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ATTITUDES OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS TOWARDS THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF SOCIAL STUDIES

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

          Social studies is a subject which is taught at various levels of education in Nigeria, It is taught at the juniorsecondaryschool, seniorsecondaryschools and teacher training colleges as core subjects. Even at the lower basic level of education, that is, the primary school, social studies is taught under environmental studies, now known as citizenship education. All these point to the importance attached to the study of social studies in our schools.

          The National Council for Social Studies divides social studies objectives into four categories: knowledge, skills, values, and participation (Barr, 1977). These four categories of the learning of social studies are also addressed in the objectives declared by the Nigeria Education Service for both elementary schools and senior secondary schools (Nigeria Education Service, 2007). Each of these categories provide the basis of curriculum development for senior secondary schools in Nigeria. Nigeria’s Ministry of Education state that “social studies at the senior secondary school level is concerned with equipping the students with an integrated body of knowledge, skills and attitudes that will help the student develop a broader perspective of Nigeria and the world” (Social studies syllabus for senior secondary schools in Nigeria, 2007, p.7). The subject probes the past and provides knowledge for the students to understand his or her society and be able to solve personal and societal problems. The subject has been divided into three sections each of which focus on the environment, government and stability, social and economic development (Ministry of Education, 2007).

Statement of the Problem

          The advancement of “liberty and justice for all” as envisioned by our country’s founders requires that, citizens have to acquire knowledge, attitudes and values to guard and endorse the principles of constitutional democracy (constitution of Nigeria, 1992). The success of Nigeria’s growth and stability relies strongly on its educational system. Social studies is a major part of the school’s curriculum because it explores morals, values and provides students with the ability to understand the values associated with being a good citizen ( Ministry of Education , 2007).

          The marginalization of social studies education in schools has been documented repeatedly. For instance, in the United States, Lawson, (2003) surveyed hundred tenth grade students and hundred twelfth grade students in order to determine their attitudes towards the various subject areas. In the study, English, mathematics and reading were ranked ahead of social studies. Participants described social studies as boring and far from anything they could relate to in their life.

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Updated: 4th March 2020 — 4:18 pm

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