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ATTITUDES OF STUDENTS TOWARDS THE STUDY OF SOCIAL STUDIES IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Over the years, there have been growing concerns about the attitude of students towards the study of social studies in secondary schools. The need to adapt our education to the needs of the Nigerian society started before and after independence. Many educational elites began to-recognize that the functional inadequacies of the educational system inherited from the colonial education failed to develop positive values, attitudes! and habits in our, society because the social studies they taught was British oriented and has nothing to offer to the Nigerian child.
Fafunwa (1974) observed that the present educational system instead of developing positive values in the society which the African child lives, tends to alienate him from his cultural environment. This was the reason behind the re-evaluation of the educational system and the curriculum of the school and objectives that are relevant to the society.
The major ideas and philosophies behind the curriculum innovation in the 1969, National Curriculum Conference according to Akinlaye (2001) were:
- The need to make education more relevant to the needs of the individuals.
- The need to use education for national integration and socio-economic development.
- The need to develop the right societal value and;
- The need to make an individual responsible to the society in which he lives.
This been the case, the National Policy on Education (2004) has in recognition the important role social studies will play towards the achievement of the country’s educational aims and objectives. Thus, social studies was made a core subject. Hence, there is a greater responsibility for social studies teachers in Nigeria today than the days before independence, this is because the Nigerian youths now live in an environment characterized by social wills and moral decadence which have to be curbed at all cost. The youths therefore need social studies education which focuses on the problems and issues of human beings in their changing environments and seeks to develop desirable habits, values, attitudes and skills, in order to solve them.
Researchers have concentrated much on the cognitive aspect of teaching in our secondary schools because of the importance attached to success in public examinations, however, there is an interplay between the cognitive and affective areas of teaching for example, Taylor (2001) and Gunsch (2005) have shown that there is a relationship between interest and developments in different school subjects, therefore, it is believed that favourable attitude towards social studies may influence to a considerable extent the uptake of knowledge in social studies.
Studies relating to specific aspects of pupils’ attitude towards social studies and other related subjects have been undertaken by several researchers. Jekayinfa (2007) has reported that high grade in social studies at lower forms is a factor that can pull students to history in the secondary schools in Nigeria. In the study of factors associated with interest in science, Ormerod and Dukworth (2000) have also identified a number of factors like personality, home and other environmental factors among American and British High School students.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The poor attitude of students towards the study of social studies in secondary schools is an unsatisfactory state of affairs and imbalance in the educational sector in particular and the nation’s development in general.
Social studies as a core subject in the junior secondary school level suggest the importance the government, parents and students themselves attach to the study.
The phenomena increase in students’ attitude towards the study of social studies in junior secondary schools should not be allowed to remain for too long unattended to.
The need to motivate students to develop positive attitude towards the study of social studies in secondary school and to create a conducive environment for studying social studies is not disputable and cannot be over-emphasized.
The unfortunate thing is that students’ attitude towards the study of social studies in Schools is fraught with a lot of problems. There is a general belief that whenever students perform poorly hi their courses the teacher has not really taught them well. People hardly look at the problem from the point of view of the student’s attitude towards the courses; the problem of this study therefore is to ascertain why students have poor attitude towards the study of social studies in secondary schools.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
- To find out if the attitude of students towards social studies influences their study of subject in secondary schools.
- To ascertain if there is any significant differences between the attitudes of male and female towards the study of social studies.
- To find out if there, are factors that influences students’ attitude towards the study of social studies.
- To find out if there are factors that can improve the attitude of students towards the study of social studies.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the attitude of students towards the study of social studies in schools?
- Is there any significant difference between the attitudes of male arid female students towards the study of social studies?
- What factors influences students’ attitudes, towards the study of social studies?
- What factors can improve the attitude of students towards the study of social studies?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
As Nigeria is still a developing nation, it is hoped that the findings of this research will encourage various governments to provide conducive environment, teaching aids and qualified teachers for effective study of social studies in secondary schools.
This study is of educational importance because it is believed that if social studies, teachers in secondary schools understand the factors which stimulate the growth of interest in social studies, such knowledge may provide bases not only to make social studies popular but also to make the teaching of social studies humanizing.
Re-orient students with negative attitude towards the study of social studies in secondary schools. Assist the government to identify students’ attitude towards the study of social studies in secondary schools. Serve as a basis for other researchers who are carrying out investigation on similar problems facing the development of education in Nigeria. Help teachers and educational planners to acquire knowledge of solving problems associated with the attitude of students towards the study of social studies in secondary schools.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study is to ascertain the attitude of students towards the study of social studies in junior secondary schools in Nigeria; a case study of public junior secondary schools in Dala Local Government Area, Kano City, Kano State was used in this study.
A research of this nature requires adequate time to ensure thorough work, but the time allowed for this study was limited. Some respondents may not have provided accurate and sincere answers that represent the true situation required for some of the questions in the questionnaire.
The researcher experienced a lot of problems during the process of this study which are as follows:
- Delay in administration of questionnaire due to public holidays.
- Typing and administration of extra copies of questionnaire because some respondents did not return their copies appealing to the principals of some of the schools used for the study due to interruption of lectures.
1.7 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF AREA OF THE STUDY
Dala Local Government was created in May, 1989 during the creation of additional local government by the then Babangida administration throughout the federation. The inhabitants of Dala Local Government area are mostly Hausa/Fulani. It shared boarders with Ungogo local government to the north-east and north-west through villages of Jajira and Rijiyar Zaki respectively. From the east, the local government is boarded with Fagge local government and from the south-east and south, Dala is boarded with Kano Municipal and Gwale local government respectively. The population of Dala Local Government according to census figures of 2006, was recorded at total 418, 777 peoples and it has total landmass of 19 km2 (7.39m). Dala Local Government area lies in the savannah region and characterized by two seasons namely dry season and rainy season.
Politically, the local government has elected chairman as the head of administrative and accounting officer of local government and other representatives such as councilors, who are exercising the government’s activities and also carrier civil servants.
1.8 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
Attitude: A settled way of thinking or feeling about something.
Student: A person who is studying at a university or other place of higher education.
Social studies: various aspects or branches of the study of human society, considered as an educational discipline
Toward: Expressing the relation between behavior or an attitude and the person or thing at which it is directed or with which it is concerned.
Study: Devotion of time and attention to gaining knowledge of an academic subject, especially by means of books.
School: An institution for educating children. Any institution at which instruction is given in a particular discipline.
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