Background to the Study
Education is a process which helps individual to develop his abilities, attitudes and other forms of behaviour which are of positive and meaningful value in the society in which you live. It is the pillar of nation building. In order to accomplish this goal effectively, an official medium or language is required (Osoba, 1987)
Christian Religious Studies is one of the core subjects in secondary school and as well as an elective in the senior secondary schools In Ekiti State. The subject gains its root into Nigeria education system through the European Missionaries who introduced the subject as a means of converting Nigerians into white man religion (Christianity). Shortly after Nigeria independence, management of schools shifted from the hands of the missionaries to the Nigerian government. The shift affected the study of CRS such that the name was changed from Bible knowledge to Christian Religious knowledge and later CRS, in the same way series of changes occurred in its contents. With government take over of schools, there was a call for review of Nigeria education curriculum in 1983, and the curriculum of study was expanded to include Arts, sciences and technological subjects. In the review, many subjects were introduced, and the teaching of CRS was upheld among others. The Federal Ministry of Education (FME) reviewed CRS curriculum with major focus on building human values, moral and attitudes.
In a particular unit of instruction. Learning outcomes according to Obanya (2004) are statements that describe significant and essential learning which learners have acquired and can reliably demonstrate at the end of a course or program. The desired or expected learning outcomes of CRS study is on the attainment of ethical and moral behavior of school pupils, in other words, building up the moral character of an individual using example of Christian religion values rather than mere precepts. The main aim of including CRS into Nigerian education curriculum therefore is to advance Christian moral virtues in the lives of school pupils. Most often those desired outcomes do not manifest in some pupils’ behaviours judging from the rate of immorality observable in schools and the society at large.
Teaching method refers to the principle, science of teaching and management strategies used for classroom instruction (Njoku, 2002). It involves approaches, styles, tactics and principles used in impacting knowledge to the learner. In the context of this study it refers to class discussion used by teachers in guiding learning, and to transfer given learning content to the learner. The use of varieties of methods depends on the teachers’ disposition and wealth of knowledge. In the past, the teachings of CRS have been through a rote method handed over by the missionaries. The rote methods centered on the use of memorization, discussion and story telling approaches to mention but a few, and those methods are teachers centered which do not give learner the opportunity to participate actively rather make learners’ passive listeners.
Rote methods according to Okafor (2001) prepare the learner to achieve the cognitive objectives of the subject without due considerations to the affective objectives. In most cases, pupils taught with the rote methods end up passing their examination without relevance to the learners’ needs and character formation which the study of CRS advocates for. However, one of the distinguishing qualities of the most recent CRS curriculum is on its approach in adoption of varieties of methods in the teaching of CRS which incorporate discussion of local and contemporary moral issues without contrast to the traditional customs and beliefs. This means that the new curriculum advocates the use of varieties of methods in the teaching of CRS.
New approaches to the teaching of CRS according to ILori (2002) may result to excellent attainment of CRS learning outcomes in the pupils. This is possible in that when teachers show interest and make effective use of varieties of methods which are learner centered in teaching, learners are abound to learn better and acquire expected ethical behaviour. For instance in most schools within the area of study some negative attitude are predominant as such it seems that desired behaviour expected in the learner of CRS lessons may not be attained. When CRS teachers deploy methods which are learners effectively pupils will attain maximum experience capable of changing their ethical behavior positively. Duckin (1999) noted that for objectives of any given subject to be achieved the teacher should be acquainted with the use of techniques, in that if good method is adopted and appropriate techniques or skills applied the desired impact of the lesson would be attained. Imperatively this means that attainment of learning outcomes requires effective combination of teaching methods.
Affective impact of CRS lesson in the lives of students is as paramount as the cognitive achievement. The learning outcomes are the major aim of inclusion of CRS in the school curriculum. The strategy to achieve the cognitive knowledge is different from that of the affective attainment. Some subject matter demands that the teacher should be current with innovations in education so as to avoid the use of obsolete or outdated methods/ resources. For effective use of methods, the teacher of CRS should consider the age bracket of the pupils and time available.
The study addresses method that offers maximum advantage in attaining the learning outcomes as stated in the objectives of the subject. Since the affective and the cognitive aspects of the lessons are equally important, there is need to select appropriate methods that shall nurture the learner’s sense of wellbeing so that the desired habits, attitudes and skills will manifest in their ethical behaviour. One fundamental aspect of the educational process is to obtain information through some devices to evaluate a student’s over-all progress towards some predetermined goals or objectives. At any point in teaching and learning process, a conscientious attempt must be made to provide both quantitative and qualitative judgement on the learner’s progress.
This required information on the student’s progress towards the pre-determined goals, especially in Religious education, this can only be obtained through assessment. Assessment is thus an integral part of the educational process. Its aims include fostering learning, improving, teaching, and providing information about what has been done or achieved. It provides important feedback for student and teachers, and information on the education system or the society at large. It gives opportunities for evaluation of curricula and for students and for the certification of achievement. It is through proper assessment that valid certification of the student’s can be achieved. Certification through assessment brings about in the students positive effect in practical way for time and effort given to the study of a syllabus. Assessment of students at secondary school level provides also information on decision that may be taken with regard to pathways at tertiary level. Indispensable role of assessment is also seen in providing feedback for students on the quality of their learning and understanding.
Despite the importance of Christian Religious Knowledge to the individual and nation in imparting moral values and behavioural change, it is worthy to note that the performance of students in the subject is diminishing and poor (Lawal, 2002).
Poor performance occurs yearly and more students are running away from the subject. This alarming rate of poor performance in Christian Religious Knowledge has generated growing concern from various quarters, the parents, teachers, schools and the government. One is also worried because of the relative importance of the subject to education excellence and moral development, if care is not taken, the country will be eroded of its moral values and cultures if trends continue like that.
Abioye and Adekunle (1991) were of the opinion that, every subject has its unique value and importance, the uniqueness of Christian Religious Education emerges from its dual function. It is a single subject which aims at simultaneous development of the intellectual ability of the pupils as well as moral character. It also emphasizes the effective domain of education taxonomy – the domain which many seem to be silent about give less emphasis or even neglect completely. In the same vein, Okafor (1992) said that Christian Religious Knowledge helps to inject sanity into society and to minimize the turning of a nation into a police state by cultivating citizens who acknowledge metaphysical sanctions and therefore, whose acceptable behaviours are often determined not just by external constraints but by spiritual consideration.