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1.1               Background to theStudy


Phe is the scientific study of interaction of chemical substances that constitute atoms or the subatomic particles; protons, electrons and neutrons. It is an integral part of the science curriculum both at the tertiary institution as well as higher institutions. At this level, it is often called “general phe” which is an introduction to a wide variety of fundamental concepts that enables students to acquire tools and basic skills useful at the advanced level. One of the objectives of science education is to develop students’ interest towards science and technology. The development of any nation today depends greatly on its technological and scientific advancement. Teachers are expected to device ways of motivating their students to develop positive attitudes towards science and science related disciplines (Sola and Ojo, 2007). Phe, in particular is central to many of the scientific fields of human endeavors; therefore, teaching ofphe should be given serious attention.


Science teachers have always recognized the importance of practical work as a means of introducing learners to the scientific process of experimentation.To this end, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Union of pure and Applied Phe (IUPAC) have participated in numerous international meetingsto promote inexpensive experimental based teaching in phe. Inquiry teaching method is a style or method of teaching where the learner is seeking to discover and create answers to recognized problems through procedure of making a diligent search, some time with minimum guidance from the teacher (Callahan, et al 1995). Science process skills are based on scientific inquiry and teaching science by inquiry involvesteaching students science process skills, critical thinking, scientific

reasoningskillsusedbyscientists(PrattandHackett,1998)and inquiry is defined as an

proach to teaching, the acts scientists use in doing science and it can be a highly effective teaching method that helps students to understand concepts and use of process skills (Yagger and Akcay, 2010). Inquiry teaching method is also a term used in science teaching that refers to a way of questioning, seeking knowledge, information or finding out about phenomena, it involves investigating data and arriving at a conclusion (Sola and Ojo, 2007). In inquiry situation students learn not only concept but also self- direction, responsibility and social communication. It also permits students to assimilate and accommodate information. It is the way people learn when they are leftalone.


Cheval and Hart (2005), classify inquiry teaching method into three (3) classes, namely: structured inquiry, guided inquiry and open inquiry. All these types of inquiry can be useful to students to learn science when taught appropriately. Structured inquiry is the most teacher-centered of the three types of inquiry. This type of inquiry is commonly seen in science classrooms in the form of laboratory exercises. The teacher provides fairly structured procedures for the inquiry activity, and students carry out the investigations. Structured inquiry could be described as the most traditional approach to inquiry (Cheval and Hart, 2005). The open inquiry on the other side is a type of inquiry which requires the least amount of teacher intervention and is student centered. Students, in this case, often work in groups and plan all phases of their investigations, while guided inquiry falls in the middle of the inquiry instructional spectrum. This type of inquiry is commonly used when students are asked to make tools or develop a process that results in a desired outcome. For example, a science teacher gives his seventh grade middle school students materials to create a rocket but no instructions for designing the rocket. The students must use their own knowledge and creativity to design the rocket so that it will launch properly, fly a certain distance, and land without becoming disassembled.   The  teacher   provides  the   problem  and   materials   and  the students



2005). In this study, guided inquiry will be used. Students will be given a set of topic and materials to develop method to find answers to the given problem. The lecture method is used primarily to introduce students to a new subject, but is also a valuable method for summarizing ideas, showing relationships between theory and practice, and re- emphasizing main points.Phe activities deals with telling and showing, therefore, a lecture-demonstration method is a teaching technique that combines oral explanation with “doing” to communicate processes, concepts and facts. It is particularly effective in teaching a skill that can beobserved.


Demonstration is usually accompanied by a thorough explanation, which is essentially a lecture. Lecture method according to Garba(1996), is a traditional method of transmission of knowledge; it is essentially a one-way process. The current Nigerian classroom whether primary, secondary or tertiary institutions level, tends to resemble a one-person show with a captain but often comatose audience. Classes are usually driven by “teacher-talk” and depend heavily on textbooks for the structure of the courses. Teachers serve as pipelines and seek to transfer their thoughts and meanings to passive students. There is little room for student-initiated questions, independent thought or interaction between students. Therefore, the study is aimed at determining the effect of guided inquiry teaching strategy and the traditional methods on students’ academic performance in phe at the tertiary institution level. Guided Inquiry teaching method is chosen in this study due to its scientific nature and it is student-centered and it involves all scientificprocess.


1.2               Statement of theProblem



Students’ persistent poor performance in phe has been partly ascribed to inadequateteachingandinstructionalmethodsadoptedbyteachers.Insupportingthis

view,   Derek   (2007),   reported  the   seriousness   of  the   deplorable   performance of


secondary school students in phe and identified the persistent use of the traditional methods of instruction as one of the major shortcoming affecting  the learning and higher achievement in phe . Many students find phe to be a hindrance in attaining their aims and objectives. Donald, (2000) said students wishing to read medicine cannot do so unless they credit phe. It is therefore necessary to properly groom the students right from the secondary level to enable them improve their academic achievement in phe. Poor performance of students in science subjects, particularly phe, has assumed a serious dimension as reported by West African Examination Council (1991). In the light of this, science teachers need to seek suitable ways of tackling the current massive failure in phe if they are to halt the drifts of science students to art and social sciencesubjects.


1.3               Objectives of theStudy



The objectives of this study are to:


  1. determine the effects of guided inquiry method and traditional method on the performance of phe students in tertiary institutions in Kanostate;
  2. determine the effects of guided inquiry method on the performance of students in phe in Kanostate;
  3. determinethe effects of guided inquiry method on theperformance of male and female students in phe in Kano state; and
  4. determine the differencein the performance between urban and rural students in phe taught with guided inquiry teaching method in Kanostate.


1.4               ResearchQuestions


  1. What is the effect of guided inquiry method and traditional method on the Performance of students in phe in tertiary institutions in Kano state?
  2. What is the effect of guided inquiry method on the academic Performance of students in phe in Kanostate?
  3. What is the effect of guided inquiry method on the performance of male and female students in tertiary institution in pheKanostate?
  4. What is the difference in the performance of students in phe in tertiary institutions taught with guided inquiry teaching method in Kanostate?

1.5               NullHypotheses



The following null hypotheses were tested:


Ho1:       Guided inquiry methodand traditional method have no significant effect on the performance of phe students in tertiary institutions in Kanostate;

Ho2: There is no significant effect of guided inquiry method on the academic performance of phe students in Kanostate;

Ho3:       Guided inquiry method hasno significant effect on the performances of male and female studentsinphe in Kanostate;

Ho4:       There is no significant difference in the performance between urban and rural students taught phe with guided inquiry teaching method in Kanostate.

1.6                       BasicAssumptions



This study has the following assumptions


  1. It is assumed that most phe teachers in the secondary schools do not make use of appropriate phe teaching methods in secondary schools in Kanostate.
  2. It is also assumed that teachers are employed to teach Phe without considering their area of specialization, educational qualifications andtraining.


  1. It is assumed that teachers do not use appropriate Phe teachingmethods.


  1. Learning by doing could enhance and motivatestudentsto improve on their performance inphe.

1.7               Significance of theStudy



The findings of this study will help in the following ways:


The phe teachers will utilize the findings of this study in their phe classrooms; helping students’ understanding of phe concepts through guided inquiry teaching method. Students at the tertiary institution (SSS) level in Kano state and other states can be encouraged and motivated by this research.Active involvement of students helps to develop self-confidence and positive attitude to phe through this research.The study will provide information for educational planners and curriculum designers in the Federal Ministry of Education. They will support the use of inquiry teaching method in tertiary institutions by carrying out effective quality assurance for teachers in order to improve teaching/learning situations currently existing in tertiary institutions in Kanostate.


It is hoped that the students will find Phe very  interesting  as  it  will  equip them for job opportunities in industries  in  both private and public sectors such  asmanufacturingandprocessingindustries,industriesrelatedtopetroleum,chemical,


ceramic, polymer, food, electronics, the environmental, mining, pharmaceuticals and health- related industries, agriculture industries, government agencies, including forensic science and patents, defence, education and research, and areas related to biotechnology.


1.8               Scope of theStudy


This study on Effects of guided inquiry method on academic performance of phestudents is delimited to tertiary institutions in Sabon/gariand Zaria local government areas of Kano state, Nigeria. The study involves senior secondary two (YEAR 2) phe students with a total population of five thousand, nine hundred and thirteen (5,913).It is delimited to a consideration of the effects of inquiry method on students’ performance in phe in Kano state.


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