Tuesday, July 27, 2010

THE PROBLEMS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING SOCIAL STUDIES IN SECONDARY SCHOOL.

· INTRODUCTION
Recent changes in the Junior Secondary School curriculum in Nigeria particularly, the introduction of social studies as a core subject to be taught in Junior Secondary Schools demand that specialist teachers be trained and provided with suitable resource materials including textbooks so that they can deliver their lessons effectively.

The absence of related instructional materials in Junior secondary schools, lack of trained social studies teachers and other similar problems serves as barriers to the achievement of numerous objectives in social studies. In view of this situation, the teaching and learning of social studies tends to be ineffective. In the schools, non-specialist teachers are employed to teach social studies and they apply the methods of teaching traditional subjects like History, Geography, Economic, Government and Civics. This kind of arrangement is obviously bad. It is like spreading seeds on a sandy soil. When this happens the seed will not germinate but rot away. In the same way, if this situation is allowed to continue the essential points or aims about social studies will be lost.

· THEORETICAL FRAME WORK
Teaching and learning are usually taken to be major activities or process that take place in school, particularly, in the classroom. During this process however, there are lot of subjects being taught, especially after the introduction of Western Education (Formal Education) in Secondary Schools. These subjects such as Geography, History, Economics, Government etc focus on their specific areas and therefore not suitable for the development of a complete human being, hence the introduction of social studies.

Social studies as a discipline as of American origin. It did not exist as a distinct subject before the second world war (WW II). The social sciences like sociology, economics and political science were thought of as the only subjects designed for the study of social and its institutions. Soon after the second world war, people began to realize especially, in the united states of America, that the understanding of man and his problems in society required a lot more than what was covered by the social sciences, hence social studies was introduced in the schools.

The introduction of social studies in Britain was not an easy task. Obiadi, A. (1980) stressed that social studies came about as a result of the missing link in Britain. The first world war (WW I) of 1914 and the European war happed to expose what was actually missing for human understanding learned on lesions from the wars, it became necessary for them to go back to schools to learn a lot about human relationship and what is meant to the society. For more than two decades, the study of social studies went thought it gained a foothold in the 1950s committees were set up by the Ministry of Education to study about the necessary of studying social studies. Various reports were submitted by the committees. Some of them were in favour while others strongly opposed its inclusion in the school curriculum for fear that it might replace other traditional subjects. Despite these oppositions social studies went through successfully and was given a place in the school curriculum.

The history of social studies in Africa can be traced back to the London Oxford Conference of African Educators of 1967 which resulted in the Mombassa Conference of 1968.

Further still another conference was held at Queens College Oxford to discussed social studies for Africa. Two years later after the Oxford London Conference, African social studies programme was established in Nairobi, Kenya to coordinate and offer help to social studies development in the continent.

It was resolved at the various conferences that Education in African continent needed readjustment to relate specifically to African culture. Hitherto it was observed by the conference organizers that the colonial educational system did not serve the interests of African. The result of the conferences brought about the setting out of social studies curriculum which was meant to be adopted by all members countries including Nigeria according to their peculiar needs.

The teaching and learning of social studies in the Nigerian institutions had a short but important history in the school curriculum. Short in terms of number of years, but important because of the impact that its introduction had made in the Junior secondary school curriculum.

Amonoo, et at (1979) said that “the first serious attempt to develop social studies for secondary schools in Nigeria was made but the staff of Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro in 1965. initially the scope was limited to the then Western Region”. It was through the assistance of the Ford Foundation under its joints auspices with comparative education was adaptation centre (CESAC) that the Aiyetoro project was given a national scope. Through the publication, social studies has now become a core subject in the Junior secondary school curriculum.

The Federal Republic of Nigeria National Policy on Education (1981) supports the inclusion of social studies in the Junior secondary school curriculum.

· STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Social studies is one of the subjects being taught in our secondary schools. The teaching of social studies has not been properly done because most of the teachers handling the subject has little or no sound knowledge concerning the subject. This also posed problems for the studies in terms of learning the subject.

This study is therefore designed to find out the problems of teaching and learning socials studies in our secondary schools, particularly in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area and also find solution to the problems and suggest ways and method of improving upon the situation for the benefit of students, educators, school and society as well.

· PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to identify and explain the problems of teaching and learning of social studies in Secondary schools in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area, and how these problems could be eliminated so as to enhance effective teaching and learning of the students.

· RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i). Is there any significant difference between the use of instructional materials and the teaching of socials studies in schools?
ii). Is there any significant difference between the use of instructional materials in learning and the academic performance of students?
iii). Is there any significant difference between lack of qualified teachers in social studies and the problems of teaching socials studies?

· RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
i). There is no significant difference between the use of instructional materials and the teaching of social studies in schools.
ii). There is no significant difference between the use of instructional materials and the academic performance of studies in schools.
iii). There is no significant difference between lack of qualified teachers in socials studies and the problems of teaching social studies.

· SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research work is significant in many ways:
i). It will highlight the problems associated with the teaching and learning of social studies in schools.
ii). The outcome of the study will also uncover the fundamental roles expected of the Government of our country.
iii). This study will also serves as a source for future research in its area of study.
iv). The outcome of this study will also be of immense values to the society in that it will seek to improve the interest of the learners with regards to their academic performance.

· DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
With due consideration of the factors of time, economic depression of the period geographical location of the target population the scope of the research is delimited to only Eastern Obolo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

· LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research has some limitations that are worth mentioning. The problem of transportation limited the exercise to only three recognized secondary schools in the area. There was difficulty in obtaining information about the project.

This research work has a lot of limitation that are work mentioning. The problem of transportation to get information from transportation from teachers of different school; and the short time given for the completion of this project has been a great limiting factors.

· DEFINITION OF TERMS
LEARNING: Gaining knowledge or skill by studying or form being taught.
PROBLEM: This refers to a difficult situation.
SOCIAL STUDIES: This is the study of man and the outcome of his interaction with his various environments.
STANDARD: A level of skill, ability or achievement by which someone or something is judged that is considered to be necessary or acceptable in a particular situation.
STUDENT: A person who is studying at a schools or college.
TEACHER: Someone whose job is to teach.
TEACHING: This is the process of imparting knowledge and making learners gain knowledge, skills and attitudes they needed to become responsible citizens.

· literature review
The introduction of social studies as one of the core subject in Junior Secondary School has continued to win the admiration and support of most Nigerian scholars and students. Adewuya et at (1982) contend that social studies education enables students to examine those norms and cultures of their core and immediate communities within the Nigerian milieu in order to strengthen their socializing and humanizing responsibilities.

Integrated social studies informs the child and helps him know about the physical, social and educational environment in which he lives and function. Social studies helps the child to realize that all the aspect of his environment are revolving or changing. According to Akpabio et at (1984) “Social studies, as a subject, is concerned with man’s way of life. It examines the way man lives and interacts with his social and physical environment”. The use of the available knowledge, skills, tools and technology may aid his interaction. It is important to note that man lives in the society of other human beings. As a rational being, man according to Akpabio et al needs the company, affection, protection, approval and attention of other human being for his comfort. At the same time, society demands the loyalty, cooperation and knowledge of its members in order to ensure development and continued survival of the society. Again, man lives in a physical environment or territory. He interacts with the resources of the physical environment to meet his need for water, food, clothing, shelter, exercise, sleep and rest. In order to interact successfully for the purpose of meeting his social and physical needs. Man as a general rule uses the knowledge, the ideas, the material objects that his society possesses.

Social Studies is not only a way of life, it studies how man influenced by his physical, social, political, economic, psychological and cultural environment.

Uzoagulu (1981) observes that social studies is one of the social sciences disciplines which studies man ass he interacts with his fellow men and with his environment . the content of social studies, therefore, is man and his actions.

Social studies is the one area of study which integrates, that is, which relates to various social sciences and it also aims at analyzing the view of man and his world. Uzoagulu further stresses that social studies is not history plus geography plus anthropology and so on. All the social sciences are important in their own right but social studies has some relationship with them.

The materials from the social sciences and humanities form the basis of the contents of social studies. these materials help to constitute integrated social studies. Social studies is an attempt to reconcile conflicting and distracting statements about man. In other words, it is problem solving. According to Uzoagulu (1981) “In practical terms, social studies is the subject which considers man’s aspirations, hopes, dreams, resentment, hurts and frustrations in order to understand and interpret his behaviours at any particular time”.

For Ezewu (1985) social studies is the area of study made up of selections from other subject having to do with the art of living together peacefully and harmoniously in our family, community and society.

By way of definition, Amonoo et al (1979) states that social studies deals with man in society as a whole in order to understand the effects of the processes and use them to make progress. it looks at man in his social environment and physical environment. It also examines the effects of science and technology in the social and physical environment. It is the study of man in society with various aspects working together.

For Obiadi (1980) Social studies is not the study of history, geography and civics. As a separate discipline social studies asks questions, raise issues, face problems, present needs and identifies realities. The concept of social studies has been drawn from the disciplines of social science and humanities namely: Sociology, Anthropology, Ethics, History, Geography, and Religion.

From the above argument, it can be seen that the definition of social studies is embedded in its philosophy. Social studies cannot be simply defined in a few words, it can be analyzed because it is a powerful discipline. Social Studies is not just an integrated subject but it is also a way of life. But whether all the objectives of social studies can be achieved or realized, it is a core subject for Junior Secondary Schools in Nigeria.

Many individuals including the teachers, students, civil servants and the entire community expect the teaching of integrated social studies to yield positive results. This is not an easy task because of certain problems such as lack of specialist teachers and instructional materials, inappropriate method of teaching, problem arising from the subject itself based on students evaluation and assessment, lack of resources centers, organized seminars, workshops and conferences to up-date teachers knowledge in integrated social studies.

· SPECIALIST TEACHERS PROBLEM
An outstanding problem militating against effective teaching of social studies in Junior Secondary Schools is lack of expert teachers in the field. In recognition of this fact, Akinlaja (1978) asserts.

“Although the social studies programme has been in existiance for years in the teacher training colleges in the country, there has been n meaningful and comprehensive programme and drive at training social studies teachers”

For this reason, teachers currently handling social studies in Junior secondary schools are non-specialist because they were not trained as such.

Obiadi (1980) holds that there are trained teachers for social studies but most of them handling the subjects at present still have little knowledge about the new integrated social studies methodology.

The researcher discovered that unemployment of the NCE trained social studies teachers has led to the allocation of the subject to teacher who specialized in traditional subject like History, Geography, Government and Economics who are now teaching in Junior Secondary Schools.

· LACK OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS
In-adequate supply and utilization of instructional materials including textbooks which can increase teachers/students awareness and reinforce learning is an obstacle to the teaching of social studies in Junior Secondary Schools.

According to Akinlaja (1978) “There is general shortage of books in some schools subjects. If the new social studies is not more than a revival of subjects like history, geography and government, than there dearth of appropriate textbooks for social studies in Nigeria.”

Regarding materials that are produced commercially at this time brought into the Nigerian markers, Dubey (1978) notes that most of those books are for the teaching of Geography and History presented under the cover of titled Social Studies. There is no doubt that such books misrepresent the discipline not only from the lack of interdisciplinary perspective, but even more fundamentally from the methodological perspective. In addition, the textbooks that are available to schools and colleges in the country misrepresent social studies philosophy.

Social studies a subject is closely related to humanities and the social –science. Therefore a single text book may not have sufficient material represent this broad integrated social studies.

· INAPPROPRIATE METHOD OF TEACHING AND LEANING SOCIAL STUDIES
Through social studies can develop a positive attitude towards good citizenship, and a desire to make positive and concrete contributions to support a united Nigeria. The realization of the numerous objectives of social studies will be achieved if teachers apply social studies method, expository – method, Excursion method and Assignment method in their teaching and learning social studies.

Emphasizing on the objectives of social studies DuBey (1978) states that the overall objectives of social studies should be to help students to develop the ability to make reflective decisions in order to resolve individual and social problems a well as participating intelligently in social actions. Social studies emphasis an interdisciplinary approach to the study of man interacting and coping with problems in society. Appropriate method to facilitate such interaction and cooperation among the ;earners and teachers should be encouraged.

· PROBLEMS OF SOCIAL STUDIES PER SE
Improper social studies structure in various Junior Secondary Schools has hindered effective teaching. Social studies deals with human beings. Since human behaviour varies from person to person to person as a result of changes in their mode of life, social studies serve to mould and form man’s behaviour. Although social studies is a new subject in Nigeria, and despite the fact that little is known about its contents, it is a moral oriented subject whose concern is to help people appreciate and solve their problem.

Modern Educationists see the study of social studies as not only the best course for fostering good citizenship, but it gives information to students and help them learn about the physical, social and economic Environment in which they live. They also agree that it helps the child to understand the diversity among the peoples of Nigeria, the wider world as well as learning to appreciate the world’s phenomena.

· PROBLEM OF EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT:
In appropriate structuring of curriculum for instruction and teaching constitute another hindrance to the teaching of social studies.

Obiadi (1980) states that since social studies is an open ended subject, it may be difficult to standardize answer and achievements.

It is expected that social studies should have positive effects on human behaviour even though human behaviour is to easy to evaluate. It has been generally agreed that performance in social studies either in or outside the classroom can be evaluated. Experts are working hard to introduce evaluation criteria for measuring attitudinal performance.

· RESOURCE CENTRES PROBLEM:
Lack of provision for and lack of resource centres in Junior Secondary School also constitute a problem to the teaching and learning of social studies. Akinlaje (1978) states:

“the development of resource centres in schools and colleges is closely connected with the social studies trend away from the traditional class instruction towards individual learning, group learning, independent learning, inquiry and discovery method.”
The establishment of resource centres for the promotion of social studies in schools entails capital expenditure which some Junior Secondary School Afford. But it is worth starting such centres if education Nigeria is to be made meaningful to our Nigeria Students.

· LACK OF SEMINARS, WORKshop AND CONFERENCES FOR SOS TEACHERS:
Organized seminars, workshops and conferences provides opportunities for interaction, learning and teaching. It also caters for appropriate reception of information and instruction on issues and problems.

According to Akinlaje (1978) “mention must be also, if only in passing, of the skepticism of pupils, parents and Headmasters as to the relative merit of school studies in the social curriculum, They seem to regard it as a clog in the education wheel, preventing early specialization and excellence in history, Geography and Government at G C E ordinary and advanced levels,”

Lack of organized seminars, workshops and conferences contribute to the lukewarm attitude of social studies teachers in Junior Secondary Schools. The Teachers themselves have stressed adequately the role and prospect for studying social studies.

· SUMMARY
There is an agreement among educationists, teachers and students on the basic objectives of social studies towards fostering good citizenship. Social studies informs the students and help them know about the physical, social natural, cultural and economic environment in which they live. The study of social studies helps the students to develop valuable and socially acceptable concept and philosophies of life.

Integrated social studies is a problem approach subject in which man studies and learns more about problems of survival in his environment. This work further holds that social studies will have some impact on the behaviour of the students as they address themselves to social, cultural and political affairs.

Attention has been drawn to the inescapable situation in which social studies is being taught in junior secondary schools. Teachers teaching traditional subject like history, Geography and Civics teach. Social studies. Trained social studies teachers are few. The use of social studies methods and materials needs to go hand in hand with organized seminars, workshops and conferences for social studies teachers to update their knowledge in teaching and learning social studies.

· SUGGESTION
This work is subject to suggestions for possible solution to the problems associated with the teaching and learning of social studies in junior secondary.

The suggestion will contribute a great deal to the increasing needs of the government, teachers and students of social studies.

In line with this, the following suggestion are made to be adopted by the government and their educational agencies, seminar and conference organizers as well as teachers and students of social studies in junior secondary schools.

Teachers who are trained in social studies ought to be employed to teach the subject JSS. If non specialist are allowed to handle social studies, students will not benefit in the subject.

Social studies teachers should develop effective methods of teaching and learning so as to make way for easy realization of its rich objective.

Adequate funds should be made available to Junior secondary schools by the government to enable them establish resource centres in various schools. Resource persons should be invited to schools to help the teachers in teaching techniques and on the correct use of the instructional material, as this will in turn help the teachers and learning of the subject more meaningful and interesting.

The government should equipped all Junior secondary school libraries with sufficient and relevant textbooks in social studies. Social studies should be introduce in senior secondary schools like the traditional subject to serve as a motivating factor to those in JSS.

Finally the researcher wish to suggest that the federal and state government along with their educational agencies should support the teaching and learning of social studies for all junior secondary schools.

· CONCLUSION
In conclusion, this study has pointed out that not every teacher is a social studies teacher. A social studies teacher must see himself as a facilitator of learning and should therefore exhibit desirable behavior to harmonize the nature and effectiveness of teaching and learning social studies. Appropriate methods should be use at all times to make the lesson interesting and rewarding. The teacher should maintain a free questioning atmosphere in the class room for his students to develop positive attitudes to learn.

Finally, it most be emphasized that the role of a teacher in the teaching and learning social studies is quite a challenging one. It follows that the teacher must be fully prepared to be able expose the students to the atmosphere of learning and appreciations of day to day societal problems and solution in his interest and for the well being of the society.

· BIBLIOGRAPHY

Adewuya, B. et al (1982) Onibon Oje Social Studies for schools and colleges. Onibon joe Press and Book Industries Ltd Ibadan, Nigeria.
Akpabio A.J (1984) Social studies for Junior secondary school and colleges PAICO Ltd. (Press & Books) Calabar.
Amono B. et al (1979) Nigeria Secondary Schools Social Studies Project. (CESAC) and Heinemann Educational Books (Nig) Ltd.
Ezewu E.E. (1985) Social Studies for Junior Secondary Schools Evans Brothers (Nig) Ltd Ibadan.
Nigeria Educational Research Council. (1980) Social Studies: Teaching Issues and Problems. Ethiope Publishing Corporation Benin, Nigeria.
Obiadi, G.O.A. (1980) Essentials of Social Studies for teacher training colleges and Secondary Schools in Nigeria. Snaap Press, Enugu, Nigeria.
Ogundele, A (1978) A Hand Book ofSocial Studies for Colleges Macmillan (Nig) Ltd Ibadan.
Uzoagulu,P.C. (1981) Social Studies for Schools and Colleges African Educational Publishers (Nig) Ltd. Onitsha, Nigeria .
Akinlaje, F. A (1978) “Meaning and concept of Social Studies” In Social Studies Teaching and Problems. Ethiope Publishing Cor. Benin, Nigeria, for NERA. P. 100, .
Dubey, D.L. (1978) “Problems and Issues in Teaching the Methods of Social Studies” In Social Studies Teaching and Problems. Ethiope Publishing Cor. Benin , Nigeria. For NERC P. 77..
Eyo Anthony (1986) Social Studies Instrument for Unity: Nigeria Chronicle; P. 12.

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