INFLUENCE OF DISCUSSION TECHNIQUES ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SCHOLARS IN ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF KANO STATE, NIGERIA

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INFLUENCE OF DISCUSSION TECHNIQUES ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SCHOLARS IN ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF KANO STATE, NIGERIA

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the Effect of Discussion Method on the performance of students in economics in senior secondary schools of Kano State, Nigeria. The study was carried out with the objectives to: find out the performance of students taught economics using discussion and traditional method methods in secondary schools in Kano state; examine the effect of discussion method on the performance of students in economics in Rural and Urban schools in Kano State; and assess the performance of students taught economics using discussion method based on gender difference. Three (3) corresponding research questions and hypotheses were stated. The research design used for this study was quasi-experimental design which permitted the use of intact groups. The total population of SS II students offering economics in Kano state was fifteen thousand four hundred and thirty five (15,435) students. A total of one hundred and eighty (180) SS II students in Kano State were used for the study. A self-designed instrument tagged “Economics Students‟ Performance Test (ESPT)” was used for data collection. The instrument was pilot tested and the (r) coefficient value obtained was 0.94. The demographic characteristics of the respondents were analysed using frequencies and percentages while mean and standard deviation was used to answer the research questions. Also, all the null hypotheses were tested using t-test at 0.05 alpha level of significance. Findings from the study showed that there was significant effect of discussion method on the performance of students in economics in secondary schools in Kano State; there was significant difference in the performance of rural and urban students taught economics using discussion method in Kano State; and there was no significant difference in the performance of male and female students taught economics using discussion method in Kano State. The study concluded that discussion method which accords the students ample freedom to express themselves proved to be most effective in teaching economics as buttressed in the tested hypotheses. Recommendations were made among others that Ministry of education in Kano State should embark on massive advocacy on the need for teachers in secondary schools to embrace learner-centred teaching method for optimum teaching and learning. This can be done through workshop in collaboration with zonal education officers in the state. Also, to make teaching and learning result-oriented, teachers of economics should be dynamic in their choice of teaching method. In addition they should not stick to a method which suits them at the detriment of their students.

CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION

        1.1       Background to the Study

The prime objective of teaching and learning is to bring positive change in the behaviour of the learner. The change can occur when the teacher imparts the required knowledge, skills, principles and values to the learner. Teaching and learning are characterized by give and take between the teacher and the learner. However, for the teacher to impact significantly on the performance of students, the teacher needs to choose a method of instruction in line with mental readiness of the students. For students to perform wonderfully in schools, some requirements must be met ranging from qualified teachers, enough teaching materials, well ventilated classroom, and purposeful administration in the school among others. There are varieties of teaching methods at the disposal of the classroom teacher such as group method, drama method, fieldtrip method, discussion method, lecture method, play-way method, field trip method, excursion method among others. Economics is a social science discipline taken by students in arts classes at higher level of secondary schools that is, SS1 – SS3 and science students are exempted from taking it because it is not a natural science.

The teachers who are supposed to guide students after defining the learning task, do allow students to deviate from the main theme of the discussion which is an abuse of the method. There are cases where the teachers leave the classes after assigning the task for discussion on the premise that the students can discuss freely on their own. The absence of the teacher from the classroom is an automatic license for some students to quarrel, deviate from the main point of discussion with the consequent negative effect on their performance. The prime focus of the study is to find out the effect of discussion method on the performance of students in economics in secondary schools in Kano State. The research was informed as a result of the relevance of discussion method of teaching in preparing the students for group work and encouraging critical thinking as well as problem solving.

The method to be used for effective teaching and learning is a matter of grave concern to teachers and educators. It has been observed that traditional method is commonly used for teaching economics in Kano state secondary schools in which the teacher directs students to learn through memorization and recitation which do not develop their critical solving skills. Traditional method does not permit students to freely interact among themselves instead they have to receive the knowledge and ideas from the teacher as final. The method is concerned with the teacher being the controller in the environment and what the students learn. This method is not so effective because the students are not given the opportunity to interact with the environment and maximally develop their intellectual capabilities. Over the years secondary school students in Kano state have expressed hues and cries  over the traditional method of teaching employed by their teachers in teaching them economics as it is dominated by the teacher thereby rendering them passive listeners. This method is characterized by teacher talking and writing bulky note on the board for the students to copy which is very tiresome. In view of this, the researcher intends to investigate the effect of discussion method of teaching on the performance of students in economics in senior secondary schools in Kano State. Seweje (2010) confirmed that the methods adopted by teachers in most cases include the traditional method (lecture) with very little concern for practical activities. Seweje (2010) explained further that a teacher is expected to be a facilitator whose main function is to help learners to become active participants in their learning and thereby making meaningful connection between prior knowledge, new knowledge and the process involved in learning. Akinleye (2010) confirmed that if the children are given opportunity to be listened to and guided in a non-threatening atmosphere, they would perform wonders in terms of problem-solving and decision making.

Discussion is a method in which the teacher leads or guides the students in expressing their opinions and ideas with a view to identifying and solving problems collectively. Yedeji (1996) explained that the discussion method works on the principle that the knowledge and ideas of several people are more likely to find solutions or answers to specified problems or topics. This is in line with the saying that “Two good heads are better than one”. Discussion method of teaching engages both the teachers and students in thinking. It also develops in students social skills of talking and listening. Of course, the method also has some demerits including the possibility that class may be diverted from the topic. Academically weak students may not actively take part in the lessons. Some brilliant ones may likely take over the discussion. Problems may occur among the participants owing to lack of respect for other peoples‟ opinions and the whole class may turn into a state of pandemonium. The above problems may arise as a result of poor handling of the discussion method.

The researcher used planned discussion method on the experimental group where he initiated the discussion by specifying a topic for the students to discuss while he moderated.

Economics is the social science that describes the factors that determine the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services (Wikipedia the free encyclopedia). In teaching economics in Nigerian schools, therefore, learners should be exposed to those processes that will make them identify the major difference among information, knowledge and reality. Learners gain knowledge when appropriate information is given to them and they process the information constantly. Information does not become knowledge automatically until learners have been actively involved in its processing (Akinleye, 2010). Therefore, economics teachers should promote discussion as a method of teaching Economics that encourages active participation of learners in learning processes. Discussion is a method of teaching Economics in Nigeria. It works on the principle that many people are to put heads together in terms of knowledge and ideas to find solutions to specified problems. The activities of the discussion group are to be regulated and directed by the teacher or an appointee of the class.

Exchange of ideas between several people is the best process of learning and teaching from one another. In the classroom environment, discussion is the best way of promoting conducive learning and convenient teaching situation. It refers to the method of instruction which give students an opportunity to express their views or opinions orally on certain issues. One person speaks at a time, while others listen. There are different forms of discussion that can be used in the classroom. Kochhar (1985) cited in

Seweje (2010) identifies two major types of discussions which are formal and informal. Informal discussions are governed by pre-determined set of rules and it includes debates, panels, symposia and so forth. Participants present multiple points of view, respond to the ideas of others and reflect on their own ideas in an effort to build their knowledge, understanding or interpretation of the matter at hand.

        1.2       Statement of the Problem

The main focus of the study is to find out the effect of discussion method of teaching on the performance of secondary school students in economics in Kano state. As a reminder the motivating factor of the study, is the cumbersome nature of the present method of teaching economics which is traditional method and its negative effect on the performance of secondary school students in economics in Kano state as it does not consider the interest and yearnings of the learners. This is quite inimical on the academic growth of students. The prime problem which the researcher paid attention to is the poor performance of students in economics as a result of traditional method (teacher centred) of teaching employed by teachers in teaching economics. The problem of effective teaching and learning of economics in Kano state secondary schools has become a sensitive issue that needs urgent attention, it has been observed that the issue is affecting the performance of students in economics. It has also been discovered that the poor academic performance of students in economics is related to the conventional traditional method (Lecture) method used to teach them by the teachers.

This study therefore aims at investigating the effect of discussion method on student‟s performance in economics. The major problem of investigation is the poor performance of students in economics as a result of faulty way some teachers follow in teaching through traditional method. The current method used in teaching economics by teachers is talk and chalk. Discussion method entails the teacher identifying a learning task and posse same to the students for deliberation. Student under this method enjoy liberty to participate in the learning process because the teacher is only watch helper and moderator so that there will be order in the classroom. Even though it is studentscentred but it has major defects which pose threat to academic performance of the learners. The researcher was informed by these defects to carry out research in the possibility of using discussion as an alternative method of teaching in secondary schools in Kano state in order to find out its effect on the performance of students in economics in secondary schools in Kano state.

        1.3       Objectives of the Study

The research was conducted with the aim of achieving the following objectives, to:

  1. find out the performance of students taught economics using discussion and traditional method in secondary schools in Kano state;
  2. examine the effect of discussion method on the performance of students in economics in rural and urban schools in Kano State; and
  3. compare the performance of male and female students taught economics using discussion method

        1.4       Research Questions

The study is aimed at answering the following questions:

  1. What is the performance of students taught economics using discussion and traditional methods in secondary schools in Kano state?
  2. To what extent does discussion method have effect on the performance of rural and urban students in economics in Kano state?
  3. What is the difference in the performance of male and female students taught economics using discussion method?

        1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were tested in the study:

Ho1: There is no significant difference in the performance of students taught economics using discussion and traditional methods in secondary schools in Kano

state;

Ho2: There is no significant difference in the performance of rural and urban students taught economics using discussion method in Kano State;

Ho3: There is no significant difference in the performance of male and female students taught economics using discussion method in Kano State.

        1.6       Basic Assumptions

The research is based on the following assumptions that:

  1. students taught economics using discussion method have the same performance with those taught using conventional method.
  2. both rural and urban schools have female and male students.
  3. discussion method allows for sharing of ideas among the students.

        1.7       Significance of the study

The researcher has conviction that the study would be relevant and benefit the following stakeholders; students, teachers, curriculum planners, administrators, researchers, policy makers to mention but few of them. Economics students in secondary school will benefit from the study in that they will learn interpersonal skills such as understanding and communication which are vital in learning. It will also offer to students an opportunity to see themselves very relevant in learning because it centred on them. They study will promote tolerance among students and help them to understand that they are important aspect in learning. It will equally help students to build capacities in leadership, speaking and listening.

In addition the study will afford educators with the opportunity to fashion out effective modalities to be put in place for teachers in secondary schools to embrace discussion as a viable method of teaching which is learner-centred and will accord high premium on the student‟s interest and capabilities. The study will be important to curriculum planners in that it will guide them to articulate their curriculum plan in the area of teaching pedagogy so that they will recommend the use of discussion method as a solution to problems surrounding traditional method which is teacher-centred.

The study will be greatly significant to teachers because it will intimate them with the relevance of a learner cantered method of teaching in involving the student in classroom activities thereby, making learning more purposeful and stimulating to the learners. Supervisory agencies such as; Kano Educational Resources Department (KERD), an organ of the Ministry of Education Kano State will benefit from the research work in terms of monitoring the degree of compliance with learner-centred method of teaching by teachers in secondary Schools.

The study will be of great benefit to curriculum planners especially at secondary school level for, they can model from the it‟s in recommending appropriate teaching method which is in accordance with the interest and mental capabilities of students for better teaching and learning. The planners will be convinced by the content of this study as it relates to the strategic importance method occupies in connecting the learner with the subject matter. Therefore, they will be mindful in their plan with a view to incorporating instructional methodology for maximum academic result in teaching. To policy makers the study will accord them the opportunity to evolve policies and programmes in schools which will focus not only on provision of critical infrastructures but also on method which is key in linking the learner with the educational practice. Students offering economics in secondary schools in Kano state will benefit from the study as they will see discussion method a way of integrating them in a freely learning environment which permits them to discuss among themselves on a topic given to them by the teacher. That liberty in the method (discussion) will no doubt motivate the students and guarantees sharing of ideas.

Similarly, curriculum reviewers will benefit from the research work by strongly recommending discussion method as a formidable method in teaching at secondary school level. Moreover, supervisory officials in education industry will also use the outcome of the research work to periodically supervise teaching of economics in secondary schools to ensure compliance with respect to using discussion method in teaching. In addition, administrators in education sector whose prime target is to ensure the achievement of educational goal, will see this research work as a gate way towards maximising output in teaching economics.

        1.8       Scope of the study

The main target of the research is to find out the effect of discussion method on the performance of students in economics in secondary schools in Kano State. This study was restricted to Senior Secondary Schools in Kano state. The researcher used four (4) secondary schools as representatives of other secondary schools in Kano State. The main variable for the study includes male and female SSII students. There are also students from urban and rural schools. The researcher decided to use SS II students because they are fully available in the school.

INFLUENCE OF DISCUSSION TECHNIQUES ON THE PERFORMANCE OF SCHOLARS IN ECONOMICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF KANO STATE, NIGERIA

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