Social Studies Education Project Topics

The Problems and Prospects of Teaching Social Studies in Secondary Schools in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State

The Problems and Prospects of Teaching Social Studies in Secondary Schools in Owan East Local Government Area of Edo State



The main purpose of this study is to examine the problems of teaching and learning of Social Studies in Secondary Schools in owan east local government area of Edo state, Nigeria. 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.




 2.1 Concept of Social Studies

According to Mezieobi (2002), Social studies is focused on the society and is created to sharpen the creative potentials of the learner, in terms of thinking creatively and contributing ideas towards identifying societal problems as well as proffering solution. Social studies is a programme of study which a society uses to instill in the students, the knowledge, skills, attitudes and actions it considers important concerning the relationship human beings have with each other, their world and themselves. Akubue (2005), pointed out that the committee on the development of social studies programme viewed the subject as that area of curriculum that will cultivate a good citizenship in the children. They defined social studies as all subject matters relating to the organization and development of human society and to man as a member of a social group. Enem (2000), sees social studies as the study of man in his environment. He opined that Nigerian Education is aimed at developing the skills and knowledge of the social studies student and to achieve an over all development social studies enables. A good social studies programme aims at the integrating of the knowledge, experience and effective use of resources for the purpose of fostering national unity and citizenship education. Social studies exposes students to their cultural environment which enables them develop desirable concepts, values and attitudes. It gives educants good idea of their environment and the problems therein, so that they may be involved deeply in life and problems of the community, promote the appreciation of cultural and cultural heritage and build patriotic and self actualized citizens. Social studies inculcate the spirit of inter-dependence, unity in diversity and co-operation of all members of the local government as well as the national and international communities. It equally equips the students with the basic skills and social habits which should help them to adapt into the society in which they may find themselves. Social studies enables people to develop a good sense of judgement and a sense of moral and social responsibilities which enables them become useful members of the society (Uchendu 2000). In summary, social studies is applied social sciences, the Humanities and other fields of study that bear direct or indirect relevance to effective social action. The ultimate goal of the study being or is to enable man adapt to his environment, utilize available resources optimally for his betterment, appreciate his ecological limitations, constraints and conditionalities as well as preserve his environment. The aims and objectives of social studies as enshrined in the National Policy on Education document (FRN 2004:16), are:

* Equipping students to live effectively in modern age of science and technology.

* Developing and projecting Nigeria culture, art and language as well as the World’s cultural heritage.

* Raising a generation who can think for themselves, respect the views and feelings of others, respect the dignity of labour and appreciate those values specified under our broad national aims as citizens.

* Fostering the unity of Nigeria with emphasis on the common ties that unite us even in our diversity. Five global objectives that could be achieved through the study of social studies as:

* The development of an understanding of their society, physical, economic, scientific and technological environment.

* The development of an awareness and appreciation of their cultural heritage, belief, values and behaviour patterns, skills, for role in the society and to enable them apply such knowledge to new situation.

* The development of the ability to examine one’s own beliefs, values and behaviours and relationship between them.

* The development of independence, self-reliance and democratic living in the school and society.

* The development of the honest and morally upright citizens. Enem (2000) listed the aims and objectives of social studies to include:

* The education of students to become full citizens of the country and understanding their environment. * Making students understand the effect of the environment on man and the interaction of man with them.

* Assisting students to appreciate the achievement and roles of the society.

* Helping students to realize the need for interdependency with various groups.

* Inculcating in students values, ideas, knowledge and skills to enable them function properly and play their roles as members of the society effectively. In the words of Ezeudu (2007), the aims and objectives of social studies include:

* Creating awareness of man’s environment.

* Influencing man’s attitude positively to social, cultural, economic and political values.

* Enabling man to acquire skills for solving problems.

* Encouraging voluntary participation in social and civil duties.

Social studies deals with people in the society. It helps people to understand their environment and its influence on them. It looks at people in their social and physical environment. It also examines the effects of science and technology on the social and physical environment. It is the study of people in the society with all these various aspects (social, physical, technological elements) working together. (Adeyemi, 2002). Social studies derived its curricular elements (facts, ideas, knowledge, values and skills) from various disciplines. The disciplines include anthropology, economics, geography, history, philosophy and sociology. While these are disciplines with various contents and methods they have a common purpose which is equipping people with knowledge, attitudes and skills for solving being an integrated discipline draws relevant contents and methods from these disciplines for achieving a common purpose interdisciplinary studies (Adeyemi, 2002)

Nature of Social Studies

According to Mini Chambers Dictionary (1981:330) “is the quality which makes a thing, person, animal that it is or he is”. Therefore, the nature of social studies is the quality that makes social studies what it is. What therefore is the nature of social studies? First and foremost, social studies is seen as a corrective study. Corrective because it aims at upsetting the colonial eras and also examining the present educational system. Similarly, social studies, because of its nature incorporates all aspects of reforms revitalization and maintenance of the education values, knowledge and skills expected of a people concerned about progress and modernization. Also as its nature, “social studies emphasizes objectives before any content can be significant”. J.G. Herbert (1982:36). The last and probably the most important nature of social studies is that it is a study that emphasizes the importance of man. Man is put in a central position and his activities are studied in relationship to his various environments which could be physical, social or psychological. Man can only exist in his varied environments by understanding, interacting, organizing and running his society in an order of cultural, economic and political setting. Hence social studies will try to gather relevant knowledge, values and skills centredaround the subjects that form parts of these broad spheres of man.

Scope of Social Studies

On the other hand is the level of coverage, quantity and quality of content. In social studies, the scope varies depending on level of wants considered. However, the general pattern of content arrangement seems to follow a spiral or expanding horizon pattern or format. Man is put in the focus and all environmental attributes are arranged around him proceeding from known to unknown. In other words, the scope of social studies covers the study of man and all environmental attributes and also some aspects of the interaction between Nigerian society and the society of the world community. Bank (1977:10), has this to say, “The local studies should assume the major responsibility for helping children become adept at making important decisions that affect their relationships with other human beings and the governing of their local communities and nation”. The social studies programme includes knowledge, concepts, attitudes and values draw from history, Geography, Sociology, Economic, Religion as well as other humanities and social sciences. For a social studies programme to be effective, Onyabe(1979:1), started that it must be directed to four objectives: knowledge, the basic skills, values and beliefs and social participation. The importance of social studies as a subject of school curriculum cannot be over-emphasized. Through social studies, a student learns how to be useful to himself and his society. He identifies his needs, his strengths and weaknesses. The study of social studies gives him the opportunity to learn how to appreciate his right, and how to relate with other people in the society for his own benefit and that of others. Social studies teachers the interdependence of local communities and the wider nations. In emphasizing the importance of social studies, Dubey, et al (1980:2) stressed that: It is the hope of social studies that the knowledge, attitudes, and skills obtained in the process of children so citizen will be useful to them and to Nigerian society. To him, project approach of teaching connects learning and experiences, this given good given training for the solution of problems is practical life. It also develops tolerance for this actions and opinion of others, since project are mostly carried out in groups. It makes learning a unified process, bringing interest, ideals character traits and attitudes together in functioning relations


Social Studies Teaching Methods

Despite the fact that teaching is as old as man, coupled with the fact that a variety of methods have been employed in teaching from the earliest times. Mezieobi (2008) imputes the mal-functioning of the social studies curriculum, among other factors, to the inappropriate utilization of methodologies germane to effective teaching and learning of social studies. Therefore, to ensure that social studies is effectively taught in schools, the way it should be, and in cognizance of the fact that social studies is a “skills” subject- “skills” here, refers to process skills or rather problem solving skills, creative, analytical skills or reflective skills which involve the active participation of the learner in the teaching-learning process in fulfillment of the “social character” of social studies teaching learning activity which for effectiveness ensures a joint teacher- class activity which focuses on those methods which make for effective and efficient teaching of social studies and ultimately the accomplishment of the defined objectives of social studies

Problem-Solving Method

Social studies is problem-solving oriented hence the name of this method. This is a teaching learning method in which students, either individually or collectively or in a group activity, attempt to solve problems through the utilization of the trial and error approach. In this method, the students actively participate in the learning experiences. In the process of finding solutions to problems, the students, who learn through their mistakes or successes, become creative and develop reflective or critical thinking. Teaching by problem-solving method entails that students should select problems that are relevant to their needs, the object of study and the priority or press needs of the society, to reflect the changing times and needs. In the problem solving method, the teacher may do the following:

* The teacher may introduce and clarify the problem in which case the teacher presents problematic situations, or (the social studies teacher) could introduce a discussion that would lead the students into identifying the problems.

* Students are then left on their own to provide tentative suggestions or solutions to the problems through their working individually, in pairs or groups.

* The students collect data (or information) and analyse the data in the light of expected results. With the actual results conclusions and generations may be reached. The initial problem may be completely solved or partially solved in which case data would be sought to ensure that problems is considerably reduced. In the utilization of the problem solving teaching/learning method, the student is actively and directly involved in defining his own learning task, setting his goals, collecting, rearranging and evaluating the necessary data to help him solve the problem Mezieobi (2008).


An outstanding problem militating against effective teaching of social studies in Junior Secondary Schools is lack of expert teachers in the field. In recognition of this fact, Akinlaja (1978) asserts. “Although the social studies programme has been in existiance for years in the teacher training colleges in the country, there has been n meaningful and comprehensive programme and drive at training social studies teachers” For this reason, teachers currently handling social studies in Junior secondary schools are non-specialist because they were not trained as such. Obiadi (1980) holds that there are trained teachers for social studies but most of them handling the subjects at present still have little knowledge about the new integrated social studies methodology. The researcher discovered that unemployment of the NCE trained social studies teachers has led to the allocation of the subject to teacher who specialized in traditional subject like History, Geography, Government and Economics who are now teaching in Junior Secondary Schools.


In-adequate supply and utilization of instructional materials including textbooks which can increase teachers/students awareness and reinforce learning is an obstacle to the teaching of social studies in Junior Secondary Schools. According to Akinlaja (1978) “There is general shortage of books in some schools subjects. If the new social studies is not more than a revival of subjects like history, geography and government, than there dearth of appropriate textbooks for social studies in Nigeria.” Regarding materials that are produced commercially at this time brought into the Nigerian markers, Dubey (1978) notes that most of those books are for the teaching of Geography and History presented under the cover of titled Social Studies. There is no doubt that such books misrepresent the discipline not only from the lack of interdisciplinary perspective, but even more fundamentally from the methodological perspective. In addition, the textbooks that are available to schools and colleges in the country misrepresent social studies philosophy. Social studies a subject is closely related to humanities and the social science. Therefore a single text book may not have sufficient material represent this broad integrated social studies.


Through social studies can develop a positive attitude towards good citizenship, and a desire to make positive and concrete contributions to support a united Nigeria. The realization of the numerous objectives of social studies will be achieved if teachers apply social studies method, expository  method, Excursion method and Assignment method in their teaching and learning social studies. Emphasizing on the objectives of social studies DuBey (1978) states that the overall objectives of social studies should be to help students to develop the ability to make reflective decisions in order to resolve individual and social problems a well as participating intelligently in social actions. Social studies emphasis an interdisciplinary approach to the study of man interacting and coping with problems in society. Appropriate method to facilitate such interaction and cooperation among the ;earners and teachers should be encouraged.


Improper social studies structure in various Junior Secondary Schools has hindered effective teaching. Social studies deals with human beings. Since human behaviour varies from person to person to person as a result of changes in their mode of life, social studies serve to mould and form man’s behaviour. Although social studies is a new subject in Nigeria, and despite the fact that little is known about its contents, it is a moral oriented subject whose concern is to help people appreciate and solve their problem. Modern Educationists see the study of social studies as not only the best course for fostering good citizenship, but it gives information to students and help them learn about the physical, social and economic Environment in which they live. They also agree that it helps the child to understand the diversity among the peoples of Nigeria, the wider world as well as learning to appreciate the world’s phenomena.


In appropriate structuring of curriculum for instruction and teaching constitute another hindrance to the teaching of social studies. Obiadi (1980) states that since social studies is an open ended subject, it may be difficult to standardize answer and achievements. It is expected that social studies should have positive effects on human behaviour even though human behaviour is to easy to evaluate. It has been generally agreed that performance in social studies either in or outside the classroom can be evaluated. Experts are working hard to introduce evaluation criteria for measuring attitudinal performance.


Lack of provision for and lack of resource centres in Junior Secondary School also constitute a problem to the teaching and learning of social studies. Akinlaje (1978) states:“the development of resource centres in schools and colleges is closely connected with the social studies trend away from the traditional class instruction towards individual learning, group learning, independent learning, inquiry and discovery method.”The establishment of resource centres for the promotion of social studies in schools entails capital expenditure which some Junior Secondary School Afford. But it is worth starting such centres if education Nigeria is to be made meaningful to our Nigeria Students.


Organized seminars, workshops and conferences provides opportunities for interaction, learning and teaching. It also caters for appropriate reception of information and instruction on issues and problems.

According to Akinlaje (1978) “mention must be also, if only in passing, of the skepticism of pupils, parents and Headmasters as to the relative merit of school studies in the social curriculum, They seem to regard it as a clog in the education wheel, preventing early specialization and excellence in history, Geography and Government at G C E ordinary and advanced levels,”

Lack of organized seminars, workshops and conferences contribute to the lukewarm attitude of social studies teachers in Junior Secondary Schools. The Teachers themselves have stressed adequately the role and prospect for studying social studies.



5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was on the problems and Prospects of teaching social studies in secondary schools in owan east local government area of Edo state. In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of the problems and Prospects of teaching social studies in secondary schools.


This study was on The problems and Prospects of teaching social studies in secondary schools in owan east local government area of Edo state. Four objectives were raised which included: Find out the extent to which students’ attitudes constitute problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies, assess the extent to which teacher quality and quantity constitute problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies, find out the extent to which instructional materials constitute problems to the teaching and learning of Social Studies and determine the extent to which curriculum issues pose problems to the teaching/learning of Social Studies.. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 staff of selected secondary schools in owan east local government area of Edo state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made principals, vice principals administration, senior staffs and junior staffs were used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies.


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