Thursday, 16 August 2012

METHODOLOGY FOR EFFECTIVE TEACHING OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA


ABSTRACT
Observation has shown that as laudable as the objectives of agricultural and vocational education in Nigeria are, it may be impossible to achieve them due to poor delivery process of the programme and inappropriate method of evaluating the performance of students in vocational agriculture at the senior secondary school (Ikeoji, 1997a, 1998). Martin and Odubiya (1991) reported that the primary role of vocational agriculture teachers has always been to help students to learn knowledge and skills in agriculture.

Several researches have shown that many teachers of agriculture at the secondary school leave the profession early in their life (Myers, Dyer and Washburn, 2005; Heat- Camp and Camp, 1990,1994). Myers et al 2005; Camp, Broyles and Skelton, 2002; Mundt and Connors, 1999; and Veenman, (1984) have conducted studies on the problems of beginning teachers of agriculture. These problems of beginning teachers include classroom management and student discipline, balancing work and personal life.

INTRODUCTION
Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field that encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic and social sciences that are used in the practice and understanding of agriculture. (Veterinary science, but not animal science, is often excluded from the definition.)
Agricultural education is instruction about crop production, livestock management, soil and water conservation, and various other aspects of agriculture.
Agricultural education includes instruction in food education, such as nutrition. Agricultural and food education improves the quality of life for all people by helping farmers increase production, conserve resources, and provide nutritious foods.
There are four major fields of agricultural education:
Elementary agriculture is taught in public schools and private schools, and deals with such subjects as how plants and animals grow and how soil is farmed and conserved.
Vocational agricultural trains people for jobs in such areas as production, marketing, and conservation.
College agriculture involves training of people to teach, conduct research, or provide information to advance the field of agriculture and food science in other ways.
General education agriculture informs the public about food and agriculture.

METHODOLOGY FOR EFFECTIVE TEACHING OF AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA

METHODOLOGY A
THE PRACTICAL APPROACH
1. Plant Production
Orally and in writing, reading
- plant a mystery seed and observe its growth
- describe mystery plant, make predictions as to what it is
- harvest mystery plant or plants (depends on availability of school garden or school   farm)
- describe agricultural plants/seeds/crops
- describe the environment
- describe end uses/plant industries
- discover botanical nomenclature and discover how internationally useful it is for scientific communication!

2. Animal Production
Orally and in writing, reading
- describe farm animals
- describe their physiology (not too much detail)
- describe end uses/animal industries
- discover zoological nomenclature and discover how internationally useful it is for scientific communication

3. Agricultural technology
Mainly oral
- Describe machinery
- Describe details of machinery
- Sell and auction machinery
Example:
A big multilingual (English, French, German, Italian) poster for a large tractor can be used, and multilingual leaflets are available from every internationally represented manufacturer of agricultural machines. Multilingual manuals and spare parts catalogues of such machines can also be used.
Students are to describe in simple terms the tractor in German, eg. there is the engine, this is the fuel injection system etc. This will be an exercise in free speech and will rehearse pronunciation. A little presentation by one or more students supported by pictures and descriptions on the poster will be ideal for students, who are not overly confident in sentence making and need picture prompts to keep them going. Agro-technical journals as a relevant original source can support the activity.
Technical terms can be easily understood after short exposure, because many are quite similar. Students of all grades can create computer generated work sheets for themselves or for their peers, by using written and illustrated material, or they use a scanner, or maybe a digital camera to take pictures of their own machinery at home or on friends’ farms.
 A farm machinery auction in the target language gives the commercial edge and emphasizes the relevance of numeracy.

METHODOLOGY B
THE CURRICULUM FOCUS
1. Examples of contexts and learning activities
Investigate the living things from which foods originate and place things in a food chain
Investigate agricultural plants, animals and technology
Investigate in particular Australian foods, introduced and indigenous (bush tucker)
Investigate prices, analyze markets, debate value of merchandise
Design and carry out agricultural trials involving photosynthesis, animal metabolism, technological problem solving.
Debate the impact of variables, regular observation, data registration.
Learn to predict, make educated guesses and draw conclusions, record and substantiate findings
Selected vocabulary and information about major Australian crops.
Discover relationships within ecosystems and market systems
Learn to categorize
Learn vocabulary relevant to everyday life as well as Agriculture
Basic numeracy in both languages
Demonstrate comprehension of main ideas and concepts
Interact orally, by asking questions and giving the appropriate answer
React to answer and/or investigate further
Convey in writing a message relevant to the topic
Understand through reading more about the topic
Assess resource material and material produced by fellow students

2. Skills processes and procedures
Students should be given audience to pose questions, answer questions, make predictions, carry out simple investigations, produce work through the reading of texts as well as making a record of practical work. Students can group, categorize and assess scientific and non-scientific information.
Students should be made to work in groups, where they practice oral, aural, reading and writing skills at all times.

3.Learning outcomes
Plant and animal growth
Oral interaction about cropping and animal production in Australia.
Oral interaction about technology in agriculture.
Aural interaction by reacting to the auctioneer, to his/her sales pitch and number recitals
Written interaction by producing posters and project work
Revision of vocabulary
Grammar introduction and revision, e.g. aspects of tenses, verb conjugation, noun declination and idiomatic phrases.
Linguistic studies by comparing expressions in the first language and the target language.
Sociocultural knowledge, what does one eat, see and appreciate in the target country

4. Assessment
Assess analytical and observational skills from posters, and project work and judge oral presentations of project work
Assess team working skills
Assess writing and drawing skills by judging a student generated promotional poster for Australian plant products.
Assess writing competency by judging a student generated promotional poster for Australian value added animal products.
Assess technological knowledge by judging project work and presentation of project work
Assess speaking skills and listening skills by judging students interaction at the machinery auction.
Overall assessment can be in the form of a school based “Agronomy Conference”, with posters, oral presentations including discussions and maybe a trade display, if it is possible to use a school garden or farm to produce agricultural and horticultural products at school.

CONCLUSION
By using agricultural science and language studies together, students can discover the usefulness of both. The approach will create an interest in taking up more intensive agricultural science units at school and tertiary institutions and lift the profile such studies have. There are a multitude of spin offs for careers in agriculture related sciences besides the ones mentioned.
Students could consider expanding their studies into meteorology, earth and soil sciences, marine biology, food technology, agrochemistry, market research and international agricultural business management.
Language can be seen as a tool to exchange findings in research and development, understand economics and international relations. Students will also be able to consider studying a combination of natural sciences and language studies, creating flexible thinkers who are aware of the big picture.

RECOMMENDATIONS
The delivery of vocational agriculture at the senior secondary level should not be
handled as a science per se but rather as a vocational subject for acquisition of practical
agricultural skills for meaningful living (Obi, 2005).
Olaitan (1997) maintained that the basic goal of our National Policy on Education is to make education both functional and utilitarian.
Ikeoji (1999) reported that vocational education is borne out of the need for the system to make its products useful to themselves.
The Federal Ministry of Education (as cited by Obi, 2005) stated that the
objectives of agricultural education at the senior secondary should include;
1) to stimulate and sustain students interest in agriculture;
2) to enable students acquire useful knowledge and practical skills in agriculture;
3) to prepare students for further studies in agriculture; and
4) to prepare students for occupations in agriculture.
In addition to this Yoloye (1984) outlined the aim of vocational education in Nigeria as:
1) to provide people who can apply scientific knowledge to the improvement and solution of environmental problems for use and convenience of humanity;
2) to provide the technical knowledge and vocational skills necessary for
agricultural, industrial, commercial and economic development; and
3) To provide young men and women with an intelligent understanding of the
increasing complexity of technology.


REFERENCES
Martin and Odubiya, 1997 method of evaluating the performance of students in vocational agriculture at the senior secondary school
Board of Studies, 2000, Curriculum Standard Framework II, Board of Studies, Victoria.
Claude Bourguignon, Regenerating the Soil: From Agronomy to Agrology, Other India
Press,2005
Pimentel David, Pimentel Marcia, Computer les kilocalories, Cérès, n. 59, sept-oct.
1977
Russell E. Walter, Soil conditions and plant growth, Longman group, London, New York
1973
Salamini Francesco, Oezkan Hakan, Brandolini Andrea, Schaefer-Pregl Ralf, Martin
William, Genetics and geography of wild cereal domestication in the Near East, in Nature, vol. 3, ju. 2002
Saltini Antonio, Storia delle scienze agrarie, 4 vols, Bologna 1984-89,
Vavilov Nicolai I. (Starr Chester K. editor), The Origin, Variation, Immunity and Breeding
Of Cultivated Plants. Selected Writings, in Chronica botanica, 13: 1-6, Waltham, Mass., 1949-50



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