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ERIC Number: EJ1159068
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1925-0746
Science Teachers' and Students' Perceived Difficult Topics in the Integrated Science Curriculum of Lower Secondary Schools in Barbados
Ogunkola, Babalola J.; Samuel, David
World Journal of Education, v1 n2 p17-29 Oct 2011
In 1997, a statement was released from the 18th CARICOM Heads of Government Conference which, in effect, linked the economic development of the Caribbean region and its competitive advantage to the science and technological capabilities of its citizens. There are some serious implications of this statement for the continued economic growth and development of Caribbean economies especially in today's global economic environment of rapid technological growth and trade liberalization. An important one is the response of the education system to meet the challenges of producing a more scientifically and technologically literate population. There has been a number of promising developments in science education in the region indicating at least an effort to respond to these challenges. At the primary and lower secondary levels, new curricula have been developed with more relevant approaches to science instruction. These include: (1) An attempt to integrate science concepts with technology and societal themes; and (2) An emphasis on an inquiry-based approach to instruction. At the upper secondary level, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) continually revises the various science curricula of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) to more reflect the changing social, economic and technological environments of the region. Despite these efforts, data obtained from secondary schools in the region on variables such as student enrollment in upper secondary science courses, student performance and interest in science as well as students' attitudes to science are not encouraging. This situation is the same throughout the Caribbean including Barbados, and leads to the assumption that students lose interest in science in the lower secondary level with the result that many drop the science subjects in the upper secondary level. This loss of interest may be influenced by such factors as: (1) Difficulty of topics in the lower secondary science curriculum; (2) Teacher factors such as strategies used to teach science, teacher attitude towards science teaching and teacher experience and qualifications; (3) Location and perception of the academic standard of the secondary school attending; and (4) Students' study habits. This study was designed to investigate the perception of students and teachers of the difficult topics in the lower secondary school science curriculum of Barbados; and to inquire if there were statistically significant differences in (1) students' perception and teacher perception of difficult topics; and (2) students' perception of difficult topics based on their gender, interest in science, study habits, and school location and school category; as well as to determine the inter-relationships among the four student variables (gender, interest in science, study habits, school location). The study highlights the importance of cultivating students' interest in science since it is significantly related to their perception of topic difficulty. Results suggest that it probably should not be left for the students to develop that interest on their own. The science departments of secondary schools in collaboration with the Ministry of Education must plan programs and interventions that not only show the importance of science in national development, but also exposes students to the possibilities of meaningful and lucrative careers in science.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Barbados
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A