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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The high level of moral decadence and insurgencies in Nigerian nation is an indication that there is poor religious teaching in secondary school system. Christian religious studies (CRS) as one of the religious subjects taught in secondary school in Nigerian takes a central position in ensuring moral and spiritual well being of individuals in the society. The key roles of CRS in equipping the individuals and ensuring high level of morality is made clear in the objectives of CRS at the senior secondary level which include; to provide more opportunities for Nigerian youths to learn more about god and thereby develop their faith in god; to enable the youths to accept Christ as their savior; to help the youths develop Christian attitude and moral values (such as humility, respect, love, and justice, etc); to instill in the youth the spirit of tolerance , reconciliation ,peaceful co existence and non-violence as well as to develop and foster in the youth the spirit of respect for all people and human life (Universal Basic Education Curriculum (UBA), 2013).
Without effective religious studies Nigerian nation will likely to end up in conflict, religious crisis, insurgencies and social unrest among other things. This is because religious control human actions in both social, political, economical and otherwise (Eluu, 2009). The
teaching of CRS dates back to the 19th century with the pioneers of Nigerian education (Banjo, 2003). During the missionary administration because of the moral values it teaches the people. Following the government takeover of schools, Nigerian, secondary school curriculum was reviewed and more emphasis was placed on the studies of science and technological subjects. This shift affected the study and interest of students in CRS in school system leading to poor enrollment in CRS. Gbenda (2004) stresses that student’s enrollment and interest in CRS could as well be as of result of inadequate provision of teaching aids, fewer professional teachers and lack of incentives among other things. Njoku (2009) equally adduced that poor enrollment of student in CRS could be attributed to teacher’s instructional delivery system and teachers’ personality. CRS is taught in all the senior secondary schools in Nigerian as an elective subject. The elective nature of the subject in senior secondary schools in Nigeria equally reduced the number of students that register for the subject in West African examination council (WAEC) and national examination council (NECO) as well as other internal examination. CRS is a subject that bases its teaching on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ (Ugwu, 2001) as a teaching subject, it is not only geared towards converting people to Christianity, but is necessary for value formation, orientation and reorientation of value system as well as spiritual upliftment of the student. Ali and Akubue in Njoku (2009) observed that, CRS is a subject which aims at developing and fostering in the lives of the students Christian attitudes and values such as respect to life, obedience to constitutional authority, responsible self, selfless series to God and humanity. To them, CRS is seen as an academic discipline that is designed to provide the leaner with moral and spiritual transformation. This shows that CRS is the study of Christian lifestyles such as love, caring, patience, faith, forgiveness and hope in God as well as good relationship among men. Obanya in Njoku (2004) maintained that CRS like every other subjects has five features. These features are; a set of rational theoretical formulation, inherent capacity for growth, applicable solution to human problems, organized Body of the knowledge and a degree of uniformity with other area of academic activities. In the context of this study, CRS is defined as a social science subject that teaches students good moral behaviour, fearing of God, knowledge and skills that will make them to contribute their quota in socio-economic and moral development in senior secondary schools. The inclusion of sound religions and moral values in the life of students invariably could help in the development of spiritual and moral sound being of the students. These important values attached to the study of CRS in schools cannot be achieved if teachers do not utilized effective teaching method that appeals to all the senses of students in leaning situations.
Following the shift in the study of CRS, motivation started dwindling, and interest in the subject dropped Arinze (1982:28) observed that the teaching of the subject witnessed slackening of control by principals /head teachers, difficulty of training and assigning teachers, placing the subject in the school timetable, teachers’ lack of commitment and other defects such as students’ dishonesty, examination malpractices and disrespect to mention but a few. In support of the above assertion, Ndarwa (2007) maintained that pupils nowadays are groomed to be intellectual giants in science and technology with little or no interest in the moral growth, this he referred to as spiritually dwarfism. Ndarwa maintained that when the children /pupils grow older, they may create an avenue to close the spiritual vacuum. Some of the pupils may join secret cults to perpetuate evil in diverse forms.
The major aims of inclusion of CRS in the education curriculum is to raise generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the views and feelings of others, appreciate dignity of labour and those moral values specified in the broad national aims as good citizens. While at the secondary school level the subject is meant to prepare learners for useful living through inculcation of Christian attitudes and values, and to prepare learners for higher education (Akubue, 1992:16-17).
Going by the above scenario, the major factor in effective teaching of CRS is the professional preparation of the teacher. The teaching of CRS demands a lot of competencies on the side of the teacher in that excellence is required in manipulating instructional aids, assessment and management of instruction to ensure that the desired impact is made in the learner. This means that a CRS teacher is required to develop a coherent understanding of the pedagogical aims of the subject. It is only a teacher with appropriate religious professional formation or one who has clear vision of the Christian milieu; and lives in accordance with it that would be able to give the required inspiration needed to put into practice what they have learnt. This implies that the commitment of the teacher is of immense importance in the curriculum implementation. Akubue (1992) noted that the teachers’ integrity to faith and life is an approach to implementation of CRS curriculum. For instance experience of God’s mercy and love can go a long way in changing students’ view or behaviour about one another. Majority of what happens in the life of a learner is being determined by the teachers’ efficacy; hence it appears that the basic problem to effective teaching of CRS has to do with the teachers’ dispositions.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigerian society today like other nations of the world is undergoing through some aspect of moral decadence or moral degradation associated with world-wide development. The moral status of the society has reached to the level one could ask what role multiple religious groups play in building up moral society. The moral ills identified among the secondary school pupils have raised questions on the efficacy of religious studies on shaping moral behavior. CRS curriculum review of 1983 included inculcation of moral values in the content in order to address challenges of moral behaviour among pupils, but the aim seems to be under siege.
Scholars like Njoku (2012) attributed the breakdown in moral behaviour of the school pupils to teachers’ attitude and government lack of commitment to the teaching of CRS as some that are committed do not handle the subject well, which has made it almost impossible for learners to attain the set goals. It is against this background that the researcher sought to find out if appropriate selection and effective use of teaching methods could enhance attainment of desired learning outcomes in the pupils’ lives.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to:
1. Determine the Challenges to Effective teaching and Implementation of CRS Curriculum among Secondary Schools
2. Determine How could effective use of teaching methods help in attaining CRS learning outcomes among secondary school
The research questions for the study are:
1. What are the Challenges to Effective teaching and Implementation of CRS Curriculum among Secondary Schools
2. How could effective use of teaching methods help in attaining CRS learning outcomes among secondary school pupils in South-East geopolitical zone of Nigeria
Significance of the Study
The study would be beneficial to students, teachers, religious instructors, curriculum planners, educational administrators, researchers and textbook authors.
To students, the study would help to improve their understanding of CRS and thus adjust properly in the society through active participation in the classroom leaning which stimulate their interest and change the negative perceptions they already have in learning CRS and this invariably help them to develop the affective domain of knowledge in secondary schools. They would equally perform better in internal and external examinations without depending on examination malpractice which have been the problem in the educational sectors. This is because the student stands a chance of becoming masters on their own through involvement in different roles in the classroom. The findings of the study would help teachers to have an insight into the meaning, application and problems of using role play method of teaching and thus change their method when the need arises for proper students’ achievement and interest in CRS in secondary schools. The relevance of effective method in the implementation of Christian religious studies in secondary school would be made known to teachers as they are the chief implementer of planned curriculum of schools. This could be done by teachers observing the students performing their roles and equally identifies the individual’s problem in using the method in the teaching and learning of CRS in secondary schools.
Religious instructors and bodies are not left out as they would understand the best way to educate children in the principles and practice of Christianity which invariably will promote peace and harmony as well as co-existence in the Nigerian society. Curriculum planners or designers would be made to understand curriculum problems that affect the application of effective teaching method like Role-play in the implementation of CRS curriculum in secondary schools especially in Aba south LGA
The findings of the study would expose the educational administrators to the importance of conducive environment in teaching and learning and thereby put these environmental conditions such as classroom building, learning materials, quality library etc, in order for proper implementation of Christian Religious Studies curriculum. They would equally be meant to understand the interactional effects of gender and role-play method and thus help teachers to initiate change where appropriate. The findings of the study as well as the concepts, theories and methods would be reference materials for researchers especially those that specialize in Christian Religious Studies. Finally, the textbook authors on education would benefit from the study by updating their knowledge on the techniques and besides disseminate the findings through textbooks they publish.
The larger society would equally benefit from this study. This is because, the effective teaching and learning of CRS will bring desirable change in behaviour of students and this invariably would help to reduce high level of religious tolerance, hatred, killing, conflict, terrorism, militancy, and other insurgences that is ravaging Nigerian society.
Scope of the Study
The study covered co-educational senior secondary schools in Aba south LGA. It also covers four content areas such as God’s protection, Gods’ provision, Eli and Samuels’ Children and example of King Asa. The choice of co-educational secondary schools in the study is because the study deals with gender therefore, using co-educational schools could help the researcher to compare the achievement and interest of both boys and girls.
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