PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS PEDAGOGICAL CONTENT KNOWLEDGE USE IN TEACHING PRACTICE IN SCIENCE TEACHING AND LEARNING

ABSTRACT
Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) is the integration of subject matter expertise with the teaching skills required for effective instructional delivery. Reports have shown that the PCK of most final year Pre-service Teachers (PsTs) is low; a trend partly attributed to inadequate teacher preparation. Previous studies largely focused on the effects of specific teaching strategies and subject-matter knowledge on pupils’ learning outcomes, neglecting the training to develop PsTs’ PCK. Therefore, this study was carried out to equip PsTs with PCK through group Interactive Strategy (GIS) and then determine its effects on pupils’ learning outcomes in basic science in Ogun State. The moderating effects of self-efficacy and school location were also examined.

Sociocultural and Social Cognitive Learning theories provided the framework, while the mixed methods of pretest-posttest control group quasi-experimental design and phenomenological approaches were adopted. Purposive sampling strategy was used to select two public colleges of education with Primary Education departments in Ogun State, while intact classes of final year PsTs were enumerated and randomly assigned to GIS (100) and conventional strategy (82).The PsTs in the GIS group were trained on PCK for four weeks. Twelve PsTs who scored 65.0% and above in GIS group and 12 PsTs from the control group were randomly selected and assigned to teach basic science in selected primary schools.

The PsTs and primary school pupils were 19±2.00 and 10.00±2.00 years, respectively, while the intact classes in the urban schools had more pupils (60.0%). Treatment had a significant main effect on pupils’ achievement in basic science (F(1;212)=100.88; partial ŋ2=0.33). Pupils of PsTs with improved PCK had a relatively higher achievement mean score (23.90) than their counterparts (21.16). Treatment had

a significant main effect on pupils’ attitude to basic science (F(1;212)=11.03; partial ŋ2=0.94). Participants in the treatment group had a higher mean attitude score(19.23) than their counterparts (17.58). Treatment and school location had a significant disordinal interaction effect on pupils’ achievement (F(1;212)=48.86; partial ŋ2=0.19) and attitude ((F(1;212)=20.51; partial ŋ2=0.09). Urban pupils in the treatment group had higher achievement and attitude scores. There were no significant two-way interaction effects of treatment and self-efficacy, self-efficacy and school location and three-way interaction effects on dependent measures.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
Science and technology have proved significantly useful in humans’ daily struggle to control the environment and build a virile world. Besides, the rapid pace of globalisation in most parts of the world has fuelled the use of science and technology as a means of solving human problems and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (UNESCO 2016). Therefore, Science Education has become essential for any nation to compete favourably with her contemporaries all over the world. Science Education is expected to produce potential scientists and equip them with skills, knowledge and attitudes that would enhance the global, economic, social and industrial growth that are increasingly driven by the advancement of science and technology.

In realisation of this fact, several workshops and seminars were organised by the government for teachers of Basic science particularly in primary schools. Thisintervention justifies the position of Ahiakwo (2005) and Onwu (2002) that the teaching of science should begin from primary schools when children are more inquisitive and enthusiastic about their immediate environment. Hickey (2005) corroborates this view when he submitted that children’s first year in school is a period in which the cognitive, affective and social processes are constructed and transmitted. Thus, the desire to make science education relevant to the child and societal values culminated into the development of a curriculum.The introduction of Science core curriculum has a significant effect because it promoted the teaching of Science and highlighted a set of objectives expected of a Nigerian child.

According to Abdul Hamid (2012) thecontent areas of the curriculum wereintegrated around unifying themes and Basic science is presented as a core subject. This implies that all students offer the subject, leading to large class-size thereby contributing to the challenges of implementing the curriculum.On the basic science curriculum, Okoruwa, (2014), acknowledges that the curriculum was well intentioned and well defined but the implementation suffered serious setback of language of instruction, inadequacies of physical environment, infrastructure and lack of qualified teachers. Also, studies from Okpala (2011),Akinbote (2009), Abdul Hamid (2012) and Ahmadi (2015) showed that foremost among the myriad of challenges inhibiting the effective implementation of the curriculum are inadequate specialist/teachers for primary schools, dearth of relevant support materials and inadequate training programmes for teachers. Perhaps that was the genesis of underachievement and negative attitude to science in the primary school. In addition, Oloruntugbe (2011) and Duze (2011) raised the issue of teachers who are the implementers of instructional programmes not being carried along during curriculum development and innovations. Apart from this, Okorie (2001), and Adamu (2010) identified several factors such as inappropriate selection of instructional strategies by the teachers, inadequate facilities, and negative attitude of students towards science as factors inhibiting the attainment of the objectives of science teaching and learning.

The Universal Basic Education (UBE) in Nigeria is a nine-year programme. Although, there is no terminal examination for Basic six pupils in Ogun State particularly in Basic Science, the result obtained from the optional Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) conducted for private students by National Examination Council (NECO) and the compulsory Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) conducted by Ogun State Ministry of Education in the ninth year of the Basic Education Programme showed a poor performance of students in Basic Science as evidenced by BECE results and the general comments of BECE examiners..

The fact that pupils exhibit underachievement in Basic Science was also reported by a presidential committee set up to investigate whether there is any observable improvement in pupils’ performances in basic science before and after the introduction of UBE. According to Wasagu (2010) the committee found out that

there was no remarkable impact mainly because most teachers lack basic teaching skills and pedagogy. In addition, an extract from the Science Teachers Association (STAN) 27th Annual Conference report as cited by Abdul Hamid (2012) revealed that there was under achievement of pupils in basic science as a result of teachers’ incompetence and negative attitude to work.

A diagnostic study conducted by Salami and Folaranmi in 2015 on pupils’ performance in basic science in primary schools, corroborated the assertion that pupils exhibited under achievement and negative attitude to science in primary schools. In addition, about 60% of students in senior secondary schools offering Art or Commercial subjects indicated their initial desire to venture into science disciplines when they were in primary schools but they changed their choice of subject due to negative attitude and fear of failure (Durowoju and Ige, 2016). Therefore, the expediency to train teachers for optimum performance in the teaching of science is not an exaggeration.

In Ogun State, for instance more than 75% of teachers in public primary schools are from Non-Science based disciplines like Arts and Social Sciences (SUBEB, 2016). The practice in private primary schools as documented by Oduwaye (2008) is that school certificate holders are allowed to teach basic science because proprietors of these schools want to maximise profit at the expense of the pupils. To further compound the problem, the practice whereby only one teacher teaches all subjects in primaries I-VI makes some teachers skip topics and avoid Basic Science as a result of difficulty in teaching some science concepts occasioned by inadequate training (Durowoju, Adeniji and Oke 2018) This may also account for the poor achievement in and negative attitude of pupils to science in primary schools.

Several variables may affect students’ learning outcomes in basic science. These include poor facilities, resource allocation, demographic factors, class-size and class schedules (Kudari 2006, Alagoa 2015, and Singh 2016). Among all the variables identified, scholars and science educators are in consensus that teachers’ factor plays a prominent role than any other (Patrick, 2005; Waseka, Simatwa and Okwach, 2016). Although, a number of institutions have been established by government to train teachers, concerns raised by scholars (Oyawoye ,2012; Okpala, 2011; Wasagu, 2010) that a gap exist between certificate obtained and performance displayed by teachers. This implies that the training obtained by teachers in these institutions is becoming obsolete in the fast changing, technology-driven society. This state of affairs provides justification for this study. In addition, the fact that most studies on pre-service teachers and learning outcomes have been on other disciplines or on science teaching at the Senior Secondary level, Dike (2000) calls for the need to investigate issues of teacher preparation and science teaching and learning in the lower basic education level. The apathy of teachers to the teaching of science has been recorded by Oduwaye (2008), Kapton (2012) and Ige (2017) when they found out that many teachers are not confident in the teaching of science and technology, they engage in memorization of products of science (facts, theories and laws) without recourse to its process and barely use “hands-on” and “minds-on” science activities. That is why variables like Pre-service Teachers’, PCK and teachers’ self-efficacy have been aptly selected for this study. The justification for the choice of these variables in literature is found in the works of Kind (2009) and Coe, Aloisi, Higgin and Major (2014) who identified them as constituents of great teaching that can lead to improved students’ achievement. These variables are also capable of determining the right type of knowledge necessary to enhance desirable student learning outcome in Basic Science particularly in primary schools.

PCK is the integration of subject matter expertise with the skills required for effective instructional delivery. According to Abimbola (2013), there are three forms of knowledge and the harmonisation of these knowledge concepts ensure that adequate learning takes place. Kylic (2009) argued that a teacher does not easily attain abalance among all types of knowledge essential to enhance students learning except through continuous effort over time. Scholars and stakeholders in education sector have also been investigating the type of knowledge a teacher should possesses and how the knowledge can be developed and integrated into teacher education programmes (Shulman 1986 and Usak 2005). In addition, Newborn (2001) reiterates that an answer to the type of knowledge a teacher should possess is assumed to be subject matter knowledge (SMK) but according to Kylic (2009) the general concern that SMK is not ideal for effective teaching has generated an unresolved controversy.In this regard, Kauchak and Eggien (2007) cited by Ige (2017) indicated that the decision teachers make are determined by teachers’ knowledge of content (subject matter), how to translate specific knowledge into forms students can understand (PCK), general knowledge (Pedagogy) and use of teaching strategies (Methodology).Ball (2000) previously proposed that when preparing undergraduateteachers, we haveto resolve the ambiguity that permeates what knowledge they should possess for effective teaching. It is based on the contradictions in research and inconclusive debate and opinion about the right type of knowledge suitable for effective teaching and how that knowledge is actually learnt in the classroom that has made it a necessity for more studies on the issue of teachers’ knowledge since it appears the question is yet to be answered.

The Federal Government of Nigeria through the National Commisison for Colleges of Education has outlined a number of courses for developing the PCK of pre-service teachers. However, the usefulness of the proposed course to develop teachers’ PCK is in doubt as observed by Sperander, Fazio and Torantino(2015)in their study that the PCK of most pre-service teachers is low as they experience difficulty merging experiences gained from both content areas and education courses particularly when applying them in classroom situations. The major focus of carrying out a study on pre-service teachers PCK is to proffer solutions to the low level of PCK observed by many scholars and address the dilemma of whether PCK is topic specific or subject specific.It will also examine the challenges in the breaking of PCK into segmented sub-components by some scholarsas ifPCK is subject specific. However, in this study PCK is presented holistically as a single construct representing all forms of knowledge required for teaching.

According to Newborn (2001) there are limited number of scholarly work on the PCK of teachers of science in elementary schools., however these existing studies only address a few aspects of pedagogical content knowledge that emerge from classroom practices when teaching particular concepts. Furthermore, Usak (2005) suggested the development of undergraduate teachers PCK during collaborative microteaching exercises. This informs the use of group interactive strategy for the training of pre-service teachers on PCK in this study. However, otherefforts have been made towards the improvement of PCK of pre service teachers in science using other training methods. Juhier (2017) explored the use of lesson study and Content representation (CoRe) to develop their PCK, while Halm and Meral (2010) used the assistance of supervisors during micro-teaching exercises.This study explored the use of group interactive strategy to simulate the PCK during pair, peer and group interactions, particularly during micro teaching sessions. According to Ishkov(2015) Group interactive strategy has evolved as a result of efforts to increase learners’ involvement in classroom activities, develop their interaction skills, provide students with leadership and decision making experiences and give them the chance to interact with peers from different culture and socio-economic backgrounds.

Many studies have reported the advantages of group interactive strategy. Eggien and Kauchak (2006) state that group interactive strategy help in solving problems by placing students in learning situations where group goals reward cooperation. John (2004) reported that students are more likely to collect and utilize data systematically working in groups than when working alone. However, there are conflicting reports on theimpactof group interactive strategy on pupils’ learning outcome and teachers’ pedagogy. For instance, Macgrefox (2011) states that group interactive strategy does not seem to enhance motivation and values unlike individual learning which is explanatory in nature. Though this debate is inconclusive, group interactive strategy was adopted to boost the PCK of pre-service teachers and to see its effect on pupils’ achievement in Basic science. It is hoped that as teachers’ PCK improve, the achievementof students and theirattitude towards Basic Science can also improve.

Reports have shown that many variables could mediate or influence pupils’ leaning outcomes apart from teacher’s factors or the strategy they adopt. Some of these variables are school climate and school size, (Stewart, 2009), family background factors (Ugwuja, 2010) and sex differences, (Sanchez and Wiley, 2010). Two of these factors used in this study are school location and self-efficacy (Herderson, 2000 and Lawrence, 2012). The choice of these two variables in this study is hinged on the submission of Ntibi and Edoho (2017) that they are more likely to influence students’ learning outcomes than other variables. Ntibi and Edoho, (2017) refer to school location as a place (rural or urban) where the school is situated. In this research work, Ogun State public primary schools were grouped into rural and urban schools. Most studies have indicated that pupils from urban primary schools outperformed their cohorts from rural primary schools in term of achievement (Abdul Hamid, 2012, Kachero, 2014). Contrary to this position, Ruthwonski (2003) claimed that the location of school students which attend is not a contributory factor to students’ performance in science. Similarly, findings from some studies conducted by Ntibi and Edoho(2017), Yusuf and Adigun (2010) and Bosede (2012) showed that the environment of a school does not have any impact on students’ learning outcome in science. However, in other instances, findings from Owoeye and Yara, (2011), Ella andIta(2017) showed that where the school is situatedcontributed immensely to the achievement in and attitude of pupils to science. Based on the contradiction of findings of scholars, school location was incorporated as a moderator variable.

Also, studies from various scholarsWitt-Rose (2003) and Zimmerman (2000) have generated inconclusive debates on the achievement of pupils as influenced by their self-efficacy. It was the conclusion of these scholarsthat pupil’s self-efficacy can mediate students learning outcome apart from the teaching strategy. Bandura (1997)referred to pupils’ self-efficacy as the confidence they demonstrate in performing a particular task successfully. Zimmerman, (2000) submitted that pupils’ self-efficacy belief has been found to enhance variance in students’ cognitive development. In addition, studies from Debacker and Nelson, (2000) showed that there exist a positive correlation as a result of their involvement in challenging tasks. Contrary to these findings, Chang and Westwood, (2007)did not observe anyrelationship between self-efficacy and pupils’ performance. Hence, it appears there is no consensus on the interaction effect of pupils’ self-efficacy and school location on the achievement in and attitude of students to Basic Science, particularly in primary schools. This informs the use of school location and pupils’ self-efficacy as moderator variables in this study.

Therefore, the expediency to train pre-service teachers on PCK in order to enhance pupils’ performance in science is the crux of this study. This is in line with the resolution of a PCK summit held by a group of science educators from which Rollink and Mavhunga (2015) reported that the next objective for their group was to find ways of linking good teachers PCK to students’ outcome, select teachers who have high scores on PCK instruments, and observe them using the target topic, testing their students before and after teaching. That is exactly what this study achieved with pre- service teachers from the department of Primary Education. The choice of pre- service teachers for this study was premised on the fact that they would form the bedrock of future primary school teachers committed to effective teaching of science in the next generation. The expectation is that well-trained teachers would make desired learning outcomes realisable in Basic Science in primary schools and by proxy, remedy the observed under achievement and negative attitude of students towards science disciplines in primary schools and beyond.

1.2 Statement of problem
At present, teachers have a greater responsibility than ever before to help the students develop appropriate learning patterns and achieve desired outcomes in science in primary schools. Efforts have been made by government, schools and other agencies towards ensuring that scientific attitude, skills and knowledge of science concepts are inculcated in pupils’ right from primary schools by exposing them to qualitative Science teaching. These efforts include curricular reviews, exposing teachers to new teaching strategies and skills development through regular workshops, providing funds for purchase of instructional materials or encouraging the use of science kits. But in spite of these efforts, students learning outcomes remains relatively on the average as majority of them could not meet the basic prerequisite to further their studies in science discipline indicating that the objectives of basic science as stated in the primary school curriculum still need to be improved upon. Majority of previous studies focused on the use of different strategies to teach students directly and the mastery of content knowledge. However, most of the studies did not emphasize the training of pre-service teachers on the use of this strategy particularly with their PCK as a focus. Although, the training teacher trainees on PCK have been found effective in the areas of Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics, not much literature has been documented in the training of Primary Education Department (PED) pre-service teachers who are potential specialist in primary schools. In this study PED pre-service teachers were trained on their PCK and the effect of this training was determined on the learning outcome of pupils in basic science. The moderating effect of self-efficacy and school location were also considered.

1.3 Research Questions
1. Is there any difference in the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of pre- service teachers before and after exposure to training with group interactive strategy?

2. Is there any difference in how pre-service teachers rate their self-efficacy before and after training with group interactive strategy?

1.4 Hypotheses
The study tested the following null hypotheses at 0.05 alpha level.

Ho1: There is no significant main effect of treatment on pupils’

(i) Achievement in basic science in primary schools

(ii) Attitude to basic science in primary schools

Ho2: There is no significant main effect of teachers’ self- efficacy on pupils’

(i) Achievement in basic science in primary schools

(ii) Attitude to basic science in primary schools

Ho3: There is no significant main effect of school location on pupils’

(i) Achievement in basic science in primary schools

(ii) Attitude to basic science in primary schools

1.5 Scope of Study
The research focused on the training of Primary Education Department (PED) students from Colleges of Education in Ogun State on their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) using group interactive strategy (Student Teams Achievement Division, STAD). It examined the impact of this training on pre-service teachers’ (PCK) and teachers’ self-efficacy and how this impactedon the achievement and attitude of primary six pupils in selected schools from urban and rural schools in Ogun state. Three basic science concepts of Air, force and human blood circulation were the focus of this study.

1.6 Significance of the study
It is anticipated that the findings of the study would provide guidelines on the training of pre-service teachers (PST) for the teaching and learning of Basic Sciences in Primary school. The study is expected to show the efficacy or otherwise of the use of Group interactive strategy for the training of pre-service teachers’ on PCK in primary schools. Expectedly, the findings of the study would provide teacher trainers with adequate technical know- how and equip them with the basic skills on the use of group interactive strategy to train PST on PCK.

Furthermore, the findings of this study would provide adequate information on ways of capturing and developing teachers’ PCK and teachers’ self-efficacy. Also, the findings would promote practical engagement and extend the teachers’ frontiers of knowledge on the use of group interactive strategy inbasic science classrooms. It would make students understand basic science in primary school and solve the recurring issues of under achievement and negative attitude towards science disciplines.

The study would add to the existing literature on STAD Group interactive strategy especially as it relates to the training of pre-service teachers’ on PCK and findings would definitely spur up further researches in Basic science teaching. Finally, it would provide adequate information to authors of textbooks, curriculum planners, school administrators, inspectorate divisions of the Ministry of Education and researchers on the modern trend in the training of pre-service teachers.

1.7 Limitation of the Study
(i) The qualitative part of this study was conducted in two Colleges of Education in Ogun State mainly because the remaining Colleges of Education in Ogun State (though private) did not have functional Primary Education Department.

(ii) Group interactive strategy requires adequate space and infrastructure. Constraints occasioned by large class size, inadequate infrastructure and overloaded school calendar may bring some limitations for the effectiveness of the study.

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