New approaches for the teaching and learning of history in secondary school

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Teaching methods has been defined as in different ways depending on the philosophical situation taken by the researcher as discussed hereunder, Kimweri (2004) teaching method refers to variety ways in which a learning task is managed to facilitate the learning process. This means the way of organizing the participants and the type of methods to be used will be determined by different factors i.e. number of students, age and the topic to be taught.

 

The study taking the definition which is teaching methods is the means or strategies employed by the teachers in attempt to impart knowledge to the learners (Asikhia 2010).  It also defined as the strategy or plan that that outline the approach that teachers intend to take in order to achieve the desirable objectives (Osokoye, 1996) in ibid this involves the way teachers organize and use technique of subject matter, teaching tools and teaching material to meet teaching objectives.

 

Different Teaching Methods

There are two categories of teaching method namely, teacher-centered method and learner-centered methods of teaching  (MIE 2004) Learner-centered instruction refers to the students’ construct their own understanding of content, develop a personal feeling that the knowledge is their own (Jacobson and Kauchak, 2009).  Therefore student centeredness implies the heavy emphasis on enquiry and problem-based learning involves on making student as the centre point of learning and group work. Each of this method is discussed in detail below:

Learner (Student) Centered

(i)   Question and answers (citation) method              

Question and answers defined as a method both for teaching and oral testing based on the use of questions to be answered by the pupil (Mtunda and Safuli, 1997) in (MIE, 2004) Questioning techniques is one of the basic and successful ways of stimulating students thinking and learning (Ndirangu, 2007) it is applicable to all teaching approaches and methods.

(ii)   Discussion method

Discussion method is an important component for any teaching or learning situation which allows students to share their ideas (Ndirangu, 2007). It can be used at the beginning of a topic to ascertain students’ pre conceived notion of the subject matter or toward the end of a sub topic by presenting student with a new situation and asking them to explain it in terms of what they have just learned. Discussion group method entails a teaching and learning strategy through sharing and exchange of ideas, experience and opinion takes place, accompanied by active learning with all member of the group participating in it (Kimweri, 2004). Strengths of discussion method are; increases the depth of understanding and grasp of the subject matter, enhances motivation and generates greater involvement of the learners, promotes leadership role skills, develops skills of organizing and presenting ideas to others in a logical form and develops a spirit of cooperation among learners. In spite of the strengths there is also limitations of discussion method which includes time consuming, can be used effectively with a limited number of learners, if not well handled some extrovert learners may dominate the discussion.

(iii) Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a teaching techniques in which every pupil’s response that applies to a given topic is acceptable (MIE, 2004). The strengths of brain storming are ; promotes exploration, analysis and problem solving skills, develop the sense of  cooperation and group cohesiveness in problem solving, encourages the generation of creative ideas, promotes the generation of initiatives in searching solutions to problems. The limitations of brainstorming are; it is time consuming if not planned, more useful to a limited number of learners and need through preparation.

(iv) Demonstration method

 Demonstration is a practical display or exhibition of a process and services to show or point out clearly the fundamental principles or actions involved (Kimweri, 2004). Teaching by demonstration is a useful tool available to teacher and plays an important part in the teaching of skills; however for a demonstration to be effective it should immediately be followed with a practical session in order to reinforce procedures (Kimweri, 2004). The strengths of demonstration include learners get the actual experience of what they are learning and interesting to learners and thus promote their attention and retention. The limitations of the demonstration method are; time consuming and expensive, needs through preparation in practice and rehearse before the session, enough teaching and materials are required to successfully conduct a demonstration, it is more appealing when used with a group that has a limited number of learners. Other methods of teaching are role play method, case study, buzz group, and field trips.

Teacher-Centered

Teacher – centered methods of teaching are the one – way communication where by the teacher delivers the material orally while the learner listens or takes down notes (Kimweri, 2004). The method is autocratic in form and allows very little or no room for active participation of the learners and thus providing little feedback to the teacher as to how effective the presentation has been.

(i) Lecture method

Lecture is one way communication where teacher talks to students in an autocratic way and in its pure form, the student have no opportunity to ask questions or offer comments during the lesson (MIE, 2004). The strengths of a lecture method are, it is useful when introducing new subject matter or presenting over view summaries to student, , it can be used for teaching group of any size and the teacher to cover a lot of content in short space of time. Despite of strengths of lecture method it has limitations, it does not take into account the individual needs, feeling or interest of students, no feedback from students is required third, if not properly planned can led to boredom, it is difficult to assess whether or not learning through lecture is poor and to what extent, the quality of learning through lecture is poor and not permanent finally, the teacher spend a lot of time preparing detailed notes which are rarely learned by the student.

(ii) Presentation method

Presentation method of teaching involves motivation listeners to accept a new idea, alter an existing opinion or act on a given premises (Hamm, 2008). The strengths of the method includes mastery of the topic by the students, increases confidence among students, is good way to learn for only one student who is presenting, student search a lot of books to collect material and teacher or supervisor is very important.

(iii) Seminar method

Seminar method is structured group discussion that may follow after a formal lecture or some sort of experience (Kimweri, 2004). The strengths of the seminar method are to stimulate and test learners’ ability of comprehension and evaluation promotes learners’ ability of understanding and questioning, develops learner’s sense of self – reliance cooperation and responsibility and ability in report writing and presentation to fellow learners for exchange of view and decision making. The limitations of seminar method are need enough time preparation for the leaner or presenter to plan, write, consult the teacher produce and present material, some learners especially who are shy and reserved may not be able to participate effectively during discussion time and some learners, particularly the vocal ones might dominate the discussion.

The teaching methods discussed above are used in teaching and learning, none of these methods is the best one for all situations for teaching to be more effectively, the combination of these methods should be employed since education has many different types of approach and context Ji-Ping and Collis (1995) in (Faraday, Overton and Cooper, 2011).

Factors that Influence the Choice of Teaching Method

The choice of methods of teaching depends on different factors for example knowledge of the teacher and flexibility. MIE (2004) in order to make an informed choice of teaching method(s) in the teaching and learning process the teacher must know; the teaching methods available, the strengths and weakness of each method, the purpose of each can save and how each method can be used in practice. Other considerations during choosing a method of teaching are number of students to be taught, age, time and prior knowledge of the learner.

Medium of Instruction

There are several media of instruction at schools English has been used as the medium of instruction in many countries; some countries use English language as native language while others use it as the second language. The evident in one study that allowed for comparisons with native English –speaker norms, the gap between English learners and native speakers is increase across grade level (Sunders, Goldenberg and Marcelletti, 2013). Namibia, South Africa and Nigeria are some countries which used English as the medium of instruction while the language is their second language. Several obstacles in English being the medium of instruction, claims are that students’ level of proficiency in English is not high enough to meet the learning requirements and also problem with proficiency of teacher’s (Wolfaardt, 2001).

 

Another Nigeria writer suggested that, the key success to English is not in using it as a medium of instruction but rather in improving the teaching of English as a subject (Qorro, 2004). It is through the medium of instruction that successive generations are supposed to benefit from experience through language which each generation shares disputes, resolves and refines its experience however the speaker and writers must be competent in, familiar and comfortable with it (Senkoro, 2004). Therefore the study by Cantoni (2007) found that together with other factors i.e. teachers authority and their methods of teaching, the use of English as a medium of instruction hinders the full participation of the students because it does not seem to provide comprehensible input, does not work as a tool constructing knowledge in the content subject and an obstacle for the leaner centeredness.