Training teachers for integrated science in Nigerian secondary schools
This research examined the teacher training for integrated science in some university departments and colleges in Nigeria with the aim of establishing its characteristics, quality and appropriateness of the training in fitting the trainees to their job. It was decided to focus on all the "players" in the training of teachers; to canvas their views and to investigate their understanding of integrated science as it appears in college and school curriculum. This study specifically sought to determine: (a) the thrust and characteristic features of the teacher training; (b) the relevance of the teacher training programme for integrated science students to their role in schools; (c) the concepts of integration implied and reflected in both the junior secondary school national core curriculum for integrated science and in the curricula for teacher training; further to compare and contrast the views found; (d) the perception and understanding of "integration of science" in schools held by practising integrated science teachers, student teachers and the teacher trainers. The integrated science curriculum in schools; and the curriculum used in the training colleges and the universities were also analysed to compare and contrast the integration models used to structure them. By means of questionnaires and interviews in schools, colleges and universities in Nigeria, data were collected and analysed describing the views, understandings and practices of integrated science teacher trainers, classroom (practising) teachers and the student teachers in selected schools and training institutions in Nigeria. A total of two hundred and sixty four (264) participants responded to the questionnaires. In the light of the research findings, their discussions and implications, the following conclusions and recommendations have been made, that: 1. There is a general low understanding of the meaning and the philosophy for integrated science education among the participants. The term "integrated science" was defined by most participants popularly as the teaching of the sciences of biology, chemistry and physics mixed together. 2. The student teachers, most of whom had weak background in the pre-requisite sciences, saw their training curricula as overloaded and not appropriately matched to the duration of their training and needs. However, students from training institutions that were under the Nigerian Integrated Science Teacher Education Project (NISTEP) were relatively more positive and optimistic about their training. 3. There is a dearth of relevantly trained integrated science practising teachers in schools as well as teacher trainers in the training institutions in Nigeria. 4. The Junior Secondary School curriculum for integrated science revealed a substantial amount of evidence to show that it was designed with relevance to the childhsneeds, environmental conditions in Nigeria and reasonable meaning of integration iii scope and intensity. The NISTEP curriculum appear to be a good model for the training of teachers to implement the JSS curriculum. Those of universities are more or less ambitious. It is recommended that a systematic programme of teacher training for integrated science be mounted to meet the need of the junior secondary schools as well as the teacher training institutions. First, a rigorous orientation and training of the teacher trainers in the meaning, philosophy and the methodology of integrated science education. The Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) and the National Commission for College of Education (NCCE) can work together to achieve this goal. The NISTEP human and material resources and the STAN Integrated Science Panel can be invaluable vehicles in meeting both the full time and INSET training needs.