INFLUENCE OF CLASS SIZE ON THE TEACHING OF SOCIAL STUDIES A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN IKERE EKITI
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Background to the Study
Social studies as one of the core subjects in junior secondary school curriculum in Nigeria represents one of the modern curricular arrangements which focuses on interdisciplinary study that seeks to solve the complex problems of man in totality. The idea of introducing social studies as a subject in Nigeria came up before the civil war, when the social development of Nigerians could no longer cope with the level of colonial destructions. This situation led to indiscipline among youths and adults.
To minimize this and socialize the citizens in such a way as to build a strong, united and discipline Nigeria, the type of education that will help the citizens to know more about the society became very important. Social studies sees the need for students to be given the necessary information for enlightenment, to be taught to have respect for law and order, to appreciate the need to be honest and diligent and to cooperate in their community
In Nigeria secondary schools the problem of poor performance of students is one of the major issues to educational planner, and all stakeholders in edication, poor performance of students in schools is as a result of over crowned class room
As school populace increases, class population also increase, the performances of students become an subject to education planneer, class size has become an issuees often mentioned in the educational literature as an influence on students feelings and performance. class size is almost an administrative decision over which teachers have little or no control. Most scholar start from the assumption that size of the class would prove a significant factor of the degree of success of students.
Class size refers to an learning tool that can be used to describe the average number of students per class in a school. This varies from country to country. Class size can be used to measure the performance of the education system. In relation to size, the rational utilization of classroom space depends upon class-size. This in turn would depend upon the area of the classroom. In Nigeria, class-size in secondary schools ranges between 35 or40 students. Small students per class are uneconomical, as they do not make full use of space in the classroom , teachers and teaching materials.
Adeyemi (2008) reported that average class-size effects the cost of education while capital cost could be reduced by increasing the average class-size in schools, while Nwadiani (2000) said that the higher the class-size, the lower the fee of education. He contended however, that most classrooms are over-crowded spreading resources sparsely and thereby affecting the quality of education. Ajayi (2000) supported the viewpoints that in order to control rising capital cost of education, the average class-size could be increased. These points were also supported by Toth and Montagna (2012) who reported that the increase in enrollment in many institutions which has become major concerns of students could definitely lead to an increase in class size.
The association between class size and academic performance has been a confusing one for educators must especially Nigeria secondary schools, Studies have institute that the physical environment, class over crowding, and teaching methods are all variables that affect students’ performance (Molnar, et al., 2012). Other factors that affect student achievement are school population and class size
The problem of poor academic performance of students in Secondary School in Nigeria has been of much concern to all and sundry. The problem is so much that it has led to the weakening in standard of education. Since the academic success of students depends largely on the school, it is imperative to examine the effect class size and school population on the academic performance of students in Nigeria secondary schools.
Large class size and over populated schools have direct impact on quality of teaching and learning. Overcrowded classrooms have increased the possibilities for poor performance and make students to lose interest in school. This is because large class size do not permit student to get attention from teachers which invariably lead to low reading scores, hindrance and poor academic performance. In order to better understand the skill levels of students, it might be necessary to assess factors affecting their performance. These factors can include: school structure and organization, teacher quality and curriculum. The idea that school population and class size might affect student performance is regular with the growing literature on the relationship between public sector institutional arrangements and outcomes (Moe, 1984).
Dillon and Kokkelenberg (2012) are on the opinion that large classes negatively affect some students more than others.
Also, Adeyemi (2008) in his findings revealed that schools having an normal class size of 35 and below obtained a better result than schools having more than 35 students in senior secondary schools. Small classes may benefit students more when teaching relies on discussion, by allowing more students to participate and be recognized, than when lecture and seatwork are the main modes of instruction. According to Nye, Hedges and Konstantopoulos (2000).while small classes benefit all kinds of students; much research has shown that the benefits may be greatest for minority students or students attending inner-city schools. For these students, smaller classes can shrink the achievement gap and lead to reduced grade retention, fewer disciplinary actions, less dropping out, and more students taking college entrance exams (Krueger and Whitmore, 2001).
The most dramatic impact seems to be achieved by reaching students early. Ideally, students should experience small classes of 13 to 17 students when entering school, in either kindergarten or first grade.
According to Ehrenberg, Brewer, Gamoran & Willms (2001), there are many reasons why smaller classes might contribute to higher achievement, including better teacher contact with parents and more personal relationships between teachers and students. For example, students may pay better attention when there are fewer students in the room. Similarly, teachers who use a lot of small group work may find their instruction is more effective in smaller classes, because fewer students remain unsupervised while the small group meets with the teacher. In these instances, teachers could carry on the same practices, but achievement would rise in smaller classes because the same instruction would be more effective.
In light of rapidly increasing admission in many university across the nation, administrators are under fire concerning the issue of growing class size and the potential diminishing of academic standards. Van Allen (2010) asserts that the “quantitative product”, monetary gains afforded by increased enrolment far outweigh the “qualitative product” of well-educated and knowledgeable graduates. This view point shows that there are returns to investing in smaller classes for certain students and it provides some evidence on why past literature has produced such inconsistent findings on the impact of class size.
Smith (2009) on the other hand, suggest that small class sizes in the first four years of schooling can lead to higher attainment by the time the pupil reaches secondary education. According to these researchers, pupils taught in smaller classes during the primary phase of their education were more likely to go on and eventually proceed to higher education.
There has however been much need to view the aspect of class size as a holistic factor that does not operate in isolation. For three decades, a belief that public education is wasteful and inefficient has played an important role in debates about its reform. Those who have proposed greater spending programs for educational institutions to improve student achievement have been on the defensive. According to Trow (1995) the presumption has been that changes in structure and governance of schools, standards, accountability, and assessment, to name a few are the only way to improve student outcomes. Traditional interventions, like smaller class size and higher teacher salaries, have been presumed ineffective. Surely class size reductions are beneficial in specific circumstances for specific groups of students, subject matters, and teachers. Secondly, class size reductions invariably involve hiring more teachers yet teacher quality is a more important factor than class size in affecting student outcomes. Third, class size reduction is very expensive, and little or no consideration is given to alternative and more productive uses of those resources.
The relationship between class size and academic performance hasbeen a perplexing one for educators. Studies have found that the physical environment, class overcrowding, and teaching methods are all variables that affect students’ achievement (Molnar, et al., 2000). Other factors that affect student achievement are school population and class size (Gentry, 2000; and Swift, 2000).
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to all and sundry. The problem is so much that it has led to the decline in standard of education. Since the academic success of students depends largely on the school envi lecture room ronment, it is imperative to examine the impact variables of class size and school population on the academic performance of students in secondary school. Large class size and over populated schools have direct impact of the quality of teaching and instruction delivery. Overcrowded classrooms have increased the possibilities for mass failure and make students to lose interest in school. This is because large class size do not allow individual student to get attention from teachers which invariably lead to low reading scores, frustration and poor academic performance.
Statement of the Problem
Observation show that in recent times, there has been astronomical rise in class size due to increase in admission of students in Secondary School . Some schools have as many as one eighty (80), hundred (100) or above students per class as against the teacher-student ratio of 1:40 recommended by the National Policy on Education (FGN 2004). This situation has had multiple bad effects on teaching and learning as well as students’ academic outcomes.
This is evidenced in the failure rates recorded by students in examination. Apart from this, students no longer have confidence in writing exams on their own without examination malpractice (Mgbekem, 2004). This also is consequent upon the fact that small class sizes do no encourage effective teaching and learning environment.
Objective of the Study
The broad objective of the research project is to influence of class size on teahing social studies a case study of selected secondary schools in —————–
The specific objectives are to;
- Examine the relationship between class size and academic performance in social studies
- Examine the relationship between school population and academic performance of students in social studies
- Discuss the effects of over-population on classroom management
- To identity the challenges faced by teachers and students in large classes
- To access the effect large class size on the quality of teaching, learning in social studies
Delimitation of the Study
The study is specifically talking about the influence of class size on teaching social studies in selected secondary schools in ———– local government area of ————state
Significance of the Study
The Nigerian education system is progressively becoming more and more complex. But the catalogue of sources shows that Nigerian Secondary School s is over congested and thereby leads to a decline in the teaching and learning .
Based on this, the research work contains the researcher’s contributions that would be of help and useful to education policy planners, Educationist, Ministry of Education authorities, Stakeholders, school administrations and management in senior schools towards helping students to improve the quality of facilities in the education system.
Apart from the above, the research will provide valuable information on the influence of different interacting factors on the effects of class size on the teaching and learning . The content of the study will also serve as resource materials for others who want to carry out further research.
Definition of Terms
The definitions used in the historical class size debate vary according to the researcher. The following definitions are ones that will be used in this research.
Class size: Class size is typically defined as the number of students for whom a teacher is primarily responsible during a school year. The teacher may teach in a self-contained classroom or provide instruction in one subject (Lewitt & Baker, 1997, p. 2).
Operational definition of class size: For the purpose of this study class size was defined as the number of students for whom a teacher is primarily responsible during a school year. A small class was defined as a class having 11 of fewer students. A large class contained 20 or more pupils.
Class size reduction: Class size reduction is the processes to achieve class sizes smaller than the ones currently in place (Achilles, 2003).
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