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  • Background to the Study

            Class size is a measure of the average number of students in any given course in a school or educational system, and it is often expressed as a ratio of thirty five (35) students to one (1) teacher. The term class size may also refer to total number of students in a particular grade level or class in a school. In Nigeria, the national policy on education (NPE, 2004) states that, a class size should be in proportion of one teacher to thirty five students. Anything outside that is referred to as overcrowded class. But in practice one would find 40 and above number of students in a class. This is the reason why it is often said that, the problem of Nigeria in not policy formation or planning but implementation that counts.

            Class size is a key variable and basically a thing of concern in this study. Teachers, parents, students, government and other stakeholders have been showing a lot of concern and worry on recent poor academic performance of students and the degeneration of our educational standard in schools due to the issue of class size. Class size can be said to be the structure of the class or the proportion of students to a teacher in the class. Class size can either be large or small. When a class is large, it means the proportion of students in such class contradicts the National Policy in education on Nigeria which states that a class should be in proportion of 35 students to one (1) teacher in a class. Over-crowding or overcrowded class affects the conveniences and conformability of the students and in-turn mitigates the assimilation as well as understanding level of the students since the teacher may not be able to effectively deliver his lecture due to large class size.

            A large class is one with more students’ than the available facilities can support, there is no fixed number of students in the class even though there is agreed definition of large class in the literature as one person’s perception of large class is what some teachers simply defined large as or too many students to learn their names by the end of the term or semester. On the other-hand, small class also has no agreed definition in literature but some teachers’ perceive it as one with fewer students than the available facilities which could be under utilization of such resources or unjudicious use of such. One thing is certain whether or not we have the definition of class size (large or small) the phenomenon exists since we have identified some of its features.

            In Jos East Metropolis, awareness have been made for more children to enroll in school year after yearand this is causing a strain on the limited facilities available in the schools as it leads to overcrowding of students in many secondary schools and classes across the local government area which is absolutely a threat to effective teaching and learning especially in public schools where emphasis is laid on quantity rather than quality of students. Achieving good academic heights will indeed be a herculean task in an overcrowded classroom because the teacher will not  be able to properly inculcate, evaluate, and manage bogus population to bring about a relative and fairly permanent change in behaviour of these students and that is contrary to effective teaching.

Effective teaching can be said to be a situation whereby every required material or resources essential for meaningful learning to take place are readily available at the disposal of both the teachers’ and students. When there is a fluent and good rapport between the teacher and students in the classroom as well as conditional learning activities taking place then we can say that teaching and learning is effective. Effective teaching and learning requires a proper proportion of students to a teacher, conducive classroom environment, adequate learning resources, quality of the teacher, ability of the students, class size among others are some of the many variables that affects effective teaching and learning in any ideal classroom (Ajao, 2002). Thus, effective teaching in such class lies heavily on the class size as that is one of the major determinants of effective teaching and learning in any discipline.

            The importance attached to the students’ academic achievement and what causes or affects it, derives from the fact that it is not just a pointer to the effectiveness or otherwise of schools, but that it is also a major determinant (especially at the secondary level) of the careers that students would subsequently pursue and how effectively they would contribute to national development. According to Aremu (2002), it becomes the concern of researchers to unravel the influence of class sizes and the factors that give rise to them. Some of these factors that gives rise to large class sizes include increase in school enrolment due to the implementation of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme, high teacher turnover, and school environments that are not conducive due to inadequate learning. Limited resources are thinly spread over, resulting to so many learners’ poor academic achievement. It is, therefore, necessary to ascertain the challenges of teaching social studies in a large classroom in Jos East Local Government Area.

Social Studies as a subject brings about all-round development in human beings. It encourages moral traits, values, such as responsibility, reliability, hard-work, humility, dedication to duties, patriotism, selflessness, discipline, integrity, dignity, social justice, self- reliance, religious tolerance, patience, perseverance, peaceful co- existence, respect for elders, other peoples’ opinions and constituted authorities among others. Social Studies is a wholesome study of human beings that attempts to proffer solutions to crucial problems facing individuals and the society at large. Mesiobi (2011) saw Social Studies as a reformatory academic knowledge put forward to change citizens to be better people.

However, Oyawale (2012) noted that Social Studies is interested in how human beings behave and the values and ideas which a society cherishes and seek to achieve and how they live together to safeguard and solve problems of survival. Ozoba (2012) asserted that Social Studies is an interdisciplinary subject that deals with Abdu-Raheem Bilqees Olayinka concept generalization meant for national integration, socioeconomic development as well as development of right attitudes and values which are needed for national unity. Adediran and Olugbuyi (2013) agreed that Social Studies teaches youth to imbibe the sense of inquiry, critical thinking, problem-solving, decisionmaking skills and national social actions which are essential tools for the survival and development of the individual in the society for easy co-existence.

In addition, Oyawale (2012) maintained that Social Studies education is to make students to be patriotic, socially responsible and good citizens by understanding the social milieu they are operating from. Ogundiran (2012) mentioned that Social Studies is aimed at helping the younger generations and the society at large to address problems of vices such as drug abuse, environmental degradation, teenage pregnancies, sex related deceases, prostitution, violence, religious fanatics and examination malpractices. Adesina and Adeyemi (2008) saw Social Studies as the correct drug that could be used to heal the ailment of moral decadence. Social Studies according to Adediran and Olugbuyi (2013) will enable students to develop positive attitudes of togetherness, comradeship and cooperation which are essential for national unity.

It is in line with the above discussed roles of social studies education that this study seeks to evaluate the challenges of teaching social studies in a large class size using Jos East Local Government Area as a case study.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

            The classroom is the heart of any educational system. No curriculum planning is complete without implementation and evolution, both of which are mainly carried out in the classroom. However, this proper implementation could be hampered by large class size. With the introduction of the Universal Basic Education (UBE) in 1999, the population explosion in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. Jos East Metropolis has increased outrageously. There is a great demand for education today but with little provisions made to accommodate students.

Increase in population and the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE) have resulted in high enrolment. In some schools, the class size is large because of insufficient land space to build classrooms to meet the demand for education. Other problems associated with large classes are congestion, noisy classes, little or no interpersonal relationships between teacher and students; students are not engaged in the teaching and learning processes like instructional activities, teachers instructional and management techniques is very poor, poor seating arrangement etc. Deductively, the problem of this study therefore is to establish the challengess of teaching social studies in a large classroom in public secondary schools inJos East Local Government Area.

When one examines statistics from examination bodies such as Joint Admission Matriculation Board.(JAMB), pathetic condition of falling standard reigns supreme. In Jos East Metropolis, 80% of students failed (2019) JAMB UTME(unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination) and it has been traced to lack of proper educational planning and over-crowded population of students in secondary schools that serves as hitches to teaching and learning.Professor Is-hag Olayede and policy makers of Jamb suggested that cutoff mark of 2019 scores into high institutions are as follows:Public universities-160, private universities-140, public polytechnics-120, private polytechnics-110 and colleges of education-120. With these scores, it has shown that education has grossly dropped and it is because of poor performance of students academically. Who is to be blame for this academic failure? Educational planners are to be blamed which boils down to over population in admission of students in secondary schools with limited number of secondary schools and infrastructure.

One may pose to ask whether the teaching method adopted by teachers in large class is effective; whether teachers are effective in the use of instructional materials in large class size; what are the challenges of large class size on teachers’ classroom control? And to what extent can large class size affect students academic performance in social studies?

  • Purpose of the Study

            The main aim of this study is to find out the challenges of teaching social studies in a large classroom in Jos East Local Government Area.

The specific objectives of the study include:

  1. To find out whether large class size affects teachers’ use of instructional materials
  2. To evaluate the impact large class size on teachers’ classroom control.
  3. To discover to what extent large class affects students academically.
  4. To proffer possible solutions to the challenges of large class size.

1.4 Research Questions

            The following research questions guided the study:

  1. To what extent can large class size affects teachers’ use of instructional materials?
  2. What is the impact of large class size on teachers’ classroom control?
  3. To what extent can large class affect students academically?
  4. What are the possible remedies to the challenges of large class size?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

              The following null hypothesis was postulated to guide the study:

H0: there is no significant relationship between large class size and academic performance of the students in social studies.

1.6 Significance of the Study

              This study after completion will be useful and beneficial to the following persons, groups or institutions. Teachers could find some of the information in this study beneficial to them because they will be exposed to better ways of handling large classes and also become aware of how best to go about classroom management in large class setting.

              Policy makers and educational administrators may use the findings of this study to update themselves on the current plight of teacher to students’ ratio within the area of study in order to assist them in locating educational projects or providing other educational services.

              Donor agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGO) who are interested in education could use the findings of this research to have some insight into critical areas that requires intervention within the educational system so as to ensure optimum utilization and beneficial use of intervention funds, and facilities.

              The government could hopefully benefit from this study by using it to get a better understanding of manpower strength of their schools in order to guide them in recruiting teachers and also improving the academic standard of the schools in times of student’s academic performance and effectiveness in teaching.

              Finally, to future researchers this study will serve as a reference to any researcher who intends to carryout research on the same topic or related topic as well as add flesh to the field of knowledge by making students themselves know the impact of large class size and how to make the best out of such situation.

1.7 Delimitation of the Study

              This study focuses on challenges of teaching social studies in a large classroom. The study is limited to selected secondary schools in Jos East Local Government Area. These selected secondary schools are public schools because the scenario of large class is seen in majorly in these schools as they are affordable and open to all classes of individuals. The study will be limited to only 10public secondary schools which will be randomly selected. However, despite the fact that the study is restricted to the selected Local government area, its findings will be generalized to other parts of the local governments in the state and probably in the middle belt zone of Nigeria.






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