1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
History may be defined as the collective recollection of human group experiences. It not only helps people understand who they are and where they came from, but it also provides them with a platform from which to make educated judgments about current challenges and future developments. Many historians think that by carefully mapping previous trends, individuals may make educated guesses about the likely general tendencies of the future (Bining and Bining1952). In Nigeria, history is one of the core subjects in the secondary school curriculum. It is taught as a stand-alone subject in both secondary schools and in the Universities.
Since the British introduced Western education to Nigeria, history has played an important role in the secondary school curriculum. The term "History" signifies different things to different historians. According to Fabricius, (1983), history is to people what memory is to individuals. People who have no memory of their history are victims of collective amnesia, stumbling blindly into the future with no precedent to guide them. This implies that those who have little understanding of the past are more prone to suffer from historic myopia since their future is unknown. Similarly, Boadu, (2016) argued that history is the investigation, analysis, and interpretation of past events in order to identify generalizations that are useful in understanding the present and, to a limited extent, projecting the future. According to Robert Daniels, without a basic understanding of history, we become victims of communal amnesia, groping in the dark for our identity (Fabricius, 1983). According to Arthur Marwick (1971), a community can only know itself via knowledge of its past. He claims that a civilization devoid of memory and self-awareness is adrift. As a result, history satisfies our drive to know and comprehend ourselves as well as our forefathers. According to Ajai, Ajibade, and Aniemeka (1999), "history education is crucial because it instills in the individual the development of social consciousness." In this regard, it is via historical knowledge that individuals, particularly young people, get to comprehend and appreciate the background, culture, beliefs, and customs of others. According to Adeyeni (1999), the goal of history education in schools is to help young people develop an integrated spiritual world through assimilation of ethno-cultural, national, and universal values developed through historical development, and by providing them with experience in defining themselves in relation to these values. According to Osinsawo (1990), history is a live topic that deals with the drama of human beings or the stage of the world that is still expanding, and this drama should be presented before pupils in a vivid manner in the classroom; for this, a history teacher should be dynamic and full of life.
Approaches of teaching and learning that are currently in use Wineburg (2001) defines history as "historical thought" and "historical investigation" (Barton & Levstik, 2004). "Arton & Levstik, 2004, p.188" define historical inquiry as "the activity of asking questions, obtaining and assessing relevant evidence, and forming conclusions based on that information." The process of generating historical knowledge via critical evaluation of historical materials is referred to as historical thinking (Evans,1994). Corroboration (comparing historical records), sourcing (analyzing the source of the document), and contextualization (placing the documents in the context of the historical problem) are all procedures involved (Evans, 1994). Both methods highlight the learner's contribution in the construction of historical knowledge. As a result, these techniques are consistent with constructivist learning and teaching viewpoints. These techniques, however, are more suited to university students than to pupils at lower levels such as primary and secondary schools (Boadu, 2016).
Studies conducted throughout the world have found that teaching and learning history in schhol is done using the transmission model. Despite the emphasis on learner-centered pedagogy recommended by contemporary education reforms, the transmission model of teaching dominates history in schools. According to Cobbold, and Oppong, (2010), the present knowledge of history teaching and learning in schools is dominated by research studies done and published in North America and Europe. In Nigeria, the teaching and study of history in schools is undergoing significant changes in terms of modernization and techniques that can only be understood in the context of the subject. According to Ajayi (2015), the process of history teaching and learning has grown more diversified and engaging, with the prospect of increased personal contribution. At the same time, it is important to recognize that history instruction is built on a long tradition. According to Ajayi (2015), history teaching and learning in Nigerian schools has a long legacy, and the irrefutable achievement of history as a subject, as well as the methodology utilized in teaching it, has been acknowledged globally.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
While most history teachers believe that there are many qualities and virtues to be learned from studying the subject, there does not appear to be a firm consensus on the precise purposes of history education (Fox,1983). This helps to explain why some professors have difficulties persuading pupils of the need of history instruction.
Students frequently struggle to appreciate history. Some see the course as a tedious and pointless exercise in memorizing dates and locations. Others are uninterested in history, failing to recognize its significance to modern life. This is most likely one of the reasons why just a tiny number of university students opt to study history.
(Boadu, 2016) observed that another factor for students’ seeming difficulty learning and appreciating history is the way history is taught in schools. In some cases, history is taught to pupils as a collection of facts and dates. Students are needed to memorize a large amount of knowledge and recall a succession of historical facts in this strategy. This perspective on history is diametrically opposed to how historians interpret their work. Unfortunately, students who view history as facts and dates sometimes fail to recognize history as a subject governed by certain norms of proof. Such pupils, in general, do not recognize the importance of history in their daily lives. This situation poses a significant difficulty for history teachers (Boadu, 2016). With already limited time to finish the course, teachers are also expected to instill a passion of the topic in their students. Many history professors overlook the latter in their pursuit of the former.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of the study is to assess teachers perception on the challenges of teaching history in secondary schools. Other objectives of the study are:
i. To examine the relevance of history as a subject in secondary schools
ii. To investigate the benefits of teaching history in secondary schools
iii. To find out the challenges faced by teachers in teaching history in secondary schools.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i. Is history as a subject relevant in secondary schools?
ii. What are the benefits of teaching history in secondary schools?
iii. What are the challenges faced by teachers in teaching history in secondary schools?