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ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM FOR JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 Background to the Study
Social Studies has social, political, economic and technological relevance to national development. This is because its content is organized around social and environmental issues affecting man‟s existence, and his capability to manage, and preserve the environment for sustainable development (Mezieobi, Akpochafo and Mezieobi, 2010). Following the decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to use education to empower the people and achieve the objectives of poverty eradication, job creation and wealth generation, it becomes imperative that the conventional methods of teaching social studies where are passive need be changed (Onuoha, 2011).
Vision 2010 is indeed an ambitious programme. It is a political proclamation of the Nigerian Government. The expectation is that by the year 2020, Nigeria will be counted among the top twenty (20) economies of the world alongside America, Japan, Russia and other super power of the world (Igbokwe, 2010). But to the researcher‟s view, how is the educational policy and its curriculum of social studies working towards achieving this vision of Nigeria becoming the top twenty (20) the world economies. Achieving the objectives of vision 20:2020 in JSS in Nigeria can only be realized through qualitative social studies instruction that is highly directed at radical socio-economic, political and scientific transformation of the nation. The innovation should aim at functional manpower who are imbued with positive values, attitudes and skills, which can further contribute to the development of Nigeria‟s economy, resource management and reconstruction of its physical environment to facilitate sustainable development, which is ideal for harmonious social living, interdependence and pace.
No nation can develop to its fullest and keep pace with modern societal trends in science and technology without effective and efficient education. Education is a basic force for the socio-economic and political transformation of the society (Imogie, 2011:2). The transformation agenda of vision 20:2020 is feasible in Nigeria through social studies at the junior secondary school if the content of social studies curriculum is effectively implemented. Social studies teachers‟ classroom instructional effectiveness is instrumental to the effective implementation of the social studies curriculum in junior secondary schools. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) National Policy on Education noted that the quality of effective teaching is depended on the capability of trained social studies teachers and ability to stimulate learning to an appreciable extent. According to Ossai (2011) the method adopted by social studies teachers is a strong factor that can affect learners‟ level of achievement.
The researcher further maintained that method of instruction is a vehicle or strategy for teacher-learner communication, and that the neglect of adequate instructional strategies is a pedagogical competency deficiency. Accounting for the weaknesses in the effective instructional implementation of social studies curriculum in Nigerian secondary schools, Adeyemi (1989), Mkpa (1989) and Enem (2005) observed that integrated social studies curriculum in junior secondary school suffers from instructional neglect which is largely attributed to teachers inability to come to grip with the peculiar pedagogical demands of the subject.
It is the dynamism in teaching and learning of social studies that set the stage for the realization of the reformative objective of Vision 20:2020, because learners are trained to acquire positive skills, attitudes and values to reform their country‟s economy.
Delannoy (2000) remarked that the teacher is a key player in educational aspiration of nations, but this is depended highly on the quality of their knowledge of the subject matter, ability to initiate learning experiences, integrate knowledge and demonstrate leadership and capability to resolve complex situations in the teaching learning process. The functional social studies teacher will channel social studies content instruction to meaningfully equip the learners with requisite potentials to become effective players in the realization of the goals of development. Linking social studies education as a potential factor for national economic growth and transformation in Nigeria.Inogie (2010) remarked that education is the means through which the society perpetuates and develops itself culturally, socially and economically.
Teachers‟ instructional methods facilitate the teaching and learning of social studies. Mezieobi (1994) identified three methods that should be applied in the effective teaching of social studies as expository or class teaching methods, problem solving method and activity method. Social Studies instruction to young learners requires practical learning activities or exposure to issues endemic to the learning environment. The Social Studies teacher in order to achieve maximal teaching and learning of Social
Studies in the classroom has to employ techniques that will exercise learner interest.
Against this background, Akinyali, Bolarin, Daniyonu and Ayodele (1997:37) remark
“… students transfer values of their experiences to solve social problems can only be achieved through innovative and modern open and direct experience learning strategies of inquiry, discussion and clarification of their attitudes and values”.
Arisi and Kpangban (1997) emphasized that variety of instructional strategies in teaching social studies in junior secondary school was to make the individual differences of the young learners. Udo (1999) further added that the teaching of Social Studies require multiple teaching methods in the Social Studies content, stress dynamic innovative societal issues which are affected by changes in attitudes, values and knowledge procedures. The social studies teacher is expected to adopt various instructional approaches, illustrations and explanations, such that the learner is maximally involved in the teaching learning environment.
In addition, Obaegbalem (2004) expressed that the application of relevant methods equip the teacher with the requisite knowledge and skills to excuse the teaching of social studies more effectively and Stenhouse (1975) explained that teaching is not mere classroom instructional presentation but the capability of using instructional method to promote high learning. Stenhouse reiterates that the use of methods is an important aspect of social studies curriculum implementation. Social studies is an emerging discipline in Nigeria, which has emphasized the use of innovative teaching strategies in order to strengthen the effective implementation of the social studies curriculum towards achieving vision 20:2020. To buttress the foregoing discussion, Okam (1994) said that social studies represents one of those curricula arrangement which capitalized largely on the use of method sustained to the reasons for its existence as an important subject. In corroborating the proceeding view further, Ogbonna (1997:63) noted “a social studies teacher should possess a range of teaching strategies because different styles or patterns of teaching behaviours are used for different educational purposes hence every teacher
(of studies) should use more than one way of teaching.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Social Studies education is a discipline that is meant to develop in the learners positive attitudes, knowledge, skills, values and disposition for the enhancement and development of their own society. To ensure effective implementation of the curriculum of social studies in junior secondary schools is to make use of diverse strategies or methods in order to make learners active, reflective thinkers and problem solvers. However, the major concern for worry is that the prescribed innovative pedagogies for active participation of the learners in critical and reflective thinking, self development, self discovering, creativity amongst others are scarcely used by teachers who are enveloped in the application of traditional method of instruction which encourage learners passivity in the classroom. Yet, we emphasize learning to be learner centred where they are all fully involved in the teaching learning process.
Social studies education programmes are not being constantly evaluated in order to ensure its effectiveness and whether the objectives of the programme are being achieved. Feedback mechanism with regard to ensuring whether the stated objectives are being attained or not is only possible through evaluation. Thus, evaluation is an integral part of all educational programmes. Unfortunately, instances like lack of effective evaluation in the area of textbooks, instructional materials, teachers, methods as well as inconsistencies of policies affecting social studies, is what characterized the programme in Nigeria in general perspective and Enugu State in particular at the Junior Secondary School level.
Also the content of Junior Secondary School Social Studies in Nigeria has often been described as very academic and out of touch with the needs and aspirations of the society. Also, social studies curriculum has not been properly matched with the need of the country. It is the remoteness of the curriculum that makes social studies meaningless in the context of the freshly identified national needs. Also the focus of the control of teachers on student learning activity in social studies is the examination syllabus. In other words, teaching is grossly expository and authoritative while learning is a receptive and sub-massive acceptance of knowledge. Examination success is the prime objective and all activities are directed towards that end. Conformity or convergent thinking stands as a premium and adventurous or creative thinking is personalized or ignored.
Therefore, could these problems be attributed to the ways and manner social studies integrates various disciplines in the area of social science? Or could it be as a result of non-challant attitudes on the part of government? Or could it be related to the problems of teaching affecting social studies programmes.
The problem facing the implementation of social studies programme in junior secondary schools in Enugu State is of serious concern to teachers, learners, government, parents and non-governmental organizations who are involved in the planning of the curriculum. Thus, this work would centre on how best to solve this perennial phenomenon. The work will also look into methods used in teaching of social studies, evaluation strategies as well as time allocated for social studies in the school programme in junior secondary schools in Enugu State.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The focus of this study is therefore to:
1.4 Research Questions
The Study sought answers to the following research questions.
Social Studies Curriculum in Junior Secondary Schools?
Based on the objectives and research questions, the following hypotheses were developed.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
The study makes the following assumptions.
1.7 Significance of the Study
The researcher hopes that the study will provide information on the
implementation of social studies curriculum, its implications and improvement in Enugu State.
It is hoped that it will serve as an insight to researchers who might consult it in process of carrying out similar research work in the near future. To school
administration, it is believed that they will further realize the important role social studies is expected to play on the life of the learners.
Government will also find it useful because it will show the areas where it has to come in, such as training and retraining of teachers and provision of necessary structures, resources and materials that will aid effective teaching and learning process in the social studies curriculum. Likewise, through this study, it is expected that government will further realize that the subject is not just a mere addition to the existing school curriculum but one that is crucial for the attainment of the much needed values in order to attain national development.
In the same vein, it is believed that social studies curriculum planners will benefit from the study in such a way that when engaged in further review of the curriculum, other interest groups will be contacted and made to play their role. The researcher also expected social studies students to benefit from the study when they find it necessary to consult in the course of their studies.
The research work is hoped to be significant to social studies teachers who are expected to implement policies formulated for social studies programme. It is also believed that the teachers would be able to detect some of the problems militating against the achievements of some aims, goals and objectives of social studies programmes. Going through the information from the learners, it will increase their resourcefulness, dedication and commitment to work thereby make conscious of the desire to achieve the learners. This is the goal of the National Policy on Education.
Furthermore, the findings and recommendations of this study will contribute to the understanding of the nature, objectives, scope of social studies curriculum as a problem solving discipline. This is because it helps to train students of Social Studies to be able to think critically and reflectively in their day-to-day life in their society. Finally the study will provide additional literature that could enrich the existing literatures in the area of the implementation of social studies curriculum.
1.8 Scope of the Study
This research work titled “Assessment of the Implementation of Social Studies Curriculum in Junior Secondary Schools was conducted in Enugu State”. The study is limited to junior secondary schools in the state. The study is also limited to public secondary schools in Enugu State that partake in social studies programme. The research work covers teachers and students in some selected schools across the twenty three (23) Local Government Areas of the state. The variables studied in this research work are implementation (independent variable) while social studies curriculum (dependent variable).
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