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Comparative effectiveness of experiential learning and team-teaching strategies on academic achievement of students in basic science in secondary schools in bio akpor local government area in rivers state.


The purpose of this research is to determine the effect of exposure to experiential based versus Team teaching based instruction on student test scores. The researcher sought to describe how different demographic characteristics effected the students’ achievement per teaching method. The researcher measured achievement by scores on a pre and post test given at the beginning and end of the semester. The researcher collected demographic information on the participants using a demographic questionnaire. The objectives of this study were: determine the effects of the experiential teaching method on student achievement, determine the effects of the team teaching based teaching method on student achievement. Results showed that both methods increased achievement while the team teaching based method showed a greater increase.



Background to the study

Science Education in Nigeria dates back to the pre-independent days. It is the training given to individuals in order to enable them appreciates their environment and how to become useful to themselves and the society at large. According to Anegbe and Adeoye (2006)  the Nigerian child is introduced to science right from the primary school. The essence is to enable the learner to develop interest in science, learn science, ‘do’ science and contribute effectively to the scientific and technological development of the nation. The foundation of science is presented  to the learner at the basic level of education.

The name Basic level of education was introduced into the Nigerian educational system under the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program. UBE is a reformed program in Nigeria’s basic education delivery system, (from primary one to junior secondary 3) designed to reinforce the implementation of the National Policy on Education (NPE) in order to provide greater access and ensure quality learning throughout the federation as it is free and compulsory (Adomeh, Arhedo & Omoike, 2007). The structure of the UBE program is made up of three levels in the following sequence; lower basic education (primary 1-3), middle basic education (primary 4-6) and upper basic education (junior secondary school (JSS) 1-3).

Following the declaration by the Federal Government of Nigeria for the introduction of 9- year free and compulsory basic education structure which cover the primary and junior secondary school, strategies have been put in place by the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) to re-structure and re-align the school curricula for the 9-year basic education

(Obioma, 2006). A total of 19 curricula have been produced to cover the Lower basic (years 1-3) middle basic (years 4-6) and upper basic or Junior Secondary School (JSS) (years 7-9).

One of the core and compulsory subjects in the new curriculum is Basic Science and Technology. The subject is presented to the learner at the lower basic level as Basic Science and Technology while it is taught at the middle basic level as Basic Science. However, at the upper basic level, the subject is presented to learners as separate entities in the form of Basic Science, and Basic Technology. The aim of separating the two concepts, according to Obioma, Adeniyi, Lawal, Odumuh, Ikegulu, Nwabueze, and Chijioke (2008) is to specially emphasize and strengthen technology and entrepreneurship. However, these science concepts cannot be fully achieved without learners having adequate knowledge of Basic Science.

According to NERDC (2007), the overall objectives of the Basic Science and Technology curriculum are to enable learners to:

-Develop interest in science;

-Acquire basic knowledge and skills in science;

-Apply scientific knowledge and skills to meet societal needs;

-Take advantage of the numerous career opportunities offered by science;

-Become prepared for further studies;

The enumerated objectives, among other reasons, are supposed to prepare upper basic students for the study of science at the senior secondary school level. This could be one of the reasons why the contents of the Basic Science and Technology curriculum are sequenced in spiral form beginning with the simplest to the most complex. According to Hamza & Mohammed (2011), it was aimed at sustaining the interest of the learner. This assertion is however yet to be

realized considering the fact that research reports revealed students’ achievement in secondary school science to be low.

Science educators have identified some of the factors responsible for students’ low achievement and lack of interest in science. According to Dajal & Rinmark (2002) and Danjuma (2009), solutions have been proffered but the problem is yet to be solved. The issue could probably be related to the inability of the students to develop interest in the learning of basic science which is the foundation of science in Nigeria. This is because it is likely that without developing and sustaining the learners’ interest, the objectives of Basic Science might not be achieved. If that is the case, then it may be difficult to achieve the objectives of senior secondary school science whose pre-requisite is Basic Science. Developing and sustaining students’ interest in science is necessary for meaningful achievement to occur.

Interest, as defined by Obodo (2002), is the attraction which forces or compels a child to respond to a particular stimulus. It could also be considered as the feeling of an individual towards a particular object or an activity. It means that a child will develop interest in any object or activity that is found to be attractive or stimulating to him. Therefore, in a classroom situation, the learner will be attentive during a lesson only if the instruction is of interest to the learner. According to Trumper (2006), interest is a term that refers to preference to engage in some types of activities rather than others. It is a fact that a child usually performs classroom activities in order of preference. The child takes pleasure in doing what he/she is interested in. The learning that occurs after indulging in such activities is, in most cases, permanent. Interest is an important aspect in the learning process because the learners’ interest is a fundamental factor in inculcating the right knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that the curriculum seeks to attain. It helps in sustaining concentration, purpose and commitment to learn and co-operation with the teacher in the learning

process. It is therefore the duty of the teacher to identify and use the appropriate learning strategies that will make students develop interest in learning. In the opinion of Alao & Adeniyi (2009), the teacher can motivate children to develop interest to learn in the following ways:-

-By identifying and catering for the needs of the students.

-acknowledging their success no matter how little.

-Making the classroom student- friendly, the students will always be eager to participate in classroom activities thereby finding learning interesting and fun.

-recognizing and respecting students’ views thereby boosting and developing confidence.

Aristotle once said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” There are dozens of different teaching methods being used in schools these days such as, informal instruction, direct instruction, inquiry-based learning, cooperative learning, and using information processing strategies. Agricultural Education (K-12 and college) has moved through the different teaching methods and now includes more methods than ever (Newsome, Wardlow, & Johnson, 2005). Informal instruction is, just as it sounds, quite informal. It more resembles a conversation between student and teacher to acquire and distribute information.

Direct instruction is more formal and includes the team teaching based method of teaching. Some teachers use this method almost exclusively. It allows teachers to cover a great deal of material in a short period of time, allowing for little to no hands-on work for the students. Inquiry-based learning has many names such as, critical thinking, problem based learning, hands-on learning, and experiential learning. This type of method is becoming more popular because it is very adaptable and can be modified to students of all levels. Cooperative learning uses small groups to accomplish tasks. Student ability varies throughout each group and teachers need to monitor the groups to assure the students stay on task. Finally, information processing strategies are sometimes used to assist students memorizing important facts. Examples of this method include graphic organizers, mind maps, and story webs.

During the industrial revolution, education focused on teaching and training students for a vocation more than for knowledge and retention of multiple subjects (Kliebard, 1995). From this revolution and teaching style, agricultural classrooms have kept some of the vocational type,

hands-on activities that were once taught in schools (Newsome, Wardlow, & Johnson, 2005). These vocational type, hands-on skills help the students development both psychomotor skills and ways to perform different procedures; this was a deviation from technical and scientific principles that were once taught. Although no one way of teaching is the best, it is beneficial to explore the more popular ones in detail.

The experiential teaching method is one that is often referred to as the hands-on or problem-based teaching method. There is a common adage attached to experiential learning, “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand,”

(Confucius). David Kolb (1984), an educational theorist, states that knowledge is gained through personal and environmental experiences. Most of the dimensions of experiential teaching are analysis, initiative, and immersion; while other forms of academic learning are focused on structure and reproductive learning (Ewing and Whittington, 2007). Experiential teaching is trying to create an experience for the student to learn from (Day, Raven, & Newman, 1998).

Most schools and universities now have classes that include a lab element. This lab element is a type of experiential teaching; what is done in the lab, from watching videos to handling livestock, is a part of experiential teaching and an extension of what is covered in team teaching.

Studies have found that when students are physically connected with material and more physically active in the classroom they will retain more information (Burris, Garton, & Terry, 2005; Hancock & Wingert, 1996). Experiential teaching helps stimulate students’ ability to think critically. Along with increased retention, critical thinking, the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion, is key (Elder, 2007). Finding the most effective way to teach students will possibly make students’ rate of achievement increase.

A study done by Smith, Wardlow, & Johnson, 2001, comparing team teaching versus experiential teaching method provided inconclusive data. There are mixed results from sides, saying experiential and team teaching based teaching increase retention.  Retention is the ability to recall or recognize what has been learned or experienced; memory. A study done by Newsome, Wardlow, and Johnson (2005) found that teaching methods affect schools differently. This study suggested that teachers themselves are the best judge at which method to use. This may be the case in some classrooms but when teaching college level courses, teachers will have a variety of students and it would be useful to know the most effective way to teach certain groups of students to increase the likelihood of retention.

This study will focus on comparative effectiveness of experiential learning and team teaching strategies on academic achievement of students in basic science in secondary schools in obio akpor local government area in rivers state.

Statement of the Problem

The research done previously has been inconclusive as to which method increases achievement the most. Achievement in this case is determined by the score on the post test as compared to the pre test. Some students learn adequately by listening to a team teaching and then being tested on the material. Other students cannot fully understand a technique or idea until they experience it firsthand. Using college-age students in elective and/or major classes may have a different outcome for rate of achievement. The basis behind this statement is that students in college are able to choose the classes they want to take. When students make the choice of which classes to take, they normally pick classes they are interested in. Choosing to use only one class will decrease generalizability but also decrease the variability. Having only one

professor and one set of students limits the generalizability to the student population of this study, but also limits extraneous variability introduced when we compare “achievement” among multiple instructors.

Purpose of Study

The purpose of this research was to determine the effect of exposure to lab based versus team teaching based instruction on student academic achievement. Objectives of this study were the following:

  1. Determine the effects of the experiential teaching method on students’ achievement in Basic Science;
  2. Determine the effects of the team teaching based teaching method on students’ achievement in Basic Science;
  3. Determine which of the teaching methods had an effect on students’ achievement, positively or negatively;
  4. Determine if demographic characteristics have an effect on achievement for either teaching method.

Research Question

  1. What are the effects of the experiential teaching method on students’ achievement in Basic Science ?;
  2. What are the effects of the team teaching based teaching method on students’ achievement in Basic Science ?;
  3. which of the teaching methods had an effect on students’ achievement, positively or negatively ?;
  4. Does demographic characteristics have an effect on achievement for either teaching method?


H01: There will be no difference between the teaching methods and their affect on rate of achievement. The curriculum taught using experiential methods will receive the same outcome as the curriculum taught during team teachings.

H02: Students taught using the experiential teaching method will have higher rate of achievement in comparison to the students taught using the team teaching based method.

Significance of Study

By collecting the pretest and post test data on the Basic Science class, data was aimed to determine which teaching method had the greatest effect on this populations’ achievement.

Choosing the proper teaching method is essential to being an effective teacher/professor/educator (Doyle and Carter, 1987). The results of this study may lead educators closer to finding the most effective method of pedagogy, and may explain why educators should continue using their chosen method of teaching, why they should change it, or why they may need a blend of multiple methods depending on curriculum.

The results of this study will add to the research previously done to determine the most effective teaching method when the goal is to enhance a learner’s retention of material. The study should also provide a lead way into what other research should be performed to aid in finding the most effective teaching method. In a society driven by rate of achievement, finding the best/most effective teaching method will assist students in performing to the best of their ability.

Scope/Limitations of Study

This study on comparative effectiveness of experiential learning and team teaching strategies on academic achievement of students in basic science in secondary schools will be carried out Obio Akpor local government area in Rivers state

One of the main limitations of this study was the sample size. The population was very small and specific. There were too many uncontrolled variables when using multiple classes and teachers. The demographic characteristics of the population were very similar; mostly white, middle to upper class Socioeconomic Status , and students. Based on these limitations, this study cannot be generalized to Basic Science students from other classes or schools or general students from others schools.

Definition of Terms

Achievement rates (or rate of achievement)– Achievement rates give an indication of how effective an institution is at helping students to attain their learning goals. The rates can be split into ‘achievement rates (known outcomes)’ and ‘achievement rates (all completers)’.Achievement rates (known outcomes) are defined as the proportion of students who complete their learning program and gain a qualification. Achievement rates (all completers) are the same as achievement rates (known outcomes), but also include instances where exams have been taken and the results are unknown. In the context of this study, 100% achievement will be defined by a student receiving 15/15 on the test.

Active teaching-When students are given information in an active way. Such as experientially, field studies, laboratory work, etc.

Critical thinking– the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion. (Elder, 2007)

Experiential teaching: teaching through direct experience. When students are placed in a situation where they think and interact; learn in and from a real-world environment. Involves active participation of the student in planning, development and execution of learning activities, is shaped by the problems and pressures arising from the real-world situation and occurs most effectively outside the classroom. (Cornell University, 2009)

Team teaching based teaching: teaching through talking or showing, little interaction with students. team teaching based teaching and learning follow “a linear progression, with a beginning, middle, and end the purpose of the journey along the linear pathway seems concerned with the destination- that is, students’ acquisition of specific knowledge” (Wassermann, 1994).

Passive teaching-When students are given information in a passive way. Such as lecturing, reading, watching, etc.


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