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PROBLEMS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING OF PHYSICS AS PERCEIVED BY SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL PHYSICS STUDENTS
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The attitude towards physics in secondary schools in Nigeria is unsatisfactory sequel to the wrong perception that the subject is difficult to assimilate, inspite of the benefit student stand to gain by learning physics most student nonchalantly chose to study other subjects in place of physic (Okoh, 2002).
Students attitude towards physics to a large extent have an impact on their interest in leaning physics. As such Cupdag(1989) opined that the attitude of students reveals their level of learning toward a particular subject, thus, makes them enthusiastic to learn than those who have unfavorable
attitude towards its.
In this regard, Cheng (2004), in a study conducted regarding students learning in physics, found out that in the students evaluation, consistent with their notion that physics is complex to learn have unfavorable attitude towards learning it. This also have a negative consequence on teaching the subject, because the negative perception of students becomes a barrier to teaching and learning.
Furthermore, Edward (2006) asserts that research in a similar area which was targeted at assessing students’ beliefs and perception about the nature of physics learning and evaluation of teaching practices that would help students develop more expert-like beliefs and positive attitude; observed that inspite of the benefit the student would derive from learning physics their perception about physics being a difficult subject cannot be easily changed thus affecting the teaching and learning of the subject in secondary schools in Nigeria.
However, Torres (1997) opined that in present time, the emphasis on science teaching has shifted from teaching of science as a body of established knowledge towards science as a human activity. Instead of teaching students to think critically and independently; science teaching to a large extent, has taught students to accept scientific knowledge without questions, learn existing theories and present alternative explanations.
As such, physics as a dynamic branch of science is difficult to describe, thus, in learning physics, this should not be taught as a series of formulas to be memorized and applied just for “cultural” purposes but be taught as a dynamic branch of science which should provide questions and explanations on how the world works (Jense, 1995).
It is against this background that the researchers sees the subject matter of this research “problem and prospect of teaching and learning physics in secondary school level” as an issue worthy of investigation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
A lot of studies shows the poor performance of students in physics this is attributed to the notion that physics is complex to learn thus making students to develop an unfavorable altitude towards learning the subject. On the part of teachers, physics is taught as a series of formulas to be memorized and applied just for the sake of learning as against teaching students to think critically and independently instead of accepting such knowledge without questions. This issue has become a serious concern to education planners and policy makers in Nigeria. As such the subject matter of this research is considered an empirical problem worthy of investigation.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The present study is to determine the problem and prospect of teaching and learning physics in secondary school level, with a searchlight at federal government college Malali Kaduna, Kaduna state.
1.4 THE OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
1. To find out the prospect of teaching and learning of physics in secondary school level
2. To examine the attitude and performance in physics among secondary school students
3. To determine the theories of learning that are applicable in teaching physics in secondary schools
4. To identify the problems militating against teaching and learning physics in secondary schools
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the prospect of teaching and learning of physics in secondary school level?
2. What is the attitude of secondary school students in physics and how do they perform in the subject?
3. What kind of theories of learning are applicable in teaching and learning of physics in secondary schools?
1.6 STATEMENT OF THE HYPOTHESIS
1. Ho: There is a negative attitude towards learning physics and poor performance in physics in secondary school
2. H1: There is no negative attitude towards learning physics and poor performance in physics in secondary school
1.7 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will be beneficial to physics teachers in secondary schools who may wish to utilize the findings of this study to improve their teaching method. The study will also be beneficial to policy makers in education sector especially as they utilize the findings of this study as a basis for policy formulation concerning teaching and learning of physics. It should be noted that the study will enhance existing knowledge about the problem and prospect of teaching and learning physics in secondary school level. The study can also be used as a springboard to carryout similar research as incoming students can use it as a reference material.
1.8 ASSUMPTION AND PROBLEMS
The assumptions of the study are that students perceive physics as a complex subject to learn and thus show negative attitude towards learning it, which in turn affect their performance.
Secondly, poor teaching method and the traditional method of teaching physics as a subject to be memorized against proper assimilation and teaching students to think critically and independently rather than accepting knowledge without questioning.
1.9 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study will cover an empirical examination of the problem and prospect of teaching and learning physics in secondary school level, as well as the examination of the attitude of students and their performance in physics. The study will equally cover the examination of the theories of learning that are applicable in teaching physics in secondary schools, as well as the problems militating against teaching and learning of physics in secondary schools. Empirical data is collected only from federal government college Kaduna, the time frame for this study covers a period of five years (2006-2011).
The study is constraint from a problems arising from the inability of the research to employ numerous research designs as well as instrument to obtain research data as such it is not certain if the finding obtained will be the same if other instrument as well as research designs were used. The nonchallant attitude of some respondents also affected the validity of the findings. Other limitations include the inability of the research to combined academic work with the research work as ell as inadequate literatures on the subject matter. Inadequate fund need to undertake this study also constitute a great limitation to this study.
1.10 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
Teaching physics: The ability to impact knowledge in physics to students
Learning physics: The ability to assimilate physics lessons by students
Attitude: The way students feel and behave towards learning of physics
Perception: The way student think about physics
Performance: How well or badly students learn physics in secondary school
Prospects: The success recorded in teaching and learning of physics in secondary schools
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