Inquiry into the use of resources in the teaching of secondary school biology in North Kisii district, Kenya
The aim of this study was to find out the resources that were available in public secondary schools in North Kisii District for the teaching of Biology. The study also looked at how these resources were acquired, whether they were adequate and accessible to both the teacher and learners, and how they were used. The schools surveyed were selected through stratified sampling on the basis of the gender of their students i.e. boys', girls' or mixed schools. The teacher respondents were purposively or randomly sampled. Purposive sampling was used in the case where only one teacher taught biology in the class. Where two or more teachers taught biology to the Form three class, only one was selected through random sampling. Student respondents were selected through random sampling in boys' and girls schools and stratified sampling in mixed schools. The data was collected using questionnaires, checklists and observation schedules in the sampled schools. The study revealed that the basic instructional resources for the teaching of biology were available in the schools even though they were inadequate. Most of the resources were acquired through purchases by schools. Purchases by parent and improvisation by teachers played a limited role in the acquisition of the instructional resources. Textbooks, charts and specimens were the instructional resources used by most teachers. Audio-visual resources were the least available and used resources. Even though resources found in the local environment were used in the teaching of biology, it was limited mainly to plant and animal materials. Resource persons, field trips, factories/industries, forests, just to mention a few, played a very limited role in the teaching and learning of the subject. Lack of finance and support from the school administration accounted for the inadequacy of most instructional resources in most schools. The findings of the study indicated that whereas teachers almost always had accessibility to the resources, it was not so for the learners in most of the schools. Based on these findings, the study recommended that the school administration, parents and sponsors should provide adequate resources for the teaching and learning of Biology. The available resources should be made accessible to learners. Teachers should be in-serviced on the importance and effective use of instructional resources so as to encourage and constantly remind them of their importance in the teaching/learning process. A similar study should be carried out in other districts in Kenya to determine whether the findings are similar to enable wider generalization of the results. Detailed studies on the attitudes of biology teachers on instructional resources, their use and improvisation should be carried out in Kenyan secondary schools. Not many teachers used instructional resources frequently in their teaching. In the face of rising costs of instructional resources, improvisation will play an important part in the acquisition of resources in future, hence special attention should be paid to its role by the teacher, school administration, Ministry of Education and curriculum developers.