Over a century ago, Nigeria was an agro-economy-based nation. Then Nigerian economy was sustained through agricultural produce such as cocoa, ground nut, palm produce. Agriculture then seemed sustaining because everybody was involved, everybody had interest and it appeared to be everybody’s major source of family sustenance. There were less cases of unemployment due to less interest or crazy of white collar jobs. Families were not complaining of hunger as there were food surplus in most homes. The problem then was inadequate money (cash) to educate young ones, procure quality health facilities and enhanced standard of living in line with the developed nation. Egbule (2004) defines agriculture as a process of training learners in the process of agricultural productivity as well as the techniques for teaching of agriculture. Agricultural science is therefore designed for inculcation of the necessary skills for the practice of agriculture for effective citizenship and contribution to food security for national sustainability. That is why the FRN (1994) outlines the seven major objectives of teaching and learning of agricultural science to reflect the following;
1. ability to stimulate students interest in agriculture. 2. Ability to enable students acquire basic knowledge of agriculture. 3. Ability to enable students integrate knowledge with skills in agriculture. 4. Ability to expose students to opportunities in the field of agriculture
5. Ability to prepare students for further studies in agriculture.
Attainment of the above objectives depends on teachers’ factors and pedagogical approaches. Agricultural science teachers are trained and groomed from teacher preparation institutions for quality impact of agricultural skills, knowledge attitudes and values for self-reliance, promotion of agriculture and food security in their future lives. It is therefore the duty of this group of teachers to; stimulate and sustain student’s interest in agriculture, enable students acquire basic knowledge and practical skills in agriculture, enable students integrate knowledge with skills in Agriculture, prepare and expose students for occupation. Attainment of the goals and objectives of agricultural science depends on effectiveness of teaching and learning of Agricultural science.Furthermore, Agricultural education programs provide a curriculum aimed at helping individuals gain knowledge and skills in agriculture. Moore (1994) studied the historical teaching me±odologies in agricultural education and found three major teaching approaches in agriculture: formal steps, project approach, and problem solving approach. For this reason, the role of teachers and their teaching strategies are never ending topics in all educational settings. (Martin et al., 1986; Miller et al., 1984).Recently there has been much concern expressed about quality teaching in educational institutions, while industries in the rapidly changing society have been concerned about the well educated person. These concems have led to the issue of teaching strategies and their effectiveness in secondary agriculture education (Kahler, 1995; Martin, 1995; Moore, 1994; Rollins, 1989). As agricultural educators, the responsibility is to ensure adequate teaching and learning as necessary to meet the changing needs of the industry and the values of society (Melion, 1995, p. 5). According to Carkhuff (1981), teaching is the opportunity to help others to live their lives fully, which means we help to give to our learners' lives through their physical, emotional, intellectual and social growth. Anderson (1994) concluded that student outcomes may heavily depend on the teacher's instructional planning, teaching method selection, and having a variety of learning activities.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Agricultural science taught at basic and secondary schools has not been able to transform the citizens and the nation adequately. Graduates still lack basic vocational and entrepreneurial skills expected to be acquired from agricultural science. Graduates still wallow about in search of white collar jobs instead of becoming self reliant and employers of labour. It also appear to be due to inadequate teaching and learning process on the part of the agricultural science teachers in Nigerian secondary schools. Therefore, this study will investigate effective instructional Materials to improve teaching and learning of agricultural science in secondary schools in Opobo/Nkoro LGA of river state.