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The study sought to investigate the effects of teaching methods of students’ academic performance in social studies in Uyo metropolis. To achieve the aim of this study, the student perception instrument used for data collection was a 12-item questionnaire. The hypotheses were tested at 0.05 confidence level. The Pearson Product Moment Correlation (PPMC) statistics was used to analyze the data. It was found out that the performance of students in social studies is significantly influenced by teachers’ teaching methods and students’ attitude to learning social studies. The teachers’ level of experience had no significant relationship with students’ performance in social studies. It was recommended that teachers should be developed to gain knowledge and skills on a regular basis; students should avail more opportunities to manipulate instructional materials and generate their own knowledge.
1.1 Background of the Study
The primary purpose of teaching at any level of education is to bring a fundamental change in the learner (Tebabal and Kahssay, 2011). To facilitate the process of knowledge transfer, teachers need to apply appropriate teaching methods that best suit specific objective and level of the pupils or students. The principles underlying methods of teaching are: understanding the theory and practice of methodology in order to be able to teach according to the nature of the topic; consideration for individuality of the pupils and flexibility in methods; the utilization of child and adolescence studies and the development of good relationship with others in the school.
One of the most important areas of education which had attracted the attention of educationists through the ages is the process of making the teaching-learning situation easy for both the teacher and the learners. This has led to the evolvement of various types of methods of teaching. In schools, according to Gutek (1988), teaching methods are the means or procedures that teachers use to aid students in having an experience, mastering skills or process, or in acquiring an area of knowledge.
In traditional epoch, many teaching practitioners widely apply teacher-centered approach to impart knowledge to learners other than students-centered methods. Until today, questions about effectiveness of teaching methods on students indicate that quality of teaching often brings out desirable changes in learners so as to achieve specific goal. Adenola (2011) maintains that teachers need to be conversant with numerous teaching strategies that they take recognition of the magnitude of complexities of concepts to be covered.
Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences, humanities, and history. Within the school programme, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archeology, economies, geography, history, jurisprudence, philosophy, political service, psychology, religion and sociology as well as appropriate contact from the humanities, mathematics and natural sciences.
The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an independent world. Normally social studies is divided into History and Geography when the pupils have reached sixth grade or near (M. Lybarger, 1976).
Individuals and societies reflect their humanity through culture transmitted in the course of a multitude of artistic endeavours that often inspire and inflame emotion (Akenson, 1991). Connecting students to the social studies through the acts bring similar inspiration and emotion in the classroom.
The importance of social studies has often been debated. Due to this, researchers have found out that students often have a negative attitude towards the subject area (Carroll and Leander, 2011). They generally consider the negative attitudes to be a result of curriculum content, teaching methods and classroom environment (Zhoa and Hoge, 2005). Motivated teachers have tried to boost excitement in the classroom by using variety of teaching methods, including primary as well as secondary resources, and exposing students to simulations and re-enactment. Teachers greatly influence the extent to which their students have a negative or positive outlook upon the subject of social studies (French and McMahan, 1998).
If the teacher is an active speaker and persistently using traditional methods, learning takes backseat and in the process, some faulty ideas can also form and lead to several learning gaps (Igbal, 2004). According to Igbal (2004), these learning gaps need to be identified, questioned and corrected before they result into misconceptions. These misconceptions lead to low-self efficacy among students resulting in low performance in the subject of social studies. Therefore, here is the need for good strategy for teaching social studies so to improve the result and performance of the children.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Evidence of poor performance in social studies by secondary school students point to the fact that the most desired technological, scientific and art application of social studies cannot be sustained. This makes it paramount to seek for a strategy for teaching social studies that aims at improving its understanding and performance by students. This study essentially sets out to inquire into perceived difficulties of some teachers in the course of imparting knowledge in the students, their commitment and the students’ ability and readiness to learning and to examine whether such factors, behavior interest, teaching experience, attitude to teaching etc. have any significant impact on the students’ academic performance in social studies.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to:
i. analyze the influence of teaching methods on students’ academic performance in social studies.
ii. determine if there is any relationship between teaching methods and students attitude to learning.
iii. ascertain if the teacher’s level of experience significantly affects students’ performance in social studies.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The study will be considered significant in a number of ways which are:
i. It will help increase teachers’ level of awareness and understanding of the use of most of the instructional techniques.
ii. Findings may also provide the teachers with a feedback on teaching competencies in most commonly used teaching methods as basis for improvement in their instructional practice so as to enhance performance.
iii. Curriculum planners and educators as well as government and educational administrators need empirical data on the overall government teachers in secondary schools to facilitate proper curricula policies and programmes for effective teaching and learning.
1.5 Research Questions
This research project seeks to answer the following questions:
i. Is there any effects of discussion, problem-solving and lecture methods on students’ academic performance in social studies?
ii. Is there any significant relationship between teaching methods and students’ attitude to learning social studies?
iii. Does teacher’s level of experience affect students’ performance in social studies?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses are formulated to be tested:
i. There is no significant different of lecture, discussion and problem-solving methods on students’ academic performance in social studies.
ii. There is no significant different between teaching methods and students’ attitude to learning social studies.
iii. The teacher’s level of experience in his choice of teaching methods does not significantly affect the performance of students in social studies.
1.7 Assumption of the Study
The school needs for the study were representative of secondary schools in Uyo metropolis where the study was carried out. Lecture, discussion and problem-solving methods of teaching are appropriate for teaching the topic selected. The selected topic is appropriate for junior secondary one (JSS 2) used in the study.
1.8 Scope or Delimitation of the Study
The focus of this research is on the effects of activity techniques (that is, discussion, lecture and problem solving approaches) of teaching of social studies and academic performance of students in Uyo Local Government Area.
The educational level of focus is junior secondary two (JSS 2). The research is also limited to some selected secondary schools in Uyo metropolis.
1.9 Limitation of the Study
This study was constraint by a number of factors. These include amongst others the hoarding of information by State Secondary Education Board, inadequate finances, time constraint and the stress of going around gathering information for the study.
1.10 Operational Definition of Terms
In this study, it is imperative to define the terms that will be appearing during the course of this write-up as they are used within the context of the study for clarity purposes.
Teaching Methods: In this study, it implies the principles and methods of instruction.
Methods: This refers to a way or pattern of doing something, especially in a systematic way. It implies an orderly/logical arrangement usually in steps.
Academic Performance: This refers to a student’s success in meeting short or long-term goals in education. It is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their educational goals.
Transfer of Knowledge: Transfer of learning (or transfer of training as it is sometimes called) is the influence that a person’s learning in one situation has on his learning and performance in other situations (Gleitman H, 1976).
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