Students’ Understanding of the Basic Concepts of Newtonian Mechanics vis-a-vis Lecture Method: The case of Dilla University
This paper addresses issues about the use of lecture method in teaching and learning of the course mechanics at Dilla University and students‟ performance on standardized mechanics test. Students were given Mechanics Baseline Test (MBT) before instruction of the course mechanics. The method of instruction used was the „lecture method‟. After the completion of the course, students were given the same test without announcement. The MBT scores of students were collected and analysed. The analysis of the result showed that the average pre-test and post-test scores were 19.93% (Std. Dev. 6.35%) and 28.32% (Std. Dev. 6.45%) respectively. The average post test was much less than the thresholds score of mechanics test (60%) for understanding the basic concepts of mechanics.The gain in students‟ understanding of the basic concepts of Newtonian mechanics after instruction with lecture method was found to be negligible. The average normalized gain on mechanics test for the sample student was 0.10 (Std.Dev.0.05). This is extremely small with the maximum possible value being unity. Students have real deficiencies in understanding the basic concepts of mechanics even after the instruction of the course with lecture method. The result indicated that the use of lecture method to provide students bunches of facts, pricnciples, laws , and derivation of mathematical expressions has little benefit to students conceptual understanding.
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