The Impact of Modern Geographic Thought on Geography Education in Nigerian Secondary Schools

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Akande, O.M
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University of Lagos
"A geography educational gap" between the universities and the secondary schools had been alleged (Brook, 1969; Ola, 1978). It was assumed that the "conceptual revolution" that predominates geography education at the tertiary level of our educational system has not taken root in our secondary schools. The new geography thought otherwise labelled "conceptual revolution" (Davis, 1972) is characterised by increased use of ideas; about space, that can be applied generally. The need for such new geographical ideas being generated in the Universities to have a trickle-down effect on the secondary schools has been emphasized (Ojo, 1978). This study therefore investigated the extent to which the new geographical concepts and practices affect geography education in the secondary schools. The "geography teachers" use of the new geographic knowledge in five major contexts were examined. The context include: statement of lesson objectives; approaches to geography lesson delivery; evaluation of geography lessons; students responses to evaluation questions, and the literatue in use. The rationale for the study is that whereas the function of secondary school geography as preparatory for living is important, the same education in geography is also preparatory to university geography. That being the case, both levels of educaton should be interrelated and interdependent. Besides, where secondary school education is terminal for a student, the quality of secondary school geography already received by him considerably determines the extent to which he can cope with geography problems and utilize or appreciate geographical opportunities. Also the study was intended to shed some light on the needed innovations in secondary school geography curriculum. A panel survey design defind by Labovtz and Hagedorn (1971: 62) as "repeated observations on the same sample over a period of time" was adopted for the study. The target population consisted of all geography lessons delivered in Nigerian secondary schools. A multi-stage, stratified random sampling technique was used to randomly select ten secondary schools from five randomly selected states of Nigeria namely; Plateau, Lagos, Ondo, Kano and Kwara. A preliminary investigation was conducted in ten states of the federation to assess geography teachers awareness of the new trends in geography education. The result of the Pilot study showed that four categories or types of geography teachers are in the Nigerian secondary schools namely: Non-graduate Untrained Teachers (NUT); Non-graduate Trained Teachers (NTT), Graduate Untrained Teacher (GUT); and Graduate Trained Teachers (GTT). Also, in the pilot study, more than ninety eight per cent of the geography teachers indicated "conceptual revolution" as the main feature of modern geographic knowledge. The Geography lesson observation schedule (GLOS) for intensive geography lesson observation was administered periodically and repeatedly for about nine months. 256 separate geography lessons were observed. Chi-square (X2) analysis; analysis of proportion, and percentages were the main inferential and descriptive statistical techniques used to analyse data collected. It was discovered that the four categories of geography teachers differed significantly in their formulation of geography lesson objectives and in their geography teaching approaches. However not significant difference, in presentation of current ideas in geography was found between all trained geography teachers and all untrained geography teachers put together. Also it was discovered that students' participation in lessons differed significantly in regional geography lessons; systematic geography lessons and conceptual geography lessons. It was also found that there was a relatively higher proportion of lower order cognitive evaluation questions over the higher order cognitive evaluation questions used by all geography teachers to evaluate geography learning. However, the hypothesis that "the proportion of the students' lower order cognitive responses to both lower order and higher order cognitive evaluation questions would not be less than 0.5 was accepted. It was discovered that about forty one per cent of the 256 geography lessons observed were conceptually-based meaning that approaches to geography teaching and the content of secondary school geography are gradually being modernised. However, it was found that variables like lesson objectives; evaluation of geography lessons; students responses to evaluation questions; fieldwork activities and textbooks did not reflect the new changes that have started to affect both the teaching and content of secondary school geography. The study highlights the need to revise the present secondary school geography syllabus. It also accentuates the need to review very critically the present mode of evaluating students learning in geography especially in examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council.
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Geography Education , Secondary Schools
Akande, O.M (1983) The Impact of Modern Geographic Thought on Geography Education in Nigerian Secondary Schools.University of Lagos School of Postgraduate Studies Phd Curriculum Studies Thesis and Dissertation Abstract, 217p.