An Examination Of The Challenges Of Teaching Social Studies In Junior Secondary School

Social Studies Project Topic

An Examination Of The Challenges Of Teaching Social Studies In Junior Secondary School


The study assessed the challenges of teaching social studies in junior secondary school, Zaria Education Zone, Kaduna State-Nigeria. The study used descriptive survey research design. However, 200 out of 250 male and female Social Studies teachers sampled in the study duly filled and returned their questionnaires. Simple random sampling technique was used to select Social Studies teachers’. The population of the study was sampled and two hundred (200) respondents was selected in Zaria Education Zone, Kaduna State-Nigeria. The instrument used for data collection was questionnaire, it was presented in tabular form. The findings revealed that there are inadequacy of qualified social studies teachers. The finding also was that assess to the problem caused by insufficient of teaching materials for effective teaching and learning of social studies, it constitute subject problems that determine if teachers educator are using technology to reform the educational system. Based on the findings, recommendation and suggestion for further study were made and conclusion was subsequently drawn on the research topic.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Education is an instrument par excellence for National growth and development. It is an industry that both private and public have invested and will continue to invest a lot of money into, with the hope of improving the standard of living of the people. Using education as an instrument, the Government intends to make Nigeria a free and democratic Society, a free and egalitarian Society, a strong and self reliance Nation a great and dynamic economy a land full of bright opportunity for all citizens.

Education is something which makes man selfless. In the words of Aristotle “Education is the creation of a sound mind in a sound body. It develops man’s faculty, especially his mind so that he may be able to enjoy the contemplation of supreme truth, goodness and beauty of which perfect happiness”. Teaching is said to be a vehicle for transferring knowledge from one generation to the next. In the same vein, Agun and Imogie (2009) also explained teaching as any interpersonal influence which may be exerted by somebody and which is aimed at changing the ways and behaviors of an individual. Teaching therefore concerns that activity of facilitating learning.
However, Musa (2010) stated that teaching is basically concerned with how best to bring about desired learning by some educational activity. Teaching is helping other people to learn. This makes teaching one of the most important ways that enable people to relate one another as far as knowledge and skills acquisition are concerned. Teaching helps people acquire the knowledge they need to become responsible citizens, to earn a living and to lead useful rewarding lives.

Social Studies education has been viewed both as a discipline and way of life. It was introduced into the Nigerian education system to instill discipline, patriotism, loyalty and unity of purpose among other things especially in a post – independent multi – cultural Society; Nigeria which many believed the marriage of its component parts since 1914 by the British Colonialist was inconvenient.

The absence of related instruction materials in Junior Secondary Schools; lack of trained Social Studies teachers and other similar challenges serves as barriers to the achievement of numerous objectives in Social Studies. In view of this situation the teaching of Social Studies tends to be inattentive. In the Schools, non-specialist teachers are employed to teach Social Studies and they applied the methods of teaching traditional subjects like History, Geography, Economics and Government. If this situation is allowed to continue the essential points or aims about Social Studies will be lost.

Few studies have actually identified the social studies curriculum itself as being problematic, and some have concluded that one of students’ complaints relates to the subject matter in the curriculum. This dissatisfaction appears to lie more with the volume of content and how this subject-matter is taught and transacted in the classroom, than with the nature and quality of the content. Nigerian teachers’ concerns about the social studies curriculum seem to revolve around both instructional procedures, as indicated earlier, and content. The shortcomings, to them, are rooted mainly in; topics that are unsuitable for some grades, topics that are irrelevant to everyday life, a curriculum that is too content-oriented, and lack of activities included in the curriculum. Outdated content and a shortage of copies of the existing curriculum document were also cited as problematic among other problems.

Most of the aspects of teaching social studies which are perceived as problematic by Nigerian teachers have been highlighted in the literature as important variables in a good social studies programme, and in the effective teaching of the subject. In this regard Ololobou (2008), Okam (2003), and Mezieobi (2008), all identify an adequate supply of appropriate and varied resource materials as being essential for good social studies and, in the context of the Nigerian, the lack of such resources is clearly perceived by teachers as the most critical problem faced in the teaching of social studies..

Similarly, for Nigerian teachers, the major aspects of the problem are related to the lack of such resources as (a) books and reading materials, (b) maps and globes, and (c) audio-visual and graphic materials, and artifacts. These were the most frequently mentioned indicators across the country, indicating a high level of agreement on these and, perhaps more fundamentally, reflecting a traditionally limited expenditure on teaching materials and resources. The Nigerian governments at all levels (federal, state and local governments) are yet to allocate substantial and reasonable amount of money to service education industry. The country is yet to implement the recommendations of United Nations urging developing nations to set aside 26% of their annual budgetary allocation to fund education sector as a minimum requirement.

The importance of having social studies taught by skilled and competent teachers, who know what the subject is all about, is also well documented in the literature (Nwankwo 2000; Gambo and Usman; 2009) and most of the students complaints about social studies relate essentially to the area of instruction and to such factors as: routine teaching methods, emphasis on facts and trivial details, lack of activities and opportunities for active learning, and a lack of stimulating and challenging lessons. Both academic and instructional competences are integral aspects of the teacher variable (Abdullahi, 2008), and it is the teacher who is seen as the key to what social studies will be for the students.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Nigerian teachers have identified the major concerns about teaching competence as being focused on the four major indicators of: teaching skills, knowledge of subject matter, planning, and teacher initiative. With respect to teaching skills, which far outweighed the other perceived dimensions of the problem, teachers are seen as: (a) being unwilling to utilize different strategies and techniques, (b) to be mainly concerned with teaching for knowledge, (c) lacking the ability to motivate their students, (d) unwilling or unable to use investigative activities, and (e) paying inadequate attention to concepts and social issues. They are also seen as not paying satisfactory attention to values and attitudes. Of significance is the fact that teacher unwillingness to use a variety of teaching techniques is the single most highly ranked indicator of teacher incompetence (Ogundare, 2000).

Although substantial research has been conducted on identifying the problems faced by classroom teachers, very little appears in the literature on the specific nature of these problems. Given that the nature of any teaching/learning problem is shaped, to some extent, by the context of the educational and schooling system, it should, therefore, prove worthwhile to also examine the specific nature of these problems in the teaching of social studies as perceived by teachers in the study area. This study is therefore designed to find out the perceptions on challenges of teaching Social Studies in upper basic schools, Zaria Education Zone, Kaduna State-Nigeria.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main purpose of this study is an examination of the challenges of teaching social studies in junior secondary school. Specifically, this study sought to:

  1. Find out the extent to which students’ attitudes constitute problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies.
  2. Assess the extent to which teacher quality and quantity constitute problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies.
  3. Find out the extent to which instructional materials constitute problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies.
  4. Determine the extent to which curriculum issues pose problems to the teaching/learning of Social Studies.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

  1. To what extent do attitudes of Zaria Education Zone, Kaduna State-Nigeria Junior Secondary Schools Students constitute problems to the teaching of Social Studies?
  2. To what extent to teacher quality and quantity cause problems to the teaching of Social Studies?
  3. To what extent do instructional materials pose problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies?
  4. To what extent do curriculum issues pose problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study gives various insights into the challenges of teaching social studies in junior secondary schools in Nigeria. These highlighted challenges will enable stakeholders in the education sector to take adequate measures in tackling these challenges, and make learning of social studies a lot easier for both teachers and students in junior secondary school levels.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This study covers the challenges and prospects of teaching social studies at junior secondary schools in Nigeria using Zaria Education Zone, Kaduna State-Nigeria as a case study. Findings and recommendations for the study may not reflect the true view of the challenges of teaching social studies in Nigeria, as the researcher could not cover a wider area in Nigeria due to time and financial constraints.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

There are some limiting factors which influence the researcher’s effort towards developing this work (project). The most prevailing being time factor as other school extra curricula activities that had to be met with

1.8 Definition of Terms

Social studies is the “integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Social studies is most commonly recognized as the name of a course or set of courses taught in primary and secondary schools or elementary, middle, and secondary schools, but may also refer to the study of aspects of human society at certain post-secondary and tertiary schools around the globe. Many such courses are interdisciplinary and draw upon various fields, including sociology but also political science, history, economics, religious studies, geography, psychology, anthropology, and civics.

A challenge is a general term referring to things that are imbued with a sense of difficulty and victory.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the challenges of teaching social studies in junior secondary school courses in the junior Secondary Schools. And also identifies ways by these factors responsible for the poor growth of Social Studies education can be reduced or eliminated. The population of study comprises of teachers and students in the selected junior secondary schools in Zaria Education Zone, Kaduna State-Nigeria. The researcher used hand delivery and on the spot collection in administering the questionnaire. This was influenced by the delay and loss of questionnaires inherent mailing system. For the purpose of this study, a sample was randomly obtained from the population. Students possessed different experience on the basis of their various level of study.

The study reveals that there is a poor attitudinal disposition to Social Studies courses. This is in line with the findings of Amoor (2009) who posited that the society does not accord respect or recognition to the graduates of Social Studies and Technical Education. The impression is that this type of education is meant for the unintelligent and under-achievers. According to Amoor (2009), most parents do not encourage or guide their wards to take a course in Social Studies and Technical Education programme in Nigerian Secondary Schools; this is because the society does not place any significant value or dignity on the programme. In his conclusion, this attitudinal variataion subsequently affects the enrolment of candidates into Social Studies and technical education programme in Nigerian Secondary Schools.

The study also found that there is a dearth of infrastructures in the Nigerian Secondary Schools, this and the luke warm attitude of government towards the educational sector is affecting the growth of Social Studies courses in the Nigerian Secondary Schools. These findings corroborated the research carried out by Oryem-Origa (2005), he indicated that only 40% of technical Institutions in Nigeria have laboratory or workshop space for technical and Social Studies education programmes. Classrooms only have the items or equipment that was provided when the Secondary Schools were established. programme. The others, 60% do not have laboratory or workshop space and that this reflects the low quality of technology programmes in higher institutions. He further noted that these few colleges that have laboratories experience acute shortage of laboratory equipment and supplies.

5.2 Conclusion

Based on the above findings of this research, it is concluded that there are problems being faced by the Social Studies teachers that affect the effective teaching of Social Studies in the Junior Secondary Schools of Zaria Education Zone, Kaduna state-Nigeria. These include but not restricted to the following; unmotivated and competent social studies teachers, inadequate instructional materials, inadequate funding, lack of adequate time allotted to Social Studies lessons, non-involvement of social studies teachers in the making and review of social studies curriculum as identified by the study.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the above mentioned findings, the following recommendations are suggested:

  1. In pursuance of an explicit policy statement for teaching social studies at upper basic School level, the Kaduna state Ministry of Education should identify and appoint a suitably qualified and competent person to function as the Education Officer for social studies.
  2. Each school in the study area to undertake or facilitate, as a matter of policy, the development of interactive resource materials for the teaching of social studies.
  3. Both teacher-trainers and teachers trainee be more sensitive to the very real impact of their own teaching style and attitude on students’ learning.
  4. Social Studies teachers should develop effective methods of teaching so as to make way for easy realization of its rich objectives.
  5. Adequate funds should be made available to upper basic Schools by the government to enable them establish resource centers in various Schools.
  6. Resource persons should be invited to Schools to help the teachers in teaching techniques and on the correct use of the instructional material, this will help the teachers and learning of the subject more effective, meaningful and interesting.

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