Biology Students in Rural and Urban Secondary Schools’ Knowledge of Laboratory Safety Practices
Different people have different ideas about what science is. Some people think of science as a body of knowledge, while others think of science as a way of getting knowledge. According to Clark and Neaew (2010), science is the systematic observation and classification of natural phenomena with the goal of learning more about them and bringing them into line with general rules and principles.
According to Okeke (2007), science is the methodical acquisition of testable and verifiable knowledge about nature and natural events through careful observation and experimentation. As an organized body of knowledge that describes and attempts to explain some aspects of the natural world in a systematic manner, this definition places an emphasis on the process and product nature of science.
Biology is a science that deals with the processes of life. Biology is taught as a subject in almost all secondary schools. According to Clank and Neare (2010), biology as a subject of study encompasses all biological science and represents an approach that recognizes that all living things or organisms share certain chemical, molecular, and structural features that interact in the natural world in accordance with well-defined principles and adhere to the same rules regarding inheritance and evaluation.
Since biology serves as the foundation for a lot of applied sciences like medicine, agriculture, pharmacy, nursing, home science, and food technology, it should be studied alongside practical activities. The emphasis is placed on the scientific method of hypothesizing, observing, testing, retesting, researching, summarizing, and concluding as the most effective method of teaching biology, and the majority of these activities are performed in the laboratory.
According to Ali (2011), science experiments are typically carried out in a laboratory using chemicals, specimens, materials, and equipment. For activities that help students develop their science process skulls, the laboratory provides the ideal setting. In a school or college, the biology laboratory is a room or a building where the practical aspects of biology are taught. Typically, it is a space designated for biology practical activities.
Awareness is the first step toward laboratory safety’s a, b, c, and s. According to Clark and Neave (2010), laboratories have the potential to be “dangerous” places, and all users must maintain constant vigilance and employ effective methods of operation to prevent accidents. A laboratory must be well-organized to provide a safe environment for scientific concepts to be investigated.
Since the laboratory environment is designed for humans, accidents and injuries are bound to occur, according to Bryd (2003). Any curriculum designed around the needs of children must inevitably focus on safety or be guilty of neglecting learning experiences of the utmost significance. When using the laboratory, students are obligated to protect themselves and others. Teachers, on the other hand, are responsible for instilling safety knowledge and practices in their students. By doing so, they can develop a safety philosophy that places an emphasis on good habits rather than bad ones.
The process of avoiding danger is what safety practices mean. The advanced learner’s dictionary defines safety as being free of danger or risk. According to Mba and Uba (2012), the activities that take place in the laboratory to prevent accidents and promote healthy laboratory work include the following: in a laboratory, avoid eating, drinking, or smoking; at all practical lessons, always wearing an overall coat; learning where the fire alarm, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, telephone, and other safety equipment are located;
becoming familiar with the primary switches that control the laboratory’s supply of electricity, gas, and water; ensuring that students are never allowed to work alone in the lab without supervision; not using equipment or materials you are unfamiliar with; after each practical exercise, cleaning the laboratory; ensuring that all services, such as gas, water, and electricity, are turned off at night; making sure that all bunsen burners are turned off and there are no naked flames before using flammable solvent, as well as informing other staff members of any breakages, malfunctions, or other defects.
According to Ekpo (2009), laboratory safety can be summed up as “all the prevailing working conditions and atmosphere in the laboratory environment” that “keep the chances of an accident or danger to the students, workers, laboratory attendants, and teachers in check or reduced to the lowest possible level.” This definition can be used to refer to the entire laboratory environment. Osborne (2011) maintained that good judgment, careful manipulation of laboratory equipment, adequate supervision, and most importantly, knowledge of safety practices and their application can minimize most laboratory hazards.
Knowledge of Laboratory Safety Practices by Biology Students in Rural and Urban Secondary Schools It should come as no surprise that those who are unaware run the greatest risk of transforming a minor hazard into a potentially fatal accident. In addition, safety equipment such as fume cupboards, eye goggles, fire blankets, fire extinguishers, sinks, waste containers, eye wash stations, safety showers, first aid boxes, and other items may pose health risks if they are not present in biology laboratories.
To guarantee the safety of the live, it is necessary to actively supervise the students during laboratory activities in order to reduce the rate of accidents. Before allowing students to work in the laboratory, a stand and laboratory should have specific safety rules and regulations, as well as safety materials and equipment, and their implementation should be ensured.
Ajayi (2004), who concurred that one of the barriers to effective laboratory instruction is a lack of laboratory space and equipment. In accordance with Ritch and Rank (2016), in order to facilitate the teaching and learning of biology concepts, safety equipment must be available in the laboratories. Students should wear adequate protective gear, especially when experiments involving hazardous chemicals or procedures are conducted, according to the findings, which also indicate that students do not observe safety practices.
However, a number of factors, including students’ proper engagement in learning processes, have been linked to their knowledge of these laboratory safety practices; school factors like gender and type of school In light of the preceding, Pascarella (2019) asserted that schools in rural areas will have all of the characteristics of a rural environment, so the author attributed students’ knowledge of laboratory activities to the school environment. Similar to a rural school, an urban school will have environment-based activities that are unique to its environment.
Therefore, the degree of exposure may differ depending on the school environment. As a result, the quality of education may not be uniform; Additionally, the national education policy for a democratic and egalitarian society cannot be achieved without effort.
According to Olatunbosun (2018), who investigated the connection between students’ laboratory exposure and the location of a school, urban students are more likely to be exposed than rural students who live in rural areas without access to such facilities. Urban schools frequently have higher concentrations of poverty, greater racial and ethnic diversity, and greater linguistic diversity than rural schools (Kinchoheloe, 2010).
According to Wilson (2017), the gender of the students can also be attributed to their knowledge of laboratory safety practices and exposure to them. This is the case for biology students in rural and urban secondary schools. The socially constructed characteristics of women, men, girls, and boys are referred to as gender. This encompasses gender-specific social norms, behaviors, roles, and relationships. Gender is a social factor that varies by society and can change over time. Inequality caused by gender is hierarchical and intertwines with other forms of social and economic inequality.
Race, socioeconomic status, disability, age, location, gender identity, and sexual orientation are all forms of discrimination that intersect with gender discrimination. Crossing is this practice. Gender does not interact with gender. The various biological and physiological characteristics of females, males, and intersex individuals, including genitals, hormones, and chromosomes, are all referred to as gender. While gender and gender identity are related, they are distinct.
This study aims to investigate biology students’ knowledge of laboratory safety practices in both rural and urban secondary schools in the Ikot Abasi Local Government Area: effects on instruction
1.2 Statement of the Issue As science advances around the world, studying biology becomes a more difficult but rewarding endeavor. One of the most important factors in a successful biology education is the availability of a functional laboratory. This is because the issue of student and staff safety during practical work has been a very important one in the illusion of laboratory experience. In some Nigerian secondary schools, laboratories have been seen without safety considerations at the forefront of design and construction.
Glass breaking, skin contact with specimens and chemicals, electrical accidents, needles and sharps accidents, fire outbreaks, and even fatalities have all been the result of unsafe laboratory practices. Therefore, the researcher decides to formulate the problem statement as follows from this point of view: whether biology students in the Ikot Abasi local government area are well-versed in laboratory and practical safety procedures? During the practical session, do they put their safety knowledge into practice? This study is motivated by the need to find answers to these questions.
1.3 The Purpose of the Study The purpose of the study is to determine whether biology students in rural and urban secondary schools in the Ikot Abasi Local Government Area are familiar with laboratory safety procedures: effects on instruction In particular, the study aims to determine:
the difference in laboratory safety practices between male biology students in urban and rural secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area;
the difference in laboratory safety practices between female biology students in urban and rural secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area; and the distinction between biology students in urban and rural secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area who are well-versed in laboratory safety procedures.
1.4 Research Questions To guide the study, the following research questions have been formulated:
Is there a significant difference in laboratory safety knowledge between male biology students in urban and rural secondary schools?
Is there a significant difference in laboratory safety knowledge between female biology students in urban and rural secondary schools?
Is there a significant difference in laboratory safety practices between biology students in urban and rural secondary schools?
1.5 Research Hypotheses The following hypotheses have been proposed:
There is no significant difference in the level of laboratory safety knowledge between male biology students in urban and rural secondary schools. Similarly, there is no significant difference in laboratory safety knowledge between female biology students in urban and rural secondary schools.
Students in rural and urban secondary schools who are well-versed in laboratory safety procedures do not significantly differ.
1.6 Importance of the Study The findings of this research will be important to students, teachers, schools, the government, and curriculum planners, among other individuals and groups.
To pupils: They will learn to observe safety procedures in the laboratory during the session. Students will be able to work safely in the laboratory with the assistance of this study, and they will also be more resourceful during the lesson.
Knowing the level of safety practices that are in place among students and laboratory assistants will be beneficial to teachers. Because of this, they will be able to teach their student safety procedures more effectively. The study’s findings will also help biology teachers understand the frequent accidents and poor performance in science classes for senior secondary students.
For schools: Because it will provide information on the significance of laboratory safety practices in our senior secondary schools, it will be significant to the schools. As a result, they are required to provide methods for ensuring safety procedures during laboratory sessions.
To the authorities: They would gain insight into the level of laboratory safety practices in urban and rural schools based on this study’s findings. Because of this, schools must equip their labs with adequate safety equipment to ensure students’ safety during practical sessions.
Curriculum developers: When developing a curriculum, it will be helpful for them to be aware of the necessity of teaching safety practices in senior secondary schools.
By taking into account students’ knowledge of laboratory safety procedures, the findings of this study will also assist curriculum planners in designing a useful curriculum.
This study will provide a data bank and information on the level of safety practices for other researchers studying similar topics.
According to Rabia (2014), Computer Assisted Instruction is an interactive instructional method in which a computer is used to present the material and monitor learning. According to Oyenuga (2018), Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) is an interactive instructional method in which a computer is used to present the material and monitor learning, while students receive feedback from the computer and retain some degree of control. Simulation, animation, drill, and practice are some of the instructional methods that can be assisted by computers.
Similar to how a human tutor or teacher might, the tutorial generally provides students with new information. Computer drills and practice, according to Mevarech (2019), are based on the principles of programmed learning or instruction. Activities for instruction are presented either in a linear or branching manner, with links to videos and graphs. Computer tutorial calls for using sight, hearing, and touch, provides immediate feedback, develops proficiency in computer use, and gives students a sense of control over their learning (Bialo and Silvin, 2019).
A drill is a series of tasks, exercises, or words that are repeatedly performed until they are flawless. According to Mudasiru and Adedeji (2010), in a computer drill and practice design, the student is presented with questions or problems to solve on the computer screen, and if they answer correctly, the computer gives them another problem to solve. If they answer incorrectly, the computer corrects the student (Mudasiru and Adedeji 2010).
Students are able to retain previously taught concepts thanks to the interactive nature of drill and practice (Rabia, 2014). Additionally, there are a number of advantages to using computer drills and practice as a teaching and learning tool. The utilization of multiple senses, self-paced and self-directed learning, and the capacity to represent content in a variety of media are examples of these. With self-paced learning, students can progress through a program at their own pace.
Computer drills and practice, according to Cotton (2018), provide students with controlled instructions, prompt feedback, the ability to adapt instructions (presentations mode and instructional content mode) using authoring systems, lessons with multiple purposes, random access facilities, and facilities for revision and updating, allowing students to progress at their own pace.
Students can choose what they want to learn and in what order with self-directed learning. According to a number of studies (Entwistle, 2019), improvements in the efficiency of the learning process typically occur when students learn in a manner that best suits them. Humans have multiple senses. It is easier to remember information the more senses we use to receive it.
People remember 20% of what they hear, 40% of what they see and hear, and 75% of what they do, according to Fletcher (2019). Physics is one of the sciences that can benefit from the computer’s ability to use multiple senses and present information in a variety of formats. As a result, it is absolutely necessary for physicists to employ a teaching strategy that encourages students’ active participation in learning and creates a conducive learning environment in order to increase student achievement and pique their interest in the subject.
Physics is a natural science that uses measurements, experiments, and mathematical analysis to find quantitative physical laws for everything in the universe, from the nanoworld in the microcosm to the planets, solar systems, and galaxies in the macrocosm (Moodly, 2018). The word “physics” comes from the Greek word “physikos,” which means “nature” in both its macroscopic and submicroscopic senses.
It investigates the nature and origin of gravitational, electromagnetic, and nuclear force fields in addition to the behavior of objects under the action of particular forces. The formulation of a few general principles that unite and explain all of these disparate phenomena is its ultimate goal.
The ultimate goal of physics is to discover a unified set of laws that govern matter, motion, and energy at the smallest (microscopic) subatomic, human (macroscopic), and greatest (extra-galactic) distances. This lofty objective has been significantly accomplished.
A remarkably small set of fundamental physical laws appears to be able to account for all known phenomena, despite the fact that a completely unified theory of physical phenomena has not yet been achieved and probably will never be. The motions of macroscopic objects that move slowly in relation to the speed of light and phenomena like heat, sound, electricity, magnetism, and light can largely be explained by the body of physics known as classical physics that developed around the turn of the 20th century. These laws are altered in the sense that they apply to higher speeds, extremely massive objects, and the tiniest elementary particles of matter like electrons, protons, and neutrons (Cho, 2012).
In recent times, the scientific discipline whose goal is to discover and formulate the fundamental laws of nature was referred to as natural philosophy instead of physics. Physics came to refer to that portion of physical science that was not included in engineering, chemistry, astronomy, or geology as the modern sciences developed and became increasingly specialized. However, there are branches of physics that place a special emphasis on physical laws and measurements in all of the natural sciences, including astrophysics, geophysics, biophysics, and even psychophysics. Finally, we can say that physics is the study of energy, motion, and matter.
In the language of science, its laws are typically expressed with economy and precision (Krupp, 2013). Theory, the creation of a unified conceptual framework, and experiments, the observation of phenomena in conditions that are controlled as precisely as possible, both play crucial and complementary roles in the development of physics. Measuring results from physical experiments are compared to predictions made by theory. A theory is said to embody a physics law if it accurately predicts the outcomes of the experiments it applies to. However, if a subsequent experiment deems it necessary, a law can always be altered, replaced, or restricted to a smaller domain.
Additionally, the significance of physics in everyday life is exemplified by society’s reliance on technology. Without the significant scientific discoveries that were made in the past, many aspects of modern society would not have been possible. The development of current technologies was based on these discoveries. Modern conveniences like television, computers, phones, and other home and business technologies were made possible by discoveries like magnetism, electricity, and conductors, among others. Using physics-based concepts, modern modes of transportation like airplanes and telecommunications have brought people from all over the world closer together.
Physics tries to find new ways to deal with the energy crisis that both developed and developing countries are facing. In the same way that physics aids engineering, biochemistry, and computer science, professionals and researchers develop novel strategies for utilizing existing and new energy sources (Fred, 2019). The current study is necessary due to the significance of physics to society in order to examine the level of physics instruction in teacher education programs. Physics occupies a prominent spot in the curriculum of the senior secondary school because of its numerous significance.
In a similar vein, Boyle, Duffy, and Donleavy (2013) state that the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2002) based their recommendation that all technical and vocational education systems in the 21st century should be geared toward lifelong learning on the growing effects of globalization and the rapid rate of technological change on workplaces.
Schools must do this in addition to teaching academic skills; In order to increase students’ flexibility and job mobility, which will make them adaptable to the current and anticipated changes, instill basic workplace skills like learning to learn, creativity, problem-solving skills, collaborative skills, and higher-order thinking skills (Hallak and Poisson, 2018).
According to Rojewskin (2012), in order for students to acquire new knowledge and skills relevant to the 21st century, it is necessary to switch from teacher-centered instruction to learner-centered instruction. Computer exercises and drills may be very useful in achieving a student-centered approach to teaching physics.
However, computer drills and practice have been the subject of numerous studies. The outcomes of these studies were very different. According to Nurettin, Imşek, Zlem, and Ar, 2019; there was no significant difference in students’ academic performance in science subjects between computer drills and practice and traditional teaching methods. Cetin, 2017). Other researchers found that computer drills and practice were more effective than traditional teaching methods at improving students’ academic achievement (Liao, 2017; Bryan, 2016; Yenice, 2019).
Stakeholders have repeatedly called for gender equality in science (including physics) education. This is due to the fact that it appears that there is still a significant bias against female students, which prevents them from participating and succeeding academically. Olowe (2010) emphasized the significance of examining instructional strategy in light of gender, primarily in light of the differences in socioeconomic status that exist between boys and girls. The author asserts that, historically, girls in our society are expected to conform to social norms, whereas boys are expected to be active and dominant risk takers.
Science educators have long been concerned about the impact of gender on physics learning, but no consistent results have emerged. Male students, according to some researchers, do better academically and develop positive attitudes toward physics subjects than female students. For instance, Oluyemi (2013) and Wiwat (2013) found that having a positive attitude toward learning new concepts has a significant impact on academic performance for both male and female students.
In addition, Onasanya, Daramola, and Asuquo (2016) found that there was no significant difference in the mean achievement of male and female students when they examined the effect of gender on the achievement of students taught physics with computer drills and practice. The obvious conclusion that can be drawn from these findings is that students’ academic performance is not significantly affected by the use of computer drills and practice in all subjects. The current investigation into the relative effectiveness of computer practice and drill on the academic achievement of Physics students in senior secondary schools was then informed by this.
1.2 Statement of the Issue Personal observation of teaching practices has demonstrated that experimentation has been replaced by memorization of facts in some Nigerian schools, preventing the achievement of physics teaching goals for many decades to come.
This is demonstrated by secondary school students in the Uyo Local Government Area’s low achievement and lack of interest in physics and science in general. The researcher then considered whether the use of computer drills and practice instructional strategies could affect students’ physics academic achievement. Therefore, the researcher was motivated to investigate the relative effectiveness of computer drills and practice on senior secondary students’ academic achievement in Physics in the Uyo Local Government Area in order to provide an answer to the question.
1.3 The Purpose of the Study The study’s objective is to determine how well senior secondary students in the Uyo Local Government Area’s Physics academic achievement is affected by computer practice and drill. The study specifically sought to:
determine the difference between students taught physics using computer drills and practice and traditional methods in terms of mean achievement scores;
use computer drills and a practice strategy to compare the mean achievement scores of male and female physics students.
1.4 Research Questions: What is the difference between students taught physics using conventional methods and computer-based drills and practice?
What is the difference between male and female students taught physics using computer drills and practice strategies in terms of their mean achievement score?
1.5 Hypotheses There is no significant difference in the mean achievement score between students taught physics through conventional and computer-based practice and drills.
The mean achievement score of male and female students taught physics using computer drills and practice strategies is not significantly different.
1.6 Importance of the Study The results of this study would be helpful to: Curriculum developers, students, the ministry of education, and future researchers
Teachers: Teachers will use the instrument rather than the teacher-created test to evaluate their students as a result of this study’s findings. Physics teachers would be able to determine the efficacy of computer practice and drill by comparing the academic achievement scores of students taught with computer drills and practice to those taught with conventional methods.
As physical teachers assume supervisory roles, their work will become easier and more engaging. The morale of physics teachers will greatly benefit from this. In contrast to the current conventional teaching method, which is teacher-centered, the knowledge gained through skills in the use of computer drills and practice methods of teaching will be superior.
Students: If this study’s findings are implemented successfully, they will also increase students’ interest in and participation in classroom activities. The use of computer drill and practice commands to achieve active engagement, frequent interaction, and connection to the real world of work will improve students’ achievements and interest. Students will be able to pass their physics exams as a result of this.
Department of Education: The results of this study will be beneficial to the ministry of education.
If found to be effective, computer practice and drill will undoubtedly influence the Ministry of Education’s decision regarding the necessity of providing computers and laboratories in senior secondary schools. Findings will also make the Ministry more aware of the need to hold conferences, workshops, and seminars to teach physics teachers how to use Computer Tutorial and Drill to improve how they teach.
Educational program Designers: This study has particular significance in the field of curriculum development. Experts in the field of physics curriculum development will greatly benefit from the outcome. They will find it useful because it provides empirical evidence regarding the efficacy of computer practice and drill in physics instruction.
It is hoped that the obtained data will influence future physics curriculum review trends. This study’s findings will provide curriculum planners with information that may lead to the recommendation of computer practice and drill for senior secondary school physics instruction.
Last but not least, educational researchers and schools will benefit from the research presented in this study.