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Introduction

In electronics, a circuit is a path between two or more points along

which an electrical current can be carried. (A circuit breaker is a device

that interrupts the path when necessary to protect other devices

attached to the circuit - for example, in case of a power surge.). In

telecommunications, a circuit is a discrete (specific) path between two or

more points along which signals can be carried. Unless otherwise

qualified, a circuit is a physical path, consisting of one or more wires (or

wireless paths) and possibly intermediate switching points. A network is

an arrangement of circuits. In a dial-up (switched) connection, a circuit

is reserved for use by one user for the duration of the calling session. In

a dedicated or leased line arrangement, a circuit is reserved in advance

and can only be used by the owner or renter of the circuit.

A virtual circuit, sometimes called a logical circuit, is a path

between two or more points that seems like a fixed physical path, but

actually is one path out of many possible physical paths that can be

arranged. A permanent virtual circuit(PVC) is a virtual circuit that

provides a guaranteed connection between two or more points when

needed without having to reserve or commit to a specific physical path

in advance. This allows many companies to share a common pool of

circuits. This approach is used in a frame relay network and offers a

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committed set of resources to a telephone company customer at a lower

price than if the customer leases their own circuits. A switched virtual

circuit (SVC) is similar to a permanent virtual circuit, but allows users to

dial in to the network of virtual circuits.

An electrical circuit is a network consisting of a closed loop, giving

a return path for the current. Linear electrical networks, a special type

consisting only of sources (voltage or current), linear lumped elements

(resistors, capacitors, inductors), and linear distributed elements

(transmission lines), have the property that signals are linearly

superimposable. They are thus more easily analyzed, using powerful

frequency domain methods such as Laplace transforms, to determine DC

response, AC response, and transient response.

Understanding of concepts from circuit theory, and specially AC-

electricity, periodic signals and transients, is important for understanding of

for example electronics, telecommunication and system theory. However

research on student learning and understanding of electric circuit theory is

still in its infancy. Students conceptions in circuit theory and electricity are

not as well investigated as those in mechanics.

Learning problems in electricity have been widely documented: Over

the years remedies have been suggested to overcome students conceptual

problems in electricity, but only with limited success (Mulhall et al. 2001).

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The topic is still receiving attention (for example Engelhardt and Beichner

2004; Hart 2008; Taber et al. 2006; Jaakkola, Nurmi & Veermans, 2010).

Coming to grips with the scientific concepts in electricity requires an

understanding of the physics involved, which is at least partly at odds with

the everyday experiences and ways of speaking about electricity (Shipstone

1985; Duit and Schecker, 2007).

A key problem is the development of inadequate conceptual

understanding of various aspects of electrical circuits and particular

persistent misconceptions that students tend to develop. In Duits well-

known STCSE bibliography on students misconceptions and conceptual

change (Duit, 2009) several hundreds of publications are listed on learning

electricity.

Based on a review of literature Taconis (2010) has described a

hierarchical building of concepts concerning electrical circuits. Each to the

concepts requires all concepts in the lower floors to be rightly understood.

1) Correct understanding of electrical circuits essentially being closed but

not short circuited, and the electricity circling in the circuit, and the current

not being consumed in the circuit,

2) Understanding that two distinct physical quantities are necessary to

understand/describe the flow in electrical circuits (and such systems):

electrical current and voltage,

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3) Understanding of the topological types of electrical circuits; series and

parallel and their implications for electrical current and voltage.

4) Understanding of particular electrical components and their properties.

Students may experience problems on either level of this hierarchy

and students alternative ideas often do not correspond to the scientific

view and do not easily change through instruction (Shipstone 1985; Duit

and Von Rhoeneck 1998; Engelhardt and Beichner 2004; Taber et al.

2006). Kock et al. (2013) conclude: when trying to solve problems or

explain phenomena in circuits, students frequently (a) confuse important

concepts such as current and voltage, (b) use the idea that current is

consumed (or use unipolar, clashing or shared current models), (c) view

power supplies as a source of constant current instead of constant

potential difference, (d) have difficulties building and drawing circuits and

(e) do not realize that a change of one element can have an impact on the

current in the whole circuit.

A main obstacle here is that students may tend to understand

electrical phenomena in terms of the so called experiential gestalt of

causation (Anderson, 1986). This basic misinterpretation may underlay

many of the observed misconceptions.

In the experiential gestalt of causation there is an aim, a cause or

chain of causes that instigates a process, a medium/vehicle, and a desired

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effect. This mental model implies a number of intuitive qualitative rules

such as:

The effect is roughly in the direction of the cause / chain of causes,

The stronger the initial cause / chain of causes, the stronger the effect

by default proportional,

The cause / chain of causes costs 'effort', and is weakened in the long

run (due to exhaustion) while the effect continues,

There is a physical connection of the cause to the effect, possibly through

the medium (or vehicle), which may damp the effect by default

proportional to its dimensions,

The better the medium and / or the smaller the distance the stronger the

effect,

as the cause stops, of if the contact is ended or the medium is removed,

the effect stops.

Electricity effect as experienced in day to day life: when plugged in

(cause) de 'electricity' from the socket is directed to the light bulb

connected (aim) via the cord (medium/vehicle) to produce the desired

effect. An example of cause - effect reasoning, from which students may

derive interpretations such as: a wire twice as long will make the light bulb

half as bright.

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An attempt to counter the misinterpretation of electrical circuits from

such a linear causal perspective often made is to explain that the electrical

circuit is to be understood in terms of an analogy. Two such analogies are

regularly used in science education (Hart, 2008) with their own strengths

and weaknesses:

a) Fluid current analogies, that of the home heating system in particular,

b) Microscopic analogies in which the electrical current is modelled by a

stream of electrons depicted as e.g. lorries carrying an electrical load

travelling a closed path.

Hindrances to effective study of electric circuit theories and

analysis

Lack well-equipped workshop: a workshop is room, area, or small

establishment where manual or light industrial work is done. Workshop is

very important in the teaching and learning of practical works in schools

especially in the areas of basic electricity, circuit theory, battery charge

among others. In most schools, there are little or no workshops. The

available workshop in the schools are ill equipped. All these makes

effective teaching and learning/study of circuit theory a herculean task.

Lack of competent teachers in schools: Science teachers are key

factor to be considered when talking about the development of science

education in any nation. There are shortages of qualified science

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teachers in Nigerian schools. So called science teachers are not

professionally qualified. They may have the knowledge of the subject but

lack the method. Azubuike (2009) in his study of challenges and

prospects of primary science teaching affirmed that there are unqualified

science teachers in our schools. Attitude of many teachers to teaching

are discouraging; they have been teaching for many years without

upgrading their certificate by going for in-service training. This affects

their output and it is a problem to the development of science education.

Science teachers should use different strategies as there is no single

universal approach for specific class. Many science teachers still hold to

chalk and talk method which is not appropriate for science teaching in

this age (Okebukola, 2013). Lack of good strategies in the teaching of

science is affecting student performance and at long run affects student

enrolment (Olawuyi, 2009).The table below shows students enrolment

in some years back in science in a college of education. Students dont

want to offer science in school because teachers are not making its

teaching interesting; thereby affecting students enrolment in schools as

seen in table below

Poorly Equipped Laboratory: The roles of laboratory in science and

technology education provision cannot be overemphasized. As

buttressed by Owoeye (2000), the success of any science subject

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depends on its provision. Daramola (1985) also stressed that laboratory

plays vital roles in technological oriented science curriculum and provides

student the opportunity to engage in the process of investigation and

inquiry. In spite of the benefits that can be derived from the use of

laboratory and technical workshop, many schools in Nigeria are lacking

these while those available in schools are ill-equipped for effective

science teaching (Nwadiani, 1999). Because of the poor nature of

laboratories and workshops in educational institutions in Nigeria,

teaching of science and technology education has not been thoroughly

demonstrated that could aid students understanding of the difficult

concepts in the curriculum.

Low Quantity, Quality, and Commitment of Teachers: The roles of

teacher in the education process cannot be overemphasized (Ibukun,

2009; Achimugu, 2005). In spite of the roles, statistics and reports

(Federal Ministry of Education, 2007; Ogunkunle & Mbelede, 2008)

indicate that teachers are inadequate for science and technology

education in Nigeria. It is even unfortunate that many teachers of

science and technology disciplines are unqualified for the job because

they dont possess the basic teaching qualification which is Nigerian

Certificate in Education (NCE) according to the National Policy on

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Education (2004) (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2009b: Central Bank of

Nigeria, 2010).

Inadequate instructional materials in schools: instructional

materials are those items that makes teaching and learning very easy. In

most of the schools, there are few instructional materials. This negatively

affects effective study of electric circuit theory and analysis.

Quota Admission Policy: Over the years, educational gap, particularly

between the southern and northern parts, has been a contending issue

in Nigeria. To bridge the gap, federal government has instituted the

Quota Admission Policy at the tertiary level which allocates 45% of

vacancies to candidates on merit; thirty five percent (35%) for

catchment areas while the remaining twenty percent (20%) for

candidates from educationally disadvantaged areas. The implementation

of such policy has resulted to the recruitment of low quality candidates

into tertiary institutions, which has also culminated in the reduction of

the quality of tertiary education students and outputs.

Conclusion

Nigerians should change their orientation; worshipping wealth and

position is not the best for us because it encourages corruption. Someone

who went to jail for stealing public money should not come out and

become hero or king he should be seen as a bad person who has lost his

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respect and dignity. Finally on corruption, the ongoing constitution review

must be taking serious and it should stipulate a life imprisonment for any

corrupt person; might it be in government establishment or private

establishment, corruption is corruption once it is established the individual

should be sent to life imprisonment. Government should provide

employment for young graduates; Nigeria is blessed with abundant

resources that if properly harness unemployment will reduce drastically in

the nation. Government should invent on agriculture since the nation is

blessed with fertile lands. If government can invent on agriculture, there

will be job for the jobless and there will be improvement in economic

security of the nation.

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References

Duit, R., and von Rhneck, C (2009), Learning and understanding key
concepts of electricity, in Connecting Research in Physics Education
with Teacher Education, edited by Tiberghien, A., Jossem, E.L., and
Barojas, J, 1997. [http://www.ph
ysics.ohiostate.edu/~jossem/ICPE/BOOKS.html]
McDermott, L. C. (2010), and Shaffer, P. S., Research as a guide for
curriculum development: An examplefrom introductory electricity.
Part I: Investigation of student understanding, Am. J. Phys., 60,
994- 1003, 1992; erratum, ibid., 61, 81,
McDermott, L.C (2007). How research can guide us in improving the
introductory course, in Proc Conf on Intro Physics Course , edited by
Wilson, J., New York, , Wiley, pp. 33-45.
Nilsson, J., and Riedel, S (2009), Electric Circuits, 6:th edition, Upper
Saddle River, New Jersey,Plenum.
Okebukola, P.A.O (2013). Curriculum implementation in Nigeria. Strategies
For the 21st century. Journal of the Institute of Education, Lagos
state University, 1, 1-6.
Olagunju, O. (2010). Corruption control in Nigeria: Holistic approach.
Advance in Arts, Social Sciences and Education Research. 2 (1), 76-
84
Shaffer, P. S., and McDermott, L. C (2012)., Research as a guide for
curriculum development: An example from introductory electricity.
Part II: Design of an instructional strategy, Am. J. Phys., 60, 1003-
1013,

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