The Effects of Field Trip Practice on Students' Academic Achievement in GEOMORPHOLOGY in Secondary Schools of the BUEA Municipality
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The purpose of this research project was to find out “The effect of Fieldtrip on student academic achievement in Physical Geography in the Buea Municipality”. Specifically, the study was guided by three objectives which were: to examine effects of the geographical site on students’ academic achievement in physical geography, to find out the effect of financing field trips on student academic achievement in physical geography. From these objectives, three research questions were formulated as follows: How does geographical side effect students’ academic achievement in physical geography? What is the effect of physical observation on students’ achievement in geography in the Buea Municipality? to what extent does financing field trip affect students’ academic achievement in geomorphology? The study adopted the survey research design with secondary school students in Buea Municipality constituting the population of the study from which a sample of 80 students was selected using the simple random sampling technique. Data was collected using a closed-ended questionnaire consisting of three sections A, B and C. Descriptive statistics (measures of central tendency) were used to analyses the data collected from respondents. The main finding of this study revealed that field trip has a significant effect on the students’ academic achievement in Buea Municipality. And the specific finding revealed that geographical side, physical observation and financing field trip have a positive effect on students’ academic performance in Geomorphology. Based on these findings, the study recommended that: The Ministry of Secondary Education and curriculum planners should endeavour to develop school programs involving all her curricular processes i.e. designing, developing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and reviewing curricula that are appropriate and relevant to the needs and interests of students so as to facilitate learning. This will enhance better career choices for the students and the type of subjects to study. Suggestions for further research were also made.
Geomorphology or Physical geography is the branch of natural science which deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and geosphere. Knowing about the physical geography is important for every serious student studying the planet because the natural processes of the earth affect the distribution of resources (from carbon dioxide in the air to freshwater on the surface to minerals deep underground) and the conditions of the human settlement.
Geomorphology examine all of the landforms and bodies of water on our earth, studying what they look like and how they are formed and so requires different teaching-learning activities in under to guarantee effective teaching and learning of this discipline, some teaching method are being identified which include; field trips, illustration, cooperate learning and laboratory studies (Kolb, 2005).
The field trip is a trip made by students and a teacher to see or study something, for example, a museum, a factory, or a historical site. Most importantly, field trips give students a chance to learn about new environments at their own pace, without having to worry about any exams or test scores (Verspoor, 1991). An interest-driven learning experience always offers better results than curriculum-driven experiences. The field trip is a visit (as to a factory, farm, or museum) made by students and a teacher for purposes of firsthand observation
With field trips, students are able to acquire a more integrated, holistic picture of all the information absorbed. New experiences are not presented in an abstract or a textual form. It reinforces and enriches experiences and stimulates intellectual and sensory inputs of young minds.
Almost all educational or field trips are specifically designed to engage students and stimulate curiosity. Professional tour operators organising educational trips have a proper understanding of students’ expectations and make the best efforts to meet them (Verspoor, 1991).
Physical geography is natural science as mentioned above and requires some specific teaching methods and techniques by the teacher in order to achieve effective learning by the students in this discipline. Many studies have proving concepts such as folding, volcanicity, slope development and streamflow will be understood better when students embark on field trips (Akella, D. 2010). However, from observation student scarcely or no longer go for field trip in today’s secondary school for some financial and security reason. This possesses an adverse effect on student performance in this discipline. It is for this reason that the researcher chooses to carry out a study on the effect of field trip practice on student academic achievement in physical geography in the Buea municipality. This chapter focuses on the background of the study, statement of the problem, research objectives, research questions, cope with the study, the significance of the study and definition of key terms.
1.1 Background To The Study
Before the coming of formal education, the indigenous system of education was based on practices or field study in Cameroon that was the pre-colonial era (1844-1884). Here the issues of peer were little or less occurring as the young adult learned only from the elderly were knowledge, experience and attitude were mostly transferred from the old to the young. The coming of the missionaries in Cameroon gives the birth of formal education which the first school was created in Bimbia by Joseph Merrick in 1884. During the colonial period, Cameroon was introducing to the formal system of education whereby children, young adult, where taught in the same setting and taken out for fieldwork or experienced what was taught in the classroom. This encouraging peer interaction as the learner forms click in their respective group.
Fieldtrip is activity-based learning which offers the opportunity for learners to get firsthand information on people, places and things in order to concretize their learning experience. It has been observed in most Cameroon schools such as the secondary, high schools and universities, that teachers depend extensively on field trip method of learning which has gone a long way to improve students’ academic performance in both external and internal examinations. Fieldtrip strategy is a method of teaching which helps to bring about effective learning of geography. Students are being exposed to interesting learning location which turns to increase their understanding during learning. The social infrastructure such as Libraries, Laboratories, Museum, and Recreational parks, Zoos, Mountains and transports also play an important role to students learning when they go out for field trip to some of these places.
According to Instructional Strategies Online (2013), study taken outside the classroom do obtain direct experience from the natural setting and equally improves student’s interest in learning. This help in collecting data, material or objects as well as observe objects or phenomena not possible to bring in the classroom. During field trip, the entire class visits a point of instructional interest such as Museum, Factory, Hill Mountains, Inselbergs Valleys, River Side etc. According to Duvall and Krepel (1981), a field trip is an outdoor, fieldwork, or learning exercise undertaken by the teacher and the students in a certain aspect of subject particularly in geography so as to give the students the opportunity to acquire knowledge. It is a trip arranged by the school and undertaken for educational purpose in which the students go to places where the concepts for instruction may be observed and studied directly in their functional setting.
Fieldwork is a trip to places of geographical interest, for example in Cameroon the Fako Mountain in the South West Region, The River Sanaga CHOCOCAM, CEMENTCAM etc companies in Douala. Fieldtrips may be short or long and they may be within the school environment and locality or could be considerable distance out of the classroom. Fieldtrip is educationally valuable to geography teachers and students to the extent that it meaningfully relates phenomena observed outside the classroom to the subject matter taught in the classroom. For instance, students who were taught about various geographical phenomena would see it for themselves and appreciate it better and relate issues each time they are taught of geographical concepts. The importance of such a field trip is made known to the learner for his learning and his future. The particular needs and learning experience required for field trip should adequately be provided by the teacher.
Teachers from as far back as Aristotle and Socrates have used field trips as a Tool to enhance students’ learning (National Park Service, 2008). However, with increased pressure on teachers to meet a long list of standards, there is a great need for teachers to justify the time away from school. One of the most common rationales for field trips to physical geography is that they will increase students’ positive attitudes toward geomorphology and promote learning more about physical geography in ways that are not commonly possible through school physical geography classes alone. Consequently, there is a need for evidence on how teachers should structure their students’ field trip experiences to maximize positive attitudes toward their field trip and toward physical geography.
Arnold et al (2005) using descriptive statistics from the National Education Longitudinal study of 1988 (NELS: 1988), examined educational aspirations and postsecondary access by students in urban and rural schools desired for going for a field trip. Making a critical analysis of location factors, Hallak (1977) summarised that provision of education in rural areas is normally fraught with the following difficulties and problems such as finance lack of personnel’s, insecurity and inaccessibility, which turns to limit the desires and love to go for field trip more than their urban friends.
Balogun (1982) lamented that unfortunately in Nigeria, where there is a preponderance of poverty among us and a wide gap between the rich and the poor, disparity in the distribution of resources and social amenities on the part of the government, the population splitting into two –of those favorably affected and those who are disfavored these two groups have been forced on economic reasons and levels of education to organize themselves into two different sub geographical locations to a very large extent determine what amenities and or facilities are made available to each for learning. The above findings were corroborated by Mbakwe (1986) when he affirmed that teachers are different, those from locations with amenities will prefer more to take learners for field trip than those from areas with fewer amenities.
In the measurement of students’ academic achievement in geography as a school subject, various tasks are undertaken within and outside the classroom, the effectiveness of this activities lie in the instructional method used by the teacher. For the students of Physical Geography to achieve the best in the subject, teachers are expected to organize field trip visitations Cassady, (2008) Educational visits may be organized to suitable places where fundamental concepts, ecological processes or events treated in the classroom becomes clearer to the students with great comprehension. This is because, field trips generally appeal to the sense of sight, touch and hearing. Organized visits to riverside or any geographical phenomenon make the students see in practice what was theoretically explained and learnt by them in the classroom.
The adoption of field trip strategy in teaching is however cost expensive and (Kozlowski., A. 2008). The cost to carry field trip in most Cameroon school is usually very expensive. The cost of preparing and taking students to the site of visit requires funding. With the problem of poor funding of schools that has crippled the Cameroon educational system, it can still be said that probably, teachers in the rural areas and even in the urban areas of Cameroon might have shied away from adopting this strategy due to poor funding. Irene and Baguma (2012) stated that the uses of constructivist approach to teaching and learning of geography (such as field trip strategy) can only be effective if the right learning environment is created and provided with adequate learning facilities. These facilities could be library, laboratory resources, internet facilities and appropriate building and places of educational visits are the facilities that maximize the constructivist approach to learning approach. The inadequacy of these facilities in schools is a serious setback to the proper adoption of learner’s centred instructional strategies. Although the learning of geography is not limited only to classroom activities, not much is researched in areas regarding empirically documented works about the effect of field trips on students’ academic achievement in geography in Cameroon. Hence, this focused on the “Effect of Field Trip Practice on Students’ Academic Performance in Physical Geography in Cameroon schools”
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Fieldtrip has been a major aspect to bring the learning done in the classroom to the student’s reach. Learners in the past had little or no opportunity for practical learning than now because there are modern technologies which have come to make the work easier, for example; laboratories, museum and so on. Making a critical analysis of location factors to field trip, recent studies have proven that field trip plays an important role in geography students. However, I observed from the secondary school that, students are being refused the privileges to go for field trips, due to some reasons such as large class size, insecurity, financial barriers and so on. This has an adverse effect on student taking this discipline especially those in examination classes like form five and upper sixth. Field trip help students interact with what they are learning. The experience goes beyond reading about a concept; students are able to see it, manipulate it or participate in it physically. Knowledge acquires from such exercise is mastered and easy to retain when needed. But it is ironical that despite the importance of field trips to students’ academic performance in physical geography, schools still do not engage in the activities. Therefore, this study would determine the effect of field trip practice on students’ academic performance in Physical geography in Buea Municipality.
1.3 Objective of the study
1.3.1 General objective
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the effect of field trip practice on students’ academic achievement in physical geography in Buea municipality.
1.3.2 Specific objectives
To examine the effects of geographical site on students’ academic achievement in physical geography;
Determine the effect of observation on students’ achievement in physical geography;
To find out the effect of financing field trips on student academic achievement in physical geography;