TEACHERS’ ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE TEACHING OF CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN ISIALA MBANO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF IMO STATE

TEACHERS’ ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE TEACHING OF CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN ISIALA MBANO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF IMO STATE

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ABSTRACT

This study is aimed at investigating teacher attitude towards the teaching of citizenship education in secondary schools in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State. four research questions were formulated to guide the study. Survey research design was used for the study. The population for this study includes all the secondary schools in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State. The total number of students is 2782.  A structured questionnaire was used for data collection. Collected data was analyzed using of mean and frequency. Based on the analysis of the study, it was found out that; There is the need for Citizenship Education in secondary schools;  teachers emphasize on the less important aspects of the citizenship education; some of the teachers of Citizenship Education are less competent in the subject matter and teachers play important roles in improving the teaching of Citizenship Education in secondary schools in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State. Based on the findings of the study, recommendations were made which include; Multi-disciplinary approach should be employed as a method of teaching citizenship education at higher level of education; for effective implementation, education should be made free and compulsory at least up to senior secondary school level.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Around the world the general, concern for Citizenship Education is growing and plays an increasingly more significant role in the future of education (Sears and Hughes 2006). In a bid to either eradicate or minimize the ‘evils’ of society, Citizenship Education is propagated (Ajayi, 2007). World Education Forum Dakar (2000) considered the social ills of society and suggested education as a powerful tool for promoting democracy and citizenship and Citizenship Education. It was stressed that apart from education being the right of every child, certain virtues need to be displayed by every individual or citizen (UNESCO, 2000).

Citizenship Education implies being educated to become an efficient member of one’s immediate and the general human community and to develop a commitment to work effectively with diverse people and to accept differences in cultures and values to social and development needs or issues. Citizenship Education also provides an essential element in the socialization process by helping young people to understand their society, contributing to it as informed, effective and responsible citizens (Aggarwal, 2000). Children’s learning is a major focus within most early year’s settings and one that is rewarding and exciting for early years practitioners. Understanding how children learn and how to support their learning experiences require extensive and in-depth knowledge from those people who care for them (Osler, 2001). Provision of quality secondary school education will ensure sustainable academic future for generations. It may not be easy to speculate, because today’s children are tomorrow’s leaders. They should not have to wait until they get to the tertiary institutions to be introduced to Citizenship Education (Atubra, 2009).

With the new development in promoting democracy among all countries in the world, Citizenship Education becomes increasingly important in the educational system (Torney-Purta & Vermeer, 2004). Citizenship Education is highly topical in many countries at present and urgent consideration is given to how to prepare the young people for the challenges and uncertainties of life in a rapidly changing world (Ichilov, 1998). It is just in order that many international communities are undertaking major reforms of schools and the curricula, Citizenship Education is part of this reform process (Kerr, 2005). Hence the secondary schools have no options but to be part of it. The school teachers who are the “attacking troops” in the classroom in this regard need to be given serious consideration. 

The concept of Citizenship Education is generally said to embrace the preparation of young people for their roles and responsibilities as citizens and in particular the role of education in the preparatory process (Kerr, 2005). He further (2005) added that Citizenship Education is covered by a wide range of terms used in many countries to include citizenship, civic, social science, Social Studies, world studies, society and studies of society. It also has links to curriculum subjects and options including history, geography, economics, politics, environmental studies, values education, religious studies, language and science. These interpretations mean that there are many different ways in which Citizenship Education can be approached and defined. Osler (2001) adds that Citizenship Education needs to be underpinned by human rights and cited evidence which suggests that a well conceived human rights based on citizenship curriculum has the potential to contribute to community cohesion, civic courage and greater solidarity with others, within and beyond national borders. Amao (2006) adds that Citizenship Education is basically directed at the youth, who are seen as the future leaders to secure a better future for the country. According to Oswell (2012:1), Citizenship Education is the provision of knowledge, concepts, skills, values and attitudes for the purpose of developing socially and morally responsible citizens. He further stated that Citizenship Education occurs both within the school and outside the school. The family, peer groups, social clubs, community and national organizations as well as the media are important sources of Citizenship Education outside the school.

Nigeria as a nation has been besieged by an array of seemingly intractable social, economic and political problems. According to Omo-Ojugo (2009:438), “several conscious efforts have been made by the government to instill discipline, maintain peace and stability in Nigeria without much success.” According to Ojugo (2009:438), these include; “Ethical Revolution in 1983, War Against Indiscipline (WAI) 1984, Mass Mobilization for Economic recovery, self-reliance and social justice (MAMSER) in 1987, National Orientation Agency (NAO) in 1993, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences commission (ICPC) in 2002. Omo-O-jugo (2009) regretted that these efforts have not yielded much needed results to improve the nation's value system.” 

Man is a social being and they live in a society. In order to live peacefully in the society, man need to understand the rules and regulations governing the society. It was in this context of developing long-term solutions and addressing the roots of societal problems that the Citizenship Education curriculum was developed (Ajayi, 2007). According to Dave (2006:439), “the aim of citizenship classes both formal and informal, is to develop young people into responsible citizens, who understand their rights and responsibilities and can play an active part in society.” In other words, citizenship education, that promotes civic literacy and attachment, requires a citizen to be well informed, gather facts, reject ethnocentrism, religious jingoism and encourage national consciousness. That means that, Citizenship Education will develop in individuals, skills, attitudes and values that will enable them to show concern for the well being and dignity of others, respecting the worth of others and approaching civil decision in a rational manner. 

Schools play crucial roles in the development of the academic abilities of young people. Schools also serve as places that assist learners in developing and understanding society and showing commitment to political and civic engagements. As a result, schools can help foster the knowledge, skills and disposition that young people need to develop political awareness and grow to be socially responsible individuals (Torney-Purta & Vermeer, 2004). This process has to do with Citizenship Education in the development of a sense of social and civic responsibilities and the simulation of national patriotic pride (Wright, 2003).

A structured approach to Citizenship Education enables children in schools to gain early understanding of the rights and responsibilities that come with the membership of a given society. This will provide them with a sense of how rules, regulations and the law work and after advice and guidance on how to avoid falling victim of these rules, regulations and laws (Mitchell, 1999). Therefore, schools should be obliged to teach citizenship education. Citizenship Education lays the foundations for children’s political literacy and promotes the skills of community engagements (Mitchell 1999). It offers children early introduction to financial literacy and welfare support and also arms them with knowledge of where to go for help when they need it (Kerr, 2005). McKinom (2007) adds that Citizenship Education remains the most effective defense against underdevelopment and poverty.

When children are introduced to Citizenship Education at early years of their schooling, it will bring a total transformation in the way of life in society. Imbibing these characteristics makes a person an informed, critical citizen who is socially and morally responsible as Citizenship Education is charged to give. Amao (2006), adds that Citizenship Education is basically directed at the youth who are seen as the future leaders to secure a better future for the country. It is anticipated that it is better hatched at the early years to get worthy results for sustainable national development than later. Children need to be prepared early enough as active citizens and aside home educational institutions also have obligations in achieving these goals.

In order to effectively teach Citizenship Education in schools, teachers are expected to have good knowledge of civic and political concepts. This is because the competence of a Citizenship Education teacher, to a large extent, depends on his knowledge of civic/political issues and concepts. The teacher can not teach effectively any concept that he is not grounded in. There is no doubt that if a teacher is not an authority in the subject he is teaching he has no business being in the classroom (Adepoju, 2008). According to Ajayi (1989:22), there is a positive relationship between teacher’s ability, his intellectual characteristics and effectiveness in his teaching. The teacher’s cognitive ability and his intellectual characteristics shape his thoughts, his knowledge of the content of what he teaches and his method of imparting his ideas into the students. Apart from the knowledge component, the civic attitude, traits and values of the teacher have important role to play in developing learners to become responsible citizens. Fan, Ekpo, and Ita (2008) argued that teachers should serve as role-models to their students because modeling remains a powerful strategy for teaching values and morals.

Teachers are the key figures in implementing government policies in school. They are the key bridge between the intended and implemented curriculum. They do not “merely deliver the curriculum” but “develop”, “define” and “reinterpret” it (Hargreaves, 1994). The outcomes of education are dependent on teachers’ perceptions, beliefs and resulting decisions in the classroom (Hargreaves, 1994). As such, teachers have been called the “curricular-instructional gatekeepers” in Citizenship Education (Ichilov, 1998). How teachers understand Citizenship Education policy, and to the extent they find the policy meaningful, are critical to its successful implementation. 

Teachers’ perceptions of and practices in Citizenship Education have shown that despite a standard set of curricular documents, the enacted curriculum in the classrooms are often varied. This is because curriculum filtered through teacher lenses could emerge in a manner incongruent with policy expectations (Jasmine, Sim, Kim, Pui, and Wing, 2012). This implies that teacher agency in the context of policy interpretation and enactment is a key factor determining students’ citizenship experiences in the classroom. Evans (2006) stated that even though teachers understood the learning goals of citizenship education, there could be variations in the goals in which teachers prioritized and emphasized Citizenship Education in their classrooms.

It is important to note that teachers should have a knowledge and understanding of the dimensions of citizenship education, a knowledge of pedagogy, skills and competencies to support and guide learners and an understanding of the social and the cultural dimension of educational contexts. In this context, teachers should go through some form of specialized training, either pre-service on in-service in Citizenship Education (Murray and Dirk, 2013). This would enable them to be reflective practitioners, discerning in managing information and knowledge. The main key aspect in teacher training for Citizenship Education is that knowledge, understanding and teacher competencies should be developed through the lenses of democratic values and human rights. Another key aspect is the personal and ethical development of teachers for Citizenship Education with a view to the practice of active and responsible citizenship. Democratic attitudes and values should be understood, made use of and cherished and appreciated by teachers.

Statement of the Problem

Citizenship Education seeks to provide students with the knowledge, skills, values, dispositions and attitudes which will enable them to actively participate as citizens in a democracy (Ajiboye, 2009). Since its introduction in the secondary school curriculum, there have been doubts as to whether the subject is achieving its major goal of developing good citizens. These doubts emanated from the fact that products of schools are exhibiting behaviors that are not in sequence with good citizenship as encapsulated in its curriculum (Ajiboye, 2009). Such behaviours according to Denis, Jo, and Roy (2000:208) include a “lack of interest in and involvement of young people in public and political life”  and an apparent inability, among the youth, to deal with citizenship issues like “pluralism, multiculturalism, ethnic and cultural heritage and diversity, tolerance, social cohesion, collective and individual rights and responsibilities, social justice, national identity and consciousness, and freedom among others” (Denis, Jo and Roy, 2000:208).

Incidents of anti-social behaviour such as murder, vandalism, rape and assault are becoming increasingly common, particularly among today’s youth. Public spiritedness and civic virtues such as doing something for the common good and concern for public facilities and infrastructure seem to be fast disappearing.

This situation has become a source of worry and concern, and which is regarded by many as one of the imminent factors hindering economic development in Nigeria.

Purposes of the Study

The main purpose of the study is to ascertain teacher attitude towards the teaching of Citizenship Education in secondary schools. Specifically the study aims at determining:

1.   the need for Citizenship Education in secondary schools in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.

2.   teacher’s perception towards the teaching of Citizenship Education in secondary schools Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.

3.   teacher’s competence in the teaching of Citizenship Education in secondary schools Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.

4.   the role of teacher training in improving the teaching of Citizenship Education in secondary schools Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.

Significance of the Study

It is hoped that the findings will benefit curriculum planners, teachers, students and parents by coming up with practical insights about the teaching/learning of citizenship education. The findings could assist teacher training institutions and universities to improve practice and guide policy makers in coming up with a viable Citizenship Education curriculum.

The findings will yield a greater understanding on how to instill good behaviour in students. The reason is because civic education lays emphasis on positively improving the affective domain of students (Olubor and Ogonor, 2007). In other words Citizenship Education will be of great significance to students because it will bring about improvement in their qualities of character and conscience.

The findings from this study have implications for theory and practice of Citizenship Education in Nigeria, specifically with regards to teacher orientation, attitudes and competences in delivering Citizenship Education curriculum.

Scope of the Study

        The scope of this research work is mainly aimed at finding out teachers’ attitude towards the teaching of Citizenship Education in secondary schools. Basically the study will focus on the importance of Citizenship Education and teachers’ beliefs towards the teaching of Citizenship Education in secondary schools. The study will also focus on how teachers’ competence affect the the effective delivery of Citizenship Education in secondary schools and the role of teacher training in ensuring effective teaching of Citizenship Education in secondary schools.

Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

1.   What are the need for Citizenship Education in secondary schools in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.?


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