INFLUENCE OF TEACHER CHARACTERISTICS ON INTEREST AND ACHIEVEMENT OF JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN SOCIAL STUDIES IN NSUKKA EDUCATION ZONE OF ENUGU STATE

ABSTRACT

The study focused on the influence of teacher characteristics on interest and performance of junior secondary school students in social studies in Nsukka education zone of Enugu state. Eight research questions and eight hypotheses guided the study. Literature was reviewed under conceptual framework, theoretical framework, review of empirical studies and summary of literature review. The study adopted ex- post-facto research design. The population of the study was 208 social studies teachers and 5643 students in all the fifty-nine (59) public secondary schools in Nsukka education zone. The sample size of the study was 798 which was made up of 208 teachers and 590 students. Simple random sampling technique was used to draw the sample size of the students. A structured questionnaire developed by the researcher and validated by three research experts was used for data collection. The data collected were analyzed using mean while ANCOVA was used to test the hypotheses. The findings of the study were that teachers’ qualification influences students’ interest in social studies and that there is a significant difference in the influence of teachers’ qualification on students’ interest in junior secondary school social studies; that teachers’ qualification influences students’ performance in social studies and that there is a significant difference in the influence of teachers’ qualification on students’ performance in junior secondary school social studies; that teachers’ experience influences students’ interest in social studies and that there is a significant difference in the influence of teachers’ experience on students’ interest in junior secondary school social studies; that teachers’ experience influences students’ performance in social studies and that there is a significant difference in the influence of teachers’ experience on students’ performance in junior secondary school social studies; that teachers’ attitude influences students’ interest in social studies and that there is a significant difference in the influence of teachers’ attitude on students’ interest in junior secondary school social studies; that teachers’ attitude influences students’ performance in social studies and that there is a significant difference in the influence of teachers’ attitude on students’ performance in junior secondary school social studies; that teachers’ gender does not influence students’ interest in social studies and that there is no significant difference in the influence of teachers’ gender on students’ interest in junior secondary school social studies and that teachers’ gender does not influence students’ performance in social studies and that there is no significant difference in the influence of teachers’ gender on students’ performance in junior secondary school social studies. Based on the findings of the study, conclusions were drawn and relevant recommendations were made.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
The introduction of social studies education into the Nigeria education system in 1982 was borne out of the fact that the subject was considered very appropriate and relevant by the Federal Ministry of Education in helping the nation to achieve national unity and national consciousness. Nigeria as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society needs effective means to properly and efficiently harness her abundant human and natural resources for holistic national development (Osakwe, 2010). The importance of social studies cannot be over-emphasized. This is because the learning of social studies equips learners with functional knowledge, attitudes, skills, and values. The functional knowledge, attitude, skills, and values which social studies offers could have been the reason the Federal Government of Nigeria made the subject compulsory at the junior secondary school level.

Social studies content of instruction is society focused. The curriculum is integrated and the composition of the content is derived from various sources. The sources are: the social sciences, humanities and physical sciences (Nwanyanwu, 2005). The components of social studies curriculum target among other things: to address the problems of man and to equip the learner with realistic skills, knowledge, values and attitude and to be responsive and responsible to environmental problems and challenges through social studies curriculum. The learners are further equipped with desirable values and attitudes capable of strengthening national unity, co-operation, tolerance, and national consciousness. However, with the right attitudes and values which social studies offers, learners will appreciate the fact that Nigeria as a multi-ethnic society requires peace and accommodation of one another, ethnic and religious group notwithstanding.

Inspite of the above positive target of social studies curriculum such as equipping the learners with realistic skills, knowledge, values and attitudes among others, students poor performance and interest in social studies leaves more to be desired. Performance is a recorded academic level attain by individual students in a given subject such as social studies.

According to Cary, David, and Royer (2008), performance is an academic task accomplishment which shows individuals’ comprehension, quality and accuracy of answer of test, quality and accuracy of problem solving, frequency and quantity of desired outcome, time or rate to solution, time on task, level of reasoning and critical thinking, creativity, recall and retention transfer of tasks.

Performance generally is not in itself a process but the end result of processes. Performance as it affects this present study refers to academic task accomplished by an individual or groups of individual in an examination obtained  through  the  use  of  evaluation  instruments  such  as  test.  The performance of students in social studies in junior secondary school certificate examination is usually being assessed through the examination bodies such as Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination (JSSCE). The grades made by students in social studies reflect the extent to which the students learnt social studies materials. The grades and their interpretations are as follows A1-B3 is Distinctions Pass, C4-C6 is Credit Pass D7-D8 is ordinary Pass, F9 means failure in the subject (Okoh, 2010).

Students’ performance in social studies could influence their interest in the subject. According to Adam (2010), interest means attention to something. In other words, interest means attention to studying of social studies. Furthermore, Adeleye (2011) views interest as the curiosity to do something. In the context of this study interest means the curiosity to study relevant social studies materials. The application of curiosity in studying social studies by students could enhance their performance in junior secondary school social studies.

Students’ performance and interest in social studies will enhance as well as facilitate the achievement of the objectives of junior secondary school social studies curriculum. However, the present study concerned over the poor performance of students in social studies as well as their low interest in studying the subject. The successive reports from JSSCE results between 2010 to 2014 in Nsukka Education Zone have continued to show that students perform below expectations (Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination, 2014). This poor performance of students requires urgent attention because it indicates or spells doom for the achievement of the objectives of junior secondary school curriculum. The JSSCE report of 2014 further indicates that teacher characteristics remains one of the possible causes of students’ poor performance and interest in social studies.

There are many 21st century teacher characteristics that could influence the outcome of learning. Some of the 21st century teacher characteristics of a teacher include punctuality to work, diligent, honesty, sound knowledge of the subject, maintaining good teacher-student relationship, effective use of instructional methods and materials level of qualification, job experience, attitude towards teaching and gender. For the purpose of this study, the teacher characteristics to be considered include teachers’ level of qualification, job experience, attitude towards teaching and gender. According to Solomon (2009) the characteristics of the classroom teacher could influence the way students learn in school. Solomon (2009) further explains that a well qualified teacher could apply teaching methods and materials better than less qualified teacher. The implication of this is that when a qualified teacher handles a subject in the classroom, the students could pay attention to the learning activities which will enhance their performance and interest in the subject. Apart, from teachers’ qualification, the years of experience of the teachers could also influence students’ performance and interest in social studies. Udenyi (2010) argued that teachers with many years of teaching experience could easily organize students in the classroom and gain their attention more than less experienced teacher. Teachers’ ability to organize students in social.....

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