BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The origin of collaborative learning as a pedagogical method can be traced to the paradigm of four more social learning theorists like Vygotsky and Bruner who viewed scaffolding and zone of proximal development as inherent social nature of learning which the school child cannot develop alone without the influence of a co-learner or more knowledgeable others. Interest in collaborative learning among learning theorist sharply and predominantly increased in the early 1990’s and soon become4 dominant in advanced education technology research. At the same time, other important focal points emerged, like interest for learning that occurs in an informal setting situated cognition and situated learning, communities of learning.
Social studies is an interdisciplinary field in which man learn about problems of survival in his environment (Aderalegbe 1989) social studies teachers positive values and social norms by inculcating the does and don’t of the society; and positive attitudes in all Nigerian school children. In a sense, social studies as a school subject emerged to improve the citizenry. The broad objective of social studies is to ensure the acquisition of relevant body of knowledge which is a prerequisite to personal development and contribution to the betterment of oneself that of the society. (Okobia, 1985). The capitation these objective lies in the quality of instruction given at the classroom. Social studies being a unique subject require variety of methods to be able to make impact on the lives of the learners. In light of this, the teaching of social studies using different methods which are learners-centered becomes indispensible. This is one of the reasons why we cannot ignore the collaborative learning as one of the major strategies in making the teaching learning of social studies meaningful.
Although among the many theories and practices of teaching, collaborative learning has been singled out as the most promising in elevating the academic performance of students in social studies in contemporary time due to the social support it provide during group learning (Cockerel, Cap low and Donaldson, 2010). However, collaborative learning is not still properly developed and utilized in Nigerian school system despite its precede benefits in the educational system the concept of collaborative learning is not very new to Nigerian students. It has been in existence since several decades.
Students in Nigerian school schools use and exploit collaborative learning for the purpose of achieving academic goals. In spite of the promises collaborative learning hold for the Nigerian school child, not much research has been done in Nigeria to compare its effectiveness and usefulness to the traditional teaching method. Also, there is little empirical evidence on its effectiveness at the university level, but look more promising for both primary and secondary education in the future (Austin 1993).
Collaborative learning through gaining momentum gradually in the classroom has been associated with the student affairs outside the classroom. Learning communities are the oldest and most revered model of education (Shapiro and Lovine 1999). Learning communities through collaborative efforts help students establish academic and social support network outside the classroom. Collaborative learning at the classroom level in Nigeria schools today is still at a rudimentary stage, that is students usually organized themselves into study group with one among them as a leader who co-ordinate the group learning by acting as their teacher. Usually, they form time table which direct their meeting schedule after the normal school hours, during weekends or at peak period of examination what they have been taught in the classroom and solve past examination question questions together students also seek clarification among themselves on aspect of the course contents. Which is not properly understood? Kamber (2009) also opined that students collaborate in assignment; project and term paper presentation which make them rub minds and come out with tangible ideas on how to solve the specific problem on ground.