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           This study examined the relative effect of drama method, practical work and conventional on student’s academic achievement and attitude in Physics. The problem of poor performance of Secondary School Students in physics has been a great concern for physics educators and researchers.  A number of related materials both of empirical and theoretical importance were reviewed.

           The study was carried out in Isolo District of Lagos State in which six schools were randomly selected. Simple random sampling technique was used to select two schools for each experimental group and control group. Six Secondary Schools were sampled with a population of 122 students in which 66 were male and 56 were female.   Four research questions were raised and seven hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significant.  Data were gathered by the student questionnaire whose reliability coefficient was  (r = 0.83) and physics achievement test(PAT) with reliability coefficient  (0.7)

             The data collected were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Estimated mean was also computed.   The results revealed that drama method proved most superior to students’ achievement in physics. Gender and socioeconomic background has no significant main effect on achievement of students in Physics. Also there is an interaction effect of treatment, gender, socioeconomic background on the achievement of students in Physics.

             In view of the findings, it is recommended that drama should be adopted in teaching physics at the Senior Secondary School level since it proved most superior to other instructional strategies. In addition, drama method was recommended for teaching physics in single sex girls Schools and practical work should be used to teach physics in a single sex boys Schools.




      Physics is one of the science subjects that are needed for technological development (Adegoke,2009; Babajide 2010;2012;2013;2014). Nigeria being a developing country needs a lot of technological know-how to carter for her industries. According to Onwuagba (1986) ‘No nation can take off technologically without Physics as its bedrock’. Also the statement adopted by IUPAP( 1999) asserted that physics is an important science subject which is exciting intellectual adventure that inspires young people and expands the frontier of knowledge about nature.

Physics provides fundamental knowledge needed for the future technological advances that will continue to drive the economic engines of the world. It contributes to the technological infrastructure and provides trained personnel needed to take advantage of scientific advances and discoveries Physics is an important subject in the education of chemists, engineers, and computer scientists, as well as practitioners of other physical and biomedical sciences (Oludipe,2003; Babajide,2010). Physics extends and enhances our understanding of other disciplines, such as earth, agricultural, chemical, biological, and environmental sciences, plus Astrophysics and cosmology- subjects of substantial importance to all peoples of the world. Physics improves man’s quality of life by providing the basic understanding necessary for developing new instrumentation and techniques for medical applications, such as computer tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, ultrasonic imaging, and laser surgery.

Indeed, the knowledge of Physics has led to so many inventions such as discovery and production of hydroelectric power, gas turbine and thermonuclear power plant, telephones, refrigerators, heaters and cookers (Babajide, 2010). Other benefits that are derivable from the knowledge of Physics include the construction of modern vehicles, rockets, nuclear bombs, missiles, diodes, computers and other electronic systems (Okoronka, 2004).

        The national policy on education in Nigeria [1981] laid emphasis on science education of which Physics education is a subject of. One of the broad aims of National Policy on Education (FME, 2004) is to equip students to live effectively in the modern age of science and technology. The attitude formed by a child towards any subject will go along way to and also determine the child’s choice and achievement in that subject as well as his or her career choice (Wong & Young 1997).

          Physics as one of the core science subjects has been identified by experts as difficult or abstract in nature (NERDC, 1994; Okoronka, 2004). According to  Dieck, (1997), students do not like science subjects and that most have no preference for science, particularly Physics. This can be said to be as a result of poor achievement in Physics. The poor achievement of students in science especially Physics has continued to be a major concern to all and particularly those in the main stream of science education (Okebukola, 1984;  Ariyo, 2006). A lot of emphasis in science education has been centered on developing teaching strategies that have potentials for enhancing students understanding of science concepts and acquisition of science skill (Usman, 2000).

          So many researchers have been carried out to find out how to improve the poor performance of student in Physics by the investigation of various teaching method. Okoronka, (2004) in his study, investigated the comparative effects of analogue, problem solving and concept mapping model-based instructional strategies on students’ achievement in Physics. The result of the study confirms that Model Based Instructional strategies are best for teaching abstract and difficult concepts in Physics.  Wambugu and Chageiywo,(2008) in their study on effects of Mastery Learning Approach (MLA) on secondary school student’s und out that the students who were taught through the MLA teaching method achieved statistically significantly higher scores in the Physics achievement test compared to those taught through conventional method. In spite of all the result findings given by the researchers, and having been put into practice, the problem of poor performance of students in physics has not been solved. It is against this background that this study investigated the relative effect the drama and practical work on the achievement and attitude of students in Physics subjects.

            The broad term ‘drama’ covers a wide area of techniques incorporating physical movement, vocal action, and mental concentration which traditional classrooms have lacked in quantity and combination. Research by Webb, (1980) has found that undertaking role play allows students to gain a deeper understanding of scientific ideas. By increasing their understanding of Physics, their personal interest is increased (Alexander, 1997; Deci, 1992). Ian Abrahams, (2012) in his book, mentioned how he observed a role play delivered by an Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) in which the students took on the roles of various components in an electrical circuit. It is said that the recollections were so vivid and detailed and had evidently made such a lasting impression on them. Among childhood educators there is a growing consensus that young children learn best through two experiences: dramatic play and interaction with their environment (Brown and Pleydell, 1999). Also to Bolton, (1998) observed that classroom  drama strives to build upon teaching methodologies that already exist, weaving them together in new ways that inspire and hold the interest of students at any grade level, keeping the focus on the curriculum.

Indeed, drama already plays a prominent role in the teaching of some of the humanities subjective such as English and History and has been recommended as effective teaching strategy for science teaching (Kentish, 1995; Duveen and Solomon, 1994; Gradener,1991). Furthermore Kentish (1995) has suggested that an approach requiring students to become personally engaged in their study is more likely to be seen as meaningful to them than one in which they remain ‘passive’ observers or recipients of someone else’s scientific knowledge. If students are allowed to experience the actual personal involvement that the use of drama provides they are far more likely to become personally interested in the material being taught. Furthermore, both Bailey (1993) and Gardener (1991) have both argued that drama can help some students develop their conceptual understanding of highly abstract scientific ideas by linking them directly to ideas with which they are already familiar within their everyday personal experiences. In this respect Stencel and Barkoff (1993) have suggested that drama can be particularly powerful tool for bridging the conceptual gap between the world of familiar, everyday experience and the unfamiliar ones for example, when students are taught about scientific processes and structures that occur at the atomic and/or molecular level of which they have no prior personal experience.

          Likewise, Butler (1989) has claimed that the use of drama provides a window of opportunity for highly collaborative learning. Indeed, not only does it provide an opportunity for collaborative learning, possibly offering the advantage of peer teaching (Duveen and Solomon, 1994), but it is sufficiently flexible to enable those students who feel intimidated by the idea of taking on active performing roles to become engaged in preparatory work. Such preparatory work can, for example, include sourcing evidence, preparing props or writing scripts, all of which provide valuable learning experiences. Drama can be used to enable the learner to “take on the role of another” to cast off an egocentric perspective and the “other” can equally be an animate or an inanimate object. (Met Calfe, R.J.A.,Abbot,S.B.,1984). According to Smilansky (1968) drama is used to make ideas, theories and processes, at varying degrees of complexity and abstraction, more comprehensible to learners through a more active involvement in their learning in which students are presented with opportunities to try out their ideas, solve problems and develop further understanding and knowledge.

              The concept of practical work used in this study was suggested by Millar, Le Maréchal and Tiberghien (1999). This concept embraces laboratory activities done by students and the teacher’s demonstrations. Practical work is any teaching and learning activity that involves the students in observing or manipulating real objects and materials. Such understanding also coincides with the tradition of interpreting the meaning of practical work in the Lao educational system that includes students’ handling of equipment and materials by themselves or watching the teacher handle equipment and materials. The Science Community Representing Education (SCORE) produced A Framework for Practical Science in Schools(SCORE, 2009a), defining practical work in science as ‘a “hands-on” learning experience which prompts thinking about the world in which people live’.

Practical work may be considered as engaging the learner in observing or manipulating real or virtual objects and materials (Millar, 2004). Appropriate practical work enhances pupils experience, understanding, skills and enjoyment of science. It enables the students to think and act in a scientific manner. The scientific method is thus emphasized. Practical work induces scientific attitudes, develops problem solving skills and improves conceptual understanding (Tamir, 1991; Babajide, 2012). Practical work in Physics helps develop familiarity with apparatus, instruments and equipment. Manipulative skills are acquired by the learners. Expertise is developed for reading all manner of scales. The observations made and results obtained are used to gain understanding of Physics concepts. Science process skills, necessary for the world of work are systematically developed (Manjit,S.S., Ramesh,S., and Selvantha,N. 2003). Firsthand knowledge is generated. Millar (1998) has suggested that practical work should be viewed as the mechanism by which materials and equipment are carefully and critically brought together to persuade the Physics learner about the veracity and validity of the scientific world view. Tacit knowledge of scientific phenomena can be gained (Collins, 2001). Practical work if properly implemented can stimulate and engage students’ learning at different levels, challenging them mentally and physically in ways that other science experiences cannot (SCORE, 2009b). Really effective practical activities enable students to build a bridge between what they can see and handle (hands-on) and scientific ideas that account for their observations (brains-on). Making these connections is challenging, so practical activities that make these links explicit are more likely to be successful (Millar, 2004).

Abrahams and Miller (2008) argue that teachers need to devote a greater proportion of the lesson time to helping students use ideas associated with the phenomena they have produced, rather than seeing the successful production of the phenomenon as an end in it. According to Justin Dillon (2008) practical work is a learning experience in which students interact with materials or with secondary sources of data to observe and understand the natural world. Muhammad  Arshad  Dahar (2011) in his research on effect of the availability and the use of science laboratories on academic achievement of students in Punjab (Pakistan) said that science laboratory can have an enormous effect on the academic achievement of students if the standard quantity and quality of science laboratory items are properly allocated, equalized per student and efficiently used. White and Gunstone (1992) reported that students must manipulate ideas as well as materials in the laboratory and that there is evidence that practical work can increase student’s sense of ownership of their learning and can increase their motivation.

A review of literature reveals that many science educators have recognized that students view about science course is different from scientific ones. Craker (2006) suggested that prior knowledge has a great effect on students knowledge of scientific concept. Research has also shown that students bring with them into the classroom their experiences of the world ( Lawson, 1998; McDermott and Redish, 1999). Studied of students expectations in science in pre-college classrooms ( Careey et al, 1989; Songer and Linn, 1991) reveal that student attitudes towards their classroom activities and their belief about the nature of science and knowledge affect their learning. Attitude whether positive or negative affects learning process in a direct manner and influences future lives of individuals ( Seferoglu, 2004; sunbul, Afyon, Yagniz, & Aslan, 2004). According to Hendrickson, attitudes are the best predictor for estimate of students’ success (Hendrickson, 1997). Attitudes changes are affected by experiences in and outside of the classroom setting (Hazari, 2007). Although attitude changed gradually, people constantly form new attitudes and modify old ones when they are experience to new information and new experiences (Adesina & Akinbobola, 2005)

         This study also investigated the moderating effects of gender and social background of the students to measure their interaction with the independent variables and there resultant effects on learning outcome in Physics. Gender has also continued to be an issue of concern to educators and researchers. There are inconclusive results on gender and learning outcome in Physics.  According to Scantlebury (2006) recent data shows that there are equal numbers of girls and boys enrolled in high school science classes with exception of Physics. Girls prefer studying subjects that they perceive as having relevance in their lives. Hyde & Mckinley (1997); Kolawole (2007) in their studies found that male students performed better than female students in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skill achievements in Physics.

 There is a strong association between gender and achievement in science education. The research reports of Baumert and Lehnmann (1997) indicated that boys have a more positive attitude and better achievement in Physics than girls. Hence, Longe and Adedeji (2003) are of the opinion that science and technology is a male- dominated subject and that females tend to shy away from scientific and technological fields. Boys, therefore, appear to have a natural positive attitude to technical and science subjects while girls show negative attitude. This negative attitude appears to be due to the acceptance of the myth that boys are better in science subjects than girls. Babajide (2010) further admitted that science subjects such as Physics and Physics are given masculine outlook by education practitioners. Many researchers have provided reports that there are no longer distinguishing differences in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skill achievements of students in respect of gender. (Arigbabu & Mji 2004; Bilesanmi – Awoderu 2006; David & Stanley 2000). In line with this, Agommuoh and Nzewi (2003) and Babajide (2010) found that gender has no significant influence on achievement in physics. However, some researchers still found that there are still significant differences in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor skill achievement of students in respect of gender in Physics [Aguele & Uhumniah (2008); Croxford (2002)] .  Ogunleye (2002), Ogunneye (2003), Ezirim (2006) and Okwo and Otubar (2007) observed that gender has significant influence on science achievement.

  Socio economic  factors is another variable whose influence an achievement needs to be investigated. Literature reports show that preference from different social background varies. The social background of the students comprises of occupation, income, educational attainment of parents, exposure, and parental relationship with each other. Adeyemo (2010) in his study reported that the family background is an environment in which children have the opportunity to succeed and be happy. He then ascertained that one of the problems affecting the academic performance of students is the effect of broken homes. Generally, children from broken home are unhappy and this unhappiness may affect their academic achievement. Hence academic achievement is related to socioeconomic status of the parents. Philips (1998) found that parental education and socio-economic status have an impact on student achievement. Students from educated homes performed better than others from uneducated homes, but family size was modestly related to achievement (Ferguson, 1991). Perhaps children from low-income parents usually face the problem of competing with those from wealthy homes especially in schools. Also, in some homes there is enough money to spend and the children are properly taken care of. Moreover, Hammer (2003), asserted the home environment is as important as what goes on in the school. Important factors include parental involvement in their children’s education, how much TV they watch and the number of children in the home (family size). Parental influence has been identified as an important factor affecting student achievement. Results indicated that parent education and encouragement are strongly related to improved student achievement (Wang, Wildman, & Calhoun, 1996). There is therefore the need to provide future empirical findings on gender and socio-economic background of students.


         Secondary school students are not performing well in physics in both internal and external examinations. Several attempts have been made by physics educators on factors responsible, some of which are instructional strategies, teachers factor, student factors, environmental factors were identified. However several submission were proposed; Babajide  (2012) recommended the use of practical activities, Babajide (2010) recommended, predict – observe – explain and generative instructional strategies. Okoronkwo (2014)recommended the use of model based instructional strategies.

          With all these submissions, the problem still persists. Therefore, there is the need for alternative instructional strategy, such as the use of Drama and Practical activities on achievement and attitude towards physics. This study therefore investigate the relative effect of drama and practical work on the academic achievement and attitude of students in secondary school Physics.


The purpose of the study is to examine the relative effect of drama method and practical work in student’s academic achievement and attitude towards Physics. Also, an attempt has to be made to examine the interaction effects of gender and socioeconomic background of students and how these influence student’s academic achievement and attitude towards Physics. Information on such factors as educational level of parents, types of employment, number of children living in the family and how these affect student’s achievement and attitude, behaviors, values and interest in Physics learning.


           The study has revealed the efficacy of the effect of drama over other instructional strategies. It has equally revealed the interaction effect of socioeconomic background of students and gender in achievement of students in physics.


This study is limited to six schools in Isolo District of Lagos State. Sections of schools were based on the following criteria;

1.      The school must be a mixed school

2.      The school must be up to five years in existence

3.      Availability of qualified Physics teachers

4.      The school laboratory must be moderately equipped.


The study provided answers to the following research questions;

1.      Is there any difference in the achievement and attitude of student taught using drama method and those taught using practical work in physics?

2.      Is there any difference in the achievement and attitude of students taught using conventional method and those taught using drama method in physics?

3.      Is there any difference in the achievement and attitude of students taught using conventional method and those taught using practical work in physics?

4.      Is there any interaction effect of the drama method, gender and social economic background on students’ achievement and attitude in physics?


H01:     There is no significant main effect of treatment on:

a.       achievement of students in Physics

b.      attitude of students towards Physics

H02: There is no significant main effect of gender on:

a.       achievement of students inPhysics

b.      attitude of students towards Physics

H03: There is no significant main effect of socio-economic background on:

a.       achievement of students in Physics

b.      attitude of students towards Physics

H04: There is no significant interaction effect of treatment and gender on:

a.       achievement of students in Physics

b.      attitude of students towards Physics

H05: There is no significant interaction effect of treatment and socio-economic background of students on:

a.       achievement of students in Physics

b.      attitude towards Physics

H06: There is no significant interaction effect of socio-economic background and gender on:

a.       achievement of students in Physics

b.      attitude towards Physics

H07: There is no significant interaction effect of treatment, gender and socio-economic background on:

c.       achievement of students in Physics

d.      attitude towards Physics


Physics Achievement-This is the manifestation of learning that has taken place. It is measured by the scores obtained at the end of a session, topic , end of a term or at the end of a course. In the case of this study, the scores of the students on the physics achievement test were used to reflect this parameter.

Play: A behaviour used during the development of children to learn about their environment which produces enjoyment (Piaget, 1951).

Performance: it refers to output or product in Physics that can be measured or how well or bad a student does in physics. It is measured by Physics Achievement Test and Attitude towards physics.

Gender: As in whether male or female.

Treatment: This refers to the three teaching methods used such as drama, practical work and conventional

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