Chapter One


Background of the Study

The success of a country’s education and manpower development is critical to its economic prosperity. Education is the foundation for any country’s economic and technological progress. As one of the oldest industries, education is the major tool used by society to preserve, update, improve, and maintain a balanced social history. In addition to literacy, the purpose of education, according to the Federal Ministry of Education (2013), is to teach pupils rational thinking, knowledge, skill, self-efficiency, and self-reliance. According to Uza (2014), one of the key purposes of education in Nigeria is the learning of relevant skills, as well as the development of mental, physical, and social abilities that support human and individual endeavors to live and contribute to society’s growth. In order to reach the educational aim, teachers are expected to apply new teaching approaches throughout instruction, which results in poor academic achievement. This pattern of poor student accomplishment in class subjects suggests that the great majority of students who take exams graduate without grasping the fundamentals of those disciplines. Most teachers prefer traditional teaching approaches when providing content, according to study findings (Agba, 2004). As a result, Efe & Efe (2011) called for instructors to adopt a variety of innovative teaching strategies, such as problem-solving, in providing intervention classes. Learners’ ability to acquire functional knowledge, science process skills, and problem-solving abilities are hampered by ineffective teaching and learning techniques. The traditional lecture technique, according to ipaye (1991), is inadequate in attaining the goals of teaching Social Studies. Nigerian pupils’ performance in the West African School Certificate Examinations (WASCE) has declined over time, according to Ipaye (1991). As a result, he advised professional teachers to try out novel teaching strategies in order to stop the tide of low exam results. According to Adewuya (2003), the rate of absorption in secondary schools is as low as 20 to 30 percent as a result of the lecture approach utilized in schools. In Ekiti State, Nigeria, Abdu-Raheem (2010) concluded that the lecture method is ineffective in teaching Social Studies in secondary schools.

To face this challenge, education must look for more trustworthy and effective ways to teach students so that they can build skills that will allow them to compete successfully in a technological and scientific world. While presenting a new vision for teacher educators, Long (1991) proposes that instructors will need to be versatile, dynamic, insightful, and equipped to cope with change. He went on to remark that qualified instructors will be able to reflect on their teaching methods in order to better meet the needs of their students. These revolutionary approaches have not been adopted by science instructors in Nigeria in comparison to the traditional method (Owolabi, 2006). Questioning, sorting, field trips, interviews, brainstorming, role-playing, projects, utilizing resource people, library searches, and so on. All of these approaches encourage students to engage in problem-solving activities like as critical thinking, gathering additional information, evaluating, investigating, and amassing themes and ideas, formulating hypotheses, testing assumptions, and collecting and analyzing data.

Statement of the Problem

Over the years, there have been complaints about the poor quality of education in Nigeria. The typical student’s performance in the senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE) and the national examination council (NECO) is not very impressive, which does not bode well for the country’s technical advancement. Given the importance of education, it is critical to concentrate on instructors’ problem-solving abilities in order to achieve the necessary improvement in students’ learning outcomes, particularly in physics in senior secondary schools. According to recent study, teachers’ problem-solving talents have a significant impact on students’ learning methods, which in turn affects their performance. According to Rockoff (2004) and Hanushek (1998, 2005), instructors’ problem-solving ability and qualitative competencies lead to at least a 7% and one standard deviation increase in students’ academic progress. Many stakeholders in the field have expressed concern over students’ poor performance in the subject. The curriculum of this activity-based course, like any other science topic, emphasizes the utilization of an activity-based learning style. Unfortunately, according to studies such as Lakpini (2006) and Lawal (2009), teachers tend to avoid activity-based teaching methods in favor of easy-to-follow lecture methods, which are often insufficient and inappropriate for meaningful learning. The study looked into the problem-solving abilities of teachers and their impact on pupils’ academic progress.

Objective of the Study

The overall goal of this research is to look into instructors’ problem-solving abilities and how they affect students’ academic progress using Lagos as a case study.

The study’s objectives are as follows:

  1. Determine whether a problem-solving strategy can help students improve their critical thinking skills in secondary school.
  2. Determine whether brainstorming as a problem-solving strategy can help secondary school students develop problem-solving skills.
  3. Examine whether problem-based learning is more innovative and preferable to standard lecture learning.
  4. Examine whether a teacher’s problem-solving ability can influence student academic progress as a student-centered technique.

Research Hypothesis

HO1: As a problem-solving strategy, brainstorming is incapable of instilling problem-solving skills in secondary school students.

HO2: As a student-centered strategy, a teacher’s problem-solving ability is incapable of impacting student academic progress.

 Significance of the Study

The outcomes of this research are expected to have both practical and theoretical implications. Teachers, curriculum developers, and school administrators will profit from the research. The research could be considered theoretically relevant because it will shed light on current theories that may influence issue solving. Curriculum planners would use the information from the study’s conclusions in their planning. The data could aid curriculum developers in determining the suitability of the senior secondary biology program’s problem-solving component. Finally, the research would add empirically to the body of existing literature and serve as a reference source for students or other academics interested in conducting research on a comparable topic.

Scope of the Study

The overall goal of this research is to look into instructors’ problem-solving abilities and how they affect students’ academic progress using Lagos as a case study. The goal of the study is to see if problem-solving techniques may help students improve their critical thinking skills in secondary school. It will be determined whether brainstorming, as a problem-solving strategy, is capable of instilling problem-solving skills in secondary school students. It will look into whether problem-based learning is more innovative and preferable than standard lecture learning. The research is limited to a few secondary schools in Ikeja Local Government.

Limitation of the Study

The researchers faced some limitations while conducting the study, as with any human endeavor. Because of the scarcity of literature on the subject and the nature of the discourse, the researcher incurred higher financial costs and spent more time sourcing for relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data collection process, which is why the researcher chose a small sample size. In addition, the researcher will do this research while also working on other academic projects. Furthermore, the sample size was limited because only a few respondents were chosen to complete the research instrument, so the findings cannot be applied to other corporate organizations.

Definition of Terms

Method of Instruction:

A teaching approach refers to the principles and techniques that teachers employ to help students learn. These tactics are influenced by the subject matter to be taught as well as the learner’s personality.

Learning Through Problems:

PBL is a teaching approach in which students attempt to solve an issue or a series of problems that are novel to them. PBL is based on a constructivist approach and hence encourages active learning.

Problem-Solving Capabilities:

Students learn through working on problems using the problem-solving process. This allows pupils to gain new knowledge by confronting difficulties that must be solved. Students are expected to observe, comprehend, analyze, interpret, develop answers, and apply their knowledge to achieve a holistic comprehension of the idea.

Academic Excellence:

Academic achievement refers to how far a student or institution has progressed toward short or long-term educational objectives. Students’ accomplishment can be measured by their grade point average, while institutions’ achievement can be measured by graduation rates.

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