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STUDENTS’ PERCEPTION OF TEACHER USE OF COMMUNITY RESOURCES IN TEACHING AND LEARNING SOCIAL STUDIES IN ITU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF AKWA IBOM STATE
1.1 Background of the Study
Schools are established essentially to produce individuals who would acquire general and technical competencies with which to confront the challenges of the society. It is in realization of this that, the Nigerian national educational philosophy is designed to among others; prepare the individual for useful living within the society (Federal Ministry of Education, 2004). Consequent upon this philosophical stand point, it becomes imperative for educational planners in Nigeria to design the programmes of education particularly the curriculum in way as to meet the needs, hopes and aspirations of the society (Tyokyaa, 2015). The teacher is central in determining the achievement of the aspirations and hopes of the society. The national policy on education (NPE, 2004) emphasizes that no system of education of any country can rise above the quality of its teachers. In other words, the success of education system and the future of the nation obviously depend on the quantity, quality, efficiency and effectiveness of its teachers. The Nigerian society today is confronted with serious challenges ranging from economic religious, political, socio-cultural and above all security which include insurgency, militancy, kidnapping, cultism, rapism etc, (Dzurgba, 2004). The teacher as a major facilitator of the programmes of the school essentially has to ensure that the schools instructional function is society oriented so as to expose the pupils or students to the realities of the society. For the teacher to be effective in carrying out his/her instructional function which aims at equipping the pupil/student with appropriate competencies to be useful to the society, he/she has to harness and use the abundant resources of the community in his/her teaching resources of the community in his/her teaching function.
Social studies is an integrated field of study which focuses on man in his environments with a view to sensitizing man with the symbiotic relationships or interaction between him and his environments and equipping him with the intellectual reflective or contemplative skills to identify and conquer his life and environmental problems and make his social living worth the bother. Furthermore, social studies inculcates in its clients societal socially approved and desirable value systems and attitudes Mezieobi, (2013). Social studies instructional materials and resources in critical perception seems to portray those educationally relevant human non-human materials places and events and experiences that the learner are expose to teaching-learning situation and interaction with the larger society. For instance the use of field trips or visitation of historical sites may expose the learner to acquisition of unit ended behaviour. Also the mixture of complex social attitude and conflicting values in the modern society, calls for teachers use of value clarification in the application of social studies instructional material and resources, social studies aims at producing a responsible citizen who is well informed, concerned participatory, reflective productive and willing to contribute to national development (Ayaaba, 2007).
Many teaching techniques have been adopted and utilized in teaching and learning of social studies since the introduction of the subject. Among them include role plays, field trips, lectures, dramatizations, seminars, think-pair-and share, simulations, discussions, brainstorming and the likes. It is becoming increasingly clear that a technique of making social studies teaching and learning very effective and real is through the use of student-centered techniques and learning experiences that are planned and implemented outside the classroom. Parker (2001:289) share similar sentiments when he opined that it is in the local community that the teacher sows the seeds of a life-time study of human society”. By this, students gain the opportunity to observe at first-hand the various social processes that function around them. These may include problems of group living, government in operation, the production and distribution of goods and services and to the rich cultural heritage of the people who live in the community. It is for this reason that Agarwal (2001:242) contended that the school community provide “concrete, seeable and tangible resources which are extremely dynamic, interesting and meaningful for teaching and learning of social studies.
Community resource is perceived differently by different authorities. Mkpa (1989) conceives community resources to mean, all the things found within the community outside the school which could be used to promote teaching and learning, community resources may refer to all the resources found within the community outside the confines of the school that could be harnessed and used effectively to facilitate the study of some specific subject matter. Community resources are also perceived to be all the opportunities within the community that could be used to expand and enrich the learning experiences of the school. Educationists maintain that resourceful teachers and administrators find the community a mine of untapped resources to enrich their instructional and management functions. Agunwa (1974) reported in Tyokyaa (1995) confirms community resources to be the learning laboratory especially of the behavioural sciences. The proper conceptualization and internationalization of theories, concepts and principles of most subject areas is when their teaching or instructional process is linked with the practical objects, situations or activities within the community. Vande-Guma (2014) upholds that human related discipline are better taught and learnt when related to the concrete resources of the community. The effective teacher is one who ensures that the teaching/learning function of the school is linked with the resources of the community thus bringing out in the instructional process the theoretical and practical nexus of the learned materials with the environmental realities of the community (Tyokyaa, 2015).
Exposing the learning experiences of the pupils/students and linking them with the realities of the community does not only strengthen the relationship and rapport between the school and the community but adequately equips the pupils/students with the skills and competences to confront the community or societal challenges upon leaving the school. Secondly, it makes the teacher very effective in his teaching or instructional function. Any resourceful teacher will find the community a mine of untapped resources to enrich classroom experiences. Teachers who relate their instructional function to the resources of the community are more efficient and effective. The use of instructional materials generally aid faster conceptualization and internationalization of the taught theories and concepts. The teacher who adequately mobilizes and utilizes the resources within the community for his instructional function does not only finds his instructional responsibilities motivating and vitalizing, but optimally finds himself very effective in discharging his instructional administrative and general relational responsibilities. It is therefore pertinent to assert that the teachers’ effectiveness could be enhanced if he uses community resources adequately in discharging his instructional duties.
Community experiences can enrich social studies in instructions in ways more than one. To achieve the purposes of social studies, the child must become a real part of the community I which he lives, interact with it and contribute to it. To become an effective citizen the child must become a responsible member of community with civic attitudes and ideals compatible with the spirit of democracy. There is no more effective way of becoming this kind of person than through practicing what such a person will do (Adeboye, 2010). A variety of community experience offer the child the laboratory in which he may experiment with life in the community and begin to find his place in it. Again, venturing into the community, gives children an opportunity to observe and sometimes to participate in the basic human activities that characterize living in the social group. Children can go almost everywhere under the careful guidance of the school and of cooperating community groups-asking questions, gathering data and pooling information. The can investigate many phases of human activity in the community. Visits to radio and television stations, telephone, newspaper and telegraph offices clarify ideas about communication, study trips to airports and other transportation centre as well rides in a variety of vehicles, show how people and goods are moved about. Production education, government, religious activities, protection and conservation are all there for children as they venture forth, hearing, seeing and sometimes taking part in life of the community. Kochhar, 2010), is of the opinion that there are so many community problems which constitute the subject-matter of social studies. Traffic problems, protection of public property, community beautification, conservation and law of observation are but a few to which children can actually make a contribution appropriate their level of development. A problem shared builds interest, concern and a feeling of kinship, the principle works well when pupils and community are thrown together in the consideration of vital problems. Pupils develop a sense of belonging and the community is benefited because of the sense of responsibility develop in the pupils. Thus, the social studies classroom is as big as the community resources is a boon for vitalizing the teaching of social studies.