The problems and possible solutions of teaching and learning of geography effectively in secondary schools

The problems and possible solutions of teaching and learning of geography effectively in secondary schools

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The purpose of this research was to investigate teachers’ professional proficiency in terms of geography as a subject and English as the language of learning and teaching, the level of difficulty of the textbooks in terms of their difficulty of terminologies and structure, and the impact of code-switching from LoLT into local

African languages on learners’ growth in geographical terminologies and communicativeness in English thinking in geography. These issues were considered by the researcher as problems to learning and teaching of geography in secondary school in the Enugu state. 

For the investigation of the problems, the researcher chose research design comprising qualitative, quantitative, explorative and descriptive approaches pertinent to the study. The central figure in the investigation was the learner; the study was underpinned by the constructivist approach. The researcher considered triangulation of methods when gathering data due to the comprehensiveness of the sought data. The method employed was to gather literature on similar studies conducted by scholars elsewhere to shed light to the researcher of the problem under investigation. Structured questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, participant observations were used to collect data on focal learning and teaching activities. The researcher was keen in determining how teachers employed their preferred methods of teaching geography and the attitudes and perceptions of the learners to the activities that were part of the lessons. The researcher involved (n=16) subject teachers, and administered a 20-item questionnaire to learners. (n=407) responded to a 15-item questionnaire. Curriculum teachers (n=10) were interviewed separately from the pool of the said (n=16), subject advisers (n=2) were interviewed to provide first-hand experience. The findings affirmed that there was poor professional proficiency; textbooks were a recognized learning barrier to second language English learners in terms of the difficulty of the language which was linked to geographical concepts coined in English, teachers’ lack of linguistic competence in LoLT to supplement the difficult textbooks. The result was that this led to resorting to code-switching that deprived learners of practice in the language to attain effective learning and good performance in examinations.




Over the years, teaching of Geography in schools has been guided by the conception of what Geography is perceived to be. There was the time the learning of

Geography was limited to the inventory of geographical phenomena on the earth's surface. Then you know which mountain was there and which was the longest river or the capitals of which countries. This phase was followed by the phase of interactions between processes and results, regional differentiation and the origin of Geographical phenomena. During this phase, Geography was taught in a systematic manner under such topics as the agents and landforms of denudation, the erosion cycle, evolution of settlements, factors of industrial location, etc. Next, was the phase of quantification initiated with the quantitative revolution as statistical methods were used to analyze relationships that exist among Geographical phenomenon. During this phase it was not enough, for instance to state how a particular soil came to be, or what its properties were, its quantification relationship with crop production must be shown by data. Finally, we are now at the phase of neo-environmentalism. This phase is a complex one that is well suited to the holistic nature of Geography. Simply stated, we see a scenario of action and reactions between human activities and environmental responses (Olofin, 2001).


The pass rate of Secondary school Geography learners in the National Senior Certificate examinations in the Enugu state has been on a disturbing decline between 1999 and 2009. This study hypothesises that some problems to Geography learning and teaching may be at play. This problem is pursued by this study, which sets out to investigate the existence of the possible problems.


The aim of this study is to investigate the problems that hinder or threaten quality teaching and learning in Geography in Secondary school in the Enugu state. The purpose is to redress the problems concerned in the classroom/learning situation by implementing the relevant intervention strategies, in order to attain better pass rates in schools.


The objectives of this study were:

•              To determine whether there is a link between the grade of difficulty of the textbooks  that student studying Geography must use and the Geography pass rates in examinations;

•              To assess whether the medium of instruction acts as a barrier to Secondary school Geography learners;

•              To determine the level of proficiency of teachers to teach Geography in Secondary school;


The research investigated the following questions:

•              Is there a link between the standard of English used in the Geography textbooks with the student’ understanding of the curriculum in relation to pass rates in examinations in Secondary school in the Enugu state?

•              Does medium of instruction act as a barrier to student in the Secondary school Geography learning and teaching?

•              Are Geography teachers adequately proficient in English and Geography to teach Secondary school learners?


Upon completion of the study, Geography teachers and learners should be the beneficiaries – in the sense that teachers will overcome the problems militating against their Geography teaching, currently resulting in lower pass rates in Geography Secondary school learners. The implementation of recommended intervention strategies for teaching and learning Geography should help learners to acquire literacy in Geography. The acquisition of Geography literacy would benefit learners – by enabling them to follow careers in Geography.

Scope of the study

 The study focuses on investigating The problems and possible solutions of teaching and learning of geography effectively in secondary schools in enugu state

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