EFFECTS OF CONSTRUCTIVIST TEACHING STRATEGY ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT AND MOTIVATION TO LEARN CHEMISTRY IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NANDI NORTH DISTRICT, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Chemistry is a major career subject in secondary education that is done by most of the secondary school students in Nandi North District. However, the subject has been underperformed in the past years. This could be attributed to inappropriate teaching methods employed in teaching and learning. Constructivist teaching strategy may help in improving teaching and learning of scientific concepts, but this had not been established in the District. The aim of the study was to determine the effects of using constructivist teaching strategy on students’ achievement and motivation to learn Chemistry. Solomon-Four Group Non-Equivalent Control Group Design was used. Four co-educational schools were chosen using simple random sampling out of the thirty two schools in the district. One hundred and twenty students and four teachers were involved in the study. Two instruments that were used are Chemistry Achievement Test (CAT) and Students’ Motivation Questionnaire (SMQ). A teaching module was developed for teaching the topic: ‘Effects of Electric Current on substances’ in Form Two for eleven lessons in a period of two weeks. Piloting was done in a different school within Nandi North District to ascertain the reliability and validity of the instruments. Validation of the instruments was ascertained by three experts from department of Curriculum Instruction and Educational Management (CIEM). The Cronbach’s co-efficient alpha and Kuder-Richardson formula 21 (KR- 21) were used for establishing reliability of SMQ and CAT respectively. Reliability was 0.72 for SMQ and 0.74 for CAT. Data were analyzed using ANOVA, ANCOVA, t-test and descriptive statistics. Hypotheses were tested at co-efficient alpha (α) = 0.05 level of significance. Results of the study indicates that constructivist teaching strategy enhances students’ chemistry achievement but had no effect on students motivation. Also the results showed that there was no difference in motivation and achievement in chemistry of boys and girls taught using constructivist strategy. The results of this study are may help in enhancing teaching and learning of chemistry. This method is recommended for teachers of chemistry as a complement for the conventional teaching methods. Teacher trainers can train teachers on constructivist teaching strategy. KEMI can organize seminars workshops and refresher courses for chemistry teachers.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Chemistry is an important subject in secondary school curriculum. It allows students entry into careers like pharmacy, medicine, biochemistry and others. It also prepares learners for other scientific vocations and assists in learning of other science subjects like Physics and Biology through lateral transfer of knowledge. In addition, it is involved in production of foods, drugs, plastics and others (KLB 2010). Therefore it should be taught using constructivist strategy since it helps students to actively engage in personal constructed theory building (Driver & Oldham 1986).

In Kenya, chemistry foundation is the science subject that is examined in KCPE (Kenya certificate of primary Education), while in secondary schools, it is an independent subject which is examined in KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education). In 1963 when secondary chemistry curriculum was formulated and developed by the K.I.E (Kenya Institute of Education), the emphasized syllabus at that time resulted in teacher and book approach. Since then, chemistry syllabus has undergone several changes aimed at finding the best approach for teaching and learning of the subject. The search for a better teaching method has been going on for years (Okere, 1986).

In the current 8-4-4 system, during KCSE (Kenya Certificate of secondary Education) chemistry examination, students are examined on three Chemistry papers, paper 233/1- theory for two hours, paper 233/2 - theory for two hours and paper 233/3 – practical for two and a quarter hours. A student’s score is determined by converting the three papers into percentage and determine the average mark.

Chaille and Britain (1997) have argued that most children come to school ready and willing to learn. The challenge therefore the teachers’ face is to foster and strengthen this disposition and ensure the children leave school with motivation and capacity to continue learning throughout life. Sexton, Wagner and Genlovich (1998) confirm that learners’ attitude s carry a state of readiness and willingness to learn. They direct learners when they enter into new experiences and hence influence how they would respond to situations or events. Therefore, it is important for teachers to use approaches that enhance learners’ positive attitude towards science and hence motivation to learn.

Statement of the Problem
Chemistry has a direct impact on individual’s life and technological advancement of a society. Inspite of these contributions, the performance of students in KCSE is dismal. This is likely to have been brought about by inappropriate teaching methods employed by teachers in the country, Nandi North district included. It was not clear how the use of Constructivist Teaching Strategy in teaching would affect student achievement and motivation to learn chemistry. Therefore this study was designed to fill the gap by seeking to determine effects of constructivist teaching strategy on secondary school chemistry achievement and motivation to learn chemistry.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of using constructivist teaching strategy on secondary school students’ achievement and motivation to learn chemistry in Nandi North District, Kenya. .

The Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the study include:-

(i) To find out the effects of using constructivist teaching strategy on students’ chemistry achievement among secondary schools in Nandi North District.

(ii) To establish the effects of constructivist teaching strategy on students’ motivation to learn Chemistry among secondary schools in Nandi North District.

(iii) To compare the achievement scores in chemistry of boys and girls taught using constructivist strategy.

(iv) To compare motivation level of boys and girls who were taught using constructivist strategy to learn chemistry.

Research Hypotheses
The research hypotheses of this study include:-

HO1: There is no statistically significant difference between chemistry achievement scores of students’ who are taught using constructivist teaching strategy and those who are taught using conventional methods.

HO2: There is no statistically significant difference between motivation in chemistry of students who are taught using constructivist teaching strategy and those who are taught using conventional methods.

HO3: There is no statistically significant difference between achievement scores of boys and girls taught using constructivist teaching strategy.

HO4 : There is no statistically significant difference between motivation of boys and girls taught using constructivist strategy.

Significance of the Study
The findings may be used by curriculum developers to make appropriate amendments on the selection of content, objectives and evaluation of their teaching strategies . The study is expected to investigate students’ conception on ‘Effects of electric current on substances’. It also developed a constructivist teaching module and investigates its effectiveness on student achievement and motivation to learn the chemistry. The findings of this study are likely to assist teachers and their teaching methods in relation to students’ understanding. It is expected to enable students pursue science related courses in universities and colleges.

The findings are also hoped to stimulate further research on chemistry education methodology.

Scope of Study
The study was conducted in four public co-educational schools taking 8-4-4 syllabus. The study employed the use of constructivist teaching strategy to teach form two students chemistry for three weeks in Nandi North district, Kenya.

The topic to be covered is ‘Effects of Electric Current on substances’ which is introduced at this level. It involves a sample of about one –sixty students and four teachers.

Assumptions of the Study
The following was assumed in the study:

1 Data that was collected from students was a true reflection of their understanding of the topic ‘Effect of Electric current on Substances’ and their motivation towards teaching and learning of Chemistry.

2 Teacher variation in teaching chemistry in the same class does not affect teaching and learning.

1.9. Limitations of the Study
The study was only limited to Form Two students mainly in Nandi North; hence the findings of this study may not be generalized to other classes or other different districts. The study is only limited to Form two chemistry topic ‘Effects of Electric Current on substances’, therefore the findings might not be generalized to other topics. Admission of students to schools of district category is based on cut-off marks and so provincial schools were not sampled.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 72 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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