EFFECTS OF EXCURSION IN THE TEACHING OF GEOGRAPHY IN SOME SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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EFFECTS OF EXCURSION IN THE TEACHING OF GEOGRAPHY IN SOME SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

 

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1    BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
We know that excursions and excursion are appreciated by students. Excursions and field study are also important learning tools in geography. Excursions are based on the idea that the context for learning is made in the particular context where the object for learning takes place and is placed, geography thus embodies the practice of in situ learning. (Kent et al., 1997). Boyle, (et al., 2007) concludes for instance that excursion in geography are effective in learning since they are affective.
Fuller (et al., 2006) and Scott (et al., 2006) also argues that there is a need for rigorous research into this issue. Common arguments used in describing the concern and the effectiveness of learning in field, in terms of understanding of the subject is: providing first-hand experience of the real world, whichever part of the world the students are in; skills development (transferable and technical); and social benefits. Apart from the social aspects, there are other experiences from geography field work that emphasize the dynamics of groups in learning (Brown, 1999). Bringing students into field may serve as a bridge between the popular and the academic (Smith, 2001). It is also argued here, that it may be fruitful to give some attention to performative and non-representational aspects of excursions, as Basset (2004) does when he tries to relate social theory and excursion practice, especially through the practice of walking, as a form of movement through the city with aesthetic and critical potential. Walking is a practice that allows questions being asked in between practical work and theory, and allow for the transferring and putting theory into practice (Thrift, 2008, p.22). Clark (1997) sees how this integration of diverse theoretical approaches and the simultaneous consideration by students of both local (often personal) details and national (or even global) aspects plays an important role in the field trail. Savin-Badin & Van Niekerk (2007) use narrative inquiry in field work as a reflective learning process. Marvell (2008) reports that the in site presentations made by students helps to widen the experience and develop a range of transferable skills, encouraging a greater sense of place and facilitating reflective learning. Excursions, as an in situ learning and teaching practice thus involve precognitive conditions that make up what is human, and what is human is, at the same time, made in the making of teaching in field. Learning in excursions is in one way characterized by what Kolb (1984) defines as assimilation; however in this case, precognitions are mixed with theoretical understandings of a city. The result of this is that the excursion is used as means for producing accommodation of knowledge. As such, excursions in geography involve the active engagement in real world perspectives through the presentation in role playing (Livingstone, 1999).
Excursions involves more than just presentations of settings and pointing to interesting spots in a landscape. Performing excursions also involve acoustic, semantic, group dynamic, aesthetic, political, symbolic, emotional, verbal and gesture aspects. There is a reason for not making any clear distinction between the teacher, the group of people involved in the excursion and the students, because students are given the assignment to collect information about specific places in the city, Copenhagen, before the excursion takes place. Students in human geography and from the teachers’ education are taken to Copenhagen every semester, since 2003. Every group consists of 15-25 students and they prepare a presentation in groups of two to three related to a particular place on a route through the city. Every presentation must be related to the literature in human and social geography, and every student produce an excursionguide as part of the examination. The students thus perform the excursion by taking the role of guiding and presenting places along a given route, to some extent similar to Burgess and Jackson, (1992), but with the teacher as dialogue partner. In this particular situation, the learning experiencing and the performance of excursions and excursion are all juxtaposed into the practice of performing an excursion, and it is therefore difficult to separate teacher from student, or members of the group and the group itself, and even so, the learning context from representations, concepts and the object of learning. The teacher thus has the role of a group member that has the option to qualify the dialogue through questions. Excursions are thus also aimed at merging knowledge basis with the students in one shared experience, who starts at a different point of understanding (Ellis, 1993).      
1.2.         STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL PROBLEM
The lack of adequate teaching and learning of geography has had a negative effect on the effective development and advancement of geography as a subject in the curricular of Nigeria. The misconception of excursion in the educational system has actually had a retrogressive effect on the teaching, excursion are being seen by most students and even teachers as a means of just sight-seeing thereby losing sight of its cardinal objective.  
1.3.         OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the aims and objectives of engaging in this study
Ø To know if there is a relationship between excursion and academic performance of geography students.
Ø To know if excursion makes teaching of geography easy.
Ø To know if excursion is a cardinal area in teaching geography.
Ø To know if excursion has had the desired impact on students of geography.    
1.4.         SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study would be important for the general teaching of geography and improving the academic performance of geography across Nigerian colleges. This study will help school administrators and principals in in the effective administration of their schools and introduction of effective excursions to improve student’s performances. This study will be equally important to educational stakeholders, government, researchers in ensuring that our educational system would not decline.
1.5.         SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study is on the effects of excursion in the teaching of geography in some selected secondary schools in Uyo local government area.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.6.         RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Ø Do excursions impact on the teaching of geography in Nigeria?
Ø Is there a relationship between excursion and academic performance of geography students?
Ø Does excursion make teaching of geography easy?
Ø Has excursion had the desired impact on students of geography?  
1.7.         RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
H0: excursions does not significantly impact on the teaching of geography
H1:excursions significantly impacts on the teaching of geography  
1.8.         DEFINITION OF TERMS
Ø EXCURSION: A short journey or trip, especially one taken as a leisure activity.
Ø DECLINE: A gradual and continuous loss of strength, numbers, or value.

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