Background to the study
Education is the acquisition of knowledge and skills or attitude. It can be defined as the process through which individuals acquire skills, attitude and competence; education is a right of every child. Whether traditional or modern it has always been a major concern of man. Every human being needs basic necessities such as food, water, clothing/ shelter, education and health care for his or her daily life. Education is the key factor to industrial and technological development of any country in the world. For any nation to achieve her aims and objectives in education there must be good, dedicated and committed teachers. The teachers must possess characteristics that will enhance effective teaching and learning. Some authors thought social studies as catalyst for engineering desired social change. However there has been an enormous gap which continues to exist between intended changes and actual classroom practice in social studies education in Nigeria and adaptation of the subject teaching to integrate from teacher centered to child centered pedagogy; form expository to inquiry teaching, yet researches shows that there is little or no change in the classroom.
According to Charles (2015) in his definitions also called attention to the sources of social studies content and made reference to needed outcomes. According to him social studies embraces materials rated to human relationships drawn from history, geography, science and the arts. They include content and activities that may be used to develop insight into human relationships in such a way that children build competence in basic social processes and skills essential in democratic living.
The special emphasis in Charles definition on the use of relevant social science to create competence on basic social processes and skills needed in democratic living is not worthy.
Winners (2018), Social studies is a study of man in his totality where he lives, his activities in the past and present, his culture, his frame of mind and how he relates to others, it focuses on developing the right values, attitudes and abilities which will help the child to get on well with others as he grows up to become a responsible citizen. Branner Et al (2016), who wrote a year earlier had placed an equal stress on knowledge, skill, attitudes and actions in his definitions. According to him social studies is a programme of study which a society uses to instill in students the knowledge, skills, attitudes and actions that are considered important to the relationships human beings have with each other, their world and themselves.
Social studies is the study of how Man lives and fits in the society, Nulls (2014) expressed this definition in a more academic form, and noted that social studies is an inter disciplinary field in which man learns about problems and survival in his environment. He added that it is a study of how man influences and how he is in turn influenced by his physical, social, political, religious, economic, psychological, cultural, scientific and technological environments. The primary purpose of social studies is to develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as well as citizens of a culturally diverse, and democratic society, in an interdependent world (National Council of the Social Studies, 2010). The great architects of American public education, such as Thomas Jefferson, Horace Mann, and John Dewey, believed that every student must be well versed in his nation’s history, the principles and practices which undergird citizenship, and the institutions that define our government. Understandings of commerce and geography were critical to their thinking as well. In essence, Jefferson, Mann, and Dewey viewed the study of social studies as critical to the mission of public schools. Indeed, they would applaud the inclusion of a “responsible and involved citizen” in the Guiding Principles, as well as social studies as one of eight content areas in the Learning Results. 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 (2015) 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.
A strong social studies education depends upon a clear understanding of its interrelated disciplines. Without knowledge of the geography and economics of earlier times, history offers only lists of people, events, and dates. Without knowledge of history, the institutions of American government and the dynamics of today’s global economy are difficult to understand. Although social studies curricula vary in their breadth and depth, the Social Studies Standards reflect a focus on government, history, geography, and economics as the pillars of the content, with other disciplines within the social sciences deemed important, but not essential.
The Social Studies Standards refer to “various” peoples, nations, regions of the world, historical eras, and enduring themes. School administrative units should develop a local curriculum that assists students in gaining a coherent, broad perspective on a variety of peoples, nations, regions, historical eras, and enduring themes. Fadeiye (2015) 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 and also cause the poor academic achievement of students in social studies (Bozimo and Ikwumelu, 2018).
Academic achievement is based on the degree of intellectual stimulation that the child could receive from learning situation (Obeka, 2013). According to Blaiv (2010) to achieve is to accomplish or gain by effort or do something successful with an effort and skill. It requires that students are supposed to maintain a satisfactory academic record and meet the obligations of the school they are enrolled (Ojukwu, and Nwanma 2015). Academic performance is the outcome of education, the extent to which a student achieved the educational goals. Put in another way, good academic performance is the personal comportment and commitment of the student to actualize his/her academic purposes which may include concentrating on one’s studies, having confidence to success oriented academic activities in school and so in other to maximally actualize his life career or dream (Olofintoye, 2016). Good or bad academic performance can make or mar the goals of a student’s life as well as the national goals and development. This academic achievement of students in social studies is most times altered, students now have poor achievement in social studies and this has called the attention of researchers to ascertain what the cause might be (Fadeiye 2015), it is based on the background of the variables discussed earlier, this study is premised on investigating the factors contributing to students poor academic achievement in social studies in Junior secondary schools in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State in order to improve the academic achievement of students in social studies.
Statements of Problem
The role of social studies in a developing nation like Nigeria cannot be over emphasized. Suffice it to say that a good knowledge and application of principles of the subject by the citizens of this country will be a great benefit to the nation as a whole. It is a known fact that social studies have not been given a due recognition as a core subject in junior secondary schools and students do not perform at all in the subject to the extent that it is difficult to find students who can apply the knowledge and principles of social studies. (Uzoechi 2011). There is a growing public concern over this unimpressive academic achievement and therefore expedient to understand the factors contributing to student’s poor academic achievement in social studies so as to suggest appropriate remedies for improved performance/achievement. The question however remains, what are the factors contributing to students poor academic achievement in social studies in junior secondary schools.
In Awka north Local Government Area of Anambra state, the issue of poor achievement of students in social studies in junior secondary schools is no different and this poor achievement is reflected in their examinations both internal and external, students do not perform well in social studies. According to Akor (2014) and some other researchers, several researches have been carried out to ascertain the exact reason for this poor academic achievement of students in social studies, some say it is due to the dearth of qualified and experienced teachers or the teaching methodology adopted by the teachers others thinks that it may be student – oriented. It is to this end that the researcher seeks to find out the factors contributing to student’s poor academic achievement in social studies in junior secondary schools in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra state in order to improve the academic achievement of students in social studies.
Objectives of the Study
The focus of this study is to investigate the factors contributing to student’s poor academic achievement in social studies in junior secondary schools in Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra state.
Specifically, the study sets out to investigate:
- The extent of availability and adequacy of qualified social studies teachers in junior secondary schools in Awka north Local Government Area
- The attitude of social studies teachers in junior secondary schools towards teaching and learning of social studies in Awka north Local Government Area.
- The extent of availability and adequacy of instructional materials for teaching and learning social studies in junior secondary schools in Awka north Local Government Area
- The attitude of junior secondary school students in Awka north Local Government Area towards social studies
To achieve the objectives of this study, the following research questions were posed:
- To what extent are qualified social studies teachers available and adequate in junior secondary schools in Awka north Local Government Area?
- What is the attitude of social studies teachers in junior secondary schools towards teaching and learning of social studies in Awka north Local Government Area?
- To what extent are instructional materials available and adequate for teaching and learning social studies in junior secondary schools in Awka north Local Government Area?
- What are the attitudes of junior secondary school students in Awka north Local Government Area towards social studies?