Classroom practices of teachers of biology in selected secondary schools in Luapula province of Zambia
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The purpose of the study was to explore instructional practices of teachers of biology in selected secondary schools in Luapula Province of Zambia. These schools have recorded low pass rates in School Certificate Examinations in biology for some time now. This is despite several initiatives undertaken by the Government of Zambia to improve the quality of Science and Mathematics education. The following objectives guided the study: to establish the skillfulness of biology teachers’ lesson preparation; to determine how teachers of biology conduct their lessons; to determine the extent to which the classroom physical environment is organised for teaching and learning of Biology. Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory guided the study. The study employed a descriptive survey design and a qualitative approach. The data collection methods employed were: lesson observations, self-administered questionnaires, document analysis and focus group discussions. The study population comprised three secondary schools and led to the study of 3 heads of departments, 12 teachers of biology and 77 Grade 12 pupils. The participating schools and the respondents were drawn in the study by purposive sampling. However, the grade 12 pupils who participated in the focus group discussions were selected by simple random sampling. The study established that teachers were inconsistent in the use of curriculum materials – schemes and records of work and lesson plans, and mostly used teacher centred teaching strategies. The study further established that the classroom physical environments were not adequately organised to facilitate effective teaching/learning. The study makes the following recommendations: The Science Departments of the schools understudy should be preparing schemes of work for the next term in the last two weeks of the ending term so that the HoD can easily monitor progress of the work. They should end their tradition of preparing schemes during the holidays. School administrators should make effort to acquire more ICT facilities and to facilitate integration of ICT in teaching and learning. Teachers in the current study should take responsibility of their professional growth and read widely on curriculum materials and keep abreast with modern trends in pedagogy. The schools in the current study should incorporate learners in creating favourable and active classroom environments. Key words: Classroom practices, biology lessons, lesson preparation, biology teachers, secondary schools, pupils, constructivism, teaching-learning materials, classroom physical environment.
The University of Zambia
- Education