Students’ perceptions of difficult concepts in biology in senior secondary schools in Lagos state
The study sought to find out the biological topics in the National Curriculum that students in Senior Secondary School Two (SSII) have difficulties in learning, the reasons why students have difficulties in learning such topics in biology, and to suggest ways of improving the effectiveness of the teachinglearning process of biological topics. For these purposes, a questionnaire consisting of both closed and open-ended items was administered to the students in the data collection procedure. The instrument was administered to 400 SS II students in some selected secondary schools in Education District V of Lagos State. The data collected were analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The result showed that there was no significant difference in the perception of students on difficult topics in Biology on the basis of their subject areas - Science, Commercial or Arts (F(2, 397) = 1.523, P > 0.05, Partial η2 = .008, R2=.003). Moreover, findings revealed that students usually have difficulties in five major topics. Among of which were nutrient cycling in nature, ecological management, conservation of natural resources, pests and diseases of crops as well as reproductive system in plants. However, teaching strategies, students’ attitude, inadequate learning resources and students’ learning habits were the reasons adduced by students of the perceived difficult topics. In remedying the problem, the students suggested the use of varied strategies that would involve appropriate instructional materials, use of hands-on and minds-on strategy, integrating biological concepts to daily life and provision of adequate and functional resources.
KEYWORDS: Perceptions of students, difficult biology topics, Biology learning, effective teaching, effective learning.