Assessment On The Method In Use In Teaching Of Christian Religious Knowledge In Selected Secondary Scools In Bendel Local Government Area Of Abia State

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Religion can be defined as the beliefs, attitudes, emotions or behavior constituting man’s relationship with the power and principles of the universe, especially with a deity or deities. It is also an object of conscientious devotion or scrupulous care (Lawal, 2002). Christian Religious Knowledge is an aspect of religion that is peculiar to the followers of Christ. Christian religion was first regarded as a sectional religion. It was a religion of the Jews, then called Judaism or Yahwehism otherwise called Hebrew (Orebanjo, 1992). Christian religion is being practiced in Nigeria till today because it is a builder of attitude and morality. Religion cannot be separated from education that is the reason why religious education is included in the National Curriculum of Education right from the primary to the university education (Abioye and Adekunle 1991).

Education is a difficult subject to inquire, including attempts at definition and conception. Miall (1992) noted that there is significant number of definitions of education given by various scholars. Nevertheless, Education is a means of transmitting ones culture from one generation to another. As one of the oldest industries in human history, education is therefore the main instrument employed by the society to preserve, maintain and grapple with its social equilibrium; hence a society’s future depends largely on the quality of its citizens education (Okoro, 2010). It is a process of bringing about a relatively permanent change in human behaviours (Adeyemi and Adeyinka 2002 cited in Okoro, 2010). Base on the above definitions, Eluu (2005:2) opined that the purpose of education is “inculcation of the right type of values and behavior: education makes a person to know what is good and to do it. Therefore, he will be able to distinguish between good and bad. ”

Thus, it is pertinent to know that Religious Knowledge is absolutely important in the 6-3-3-4 system of education which took effect from September 1982. According to Eluu (2005:129), ‘Religious and moral education is one of the core subjects in the junior secondary curriculum. However, in the senior secondary, it is regarded as one of the optional subjects.’ In view of the above scholar’s idea, religious and moral education is worthwhile school activity because of its value for the society.

The importance of Christian Religious Knowledge to the individual and nation in imparting moral values and behavioural change cannot be overemphasize. With the prevailing moral degeneration in Nigeria, there is need to counter this through inculcating long lasting moral values in the citizens. The right foundations for bonding values need to be laid down. Mbiti (1974) argues that the teaching of Christian Religious Education or Knowledge in schools is to produce boys and girls who will be men and women of real Christian character. CRK has a great potential to carry out this responsibility given that its objectives are not only on acquisition of knowledge but also formation of the right moral values. In other words, as much as CRK has an academic component it has not left out the issue of character formation, both at the attitudinal and behavioural levels.

More so, Abioye and Adekunle (1991) were of the opinion that, every subject has its unique value and importance, the uniqueness of Christian Religious Education emerges from its dual function. It is a single subject which aims at simultaneous development of the intellectual ability of the pupils as well as moral character. It also emphasizes the effective domain of education taxonomy – the domain which many seem to be silent about and give less emphasis or even neglect completely.

In the same vein, Okafor (1992) said that Christian Religious Knowledge helps to inject sanity into society and to minimize the turning of a nation into a police state by cultivating citizens who acknowledge metaphysical sanctions and therefore, whose acceptable behaviours are often determined not just by external constraints but by spiritual consideration.

Nguru (1998), discussing about Christian Religion and the development of Africa, says that there is need to strengthen CRK in schools at all levels. CRK should be a compulsory course due to its importance in inculcating Christian values and morals. He also adds that there is need to support Christian Union and Young Christian Society activities and all colleges should have Chaplains to take care of the spiritual nurture of staff and students. CRK has a unique potential to help young people to live more fully and more richly.

In teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge, there are various problems which the teacher of the subject encounters. Teague (1989) speaks on the poor methods of communicating/teaching Christian Religious Studies (C.R.S). In order to enhance conceptual learning, teachers may use innovative teaching strategies with the students of secondary level. For instance; lectures, demonstration, group discussions, creative writing tasks, role play, observation, storytelling, games, assignment, questioning, explanation, illustration, stimulus variation, among others. Lectures are used to impact information on various topics which needs students as active listener (McKeachie & Svinicki, 2006).

Following the new Christian Religious Education/Knowledge Curriculum, the curriculum has given detailed objectives, methods and materials for instruction (Eluu, 2005). In the teaching of CRK, the teacher is expected to apply appropriate teaching methods in other to achieve the set objective. The teacher should be equipped with relevant skills to enable him/her to deliver the subject contents effectively through selection of methods (such as role playing, choral reading, problem solving, project, and small group work amongst others) which aim at making teaching learner-centred and to bring about positive behaviour change. The teacher should use creativity and innovativeness in whatever methods or techniques to help promote and sustain the positive change.

Furthermore, it is said that lesson itself is not interesting; in fact, it is teacher who makes the lesson enjoyable using various teaching methods that fascinate the students. Teaching methods used in the class have imperative role in learning and producing skilled and knowledgeable students.

Previous researches have proved the significant impact of teaching methods on academic performance of the students. Students who were given instructions in modern teaching methods (such as role play, discussion group, project method, field trips, seminar and workshop among others) significantly secured higher mark in their subject tests as compare to those who were taught their lesson in conventional way (Khurshid & Ansari, 2012). Students not only learn the lesson effectively but activity based knowledge further enhance their ability to solve real life problems, and enrich their understanding at highest level (Boud & Feletti, 1997). In another study, Doyle (1993) found that variety of ways used for information processing influence the learning than using direct way of studying curriculum.

       Students’ achievement in academics largely depends on how teachers behave in their class. Structured and planned activities proved to be more effective than routine and conventional methods. Students’ perception of teaching methodologies being used with them also counts a lot. Satisfaction the students gain from their teachers during class enhances their interest in academic activities. Students are deemed as best judge of evaluating teaching methods.

       Teaching methods can include leading and demonstrating from the front of the class, or adopting a more pupil-centred method where the teacher shapes the framework within which the pupils work and then encourages them to make their decisions under guidance. Whether a teacher considers her/himself as part of the group where whole-group decision making is encouraged; prefers to be fully in charge and tell pupils what to do; or ‘goes with the flow’ letting each lesson evolve in its own way, is all part of teaching method.

There are various approach/method to teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge, which include; direct, inductive and exploratory approach. A direct method/approach to teaching aims to acquire new knowledge and skills through a structured sequence, often beginning with modelling, demonstration or illustration by the teacher. Lessons typically proceed to individual or group work and often end with whole class review. An inductive approach/method aims to develop a concept or process through a structured set of directed steps, where pupils collect and sift information, then examine data, construct categories, generate and test hypotheses. An exploratory approach to teaching and learning aims to practice and refine understanding and skills, through pupils testing predictions or hypotheses and deciding what information to collect, and then collecting and analyzing it. The extent to which pupils retain what they learn depends on the method/approach taken to their learning. Based on this, the study aim to assess the methods use in teaching Christian Religious Knowledge and its significant in selected secondary school in Bende Local Government of Abia State.

Statement of the Problem

Despite all efforts, and attention committed to the teaching of Christian religious knowledge, in secondary schools, there has remained a large division between the ideal and the manifest. Learning process is blocked because the learners according to Mirrriam (1999) bring into learning environments: their life experience, work experience, positive/negative previous learning experiences, performance effectors and aging factors. This is done due to non-application of appropriate methods in secondary schools. That is to say that more empowering method in teaching of Christian religious knowledge remains a mirage.

Furthermore, the nature of CRK, the placing of emphasis on factual examination and religious dogmas, poor method of teaching are some of the factors responsible for the poor performance and low enrolment of students in the subject. Other problems with the subjects include skeptical attitude of teachers, students and parents. The lack of relevant instructional media and textbooks with the rigidity of the tradition approach of teaching necessitated a change from the factual examination oriented approach to a more creative experiential approach. Based on these, the problem of this study therefore is; an assessment of methods in use in teaching Christian religious knowledge in selected secondary schools in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State- Nigeria.

Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study was to asses methods in use in teaching of Christian religious knowledge in selected secondary schools in Bende Local Government of Abia State. In particular the researcher sought to:

  1. Asses the types of methods used for the students in teaching Christian Religious Knowledge in selected secondary schools.
  2. To find out the frequency to the use of teaching methods in teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge.
  3. Asses the impact of teaching methods on the learning concepts of the students.
  4. Find out Students’ Perception about Teaching Methods use in selected school.

Significance of the Study

This study which aims at assessing methods in use in teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge in selected secondary schools in Bende Local Government of Abia State is bound to be of immense benefits to students, teachers, school authorities, educational stakeholders, especially the Federal and State Ministries of Education.

 Particularly, the information from this study will help students to understand the concept of Christian Religious Knowledge as a subject of study. It would also equip the teachers of Christian Religious Knowledge to utilize and develope appropriate methods that will help to facilitate the teaching of the subject; as well as designing instructional methods that would make the teaching of the subject (C.R.K) more activity-centered, stimulating and interesting for the students. The study may also provide information for principals on the best way to supervise their teachers and also encourage them on the need for improved methods in use for teaching CRK.

       The school administrators will be informed on the need for appropriate method that could be used for teaching the subject (C.R.K) in school system. It would also enable curriculum planners to map out right method for teaching and learning which every teacher of the subject would adopt.

Scope of the Study

This study covers an assessment into methods in use for teaching Christian Religious Knowledge in selected secondary school in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State. The study is limited to the following; types of teaching methods used for the students in teaching Christian Religious Knowledge in selected secondary schools; frequency to the use of teaching methods; impact of teaching methods on the learning concepts of the students; students’ Perception about Teaching Methods use in selected schools.  The study is limited to government and private schools in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State.

Research Questions

The following research questions guides the study:

  1. What are the types of methods use in teaching Christian Religious Knowledge in your secondary schools?
  2. How often do teachers use teaching methods in teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge?
  3. What are the impacts of teaching methods on the learning concepts of the students?
  4. How do students perceive teaching methods used in their classroom?
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