STUDENTS’ ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE STUDY OF ECONOMICS IN NIGERIAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greekοἰκονομία (oikonomia, "management of a household, administration") from οἶκος (oikos, "house") + νόμος (nomos, "custom" or "law"), hence "rules of the house(hold)". Political economy was the earlier name for the subject, but economists in the late 19th century suggested "economics" as a shorter term for "economic science" that also avoided a narrow political-interest connotation and as similar in form to "mathematics", "ethics", and so forth.
A focus of the subject is how economic agents behave or interact and how economies work. Consistent with this, a primary textbook distinction is between microeconomics and macroeconomics. Microeconomics examines the behavior of basic elements in the economy, including individual agents (such as households and firms or as buyers and sellers) and markets, and their interactions. Macroeconomics analyzes the entire economy and issues affecting it, including unemployment, inflation, economic growth, and monetary and fiscal policy.
Other broad distinctions include those between positive economics (describing "what is") and normative economics (advocating "what ought to be"); between economic theory and applied economics; between rational and behavioral economics; and between mainstream economics (more "orthodox" and dealing with the "rationality-individualism-equilibrium nexus") and heterodox economics (more "radical" and dealing with the "institutions-history-social structure nexus").
Economic analysis may be applied throughout society, as in business, finance, health care, and government, but also to such diverse subjects as crime,[education, the family, law, politics, religionsocial institutions, war,and science.At the turn of the 21st century, the expanding domain of economics in the social sciences has been described as economic imperialism.
An attitude may be defined as a predisposition to respond in a favourableor unfavourable manner with respect to a given attitude object (Oskamp andSchultz 2005). The focus of this project is on school students’ attitudes towards Economicssubjects taught in secondary classrooms. The term ‘subjects’ refers to both theory and laboratory classes in secondary school. Thus, the scope of the present study was limited to Economics as experienced by students in secondaryschool rather than out-of-school experiences obtained from external sourcessuch as the media, museums, field trips and friends.Attitude towards Economics or science denotes interests or feelingstowards studying Economics or science. It is the students’ disposition towardslike or ‘dislike’ science while attitude in science means scientific approachassumed by an individual for solving problems, assessing ideas and makingdecisions. Student beliefs and attitudes have the potential to either facilitate or inhibit learning (Yara, 2009).Many factors could contribute to student’s attitude toward studyingscience (Economics). Several studies (including Wilson 1983; Soyibo, 1985;Berg 2005; Adesoji, 2008) report that students’ positive attitudes to sciencecorrelate highly with their that, in general, the attitude of Nigeria studentstowards the basic sciences tend to decrease in the order, Biology, Economics,Physics and Mathematics. Defiana (1995) found that using integrated scienceenvironment activities improved high school student attitude toward andawareness about the environment. Armstrong and Impara (1991) in their studiesdetermined that fifth and seventh – grade students using nature score as acurriculum supplement developed more positive attitudes than those who didnot.Abimbola (1983) reported that students exposed to a programmedinstruction recorded higher and more favourable attitude towards mathematics.Ayelaagbe (1998) also reported a more positive attitude of studies afterexposing them to self learning strategy. Similar results were obtained byUdousoro (2000) after using computer and text assisted programmed instructionand Popoola (2002) after exposing students to a self learning device. Popoola(2008) also reported that students attitudes and interests to sciences, especiallyAgricultural science correlate highly with their science achievement.Halladyna and Shanghnessy (1982) and Adesoji (2008) have concludedthat a number of factors have been identified as related to students’ attitude toscience (Economics). Such factors include; teaching methods, teacher attitude,influence of parents, gender, age, cognitive styles of pupils, career interest,social view of science and Scientifics, social implicating of science (Economics)and achievement.The studies thus reviewed suggest that there is a relationship betweenattitude and methods of instruction and also between attitude and achievement;and that it is possible to predict achievement from attitude scores. What isneeded to complement the results of such studies however is the nature of relationship between students’ attitude and factors related to teaching andlearning of Economics? Results of these types of study are likely to broaden our knowledge as how we can influence students’ attitude positively towardsEconomics as a subject in Akure, Nigeria.
1.2PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to investigate the attitudes of students inAkure South Local Government Area of Ondo State toward studying of Economics as a subject.The study is also designed to make various recommendations for teachersand other stakeholders on how to arouse or improve students attitudes in thesubject.
1.3STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
Despite the greater number of Economics graduates produced by our tertiary institutions; every year there are numbers of secondary schools where Economics teachers are not competent in the teaching of the subject. Also, theattitude of the students in secondary schools towards Economics as a professionis not encouraging. This makes the teaching of Economics ineffective andinefficient even where there are competent teachers to teach.It is on this premise, that this study is designed to investigate the attitudeof students to teaching and learning of Economics in secondary schools.
In order to investigate the attitude of students to Economics, the followingquestions were raised:
1.5SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study was limited to secondary schools in Akure South LocalGovernment of Ondo State only. Based on the time frame and financialconstraints in covering all the secondary schools in the Local Government, thestudy was also limited to the students in Senior Secondary Schools (SS Class)
The names of the schools are:
1.6SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study is aimed at looking at the students’ attitudes towards Economicsin some selected secondary schools in Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State.The results of the study is hoped to assist Economics teachers to developnew learning experience for the students and reorganize these learningexperience in some ways enough to arouse the interest of the students.It would be of good assistance to teachers to create a habit were theywould improve on the obsolete teaching methods, use adequate, modern andrelevant instructional materials and textbooks at their disposed to the fullest.This study may also assist the students to improve their attitude towardsthe study of the subject.Finally, the government and parents would benefit from the study of their roles as these would be highlighted at the recommendation column.1.7Assumption of the StudyBased on the study, the following assumptions were made. Secondaryschool students constitute a valid source of data needed in the study.Also, that the respondents will give valid and unbiased responses to thequestionnaire items and that the samples drawn will be representatives of the population
1.8DEFINITION OF TERMS
Economics:- This is a science subject taught in the Senior Secondary Schools.
Learning:- This is the process of acquiring knowledge in Economics amongSenior Secondary School Students.
Attitude:- This refers to students’ positive mind to the study of Economics.
Teaching:- Transmission of the knowledge of Economics to Senior SecondarySchool Students.Instruction
Materials:- These are aids used in teaching and learning of Economicsin Senior Secondary School.