Background of the Study
The introduction of social studies into the Nigeria School System was based on certain philosophical considerations. One of them is to address social issues and man’s problem of life in their interrelatedness, as they appear in real life situations instead of addressing them in an uninterrelated manner as those learnt through separate disciplines like Geography, Religion, Sociology and Anthropology. Social Studies according to Ezegbe (1994), was therefore introduced as an integrated discipline to make education real to life.
Social studies was also introduced into the Nigerian School System to achieve one of the philosophies of Nigerian education as indicated in the National Policy on Education (2004) which is “the development of the individual into a sound and effective citizen”. The realization of this objective through social studies is possible since the subject is an integrated programme which is taught and learnt. Social studies looks at all aspects of the life of the child in the society.
It is further stated in the National Policy on Education (2004) that the essence of education is to achieve the inculcation of national consciousness and national unity; the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society. All these, according to Ezegbe (1994) involve the development of modern democratic values which are taught and learnt in social studies because of its broad based scope. The accomplishment of the purposes for which social studies was introduced in schools would depend to a large extent, not only on the availability of the right caliber of professionally trained social studies teaching personnel but also of the material resources available in schools for its teaching. Of the personnel involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of a curriculum, the teacher is the most important. Brown (1982) pointed out the vital role of the teacher in the curriculum process when he notes that:
The curriculum can be a great success or a dismal failure, depending on the teachers. They are the key persons who alone can make the curriculum design achieve whatever it was designed to achieve… (pg. 19).