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SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHERS’ PERCEPTION ON THE USE OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES IN THE TEACHING/LEARNING OF SOCIAL STUDIES IN SOME SELECTED JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN EGOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EDO STATE
The purpose of this study was to investigate social studies teachers’ perception on the use of community resources in the teaching and learning of social studies in some selected junior secondary schools in Egor Local Government Area of Edo State. The sample of the study was made up of 100 social studies teachers in 20 junior secondary schools. Four research questions and two hypotheses were raised in the study to find out the teachers’ perception on the use of community resources.
The research instrument used for this study was a modified 4-point Likert type scale questionnaire consisting of seventeen items. The instrument used was validated by the supervisor and two other experts in the department of educational psychology and curriculum studies. A reliability coefficient of 0.67 was obtained. Data were collected and simple percentage and t-test of independent sample was used to analyze the data collected. The two hypotheses were tested at an alpha level of .05.
The finding of this study revealed that the perception of professional and non-professional teachers was not significant in their use of community resources. However, it was recommended among others, that there should be full scale implementation of community resources in the teaching/ learning social studies in junior secondary schools.
Background of the Study
The introduction of social studies into the Nigeria School System was based on certain philosophical considerations. One of them is to address social issues and man’s problem of life in their interrelatedness, as they appear in real life situations instead of addressing them in an uninterrelated manner as those learnt through separate disciplines like Geography, Religion, Sociology and Anthropology. Social Studies according to Ezegbe (1994), was therefore introduced as an integrated discipline to make education real to life.
Social studies was also introduced into the Nigerian School System to achieve one of the philosophies of Nigerian education as indicated in the National Policy on Education (2004) which is “the development of the individual into a sound and effective citizen”. The realization of this objective through social studies is possible since the subject is an integrated programme which is taught and learnt. Social studies looks at all aspects of the life of the child in the society.
It is further stated in the National Policy on Education (2004) that the essence of education is to achieve the inculcation of national consciousness and national unity; the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society. All these, according to Ezegbe (1994) involve the development of modern democratic values which are taught and learnt in social studies because of its broad based scope. The accomplishment of the purposes for which social studies was introduced in schools would depend to a large extent, not only on the availability of the right caliber of professionally trained social studies teaching personnel but also of the material resources available in schools for its teaching. Of the personnel involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of a curriculum, the teacher is the most important. Brown (1982) pointed out the vital role of the teacher in the curriculum process when he notes that:
The curriculum can be a great success or a dismal failure, depending on the teachers. They are the key persons who alone can make the curriculum design achieve whatever it was designed to achieve… (pg. 19).
No matter how strongly motivated a nation may be in desiring to provide education for its citizens irrespective of the financial resources and the good will, the effectiveness of the system ultimately depends on the quality of the teachers that operate it. It is the teacher who translates societal values and aspirations to practical lessons in the class. Several educators amongst who are Coombs (1970), Fafunwa (1974), Fayemi (1991) and Ukeje (1970) have written on the vital role of the teachers as implementers of the curriculum. According to them, whatever abilities are available, whatever content is presented for teaching, whichever kind of environment the school is situated and whatever kind of pupils are given to teach, the important and vital role of the teacher cannot be over-emphasized. Teachers represent a large proportion of the input of an educational system.
Instructional materials are also educational inputs and they are of vital importance in the successful implementation of any curriculum. Relevant and appropriate textbooks, visual and audio-visual materials like globes, charts, slides, maps, tapes etc are of paramount necessities in the teaching and learning process. Audio-visual materials supplement and consolidate what is read in textbooks and journals. An important, but often – neglected source of instructional material for effective teaching and learning of social studies is the community. No matter the nature, size and location of the community, there are various resources both human and non human which enhance the teaching and learning of social studies within and outside the classroom. Social studies as a broad discipline deals with the study of the activities of man in his physical and social environment (i.e how man influences the environment in which he lives and in turn examines the environmental effect on man). Consequently, the community becomes the laboratory for social studies teachers.
A careful examination of the Nigeria primary and junior secondary school social studies curriculum would show that they are heavily loaded with topics and issues that are common in our communities. These could be historical, geographical, economic, social and cultural issues. There is no better place than the local community for effective teaching and learning of social studies bearing in mind the nature and scope of the subject. The students can see at first hand the social processes and interactions. Social studies is about home, school, community functioning, work and government at the local level and about the explanation of these things at the national levels. Members of the students’ families can often be used as a resource. A parent may be able to describe his or her job when the class is studying community workers or the job market. There may be artifacts from different nations in the homes of the students that would be of interest to the class. Many teachers have found that these add sparkle to the class. Students are to be prepared to think constructively, to make judgment and decision, to analyze and criticize what they have learned and to affiliate themselves with these things when they become adult citizens of the community.
The acceptance of the above assertion will lead one to ask whether secondary school students of social studies are expected to sit down in the classroom and listen to the teachers’ definition of lake or hill or go out to observe these features and how man’s activities shape and reshape them. Effective utilization of community resources in the teaching and learning of social studies is one of the ways through which the objectives of social studies can be achieved. According to Mezieobi (1991) social studies teachers should move away from reliance on textbook and other reading materials and as an alternative to the textbook disease turn attention to participative approaches in social studies instruction which are inductive and problem-solving oriented and encourage discovery, creativity and reflective inquiry which cannot be inculcated through sheer reading of social studies textbook and other reading materials. The peculiar nature of social studies makes it possible for great variety of resource materials to be employed in its teaching and learning. The ultimate goal of any teaching – learning activity is to bring about desirable behavioural changes in the learner. Effective interactive process demands appropriate utilization or commitment of instructional materials and resources. According to Fadeiye (1992) resources could be a stimulus, an object, a person, etc which helps the learners in their pursuit of knowledge in social studies.
The community is the neighbourhood beyond just family. Community resources are materials both natural and man-made found within the community that could enhance teaching and learning in and outside the classroom. According to Mezieobi (1992) community resources are those persons, places and institutions which desirably enrich the horizon of the student teaching and learning, deepen the social studies content and widen the horizon of the students in social studies teaching and learning. To ensure students effective functioning later in their lives they should be exposed to the realities of their communities.
Instructional materials and community resources can be grouped into two categories namely conventional resources and grouped into broad categories, human resources and non human resources. Human resources refer to the use of individuals who serve as resource personnel within urban and rural communities. A resource person is an expert or acknowledgeable person in an area of specialization who is invited to or is visited for explanation and dissemination of information. Human resource includes the following: community leaders, farmers, hunters, priests, librarians and postman, police officers, doctors, legislatures, amongst others. The non human resources include: health institutions e.g. hospital, clinics and maternities; museum, amongst others.
Despite the wide variety of instructional materials which are utilized in teaching – learning activities in general, community resources are most appropriate for effective social studies instruction in Nigeria given the social relevance of social studies, coupled with low level of technology development of the Nigeria society, the growing emphasis on community based education and the dwindling economic circumstance which has occasioned the inadequate supply of instructional materials and facilities to our schools. Community resources therefore serve as panacea for he inadequate supply of instructional materials.
According to Meziobi (1991), they help to expose the students to the realities of their environment or community and make them have direct experiences, which will help to concretize the social studies content that have been taught. It breaks the monotony of the teacher as it adds variety to learning during visit to interest acquaint learners with their social and physical environment, as well as strengthen the school community relationship.
In addition, students can serve the community in projects ranging from helping senior citizens to clearing up local parks. Community service provides a bridge between students and the community and can be an important resource in building toward the goal of citizenship. The students are made to appreciate the fact that the community plays vital roles in their lives and education.
Statement of the Problem
The child is the product of his community, consequently the issue of community resources in the teaching and learning of social studies becomes a means of promoting socio-ecological equilibrium and learners’ understanding of their environment. Researchers in community resources like Mezieobi (1991), Jarolimeto (1971) pointed out that the dependence on high level technology materials such as radio and television for social studies instructional effectiveness in Nigeria at this level of our development is not only unrealistic; it will impede the proper institutionalization of social studies education.
The scarcity and at time non-availability of the imported high level technology materials such as cine projector, slide projector, overhead projector, impede effective teaching in schools. Furthermore, the inability of most social studies teachers to effectively operate the instructional materials poses problems. Unfortunately where some of the materials are available the schools lack electricity to energize them. These problems have being manifested in the manner in which students find difficulty in concretizing abstract concepts taught.
To give the study a direction, the following research questions are raised.
1. Are social studies teachers in schools aware of available community resources for the teaching of social studies?
2. Are social studies teachers aware of the value of community resources in the teaching of social studies?
3. Is there any difference between professional and non professional social studies teachers in their perception of the value of community resources?
4. Do social studies teachers differ significantly in their perception of the constraints in the use of community resources?
1. The awareness of social studies teachers of available community resources will not be significantly less than the acceptable level.
2. The awareness of social studies teachers value of community resources will not be significantly less than the acceptable level.
3. Professional and non professional social studies teachers will not differ significantly in their perception of community resources.
4. Social studies teachers do not differ significantly in their perception of the constraints to the use of community resources.
Purpose of Study
1. To determine if social studies teachers are aware of the value of community resources available for teaching the subject.
2. To determine if social studies teachers are aware in schools of the value of community resources in the teaching of social studies.
3. To determine if professional and non professional social studies teachers differ in their perception of community resources.
4. To determine if social studies teachers differ significantly in their perception of constraints to the use of community resources.
Significance of the Study
The outcome of this study will encourage social studies teachers to use materials within the school local communities to facilitate teaching and learning. The findings of this study will hopefully strengthen the school - community relation. Finally it is also hoped that findings will stimulate school authorities and Parents Teachers Association (P.T.A.) to support teachers’ effort to make use of community human and non human resources because of their potency to contribute to effective schooling. Curriculum designers will place emphasis on the need to use community resources. It will also serve as a base for future research into the use of community resources.
Scope and Delimitation of the Study
This study focuses on social studies teachers perception of the constraints to the use of community resources for teaching and it is limited to social studies teachers in all junior secondary schools.