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

Authors

  • Olugbemiro J. Jegede,

    1. Science and Mathematics Education Centre, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, W.A. 6001, Australia
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    • 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
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Abstract

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.

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