PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS OF TEACHING SOCIAL STUDIES IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Social Studies was introduced in the Nigerian School Curriculum as part of the instrument for achieving national development (National Policy on Education (NPE) 1981). This was what informed its designation as part of the core curriculum at different levels of education in Nigeria. Social Studies curriculum development agencies such as the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) and experts further identified and disseminated the curriculum goals or purposes of the subject in the school curriculum. These include citizenship education, reflective inquiry and social science education, (Barth-shermis, 1920; Barth-Norris, 1976; Dubey and Barth, 1980; Olawepo, 1984) among others. These broadly stated goals must be clare to, and recognized as important as well as attainable by teachers and other participants connected with the Curriculum if the intentions or purposes must be realized and the investment of eort is to be considered worthwhile (Feather, 1982; Meece, Blumenfeld, & Hoyle, 1988). These intentions or purposes are prima facie stated with clarity, but their perception or conceptualization by teachers and scholars is still in doubt as Onyabe (1980) observed that the philosophy, content and methodology of social studies has remained vague to both scholars and teachers. The incidence of conflicting conceptions of social studies curriculum is a cause for concern for three major reasons. First, the anchor or strategic position of purposes or intentions in the curriculum development process (Pratt, 1994) as illustrated in Tyler (1949) (Linear) and Wheeler (1980) (cyclic) curriculum models, among others. Secondly, curriculum goals or purposes, are indispensable elements in instructions as far as effective implementation of an already developed curriculum is concerned. Thirdly, the correct conception, investment of eorts and ultimate realization of the purposes of the curriculum will facilitate the realization of the overall aims of the Nigerian educational enterprise.