SOME PROBLEMS OF TEACHING SOCIAL STUDIES AT THE SECONDARY SCHOOL LEVELThe problems of teaching social studies at the primary school level include:
i. Brain drain
ii. Image problems
iii. The teaching environment
iv. Government policies
v. Teachers qualification.
Most trained teachers have their primary assignment elsewhere. They cannot be compelled to take social studies as their primary assignment. Some are presently teaching but are denied, the proper training.
Mobility and brain drain have had their own share of adverse effect on the teaching of social studies. Some trained teachers have gone to the banks, public and private sector in search of “greener pastures”. The reality is that many employers of teachers want their service, but they do not want to pay for the services rendered by teachers.
According to Farrel (1987), the educational system lack quality manpower because variable like pre-employment training, on-the-job training, recruitment, remuneration, personnel development and promotion are not properly addressed by government, thereby making teachers remuneration policies inconsistent with market rules and realities, resulting in qualified teachers abandoning the profession for other jobs with better remuneration. This suggest that government should build flexibility into the remuneration policies to make room for correction. Providing monetary and non-monetary incentives for teachers to improve their performance. Such incentive may range from salary increase to merit awards. If monetary incentives are crucial for recruiting the teaching force, then teachers will improve their performance in the classroom.
The teachers have over the years suffered several negative image problem which evokes traditional image of poverty, lack and marginalization, balance only by the stipend they receive as salaries.
The general outwork of a teacher shows negative image and suggests a botton line that could discourage hard work and encourage truancy and negligence, while it would be pointless not to acknowledge this fact, it is useful to underline that teachers could be fascinating and efficient professionals given the right motivation and encouragement to work.
We want to see a high standard of primary school education. If the image problem of teachers could be addressed then the vision of having a vibrant educational system will become a reality of the 21st century. The real challenges of course lies on the government. Over 80% of teachers live below the poverty line and are psychologically demoralized to carry out effective classroom work. Based on this would be easy to understand why people often seen a disconnection between, the teacher’s image and the reality of teaching in modern educational environment.
THE TEACHING ENVIRONMENT
Teaching environment which is often an overlooked dimension of teaching, not only affect how easily students are managed, but also how well-enlightened, comfortable and colourful classroom is certainly more conductive to teaching and learning than a dim, drab and colorless one (Jacobson,1981). It is mythical to think that teaching as a practice in the developed nations can be imported to the developing nations state to produce the same result. In the reality, the environment in which teaching is expected to thrive in Ihiala turbulent one compared to that in the developed states.
The socio-economic instability in the developing countries threatens the entire education system. The political climate in the Local Government and State and also the country at large within incessant strikes, long duration closure of schools, no doubt has an adverse effect on the teaching and learning process. Hinchilitte, (1989:90), observed that “in local government areas many school in some areas have no roof or collapsed walls. In some part proof, the South children can be seen carrying their desks to school everyday”. In some cases, valuable lesson hours are lost to teachers trying to find suitable places for a lesson under trees and such environments that do not give room for any meaningful academic work, without doubt, poor teaching environment.
Education in local government and indeed the state over is the strongest weapon for development. (FRN, 2004).
It states that “the federal government has adopted education as an instrument par excellence for effecting national development.”
Over the years, the Nigerian education system has witnessed various change both in system and in policy affecting education, but the pathetic thing is that the method and timing of the changes always leave and be desired as stressed by (Okeke, 1985). When he asserted “the rapid changes in our educational system do not permit the internationalization of one be another is crushed upon us. The incessant change both in administration and in policies do not give much room for the attainment of our educational objectives or national goals”.
Anywiko (1991) for example, in 1960, we inherited the British system of education. In 1973 after the seminar on educational policy was held in Lagos, we came up with the national policy on education, which brought about the 6-3-3-4 system of education (after the American system). The implementation of this policy has been faulty and politicized.
In government budgetary allocations, teachers salaries and government expenditure on education also witnessed changes on the world over. Heyneman (1989), asserted that between 1975 and 1985, the proportion of educational expenditure on teaching matrices was almost halred in Nigeria from 7.6 to 4.2 percent.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, it fell from 4.2-1.8 percent.” Government has also made education budget the politically most sensitive item. Despite this, the salary level has continued to be very low, this had forced teachers to take up other jobs to survive, leaving their primary jobs of teaching to suffer. The government policy also imposes a very heavy syllabus on the children in order to enable them have maximal capability to learn through the social studies in the last six years of primary education. Here, the children have to master all basic skill structure and attitudes Items of socialization. This approach is much demanding and less result-oriented.
Teachers are indispensable in the whole product of education because they activated the major catalyst that advise the whole process of teaching methodologies and evaluation strategies, the teaching will find it difficult to achieve their much desired learning objectives.
According to Akude (1986) he noted that those who studied other subject rather than social studies were drawn into the teaching of social studies because of the persistent death of social studies teachers.
It is therefore, believed that such branch of social studies teachers are devoid of necessary information and initiative that would have compelled them to search for new ways enhancing their teaching effectiveness.
The social studies course in the college of many countries is handled by teachers who have little or no idea of what integrated social studies is all about. Those who are supposed to equip teachers with the rationale, approaches, content and methods of social studies are themselves not trained in these matters.
In Uganda, for example, Odada (1980) surveyed teacher trainers who taught social studies, one of his finding was that 75% of these trainers claimed complete ignorance of social studies. They regarded it as vague and underdeveloped subject that had no experts to explain all that it is all about.
SUMMARY OF REVIEWED LITERATURE
During the review of the literature we highlighted the concept of social studies, that social studies is controversial and that its concept is dynamic in nature. From the background of social studies the definition of social studies from various scholars was defined.
A brief history of social studies was also highlighted. The objectives of social studies deals with people’s attitudes, beliefs, values, norm and interaction with themselves and with their environment. Also, what primary education is all about was highlighted. And social studies curriculum at the primary school was also put in consideration. The teaching of socio-economic, socio-political and socio-cultural has some limitation, which mainly resulted from failure on the part of the teachers in explaining the strategies that were involved in a particular study of culture of society in which the teachers should anticipate the pupils to focus on the setting custom and action with a degree of scope and vividness that the stage rarely duplicates. This no doubt, will serve as a base for suggesting problems facing social studies teachers in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State.
Having studied the problems and prospects of teaching and learning social studies in the primary schools in Ihiala Local Government Area and having found some valuable and reliable information, the following conclusions are drawn from the research.
One of the biggest problem associated with the teaching of social studies in primary schools within Ihiala Local Government Area is lack of enough qualified social studies teachers.
One other observed problem is lack of guidance services in all the schools visited. As there are no guidance and counseling services in these primary schools, the students face the problem of career selection because there is no one to guide them on the subject to choose or select and put much interest in studying it. As a result of this, they choose at random any subject they want to with nobody to direct them. At times they run after other subject because they see their friends studying those subjects.
Ajala, A.O. (2000). Problems of Teacher Education in Nigeria. Lagos: Talatan.
Ajayi, R.O. (2000). Problems of social studies education in Nigeria. Journal of Social Studies Review. 3(1 & 2),. 41-52.
Akintola, F.N. (2001). Methods of teaching social studies. Social Studies 12(1 & 2), 23-32.
Ben-Clays, M. (1999). Assessing good teaching. Journal of Educational Studies. 10(1), 25-36.
Boekaerts, M. (1991). Subjective competence appraisals and self-assessment of learning and instruction. Journal of European Association for Research on Learning Instruction.16, 1, 28 –38.
Brown, H. (1999). Teaching Thinking Skills. London: Clemont Associates.
Federal Republic of Nigeria. (1981). National Policy on Education. Lagos: Ministry of Education.
Federal republic of Nigeria. (1998). National Policy on Education. Abuja: Federal Ministry of Education.
Freiere, P. (1970). The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Herder and Herder.
Gbenga, R. (2001). Toward effective social studies in Nigerian schools. Education Review, 13(1), 56-68.
Illich, I. (1970). Deschooling society. New York: Harper and Row.
Iyamu E.O.S. (1998). Providing a rationale for the inquiry teaching of social studies in Nigerian secondary schools. Social Studies Quarterly, 2(3), 44-50.
Iyamu, E.O.S. (2000). Teachers as builders of nations. Educationist, 5(1), 12-20.
Jarolimek, J. (1977). Social Studies Competencies and Skills. New York: Macmillan.
Kadeef, M.H. (2000). Approaches to social studies teaching. Journal of Education, 13(1), 59-71.