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1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
MacDonald (2005) describes an attitude as “a predisposition to act in a positive or negative way towards persons, objects, ideas and events” several studies conducted on teachers’ attitudes, a few of which Kratz (2009), Sweeney (2002) have shown that teachers’ attitudes are important factors in the learning process as well as in academic performance. Kratz found a significant difference between teachers’ attitudes and students’ academic performance.
Learning social studies brings the teacher into contact with contents, goals, teaching methods, classroom environment and students. His disposition towards the above reveals a positive or negative attitude. Examining this concept further Smith, Saroson & Sarason (2002) identify three constituents of attitude: cognitive (beliefs), emotional (feeling) and behavioral (action). The cognitive component by itself is not an attitude. It transcends into feeling and then metamorphoses into action; the final stage is attitude formation.
In other words, action may be part of the attitude one has towards a thing person or phenomenon. In his studies, Sterm (2003) concludes that, “the basic assumption underlying all these is that teachers’ attitudes are significant for students’ learning”. Social Studies have been noted to be integrated both in content and methodology. The introduction of new approaches to learning the subject needed a change in the education of teachers. Literature review on the background of teachers teaching the new social studies at any school level shows that majority of them had their education with humanities or social science background. Social studies teachers seem to lack the consensus about the nature and importance of the subject.
Many of them appear to exhibit a negative understanding of the subject (Uyoata, 2002). However, despite the general misunderstanding, Uyoata observes that 65 percent of the primary school teachers in his study expressed a positive attitude to social studies. In the said study, most of the teachers preferred social studies as separate subject such as history, civics, moral instruction and geography. The teachers’ positive attitude, therefore, might have been built on the preference for multidisciplinary approach, which has now been discarded for the integrated approach. Osho (2006) undertook a study where he observes, among others, that teachers with positive attitude (who were exposed to the problem-solving strategy) had higher gains from the post- treatment scores on their performance in social studies than their colleagues who used other methods.
Cruickshank, Jenkins & Metcalf (2003) write that effective teachers are generally positive minded individuals who believe in the success of their students as well as their own ability to help students to achieve. Borich (2000) contends that effective teachers are those who use “meaningful verbal praise to get and keep students actively participating in the learning process”.
In the Nigerian classroom situation, it is observed that many teachers’ regards social studies as a low status subject that could be taught any-how (Okon 2007) hence making social studies hazy and distorted in image. Okon further contends that prospective social studies students tend to have doubt regarding the high status of the subject. Hobbs & Moroz (2001) found in their studies that students believed social studies was useful but did not believe that social studies would help them get a job. Among the social sciences, people seem to think of social studies, as low status subject (Hobbs & Moroz 2001.
Teachers’ attitudes toward social studies have implications for the successful teaching of essential skills and values, which are central to the social studies education. Research on enthusiasm of the teacher is strongly connected to students’ success Spark, (2008). Cruickshank, Jenkins and Metcalf (2003) report that effective teachers are enthusiastic over their work.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
An attitude is a mindset that affects how a person thinks and acts. Attitude can influence a person’s performance positively or negatively. There certain things that will trigger teacher’s attitude towards teaching and learning of social studies; which may likely to be unavailability of teaching materials, lack of interest of learning on the side of the students, lack of incentives to the teachers and inability to pay salaries on time might contribute to the attitude of teaching and learning of social studies in upper schools. Finally, several researches has been carried out on teacher’s attitude on academic performance of students but there has been no single research on teacher’s attitude towards teaching and learning of social studies in upper basic schools.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The main aim of the study is to examine teachers’ attitude towards teaching and learning of social studies. Other specific objectives of the study include:
1. to determine the effects of teacher’s attitude on the teaching and learning of social studies.
2. to determine the factors affecting teacher’s attitude towards teaching and learning of social studies.
3. to determine the factors affecting students attitude to learning of social studies.
4. to determine the extent to which teacher’s attitude affects teaching and learning of social studies.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the effects of teacher’s attitude on the teaching and learning of social studies?
2. What are the factors affecting teacher’s attitude towards teaching and learning of social studies?
3. What are the factors affecting students attitude to learning of social studies?
4. What is the extent to which teacher’s attitude affects teaching and learning of social studies?
1.5 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: Teacher’s attitude has no significant effect on the teaching and learning of social studies.
H1: Teacher’s attitude has a significant effect on the teaching and learning of social studies.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study on teacher’s attitude towards teaching and learning of social studies will be of immense benefit to the entire schools in Nigeria in the sense that it will help the school management and the government as well to look into the factor that leads to inappropriate attitude of social studies teachers and to find lasting solutions to them. An example may be delay in salary payment, lack of materials for teaching and so on; when all these are being put in place it may possibly change the attitudes of social studies teacher. Finally, the study will contribute to the body of existing literature and knowledge to this field of study and basis for further research.
1.7 SCOPE OF STUDY
The study on teacher’s attitude towards teaching and learning of social studies is limited to upper basic schools.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Attitude:-The way one behaves, thinks or feels towards somebody or something.
Influence: - The power to change or control something or somebody. The power to control or change academic performance of pre-school children.
Ministry of Education: - A government department concerned with giving people useful knowledge
Teacher: - also called a school teacher is a person who provides education for students
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