Teachers’ views and practices of Learner-centred teaching in biology teaching in secondary schools In Kabwe District

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Gondwe, Esther
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University of Zambia
This paper investigated the learner-centred teaching (LCT) approaches in the teaching of Biology in selected secondary schools of central province. The study used a descriptive research design following qualitative methods of data collection and analysis. The qualitative methods used interview schedules, document checklist, lesson observation schedules and questionnaires. The sample for the study consisted of twelve teachers of Biology and one hundred and twenty learners drawn from the six selected secondary schools. Qualitative data was analysed using the themes generated from the research questions. The findings revealed that the twelve teachers held divergent views about LCT approaches; ten out of twelve respondents held onto views that LCT approaches could not be used without experiments or laboratories and that it focuses on the groups of learners. The other two respondents held on to views that were consistent with the approach that learner interactions was important in learner-centred lessons and also that the approach focuses on the varied abilities of learners. Hence, the study established the need for more training in LCT by Biology teachers. Despite the varied responses, the study established that Biology teachers mainly used group work, discussion and question and answer as LCT approaches which were considered during lesson planning and delivery. The approaches are ultimately reflected in the way learners learn in classroom activities. The study further established that there was a strong linkage between the lesson planning, lesson delivery and learning as observed from the way aspects that focused on learner centred learning were ranked. Aspects that were lowly scored on the lesson plan, were also lowly scored in the lesson delivery and analysis of learning too and the opposite was true for aspects that scored highly at planning. The available curriculum teaching and learning materials supported teachers in the implementation of LCT as evidenced from the Biology curriculum which recommended the use of LCT approaches. The implementation of LCT approaches was not smooth. The study revealed challenges such as large class, Biology syllabus being too bulky, inadequate teaching and learning materials and learners’ attitudes towards the approach. To overcome these challenges, Biology teachers made use of both Teacher-Centred Teaching (TCT) and LCT. These findings are likely to compromise the quality of education provision in that it may be difficult to realise the learner that is so much desired for by the Biology curriculum and nation at large. Keywords: Learner-centred teaching, lesson planning, lesson delivery curriculum teaching and learning materials
Biology--Study and teaching.