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Background of the Study


The high level of moral decadence and insurgencies in Nigerian nation is an indication that there is poor religious teaching in secondary school system. Christian religious studies (CRS) as one of the religious subjects taught in secondary school in Nigerian takes a central position in ensuring moral and spiritual well being of individuals in the society. The key roles of CRS in equipping the individuals and ensuring high level of morality is made clear in the objectives of CRS at the senior secondary level which include; to provide more opportunities for Nigerian youths to learn more about god and thereby develop their faith in god; to enable the youths to accept Christ as their savior; to help the youths develop Christian attitude and moral values (such as humility, respect, love, and justice, etc); to instill in the youth the spirit of tolerance , reconciliation ,peaceful co existence and non-violence as well as to develop and foster in the youth the spirit of respect for all people and human life (Universal Basic Education Curriculum (UBA), 2013).


Without effective religious studies Nigerian nation will likely to end up in conflict, religious crisis, insurgencies and social unrest among other things. This is because religious control human actions in both social, political, economical and otherwise (Eluu, 2009). The


teaching of CRS dates back to the 19th century with the pioneers of Nigerian education (Banjo, 2003). During the missionary administration because of the moral values it teaches the people. Following the government takeover of schools, Nigerian, secondary school curriculum was reviewed and more emphasis was placed on the studies of science and technological subjects. This shift affected the study and interest of students in CRS in school system leading to poor enrollment in CRS. Gbenda (2004) stresses that student’s enrollment and interest in CRS could as well be as of result of inadequate provision of teaching aids, fewer professional teachers and lack of incentives among other things. Njoku (2009) equally adduced that poor enrollment of







student in CRS could be attributed to teacher’s instructional delivery system and teachers’ personality. CRS is taught in all the senior secondary schools in Nigerian as an elective subject. The elective nature of the subject in senior secondary schools in Nigeria equally reduced the number of students that register for the subject in West African examination council (WAEC) and national examination council (NECO) as well as other internal examination. CRS is a subject that bases its teaching on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ (Ugwu, 2001) as a teaching subject, it is not only geared towards converting people to Christianity, but is necessary for value formation, orientation and reorientation of value system as well as spiritual upliftment of the student. Ali and Akubue in Njoku (2009) observed that, CRS is a subject which aims at developing and fostering in the lives of the students Christian attitudes and values such as respect to life, obedience to constitutional authority, responsible self, selfless series to God and humanity. To them, CRS is seen as an academic discipline that is designed to provide the leaner with moral and spiritual transformation. This shows that CRS is the study of Christian lifestyles such as love, caring, patience, faith, forgiveness and hope in God as well as good relationship among men. Obanya in Njoku (2004) maintained that CRS like every other subjects has five features. These features are; a set of rational theoretical formulation, inherent capacity for growth, applicable solution to human problems, organized Body of the knowledge and a degree of uniformity with other area of academic activities. In the context of this study, CRS is defined as a social science subject that teaches students good moral behaviour, fearing of God, knowledge and skills that will make them to contribute their quota in socio-economic and moral development in senior secondary schools. The inclusion of sound religions and moral values in the life of students invariably could help in the development of spiritual and moral sound being of the students. These important values attached to the study of CRS in schools cannot be achieved if teachers do not utilized effective teaching method that appeals to all the senses of students in leaning situations.





Teaching method as noted by Agwu (2005) refers to the overall plan for the orderly presentation of content of learning materials. Usually a method is driven by a philosophy or an assumption about how students learn in school. Teaching method is therefore, a general process the teacher adopts in presenting his lesson to the students, such that students learn such as assigning roles to individual students in the classroom. The important index in the teaching and learning process is that the students learn at the end of teaching (Aguokogbuo, 2005). Hence, the use of good teaching method in teaching of CRS plays an important role in harmonizing classroom instruction. Nevertheless, it has been noted with dismay that even a subject as important as CRS is taught using the traditional lecture method (talk and chalk) (Asogwa & Echemazu, 2011). This old method, conventional as it is, appears to have reduced students’ interest and enrollment in the subject each year for both WAEC and NECO. For instance, Abdulhamid (2010) found that lecture method used by teachers have made many student lost their interest in classroom of learning and consequently may reduce students enrollment in some subject areas. He added that the use of lecture method set the teacher as the only active participant in the class while the students are complete observers or admirers through the lesson. The theory of constructivism sees learning as the active participation in various activities within and outside the classroom. Therefore, inability of teachers to use methods that encourages students’ active participation could lead students to laziness, role memorization which even actually kills students’ interest and attitudes towards the learning of CRS. The theory of multiple intelligences holds the view that human being has fine separate intelligences (visual/spatial, verbal and logical, body/kinetic, musical, inter-personal intelligences). Therefore, if educators teach their students using methods that utilizes these intelligences in learning would promote students’ interest in learning process. Asogwa and Echemazu (2011) opines that most teachers rely on lecture method because of their experiences as most of them still regarded the way they were taught in their own days as the best way to teach in this modern times.





Organizing for effective teaching of Christian Religious studies is centered on certain factors such as “what to teach”, “when to teach” and “how to teach”. The teacher does not only teach the most relevant, meaningful and useful materials for specific students, he must also recognized and adopted a good and well-researched method of teaching that guarantees better understanding and also stimulates and motivate students’ achievement (Abdukamid, 2010).


Academic achievement is the degree or level of success attained at the end of an academic endeavour (Omebe, 2005). The yardstick for measuring one’s level of academic achievement is by assessing the academic performance of the individual through test and observation. He further explained that academic achievement has three dimensions such as high, average and low academic achievement. Academic achievement helps in proper evaluation of students and identification of their strength and weakness. However, in the context of this study, academic achievement is the relative change in behaviour of students as a result of effective teaching and learning of CRS in secondary schools.


The issue of high or low academic achievement of secondary school students in CRS has been attributed to some factors such as the school environment, peer influence, the family dynamics, etc (Ekeh and Njoku, 2013). But, of all these factors, the researcher feels that role-play method of teaching play key role in relation to students’ academic achievement in CRS. Role-play method is a dramatic and innovative training technique which helps students to develop both cognitive and affective components of perception and helps in knowing how people behave and why people behave in different ways (Charturvedi, 2009). Oberle (2004) maintained that role-playing activities introduce students to “real world” situations. He added that feelings as well as avenue for expressing personal and sometimes unpopular attitudes and opinions. This indicates that role-playing is highly motivating as the majority of students enjoys these types of activities and become more inspired learners. Morris (2003) found that the role-playing helped the students engage in activities at multiple times and places which help them to retain information in their brain always (p.3). In role-playing, the teacher first of all gives





students roles to play in a classroom and he directs them on what to do. At the end of students’ participation, he/she summarizes the activities in order for students to understand it clearly. In the context of this study, role play method could be referred to activities engaged by teachers and students in the classroom in order to enhance desirable change in behaviour of learner and maximize their interest and academic achievement in CRS in secondary schools.


The trend of school achievement among secondary school students’ in recent times has not been encouraging. It is in recognition that statistics from the West African Examination Council WAEC Chief Examiners reports in (2005) reveals that, the number of candidates that entered for CRS, for instance has been encouraging over the years while their percentage pass at credit level in the senior school certificate examination (SSCE) has been following a downward trend. In the year 2002, 2003, 2004, for instance, only 48.7%, 49.2%, 39.9% and 47.3% passed CRS at credit level respectively. Currently, the numbers of candidates that enroll in CRS have reduced as a result of shift in emphasis to science subjects and entrepreneurship education. According to WAEC Chief Examiners’ reports in 2012 and 2013, there is low performance of students in CRS in WASCE, 62.03% failed while 37.9% passed. The number that failed is greater than the number that passed. The continuous poor achievement of secondary school students in CRS over the decades could be attributed to poor methods of teaching. Thus employing good method of teaching like role-play could improve students’ interest and achievement in CRS in senior secondary school.


Nevertheless, there has been an endless debate on factors that influences students academic achievement secondary. However, in the context of this study “gender” and interest is considered as variables that could influence students’ interest and achievement in CRS in secondary schools in Ebonyi Central Education Zone. Gender is a socially constructed concept based on the assumed power and position that group human should possess (Afonga, 2002). Gender in the context of this study simply means the difference between males and females as well as their relative roles perform in CRS in learning process. Ezeadum (2011) found that





gender is a significant factor in students’ academic achievement in Agricultural sciences. Other researcher such as Umoh (2001), found otherwise in Igbo and English language respectively. Melton and Serep (2007) found that women perform better than men in French in schools. Asogwa (2011) found that the effect of gender on students’ academic achievement is statistically significant. Gender is a very important variable in this study because personal orientation and thinking style of male and female students could play a crucial role in performance in school. In this study, gender refers to different roles played by male and female students in learning and how it affects their interest and achievement in CRS in secondary schools.


Students’ interest is another factor that determines students’ academic achievement in schools. Interest can be defined as a psychological state of having an affective reaction to and focused attention for particular content and/or the relatively enduring predisposition to re-engage particular class of objects events, or ideas (Omebe, 2005). Dewey in long (2007) defines interest as the formation of a relationship between a person and an object. Interest could also be essentially a function of the perceived likelihood to succeed on a specific group of tasks and the value of a consequence of doing well (Ainley, 2002). The way each person learns depends on interest. For instance, some students prefer to learn complete subject matter by heart while others search for meaning. Students’ differences in learning preferences have often been related to a number of individual factors such as motivation and perception of one’s ability. Interest is very important in one’s educational and life success. This is because ones action towards anything depends largely on one’s interest on that thing. Interest drives one towards action especially when such action benefits one thereby forming a relationship between a person and an object. Adedeji (2007) found that interest of students’ in mathematics affect their academic achievement in schools.


For the purpose of this study, interest could be defined a temporary response relative to the effectiveness of method used by CRS teachers in the classroom. This is because, it affects the way students react or listen to the teacher. This could be as a result of the fact that students





may come to the classroom with certain interest. It then becomes rewarding if a teacher (s) of CRS discover these interests and build on them especially the use of good methods of teaching that appeal to all senses in learning.


Role-play method in the classroom can generally foster the interaction between the learner and other learner and between the learner and the content of instruction. The essence of this much needed meaningful interaction in the classroom therefore creates gap between what is taught in the classroom and the experiences and activities the learners meet outside the classroom. It is critical that CRS teaching not only seek to bridge this gap in order to make learning realistic, but of course also to harness the power of this role play for instructional gain. It is for these reasons that a research on the effect of role play method on students’ achievement and interest in CRS in secondary schools is not only imperative but also timely.





The importance of CRS in the present social, political and religious crisis in Akwaibomstate,Nigeria cannot be over emphasized. Nevertheless, the trend of poor academic achievement among students’ over the years seems to be on the increase. It may be due to teachers’ use of lecture method of teaching which has been the prevalent mode of lesson presentation in secondary schools in Nigeria This method is teacher-centered and does not inspire and motivate students’ interest towards the learning of the subject in senior secondary schools. The students may end up therefore having low interest which could lead to poor achievement in CRS in schools. There appears, to be no available empirical study on the effect of role play method on students’ academic achievement and interest in CRS in Senior Secondary Schools in Akwaibom state, Nigeria.


Therefore, the problem of this study posed as questions are “what are the effects of role play method on students’ academic achievement and interest in Akwaibom state? Could gender and interest be militating factors on students’ academic achievement in CRS in secondary schools in Akwaibom state?


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