For a country to develop, it must have adequate human capital to do so. The human capital is obviously obtained through sound education. It is believed that education is a pivotal part of human development, and can positively influence standards of living, health and governance. Schools handle the important responsibility of imparting education to students and developing them into responsible and enterprising citizens. This can only be achieved when the quality of education provided is the top priority of every government and the school in particular.
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Education is a very important human activity. It helps any society fashion and model individuals to function well in their environment. It improves the productive capacity of the society, reducing poverty by mitigating its effects on population, health and nutrition. One of the indicators of quality of education being provided is cognitive achievement of learners.
For successful achievement of academic performance in schools there is need to provide key physical infrastructure which include:- science laboratory, school library, classrooms and various types of solid waste disposal. Science laboratory is central to scientific instruction where theoretical work is practiced. Practical in any learning experiences involve students in activities such as observing, counting, measuring, experimenting and recording. Without proper and well- equipped science laboratory, it is not possible to carry out the science teaching process effectively in any school or educational institution.
One of the vehicles by which the process in inquiry can be leant is the laboratory where the student experiences the inquiry process, thus the study in a laboratory is an integral and essential part of science subjects. Science laboratory activities are hands-on experiences which emphasis process skills posited as motor skills that help the scientists to find answers to problems and enhance the learning of science. Laboratory activities stimulate learners’ interest as they are meant personally engage in useful scientific activities and experiments. This affords the learners the basic skills and scientific methods of problem solving. it is therefore, very necessary that students manipulate materials and equip in learning of Science through equipment; this will help them not only to acquire science process skills and new knowledge but also scientific attitude such as honesty, open-mindedness and cooperation as moralities of science and enhance understanding and retention of difficult concepts and procedures. Laboratory facilities give students some basic insight into scientific concepts and leave them with feeling of the reality of science which in turn improves their academic performance in examination.
Health education is any combination of learning experiences designed to facilitate voluntary actions conducive to health. Health promotion is the combination of educational and environmental supports for actions and conditions of living conducive to health, thereby including health education.
Health education is a type of education designed for individuals or the public at large to gain the knowledge, skills, value, and attitudes necessary to promote, maintain, improve, and restore their, or another person's, health.
Laboratory activities offer important experiences in the learning sciences that are unavailable in other school disciplines. For many years, laboratory experiences have been shown to promote key science education goals. This implies that laboratory experiences are therefore very important to a student as they enhance better understanding of science and lead to better performance in sciences. Lack of adequate exposure to practical work has been noted as one of the contributing factors to dismal performance in examinations. It is also an established fact that some students saw and handled experimental equipments only during national examinations.
Laboratory work stimulates learners’ interests as they are made to personally engage in useful scientific activities and experimentation; promotes that science is not only product or process; affords the learner the basic skills and scientific method of problem solving and knowledge obtained and promotes long term memory.
Laboratory method is a unique source of quality teaching and learning in science because science students are able to observe and manipulate materials to demonstrate certain aspects of the subject matter which has been learnt in class through lectures, discussions and textbooks. Hence, laboratory method provides students with opportunities to engage in processes of investigation and inquiry which is believed to enhance quality education.
Academic achievement or academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has attained their short or long-term educational goals. Completion of educational benchmarks such as secondary school diplomas and bachelor's degrees represent academic achievement.
Academic performance is the measurement of student achievement across various academic subjects. Teachers and education officials typically measure achievement using classroom performance, graduation rates and results from standardized tests.
Academic achievement is important for the successful development of young people in society. Students who do well in school are better able to make the transition into adulthood and to achieve occupational and economic success.
LABORATORY ACTIVITIES AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN HEALTH EDUCATION
Laboratory has been conceptualized as a room or a building specially built for teaching by demonstration of theoretical phenomenon into practical terms. Little wonder the saying that “seeing is believing” as the effect of using laboratories in teaching and learning of health education and other science related disciplines as students tend to understand and recall what they see than what they hear or were told. Laboratory is essential to the teaching of sciences and the success of any science course is much dependent on the laboratory provision made for it. The laboratory could be described as a place where theoretical work is practiced whereas practical in any learning experience involve students in activities such as observing, counting, measuring, experimenting, recording, observation and carrying out field work. These activities are totally different from the theoretical work which involves listening to talks and taking down notes from such talks.
Laboratory work stimulates learners’ interests in health education as they are made to personally engage in useful scientific activities and experimentation; promotes that science is not only product or process; affords the learner the basic skills and scientific method of problem solving and knowledge obtained and promotes long term memory.
Laboratory helps to provide a forum wherein the learner is given the exercise to health education subjects, his beliefs, ideas, statements, and theoretical propositions etc. to some forms of experimental test. To maintain and arouse the interests of students in subjects involving laboratory work, the teacher should be effectively involved in order to transfer knowledge and facts to learners for a good performance in any examinations. In line with this, one then pauses to ask, to what extent has laboratory been able to achieve its objectives. In this regard, the teacher assumes a position of dispenser of knowledge with the laboratory serving the function of drill or verification. However, at the other extreme, the teacher assumes the position of guide to learning and laboratory as a place where knowledge is discovered. However, there are growing evidences that teachers do not exhibit behaviors which are complementary to achieving the stated objectives. They include methods of teaching practical work; inadequacy or absence of well-equipped laboratories; high enrollment of students; inadequacy of resources for teaching and learning practical work; quantity and quality of teachers.
Laboratory method is a unique source of quality teaching and learning in science because science students are able to observe and manipulate materials to demonstrate certain aspects of the subject matter which has been learnt in class through lectures, discussions and textbooks. Hence, laboratory method provides students with opportunities to engage in processes of investigation and inquiry which is believed to enhance quality education. Therefore, no course in science subjects can be considered as complete without including some practical work. The practical work ought to be carried out by individuals either in science laboratories or in classes. At school level, practical work is even more important because of the fact that we learn by doing. Scientific practices and applications are thus rendered more meaningful. It is an established truth that an object handled impresses itself more firmly on the mind than the object merely seen from a distance or in an illustration. Thus practical work forms an important feature in science subjects’ courses and improves general academic performance.
Laboratory is very crucial to the teaching of health education and the performance of any science subject depends on the laboratory provision and lack of well- equipped laboratories affect student’ performance in sciences. In conclusion, the frequency of teachers teaching science subjects in laboratories and also allowing students to use laboratories frequently help improve their academic performance in the science subjects. Engaging students in laboratory activities promotes the development of science concepts.
Laboratory activities with practical skills help students to remember what they are taught in theory thus improving their performance in science subject examinations. Schools with well-equipped laboratories have better results in the school science examinations than those that are ill-equipped.