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Background of the Study

         The origin of the word “education”, like most English words, is traced to a Latin word “educare”, which means to form or train. Education is a life-long process that begins at birth and continues till death. Various authorities in education have looked at the meaning of education from different perspectives. In all, it is obvious that education is central in the development of a nation and human society in general.

       Adiele in Ahumibe (1979:10) defines education as a desirable change in human behaviour. Within the passage in reference, Ukeje (1992:1) explains education in a more general term by saying that the process of education occurs whenever any influence produces a change in the physical or mental behaviour. As a result of the essence of education, every country embarks on education to achieve desired behaviour and contribution to national development from its citizenry. According to Obanya (2004:96) “a democratic society strives to harness the talents which teachers and schools have cultivated for popular participantionin development”. 

       The educational philosophy of a country, which is tailored towards the achievement of the above goals, is embodied in its educational policy. However, achievement of the educational goals and objectives of a country is placed at the shoulders of its teachers. Teachers, therefore, have become inevitable in the general development of a nation and for them to succeed, it is imperative for them to be Competencies.

         The teacher is not only responsible for the translation of educational policies but also plays an important role in its implementation (Maduewesi 2005:10). Maduewesi

(2005:10) went further to state that the duties of the teacher include that of interpreting the curriculum and instructional materials, as well as in assessing learning outcome at the level of the learner. National Policy on Education (2004:38) while commending the importance of the teacher in national development, states that no nation can rise above the quality of its teachers. Within this understanding, every country maps out an adequate programme for the production of Competencies teachers to match her expectations.

            Teacher training programme therefore is expected to contain adequate measures that are aimed at inculcating in the teacher the necessary competencies that will make him Competencies. The Competencies utilization of these competencies to a very large extent, accounts for his output as well as the academic success of his students. No doubt, the public expectation from the teacher is highly demanding and his training is therefore, expected to equip him with the magic wand for success. Ukeje (1992:1) and Tahir (2005:1) agree on the importance of the teacher in quality education delivery. They agree that the teacher is central in the achievement of education that meets the desired quality.

          Teaching, according to Saylor and Alexander in Pepple and Esu (2005:50), is the systematic presentation of stimuli. This implies that it is the teacher who generates knowledge and learning in the classroom. In other words, the learning that occurs from teaching results from the knowledge and effort of the teacher(s).  This view is in consonance with the opinion of Pepple and Esu (2000:50) which states that teaching is a process which requires a display of expertise in helping someone to learn. The above statements agree that learning is largely dependent on the teacher who is, as a result, is expected to be Competencies in the discharge of his duties.      

   Amalaha (1979:230) defines Competencies teaching as connoting the ability on the partof the teacher to communicate, which is reflected in a lucid presentation and the transmission of an “infectious” enthusiasm. This is to say that a teacher has to be very competent if he is to Competenciesly impartknowledge and skills to his students in a manner which will enhance students learning and interest.

 Social studies learning, like other forms of learning, is dependent on two major factors. These factors are learners’ trait and the learning environment. Trait naturally, is a broad system of similar action tendencies existing in the person we are studying (Allport 1961:337). On the other hand, environment, according to Chiras (2006:479), refers to the factors that constitute an organism’s surroundings, the most important being those components that influence the organism’s behaviour, reproduction and survival. These two learning factors (trait and environment) are so important in the discourse of education that they, among other issues, occupy the front burners of learning researches.

         Of the two factors, however, one can say that it is the environment that has greater influence on the learner. Environment may be said to posses “the last word” according to Blair, Jones and Simpson (1975:35). This stand is based on the fact that no organism, in spite of its innate potentialities or capabilities, can survive outside favourable environment. It is an adequate environment that fertilizes ones natural potentialities. Heredity and environment have correlations. Santrock (2004:84) states that the heredity-environment correlation involves the concept that individuals’ genes influence the type of environment they are exposed to. This is to say that in his view it is heredity that decides what environment is to develop. This goes however to corroborate Blair, Jones and Simpson (1975:35) that environment has the last word on the outcome of the correlation between it and nature. 

           Plomin and DeFries in Santrock (2004:85) further the opinion that individuals inherit environment that are related or linked to their genetic propensities.  The above positions are further strengthened by the fact that when, as a result of unfavourable environment, an individual is unable to achieve his innate potentials, chances are that with exposure to the right environment he is capable of regaining a reasonable level of those potentials. A process referred to as canalization in the study of growth.               In learning, environmental factors cover a range of things which include the teacher, school, learner’s school-mates, location of the school, etc. The teacher is an important factor in the learning environment and is in the position to control the environment to some extent. On the basis of this assumption, it behooves on researchers to investigate the extent of effect the teacher’s competency has on the learner. In other words, the same assumption has instigated this study which seeks to determine the Social studies teacher’s Competencies in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu State, Nigeria. 

 One is aware that an Competencies Social studies teacher has to perform Competencies in the discharge of his teaching. The level of his Competencies is dependent his level of his possession and application of certain teaching skills. Proper utilization of these skills enhances the students’ learning.  In Social studies teaching, as it is in other areas of teaching, Competencies Social studies teaching can be summed up to mean that such a teacher is capable of achieving the objectives of his teaching as part of the general aim of achieving the goals of education.  In other words, it is the achievement of his quota of the general expectation of the entire teachers in the education system of a country. These skills that can make his teaching Competencies are many and at times vary in usage, depending on what he is teaching. 

            This study evaluates Competencies in terms of performance in the area of Social studies teaching by Social studies teachers in Enugu State Junior Secondary Schools. It also takes into cognizance the fact that these teachers comprise of males and females and that they operate within urban and rural settings. School location and teachers’ gender are therefore considered necessary in this research to find out if all the groups  are as expected, Competencies contributing to the overall output of Social studies teachers in the area of this study. The Competencies of both groups is considered essential if the teachers are to make the necessary contributions required of them in the development and successful learning of the child vis-a-vis the realization of the objectives and goals of Social studies teaching and education generally. 

          The decreasing number of students who offer Fine Social studies at higher institutional levels in Nigeria necessitates the relevance of this work as continued reduction along this line will drastically affect the future and growth of the subject. The Social studies teacher is expected to be very Competencies in the delivery of his professional services. He or she is expected to do it in such a manner that will guarantee the realization of the goals and objectives of Social studies teaching which includes the academic success of his students. This is very necessary for the academic growth of the child and the development of the nation.

Statement of the Problem

        It was really difficult to get the British colonial government to accept to include Fine Social studies in the curriculum of Nigerian education. The initiation of this inclusion faced a lot of obstacles before it was eventually positively concluded as part of the country’s educational curriculum. When the subject was eventually included, there was an influx of demands for the services of its initiator who had to teach so many students at several schools located within Lagos. 

       In 1926, the situation warranted the request and the subsequent government invitation of a white home economist in the person of Kenneth Murray, who came in 1927 to join Aina Onabolu in the handling of the increasing demands for Social studies teaching in many schools. Though Onabolu was not allowed to officially start Social studies teaching in Nigeria until he had acquired a London Diploma in Social studies, it was his request for a helping hand that warranted the invitation of Murray. 

        One may likely conclude that the probable delay in the recognition of Social studies in our school curriculum until the acquisition of a diploma by its initiator points to the fact that the colonial administrators were probably looking for Onabolu’s acquisition of the competencies necessary for him to deliver (achieve Competencies teaching).  When the acquisition of a diploma was made by him, his status changed and that seemed to have paid off as many students in Lagos where that opportunity existed rose to the occasion and benefited from Onabolu’s acquired competencies that were followed by his new status. With that situation, Social studies teaching began to flourish in the country.  

Purpose of the Study

           The general purpose of the study is to teacher Competencies in Social studies teaching in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu State, Nigeria. Its specific objectives are to ascertain the:

(i)                Educational qualifications of Social studies teachers in Enugu State Junior Secondary  Schools.

(ii)              Adequacy of the number of Social studies teachers for the Competencies teaching and learning of Social studies in Junior Secondary Schools in Enugu State.

(iii)            Adequacy of these Social studies teachers’ preparation and presentation of Social studies instruction.

(iv)            The Competencies of the teachings of the Social studies teachers.  

(v)              Competencies of methods utilized these teachers in teaching.

(vi)            Competencies of their evaluation of students.

(vii)          Frequency at which these Social studies teachers update their skills.

 Significance of the Study 

           The findings of this study will help to highlight the problems inherent in Social studies teaching in our Junior Secondary Schools. This research will go a long way in exposing more relevant approaches to Social studies teaching in our Junior Secondary Schools through bringing to fore the necessary skills, as well as the very important teaching methods which are necessary for Competencies Social studies teaching. It will also highlight the instructional materials needed for Competencies Social studies teaching.

The findings of this study will enhance the academic performance of Social studies students in our Junior Secondary School students as it will expose both teachers and students to useful approaches to handling Social studies questions in their Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations. The findings of this study will also help in exposing self-reliance potentials of the subject as it will encourage the students to take to careers in Social studies for self reliance and their future education. The suggestions of study will also be beneficial to other areas of study which make use of Social studies potentials like architecture by forming a good Social studies background for their potential students at the Junior Secondary Schools. Social studies teachers, curriculum planners as well as education administrators will benefit from the findings of this study.

Scope of the Study

              This research work is on the evaluation of teachers’ status in relation to Competencies Social studies teaching. It is restricted to Enugu State. The Social studies teachers operate within the same educational system. 

The status being investigated is delimited to the different positions these teachers have attained due to their educational qualifications or experience. The work will also consider the adequacy of the number of these teachers, the skills they possess including the preparation and presentation of Fine Social studies instructions as well as the Competencies of the teaching and evaluation methods they use for their students.

Research Questions

(i)                What are the academic qualifications of Junior Secondary School Social studies teachers     in Enugu State?

(ii)              Which of the needed competencies for Competent Social studies teaching are possessed by Junior Secondary School Social studies teachers in Enugu State?

(iii)            How competent are Enugu State Junior Secondary School Social studies teachers in the improvisation of Social studies teaching materials for Competencies Social studies teaching? 

(iv)            How competent are Enugu State Junior Secondary School teachers in the application of Social studies teaching methods for Competencies Social studies teaching?      

(v)              Which of the needed evaluation competencies are possessed by Enugu State

Junior  Secondary School Social studies teachers for Competencies Social studies teaching?   

(vi)            How frequent do Junior Secondary School Social studies teachers in Enugu State attend      in-service activities?

Research Hypotheses

         In this study the following null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of  significance. They were stated as follows:

HO1: There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of specialist and non-             specialist Fine Social studies teachers on the competencies possessed for Competencies teaching.

 HO2: There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of Urban and Rural Social studies    teachers on the improvisation of Social studies teaching materials.

 HO3: Gender is not a significant factor in the mean ratings of Male and Female Social studies teachers on the application of Social studies teaching methods.

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