1.1 Background of the Study
Christian Religious Studies (CRS) is one of the major subjects missionaries bequeathed to Nigerian education system on the establishment of schools by the 19th century missionaries. The aim was to train people who will be of immense help to the colonial trinity goals (God/Christianity, government/colonization and Gold/commerce). In other to achieve the above, the major curriculum contents of their educational system were Bible knowledge, Arithmetic and English language for communication. To implement fully the contents, adequate attention was given to the understanding of the place of God in man’s life (Nsongo, 2001). During the missionary era, bible knowledge otherwise known as CRS was the core subject. Subsequently, after independence, government took over schools; there was a clarion call for review of curriculum in 1983. The call was as a result of criticisms leveled against colonial education, which some scholars viewed as being too arts oriented and as such lacked relevance to Nigeria upliftment, political emancipation and infrastructural development (Ocho, 2005). Ocho further explained that the situation led to the modification of the curriculum with greater emphasis on sciences and technological subjects.
For effective teaching to take place adequate considerations must be given to the teacher’s skill, the learners’ preparedness to learn, the teaching/learning environment, and the curriculum in addition to such external variables as government education policies, supervision/ monitoring exercise. These factors combine to give rise to effective teaching of any subject at whatever level of education.
Effectiveness of Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) teaching becomes very important when one considers the indispensable position of the discipline in human socio-cultural, economic, spiritual and moral development. This feat is acknowledged by Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) which placed Religious Studies as one of the core subjects in Group A at the Senior Secondary level. This is probably because Religion goes a long way to determining individual behaviour and aspiration, which in turn determines not only developmental strides of the society but also its internal harmony.
Christian perspective to Religious Studies does not deviate from the general functional roles of religion in the society, such as its efficacy in transcending personal and divisive forces in human society. Through shared symbols, values, norms and doctrines, religion, including Christian religion, provides a forum for people to unite to form integrated groups based on seemingly unfathomable mysteries of human existence.
Specifically, CRK teaching is believed to be capable of instilling in the Nigerian youth the required and desired knowledge, values, behaviours, attitudes and skills that would ensure their effective adaptation in an ever-changing multi-faith and multiethnic society, Nigeria, (Eluu, 2011). Obilom in Eluu (2011) equally holds that CRK curriculum is designed to teach not only the content of the holy book but also the moral lessons desirable therefrom.
Learning has to do with the application and integration of the knowledge acquired in a particular unit of instruction. Learning outcomes according to Obanya (2004) are statements that describe significant and essential learning which learners have acquired and can reliably demonstrate at the end of a course or program. The desired or expected learning outcomes of CRS study is on the attainment of ethical and moral behavior of school pupils, in other words, building up the moral character of an individual using example of Christian religion values rather than mere precepts. The main aim of including CRS into Nigerian education curriculum therefore is to advance Christian moral virtues in the lives of school pupils. Most often those desired outcomes do not manifest in some pupils’ behaviours judging from the rate of immorality observable in schools and the society at large.
According to Cronbac (2007), the use of instructional materials during teaching and learning process can appeal to the individual attention among students by creating interest. Indeed, instructional material provide concepts and attitudes to the student which improved his skills, ability to reason and make him/her informed about what is going on in the global village. Education has helped to bring the entire world into an entity through the information and knowledge education has helped us to achieve.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigerian society today like other nations of the world is undergoing through some aspect of moral decadence or moral degradation associated with world-wide development. The moral status of the society has reached to the level one could ask what role multiple religious groups play in building up moral society. The moral ills identified among the secondary school pupils have raised questions on the efficacy of religious studies on shaping moral behavior. CRS curriculum review of 1983 included inculcation of moral values in the content in order to address challenges of moral behaviour among students, but the aim seems to be under siege.
Scholars like Njoku (2012) attributed the breakdown in moral behaviour of the school students to teachers’ attitude and government lack of commitment to the teaching of CRS as some that are committed do not handle the subject well, which has made it almost impossible for learners to attain the set goals. It is against this background that the researcher sought to find out if appropriate selection and effective use of teaching methods could enhance attainment of desired learning outcomes in the students’ lives.