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Despite biology being a potent tool for social and economic development in Nigeria and Plateau State inclusive, students have constantly displayed low achievements in the subject. Field activities have been shown to be a key factor for improving students ‘understanding of Biology. This study was designed to analyze the Factors affecting the use of Field Trip in Teaching and Learning of Biology in some selected Secondary School in Plateau State. The population of the study comprises of six hundred and eighty (680) public and private secondary schools in Plateau State with 150 sampled respondents. The study employed descriptive survey design. Five research questions guided the study. The five research questions were analyzed using statistical mean. The results of the study revealed that educational field trips are common practice in environmental education and education for sustainable development, well recognized by researchers for their potential to achieve cognitive and affective educational outcomes among students. The analysis also revealed that there are many factors that affect Field trip activities, these factors such as teacher training and experience; time issues such as school schedule and teacher’s ability to prepare; lack of school administrator support for field trips; curriculum inflexibility; poor student behavioiur and attitudes; and lack of venue options pose many challenges to effective field trip utilization. Based on the findings of the study, the researcher concluded that the outcome of an experience depends on a person’s interests, motivation, life circumstances at that time, needs, and prior experiences and knowledge. Field trips offer an opportunity to motivate and connect students to appreciate and understand classroom concepts, which increase a student’s knowledge foundation, promoting further learning and higher level thinking strategies. With understanding comes confidence and intrinsic motivation. The study recommends among others that, Field trips should be encouraged in all levels of education and school should make room for field trip by adding it to the curriculum and ensuring its implementation.












1.1       Background of the Study     –           –           –           –           –           –           1

1.2       Statement of the Problem     –           –           –           –           –           –           7

1.3       Purpose of the Study –           –           –           –           –           –           –           9

1.4       Research Questions –           –           –           –           –           –           –           9

1.5       Research Hypotheses            –           –           –           –           –           –           10

1.6       Significance of the Study      –           –           –           –           –           –           10

1.7       Delimitation of the Study     –           –           –           –           –           –           11

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms     –           –           –           –           –           11








3.1       Research Design        –           –           –           –           –           –           –           42

3.2       Population and Sample of the Study           –           –           –           –           42

3.2.1    Population      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           42

3.2.2    Sample            –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           42

3.3       Sampling Technique –           –           –           –           –           –           –           43

3.4       Instruments for Data Collection      –           –           –           –           –           44

3.4.1    Descriptive of the Instrument          –           –           –           –           –           44

3.4.2    Procedure for Instrument Development     –           –           –           –           44

3.5       Validity and Reliability of the Research Instrument         –           –           45

3.5.1    Validity           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           45

3.5.2    Reliability      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           45

3.6       Procedure of Data Collection          –           –           –           –           –           45

3.7       Method of Data Analysis      –           –           –           –           –           –           45




4.1       Demographic Characteristics of the Respondents –           –           –           48

4.2       Analysis of Research Questions       –           –           –           –           –           49

4.3       Discussion of the Findings   –           –           –           –           –           –           60






5.1       Summary of the Findings     –           –           –           –           –           –           63

5.2       Conclusion     –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           64

5.3       Recommendation      –           –           –           –           –           –           –           65

5.4       Limitation of the Study        –           –           –           –           –           –           66

5.5       Suggestions for Further Studies      –           –           –           –           –           66

REFERENCE –         –           –           –           –           –           –           –           67

APPENDIX    –           –           –           –           –           –           –           –           73



1.1       Background of the Study

In many academic disciplines, among them biology, field activities are commonly regarded as one of the most valuable forms of teaching and learning (Orion and Hofstein, 2001). Whereas the content of school-based lectures and practicals seems to fade from students‘ recollection all too rapidly, field activities, by contrast, are memorable (Michie, 1999). According to Wolins, Jensen, and Ulzheimer (2002) field activities offer an exceptionally intensive educational experience which often brings social as well as academic benefits. This is in line with the grounded theory, expressed as four dimensions of learning. According to this theory, three dimensions of learning should be considered when trying to understand learning. According to Illeris (2002), learning simultaneously involves a cognitive, affective, as well as social and societal dimension. All these learning experiences can be achieved through field activities. Yet, despite its widely recognized value, fieldwork is under challenge (Beasley, Butler and Satterthwait, 2001). The substantial increase in student numbers now poses serious logistical and academic problems for the operation of teaching in the field. Moreover, the exam oriented curriculum in secondary school education questions whether field activities are sufficiently valuable to justify their continuation (Gallagher, 2001).

Biology is a core science subject offered in the senior secondary school in Nigeria.

According to National Policy on Education NPE (2014), the objectives of biology education includes the preparation of students to acquire adequate laboratory and field skills in biology. In the pursuance of the stated objectives, the content and context of the curriculum place emphasis on field studies, guided discovery Laboratory techniques among others. Today, the Nigerian teachers have deviated from the stated objectives, rather than teaching biology in the natural settings, the talk and chalk approach to teaching have become a phenomenon in most schools in Nigeria, an approach to teaching where the teacher does the talking while the students are passive in the learning process. Their duties only include listening and answering questions from the teacher. Field trips are rich in educational possibilities as students learn from actual hands-on experience rather than by simply reading or hearing about something. The key to success in science is not just providing students with a science immersion experience, but also enabling them to conceptualize science as a creative process and of thinking other than a defined body of knowledge. According to Yusuf (2011), the most natural learning is realized through personal experience. Students involving in their work will make them learn and enjoy it. Field trips help students appreciate the relevance and importance of what they learn in the classroom.

According to Akubuilo (2010) field-trip is a method of teaching that involves taking the students on an excursion outside the classroom for the purpose of making relevant observation necessary for understanding of the topic under study. Often times such trips/excursions enable student to obtain scientific, technological and vocational information. Field trip offer students firsthand experience since they see and observe processes in natural life settings. Field trip enables students to discover and explore new information and also apply/organize previous knowledge by giving concrete examples. Field trips are aiding the teacher uses to arouse the interest of the learner thereby enabling the learner to gain direct experience (Ilori, 2010). According to Bitgood and Stephen (2009), Field trip is a trip by students to gain firsthand knowledge away from the classroom, as to a museum, factory, geological area, or environment of certain plants and animals. Field trip is a trip arranged by the school and undertaken for educational purpose in which the students go to places where the materials for instruction may be observed and studied directly in their natural setting. In field work, students assume active investigative roles, thinking like a scientist and doing real science. Direct experience with real objects and processes can give form and meaning to primary concepts. Nature plays an active role in effective learning. Environmental learning creates close association between the learner and the environment thereby granting the students (learner) the opportunity to involve the complete senses in the learning process.

Field-based approach to learning will create a platform for social learning amongst students. Field trips provide an opportunity to involve students, parents and the teachers in the instructional program. Students can select the place to be visited, developing questions to ask, writing reports or thank you letters after the trip, or evaluating the experiences. Since parents must give their permission, a letter sent home with the permission from explaining purpose of the trip is a good way to arouse their curiosity and encourage them to ask the student or teacher about the trip. The parent guides their child in order to make sure that they do not come to any harm. This role allows the parents and teachers to establish a much closer relationship. Science education in the field centers primarily on observational and experimental activities. The natural environment is the main source of information for learning activities. Pupils learn how to use the scientific methods for solving problem. They take and analyze samples, create hypothesis and plan experiments. Also, field trips offer a lot of meaningful and educative opportunities to students. These opportunities according to Wilson (2011) are as follows:

  1. Field trips provide real learning experience to students as it provides them with the opportunities to put what they learn through other method of teaching into practice.
  2. Field trips activities give students the opportunities to see the world. (Its cultures, diversities and realities) for themselves.
  • Biology field trips give the students opportunities to gather real ecological data.
  1. As the students go out and study in groups during field trips, their interpersonal relationship improves as they learn to live and work with others, supporting each other during group learning activities.
  2. Field trips enhance student’s memory as the students have been found to remember what they learn in the trips for many years.

Field activities according to Michie, (1999) can be considered as one of the three avenues through which science (biology inclusive) can be taught – through formal classroom teaching, practical work and field activities. Krepel and Duvall (1981) define field trip as “a trip arranged by the school and undertaken for educational purposes, in which the students go to places where the materials of instruction may be observed and studied directly in their functional setting: for example, a trip to a factory, a forest, a city waterworks, a library, a museum etc.”  The use of the term ‘field work’ as stated by Price and Hein (1991) emphasizes some of the formal exercises which are done outside of the classroom, especially in biology. These activities may be considered to be a subset of field trips or excursions. According to Beasley, Butler and Satterthwait, (2001) biologists recognize that knowledge based upon experimental results and accurate observations is gained through a variety of experiences. Thus, the role of the field learning becomes a key component in understanding biology.

Field activities and inquiry as suggested by Orion, (1993) provides students with opportunities to question, observe, sample, experience, and experiment with scientific phenomena in their quest for knowledge of living things.  Field activities involve inquiry-based learning activities. There is evidence that actively engaging participants during an educational experience increases learning outcomes and is more likely to influence attitudes than passive programs (Heimlich, 1993, DeWhite and Jacobson, 1994, Leeming et al., 1997, Manzanal et al., 1999). The study of Biology aims at equipping the learner with the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary for controlling and preserving the environment. The subject enables the learner to appreciate humans as part of the broader community of living organisms. Inquiry learning is a process in which students address their own curiosity by seeking answers to their own questions (Pearce 1999, Minstrell and Van Ze 2000).  This approach is perfect for exploration of the natural world. Field activities provide positive experiences in nature predict positive attitudes towards nature (Bogner 1998, Kals et al. 1999, Monroe 2003), although this may only be true in the absence of direct conflicts of interest. Positive experiences in nature, which involve repeated experiences that are personally rewarding, seem to have the most impact when they start during childhood and continue through adulthood (Kals et al. 1999). Nature-based programs can be made more active by engaging the participants in field projects. Manzanal et.al. (2003) measured the effect of field activities on the ecological knowledge and environmental attitudes of students in Spain and found that field activities help to clarify ecological concepts and directly improved attitudes in defense of the ecosystem wherein the students were working.

The study of biology provides students with opportunities to develop an understanding of our living world. Biology is the study of life and its evolution, of organisms and their structures, functions, processes, and interactions with each other and with their environments. Scientific inquiry is the primary process by which scientific knowledge is gained. It involves the basic skills of questioning, prediction, qualitative and quantitative observation, classification, inference, communication. Additionally, inquiry develops integrated skills such as identifying and controlling for variables, generating procedures, planning strategies for testing hypotheses and answering questions, and for collecting and interpreting appropriate data.

However, to deal with this need we must look at the problems that educationalists are faced when attempting to use field instruction. The reasons for failure in use of field activities in many schools over the years are summarized by Scott (1994) who found that this failure relates to organizational structure and school administration, lack of meaningful role in staff development decision making for teachers, and isolation of teachers. According to Davis (2002) reform efforts should enable teachers to reflect upon, and make explicit, their personal practical knowledge, including beliefs, attitudes, and concerns. Teachers‘ knowledge and practices should be considered as the starting point of change, and they should be provided with experience and training in reform-based strategies, and opportunities to see these approaches modeled.  Teachers‘ knowledge, attitude and skills on use of field activities especially in Nigeria specifically Plateau State have not been documented. There is need to understand the teachers‘ knowledge, attitude and skills towards field activities. It also focused on finding out other factors affecting the use of out-of-classroom activities in biology especially curriculum factors, administrative procedures, time and timetable factors. This will help shed light on how to improve the use of outdoor activities in biology and provide opportunities for teachers to model best practices in biology teaching. It is upon this background that the researcher deems it fit to investigate into the Factors affecting the use of Field Trip in Teaching and Learning of Biology in Secondary School: A case in Plateau State.

1.2    Statement of the Problem

Considering the importance of biology and the number of students doing it, it is a disturbing situation to note that large number of students failed biology in the Senior Secondary School Examination (SSCE). Statistics from the West African Examination Council for the past six years has revealed persistent poor performance in science subjects especially in biology (WAEC Chief Examiner’s reports for 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015). Among the causative factors are Biology teachers’ widespread uses of ineffective lectures and inadequate materials or resources needed for effective teaching of biology. (Egbunonu and Ugbaja 2012). This may be due to the fact that emphasis is primarily on students’ poor acquisition. Thus, biology is presented to the students as a static body of knowledge rather than a dynamic growing field of discovery.  Field investigations help students become systems thinkers, learn the skills of scientific inquiry, and understand that science doesn‘t only happen in a laboratory or classroom. Outdoor experiences in natural settings increase students‘ problem solving abilities and motivation to learn science. In field learning, activities are student-centered, with students actively engaged in hands-on, minds-on activities using field materials and techniques. This will help students develop consciousness of the environment and relate subject matter to everyday life.

However, field activities are not commonly used in biology instruction in secondary schools despite the very clear educational and personal development strengths that they offer, Slingsby and Tilling, (2001). This is happening at a time when there is increasing demand for students with the skills and confidence to practice outdoor biology and to be aware of their impacts on the world around them. There is need to investigate the use of more efficacious strategies in the study of biology. Therefore, the study is on the factors affecting the use of field trips in teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools. Research on outdoor instruction by Dyment (2005), Jordet (2007), Moffet (2011), Barker, Slingsby and Tilling, (2002), Lock, (2002) and Tilling, (2004) indicate low levels of fieldwork provision in secondary school science teaching. Is it because teachers are not excited and eager to perform field activities? Is it because the curriculum does not require fieldwork experiences? Is it because the Nigerian Certificate of Secondary Education biology paper does not require exhibition and field work skills? Do practicing teachers have necessary administrative and parental support to present field activities to schools? However, to deal with this need scholars must look at the factors that affect the use of field work in relation to the Nigerian Institute of biology curriculum development. There is lack of empirical research regarding the factors affecting the use of field activities in biology instruction. Hence, this study was undertaken in order to gain an understanding of contextual factors that influence the use of field activities in the teaching of biology in some selected secondary schools in Plateau State.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The general aim of this study is to determine the Factors affecting the use of Field Trip in Teaching and Learning of Biology in some selected Secondary School in Plateau State. Specifically, the study seeks to find out:

  1. The nature of field trip in teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools in Plateau State
  2. The factors affecting the use of field trips in teaching and learning of biology in secondary school
  3. The extent of the teachers’ use of field activities as an instructional method in effective teaching and learning of Biology
  4. The relationship between teachers’ knowledge, attitude, skills and their use of field activities in teaching and learning of Biology
  5. The relationship between timetable, biology curriculum factors and the use of field activities in teaching and learning of Biology

1.4       Research Questions

In order to achieve the above objective the study came up with the following research question. The research questions are stated as follow:

  1. What is the nature of field trip in teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools in Plateau State?
  2. What are the factors affecting the use of field trips in teaching and learning of biology in secondary school?
  3. To what extent does Biology teachers uses field activities as an instructional method in effective teaching and learning of Biology?
  4. What is the relationship between teachers’ knowledge, attitude, skills and their use of field activities in teaching and learning of Biology?
  5. What is the relationship between timetable, biology curriculum factors and the use of field activities in teaching and learning of Biology?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

Ho: There is no significant relationship between Biology teachers’ utilization of field trip and effective teaching and learning of Biology in Secondary Schools.

Ha: There is a significant relationship between Biology teachers’ utilization of field trip and effective teaching and learning of Biology in Secondary Schools.

1.6       Significance of the Study

This study provides detailed information about factors affecting the use of field trip in biology instruction in different settings. The findings of this study will help educationists to visualize how curriculum developers‘ decisions are interpreted and practiced by teachers in classrooms. The rich information collected through the survey questionnaire will also helps to identify the forces applying to the process of implementation. This study will also helps to identify the practical problems faced by teachers. When taken into consideration, the results of this study can help teachers to improve their performance and instructional practices, and can be used as a reference study in biology teaching methods courses. As one of the few studies on field activities implementation in Plateau State, this study will also contribute to the literature. It will provide a close look to the curriculum implementation where new approaches in the field of science education are closely followed. It will help to comprehend the process of, and the problems experienced during field activities implementation in the state and the  country at large where the education system is centralized. The study will therefore be beneficial to biology teachers, school administrators, curriculum developers and policy makers.

1.7       Delimitation of the Study

The study shall appraise the nature of field trip in teaching and learning of biology in secondary school and elucidate the factors affecting the use of field trip in teaching and learning.  The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

  1. Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.  
  2. Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
  3. Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.   

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms

Terms that are related to the study are defined below in order to remove somatic ambiguity in their usage.

Factors: It means a circumstance, fact, or influence that contributes to a result

Factors Affecting: They are circumstances or facts that cause something to change

Field Trip: Literally, it refers to a visit to a place outside the regular classroom which is designed to achieve certain objectives, which cannot be achieved as well by using other means.  In this study, it refers to the process of embarking on educational visits to a place outside the classroom which give opportunity for students to get out of the classroom and experience something new.

Teaching:  Literally, refers to the ability to learn or to understand something by example or experience. In this study, it implies the process of attending to students’ need, experience and making specific intervention and help them learn particular thing through field exercise in attending concepts in biology.

Learning: Literally, it refers to the act, process, or experience of gaining knowledge or skill. In this study, it refers to the Knowledge or skills gained in Biology through educational visits or out of the classroom setting.

Biology: the study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behaviour, origin, and distribution

Secondary school: Secondary school is an educational institution where the second stage of the three schooling periods, known as secondary education and usually compulsory up to a specified age takes place. It follows elementary or primary education, and is sometimes followed by university education.

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