Improving primary science teaching in Nigeria : a workshop approach
Earlier studies have shown that the majority of the teachers in primary schools in Nigeria are ill-equipped to teach science. It was also established that most of these primary school science teachers had rather poor background and training in science. The present study was therefore designed to establish the efficacy of practical workshops as a way of furthering teachers' professional competency in science. This was done through a field study of these teachers in their teaching environment. The investigation was carried out in three phases. The first phase involved a questionnaire survey covering 180 primary six teachers located in three of the 30 states of Nigeria (Anambra, Kaduna and Plateau). The aim of this survey was to identify the topics in the primary science core curriculum which the teachers found difficult to teach. It was found that the teachers found magnetism a difficult topic to teach. The second phase involved the mounting of a 2-day in-service training workshop on the teaching of magnetism, for fifty teachers located in Anambra state. The workshop was designed as one of the mechanism for improving the knowledge and teaching skills of the teachers in science. The third phase of the study involved post-workshop visits, follow-up interviews and the observation of the teachers in action in their own classrooms. The visits were followed by a 1-day workshop which provided an opportunity for the workshop programme to be evaluated as well as for the teachers to meet for mutual exchanges of experiences. The outcomes of the workshops indicated that the teachers, as a result of their participation in the workshops, had achieved a greater understanding of magnetism and subsequently were able to teach the topic more confidently. The implications of this study for pre-service and in-service teacher education programmes as well as classroom science teaching practice are discussed.