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KNOWLEDGE OF LABORATORY SAFETY PRACTICES BY BIOLOGY STUDENTS IN RURAL AND URBAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

KNOWLEDGE OF LABORATORY SAFETY PRACTICES BY BIOLOGY STUDENTS IN RURAL AND URBAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS: IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

            This chapter intends to cover the background of the study, statement of the problem research questions, research hypotheses, purpose of the study and operational definition of terms.

1.1       Background of the Study

            Individuals have different conception of what science is some see science as a body of knowledge while some see it not only as a composite of codified body of knowledge but also a knowledge getting process. Clark and Neaew (2010) defined science as a systematic observation and classification of natural phenomenon in order to learn about them and bring them under general principles and laws.

 

Okeke (2007) defined science as a systematic process of obtaining testable and verifiable knowledge about nature and natural occurrences utilizing careful observation and experimentation. This definition emphasizes the process and product nature of science as an organized body of knowledge which describes and attempts to explain some parts of the natural world in a systematic manner.

Biology is a science that is concerned with life processes in almost all secondary schools, biology is taught as a subject. Moreover, Biology as a subject for study encompasses all the biological science and it represents an approach that recognizes that all living things or organisms share certain chemical, molecular and structural features interact in the natural world according to well defined principles and follow the same rules with regard to inheritance and evaluation (clank and Neare, 2010).

The study of biology should be accomplished with practical activities as it forms the background to the study of a good number of applied sciences such as medicine agriculture, pharmacy, nursing, home science and food technology.

 

The emphasis is that the scientific process of hypothesizing, observing, testing, retesting, researching, summarizing and concluding is the most fruitful method of teaching biology and most of these mentioned activities are being carried out in the laboratory.

In brief, a laboratory is often seen as a place where experiments in science are carried out with chemicals specimens materials and equipment (Ali, 2011). Indeed, the laboratory offers the most appropriate environment for carrying out activities which enable learners to acquire the science process skulls.

Specifically, the biology laboratory is a room or a building where the practical aspect of biology is taught in a school or college. It is usually a place set aside for conducting practical activities in biology.

In addition, the a, b, c, s of laboratory safety starts with awareness. Clark and Neave (2010) reported that laboratories are potential “Dangerous” places and only constant vigilance and efficient working techniques by all those using them can ensure that accidents do not occur.

 

A Laboratory needs to be well organized so that a climate for investigating scientific concepts will exist such a climate ensures that the laboratory is safe for those working in it.

According to Bryd (2003) any curriculum established on the needs of the child must inevitably give attention to the field of safety or be guilty of neglecting learning experiences of the greatest possible significant since laboratories environment is for man, accident and injuries are bound to occur.

 

The students when using the laboratory has the obligation to protect themselves and others, the teachers on their own part have to inculcate safety knowledge and parities into their students do that they can develop a philosophy of safety that emphasizes positive rather than negative habits.

In brief, safety practices can be explained to mean the process of averting danger. According to the advanced learners dictionary safety is freedom from danger or risk.

 

According to Mba and Uba (2012) asserted that laboratory practices encompasses those activities in the laboratory that prevent accident and promotes healthy working in the laboratory and some of these practices are. Not eating, drinking or smoking in a laboratory; always wearing overall coat at every practical lessons; getting familiar with the locations of fire alarm, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, telephone (where applicable). And other safety equipment; getting familiar with the position of the main switches for water, gas and electricity supply to the laboratory; never allowing students to work alone in the laboratory without supervision; not handling materials or operate apparatus you are not familiar with.

 

Making sure the laboratory is kept clean after each practical exercise; making sure all services e.g. gas, water, electricity are put off at the end of the day’s work; informing other staff members of any breakage, faulty equipment and other defects as well as checking that all bunsen burners are put off and there are no naked flame before using flammable solvent.

In any case, laboratory safety can be retread to as all the prevailing working conditions and atmosphere in the laboratory environment which keep the chances of an accident or danger to the students, workers, laboratory attendant and teachers in check or reduced to the lowest possible level (Ekpo 2009).

 

In fact, Osborne (2011) maintained that most laboratory hazard can be reduced to a minimum occurrence by good value Judgment careful manipulation of laboratory apparatus, adequate supervision and most of all the knowledge of the safety practices and their application. It is obvious that anyone is not conscious stands the greatest risk of turning a minor hazard into an accident which could be fatal.

Also, there is need for safety facilities like fume cupboards, eye goggles, fire blankets, fire extinguisher, sinks, waste containers, eye wash stations, safety showers first aid boxes and so forth to be provided in the biology laboratories as their absence may create health hazards.

Though it is not enough to have these safety equipments, active supervision of the students during laboratory activities is necessary to reduce the rate of accidents and guarantee safety of live. A stand and laboratory should have certain specified safety rules and regulations as well as safety materials and equipment to the student before allowing them to work in the laboratory and their implementation should be ensured.

Furthermore, Ajayi (2004) who agreed that lack of laboratory space and equipment happen to be one of the obstacles to effective instruction in the laboratory.

 

As Ritch and Rank (2016) suggested that safety equipments must be available in the laboratories to facilitate teaching and learning of Biology concept. From the findings also there is an indication that students do not observe safety practices also, that students should wear adequate protective equipment especially when experiments involving hazardous chemicals or procedures are conducted.

However, the knowledge of these laboratory safety practices may be has been linked to many students’ factors like proper engagement of students in learning processes; school factors such as school type and gender.

 

In the light of the above, Pascarella (2019) attributed students’ knowledge of  laboratory activities to school environment as the author asserted that schools located in a rural area will have all the characteristics of a rural environment; similarly, an urban school will have an environment-based activities peculiar to its environment but different from a rural location.

Thus, as the school environment differs, the level of exposure may also differ.  The consequence is that the quality of education may not be even; and the national policy of education for a democratic, egalitarian society cannot be attained unsentimentally.

Olatunbosun (2018) examined the relationship between school location and students’ laboratory exposure and reported that students in urban setting with quipped laboratory are exposed more than students in the rural areas which lack these laboratory facilities. In comparison to rural settings, urban schools are frequently marked by higher concentrations of poverty, greater racial and ethnic diversity and linguistic diversity (Kinchoheloe 2010).

According to Wilson (2017) students’ knowledge and exposure to laboratory safety practices can also be ascribed to the gender of the students.

 

Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women, men, girls and boys. This includes norms, behaviors, roles, and relationships related to being a female, male, girl, or boy. As a social component, gender varies from society to society and can change over time. Gender is hierarchical and creates inequality that intersects with other social and economic inequality. Gender discrimination intersects with other discriminatory factors such as race, socioeconomic status, disability, age, geographical location, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

It is against this background that this study is designed to investigate into knowledge of laboratory safety practices by biology students in rural and urban secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area: implications for teaching.

 

KNOWLEDGE OF LABORATORY SAFETY PRACTICES BY BIOLOGY STUDENTS IN RURAL AND URBAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

1.2       Statement of the Problem

As the world is scientifically developing the learning of biology becomes a more challenging and rewarding task. The provision of a functional laboratory is one of the major keys to successful learning of biology since the in illusion of laboratory experience in the teaching and learning of biology, the question of safety of both staff and students during practical work has been a very crucial one.

Laboratories have been sighted in some Nigerian secondary schools without safety considerations as an overriding factor in the design and construction. Poor safety practices in the laboratories have led to accidents such as glass breaking, skin contact with specimens and chemicals injury, electrical accidents, needles and sharps accident fire outbreaks and even death.

It is therefore from this perspective that the researcher decides to put the statement of problem thus; whether biology students in Ikot Abasi local government area have good knowledge of safety practices in laboratories during practical sessions? Do they apply the knowledge of the safety practices during practical session? Hence, the quest to answer these questions motivates this study.

 

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to find out knowledge of laboratory safety practices by biology students in rural and urban secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area: implications for teaching. Specifically, the study intends to ascertain:

  1. the difference between male biology students in urban and rural secondary schools who have good knowledge of laboratory safety practices in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area;
  2. the difference between female biology students in urban and rural secondary schools who have good knowledge of laboratory safety practices in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area; and
  3. the difference between biology students in urban and rural secondary schools who have good knowledge of laboratory safety practices in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area.

 

1.4       Research Questions 

            The following research questions have been formulated to guide the study:

  1. Is there any significant difference between male biology students in urban and rural secondary schools who have good knowledge of laboratory safety practices?
  2. Is there any significant difference between female biology students in urban and rural secondary schools who have good knowledge of laboratory safety practices?
  3. Is there any significant difference between biology students in urban and rural secondary schools who have good knowledge of laboratory safety practices?

 

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following Hypothesis were formulated:

  1. There is no significant difference between male biology students in urban and rural secondary schools who have good knowledge of laboratory safety practices
  2. There is no significant difference between female biology students in urban and rural secondary schools who have good knowledge of laboratory safety practices.
  3. There is no significant difference between biology students in urban and rural secondary schools who have good knowledge of laboratory safety practices.

 

1.6       Significance of the Study

The results of this study will be useful to varieties of persons and groups it will be significant to the students, teachers, schools, government and curriculum planner.

To students: it will expose them to the need for observing laboratory safety practices during laboratory session. This study will help the students to develop safety practices while working in the laboratory and also be more resourceful during lesson.

To teachers, they will stand to gain from knowing the degree of safety practices existing in their laboratories among their students and laboratory assistants. This will enable them inculcate more effectively safety practices in their student. The findings of the study will also enable the biology teachers understand that the frequently accidents and poor performance in senior secondary school science subjects.

 

To schools: it will be significant to the schools as it will provide information on the relevance of laboratory safety practices in our senior secondary schools. Thereby making them provide means of ensuring safety practices during laboratory sessions.

To government: the findings from this study would give them an insight into the level of safety practices in the laboratory in urban and rural schools. This will necessitate the need for providing laboratories in schools with adequate laboratory safety equipments to enable safety during practical sessions.

To curriculum planners: it will help them to know the need of inclusion of teaching safety practices in senior secondary schools when developing a curriculum.

 

The result of this study will also help the curriculum planners to design functional curriculum by taking into consideration students’ knowledge of safety practice in the laboratory.

Lastly, to other researchers, this study will provide information on the level of safety practices and a source of data bank for future researchers on similar topics.

 

1.7       Delimitations of the Study

This study is delimited to biology students in two selected secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local government Area. The study focuses on the knowledge of laboratory safety practices by biology students in rural and urban secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area: implications for teaching.

The study will focused only on male and female students in senior secondary two (SS2) in selected public secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area.

 

1.8       Limitation of Study

The researchers work is limited due to some difficulties encountered in the administration of the research instrument which was time and financial constraint. Also the researcher took time to explain the purpose of the instrument before students decided to fill the questionnaire because most of them lacked laboratory practical experiences.

1.9       Operational Definition of Terms

Laboratory: In brief, a building or room fitted with relevant scientific gadget or equipment for conducting scientific experiments, analysis or similar work or for research testing and experimental technical work.

Safety: In brief, is the act of taking necessary precaution to protect oneself from injuries.

Laboratory safety practices: In brief, refers to all the prevailing working conditions in the laboratory which keeps the chances of danger or accidents in check.

Biology: In brief, this is the science which study life (plants and animals).

Biology students: In brief, refers to students who register for biology in secondary schools in Ikot Abasi Local Government Area.

Urban Schools: In brief, refers to a school located in an environment where majority of its students live in urban places.

Rural Schools: In brief, refers to a school located in an environment where majority of its students live in rural places.

 

STUDENT’S KNOWLEDGE OF LABORATORY SAFETY PRACTICES QUESTIONNAIRE (SKLSPQ)

This questionnaire is for research work on knowledge of laboratory safety practices by schools: Implication for Teaching

SECTION A

Please respond to each of the following as applicable to you

Name of School: …………………………………………………………………………

Sex:  Male               Female

Class: …………………….

SECTION B

Please Indicate the degree by which each questions on the questionnaire is applicable to your Laboratory activities by ticking      (ü) each question as follow:

SA – Strongly Agree

A – Agree

D – Disagree

SD – Strongly

QUESTIONS

S/N GENERAL LABORATORY SAFETY RULES SA A D SD
(1) I usually wear laboratory coat in the laboratory before conducting any practical.        
(2) I usually eat and drink in the laboratory.        
(3) I usually make noise and play games in the laboratory.        
(4) I usually report any accident that takes place in the laboratory to my teacher.        
(5) I do taste some chemicals to know what it is while conducting practical’s        
(6) All reagent Bottles in my laboratory are well labeled.        
(7) I do conduct some experiments alone in the laboratory.        
(8) I usually wash my hands after each practical session in the laboratory.        
(9) I know all the emergency exit routes in my laboratory.        
(10) I do operate any equipment in the laboratory with my teacher’s permission        
(11) Do you wear gloves when dealing with practical’s that involves blood and other body fluids?        
(12) We clean and disinfect all our work surfaces after each practical        
(13) Do you play with needles and other sharp objects while your teacher is not watching?        
(14) I do take them home after practical even when asked to dispose it by my teacher        
(15) We do have marked containers in my laboratory where all needle and sharps are being disposed.        
(16) Do you touch any electrical equipment you like with your wet hands?        
(17) My teacher doesn’t need to supervise me when am working with any electrical equipment        
(18) I do check if there is any wear or tear on the wire and plugs of any equipment before using it.        
(19) I do leave my Bunsen burner unattended to while talking to my friend        
(20) Do you know how to operate fire extinguisher incase of fire extinguisher        
(21) Our emergency exit doors have been blocked with heavy equipments        
(22) Do you check glassware’s for cracks before use?        
(23) I do read labels on a reagent bottle before using it’s contents.        
(24) I do use longs to handle hot test tubes and beakers at all times instead of rags and towels        
(25) Do you wear laboratory coat during practical’s        

Joselyn Nya

My Name is Joselyn Nya A Publisher in Project Boss Team. I'm a Nigerian I'm a graduate/Educational Researcher. Project Boss Team. We are the best for Project materials and project writing services. Email: admin@projectboss.com.ng

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