SELECTION AND UTILIZATION OF SOCIAL STUDIES INSTRUCTIONAL METHODS BY SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS IN EBONYI STATE

 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Social studies refers to the subject matter, possessing skills, attitudes and activities that focus on society and on individuals as members of a social group. National Teachers’ Institute (N.T.I,2000), opines that Social studies is an area of school curriculum specifically designed for the study of man and how he fits into the society by utilizing the necessary attitudes, values and skills at his reach.

Awe in Fadeiye (2005:06), is of the view that

…Social studies is a discipline if properly programmed and effectively taught should help to solve social problems that are facing developing countries like ours (Nigeria) where  the old  norms are fast losing their grips and  without any effective substitute to replace them.

Bozimo and Ikwumelu (2009), maintain that Social studies aims at helping people develop the ability to make decisions so that they can resolve personal problems and shape policy by participating in intelligent social action. They also state that Social studies is concerned not only with knowledge but also with attitudes, skills and values. Ikwumelu (2002) holds that it gives an opportunity for important social and moral issues such as attitudes to the destitute, poverty, racialism and different types of government, cruelty to animals and children, brutality and injustice to be introduced into curriculum.

Jarolimek (1977:04), agreeing with the above view, states that Social studies

is a field of study that teaches about people, how and where they live, how they form and structure societies, how they govern themselves and provide for their material and psychological needs; how and why they love and hate each other, how they use and misuse the resources of the planet that is their home.

Social studies does not focus on purely individual problems or problems that are peculiar to a given individual, and it is not synonymous with indoctrination nor with uncritical acceptance of beliefs (Bozimo and Ikwumelu, 2008). Kissock (1981) thus holds that Social studies is a programme of study which a society uses to instill in the students the knowledge, skills, attitudes and actions it considers important concerning the relationship human beings have with each other, the world and themselves.

In Social studies therefore, man is viewed as being at the centre while his physical, political, cultural, psychological and socio-economic environments encircle him. This probably explains why Nigeria Education Research Council (NERC) in Fadeiye (2005) opines that Social studies is the relationship between man, and his physical and social environments as well as his relationship with science and technology.

Social studies can thus help the Nigerian citizens generally to develop the ability to respect the worth and dignity of individuals, it will help in the inculcation of national consciousness and national unity, instill in man a disposition for acceptance of attitudinal change or rebranding in order to tame the tide of corruption which has enveloped all sectors of life in Nigeria.

Agreeing with the above assertion, Jarolimek (1977:3), maintains that Social studies is expected  to contribute immeasurably to the development of confidence, hope and positive self image in our children in conflicting ideologies, values and attitudes since it aims at:

helping young people develop competence that enables them to deal with and to some extent manage, the physical and social forces of the world in which they live. It also provides young people with a feeling of hope in the future and confidence in their ability to solve social problems.

To achieve these objectives, Adeniji (2004), suggests that all the teachers of Social studies in all affected levels of education need to be familiar with the content and methods of teaching the subject in order to interpret the content of Social studies correctly and encourage its learning. In addition, they need to acquire skills on selection and utilization of Social studies methods.

Okoro (2001:19), supporting this view, states that when Social studies instructional methods are related to the content, learning will cease to be fragmentary and memorization of unrelated facts and concepts will end. He maintains that the ultimate result of relating Social studies instructional methods and content is for a successful inculcation of such Social studies content as:

– Independent thinking and the desire to think on more individual level.

– Group cooperation or developing more favourable attitudes towards working more effectively and efficiently with others.

– Social responsibilities or respect for obligations to obey the rules of the home, schools and community.

– Empathy or developing the ability to relate and identify more closely with other people’s’ situations.

– Democratic living or the growth of improved attitudes towards increasing respect for other people’s rights.

Downey and Kelly in Ikwumelu (2002:3), observe that “social awareness and social understanding are still not being developed, students still consider either to take for granted what their teachers offer or to reject it out of hand”, probably as a result of lack of relevance between Social studies content and its instructional methods. It is only when such relevance is achieved that Social studies programme can help students think critically about their own assumptions and about the world in which they live, so that they will no longer be contented to accept their lot blindly but can learn ways of contributing towards changes.

Wheeler in Fadeiye (2005:06) equally maintains that “whether a subject is effective or not depends on the nature and quality of the learning experiences that are associated with it”.  This implies that it is not only the content that determines effectiveness but also the quality of learning experiences which in some cases are dependent upon proper selection and appropriate utilization of instructional methods by the teachers.     Mkpa in Mkpa (2005:10), thus suggests that “content must be related to selected instructional methods for effective and quality learning experiences to be achieved”. He maintains that in reality content and process are so interrelated that an outright distinction may not be desirable except for analytical purpose; content and process should therefore be seen as an integral part of each other and so should both be accorded sufficient emphasis as one cannot exist in isolation of the other.

Mbakwem (2005) is also of the view that proper selection and appropriate utilization of instructional methods could encourage skills acquisition and development of values. From the foregoing, it appears that the ability of Social studies to realize the lofty goals expected of it rests on the instructional methods selected and used by the teachers. With regard to the selection and use of instructional methods in teaching of Social studies, Bozimo and Ikwumelu (2009:138), opine that there is wide spectrum of instructional methods available for use in Social studies education. While some of the methods can only be used to achieve some specified objectives, others can achieve multiple objectives simultaneously.

Fadeiye (2005) asserts also that methods of teaching Social studies are many and that some are more effective than the others; to him Social studies teachers need to examine all the methods critically and experiment with them with a view to selecting most appropriate methods for classroom interaction. This thus leads to such questions as:

– What are the instructional methods available for use in teaching Social Studies?

– Is there any difference between rural and urban Social studies teachers in the use of instructional methods?

– Do Social studies teachers utilize these methods properly?

– What are the possible factors affecting selection and utilization of these methods?

Different methods can be used in teaching a unit of work so that students will have the opportunity of using all their senses with a view to making learning permanent. Some of these instructional methods used in teaching Social studies are: lecture method, panel method, debate method, dramatization method, inquiring method, concept mapping, discussion, field trip method, creative activity, games and simulation methods.

Fadeiye (2005) opines that Social studies teacher needs to familiarize himself with several methods of teaching Social studies so as to make classroom more interesting and participatory. He also suggests the use of integrated methods in the teaching since Social studies is an inter-disciplinary subject. Unfortunately, some Social studies teachers fall back to a particular method as the only method of passing information to the students, and this does no good to the teaching and learning of Social studies, furthermore selection and utilization of inappropriate methods by Social studies teachers may impede the learning of Social studies (Bozimo and Ikwumelu, 2009).

Novak and Musonda (1991) maintain that gender bias from the society has permeated the school environment, curriculum, pedagogy, instructional materials, among others to influence the attitudes of the teachers in favour of the boys. Again, though boys and girls have similar abilities and capabilities, learn in the same school, taught by the same teacher using the same syllabus, girls in the end still perform very poorly in Social studies classroom (Novak & Musonda, 1991). Hornby (2000) defines selection as the process of choosing something carefully from a large group of things that may either by identical or having a common future. Utilization according to him is defined as the process of using something, especially for a particular purpose. Consequently, there is a need for a study on the selection and utilization of Social studies instructional methods by secondary school teachers especially in Ebonyi State.

Statement of the Problem

Social studies is often seen as all comers’ course and a dumping ground for those denied admission in other disciplines by the school management (Igba, 2005). According to Igba (2005), school management and ministry of education often appoint teachers that read courses like Geography, Economics, History, Government, English language and even Fine Arts to teach the subject in secondary schools in Ebonyi State.  This does not enhance the teaching and learning of Social studies. This is why most Social studies students fail Social studies in external examination. Lamenting on the poor performance, the chief examiner’s report on the performance of students in Social studies examination in the July 2009 says “the performance is generally poor. It was disheartening to see the degree of ignorance among candidates of Social studies in their home country”, (Ebonyi State Secondary Education Board, 2009:12).

In addition, Onasanya (2008:) opines that Social studies education in Nigeria for long had been criticized for not quite preparing students for effective living in the society as result of inappropriate utilization of instructional methods in Social studies classroom. In support of the above, Okpalama (2008: 65) maintains that the “inability of Social studies education to actualize its expected goals of preparing students for worthy living is proved beyond  reasonable doubt by the low level of  achievement of Social studies students in external examination”. To Okpalama, the low level of achievement had been attributed to a number of factors by Social studies educators. For instance Mkpa (2001) attributed it to improper selection and poor uses of Social studies instructional methods, others pointed accusing finger to poor teaching methods involving selection and application of orthodox or traditional methods in Social studies classroom (Mezieobi, 1991). This probably results in poor performances in junior secondary schools Social studies examinations in the study area.

Since Social studies records poor results in the area of study, there is the need to revisit the teaching and learning of the discipline, including the methods applied by the teachers in classroom interaction. While considering the methods in use in Social studies teaching, the factors influencing the selection of such methods have to be in focus. Research has shown that successful teaching and learning are dependent upon the selection and use of appropriate teaching method(s) for classroom use, (Mbakwem, 2005). This study therefore investigated on the method(s) to be selected and used by secondary school teachers for Social studies education in Ebonyi State?

Purpose of the Study

The research focuses on the study of selection and utilization of Social studies instructional methods by Social studies teachers in Secondary schools in Ebonyi State. Specifically, it aims at;

– Identifying the available instructional methods for teaching Social studies in Secondary schools.

– Ascertaining the most widely selected Social studies instructional methods by male and female secondary school teacher in Ebonyi State.

– Finding out the most widely utilized Social studies instructional methods by male and female teachers in secondary schools teachers in Ebonyi State.

– Examining the possible factors that adversely affect selection of Social studies instructional methods by Secondary school teachers in Ebonyi State.

– Determining the factors that affect utilization of Social studies instructional methods by secondary school teachers in Ebonyi State.

Significance of the Study

The study is significant because it would help in the understanding of the pedagogical problems of Social studies and the best methods of teaching the subject in secondary schools in Ebonyi State. The findings of this study will guide Social studies teachers to appreciate the importance of instructional methods in the teaching of Social studies in our schools.

Social studies textbook authors will benefit from the findings of this study by updating their knowledge on the selection and use of Social studies instructional methods. School administrators and supervisors will no doubt fall back on the findings of this study as a guide to supervising Social studies teachers for effective performance. The study is relevant because data collected will provide the interested scholars with information on the selection and utilization of Social studies instructional methods in teaching the subject in secondary schools in Ebonyi State. The society at large will benefit from the findings of the study as the problems related to Social studies instructional methods are critically examined.

Scope of the Study

The study focuses on selection and utilization of Social studies instructional methods by secondary school teachers in Ebonyi State. The main area of the study is Ebonyi State which has three Education Zones, namely Abakaliki, Onueke and Afikpo Education Zones.

Research Questions

Five research questions were formulated to guide the study. They are:

– What are the instructional methods available for use in teaching of Social studies in Secondary Schools?

– What are the most widely selected instructional methods by male and female teachers in Secondary Schools in Ebonyi State?

– What are the most widely utilized Social studies instructional methods by male and female teachers in secondary schools in Ebonyi State?

– What are the possible factors that affect adversely the selection of Social studies instructional methods by secondary School teachers in Ebonyi State?

– What are the factors that affect utilization of Social studies instructional methods by secondary school teachers in Ebonyi State?

Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated for the study to be tested at 0.05 level of significance.

Ho1: There is no significant difference between the responses of male and female Social studies teachers on methods available for use in teaching Social studies in secondary schools in Ebonyi state.

Ho2: There is no significant difference between the responses of male and female teachers in secondary schools on selection of Social studies instructional methods.

Ho3: There is no significant difference between the responses of male and female Social studies teachers on most widely utilized instructional methods by Social studies teachers in Secondary Schools in Ebonyi State.