PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF TEACHING SOCIAL STUDIES IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Social Studies was introduced in the Nigerian School Curriculum as part of the instrument for achieving national development (National Policy on Education (NPE) 1981). This was what informed its designation as part of the core curriculum at different levels of education in Nigeria.
Social Studies curriculum development agencies such as the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and experts further identified and disseminated the curriculum goals or purposes of the subject in the school curriculum. These include citizenship education, reflective inquiry and social science education, (Barth-shermis, 1920; Barth-Norris, 1976; Dubey and Barth, 1980; Olawepo, 1984) among others. These broadly stated goals must be clare to, and recognized as important as well as attainable by teachers and other participants connected with the Curriculum if the intentions or purposes must be realized and the investment of effort is to be considered worthwhile (Feather, 1982; Meece, Blumenfeld, & Hoyle, 1988). These intentions or purposes are prima facie stated with clarity, but their perception or conceptualization by teachers and scholars is still in doubt as Onyabe (1980) observed that the philosophy, content and methodology of social studies has remained vague to both scholars and teachers. The incidence of conflicting conceptions of social studies curriculum is a cause for concern for three major reasons. First, the anchor or strategic position of purposes or intentions in the curriculum development process (Pratt, 1994) as illustrated in Tyler (1949) (Linear) and Wheeler (1980) (cyclic) curriculum models, among others.
Secondly, curriculum goals or purposes, are indispensable elements in instructions as far as effective implementation of an already developed curriculum is concerned. Thirdly, the correct conception, investment of efforts and ultimate realization of the purposes of the curriculum will facilitate the realization of the overall aims of the Nigerian educational enterprise.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Presently, junior secondary school students’ interest and academic achievement in social studies is declining. Lemchi (2001) noted that some students are losing interest in the subject.
Attitudes associated with Social Studies appear to affect students’ performance in the subject. Also, many Social Studies teachers teach Social Studies without instructional materials and facilities (Mberengwa 2004). The quality of teachers, and class room facilities are grossly inadequate and obsolete. Owolabi et al. (1991) also indicated that a serious disconnection exists between Social Studiestraining in secondary schools and the needs of the labour market, as students that do not proceed to higher education have been found to be incompetent in the field of work. Where students consistently perform poorly, the implication is that adequate teaching and learning has not taken place in schools. Therefore, the problem of this study is to examine the problems of teaching and learning of Social Studiesin secondary schools in Anambra State.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this study is to examine the problems of teaching and learning of Social Studies in Junior Secondary Schools in Anambra State, Nigeria. Specifically, this study sought to:
- Find out the extent to which students’ attitudes constitute problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies.
- Assess the extent to which teacher quality and quantity constitute problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies.
- Find out the extent to which instructional materials constitute problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies.
- Determine the extent to which curriculum issues pose problems to the teaching/learning of Social Studies.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:
- To what extent do attitudes of Anambra State Junior Secondary Schools Students constitute problems to the teaching of Social Studies?
- To what extent to teacher quality and quantity cause problems to the teaching of Social Studies?
- To what extent do instructional materials pose problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies?
- To what extent do curriculum issues pose problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study gives various insights into the challenges of teaching social studies in junior secondary schools in Nigeria. These highlighted challenges will enable stakeholders in the education sector to take adequate measures in tackling these challenges, and make learning of social studies a lot easier for both teachers and students in junior secondary school levels.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covers the challenges and prospects of teaching social studies at junior secondary schools in Nigeria using Anambra state as a case study. Findings and recommendations for the study may not reflect the true view of the challenges of teaching social studies in Nigeria, as the researcher could not cover a wider area in Nigeria due to time and financial constraints.
1.7 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
There are some limiting factors which influence the researcher’s effort towards developing this work (project). The most prevailing being time factor as other school extra curricula activities that had to be met with
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Social studies is the "integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Social studies is most commonly recognized as the name of a course or set of courses taught in primary and secondary schools or elementary, middle, and secondary schools, but may also refer to the study of aspects of human society at certain post-secondary and tertiary schools around the globe. Many such courses are interdisciplinary and draw upon various fields, including sociology but also political science, history, economics, religious studies, geography, psychology, anthropology, and civics.
A challenge is a general term referring to things that are imbued with a sense of difficulty and victory.