Towards an Elimination of the Gender Gulf in Science Concept Attainment Through the Use of Environmental Analogs

by

Bolatito A LAGOKE
Faculty of Education
Ahmadu Bello University
Zaria, NIGERIA

Olugbemiro J JEGEDE
Distance Education Centre
University of Southern Queensland
Toowoomba, AUSTRALIA

Peter K OYEBANJI
Institute of Education
Ahmadu Bello University
Zaria, NIGERIA

Abstract

The search for efficacious instructional strategies capable of effective conceptual change within a constructivist paradigm reveals that analogies are a useful tool to use. The use of analogy has been found to be beneficial in science learning by motivating students, providing visualization of abstract concepts, providing a basis for comparing similarities of students’ world view with new concepts, promoting associations with other appropriate experiences, overcoming misconceptions, and coping in the classroom with the complexity of children’s beliefs. In general, all analogies are characterised by aspects of a science classroom discourse in which a "familiar situation similar to the unfamiliar phenomenon to be explained is used". Gender inequity in science, mathematics and technology is most pronounced in non-Western environments in which socio-cultural factors contribute to further drive a wedge between the achievement and attitude differential of boys and girls. To date, nothing appears to have been done to eliminate this gulf. This study was undertaken, based on an assumption that the use of analogical linkages derived from the socio-cultural environment can successfully act as a psychological bridge for the learning of science concepts. A total of 248 (205 boys and 43 girls) senior secondary (SSS) II (equivalent to Grade level 11) students with a mean age of 16.8 years in two classes selected from two schools in the Zaria township of Kaduna state in Nigeria participated in this experimental study. Using an adaptation of Glynn’s Teaching-With-Analogy (T.W.A.) model, a pretest and a delayed posttest comparison showed that both girls and boys attained an equivalent cognitive outcome after a six-week treatment period. The limitations associated with an experimental design of this type suggest that we err on the side of caution while using the results.