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The quest for the effective methods of teaching social studies in Nigerian schools is a continuous one. This research is designed to investigate the effects of Integrated Group Based Mastery Learning Model on social studies students’ achievement in junior secondary schools in Benin City. The problem of students’ poor performance and underachievement in social studies has been a major issue of concern and interest in the Nigerian educational sector.
Seven research questions and seven corresponding hypotheses were raised to guide the study. A quasi-experimental design of non-equivalent control group was adopted. Two mixed secondary schools were purposively selected from Benin City out of which, two in-tact classes were selected. One of the two classes was used as the experimental group, taught with integrated group based mastery learning model and the other as control group, taught with the traditional/expository instructional model. There were 100 students in the two groups combined. The instrument used for the data collection was the Social Studies Achievement Test (SSAT). The data collected were analyzed using t-test of independent sample for hypotheses one, two, three and four. Hypotheses five and six were tested using one-way ANOVA, while hypothesis seven was tested using two-way ANOVA. The hypotheses were tested at .05 level of significance.
The result of the study showed that there was a significant effect of treatment on social studies students’ achievement. This means that the integrated group based mastery learning model was more effective than the traditional expository method. The result of the study also showed that initial ability level did not have any significant influence on the effect of ML on students’ achievement in social studies. It was concluded that students’ achievement in social studies is more likely to improve if more teachers employ the mastery learning. It is recommended that social studies teachers should be encouraged through in-service training, seminars or other forms of on-the-job training to employ mastery learning models. Also, teacher-education in the universities and colleges of education should intensify the teaching of skills related to the application of mastery learning model.
Background to the Study
The recent socio- political and economic changes in the world and within nations have brought about changes in educational goals and greater challenges for social studies. The schools are called not only to equip the learner with basic knowledge of social studies content but also with higher cognitive skills, such as problem solving and thinking skills that allow for self-development and continuous learning. To meet up with these challenges, there is a movement away from the behaviourist method of direct teaching such as in the lecture method, note copying and dictations, where the learner is given contents to memorize and regurgitate.
Social Studies as a discipline continues to enjoy changes in educational objectives. In the 20th century, History, Economics, Government and Geography were taught as separate subjects with a listed series of facts to be memorised. With changes in educational outcomes students’ learning had to be reconsidered and taught as integrated discipline. Emphasis is now shifted from learning as acquisition of facts to learning as utilization of facts; from learning as memorization (from Geography and History texts), to learning as a process of discovering important relationships and principles inductively; from learning for learning sake to learning as a way of inquiring and thinking according to the processes of the Social Sciences. This can only be achieved through the process of mastery learning strategy (Onibokun, 1999).
Social studies as a subject is of a fairly recent origin throughout the world. The concept of social studies was first developed in USA in 1916 by the committee on social studies of the commission on the reorganization of secondary education of the National Education Association (Jarolimek 1977). Later in I930s social studies was introduced into Europe especially in Great Britain due to unprecedented enthusiasm to reform the conventional curriculum to meet up with the demands of the society. From 1950 to 1956, the subject had spread to many African Countries. The new independent nations of Africa were faced with how to re-order their national policies to enable them perform their expected roles as independent nations within the world community of nations. The development of social studies in secondary schools in Nigeria gained momentum from the year 1977 after the introduction of National Policy on Education popularly known as the 6-3-3-4 system. This rapid progress was caused by two major factors. The first was that the Universal Primary Education (UPE) introduced in 1976 made social studies the only social science subject to be taught in the primary schools. The second factor was that social studies was made a core subject for the junior secondary school. This has brought a lot of awareness to the students and the teachers on the significant roles of social studies especially as it affects the implementation of 6-3-3-4 system of education.
In order to implement the national policy on education, government at all levels became more interested in the schooling process in terms of educational outcomes, learning activities, instructional resources, instructional strategies and evaluation procedures. In view of this, emphasis has been on the need to:
v make educational activities centre on the learner for maximum self-development and self-fulfillment.
v structure the educational system to develop the practice of self -learning (FRN, 2004). The implication of these for classroom teachers is that, they should develop a teaching approach which encourages the learners to participate in the learning processes.
Despite the efforts of Government in restructuring the educational system to develop the practice of self-learning, the dominant approach to instruction in schools has been the expository type especially since the inception of western education in Nigeria in 1843. Other methods of instruction were later introduced into the learning processes. For instance, since 1960, curriculum planners have emphasized the inquiry approach by claiming that carrying out investigations is the most promising method by which students will master inquiry skills and become literate in social studies (Schwab, 1963; Yager & Lutz, 1994). Even at that, it cannot be said that schools have done well in developing such skills in the learners.
Quite a number of studies have been conducted to investigate the causes of students’ under achievement in Junior Secondary Social Studies (Onasanya, 1985; Ogbu, 1993; Iroegbu, 1998; Adegbite, 1999; Adepoju, 1999) and the most reoccurring factor in all is the inadequate teaching method used by Social Studies teachers.
Consequently, learners’ individual needs, preferences and interest cannot be met by most strategies utilized in the traditional, expository method of teaching. This is one of the reasons the researcher is interested in trying out other method such as mastery learning strategy. If the objectives of Social Studies education are to be met, then the need to look for an alternative teaching paradigm in the form of an improved and effective teaching strategy that is result oriented becomes necessary.
Social Studies as a school subject introduced by the Federal Government was to help students acquire basic social knowledge, positive attitudes, values and social skills needed to make the students functional and responsible citizens and contributing members of the society. It provides knowledge, skills and attitude that enable learners understand their physical and social environment in order to act or behave as responsible citizens. It prepares students to live in a global and culturally diverse world, as well as keep pace with rapid development in electronically and technologically changing world, (Martorella, 1996). It involves person with group and group with group. It is a study of man’s relationship with his environment, how environment affects man and how man in turn influences his environment.
The teaching of social studies is therefore an activity that involves both the teacher and the learner. The purpose of teaching is to ensure that learning takes place. While learning involves a behavioural change in the learner, social studies teaching involves the transmission of the relevant body of knowledge, attitudes, manner, dispositions, skills and values that enable the individual to survive in a growing and dynamic society.
Adeyemi (2007) defines teaching of social studies as a process of facilitating student learning through a proper management by the teacher of the inter-relationships among the students’ interest, the content for learning and the methods and materials he or she intends to use in the teaching and learning of the content materials. It may involve giving instruction to somebody on knowledge, skills and attitudes with the intention that the person will be able to know the information or to do something or act in a particular way that is compatible with the instruction. We know that the person the instruction is given to may be a learner, a pupil, a student or a trainee. The means employed by the teacher to pass information to the learner would determine ultimately, if he or she is teaching.
According to Lynn, Douglas and Gerald (2009), Mastery Learning is an instructional process that provides students with multiple opportunities to demonstrate content mastery. Initial instruction is presented at a fast pace to engage all learners. Students who do not demonstrate mastery are given additional instruction specifically designed to correct their misunderstandings. Re-teaching should involve strategies that are different from the original instructional methods. For example, if the original material was presented in a lecture format with visuals, the re-teaching process might involve hands-on activities and cooperative learning strategies. A retest is later given to these students to allow them to demonstrate mastery.
The teacher must be an effective communicator who thoroughly processes his information of social studies content and presents it in an orderly and comprehensive manner. There must be an established feedback mechanism so as to enable correction of lapses in instructional methods which can thus bring about improvement in the teaching and learning of Social Studies.
Summarily, to instruct for mastery the following guideline are to be followed:
(i) Clearly state the objectives representing the purpose of the subject
(ii) The curriculum is divided into relatively small learning units, each with modelling, practice, formative evaluation; re-teaching, reinforcement, and summative evaluation included.
(iii) Each unit is preceded by brief diagnostic tests, formative assessments.
(iv) The results of formative tests are used to provide supplementary instruction, or corrective activities to help the learner overcome problems.
Statement of the Problem
The problems of student’s poor performance and under-achievement in social studies have been major issues of concern and interest in the Nigerian educational sector. The need for intervention is not only recognized but also acknowledged by all stakeholders. Quite a number of studies earlier cited provide enough evidence on the poor performance of students in social studies teaching. This problem has been approached from many angles by researchers. The place of instructional methods employed by teachers has been acknowledged to be a major factor in student’s achievement. In spite of the need for innovative approach to social studies teaching, the expository instructional approach continues to dominate the teaching of social studies in Nigerian schools as revealed in literature. The approach emphasizes academic, intellectual and cognitive aspect of teaching social studies. This method to a large extent neglects human, cultural, social and affective dimensions of social studies. Consequently, learners individual needs, preferences and interest cannot be met by such strategies utilized in the traditional expository method of teaching. This has continued to attract criticisms and as a result, researchers have continued to stress the need for learner-centred methods, one of which is the Mastery Learning Models. Is this instructional approach not likely to enhance students’ achievement in social studies?
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
1) Will there be a difference in the achievement of social studies students taught using the integrated group based mastery learning models and those taught using the traditional method?
2) Will there be a difference in the retention of learning among social studies students taught using the integrated group based mastery learning models and those taught using the traditional method?
3) Will there be a difference in achievement between male and female students taught using the integrated group based mastery learning models?
4) Will there be a difference in the learning retention of male and female students taught using the integrated group based mastery learning models?
5) Will there be a difference in the achievement of students exposed to integrated group based mastery learning model by ability level?
6) Will there be a difference in the learning retention of students taught using integrated group based mastery learning model by ability level?
7) Will there be interaction effect of gender and ability level on students’ achievement in social studies?
The following null hypotheses were formulated to give the study a direction:
Ho1: There is no significant difference in the achievement of social studies students taught using the integrated group based mastery learning models and those taught using the traditional method.
Ho2: There is no significant difference in the learning retention among social studies students taught using the integrated group based mastery learning models and those taught using the traditional method.
Ho3: There is no significant diff
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