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Effects of science instruction on behaviour among Nigerian students Atanu, Emmanuel Y.

Abstract

The purpose of the study was to explore the differences between certain behaviours of "Ss" from a Nigerian culture who have received secondary school instruction in science and those who have not. For comparison purposes, a third group of "Ss" who have never received any formal schooling was also included in the study. The behaviours of particular interest in the study were operationalized in terms of recommending to a person confronted with a non-school problem situation involving measurement a course of action based upon school learnings rather than on the traditions of the culture. Such behaviours were conceptualized as instances of the interpretive use of knowledge acquired in science classes. The alternative courses of action proposed to "Ss" were techniques of measurement taught in science classes in Nigerian secondary schools, as well as cultural techniques for coping with the same problems. A Thurstone-type paired-comparison method was used to establish scale-values for these techniques for each problem situation. The willingness or behavioural intent (BI) of "Ss" to recommend school-based techniques was predicted from variables internal to the Fishbein Model and from external variables such as schooling, socioeconomic environment, and religion. The multiple regression approach recommended by Overall and Spiegel (1969) for analyzing data obtained from an unequal or disproportionate cell-frequency design was used to examine the contributions of the variables in the regression model. From evidence obtained in the study, it was concluded that schooling, but not necessarily science instruction, was a very important factor in accounting for the intent of "Ss" to recommend school-based techniques of measurement. Socioeconomic environment and religion yielded very modest contributions to the prediction of BI in most of the problem situations investigated. However, the internal variables of the Fishbein Model were found to be better independent predictors of BI than the external variables, in the present non-orthogonal design, a finding that is consistent with the claim by Fishbein regarding the potency and sufficiency of his model. It was recommended that studies aimed at examining the interpretive uses of school learnings be carried out in other Nigerian cultures and for other basic skills taught at school. It was also recommended that the Fishbeing Model be used to examine other school-based and culture-based behaviours.

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