Social Education 55(6) pps. 375-378
©1991 National Council for the Social Studies
Samuel F. Ogundare
Social psychologists (Zimbardo 1976) who study social influence and attitudes are concerned with basic issues such as "What conditions and variables cause individuals to form and change their attitudes, their beliefs and their behavior?" and "How do we know whether an act, by ourselves or others, is freely chosen or is the consequence of coercive pressures?" Today, Nigerian children and adults are bombarded by print and electronic media, advertisers, the government, and religious groups attempting to influence the way they think, feel, and act. Schools attempt to influence their thinking; friends influence their style of dress, vocabulary, music, and ideas of what constitutes an acceptable date. Their parents stress the importance of personal hygiene, certain sexual attitudes, and much more.
A typical and recent planned policy of the Babangida administration in Nigeria is Mass Mobilization for Self-Reliance, Social Justice and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), initiated and developed in 1987. MAMSER hoped to influence attitude formation in Nigerian social and political polity. Like its predecessors, such as the Ethical Revolution and War Against Indiscipline for mass mobilization, the operations and logistics of MAMSER assume that attitudes can, in fact, be systematically formed or modified. Some experts (Uku 1987) consider MAMSER a call for change of attitude, values, and perception as well as a new approach to providing pragmatic solutions to mundane problems. Yalokan (1987) analyzed the objectives and strategies of MAMSER and concluded that MAMSER is geared toward building individual citizens' capabilities for attaining self-fulfillment and contributing to social, economic, and political development of both the community and the nation. MAMSER relies on rallies, widespread distribution of pamphlets and posters, and mass media to influence the sources of attitude formation.
In his Rhetoric, Aristotle attributes the persuasive influence of a communication to three distinguishable factors: ethos, logos, and pathos. These correspond to communicator characteristics, message features, and the emotional nature of the audience. This paradigm involves numerous complexities. Many other sources of attitude formation are present. One source is information, either learned through direct observation, received from others, or inferred. Other sources include observation of models and the consequences of their actions, and rewards and punishments meted out for holding or not holding a given attitude. Attitudes may also be formed through by-products of repressed conflicts or their displaced forms (psychodynamic conflicts).
Education, in its broadest sense, provides a framework that can synthesize and employ almost all these sources for the ultimate goal of attitude formation in children. In addition to using many sources, democratic education, as opposed to propaganda, allows a person to choose freely, since he or she is aware of all the options and the possible consequences and contingencies. Propaganda, in contrast, is systematic, widespread promotion of particular ideas, doctrines, or practices intended to further one's own cause (Zimbardo 1976).
Social Studies Education in Nigerian Schools
Social studies education in the Nigerian primary and secondary educational systems is aimed toward social attitude formation. Kissock (1981) explains that the need for establishing social studies programs arises when a society determines that it requires formal instruction to develop a common set of understandings, skills, attitudes, and actions concerning human relationships among all members of the society. In many countries of the world, social studies education has been introduced "as a partial solution for social problems" and "as a tool for national development" (Kissock 1981). Lawton and Dufour (1976) assert that the general objectives of social studies may be seen as developing in children a critical and balanced awareness. Obemeata (1983), associating himself with other social studies educators (Adaraledgbe 1980, DuBey 1980, and Orlandi 1971), argues that the most important goal of social studies is the development of sociocivic attitudes and values in children. To avoid the type of indoctrination that White (1966) distinguished as the intention that "the child should believe that 'p' is true in such a way that nothing will shake this belief," modern social studies programs emphasize the promotion of how to think over what to think (Ogundare 1988).
Makinde (1986) explicated the efficacy of the educational process in promoting attitude formation and modification compared to processes such as those exemplified in the strategies of MAMSER. Examining the various phases of the Buhari-Idiagbon War Against Indiscipline, Makinde opined that any other "war" against such phenomena as hunger and starvation, illiteracy, ignorance, and other kinds of avarice could begin in school. In addition, an enduring proposition holds that teaching and learning social studies is more effective than persuasive and propagandist strategies in achieving sociocivic attitude formation in children (Jajua 1984). MAMSER assumes that the objectives of social studies education in Nigeria are essential and adequate for the mass mobilization of the youth. How valid are these propositions and assumptions?
This study aims to verify empirically the validity of the proposition that the objectives of social studies are essential for, and will facilitate attitude formation of, Nigerian youth through sociopolitical mobilization. Hypotheses included:
A five-part questionnaire on social studies for mass mobilization of youth for self-reliance was constructed for this study and was validated and field-tested at Oyo State College of Education, Ilesa. Part one explained the seven objectives of MAMSER to respondents. Part two required respondents to provide personal information, e.g., age, gender, academic qualification, and professional experience. Parts three, four, and five set forth broad objectives of social studies in cognitive, process, and affective domains, respectively. Each domain included eight broad objectives.
Each objective was preceded by a perspective scale of five points; respondents were asked to consider how essential and adequate each objective was for mass mobilization of youth vis-à-vis the MAMSER objectives. A respondent's score was calculated by adding the weighted points (from 0 to 4) on each domain and on the total objectives. The instrument was administered in February 1989. T-test was calculated to analyze the results, with P=0.05 as the acceptable level of significance.
Consensus across varying academic qualifications
To determine the unanimity of view between experts with NCE and university exposure to social studies on the essentiality and adequacy of social studies objectives for mass mobilization, the scores of the two groups were calculated and analyzed using the t-test (table 1).
Table 1 shows that the calculated t-value (pooled variance) is 0.9481, which is less than the t-table of 1.96, where df=152 and P=0.05. The directional hypothesis confirms a unanimity of opinion among the NCE and the university students and graduates on the adequacy of social studies for the mobilization of the youth. The two groups agree that, compared with stated objectives of MAMSER, the teaching of social studies, judged by the stated objectives, is adequate for mass mobilization of the youth in terms of attitude formation.
Consensus across gender
To further validate the proposition, and to examine the views according to gender, the male subjects' scores were compared to the female subjects' scores (table 2).
Table 2 shows that the calculated t-value is 0.0808, which is less than the t-table of 1.96, where df=152 and P=0.05, thus confirming the null hypothesis that there is no significant difference between the opinion of males and females on the essentiality of social studies for mass mobilization of the youth.
Consensus across varying experience
The thoughts and observations of the social studies students were compared with those of the social studies teachers on the adequacy of social studies education for mass mobilization (table 3).
Table 3 shows that no significant difference exists between the students' and the teachers' views. The calculated t-value of 0.6445 is less than the t-table of 1.96, with df=152 and P=0.05. The means of the two groups fall between "strongly agree" and "agree," indicating that both teachers and students share the view that teaching social studies is relevant and essential for mass mobilization of the youth.
Degree of essentiality among domains of objectives
Although teaching social studies is quite essential for the mass mobilization of the youth, we need to identify which domain of social studies objectives is most germane and which is least germane to mass mobilization. Structurally, social studies objectives are drawn along three domains: cognitive, process, and affective (Minnesota Department of Education 1977; African Social Studies Program 1985, 5-13; and Kissock 1981). In the teaching-learning interaction, however, the boundaries are not so neatly demarcated.
Using nonindependent t-ratio, the means of the three groups were paired and compared in three ways: (a) cognitive versus process (AB); (b) cognitive versus affective (AC); and (c) process versus affective (BC). The findings are presented in tables 4, 5, and 6.
Table 4 shows that a significant difference exists between the relevance of cognitive objectives and process objectives to the social and political mobilization of the youth. Based on the respondents' views, the cognitive objectives are more essential to mass mobilization than are the process objectives. The calculated t-value of 5.7496 is significant even at 0.001 alpha (which at t-table is 3.29). Table 5 demonstrates no significant difference between the relevance of cognitive and affective objectives to mass mobilization of the youth; both domains are equally essential. Table 6 indicates a significant difference between the relevance of process and affective objectives to the social and political mobilization of the youth. The affective objectives are more relevant than those of the process objectives. Hence, among the three broad objectives, the process objectives are the least relevant and the cognitive and affective objectives are almost equally relevant. Any difference might be attributed to chance error.
The results of this study indicate that MAMSER objectives and the objectives of social studies education are generally in agreement. The proposition that social studies education will be effective for mass mobilization is therefore a sound one, and not simply the belief of those who developed the social studies program. This study also confirms the proposition that social studies education can help to inculcate in Nigerian youth the values and habits that will lead to the emergence of a self-reliant civic society.
The consensus among males and females, among experts of varying academic qualifications, and among experts of varying experiences significantly validates empirically the relevance of social studies to the mass mobilization of the youth. Although Jajua (1984), making a case for a curriculum in ethical and moral mobilization for Nigerian youth, identified the mass media's importance, his main thrust was that subjects like social studies and language arts will be more effective for the mobilization of youth than persuasive and propagandist strategies.
The findings of this study also support Makinde's (1986) conclusion that any "war" against such phenomena as hunger, illiteracy, ignorance, and political avarice should start in the schools. This position is similar to that found in the United States; Orlandi (1971) strongly contends that the purpose of social studies in the United States is to produce a cynical approach to patriotism by focusing primarily on citizenship education.
This study also makes it possible to order, according to degree of essentiality, the various domains of social studies objectives. This study established that the cognitive and affective domains are more essential than the process objectives. Although the study does not explain why, it may be attributed to the emphasis in process objectives on "the development of competencies of listening, speaking, reading, writing, calculating, observation, and analysis in order to acquire, organize, evaluate and report information for purposes of solving problems" (Kissock 1981).
These findings have some implications for the government, for governmental agencies responsible for mass mobilization, and for schools and social studies experts and teachers. This empirical verification of the essentiality of social studies for mass mobilization implies for government that a course of study already exists in our school program that is at least equally effective as persuasive propaganda in systematically influencing the way our youth think, feel, and act about our collective national goals. As a course of study, the subject does so in a manner that is not coercive, propagandist, or ephemeral. For lasting and meaningful results in mass mobilization, the Nigerian government should, therefore, support the teaching of social studies with adequate resources-materials, posters, pamphlets, handbills, badges, flags, and organization of youth camps oriented toward national values and habits. Similarly, governmental agencies like MAMSER should recognize social studies education as a strong partner in progress. A proportion of their financial and material resources should be allocated to the teaching of social studies. MAMSER rallies, lectures, and symposia should be developed according to various age levels, and those that are relevant should be directed to the schools. The schools provide a substantial audience for forming, modifying, or improving attitudinal components (cognitive, affective, and process).
This study should also impress upon social studies teachers the prime duty of our careers, namely, that we are attitude creators, reformers, modifiers, qualifiers, and stabilizers. All our cognitive and process teaching should aim toward social attitude formation necessary for our national consciousness, development, and self-reliance. Social studies education will not only lose its luster but will also forfeit its relevance if and when it fails to promote acceptable social values and habits. Further replication or modification of this study in other parts of the country will yield additional information on the relevance of social studies education to social mobilization of youth in Nigeria.
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