Factors that influence choice of teaching techniques used by biology teachers in Nairobi Province.
Kiplagat, Dorcas J
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Education systems the world over have put a lot of emphasis on skill development. This emphasis is quite-pronounced among the science subjects which provide a strong foundation for scientific innovations. The 8.4.4 system of Education in Kenya has laid a strong emphasis on the aspect of skill development both in the primary and secondary school curricula. The development of scientific skills largely depends on methods of teaching used. Every science teacher is expected to have a clear understanding of the basis for his/her profession. A command of facts of science as well as the ability to encourage and inspire his/her students is very important. Studies have shown that no single method is best for all topics and for all teachers and learners. The crucial factor is that teaching should focus more on the needs of the learners. The teacher is required to consider the subject matter, the objectives, facilities and other factors in relation to the learners needs. Some of those most important needs are the learners' aspirations, which become a reality through knowledge and skills previously acquired in school. Examinations, which are presumed to measure achievement in knowledge and skills, continue to be poorly performed by many secondary school students in Kenya. Among the factors blamed for the performance are poor teaching methods. This study therefore drew its inspiration from the need to identify the teaching methods used in teaching biology. The study also attempted to bring to light the factors that influence teachers' choice of the teaching techniques and problems that hamper use of effective teaching methods and to make recommendations for their improvement. To study this problem a research was carried out in Nairobi' Province. The study employed descriptive survey design. A sample of 160 biology teachers was drawn from public secondary schools. A questionnaire and an observation check- list were used to collect data. The analysis of data was done through use of descriptive statistics such as percentages and frequencies. Contingency coefficient test was used to determine the extent of relationship among different variables related to the teacher. The study findings revealed that there was still heavy use of expository teaching methods in biology yet their contribution to teaching and learning has been established to be minimal or negative by several researchers. Several factors were studied among them curriculum, administrative/school, pupil and teacher factors in relation to choice of teaching techniques. The findings indicated that younger teachers used more effective methods than older ones. Experience appeared not to add much value to use of more effective methods. Male teachers seemed to use higher order inquiry oriented methods compared to females. Learners' needs appeared to have been ignored by teachers as they attempted to overcome the curriculum and other school related problems. In view of the above findings the researcher made the following main recommendations: That; a study be carried out to relate each teaching method to its productivity so as to determine their effectiveness in meeting objectives of biology/science teaching. a study be carried out to establish reasons why Dip. Ed holders used inquiry oriented methods more than the B.Ed holders. • regular supervision of biology teachers be carried out to help the teachers keep abreast with new methods of teaching and any other new development in the field of biology. • the Ministry of Education Science and Technology(MOEST) should criticalJy examine the country's examination system and make necessary alterations to allow for the testing of higher cognitive activities that can compel teachers to teach according to the objectives of science teaching. • the biology content be restructured and some parts taken to other academic levels to reduce the pressure on teachers to cover the syllabus on time. Reduced content may motivate teachers to use more effective teaching methods.