Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Influence of Teacher Factors on Attitudes of Geography Teachers to Map Work in Nigerian Secondary Schools

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Influence of Teacher Factors on Attitudes of Geography Teachers to Map Work in Nigerian Secondary Schools

Article excerpt

The study investigated the influence of teacher factors on attitude of geography teachers to map work at the senior secondary school level in Nigeria. Multi-stage and simple random sampling methods were adopted selecting two states per geo-political zones of Nigeria including the FCT, five schools per state and two senior secondary teachers from each school. A total of 84 teachers formed the sample for the study. A valid and reliable instrument- Teacher Attitude to Map Work Scale (TAMWOS) with 0.91 correlation coefficient using Cronbach Alpha method was used to collect data from the teachers. Descriptive (frequency counts and percentages), t-test and ANOVA statistics were used to analyse the data. Findings indicated that the teachers had divergent attitudes that were both positive and negative to the teaching of map work. Teacher professional development made significant influence on teacher attitude to teaching map work. It was recommended that because teachers are role models, they should of a necessity possess positive attitude to teaching map work and to geography teaching generally. Those teachers that hold negative attitudes should work at such attitudes so that through the lessons they teach they could impact positively on the behaviour of their students. Also, teacher professional development on the job should be taken into account in the improvement of teacher attitude to teaching.

Geography is often referred to as the queen of the sciences. This is borne out of the fact that learners are to acquire scientific and mathematical skills and processes which they are to apply in the study of some aspects of the curriculum content. An important component of secondary school geography where such application is necessary is in map reading and its interpretation. In the process of teaching as a former secondary school geography teacher, it was observed that the technicalities involved in map reading are largely connected to the mathematical nature of this aspect of geography syllabus. This sends dread down the spines of illprepared, uninterested and ill-motivated geography students who are weak in mathematical processes and are unable to apply learnt skills in novel situations. Undocumented reports from centre supervisors in some states of Nigeria, have it that some students in apparently appreciation to the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) often refer to topographical maps as Almanacs', which they simply fold and keep inside their pockets without touching it. This scenario points to the fact that such students have no knowledge of nor have seen topographical maps in their entire school life until the examination day.

The scenario painted above seem to be corroborated by Nigerian Chief Examiners' in their reports over the years, which point to the poor performance of students in map work and other components of geography (WAEC Chief Examiners' Report, 1983; 1997; 2005; 2007). Excerpts from WAEC Chief Examiners' reports on Geography IB read:

'Generally, the performance of the candidates was poor and same as that of the previous year. There was no noticeable improvement in their performance' (May/June 2005 p. 75).

Candidates' weaknesses were also highlighted in the various aspects of geography. For instance in map reading; the report states:

'Poor map work. Most candidates could not identify simple features on the topographical map ... poor performance in questions involving calculations' (May/June 2005 p. 75).

Similarly, another report is rendered thus: The performance of the candidates was poor and lower than those of the previous years.' On performance in map reading specifically, the reports said;

'Poor knowledge of map reading and interpretation of survey maps. Most of the candidates could not identify the given physical features on the survey maps and were poor in description of relief and the relationship between relief and settlement (May/ June, 2007, p. 65). …

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