1.1 Background to the Study
Quality of geography education is of great concern for stakeholders in education including educators, teachers’ parents, students and the Nigerian community at large. The underachievement of students in geography in Numan educational zone over the years has necessitated a series of workshop for geography secondary school teachers organized by the inspectorate Division of the Ministry of Education. Geography is one of the activity based school subject. The effectiveness of teaching in school can be measured by examining the method of teaching applied by teacher and the achievement of students in the school examination. In the measurement of students’ academic achievement in geography as a school subject, various tasks are under taken within and outside the classroom, the effectiveness of these activities lie in the instructional methods used by the teacher.
For the students of geography to achieve the best in the subject, teachers are expected to organize field visitation (Excursion ). Educational visits may be organized to suitable places where fundamental concepts, ecological process or events treated in the classroom become clearer to the students with great comprehension. This is because, Excursions generally appeal to the sense of sight, touch and hearing. Organized visits to the river side or any geographical phenomenon make the students to see in practical what was theoretically explained and learnt by them in the classroom. Excursion is an outing by the students to educational places of interest outside the classroom under the guidance of a teacher or an instructor for the purpose of getting firsthand information on people, places and things for purpose of achieving permanency of learning experience.
Excursion strategy is a method of teaching which helps to bring about an effective leaning of geography. Excursion is far from just dishing out points to students as in traditional lecture method, where the teacher simply becomes the expositor and drill master while the learner remains the listener and a store house of facts that can be retrieved when a student hear his name called by the teacher (Oganwu, 2004). This is not to say that the traditional lecture method is completely unproductive but there exists a difference between them. Excursion is activity-based which offers opportunity for learners to get first-hand information on people, places and things in order to concretize their learning experience. In Numan educational zone, it was observed that teachers dwell extensively on the traditional method of teaching without alternating it with other relevant instructional strategies such as Excursions. This has affected the performance of students in both internal and external examinations as revealed by WAEC chief examiners reports (2004-2010).