Factors Affecting the Effective Teaching of Physics Practical

Factors Affecting the Effective Teaching of Physics Practical

Since the origin of man, the tendencies to improve on science and scientific studies and researchers have been tremendous. As a result of this awareness as regard science, researchers have probed into various areas of academic life. Much study has thus been done in the areas of science relating to laboratory by different scientist.

In this literature review of the effective teaching of physics practicals in secondary schools, variables involving both teachers and students as far as these problems are concerned would be taken into consideration.

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Laboratory activity is an essential element in the effective teaching and learning of physics practicals in our secondary schools. The laboratory has been defined by Pinchas (1979) as “a place where science students are engaged in hands on activities such as observation and experimentation”. Talking on the effects of availability of laboratory and importance of practical equipment in the teaching of physics practicals, Victor (1975) stated that science offers continuous opportunities for children to do experiment. He went on to say that when children are able to do work with a wide variety of materials, their experience becomes real. He continued by saying that for any science programme to be effective , there is the need for adequate supply’s equipments for our laboratories.
Expressing the importance of laboratory in the teaching of physics practicals, Modupe Agagu (1980) wrote that “absence of a well equipped laboratory in science teaching prevents the students from having the first experience about the subject” She also went on to say that the first hand experience got By students during practical periods helps them in remembering the content of the subjects.
Iya Abubakar (1989) observed the need for laboratory equipment and practical activities. He wrote we need better-equipped science laboratory so that students can learn with their hands. Each school laboratory should have the basic maximum equipment for teaching up to school certificate level. It is certain that when students participate actively in laboratory work, they tend to understand the more and this better understanding enhances their achievement.
Many researches have been carried out on the problem that affects students performance in physics practicals in different parts of the world. One of such project was carried out by Sawyer Ebum (1987). He said that the problem of teaching physics practicals will be reduced in the presence of qualified professional teachers who understood the psychological needs of the students and are able to do their best in the presence of limited facilities.
In addition to this, Sawyer (1987) claimed that the greatest of all problems of education is the shortage of graduate teachers. His reasons include the following:
i.    Low prestige compared with other jobs
ii.    Limited prospects of promotion
iii.    Excessive demand on teacher’s time and energy.
The significance of having qualified teachers in our secondary schools is to enable the dissemination of the right type of education to the students. It is thus clear that a good and well-qualified teacher is an asset to his students because he will be able to use his wealth of experience and knowledge for his students.
Fafunwa (1967) stated that a teacher is an important factor in the system and without the services of well-trained teachers, the services of a well trained teacher, the school will be more of a curse than a blessing. Also supporting Fafunwa’s view is Ukeje (1968) who emphasized that there is a direct relationship between quality of the teaching personnel and the quality of the educational process.
Most qualified teachers are concentrated only in the urban areas. The rural areas are left with unqualified teachers who cannot impact the right knowledge to the students. This is one of the reasons why students in big cities and urban centers perform better in external examinations than those in rural areas.
Katz (1967) in reviewing the state of secondary education in Canada, he observed that despite the fact that the training of teachers has increased over the years, many schools particularly in remote parts of the country lack qualified teachers. Katz view on school in Canada is also true about schools in Nigeria. The significance of such observation is that students who attend well-equipped schools in the urban centers perform better than students who attend schools that are ill equipped in rural areas.
It is worthy to note what Odumbo said, “if one were to take a census among school teachers of mature experience about the major problems that face science teaching in Africa, one could probably come up with a list which contains the following short-comings:
i.    Poor or non-existence of training facilities in science.
ii.    The rigid adherence to syllabus by most teachers
The research work of Dr. T. O. Odunus (STAN) said vast and varied experience in science is the most important competence a science teacher should have and that science teaching should be handled by the disciplined. It was also shown that modern concepts of “inquiry process and discovery approaches” were very relevant to modern science teaching.
Odunusi T. O. (1980) said that it is very important to note at this junction that only professionally trained and fully certified teachers could be very effective when it comes to imparting laboratory skills and the transmitting practical knowledge.
Students’ inability to perform well in physics practical in school certificate examination could be due to their attitude or their interest towards the subject. Several students have negative attitude towards the subjects because it involves some mathematical manipulations.
Most students often do Biology as the only science subject because it was made compulsory that every student’s must pass one science subject before getting a grade in SSCE examination.
Awoniyi (1975) noted that every child does best in the subject in which he/she is most interested in since he/she is then motivated to study it.
Evan Kim (1965) also noted that for students to learn anything he/she must be interested in it therefore, he/she believes that success is likely where interest is profound.
Schrocher (1977) classified motivation into primary and secondary and maintained that primary motivation such as praises, blame and recognition could activate learning.
Among the issue, which have been observed to have influence on teachers, performance are training programme and refreshers courses, prompt payment of salaries and allowances.
Fafunwa (1971) writing on the lot of African teachers was of the opinion that African teachers like his colleagues in most parts of the world were mostly poorly paid among all professionals. He further observed that even the labour class enjoys greater security than the teachers. The implication of the above comment is that in place where money means almost everything and the extended family system is an aspect of the people’s culture, good pay and job security are important factors that could affect the teacher’s performance.
Arabayi (1981) noted that no job could be satisfying without a handsome package of fringe benefits. In fact, job satisfaction can be achieved among secondary school teachers if they are provided with enough incentives by way of fringe benefits. For instance, the level of job satisfaction of physics teachers could be raised if they are paid. The science masters allowances are recommended by Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN).
Seashone (1985) found out that higher job satisfaction was related to more challenging jobs. The implication of Seashone in his finding is that the more teacher’s work become challenging the more satisfied they become with their jobs. Money and individual incentives have proved to be successful motivators of human effort in many kinds of organization. It then follows that prompt payments of teachers salaries and allowances could lead to high level of performance.

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