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approaches to teaching business studies at the junior secondary school levels in ... The pre-vocational nature of junior secondary school business studies skills ...
Nkrumah Journal of Research in Education number 4


CONSTRUCTIVISM AND JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL BUSINESS STUDIES SKILLS LEARNING IN NIGERIA By Dr. M.N. Koko (Mrs) Abstract This study examined the usefulness of constructivism, an approach in teaching and learning which recognizes the learner as an active participant in decisions concerning learning activities generally and business studies skills in particular, as an option opportunity in teaching and learning in junior secondary schools in Nigeria. To achieve the aims of the study, 545 business studies teachers and students from public and private secondary schools in Ohio Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State were used as the sample and respondents to the CABSLQ, which contained 6 specific questions to address the demands of the 3 postulated research questions. It was found that a high percentage of business teaching is inclined to the "talk-chalk (traditional); respondents


ascribed to the usefulness of constructivism if adopted in business

studies teaching and learning. Finally, it was found that although the teachers and students, appreciated the constructivists approach in business studies learning, they differed in the level of acceptance.

The researcher concluded constructivism is a veritable option in business studies

skills learning in junior secondary schools and could be considered as an area for Curriculum review. Introduction The age-long saying, "knowledge is wealth" is becoming very relevant in our present day information emancipation and socio-economic dispensation. Thus, people are now assessed as important citizens based on the level of information they have acquired and are ready to dispense with. And we must be conscious of the fact that today's students bring to school different expectations and experiences as well as diverse approaches to acquisition of knowledge through learning which must be built upon in developing instructional packages (Hixson and Tinzman, 1990). Although the traditional classroom prescriptions recognise the teacher as a major determinant of every learning process, recent developments and cognitive theorists disagree with this notion and contend that the learner is indeed an important participant in the teaching and learning environment. Crowl, Kamisnky and Podell (1997:2), emphasize this point thus;


Nkrumah Journal of Research In Education number 4


Indeed, learning is facilitated most when teachers believe that all students can learn that the differentiating factor in student achievement is the appropriateness and effectiveness of the instructional experiences to which they are exposed. The outline inputs highlight the need for curriculum review and in particular, the teaching approaches in junior secondary school business studies. The US North Central Regional Educational Laboratory proposal, on new framework for promoting learning recognized the importance of cognitive development through what they called "thinking curriculum" (Hixson and Tinzman, 1990). They believed that a thinking curriculum should emphasise the teaching of both content and applied thinking processes, which invariably will promote students understanding and application of knowledge. Within the formal school system in Nigeria these new ideas and the quest for new knowledge in the recent globalization in education give rise to some pertinent questions such as; what importance do students attach to knowledge acquisition through learning? How do students prefer and want to be motivated to learn? Answers to these questions provide the framework for new approaches to teaching business studies at the junior secondary school levels in Nigeria. Ndinechi (2001), in discussing the purpose and functions of business education curriculum, borrowed Ralph Tyler's (1949) input on basic questions that underlie every curriculum plan such as; what educational experience can be provided that are likely to attain school purpose? To answer this question, this researcher suggests that constructivism is one sure way. In support, Aguma (2003) acknowledged that the constructivist-learning model promotes cognitive acceleration and therefore recommends its adoption and inclusion in secondary school curriculum. Several researches (Crowl, Kaminsky & Podell, 1997; Aguma, 2003; and Koko 2003) have attempted to examine the constructivists focus on studying how people think in order to solve problems and make sense of the world. Generally, it has been found that when people are directly involved in solving their own problems they tend to derive some level of satisfaction and this fact is more germane in learning business skills which demands effective doing for mastery to be achieved. In junior secondary school business class, unfortunately, observation shows that most teachers ignore the importance of making students active participants in what they are to learn rather they emphasise the "do as I do" method at the detriment of making the skill subject areas relevant to the future needs of the students. As a result, students become disinterested in the subjects and thus, begin to question the usefulness of such subjects to their socio-economic needs 70

Nkrumah Journal of Research in Education number 4


and aspirations. Interestingly, Koko (2004) and Crowl, Kaminsky & Podell (1997) both agree that there are opportunities to combat such boring classroom experience through involvement of students in learning. The objective of this study was therefore to establish that constructivist approach can be useful in the effective teaching and learning of business studies skill areas in junior secondary schools. Research questions: 1. What is the most popular method of teaching business studies skills? 2. What are the attitudes of teachers and students to constructivist approach when recommended in business skill teaching and learning? 3. To what extent do teachers and students differ in their appreciation of the constructivist approach in business studies skills learning? Business Studies Skill Learning in Nigeria Business studies is an integrative core subject offered at junior secondary school levels. It is classified a pre-vocational subject with components in office practice, shorthand, typewriting, commerce and book-keeping. The service delivery of business studies involve theory and practice; hence, the units of the subject are classified as skill and unskill (Koko 2004; Ndinechi 2001 and Nwaokolo 1994). The study of the subject requires a learner's utilization of the three domains of the Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives i.e. cognitive, psychomotor and affective inclinations for effective learning to take place. However, experience shows that most business studies teachers are unable to deliver the subject in its integrative nature as a result of inadequate training or competence in all aspects of the subject. This invariably creates the need for curriculum review and infusion of a more pragmatic approach, which recognizes students' input and individualized learning. Ndinechi (2001) posits that the junior secondary school business studies of the future should be exploratory and business focused. This input invariably lend credence to the constructivist's focus which is basically centred on enabling people think in order to effectively solve problems (Crowl, Kaminsky and Podell, 1997; Siege, 1984) and enhancing quick mastery of difficult concepts in secondary school subjects (Aguma, 2003).


Nkrumah Journal of Research in Education number 4

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