INFLUENCE OF CULTURE AND GENDER ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ LEVEL OF SCIENTIFIC CREATIVITY IN BIOLOGY EDUCATION IN TURKANA COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
The world and the global economy are changing very fast. Collectively, we are faced with very significant economic, environmental and social challenges. Creativity and ingenuity will be keys to addressing the challenges. To be able to achieve Kenyan Vision 2030 (economic and social pillars), learners should be equipped with scientific creativity skills to enable them participate in nation building and take on present and future challenges in the world. Studies carried out in Kenya show that scientific creativity skills are very low amongst secondary school students. This means that there are factors that are hindering the acquisition of creativity skills among learners. Therefore there is need to find out whether culture and gender are among these factors. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of students’ culture and gender on the level of scientific creativity in Biology Education among Form Three students in Turkana County. Descriptive research design was used. Cross sectional survey method was used. The target population comprised all form three students in sub county coeducational secondary schools and Turkana men and women of 55 years and above. A sample of 320 students (160 girls and 160 boys) from 4 sub county coeducational secondary schools and 10 adults (5 men and 5 women) were involved in the study. Selection of participating schools was by stratified random sampling and purposive sampling for the sub county coeducational secondary schools. Purposive sampling was used in selecting adults of Turkana tribe. Three instruments, namely; Students’ Culture Evaluation Questionnaire (SCEQ), Biology Scientific Creativity Test (BSCT) and an Interview Schedule (IS) for the adults were used to collect data. Reliabilities of SCEQ and BSCT were measured using Cronbach coefficient alpha. The hypotheses were tested at α=0.05 significance level. The reliability coefficient for SCEQ was 0.74 while that of BSCT was 0.7. Validation of the instruments was done by seeking the opinion of experts from the Faculty of Education and Community studies of Egerton University. The test items were pilot tested in one sub county coeducational secondary school in Turkana County. The inferential statistics used were the chi- square and t-test. Data from the interview schedule was analyzed quantitatively. The findings of this study show that there was a low level of scientific creativity in Biology education in Turkana County. Culture was also found to influence the level of scientific creativity however, scientific creativity was not gender dependent. The findings of this study may provide valuable information to policy makers, curriculum developers and implementers which could be helpful in fostering positive cultural practices by restructuring the curriculum to eliminate cultural blocks to scientific creativity among the students.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Education is meant to prepare learners to make sense of how the world works; to think critically and independently; and to lead responsible and productive lives in a culture that is increasingly shaped by science and technology (Project 2061 Report, 1990). In Kenya one of the main goals of education is to promote social, economic, technological and industrial skills for national development. Education therefore, should produce citizens with skills, knowledge, expertise and personal qualities that are required to support a growing economy, rapid industrial and technological changes taking place especially in the developed world (Kenya National Examinations Council, 2010).

Biology is a practical subject which equips learners with knowledge and skills that are useful in solving everyday problems of life. The study of Biology aims at providing learners with the necessary knowledge with which to control or change the environment for the benefit of an individual, family or society. It also prepares learners for further studies in applied disciplines like agriculture, medicine, biotechnology, genetic engineering and processing industries especially for beer and milk (Maundu, Sambili, & Muthwii, 1998). School leavers who can think critically and respond creatively will more likely be able to meet the challenges of the 21st Century by contributing positively to the personal, social, technological and economic worlds that they will inhabit as adults (Welle-strand & Tjeldvoll, 2003). However, it has been noted that there is lack of understanding about basic biology concepts and principles such as evolution (Alters & Nelson, 2002) and ecology (Mason, 1992) and even significant chronic misconceptions about key ideas such as the importance of scientific reasoning.

The concept of creativity is used in various fields of study and the meaning attached to it varies from one field to another. According to Boden (2001), creativity is one’s ability to come up with new ideas that are surprising yet intelligible, and also valuable in some way.

Therefore novelty and value should be the two conditions or characteristics of scientific creativity. According to these two characteristics, scientific creativity can be identified either with historical creativity (when something, like a new idea, a new theory, a new discovery, is historically new) and/or with personal creativity (when something is new in a personal sense regardless of whether that something is not new to others). Sternberg (1995) also gives the essentials for creativity as intelligence, knowledge, thinking styles, personalities, motivation and environment. Treffinger (2001) and Loehle (1990) argue that many characteristics associated with creativity are not innate but can in fact be taught and nurtured. They further point out that creative behaviour is influenced by motivational as well as situational factors.

Okere (1986) gives indicators of creativity in science education as sensitivity to problems, flexibility in reasoning, recognition of relationships and planning for scientific investigations. Therefore the notion of creativity in the context of science education should take into account all these ideas. Science educators and teachers should provide an environment that increases the possibilities for creativity to emerge and opportunities for divergent thinking among learners. Creativity is increasingly considered a crucial ability for the future. Creativity is not just becoming increasingly important (Pink, 2005), but it seems that our future is now closely tied to human creativity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). Gardner (2010), in his work titled Five Minds for the Future, argued for the crucial role of creativity, as one of the five cognitive abilities that leaders of the future should seek to cultivate. However, there is empirical evidence sugesting that students do not appreciate the creative thinking required in doing science, and that they do not view science in general as a creative endeavour (Schmidt, 2011).

Further, despite its importance, creativity is not yet fully established as a mainstream topic in psychology and/or education research; neither does it hold a significant position in educational practice (Boden, 2001). This is somehow paradoxical , given that creativity is inextricably tied to the nature of science itself (McCo-mas, 1998), and also the consensus among scientists and science educators that scientific knowledge is indeed the product of creative thinking (Osborne, Collins, Ratcliffe, Millar & Duschl, 2003).

Educational systems worldwide are being reformed to adapt to rapid societal changes, due to global economic restructuring and technological development (Bellofiore, 1999). Students need to be prepared for life in a world about which we know very little, except that it will be characterized by substantial and rapid change, and is likely to be more complex and uncertain than today’s world (Hodson, 2003). National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (1999) pointed out that creativity in education has a part to play in helping students meet the unpredictable demands of the future. Training students in creative skills may contribute significantly to their flexibility, and their ability to handle changes in their working lives. The study on the level of scientific creativity in Biology education among form three students had not been carried in Turkana County hence the need for this study.

Culture is the label that anthropologists give to the structured customs and underlying worldview assumptions that govern people’s lives (Kraft, 1998). It can also be interpreted as people’s way of life, their design for living, and their way of coping with their biological, physical and social environment. The attributes that define culture include language, social structures, skills, customs, norms, values, beliefs, attitudes, expectations, cognitions, conventional artifacts, technological know- how and worldview of a group (Cobern & Aikenhead, 1998). Ausubel, Novak and Hensian (1978), argued that the construction of new knowledge in science is strongly influenced by prior knowledge, which is conception gained prior to new learning.

Studies on the influence of culture on scientific creativity in physics have shown that the levels of scientific creativity are low among the students. This has been attributed to many factors including inappropriate teaching strategies, lack of appropriate teaching and learning resources. Empirical evidence now strongly suggests that culture is indeed, one of these factors (Shumba, 1995; Anmuah- Mensah, 1998; Okere & Keraro, 2002). Very few studies have been done on the influence of culture on scientific creativity, however no such studies had been conducted in Turkana County.

According to Ai (1999) past research has usually concentrated simply on whether there is a relationship between creativity and academic achievement without taking into consideration whether the relationship could be dissimilar for the two groups, male and female. While there are research results pointing in various, and often contradictory directions, the evidence does not clearly support gender differences in creativity based on test results. However to the extent that a case for such gender differences can be made available evidence suggests that women and girls tend to score higher on creativity tests than men and boys.

Kogan (1974), Tegano and Moran (1989) found a tendency for girls to score higher than boys. However, boys scored higher on originality in grade three. Coone (1969) and Warren and Luria (1972) found higher scores for girls in early adolescence on figural creativity. Torrance (1983) found that gender differences in divergent thinking ability have changed over time. In the 1950’s and 1960’s boys outperformed girls on measures of originality, whereas girls surpassed boys on elaboration and most measures of verbal creativity (Torrance, 1962, 1965). A study conducted in Kenya by Ndeke (2012) found that scientific creativity in biology was gender dependent. The indications were that creativity skills of sensitivity, flexibility and recognition of relationships were gender dependent but planning was not. The largest inconsistency was between scores of tests designed to predict creativity and actual accomplishments. Such studies on the influence of gender on scientific creativity, however had not been conducted in Turkana County.

Statement of the problem
One of the general objectives of the Kenyan Secondary School Biology syllabus is to enable learners to demonstrate resourcefulness, relevant technical skills and scientific thinking necessary for economic development. Learners are also expected to acquire scientific creativity skills required to solve problems in everyday life and for further education and training in related scientific fields. Scientific creativity is needed for industrial and technological development and in the achievement of Vision 2030. Studies carried out in some parts of Kenya show that the level of scientific creativity is low among Kenyan secondary school students, however no such studies have been conducted in Turkana County. The level of scientific creativity may be influenced by a person’s culture and gender, however, it is not known how the level of scientific creativity in Biology Education is influenced by a student’s culture and gender in Turkana County. This study investigated the influence of culture and gender on the level of scientific creativity in Biology education in Turkana County.

Purpose of the Study
This study sought to investigate the influence of students’ culture and gender on the level of scientific creativity in Biology Education among Form Three Secondary School Students in Turkana County.

Objectives of the Study
The following were the objectives of this study;

i. To investigate Turkana Cultural Beliefs, Practices and Values that relate to Scientific Creativity in Biology Education in Turkana County.

ii. To determine the Level of Scientific Creativity in Biology among Form Three Students in Turkana County.

iii. To determine the influence of Culture on Students’ level of Scientific Creativity in Biology Education in Turkana County.

iv. To investigate if Scientific Creativity Skills in Biology is Gender Dependent in Turkana County.

Hypotheses of the Study
To following null hypotheses were tested.

Ho1 There is no statistically significant relationship between culture and scientific creativity in Biology education amongst Form Three students.

Ho2 There is no statistically significant difference in performance in scientific creativity in Biology education among Form Three boys and girls.

Research Questions
To cover objectives i and ii the following research questions were derived;

i. What are some of the Cultural Practices, Beliefs and Values that affect Scientific Creativity in Biology Education in Turkana County?

ii. What is the Level of Scientific Creativity in Biology among Form Three Students in Turkana County?

Significance of the Study
The findings of this study may provide valuable information to policy makers, curriculum developers and implementers that will be helpful in fostering positive cultural practices that enhance scientific creativity in learners and address cultural blocks that may stifle scientific creativity in the curriculum.

Scope of the Study
The study was carried out in 4 sub county coeducational schools in Turkana County in Kenya. The study investigated the level of scientific creativity amongst Form Three Biology students and the influence of culture and gender on scientific creativity. There are several measures of creativity but this study concentrated only on four of them namely; Sensitivity to problems, flexibility in reasoning, recognition of relationships and planning for scientific investigation. Biology topics covered in this study were reproduction, ecology, the cell and respiration.

Limitations of the Study
i. The study was conducted in Turkana County and therefore generalization of the findings was confined to Turkana County only.

ii. The subject content covered was limited to specific questions from topics such as reproduction, ecology, the cell and respiration thus generalization to other topics in Biology should be done with caution.

Assumptions of the Study
The study was carried out with the following assumption;

i. The participants provided honest responses.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 89 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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