PROBLEMS MILITATING AGAINST EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ECONOMICS IN SECONDARY SCHOOL
Background to the Study
Teachingis an integral part of the process of education. It is a system of actions intended to induce learning. Its special function is to impact knowledge, develop understanding and skill. In teaching an interaction occurs between the teacher and the students, by which the students are diverted towards the goal. Thus the sole element of teaching is the mutual relationship or the interaction between the teacher and the students, by which students are diverted towards advances the goal. Teaching can be considered as the art of assisting another to learn by providing the information and appropriate situations, conditions or activities. It is an intimate contact between a more mature personality and a less mature one which is designed to further the education of later (Joyce 2011).
Teaching activities and instructional procedure are performed by using maxims of teaching. The term Maxim of teaching, according to Smith (2009), may be defined as rules for presenting terms and concepts to make them easy to comprehend in classroom teaching. They are the guidelines for teaching. The maxims of teaching are very helpful in obtaining the active involvement and participation of the learners in the teaching - learning process. They quicken the interest of the learners and motivate them to learn. They make the students attentive to the teaching- learning process. According to Kochhar (2014), a good teacher must be familiar with the general maxims for effective teaching, some of which are the following: Proceed from the known to the unknown, Proceed from Simple to Complex, Proceed from the Concrete to Abstract, Proceed from Particular to General, Proceed from Psychological to Logical, Proceed from Whole to Part, and from Analysis to Synthesis.
It must be accepted that in the ultimate analysis maxims are meant to be our servants and not masters. Moreover, by and large, they are interrelated. Different maxims suit different situations. It is therefore essential that a judicious use be made of each maxim. They are means and not end in themselves.
Teaching and learning process is the heart of education. It is the most powerful instrument of education to bring about desired changes in the students. Teaching and learning are related terms. In teaching - learning process, the teacher, the learner, the curriculum and other variables are organized in a systematic way to attain some pre-determined goal (Bruner cited in Siaw, (2009).
It is informative to examine the ideal teaching-learning process, as proposed by Laurillard (2010) who argues that there are four aspects of the teaching-learning process namely: discussion, interaction, adaptation and reflection. Discussion according to Laurillard is between the teacher and the learner. Interaction is between the learner and some aspect of the world defined by the teacher. Adaptation is of the world by the teacher and action by the learner. Reflection is on the learner’s performance by both teacher and learner. Laurillard considers how different educational media and styles can be described in these terms. For example, a textbook represents a one-way flow of knowledge from the teacher’s conceptual knowledge to the student’s conceptual knowledge. A lecture or tutorial may be seen the same way, but there is a possibility of meaningful discussion between teacher and learner.
Educationis a purposive, conscious or unconscious, psychological, sociological, scientific and philosophical process, which brings about the development of the individual to the fullest extent and also the maximum development of society in such a way that both enjoy maximum happiness and prosperity (Mill 2012). In Short, education is the development of individual according to his needs and demands of society, of which he is an integral part. The above remarks of different educators highlight the following special features of education:
Adeniyi (2014) stated that “education is a method of leading people out of ignorance through the socialization of human beings and constant training of the child to adjust to the changing world. The definitions of education above have several things in common, one of these is that, education is a process, which starts at birth and continues for as long as the individual lives. Secondly, the individual education enables developmental potentials that give service not only to individual but also to the community at large, Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme, therefore is an educational programme or scheme fashioned out in such a way that the beneficiaries will live up to the expectations of the society.
In most contemporary educational systems of the world, secondary education comprises the formal education that occurs duringadolescence. It is characterized by transition from the typically compulsory, comprehensiveprimary educationforminors, to the optional, selectivetertiary, "postsecondary", or "higher" education (e.g.university, vocational school) foradults. Depending on the system, schools for this period, or a part of it, may be called secondary orhigh schools,gymnasiums,lyceums, middle schools,colleges, or vocational schools. The exact meaning of any of these terms varies from one system to another. The exact boundary between primary and secondary education also varies from country to country and even within them but is generally around the seventh to the tenth year of schooling. It is an established fact that education is the gateway to the development of any society. It is a basic need that leads to the development of all other sectors. In this case, no society can afford to down grade its educational system as it has direct link with the overall advancement of society most especially in secondary school level (Thomson 2011).
Economics is the science that deals with production, exchange and consumption of various commodities in economic systems. It shows how scarce resources can be used to increase wealth and human welfare. The central focus of economics is on scarcity of resources and choices among their alternative uses.
The resources or inputs available to produce goods are limited or scarce. This scarcity induces people to make choices among alternatives, and the knowledge of economics is used to compare the alternatives for choosing the best among them. For example, a farmer can grow paddy, sugarcane, banana, cotton etc. in his garden land. But he has to choose a crop depending upon the availability of irrigation water.
Two major factors responsible for the emergence of economic problems includes: i) the existence of unlimited human wants and ii) the scarcity of available resources. The numerous human wants are to be satisfied through the scarce resources available in nature. Economics deals with how the numerous human wants are to be satisfied with limited resources (Bradley 2012). Thus, the science of economics centres on want-effort-satisfaction. Economics not only covers the decision making behaviour of individuals but also the macro variables of economies like national income, public finance, international trade and so on. For proper analysis of problem of teaching economics in secondary schools various methods could be used depending on the topic of study.
For example, the use of instructional material could be the best method of teaching economics like graphs, charts, pie chart etc. this will facilitate the easy method of teaching economic. Moreover, the use of life instructional material or real object will equally help in teaching economics. Also the use of dramatic method could be of great help in teaching Economics. Again there should be excursion to various places in other to facilitate teaching and learning of economics most importantly in Ezeagu local government area of Enugu State. It is equally an important way of learning through practical aspects on the whole most of the available economics textbook no longer meet in the subject, all of which could result to economic failure of students in examination.
Non-chalant attitude on the part of student to the studies as well affect their academic performance, one cannot reap where he does not sow. Some students are so lazy that they find it difficult to bend down and read. And when one lacks interest in studies the next option will be failure as an ultimate goal (Kumar 2010).
Ismail (2010) highlights the problems associated with the teaching and learning of Economics include; lack of motivation, breaking the rules and routines, lack of infrastructure, insuﬀicient time management, ineﬀective classroom environment, and lack of interaction in classrooms. More also, the causes of these problems includes; place and structure of the course in the curriculum, classroom size and lack of rules, lack of teachers’ management skills and students attitudes as well as unavailability of instruction materials in teaching of economics.
Therefore this work intends to find out the problems militating against effective teaching and learning of economics in secondary schools in Ezeagu local government area of Enugu.
Statement to the Problem
Despite the programs to improve student learning of economics by organizations such as the National Council on Economic Education and the American Economics Association, we have just started to understand factors that affects student learning and performance in economics. Several studies investigate the teaching and learning of economics by concentrating on backgrounds of students and personality type, the role and gender of instructor, student expectations, math skill, absenteeism, and so forth. However, there can be many other factors that have profound problems militating against teaching and learning of economics especially in Ezeagu local government area, such as the choice of textbook, choice of instructors, choice of class time, students’ major, level of instructors, and a host of other students attributes that have not been addressed in the previous study (Ballard 2015).
One of the most functional subjects taught in secondary school is Economics. Essentially due to the nature of this subject, it becomes expedient that to make a good living one needs the knowledge of economics. But differently, this subject when well taught in secondary school helps student to adjust easily to changes in Economic state of the nation (Jarkins 2012). Additionally the knowledge of economics and practices are well important decisions in making important investment decision whether in the private or public sector. That is more reason investigation to determine the effects of problem of teaching economics in secondary school specifically in Ezeagu local government area of Enugu State.
Studies investigating factors contributing to student performance and success in economics identify the following factors: gender, math skills, who is the instructor, teaching methods, absenteeism, class size, student effort, employment, seating location, and personality type.
Another factor of interest is the effect of mathematic skills on student performance in economics classes. Although a superior math skill is perceived as an advantage to understanding economics, the existing evidence is mixed. In an experimental study, Cohn and Cohn (2011), looking at the accuracy of drawing graphs and its effect on student performance, find that drawing accurate graphs helps students perform better. Extending the experiments into following semesters, Cohn, Cohn, Balch, and Bradley (2011) randomly place students into two sections of graph and no-graph lectures. The authors were not able to find any significant difference in the success of students.
According to Hill and Stegner (2013) reports that students with a preference towards math performed better in of economics classes, especially on graphical questions. Cohn (2014) examines the students’ preferences towards graphs and reaches no definitive conclusion. And Ballard and Johnson (2014) do find a statistically significant effect of math skills on students’ success. They assert that dexterity of basic algebra skills plays the most important role in introductory microeconomics class.
A third line of research focuses on who is the instructor and what are their teaching methods. Generally, there is a significant difference in the effect of instructors on student success and learning; there also are measurable effects due to introducing new ways of teaching with the advancement of technology (Goffe and Sosin, 2015).) The difference in the performance is attributed to differences between the instructors employed by the colleges and the universities. While the effect of the instructor has a significant factor on student learning, the gender of instructors does not seem to make any difference in student performance (Robb and Robb, 2009).
Research examining attendance and absenteeism finds a strong positive correlation between student attendance and performance in economics classes (Durden and Ellis, 2015, Chan, Shum, and Wright, 2017). Durden and Ellis (2015) report significant positive effects of attendance on student success. Interestingly, missing up to four classes throughout the semester does not have any effect on student performance; attendance becomes a significant factor after four missed classes.
Class size is another variable of interest when predicting student success in economics. Recent studies do conclude that smaller classes are correlated with greater success (Aries and Walker, 2014). The debate on the effect of class size and learning does not seem to be settled. With respect to the effect of student effort on performance, existing research also produces mixed results.
Above all, moved the researcher to embark on the study of this nature in other to find out the problems militating against effective teaching and learning of Economics in secondary school in Ezeagu local government area of Enugu State.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to find out the problems militating against effective teaching and learning of economics in secondary school in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Specifically, this study intend to:
i. find out if teachers teaching technique affect teaching and learning of economics in secondary school in Ezeagu local government area.
ii. to find out if students learning ability affect their understanding in teaching and learning of economics in Ezeagu local government area.
iii. to find out if the school environment is not conducive for teaching and learning of economics in Ezeagu local government area.
iv. find out the solutions to the problems of teaching economics in secondary schools in Ezeagu local government area.
Significance of the Study
A study such as this will be significant in many ways. There is going to be a great improvement on the part of the students who learn economics, and on the part of the teachers who teach economics, which will now know the acceptable workload, which will be reasonable enough to guarantee that every student receive the time and attention needed for genuine improvement.
This study will be of great value to schools and educational administrators in their educational planning and reformations. Teachers in urban schools where there are a great number of teachers would loose some to very remote towns where there are extreme large classes but with a small number of teachers, and vice versa.
Besides, textbook writers will use the findings of this study to update their work on the most recent methodologies for effective teaching of economics. When the copies of these findings are made available to schools through the school authorities, a sure remedy shall have evolved in economics teaching.
Finally, the study is very important as it might create jobs for unemployed Economics teachers. The government might realize the needs for more hands with regards to recruitment of many economics experts who would be deployed to areas of need.
Scope of the Study
This work emphasized in the problem militating against effective teaching and learning of Economics in secondary school in Ezeagu local government area of Enugu State.
This study shall be restricted to the government owned senior secondary schools in Ezeagu Education Zone. Seven schools are to be used by random selection for this study from Ezeagu local government area.
In course of this study, the researcher formulated the following research questions to guide the study. These research questions are:
1. To what extent do teachers teaching technique affect teaching and learning of economics in secondary school in Ezeagu local government area.
2. To what extent do students learning ability affect their understanding in teaching and learning of economics in Ezeagu local government area.
3. To what extent do school environment conducive for teaching and learning of economics in Ezeagu local government area.
4. What are the solutions to the problems of teaching economics in secondary schools in Ezeagu local government area..