or the subatomic particles; protons, electrons, and neutrons it is an integral part of science curriculum both at the senior secondary school as well as institution. At this level, it is often called “general chemistry” which is an introduction to wide variety of fundamental concepts that enable the student to acquire tools and skills useful at the advanced levels whereby chemistry is invariably studied in any of its various sub-disciplines (Wikipedia, 2004).
Chemistry and indeed chemist are linked to everything on earth as aptly captured in a slogan: what on earth is not chemistry. Chemistry plays a pivotal role at engineering sustainable economic development and growth in any nation, put succinctly; there is no aspect of human behavior endeaviour on natural phenomena that chemistry does not feature. It feature prominently in the areas of oil and gas, agriculture, health, environment, solid minerals, textiles, cosmetics, water supply and sanitation, crime detection, pulp and paper, waste management just name it (Zuru, 2009). Chemistry is the catalyst of sustainable national growth and development.
Attitudes like academics achievement are important outcomes of science education in secondary schools. The development of students’ positive attitudes regarding science as a school subject is one of the major responsibilities of every science teacher. Unfortunately research has revealed that much of what goes on in science classroom is not particularly attractive to students across all ages (Stark and Gray, 1999; Cheung, 2009).
An attitude may be defined as a predisposition to respond in a favourable or unfavourable manner with respect to a given attitude object (Oskamp and Schultz 2005). The focus of this project is on school students’ and teachers’ attitudes, chemistry subjects taught in secondary classrooms. The term ‘subjects’ refers to both theory and laboratory classes in secondary classrooms. The term thus, the scope of the present study was limited to chemistry as experienced by students and teachers in secondary school rather that out-of- school experiences obtained from external sources such as media, museums, field trips and friends.
Attitude towards chemistry or science denotes interests or feelings toward studying chemistry. It is the students’ disposition towards like or ‘dislike’ science while attitude in science means scientific approach assumed by an individual for solving problems, assessing ideas and making decisions. Students’ beliefs and attitudes and have the potential to either facilitates or inhibit learning (Yara, 2009).
Many factors could contribute to students’ attitude towards studying chemistry. Several studies (including Wilson, 1983; Soyibo, 1985; Bery, 2005; Adesoji, 2008) report that students’ positive attitudes to science correlate highly with their that, in general, the attitude of Nigeria students towards the basic sciences that tend to decrease in the order, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. Defiana (1995) found that using integrated sciences environment activities improved high school student attitude toward and awareness above the environment. Armstrong and Impara (1991) in their studies determined that fifth and seventh-grade students using nature score as a curriculum supplement developed more positive attitudes than those who did not.
Abimbola (1983) reported that students exposed to a programmed instruction recorded higher and more favourable attitude towards mathematics.
Ayelaagbe (1998) also reported a more positive attitude of studies after exposing them to self learning strategy. Similar results were obtained by Udousoro (2000) after using computer and text assisted programmed instruction and Popoola (2002) after exposing students to a self learning device. Popoola (2008) also reported that students attitudes and interests to sciences.
Halladyna and Shanghnessy (1982) and Adesoji (2008) have concluded that a number of factors have been identified as related students’ and teachers’ attitude to chemistry. Such factors including teaching methods, teachers attitude, influence of parents, gender, age, cognitive styles of pupils, career interest, social views of science and Scientifics, social implicating of chemistry and achievement.
The studies thus reviewed suggest that there is a relationship between attitude and method of instruction and also between attitude and achievement and that is possible to predict achievement from attitude scores. What is needed to compliment the result of such studies however is the nature of relationship between student’s attitude and factors related to teaching and learning of chemistry. Results of these types of study are likely to broaden our knowledge as how we can influence students’ attitude positively towards chemistry as a subject in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun Sstate.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Despite the greater number of chemistry graduates produced by our tertiary institutions, every year there are numbers of secondary school where chemistry teachers are not competent in the teaching of the subject. Also, the attitude of the senior secondary students towards chemistry as a profession is not encouraging. This makes the teaching of chemistry ineffective and inefficient even where there are competent teachers to teach.
It is on this premise, that this study is designed to investigate the attitude of students to teaching and learning of chemistry in secondary schools.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to investigate the attitude of teachers and students in Abeokuta South Local Government of Ogun State towards studying of chemistry as a subject.
This study is also designed to make various recommendations for teachers and other stakeholders on how to arouse or improve students’ attitude in the subject
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In specific terms, the researcher shall seek answers to the following questions
1. Do the students have positive attitudes towards chemistry?
2. Do their negative attitudes a result of the attitude of their teachers towards the subject?
3. Do their attitude towards problem solving result of unavailability of textbook and other instructional materials.
4. Should chemistry be made compulsory for all science subjects in secondary schools?
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study was limited to secondary school in Abeokuta South Local Government of Ogun State only. Based on the time frame and financial constraint in covering all the secondary in the Local Government, the study was also limited to the students in Senior Secondary Schools (S.S.S. class).
The names of the schools are:
1. Reverend Kuti Memorial School, Abeokuta
2. African Church Grammar School, Abeokuta
3. Baptist Girls College, Abeokuta
4. Lisabi Grammar School, Abeokuta
5. Rockrest Girls College, Abeokuta
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is aimed at looking at the students’ attitude towards chemistry in some selected secondary schools in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The result of the study is hoped to assist chemistry teachers to develop new learning experience for the students and recognize these learning experience in some ways enough to arouse the interest of the students.
It would be of good assistance to teachers to create a habit where they would improve on the obsolete teaching methods, use adequate modern and relevant instructional materials and textbooks at their disposed to the fullest.
This study may also assist the students to improve their attitude towards the study of the subject.
Finally, the government and parents would benefit from the study of their roles as these would be highlighted at the recommendation column.
1.7 ASSUMPTION OF THE STUDY
Based on the study, the following assumptions were made secondary school students constitute a valid source of data needed in the study.
Also, that the respondents will give valid and unbiased responses to the questionnaire items and that the samples drawn will be representatives of the population
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Chemistry: This is a science subject taught in senior secondary schools.
Learning: This is the process of acquiring knowledge in chemistry among senior secondary school students
Attitudes: This refers to students’ and teachers’ positive mind to study of chemistry.
Teaching: Transmission of the knowledge of chemistry to senior secondary school students’
Instructional materials: These are aids used in teaching and learning of chemistry in senior secondary school.
OTHER SIMILAR EDUCATION PROJECTS AND MATERIALS