EFFECTS OF FIREPLACE ADVANCE ORGANIZER TEACHING STRATEGY ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ MOTIVATION AND ACHIEVEMENT IN CHEMISTRY IN BARINGO COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Chemistry is a fundamental science and is responsible for many of the materials used in modern society as well as developments and tests carried out in the field of medicine. However, Kenya’s secondary school students’ performance in chemistry has been poor. This poor performance has been attributed partially to teaching methods used in the classroom.Thus, there is need to seek teaching strategies that can improve students’ performance in chemistry and motivate them. The use of Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy may stimulate active thinking and facilitate the integration of new information into established schemas. However, it is not clear how a Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy would affect students motivation and achievement in Baringo County. This study sought to address this issue. The study used Solomon Four Non- Equivalent Control Group Design. Simple random sampling was used to obtain 8 sample schools from the 19 County single sex secondary schools in Baringo County. The 8 sample schools were assigned to the experimental and control groups. Each sample school provided a Form Three class with 45 students; hence 360 subjects were involved. Experimental groups were taught using a Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy (FAOTS) while control groups were taught using the conventional methods. Prior to the study, teachers and students from experimental group were trained on the use of FAOTS. Experimental group (E1) and control group (C1) were pretested using Students’ Motivation Questionnaire (SMQ) and Chemistry Achievement Test (CAT) and all groups post-tested at the end of three weeks. The two instruments were pilot tested determine their reliability while their validity was ascertained by experts from the Deparment of Curriculum Instruction and Educational Management of Egerton University. The reliability coefficient for SMQ was 0.73 while that of the CAT was 0.98. Statistical Package for Social science (SPSS) was used for data analysis. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and inferential statistics, at α=0.05. The results of the study showed that students’ achievement and motivation are higher when FAOTS is used than when reqular methods are used. When FAOTS is used, boys’ in boys schools achieve higher motivation and achievement than girls’ in girls schools. Based on the findings, the study recommended chemistry teachers’ to revisit their teaching strategies and the teacher education programs to incorporate FAOTS in order to improve the learners’ performance.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1. Background Information
Chemistry is a branch of natural science that deals principally with the properties of substances,the changes they undergo, and the natural laws that describe these changes. Chemistry is a science, which means its procedures are systematic and reproducible and its hypotheses are tested using the scientific method. It serves as an interface to practically all of the other sciences, as well as to many other areas of human endeavor. The history of Chemistry shows that the natural philosophy of atomism developed in ancient traditions. The atomists theorisized that the natural world consists of two parts: indivisible atoms and empty void (Hudson, 1992). Dalton found an atomic theory of matter could elegantly explain this common patterns in chemistry. Since then, there has been rapid development of Chemistry (Wachanga, 2005). Through laboratory experiments, new materials and chemical processes have been discovered which have made our homes more comfortable today by the use of variety of materials that were unknown when our great grandparents were young (Ngaruiya, Kimani & Mburu, 2003). Chemistry provides explanation for everyday things, like why laundry detergent works better in hot water or how baking powder works or why not all pain relievers work equally well on a headache. The fire fighters and those who make fireworks also make use of chemistry. In addition,chemistry enables learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to further their education and training (K.I.E 2006). Physicist, chemists, biologists, engineers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, veterinarians among others study chemistry in their courses. The teaching they encounter in colleges shapes their understanding, their ability to use it to solve problems and their confidence in and disposition towards chemistry.

In Kenya, students’ performance in chemistry continues to be poor despite public complaints every year that the results are below average. The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) reports of 2005, 2006 and 2008 reveal that the national performance in chemistry has been below 26 percent. Table 1 shows a summary of students’ performance from 2003 to 2007.

The performance in KCSE chemistry examinations indicate that although the general performance by students’ in chemistry is rising, the mean score is still very low compared to the maximum mean.This poor performance by secondary school students in chemistry may be attributed to conventional teaching methods used by the teachers. The 2009 KCSE results show that candidates performed poorly in chemistry, with 328,922 candidates scoring an average mark below 19.13% (Otieno, 2010). In addition’ KNEC reports of 2006 and 2007 indicated that boys had performed better than girls. Otieno (2010) noted that there was a remarkable drop in chemistry performance in 2008. The boys had recorded a percentage mark of 31.8 % and girls had recorded a percentage mark below 20%. This gender disparity has been attributed the materials selected by teachers that reflect sexual bias in their content. Hohn (1995) encourages teachers to provide equal opportunities for both sexes in all class activities based interests and skill.

Lahey (2007) encourages teachers to win the trust of students in order to influence their academic performance and character development. Winning students trust is the easiest way to ensuring that learners achieve their full potential in all aspects of education and motivation.Pintrich and Schunk (1996) posit that motivation is the heart of learning process and there is a relationship between how a motivated person is and how much such a person can achieve. In learning, an individual who is motivated will try to complete a task and work hard to achieve success. A person who is not motivated will not try, will not work hard or will bring in some other behavior that sabotages the outcome of the situation. Entwistle (1981) argues that students should be motivated for them to learn more effectively and that motivation is the starting point in secondary schools. Kochar (1992) concur that once motivation has been created, it must be maintained. When motivation is created, success increases self esteem which is a powerful motivator and it is the engine that drives learning. Santrock (2001) calls upon teachers to facilitate motivation by strategies that improve students’ effort and commitment to learning and to achieving high standards of comprehension and understanding. In their study, Twoli, Maundu, Kiio and Kithinji (2007) estimated that, intelligence accounts for 45% of the variance related to performance while motivation accounts for 35%. Motivation, therefore, has a significant contribution to learning and should be accorded reasonable attention in the learning related activities, especially in this study.

While chemistry is very important subject, teaching and learning in secondary schools is beset by many problems (Miruka,1999). One of these is the feeling by most teachers that students do not find some topics in the syllabus relevant. This,certainly, is an indication that the teaching of chemistry is faced with a problem thus warrants new strategies. The chemistry syllabus encourages small group teaching through experiments, projects, discussions, field trips and lecturing which are mainly expository ( Kiboss, 1997). These expository teaching methods makes students lack interest in the area difficult to teach or involves the use of dangerous and poisonous chemicals. The use of these methods fail to enable the learner appreciate chemistry. Kisaka (2006) explains that such dominant practices are in effective since students display poor mastery of content, lack basic practical skills hence performing poorly in chemistry.

The teaching strategies that have been used in chemistry instruction remain a big issue to be considered (K.I.E, 2002). Several studies have shown that instructional teaching strategies used by the teachers in teaching chemistry is a strong factor to consider (Wachanga, 2002). Mugenda (2006) asserts that a good teacher should have sufficient knowledge of the subject matter, skills in varied methodologies and language of instruction. The improvement of chemistry learning for students requires effective teaching strategies in the classroom. As students learn by connecting new ideas to prior knowledge, it is essential that teachers establish what the students already know. Thus teachers should ask questions and plan lessons that reveal students prior knowledge. This can enable them design experiences and lessons that respond to and build on that knowledge (Kiprop, 2002). It is clear that chemistry has not been well performed and thus the need to study other ways apart from the regular teaching methods that may improve the subject, like the use of a Fireplace Advance Organizer Strategy. An effective teaching strategy should enhance learners’ motivation and actively involve them in learning process (Lahey, 2007). Nasibi (2003) reinforces that a teacher can motivate learners by using interesting teaching strategies that pay more attention on heuristic as opposed to expository strategies of learning.

An advance organizer is a device that a teacher uses to help students make connections between what they know and what is to be learnt. Ausubel (1960, 1968) had worked consistently to prove that advance organizers facilitate learning and much of his research has influenced others since 1960s. According to Mayer (2003), advance organizers work best when there is no prior knowledge involved, because the advance organizer becomes the students’ prior knowledge before learning the new material. Gutkin and Reynolds (1990) argue that, for integrated learning to take place, the learner has to relate new information actively to existing knowledge, building the external and internal connections. Advance organizers promote transfer of creative problem solving tasks which leads to learning of more specific and subordinate concepts and rules. They also improve understanding of new concepts by comparing them with already learned concepts (Mayer, 1979; Hohn, 1995; Santrock, (2004). All these arguments point to the important role advance organizers may play in motivating and determining the achievement of students. There is need, therefore, for continuous search for effective use of advance organizers as a teaching strategy in chemistry.

In this study, a Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy (FAOTS) was developed by the researcher. It was then used to determine its effectiveness in teaching of secondary school students’ motivation and achievement. The strategy was used to teach Form Three chemistry students Diffusion and Grahams Law in the experimental group E1 and E2. This topic is normally viewed by the students as abstract and therefore lack interest and find it difficult to understand the content during the lesson. This has been attributed to difficult terms used like ions, molecules, diffusion, rate of diffusion, kinetic theory and the calculations involved. Chemicals used in this topic to perform experiments are dangerous and poisonous hence most teachers don’t perform them at all. The Fireplace Advance organizer Teaching Strategy was therefore used to find out if it may help students appreciate the subject and also improve students’ performance in chemistry. Figure 3 is the diagram of Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy containing burning firewood. The firewood burn to produce hot yellow flame. The smoke then moves up the chimney with the help of air at a particular speed depending on the type, the density and the mass of the smoke. When the fire was lit, the time taken for the smoke to reach the end of the chimney was measured, and the height of the chimney was also measured. This was the Fireplace advance Organizer teaching strategy used to provide the students with new knowledge that would orient them to the upcoming lesson on Diffusion and Graham’s law ( Santrock, 2004).

This advance organizer is suitable because what goes on in a fireplace can be compared to diffusion in solids, liquids and gases. The strategy compared: burning firewood to diffusion of potassium manganate VII in water; movement of smoke particles to diffusion of bromine in air; smoke moving up the chimney to the rate of diffusion of gases at particular points ( KLB, 2005). According to Eggen, Kauchak and Harder (1979) advance organizers reinforces and directs students’ thinking during learning thus may enhance students’ motivation to learn chemistry. In this study, FAOTS was developed and used to determine its effectiveness on secondary school students’ motivation and achievement in chemistry in Baringo County.

Statement of the Problem
Kenyan secondary school students’ performance in KCSE chemistry examinations has been below average. This poor performance could probably be attributed to inappropriate teaching methods used by teachers which do not a llow learners to be actively involved so as to gain higher motivation and meaningful learning. A strategy that may help improve students’ motivation and achievement is the use of advance organizers. Such a strategy is the use of Fireplace Advance Organizer in teaching. However, it is not clear how this strategy would affect students’ motivation and achievement in chemistry in Baringo County. This study was therefore intended to provide this vital information.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of a Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy on secondary school students’ motivation and achievement in chemistry in Baringo County, Kenya.

Objectives of the Study
The following objectives guided the study:

(i). To determine the effects of using a Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy on secondary school students’achievement in chemistry in Baringo County.

(ii). To determine the effects of using a Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy on secondary school students’ motivation in chemistry in Baringo County.

(iii). To find out whether gender affects achievement when Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy is used.

(iv). To find out whether gender affects motivation when Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy is used.

Hypotheses of the Study
HO1: There is no statistically significant difference between the chemistry achievement scores of students who are taught using a Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy and those taught using conventional teaching methods.

HO2: There is no statistically significant difference in students’ motivation to learn chemistry between students who are exposed to a fireplace advance organizer and those who are exposed to conventional teaching methods.

HO3: There is no statistically significant gender difference in students’ achievement scores between girls and boys exposed to Fireplace Advance organizer Teaching Strategy.

HO4: There is no statistically significant gender difference in students’ motivation between girls and boys exposed to Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching strategy.

Significance of the Study
The findings of the study was expected to help teachers reconsider their teaching methods and update them to meet the technological advancement and be compliant to the current era. It is also expected to help the chemistry teachers arrest the problem of poor performance. In addition, it is also expected that chemistry curriculum developers may include advance organizers in secondary school chemistry syllabus. The other departments like languages and humanities may also use the same teaching strategy during curriculum instruction. It is also believed that the strategy would challenge the universities and teacher training colleges to incorporate the use of advance organizers in training their subject areas to improve learning. The findings also added knowledge and the data can be used as baseline for researchers. Through the use of Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy, the students are also expected to perform better in chemistry. Higher achievement in chemistry was found to motivate the learners hence better their careers at the university and tertiary colleges.

The Scope of the Study
This study was conducted in eight County public secondary schools, in which four boys’ schools and four girls’ schools were selected randomly from the list of 19 single sex secondary schools of Baringo County which teach Chemistry. Diffusion topic was chosen because it is taught in form three. A Fireplace Advance Organizer Teaching Strategy was used because what goes on in a fireplace is similar to diffusion of gases, solids, and liquids. The burning of firewood in a fireplace to produce heat and smoke which moves up the chimney is comparable to diffusion of solids in liquids and gases in air (Kenya Literature Bureau, 2004).

Limitations of the Study
The study was limited to provincial public single sex secondary schools within Baringo County. It’s findings were generalized with caution to secondary schools within Baringo county. In addition, the study was also limited to the teaching of the topic on diffusion and Graham’s law.

Assumptions of the Study
This study was carried out with the following assumptions:

(i) The data collected from students was a true reflection and honest response of their motivation towards the use of advance organizers in chemistry education.

(ii) Form three learners were of similar age.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 79 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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