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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Field trip is a study trip taken outside the classroom to obtain direct experience from a natural setting. It is organized to improve students’ interest in learning, for collecting data, materials or objects for classroom lessons as well as to observe objects or phenomena not possible to bring within the classroom.
Field trip is a planned exercise taking place outside the four walls of the classroom. It offers opportunity for learners to get firsthand information on people, places and things for the permanency of learning experiences (Instructional Strategies Online, 2013). Field trip is a tour planned by teacher to benefit the student learning process. The trip is planned for learners to experience theory in practice. Using fieldtrip in teaching and learning leads to teacher‐ learner interaction outside the classroom.
These interactions take place in anew learning environment and result in a meaningful teaching and learning process. Fakomogbon, Ibrahim, and Gegele (2007) noted that the basic technology curriculum requires child ‐centered and activity‐oriented teaching and learning processes. Nowadays it is imperative to use different teaching methods and learning processes as well as strategies to ensure student understanding.
Since field trip is a method of teaching used to collect firsthand information in the course of investigation, this will enable both teachers and students to create meaningful and productive learning both on the field and in schools. Omosewo (2009) explained that field trip can be used as a chance to collect data for later analysis, to generate artwork and stimulate discussions both on site and back at schools and universities in tutorials, seminars and workshops.
According Biggs et al (1999) the concept of field work is seen to be the “active engagement with the external world” whether every activity described as fieldwork fits the criteria of “active engagement” is debatable. Ajibade and Raheem (2009) Defined “fieldwork” to include field teaching, field trips, field research or field camps or indeed “any arena or zone within a subject where, outside the constraints of the four walls classroom setting, supervised learning can take place via firsthand experience” According to Gold and Jenkins (2011) field work may be categorise into five types of activity: Short field excursion: limited travel in limited time; Cook’s Tour: limited activity in extended travel ;Residential course: extended travel and time ; Study tour: multi location activity, Project work: (i) learner-practitioner and (ii) participant observation.
No matter whichever form it may take, Geographers have long regarded fieldwork as being central to their teaching, research, and as something intrinsic to the very nature of being a geographer. Gold and Jenkins (Fletcher et al 2003) argue that fieldwork is as rooted to the Subject Geography as clinical practice is to medicine. Teaching of Geography without fieldwork feigns the interaction of person and the environment.
The knowledge of geography is not only important and useful to the learners, but to everyone who seeks to cope with the ever-changing trends of our environment. The earth being the theatre where virtually all human activities take place is the focus of geographical study. Therefore, it is plausible that man knows about the nature and phenomenon on earth and the consequences of the interactions between man and his physical environment. In Nigeria, geography is an important school subject as is manifested in the general objectives of teaching and learning of geography. The former curriculum was limited to factual, examination-oriented approach, but today, there is greater emphasis on the educational and experiential implications for the students.
In the past, teachers are much more concerned merely with turning out students who are loaded with theoretical facts and terminologies in Geography. Today, the curriculum had changed. It has become a matter of investigation, inquiry and experiential. Emphasis is now placed on the relevance of Geography to life. This is evidenced by objectives that now guide the formulation of Geography curriculum which include: - To provide a vehicle for the child’s development. To help the child acquire the art of using knowledge or to learn something about his cultural heritage; to provide necessary background to citizenship and intimate students into a particular mode of thought.
Furthermore, the teaching of geography should offer a unique means of furthering inquiry and high intellectual growth in students. It should help man to live, place himself in the world and to learn his true position and what his duties are. It should help the students to understand and develop positive attitudes to race, culture and other people’s environments and places.
Geography as a secondary school subject aims at helping learners understand their immediate environment as well as that of the universe (Akintade, 2012) this cannot happen in rigidly planned classroom activities where the teacher and the textbook are the only source of information.
For Learners to be able to give some explanations on what they see on the landscape they need to have direct contact with this landscape and the only way of achieving this aim is by taking learners out of the walls of the classroom to the place where they will experience a direct contact with the landscape. By so doing, learners will learn by doing and by observing. This is what chemistry students do in their laboratories and the laboratory for Geography lessons is on the field (Barnett, 2009; Young et al, 2010). Therefore, this study focuses on the use of field trip in enhancing secondary school students’ achievement in physical geography.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In some cases, geographic field work tended to be confused with picnics outings or class excursions this should be seen as a narrow concept of the term field work. For success and attainment of the goals of field work, Barnett (2009) opined that the following stages are critical: Abstract conceptualization (pre field activities in class teaching and learning), Active experimentation (planning for Fieldwork) Concrete experience (conduct of the field work), and Reflective observation (post fieldwork evaluation)
Indeed many schools do undertake field trips that are normally called “trips of the year". These trips usually take place towards the end of the academic year when normal classroom sessions have ceased and learners are only waiting to write examinations or after their examinations. In this type of trips, for most part the stages for successful implementation of field work are not observed thus there are no goals stated for such trips, no purpose given and no follow-up is made.
Failure to use these outings productively leads to shallowness in the learners' understanding and in their perception of the spatial phenomena. They are" told" about the nature and denied the real experience (Fletcher et al., 2003).
Aydin (2011) notes that methods used in teaching geography are generally inefficient. Students can not apply what was acquired. Mostly teacher-centered methods are used. Learners don’t participate. There is empirical proof that instructional methods adopted by teachers influence learning achievement significantly (Mukwa, 2002). Whereas appropriate instructional methods would facilitate grasping of new concepts, inappropriate methods are likely to constrain knowledge retention and application. These problems necessitates the need to carry out a study on the use of field trip in enhancing secondary school students’ achievement in physical geography.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to examine the use of field trip in enhancing secondary school students’ achievement in physical geography, a case study of secondary school students in Awka south LGA. The specific objectives include the following:
1. To ascertain if geography students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA often go on field trips.
2. To find out the perception of geography students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA on the relevance of field trips.
3. To examine if field trips improve the interest of students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA in Geography as a subject.
4. To investigate if field trips enhance the level of knowledge of students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA in Geography.
5. To determine if there is a relationship between field trips and improvement of the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA in Geography.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The relevant research questions related to this study include the following:
1. Do geography students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA often go on field trips?
2. What is the perception of geography students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA on the relevance of field trips?
3. Do field trips improve the interest of students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA in Geography as a subject?
4. Do field trips enhance the level of knowledge of students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA in Geography?
5. Is there a relationship between field trips and improvement of the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA in Geography?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H1 – there is a relationship between field trips and improvement of the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA in Geography.
H0 - there is no relationship between field trips and improvement of the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Awka south LGA in Geography.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be relevant to geography students, teachers, school management, government and researchers.
To students, this study will educate them on the ways by which field trip will enhance their knowledge in geography and the reasons why they need to put interest in ensuring they partake in field trips.
To teachers, this study will inform them on how much field trip will improve their teaching capacity and productivity, it also ascertains the effect of field trips on students’ academic performance.
This study will also address the need for the government to enforce field trips in secondary school curriculum in order to enhance the academic performances of geography students.
This study will enhance the existing body of literature by contemplating the areas of the literature that have not yet been examined or considered and incorporating these factors into the current study. The study will thus form the basis for further studies in the field.