The effect of instruction on socio-cultural beliefs hindering the learning of science


  • Olugbemiro J. Jegede,

    1. Science and Mathematics Education Centre, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, W.A. 6001, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Written while a Visiting Fellow from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria, West Africa.

  • Peter A. O. Okebukola

    1. Department of Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, Lagos State University, Lagos, Nigeria
    Search for more papers by this author


Although recent studies have shown that the sociocultural characteristics which children in non-western society bring into the classroom from their environment create a wedge between what they are taught and what they learn, very little has been done to solve the problem. A learner who is not positively disposed to, or has a socio-cultural background that is indifferent to, learning science would find it hard to learn science effectively. This study investigated whether instruction through the use of the socio-cultural mode has any significant effect on students' attitude towards the learning of science. The sample consisted of 600 senior secondary year-one students (442 boys, 158 girls) from 15 secondary schools in Nigeria. The Socio-Cultural Environment Scale (SCES) and the Biology Achievement Test (BAT) were used to measure the change in attitude and achievement of subjects in a pretest-posttest situation after a six-week treatment. Evidence was found to support the hypothesis that science instruction which deliberately involves the discussion of socio-cultural views about science concepts engenders positive attitudes towards the study of science. The findings also indicate that anthropomorphic and mechanistic views can be presented in such a way as to promote positive attitudes towards the study of science in traditional cultures.