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Learning Styles and Academic Performance of Students in Economics in Secondary Schools

Learning Styles and Academic Performance of Students in Economics in Secondary Schools

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Abstract

The study was designed to investigate the influence of learning styles and academic performance of students in Economics in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area. Three research questions and hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The survey research design was adopted for the study. The population of the study was made up of all the fourteen (14) public secondary schools in the study area which were two thousands, one hundred and fifty (2,150) SS1 – SS3 Economics Students.

A simple random sampling technique was used to select a sample size of two hundred (200) SS2 students from four (4) public secondary schools in the study area. A questionnaire was the main instrument used in collecting data and the data collected were subjected to statistical analysis using Pearson Product Moment Correlation to determine the relationship that exist between the sub-variables.

The results of the analysis showed that there is a significant relationship between visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning style on students academic performance in Economics.  Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended among others that; teachers should encourage good learning styles that would develop the student’s academic performance in Economics. 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Education is a systematic process which focuses mainly on teaching. It follows a series of interaction with people or things in our environment and beyond. It helps man in skill acquisition with which he can adopt to and even charge his environment. The delivery method play a vital role in the whole education setting while giving the guidelines, a child should not be treated like an empty vessel into which any type of information can passed down (Adams, 2013).

Effective education is the key to transformation. The development or growth of any nation depends much on the level of educational attained. We cannot force the child to learn. The will learn only when he is willing to learn (Khanzode, 2015).

However, a teacher should design techniques and methods of stimulating and motivating the students. He should cultivate interest and encourage them to learn. He should create a good learning atmosphere in which the students will have the interest and need to learn (Aluta, 2012). Aluta further stresses that parents sent their children to school with intention that school can transmit desirable attitudes, skills, Knowledge, behavior and understandings.

Moreover, research in recent year has focused on identifying the key factors that promote academic achievement among students whose demographic learning styles and school circumstances place them at high risk of failure.

A learning style means an individual natural and habitual nature of acquiring knowledge (Huly, 2016) Huly defined learning styles as the composite of characteristics cognitive, affective and physiological factors of how a learner perceives, interacts with the responds to the learning environment.

Learning styles are points along a scale that help us to discover the difference forms of mental representations. Feliceth (2014) clearly defined learning styles as those educational conditions under which a student is most likely to learn.

Learning Styles and Academic Performance of Students in Economics in Secondary Schools

Literature basically indicts and revealed the need of the concept of learning styles and teaching profession also recognized the need for innovation instructional activities that relate to the diverse learning styles of learners (Rosenberg, 2015).

However, the research tends to agree that it is important when designing learning programmes to match the presentation with the nature of the subject, such as providing correct learning methods, approaches and context (Baker & Omosuwa, 2012).

It has been observed that one’s attitude towards a thing can be favourable, unfavourable or neutral as a result of number of factors such as previous knowledge, misinformation about things, other factors include direct or indirect interaction with the element of the things under consideration (Cofield, 2013).

Kolb and Schill (2015) found that graphics and textile representations of the subject matter had noticeable effect on learning outcomes regardless of any attempt to match them with learners learning styles. Another study found that visual presentations through the use of pictures was advantageous for all students irrespective of a high or low learning style preference for visual images.

Equally, according to Merril (2016) he argues that most students are unaware of their learning styles and if left to their own means, they are unlike to start a new way of learning. Thus, knowledge of one’s learning styles can be used to increase self-awareness about their strength and weakness as learners. it is on this background that the research intends to find out the extent to which learning styles influences students academic performance in Economics in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.

1.2 Statement of the problem

There have been identified poor scores in secondary school student’s examination in Economics. This indication point to how level of academic performance and skills acquisition amongst Economic students. A number of factors have been reported said to be responsible for this low level of academic performances, one of these assumed factors is learning styles. However, the researcher sought to identified the types of learning styles that could be used to improve academic performance of students in Economics and also confirm whether learning styles have any relationship on students’ performance.

Learning Styles and Academic Performance of Students in Economics in Secondary Schools

1.3 Purpose of the study

The main purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of learning styles and academic performance of students in Economics in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.

Specifically, the study seeks to;

  • Examine the relationship between visual learning style and academic performance of students in Economics in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
  • Investigate the relationship between auditory learning style and academic performance of students in Economics in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
  • Ascertain the relationship between kinesthetic learning style and academic performance of students in Economics in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.

1.4 Research Questions

The study seeks to provide answers to the following questions;

  1. To what extent does visual learning style relates with academic performance of students in Economics in Secondary Schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
  2. How does auditory learning style relates with academic performance of students in Economics in Secondary Schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
  3. To what extent does Kinesthetic learning style relates with academic performance of students in Economics in Secondary School in Uyo Local Government Area.

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study;

  1. There is no significant relationship between visual learning style and academic performance of students in Economics in Secondary Schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
  2. There is not significant relationship between auditory learning style and academic performance of students in Economics in Secondary Schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
  3. There is no significant relationship between Kinesthetic learning style and academic performance of students in Economics in Secondary Schools in Uyo Local Government Area.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study will be beneficial to the following group of people in the following ways:

  1. Students: Through the findings of the study, students would be able to find out the learning style that suites them most, hence develop their study skills through it.
  2. Parents would use the findings of the study to benefit the bringing – up of the their children through encouragement based on the learning style that works for them.
  3. Teachers will use the findings of the study in the area of encouraging good learning styles that would develop the students academic performance.
  4. Researchers will benefit from this study as it will provide materials for literature review.

1.7 Limitation of the Study

In the course of carrying out the research, the researcher was faced with some issues which posed much threats to the success of this study.

Some of the issues were:

  1. Time: The period given for the completion of this study was very limited because of one semester duration and serious academic work of the nature can’t be completed within shot period.
  2. Funds: Since money that was use for the study was from the researcher pocket, it was not enough to cover all the secondary schools located in the research area because of transportation cost.
  3. Inadequate research materials: There was scarcity of information for the topic, particularly for materials for literature review.

1.8 Delimitation of the Study

The study was delimited to learning styles and academic performance of students in Economics in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area. Among the variable that influence academic performance of students were visual, auditory and Kinesthetic learning styles.

1.9 Definition of Terms

The following words are operationally defined to avoid ambiguity:

  1. Learning styles: This refers to an individual’s natural or habitual pattern of learning or acquiring knowledge.
  2. Visual learning styles: This is a learning style in which ideas, concepts, data and other information are associated with images, chart and graphics.
  3. Auditory learning style: This is a learning style in which the learner learn best through learning the information passed which might be through the use of human voice, recorded tape or audio – compact disk.
  4. Kinesthetic learning style: This is a learning in which learning take place by the students carrying out a physical activity rather than listening to a teacher or watching a demonstration.
  5. Academic Performance: This refers to the total outcome of the students performance or efforts in test, assignment and examination scores or results.
  6. Economics: This refers as science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scare means which have alternative uses.
  7. Students: This refers to a person who is studying or learning at a place of secondary or higher institution of learning.

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