TEACHER'S PERCEPTION OF THE EFFICACY OF SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM IN COMMUNAL CONFLICTS RESOLUTION FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT


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TEACHER'S PERCEPTION OF THE EFFICACY OF SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM IN COMMUNAL CONFLICTS RESOLUTION FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

CHAPTERONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BackgroundtotheStudy

Meaningful social, economic, and political development can only be

achieved in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility where all agents of

development co-exist in harmony. Since independence in 1960, Nigeria as a

nation has been beclouded with multifarious problems such as communal

conflicts, kidnapping, robbery, ritual killing, rape, and drug addiction (Donia &

Eboh, 2013). These problems seem to have brought about backwardness and

a negative image both to Nigeria and Nigerians. Communal conflicts have

specifically affected development adversely both at the local and national levels.

Communal conflicts are violent clashes or disagreements between non-

state groups that are organized along with a shared communal identity. Violent

conflicts in this regard refer to the fact that parties use lethal means to gain control

over some disputed and perceived indivisible resources such as a piece of land,

other minerals and traditional powers (Galtung, 2005). Kesterner and Ray (2006)

define a communal conflict as a social situation in which at least two parties

(individuals, groups, communities or states) are involved and strive for goals

which can only be reached by one party, and or want to employ incompatible

means to achieve a certain goal. It, thus, implies a struggle over values or claim to

status, power, and other resources in which the aim of the groups or communities

involved is not only to obtain the desired values but also to neutralize, injure or

eliminate rivals.

Conflicts seem to be natural phenomena as they are found at every stage of

human life. Individuals, groups, and societies (local, national and international)

continue to experience one form of conflict or the other. In fact, communal

conflicts and crises are said to be permanent features of life that people have

come to live and cope with and resolve from time to time. Their existence, some

people argue, can not be completely eliminated except if existence itself terminates.

However, a poorly handled conflict has a propensity of degenerating into violence

which can lead to massive and irretrievable losses (United States Agency for

international development,USAID,2014).

Communal conflicts take different forms. In order to understand the

different dynamics of communal conflict, it is useful to analyze their underlying

causes or the issue over which they are fought. Olubonihirin (2012) states that

communal conflicts could be as a result of land dispute, chieftaincy squabbles and

marital differences.

Previous studies have attributed many of Nigeria’s communal conflicts to

the failure of its political elites to accept democratic principles of accountability,

equality, justice, and rule of law (Abubakar, 2006; Bamgbose, 2009). The authors

posit that most violent communal conflicts in Nigeria have been traced to

contested bases of citizenship rights, greed, predatory rule, and prolonged

unresolved grievances.

Different forces, as supported by Hoeffler (2005), can be seen to fuel

communal conflicts. The includes dictatorship, poverty, unemployment, illiteracy,

infrastructural decay, ethnic rivalry, and religious intolerance. It is also instructive

to state that in Nigeria particularly, communal conflicts cannot be completely

divorced from religion, tribe, class, and hate(Guseh&Oritsejafor,2007).

Officially, the strategies adopted by the Nigerian government in resolving

communal conflicts include states or local government creation, the use of Nigeria

Police Force, the Nigeria military (in extreme cases), imposing curfew,

propaganda, setting up of judicial or administrative panels of inquiry,

compensation and punishments (Kotlyar & Karakowsky, 2006). These official

strategies have, however, not yielded adequate results since Nigeria’s

independence. For example, the creation of new states, which seems to be in

response to ethnic-sectional demands for new identities or consolidation of old

ones also created new bases for contested territorial and other claims, as well as

unhealthy competitions for access or succession to high political and other offices.

There have also been counter agitations and protests (even violent) against

perceived sectional marginalization in respect of participation in, and the

dividends derived from the political as well as economic fortunes of such states

(Otite,2000).

In a similar futile effort, the government deploys Armed Forces to halt

communal conflicts. Indeed, they have been successful in “suspending”, not

resolving some of these conflicts or restoring temporal order but such

interventions come after colossal damage has been done on precious lives and

valuable property (Meagher, 2007). The foregoing implies that strategies adopted

by the government in resolving communal conflicts are not so effective.

The efficient and effective management of communal conflicts is

fundamental to the development of any society. However, the prevailing situation

in Nigeria constitutes a reversal of this reality. Communal conflicts are not just

allowed to start (even when they can be prevented), but escalate and paralyze both

social and economic activities. Nigeria’s supposed success story of amalgamation

of diverse ethnic groups in 1914 has drastically shifted from a platform of

peaceful co-existence to an era of continuous violence and gradual disintegration.

The popular explanation for this unacceptable and annoying situation is perhaps

the initial “forceful” integration, corruption, political domination/marginalization,

lack of tolerance of each other’s culture and tradition, and age-long general hate

(TheUSDepartmentofState,2008).

The spate of insecurity and threat to lives and property in Nigeria,

occasioned by communal conflicts, has reached alarming proportions despite

increasing the visibility of Nigeria’s security apparatus (Erinosho, 2007). It is

estimated that about 50 episodes of violent communal conflicts, which culminated

in the death of over 10,000 persons and internal displacement of over 30,000,

were recorded in Nigeria between 1999 and 2007 (International Crises Group,

2009). For example, the November 2008 communal crises in Jos, North Central

Nigeria resulted in the death of 380 persons and destruction of property in the

range of tens of millions of naira (Adinoyi, 2009; Balogun, 2009). Also, the Tiv-

Fulani crises of 2013 to 2014, also in the North Central Zone of Nigeria, similarly

claimed losses in the same range, where schools, residences, and worship centers

were destroyed (USAID, 2014). Other recent examples of communal conflicts in

the zone are Shitile, Ukum, and the Shangev-Tiev crises in Benue State and crises

withmilitaryinAbujaandtheKadunacrises.

In view of the failure or inability of the subjects that were not eclectic in

nature to resolve communal conflicts and the attendant consequence on national

development, the government introduced Social Studies with its eclectic nature to

a holistic and viable alternative strategy to be deployed in resolving these conflicts.

This further paved the way for the official inclusion of Social Studies into school

curriculum following its success in solving societal problems not only in Britain,

but also in America as well as Nigeria in the late 1960s. This program of study

was first introduced in Britain after World Wars I & II in order to appease the

the conscience of the citizens to respect constituted authority, submissive to their

parents, show regards to the elders of the society, help to protect public property,

value the lives of fellow citizens and contribute positively towards the

development of society (Edinyang, Mezieobi & Ubi, 2013). Social Studies

curriculum, the researcher believes, if well implemented, could help to get to the

the root of the problem, rather than treating it from the branches.

Elbadawi and Sambanis (2006) assert that Social Studies itself was

introduced partially in response to these social challenges that have bedeviled the

a society with obvious consequences. It is to this extent that Social Studies was

initially defined by the Committee on Primary School Social Studies Programme

(CPSSSP) (1971) and the then Nigerian Educational Research Council (NERC),

now Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) (1983),

to mean “common learning of man’s interaction with his or her social and

physical environment”. Explaining further, both bodies state that “Social Studies

is not only a study but also a way of life of how man influences and is being

influenced by his physical, social, political, economic, psychological, and cultural

environments. It is the totality of experiences and understanding a child gets

having been exposed to a course of study based on man’s problems in his/her

environment, the factors that are normally responsible for man’s interaction and the

resulting in ways of life of man.

Some of the key objectives of the Social Studies curriculum as contained in

NERDC(1971)include:

1. Creating awareness and understanding of the evolving social and physical

environment as a whole, its natural, man-made, cultural and spiritual resources,

together with the rational use and conservation of these resources for

development.

2. Ensuring the acquisition of relevant knowledge as part of the pre-requisite to

personal development as well as making contributions to the development of

mankind.

3. Developing a sympathetic appreciation of the diversity and interdependence of

all members of the local community and the wider national and international

community.

4. Developing in children, a positive attitude to citizenship and the desire to

makepositivecontributionsforaunitedNigeria.

With these objectives, it is strongly hoped by the researcher that Social

Studies curriculum could be used as an effective tool for eradicating, or at least,

reducing significantly, the prevalence of the already identified social problems,

among which is communal conflict.

Perception is the ability to take sensory input and interpret it meaningfully.

According to Nelson and Quick (2007), perception is the process of interpreting

information using the sensory organs of an individual. In other words, perception

involves selection, organizing, and interpreting sensory stimulations into

meaningful information about the environment. Teacher’ perception of Social

Studies curriculum furnishes him/her experiences that promote thinking and

understanding that help in problem-solving. It, therefore, means that a good

perception results in effective implementation of the curriculum.

According to Grant and McTighe (2005), the attitudes of Social Studies

teachers to the subject’s curriculum contribute negatively to the subject’s quest for

the civilized way of resolving communal conflicts among community members. It

is very obvious that teachers’ way of thinking and beliefs guide their behavior in

decision-making both in and outside the classroom. The word attitude is defined

within the framework of social psychology as a subjective or mental preparation

for action. According to Souza-Barros and Marcos (2010), attitude defines

the outward and visible posture of human beliefs. Attitude determines what each

individual will see, hear, think, believe, and eventually do. According to the

authors, attitude means an individual’s prevailing tendency to respond either

favorably or unfavorably to an object, person, event, and institution. That is, it

can either be positive or negative.

Nyenwe (2009) states that education is the principal means of self and

nation-building and the primary tool for the survival of any society. Attitude is,

therefore, concerned with an individual’s way of thinking and behavior and this

has varying implications in the education chain (the learner, the teacher, the

content, and the environment). To this end, Social Studies teachers’ perception of

the desirability or otherwise of the subject’s curriculum in resolving communal

conflicts has implications for its overall objectives. If teachers of the subject see

the curriculum as being practicable, result-oriented, and implementable, they

would work towards achieving its mandate. The reverse would, however, be the

case if their perception of the curriculum is negative.

Despite the lofty objectives of the Social Studies Curriculum, a lot of intrastate and

Interstate communal conflicts abound (Kotlyar & Karakowsky, 2006). It is

indeed doubtful if the curriculum of Social Studies is diligently implemented, as

this alone has the potential of inculcating harmonious living among diverse people.

It also calls for concern whether appropriate and result oriented instructional

materials and methods are employed in the implementation of Social Studies

curriculum or the attitude of teachers towards teaching the subject is what is

responsiblefortherisingcommunalconflictsinNigeria.

This situation may have serious consequences on the achievement of

peaceful and harmonious living. There seems to be a disconnect on one hand,

between instructional materials deployed in teaching Social Studies and the

teaching methods that are used in the implementation of social studies curriculum

on the other (Ma, 2007). It also appears as if teachers of Social Studies are not

living by what they teach. This also has a tendency of discouraging learners from

embracing harmonious living as taught. Balogun (2009) observes that a lot of

reasons could be advanced for this. According to the author, schools may not be

provided with qualified teachers, adequate and relevant instructional materials.

Some teachers may also be exposed to just one or a few teaching methods.

Therefore, they may not properly apply the right method in teaching young

learners.

The situation in the north-Central states of Nigeria which is made up of Benue,

Nasarawa, Kogi, Plateau, Niger, Kwara, and the FCT appears more worrisome

(Yecho, 2007). One could, through casual observation, notice that these states

are indeed engulfed in communal conflicts. For example, the Tiv-Jukun endless

communal conflicts, the Eggon-Fulani crises, the Tiv-Fulani crises and the

Hausa/Fulani-Birom crises are just a few instances of these protracted communal

conflictsinNorth-CentralNigeria(Danladi,2009;Adebiti,2014).

Arising from the foregoing, there is a serious concern by the researcher that

if these incessant communal conflicts are not checked and the situation not

reversed, teachers could continue to see the introduction of Social Studies as just

one of those subjects whose curriculum has little or nothing to do with communal

conflicts resolution which indeed poses a threat to national development in North

Central Nigeria. It is upon the need to use the Social Studies curriculum, as perceived

by teachers, in resolving communal conflicts for national development in North-

Central Nigeria that the research is based. This is to assess teachers’ perception of

efficacy of the Social Studies curriculum in resolving communal conflicts for national

developmentinNorthCentral Nigeria.

1.2 StatementoftheProblem

The purpose of government or governance in Nigeria is to pool both human

and material resources together towards national development, or put in place

measures and amenities that will see to the general well-being of her citizens. This

could only be feasible in an atmosphere of peace, harmony, and tranquillity as it is

generally acceptable that no society develops to its full potentials amidst the chaos.

However, observation has shown that this anticipated national growth and

development is in most cases thwarted by communal conflicts which

cumulatively leave many people dead and valuable property including

government projects destroyed.

The situation appears more worrisome as it is suspected that most of the

able-bodied men or youths who are deeply involved in these conflicts are products

of Nigeria’s educational system that is taught Social Studies, whose curriculum

is designed to inculcate values of harmonious living in citizens. This, therefore,

calls to question the implementation of this curriculum-whether the approach of

teachers towards teaching the subject are wrong, whether the right methods are not

being employed or the relevant materials are not being used. This is because it is

believed that proper implementation of the Social Studies curriculum could definitely

have a transferred positive effect on learners and by extension the masses who

would at all times, stand against such conflicts no matter the extent of provocation.

It is against this background that the present study investigated if Social Studies

the curriculum could be efficacious in resolving or minimizing communal conflicts in

NorthCentralNigeria?

1.3 PurposeoftheStudy

The purpose of the study was to investigate teachers’ perception of the

efficacy of the Social Studies curriculum in communal conflicts resolution for

nationaldevelopmentinNorthCentralNigeria.Specifically, the study sought to:

1. Determine how suitable Social Studies curriculum content can influence

communalconflictsresolutioninNorth-central Nigeria.

2. Find out how the objectives of the Social Studies curriculum can influence

conflict resolution.

3. Determine the influence of teaching methods in the implementation of Social

Studiescurriculumforconflictresolution.

4. Ascertain the influence of the availability of instructional materials in the

implementationofSocialStudiescurriculumforconflictresolution.

5. Ascertain the influence of relevance of the available instructional materials

intheimplementationofSocialStudiescurriculumforconflictresolution

6. Ascertain the influence of Social Studies teachers’ attitudes in the

implementationofSocialStudiescurriculumforconflictresolution.

1.4 research questions

Thefollowingresearchquestionswereraisedtoguidethestudy:

1. What influence does the suitability of Social Studies curriculum content have

oncommunalconflictsresolutioninNorthCentralNigeria?

2. HowdoobjectivesofSocialStudiescurriculuminfluenceconflictresolution?

3. How do teaching methods influence the implementation of Social Studies

curriculum for conflict resolution?

4. How does the availability of instructional materials influence the implementation of

social studies curriculum for conflict resolution?

5. How relevant are the available instructional material in influencing the

implementationofSocialStudiescurriculumforconflictresolution?

6. How does teachers’ attitude influence the implementation of Social Studies

curriculum for conflict resolution?

1.5 Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were formulated and tested at a 0.05 level of

significance:

1. The suitability of the Social Studies curriculum has no significant influence on

resolution of communal conflicts.

2. The objectives of the Social Studies curriculum have no significant influence on

conflict resolution.

3. There is no significant influence of teaching methods on the implementation of

social studies curriculum for conflict resolution.

4. There is no significant influence of the availability of instructional materials on

implementationofSocialStudiescurriculumforconflictresolution.

5. The available instructional materials are not significantly relevant to

influencing implementation of the Social Studies curriculum for conflict

resolution.

13

6. There is no significant influence of Social Studies teachers’ attitudes on

implementationofSocialStudiescurriculumforconflictresolution.

1.6 SignificanceoftheStudy The findings of this study would be of significance to Social Studies

curriculum developers and implementers Nigerian government at all levels, security

agencies/bodies that are statutorily saddled with the responsibility of curbing

communal conflicts and future researchers.

To the curriculum developers and implementers, the findings of the study

could help them to see the need to develop a more inclusive curriculum that would

recognize the role of all stakeholders in the management of communal conflicts in the

society. By so doing, might help learners to appreciate their roles as future leaders

who would always protect the society in order to inherit it later on rather than

being used as agents of destruction.

The implementers of the curriculum (the teachers) would be exposed to

their roles of faithfully implementing the curriculum, and living as role models

who can be emulated by learners even after school years? This could be done by

retraining of Social Studies teachers through teacher professional development

programs to enhance their pedagogical skills.

The results of the study may be of significance to all tiers of government -

(federal, state and local), as the findings would highlight the need for more

professional Social Studies teachers that would rapidly implement Social Studies

curriculum for national development. The study exposed the dire need for

additional training centers for Social Studies and Civic Education professionals

14

that would not only design the curriculum but also efficiently implement it at all

levels of education. The findings of this study would further encourage

government at all levels towards the provision of subsidized or free Social Studies

instructional materials for teachers and learners. This would, in no small measure,

facilitatetheimplementationofSocialStudiescurriculuminschools.

To the various security bodies /agencies, the result of the study could help

them to realize the need to adopt more proactive and all-inclusive strategies in

resolving communal conflicts rather than the present situation where such

conflicts are temporally suspended for fear of the gun. This could be through

seminars and workshops organized to brainstorm on the findings and

recommendations of the study. Through this, it would help them to appreciate the

need to address the perceived grievances of communities before they go out of hand.

This could be by holding regular meetings with all organs of the society,

promoting peaceful co-existence and emphasizing the need for harmonious and

peaceful co-existence.

1.7 ScopeoftheStudy

This study covered all teachers of Social Studies in secondary schools in

The North-Central States of Nigeria. These states are Benue, Kogi, Plateau, Nasarawa,

Niger, Kwara and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. Content-wise, the study

covered concepts and topics such as teachers’ perception, Social Studies

curriculum, communal conflicts, and national development, objectives of Social

Studies curriculum and conflict resolution, understanding the diverse nature of

people and making quality decisions towards the management of a complex crisis

15

situations. The choice of states in North Central Nigeria was predicted on the

backdrop that this is an agrarian zone. There are always cases of communal

conflicts. It was, therefore, felt that a study of this nature might be beneficial in

solving the problem. It was also hoped that better opinions and responses would

be generated as the respondents are facing it directly. Thus, their responses would

be more national

Definition of Terms

Thetermsaredefinedoperationallyasfollows:

Communal conflicts: These refer to a situation of violent unrest between groups

and communities within the North Central states of Nigeria that results in wanton

destruction of lives and property.

Social Studies Curriculum: It refers to a set of themes, topics, or content that

stipulates what has to be learned or taught in Social Studies to students in basic

educationallevelinNorthCentralstatesofNigeria.

Teachers’ Perception: This means the views or impressions of Social Studies

teachers as they relate to the curriculum of Social Studies and conflict resolution

inthenorthcentralstatesofNigeria.

North-Central States Nigeria: It is a geographical area covering six Nigerian

states - Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Niger, Kwara, and the Federal Capital

Territory, Abuja.

National Development: This means the increase in size, value, improved attitude

of teachers towards teaching Social Studies, increased number of national indices

16

like literacy and income occasioned by peaceful co-existence among the citizenry

inNorthCentralstatesofNigeria.

.

TEACHER'S PERCEPTION OF THE EFFICACY OF SOCIAL STUDIES CURRICULUM IN COMMUNAL CONFLICTS RESOLUTION FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT


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