BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The origin of collaborative learning as a pedagogical method can be traced to the paradigm of four more social learning theorists like Vygotsky and Bruner who viewed scaffolding and zone of proximal development as inherent social nature of learning which the school child cannot develop alone without the influence of a co-learner or more knowledgeable others. Interest in collaborative learning among learning theorist sharply and predominantly increased in the early 1990’s and soon become4 dominant in advanced education technology research. At the same time, other important focal points emerged, like interest for learning that occurs in an informal setting situated cognition and situated learning, communities of learning.
Social studies is an interdisciplinary field in which man learn about problems of survival in his environment (Aderalegbe 1989) social studies teachers positive values and social norms by inculcating the does and don’t of the society; and positive attitudes in all Nigerian school children. In a sense, social studies as a school subject emerged to improve the citizenry. The broad objective of social studies is to ensure the acquisition of relevant body of knowledge which is a prerequisite to personal development and contribution to the betterment of oneself that of the society. (Okobia, 1985). The capitation these objective lies in the quality of instruction given at the classroom. Social studies being a unique subject require variety of methods to be able to make impact on the lives of the learners. In light of this, the teaching of social studies using different methods which are learners-centered becomes indispensible. This is one of the reasons why we cannot ignore the collaborative learning as one of the major strategies in making the teaching learning of social studies meaningful.
Although among the many theories and practices of teaching, collaborative learning has been singled out as the most promising in elevating the academic performance of students in social studies in contemporary time due to the social support it provide during group learning (Cockerel, Cap low and Donaldson, 2010). However, collaborative learning is not still properly developed and utilized in Nigerian school system despite its precede benefits in the educational system the concept of collaborative learning is not very new to Nigerian students. It has been in existence since several decades.
Students in Nigerian school schools use and exploit collaborative learning for the purpose of achieving academic goals. In spite of the promises collaborative learning hold for the Nigerian school child, not much research has been done in Nigeria to compare its effectiveness and usefulness to the traditional teaching method. Also, there is little empirical evidence on its effectiveness at the university level, but look more promising for both primary and secondary education in the future (Austin 1993).
Collaborative learning through gaining momentum gradually in the classroom has been associated with the student affairs outside the classroom. Learning communities are the oldest and most revered model of education (Shapiro and Lovine 1999). Learning communities through collaborative efforts help students establish academic and social support network outside the classroom. Collaborative learning at the classroom level in Nigeria schools today is still at a rudimentary stage, that is students usually organized themselves into study group with one among them as a leader who co-ordinate the group learning by acting as their teacher. Usually, they form time table which direct their meeting schedule after the normal school hours, during weekends or at peak period of examination what they have been taught in the classroom and solve past examination question questions together students also seek clarification among themselves on aspect of the course contents. Which is not properly understood? Kamber (2009) also opined that students collaborate in assignment; project and term paper presentation which make them rub minds and come out with tangible ideas on how to solve the specific problem on ground.
The advent of information and communication technology has dramatically and eventually changed the way students collaborate. This gives them a new dimension, new focus and better understanding of ideas and concept as they browse the internet through social networking to find more ideas from different source to digest, share and discuss among themselves to reinforce the traditional teaching method which is a direct instruction from the teacher, who is perceived by students as an encyclopedia of knowledge. Using email, discussion group, internet chatting has facilitated the collaborative techniques of the Nigerian school child to a greater extent Kamber (2009). To this end however changes in government education policies pedagogical methods, curriculum innovation, and infrastructure and information technology has recently put an increased emphasis on teamwork among learners and within the workforce.
Collaborative learning has now come to stay and should be regarded and embraced as important and recent innovation in the evolution of Nigeria educational development among academic communities. Through collaborative learning, it is now easier and possible for students solve problems, learn and make informed and ration decision as a team. Social studies as subject found its way into the classroom since early 1982 in Nigeria secondary school ever since, there is a little or no evidence of collaborative learning method of teaching the subject in classroom. Social studies is mostly taught using the traditional method which is merely teacher-centered in which the teacher spoon feed the learners resulting in the production of ideas through the process of memorization and rote-learning instead of students creating their own knowledge in a constructivist fashion.
Collaborative learning is most effective for social studies teaching learning not only because it is learners centered, but because it is based on constructivist theory in which students create their own knowledge. In a collaborative social studies classroom, students can learn more easily through dialogue, shared experience by rubbing minds together on how to complete assignment, unravel academic problems to achieve academic goal in a collaborative classroom, the students are on equal footing because while the fast learners or high achievers are easily carried along, the slow learners are never left behind. As a result of social support received from co-learners’ academic achievement is higher and rate of failure is grossly reduced.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In spite of the numerous advantages and promises collaborative learning holds for the Nigerian school child, not much has been done in this regard. Its practices in Nigeria school is still new since the advent of social studies as a subject in our school in early 1982, the conventional teaching methods are being employed by teachers which are mainly traditionally teachers centered learning. Again the behavior and disposition of some social studies teachers in the classroom make some students achieve little or nothing from the traditional taught classroom. The aim of any teaching-learning processes is to change and modify the behavior of the learners in an objective manner the use of collaboration learning in the classroom teaching is a major strategy which can make the teaching and learning of social studies interesting. The conventional lecture method is one way instruction from the teacher alone. The lecture method enables the teacher to deliver his lesson by a way of reading his note and because the lecture method enable the teacher to cover much ground within a very short period, teacher resort to its use especially when time is not in his favor. Hence there is no room for discussion and effective questioning. As a result of this most students begin to lose interest in the subject due to the teacher’s inability to vary his method to cater for individual differences among the students in social studies.
However, social studies still remain one of the subject areas where educationist still neglect the use of collaborative learning and thus resort to the old traditional teaching methods. It is against the back drop that this study intend to find out if collaborative learning can make impact on the academic of student in social studies.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to assess the relative effectiveness of collaboration learning on the academic performances of student in social studies at the junior secondary level. The study is specifically aimed to achieve the following objectives:
The following research questions were raised to guide the study:
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The research finding will help provide accurate date on the nature and effectives of collaborative learning as it relate to students learning outcomes and the schooling process. It is therefore expected that the study will among other things shed light on what is currently going on in our schools regarding the application of collaborative learning as a recent innovation in pedagogy.
Also the study will provide teachers and learners the theory and practices of different collaborative learning strategies that work best in social studies teaching and by extension, the teaching learning processes. The will provide a frame of reference in suggesting useful ways of improving the practice to enhance students performance through shared experience among educational community.
The increasing sophistication of today curriculum and the stimulus driving learning styles of the modern child which requires new strategies of delivering instruction, beyond the traditional teacher directed instruction to meet educational standard will make collaborative learning most promising in the Nigerians educational system.
The study will in no small measure be beneficial to policy makers’ educational planners, learning theorists, classroom teachers, curriculum developers, school administrators, the workforce and the general public in meeting the challenging needs and demands of students and those of contemporary society through a collaborative effort. Finally the study will be significant in such a way that it will serve as a pointer to other researchers who may be interested and willing to explore other relevant area not adequately covered in this study.
SCOPE AND DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study will look at collaborative learning and the traditional lecture method to see which is most effecting in the teaching of social studies at the junior secondary school level. This study will focus on junior secondary school students in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo state. It concern is to investigate the influence of collaborative learning on the academic performance of students in social studies.
OPERATION DEFINITION OF TERMS
It is necessary to operationally define certain term within the context in which they are used hence the following terms were defined:
OTHER SIMILAR EDUCATION PROJECTS AND MATERIALS