1.1 Background to the Study

Geography according to Majasan, (1995) is the dynamic science that describes the earth as the home of man and the stage on which he carves permanent features to aid his growth and development.. Therefore it is a subject in senior secondary school that enlightens the students about their environment and the spatial interaction at large.

Geography is offered at the senior secondary school level and the objectives of teaching and learning the subject were obtained by the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council [NERDC] (2005); The West Africa Examination Council [WAEC] (2014); as well as the National Examination Council [NECO] (2010).

          Their respective objectives are considerably intervention and can be presented as follow:

  1. To understand the concept of man-environment relation. That is to examine the life of man within his physical, social and cultural environment and to explain their interaction
  2. To acquire a basic knowledge of the nature and functioning of physical and human environment particularly in understanding their inter-relationship and the resulting issues and condition
  3. To understand the concept of differential characters and the spatial relationship of the surface features of earth.
  4. To organize and formulate principle according to acquired geographical concept and to apply these principle to interpret and analyze spatial problems in the immediate and wider environment.
  5. To develop skills and techniques for accurate, orderly and objective of geographical investigation to be carried out both in the classroom and in the immediate environment.

            The above objectives are aimed at making the students to understand man in space with emphasis in area differentiation, human activities and special organization and to make them to be better informed about their immediate environment (Olawepo, 2002). In the measurement of student academic performances in geography as a school subject; various tasks are undertaken within the school and outside the school. Within the school, such exercises include assignments, laboratory and field/garden works supervised by the geography teacher, teacher made tests, terminal examinations, continuous assessment etc. The results from the above exercises are graded and reported by the subject teacher as part of the progress report on the student.

            Furthermore, outside the school, external and independent examining bodies have emerged over the years to validate the assessment of student academic performance in geography. These examination bodies include the West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO), National Association for Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) and other external examination bodies. These examination bodies use standardized tests to measure student progress in Geography. Such tests items measure students’ performances in all the secondary schools with respect to the stipulated national curriculum, making use of the same syllabus.

             In view of the above fact, Edwards, (1993) noted that such examinations administered for purpose of national, regional or local monitoring covers the same content, topics and levels of difficulty are administered and scored using the same marking scheme for all candidates taking the same examination. This constitutes a strong basis to monitor and measure trends in performances overtime and to equate test scores from one examination to the next as well as the disparities among schools, districts, zones and states. However, in pursuit of better and satisfactory student performance in geography in Nigerian Secondary Schools examination, West African Examination Council (WAEC), (2006) recommended that the study of geography should be supplemented by visits to well established government and private geographical tourism center, museums, human related activities to geography and other institutions related to geography.

This recommendation has become an accepted practice as part of the curriculum and extra-curricular activities in many secondary schools in Ilorin Metropolis. Such visits are packaged in various names such as field trips, excursions, tours etc. Organized and guided geography field-trips are either for pleasure, education, recreation or others. In-fact, Fry, (2009) admitted that taking students outside the comfort of the classroom can be a daunting step for some teachers, but admits strongly that field-trips provide unique opportunities to apply learning to the real world. To this end Offsted, (2008) reported that when planned and implemented well, learning outside the classroom contributed significantly to raising standards and improving pupils personnel, social and emotional development. It is a journey into the land of knowledge for the purpose of acquiring practical knowledge and skill for a specified operation or occupation, (Nwankwo, 2006). In what appears like a tradition, several secondary schools in Ilorin Metropolis organize field trips for their students to such area of their interest.

The benefits of field trips in educational development among students in secondary schools cannot be over-emphasized. It has motivational effects on students towards accepting geography as a subject of study in secondary school that diversify into different profession. It also has the potential to expose and educate students in secondary schools in practical and real knowledge of what geography is, if well designed, results into higher student academic performance in all study areas.

WAEC/NECO results in the past 10 years show that student enrollment in Geography has dwindled from a height of 70% to 50% (even lesser) in Ilorin Metropolis (ministry of education, Ilorin). The student’s results have also not justified. Some teachers in secondary schools in Ilorin Metropolis believe that field trips to tourism, museum centers might make a greater impact in learning of geography. Thus in some years back, these secondary school teachers in selected secondary schools in Ilorin Metropolis started taking their students on geography field-trips.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

             A systems approach to educational administration attempts to view the school as a unified, purposeful organization or as a system composed of interrelated parts. If one is to assess the state of a secondary educational system in order to improve its performance and probably plan for its future meaningfully, the relationship between its critical components must be examined as an entity, (Onuoha, 1995).      

There is so much to cover within a space of time, a situation further aggravated by the introduction of the 6-3-3-4 system, (Onuoha 1995). This is why Agbo, (1996) opined that the logical reaction of students to the extensive content of geography is the reduction in the number of candidates offering geography for West African Examination Council examinations. Agbo (1996) in a study carried out in Imo State discovered that map work and physical Geography are the most difficult aspects of Geography. He attributed this to loss of interest by students due to defective methods of teaching, nature of subject matter and time available for the subject matter.

Thus it confirms that teachers shy away from some aspects of geography. Onuoha, (1995) strongly believed that concepts, theories and ideas are internalized only when they have been represented and illustrated with real life situations and advocated for it. Yalokwu and Amadasun, (1990) claimed that often times, the duration of the geography period does not allow the teachers and students time to really interact with the local environment under study. The geography teachers presently are finding it difficult to integrate all these aspects of geography within three years. It is a situation caused by the innovation of 6-3-3-4 system which has caused a chain reaction in the whole system. Invariably, this will directly affect the quality of the students output. Generally, all these go to confirm that the processes involved in the system are very important for reliable, qualitative teaching and for greater productivity. The federal government of Nigeria also recommends developing innovative materials in schools to enhance the teaching and learning process (FRN, 2009).

The empirical studies revealed that students taught using community resources as field-trip performed better than their counterparts exposed to the traditional expository/route learning method. Meanwhile, the teaching and learning of the subject, which is practical oriented, is commonly taught verbally. Besides that, Amosa, (2013) investigated the effect of community resources on Senior Secondary School students’ performance in Ilorin metropolis, Kwara state. The research revealed that students taught using community resources performed better than students taught using the conventional method. Yusuf (2006) studied the effect of field trip on Senior Secondary Schools students’ performance in social studies in Ilorin metropolis. His findings revealed that students taught using field-trip performed better than their counterparts taught using the conventional method.

Although the learning of Geography is not limited only to the classroom activities, not much is researched in the areas regarding empirically documented works about the use of field-trip to learn practical skills in Geography in secondary schools in Ilorin.

1.3 Research Questions                            

The following research questions shall be addressed in the study.

  1. What is the academic performance of students exposed to field-trip teaching strategy and those taught with conventional methods in Geography in Ilorin metropolis?
  2. What is the effect of field-trip teaching strategy on students’ academic performance in Geography in Ilorin metropolis?
  3. What is the effect of field-trip teaching strategy on male and female students’ academic performance in geography in Ilorin metropolis of Kwara State?
  4. What is the interaction effect on gender and treatment on students’ academic performance in Geography in Ilorin metropolis of Kwara State?