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1.1 Background of the Study
In spite of the importance of geography which serves as the present day hope in predicting and proffering solutions to our ever increasing environmental problems, ranging from climate change, ozone layer depletion, global warming, flooding, soil erosion, mass movement, drought and desertification, pollutions and earth quakes in other places, the learning of Geography is still impeded in Ankpa Educational Zone of Enugu State. Akintade (2012) stated that, Geography as a school subject is one of the most important subjects in secondary school education. Geography is relevant for both the students who are likely to continue to tertiary level and those who will not proceed. It equips students with a body of knowledge to make them functional and socially relevant in the fast changing world. No doubt Geography is a distinct and dynamic social science discipline that deals with the study of man and his physical environment.
It therefore helps young people to appreciate the value of their environment and its vast natural resources. That Geography as a subject is versatile, expressive, and intellectually stimulating. It exhibits a correlation with all school subjects. It instills in the students the need to appreciate and develop a sense of responsibility towards their own society. Despite this, there is an observable lack of students’ interest in Geography as a school subject in most of the secondary schools within Enugu North local government area. This situation agreed with Akintade (2012) who observed, there has been sharp decline in the number of students that offer Geography at the senior secondary school level in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The various reasons suspected to be responsible for this dwindling and decline of students’ interest for geography as a school subject are explored in this work. Teachers’ attitude and relationship with pupils has a very significant impact on the students’ attitude towards the subject, Bajah (1975) stated that, it is an educational truism that a teacher graduate or non-graduate can only teach what he or she knows. Therefore, it is very important that a secondary school teacher should be academically articulate in his area of specialization. The way he/she relates to the students and passes across his instructions goes a long way to motivate or discourage the student’s interest and attitude towards the subject.
Ezeudu (2003), geography has its peculiar methods which are employed by the geography teacher so as to make the subject more interesting and meaningful to the students. That certain factors such as the nature of general objective of geography education, time factor, age and mental development of students, environmental setting, the school programes, and competence of the teacher are put into consideration in adopting any teaching method that can best be used in imparting knowledge to the students. He further stressed that the purpose of any method of teaching is to effectively transmit, translate and transfer knowledge, skills, values and attitudes from one group to another. That geography education is not only a theoretical subject but practical, action packed, problem oriented and issue based. The classroom of geography is the field. Hence field based methods like field work, project, and inquiring are preferred for its teaching as they will create avenue for the students to observe, ask question, collect and collate data, analyze data and pass value judgment as well as participate in the geographical actions.
According to Okpala (2000) any subject that is not termed essential at any educational level in any educational system has to work extra mile for its continued existence. Such a subject may be phased out if it lacks clientele (students). It could also be relegated to the background if an allied subject is thought to be more relevant to the citizens at that point in time. Geography is facing this threat. The former was experienced in Nigeria when the number of Geography students fell to less than five in a school, and geography was removed from the time-table for economic reasons.
Willmer (1966) said, the latter was the case in the United States of America from 1960 to the 1980s when social studies replaced Geography in many schools. It is therefore important that geographers periodically evaluate the image of the subject in order to work out plans for its survival. Aydin and Costun (2011) further stated that, if the students cannot learn well, one of the main reasons for this is that, they are not interested in the subject. One of the important tasks for the teacher is to provide the motivation for the students such as positive classroom atmosphere established by teacher will provide confidence in the students. As a result the students will develop positive attitude towards the subject, increase in motivation will emerge and may increase desire to achieve better. Aydin (2011) reiterated that, to instill/inculcate the desired qualities in students and motivate them for Geography lessons are possible, only by planning the process of teaching strategies. The realization of the objective is parallel with factors such as the reading levels and learning styles of students on the issues in geography curriculum, the method or approach that geography teachers chose the teaching materials and teaching strategies to be used. Education programmes and curriculum are the important variables in the process of teaching. Coskun and Aydin (2011) added, that in recent years, Geography studies addressing the different dimensions of students’ motivation have been made, for example, the use of such strategy as: the relevance of Geography, use of praise, rewards and privileges, handling of students’ variations, team work in problem solving as well as the incorporation of different learning styles in motivating students to learn Geography.
Thus, the researcher has seen the need to investigate the motivational strategy for effective learning of Geography among the senior secondary school students in Ankpa educational zone of Enugu state.
According to Gregg (1995), Geography is the study of the patterns and processes of human (built) and environmental (natural) landscapes, where landscapes comprises real objective and perceived (subjective) space Martin (1989) said, that Geography is concerned with the location or spatial variation in both physical and human phenomena on the earth’s surface.
Taun (1991) define Geography as the study of earth as the home of people. Geography is defined as a science that is concerned with the formulation of the laws governing the spatial distribution of certain features on the earth’s surface. The study provides accurate, orderly and rational description and interpretation of the variable character of the earth surface.
Motivation is the driving force that is activating behaviour of an individual to do something. It is the power that gives strength and direction to the behaviour, this power causes an individual to act for a purpose.
Motivation is the desire to succeed a goal which is meaningful to an individual. It tries to explain the reason why people decide to do something, with which decision they pursue after their willingness and how long they are willing.
Strategies are specific actions taken by the learner to make learning easier, faster, more enjoyable, more self-directed, more effective and more transferable to new situations.
Dick (2001) defines strategy as a method generally used to cover the various aspects of sequencing and organizing the content, specifying learning activities and deciding how to deliver the content and activities.
Effective learning is the ability of students to internalize information, make connections with prior knowledge and apply to their present and future life situation. Vanessa (2010) defined effective learning as students gaining knowledge that they can use throughout all aspect of life and applying the knowledge and concepts they have learned. Alicia (2010) said that effective learning is when learning of something new makes a difference in the life of the learner. It is when that learner changes or improves on what they have previously done or thought.
Katelyn (2010) reiterated that effective learning is a two Way Street that requires motivation on the student’s part as well as a dedicated teacher. The student must have an open mind ready for new thoughts and ideas, and the teacher should be an active participant as well.
The Junior Secondary School (JSS) is the first phase of the Secondary Education, which lasts for three years, at the end of these three years, students sit for Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination (JSSCE) and the successful ones are awarded the Junior Secondary School Certificate (JSSC). A successful completion of the JSS is a prerequisite for the second phase. The Senior Secondary School (SSS), which also lasts for three years. At the end of this period, students obtained the Senior Secondary School Certificate (SSSC) after writing and passing the final examination, which is the Senior Secondary School Examination. The SSSC is equivalent to the former West African School Certificate (WASC).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is a noticeable dwindling interest of students in learning geography as a course of study in most of the secondary schools in Enugu North LGA Enugu State, Nigeria. These dwindling interests are reflected in the drastic reduction of number of student’s enrolment for the subject in National Examinations such as WASSCE and NECO and as well as consistent poor performance in the said national examinations by few candidates that care to offer the subject. This continuous poor performance, according to Okeke (2003) has caused great concern to parents, guardians, teachers, educational bodies and the government. This has given rise to the investigation of motivational strategies for effective learning of geography in senior secondary schools of Ankpa education zone of Enugu state.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to investigate into the motivational problems that discourage students from learning Geography as a school subject in the senior secondary schools in Enugu North LGA and to proffer possible solution that will promote students’ interest in the learning of geography in school.
Specifically, this study intends to find out whether: -
1. Relevance of geography could motivate students to learn the subject.
2. Praise, rewards and privileges motivates students to learn geography.
3. Teachers’ understanding and handling of students’ differences motivates them to learn geography.
4. Teamwork in problem solving motivates students to learn geography.
5. Variations of learning styles motivate students to learn geography.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The research shall be of great importance in identifying the causes of lack of motivation and the dwindling interest and poor performance of students in senior secondary school geography within the local government area and proffer possible solutions to them, which will be of great importance to:
The policy makers in education and various agencies of education programme evaluation and modification. The school administrators in supervision and provision of necessary materials as well as identifying the needs for training and retraining of teachers for effectiveness.
The geography teachers shall also discover their weaknesses and try to improve on them to encourage the students in the teaching and learning of the subject. Parents shall be encouraged to guide their children and wards to offer geography as a subject in school. School guidance and counselors will see the need and area of counseling the students to the right profession or their future career. The students themselves shall be motivated to study geography as a profession.
1.5 Research Questions
1. In what ways does the relevance of geography motivate the students to learn the subject?
2. How does the use of praise, reward and privileges motivate students to learn geography?
3. How does teachers’ understanding and handling of students’ difference motivate them to learn geography?
4. To what extent does team-work in problem solving motivates students to learn geography?
5. How does the use of different learning styles motivate students to learn geography?
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is Enugu North LGA of Enugu state. The study shall examine sampled secondary schools (SS III Students) within the local government area that constitute the educational zone.
1.7 Definition of Terms
Performance: the act of getting a task done
Geography: the study of the physical features of the earth and its atmosphere, and of human activity as it affects and is affected by these, including the distribution of populations and resources and political and economic activities.
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