Background of the Study    

             Government has different definitions and meanings. It means different thing to different people in different situations. Some people may see it as a process, some may see it as an institution and others may see it as a subject. Government as a process implies the complex networking of system for purposes of rule making, rule implementation and rule adjudication (Obianyo, 2002). This in a simple parlance means the actual State administration. In this definition, people see Government from the point of what the body of people in administration can do for the ruled. Government as an institution connotes a series of accepted and regular procedures for the administration of the people in a State (Oriaku, 2000). Government as an institution is the most common perception of the term Government, in the sense that it falls within the common man’s daily usage of the term to describe those apparatuses or institutions of the State responsible for governance (Obianyo, 2002). Ezegbe (2006:113) defining Government as an institution states that it is “the body of persons who are engaged in the business of law making, law administration and law adjudication”. Government as an institution refers to machinery for State administration.

            Government as an academic field of study can be referred to as a subject of study. That is Government as a reading course in the secondary schools’ curriculum, colleges of education and universities. It is the study of agencies, political institutions and dynamics of the State (Anyaele, 1994). According to Obianyo (2002:166), government as a subject,


Emphasizes the study of the principles governing the organization of the State, and implementation within and across States. It also studies the behaviour of individuals, groups and organization in society, especially as regards their relationship to the State power; factors that generate conflicts within and between them and how these conflicts are resolved. This specialized field also involves the generation of concepts, formulation of theories and methods of understanding, explaining and predicting political phenomena.

            Government conveys different pictures depending on the context of use, the intention of the user; and the character of the socio-economic formation in which it is employed or it is supposed to describe. Nevertheless, Government as an academic field of study is the concern of this study.

            Throughout the era of colonialism in Nigeria government as a subject was never taught in Nigerian schools. However it was precisely introduced in 1970 (NPE,1977) and as well approved by west African Examination Council (WAEC) as one of the subjects in secondary school curricula. Government has a pride of place among the community of subjects though there seems to be a deliberate attempt by the colonial masters to delegate it to the background with the intention of blinding the people politically. It is pertinent to note that for any political system to succeed the people within the polity must be politically enlightened. In line with the above assertion, Kwame Nkruma in one of his works Africa Must Unite did not only call for the debunking of ravaging colonial educational structure but suggest in its stead a sound political education for the people. Following this, Nkrumah made Government a compulsory school subject in Ghana during his regime. Government as an academic field of study is planned to help students understand the state and the process of government. The importance of Government as a subject of study cannot be overemphasized.  Its objectives among others are to enable students to:

a.       Understand the concepts, principle, institutions and process of government;

b.      Recognise their role as informed citizens and their contributions towards the       achievement of national development;

c.       Become active participants in democratic process of the nation and their local government and;

d.      Appreciate the role of Nigeria as a member of the international community

e.       Appreciate the challenges and dynamics of past and present government in Nigeria.

f.       Recognise the role of ICT in e-government and in fostering the process of government in the world. (Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council, 2007).

            The importance of Government ranges from studying Government for its own sake to its practical application in day to day problem of individuals and society. The study of Government prepares the students to take active part in the government of the country as administrative officers, personnel officers, know their rights, duties and obligations as citizens; equips those interested in politics to be professional politicians; to understand the type of system of government adopted in their country and inculcates the spirit of nationalism and patriotism in the students (citizens) among others (Anyaele, 1994). Regrettably, despite these lofty objectives and importance of Government to national development, there is low performance of students in government at senior secondary schools (WAEC Chief Examiner’s report, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013). According to these WAEC chief examiners reports these poor performancey of students’ in Government may be as result of lack of knowledge of subject matter, poor communication skill and poor knowledge of current affairs on the part of students among others. The 2007 WAEC Chief examiner’s report attributes the student’s low achievement to the teaching method adopted by the teachers. From the personal observation of the researcher teachers in Nsukka education  zone still predominantly use the conventional teaching method.    

            Teaching method in Greek language “Metahodos”  means a way- Method is therefore derived from ‘metahodos’ (Esu & Inyang-Abia, 2004) and it means the right way for our purpose. From this, teaching method can be said to be a chosen systematized and ordered correct way through which the ‘act of teaching’ is performed in order to achieve the set objectives of instruction (Mezieobi,Fubara & Mezieobi, 2008). Various teaching methods are used by teachers in teaching of government aimed at bringing about meaningful learning and the realisation of Government objectives. . This includes lecture method, demonstration method, discovery method, project method, inquiry method, simulation method among others.

            There is no particular teaching method that is said to be the best at all times. A good teacher uses different method to teach different unit of the curriculum, bearing in mind the nature of the units. Government is made up of different units, therefore there is need to use different method that appeal to the units to teach for a better achievement in Government. NERDC (2007) recommended the use of interactive and participatory approach in teaching Government to make learning active.

            Nevertheless among the various methods that may be used to teach Government, the most commonly used is the lecture method. The lecture method employed in teaching government though with its own good side has some flaws, which might be one of the causes of the poor achievement and retention in government. According to Awotua-Efebo (2001), the lecture method is mainly teacher-centred with the students’ being consistently passive and content are thought as absolute knowledge. The traditional method of teaching failed in the recognition of the uniqueness of inquiry based nature of government and the learner’s individuality. Student learning remains largely based upon extracting knowledge from texts and notes, or methods based around the metaphor of acquisition (Sfard, 1998). This style of teaching rarely gives students the opportunity to apply their newfound knowledge to actual situations, resulting in a serious time lag between students learning and applying new knowledge (Raymond, 2010).  That is why Adenirin (1993) observed that teachers struggle to teach against the nature of children. Furthermore it does not facilitate the development of reasoning skills and process in the students. These among other reasons had not enhanced learning in students and thus had led to poor achievement and retention of students in government. The traditional pedagogical techniques of assigned readings, lectures, tests, and papers often fail to replicate the “real world.” As a result, some have turned to innovative methods like Inquiry method, discussion method, project method, simulation etc, to help achieve their course objectives. A shift towards a more student-centred approach has been taking place. The student’s role has shifted and now the student is leading the way, taking up the majority of the discussions and arguments while the teacher has become the moderator in the discussion. Simulation method which is one of the innovative methods has recorded success in other subjects and countries. Despite the success of the simulation method in other subjects, the adoption of this type of teaching method has been quite slow in Nigerian education system social science subjects and particularly in Government in senior secondary schools.

            However the teacher adopts method in teaching led to student’s high retention and achievement (Miriogu, 2012; Udeji, 2007; Udousoro 2002). The issues relating to achievement and retention as it concerns instructional strategies or method used in teaching need more clarification (Miriogu, 2012; Udeji, 2007; Udousoro 2002). Therefore, there is need to investigate more learner centred, activity oriented method or innovative method like simulation and its effects on achievement and retention. An ancient Chinese proverb says: I hear and I forget, I see and remember I do and I understand, clearly indicating that the idea of active learning producing understanding is not a new concept. “One must learn by doing the thing, for though you think you know it—you have no certainty until you try.”

            Simulation therefore is an innovative teaching method which is Learner centred activity-oriented teaching strategy. The word simulation comes from Latin word ‘similis’ meaning ‘like’ that is to act like, to resemble, to pretend to be, . Additionally, the format of simulations ranges from computerized games to elaborate, role-playing scenarios (Moore, 2009). While not all simulations involve role playing, for the purposes of this study role-playing simulation will be used. Role-play simulation refer to active learning techniques in which students try to “become another individual and, by assuming the role, to gain a better understanding of the person, as well as the actions and motivations that prompt certain behaviours…[and] explore their [own] feelings” (Moore, 2009; 209).“Simulations give students the chance to apply theory, develop critical skills, and provide a welcome relief from the everyday tasks of reading and preparing for classes” (Kanner, 2007). An additional benefit of simulations is the introduction of an aspect of realism into the students’ experience. Simulation is an educational tool where students learn through the application of theory and decision-making to a simulated real-world business scenario. The use of simulation techniques where students are allowed to project themselves into new classroom roles helps to improve classroom dialogue, active participation and transfer of learning (Watson, 1986).  This study therefore tries to find out the effect of simulation on students achievement and retention in some Government concepts at senior secondary school in Nsukka education zone.

             Academic achievement according to Jacobs (2008) depicts students’ performance on a measurement such as performance test, skill test, analytical thinking test etc. It is therefore, not out of place to describe academic achievement as gain in knowledge of students as a result of taking part in a learning activity or programme. Academic achievement is a result oriented construct that encapsulates the extent of performance in a desired task (Rix, 2010).  Ogunsaju (2004), states that the academic standard in all Nigerian institutions has fallen considerably below societal expectations. The learning of Government in secondary schools has not fared well in view of the end product resulting in the lack of understanding and consequently poor achievement and total nonchalance in the discharge of civic duties and responsibilities which the subject has as its cornerstone objective (Ugwu, 2013). Most students graduate from school without being able to exhibit the expected behaviour. Unfortunately evidence from literature showed that most teachers in Nigerian secondary school predominately use the conventional teaching method in teaching due to poor knowledge and none exposure to other learner centred method leading to poor achievement and retention (Anderson & Freedman, 2002; Omoniyi, 2006). Teaching in Nigeria still follows the traditional pattern even when the traditional method is neither promoting students’ interest nor achievement in the subject ( Iji, 2002). The whole process of education centres around two key concepts ‘teaching and learning’. Therefore, any loophole in the process of teaching is bound to affect learning and consequently students’ achievement and retention.

            Retention according to Hornby (2001) is the ability to remember things. Iji (2010), states that retention is the continued capacity to behave in particular way that has been learned. Iji (2010) asserts that retention is measured in collaboration with achievement. Retention according to Chauhan (1998) is a direct correlate of positive transfer. Gagne (1970) noted that the type of material included in the teaching programme, structured in a carefully formed sequence is quite resistant to forgetting. This implies that any instructional model which is effective in enhancing achievement can as well be effective in enhancing retention. Although much of literature suggests that simulation method helps students’ to achieve and retain better there is no consensus among researchers as regards the effect on gender

            Gender according to Ekeh (2000) implies the character of being male or female, man or women, boy or girl. Offorma (2004) viewed gender as a learned socially constructed condition ascribed to male and female. Gender differences in achievement have been examined for some time resulting in a substantial body of literature (Jack and Johannes, 2001).  As observed by Ogunkola (1997), girls tend to perform better than boys in reading and verbal skills, while the reverse is the case in manipulative and physical productive tasks. Fabunmi (2004) in a study discovered that gender composition has a significant relationship with students’ academic performance and that gender composition has a significant influence on secondary school students’ academic performance. While some other researchers have it that gender has no influence in students’ academic achievement and retention (Iloputaife, 2001 &Eze, 2001). In other words there is no consensus among researchers as regards the influence of gender on students’ academic achievement and retention. Hence additionally this study sorts to investigate the relevance and possible influence of gender on students’ achievement and retention in Government at senior secondary school in Nsukka education zone.

            However while much of the literature reviewed showed that simulation has been studied in other fields of study and area (Bonwell, 1996; Fink, 2003; Poling & Hupp, 2009),there is dearth of empirical evidence to support this assertion in Government at senior secondary schools in Nsukka education zone.  This study therefore seeks to find out the effect of simulation method on students’ achievement and retention in Government at senior secondary school level in Nsukka education zone.

Statement of the Problem

            It quiet worrisome that despite the importance of government to national development, students’ achievement in Government is still at declining point. The achievement of students’ in WAEC has been poor. This  decline in students academic achievement has been attributed to so many factors which include poor communication skill, poor knowledge of the subject matter, teaching method to mention a few. WAEC Chief Examiner’s report 2007 attributed students’ poor achievement in Government to the teaching method adopted by teachers.

             Research in education has shown that teaching and learning in Nigeria still follows predominately the traditional method of teaching especially lecture method. The decline in academic achievement and retention of students could possibly be as a result of the ineffective teaching method employed by the teacher. Hence the search for better methods and newer innovations. Research findings revealed that simulation method has been of tremendous effect in other subjects and area. However it is not known if simulation method will have the same effect in Government in Nsukka Education Zone

            Though students poor academic achievement has been seriously blamed on teaching method employed by the teacher, the influence of gender on students’ achievement with regards to teaching methods remain unresolved issue among researchers. Consequently, the influence of gender on students’ academic achievement as regard simulation method will also make part of this study. However the main problem of this study is the determination of the effect of simulation method on students’ achievement and retention in Government.

Purpose of Study

              The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of simulation method on students’ achievement and retention in Government at senior secondary school in Nsukka education zone. Specifically the study sought to determine the:

1. Effect of simulation method on students’ achievement in Government.

2. Effect of simulation method on students’ retention in Government.

3. Extent simulation method exerts influence on students’ achievement in Government across gender.

4. Extent simulation method exerts influence on students’ retention in Government across gender.

Significance of Study

            The result of this study will have both theoretical and practical significance. The theoretical significance of this study is linked to constructivist theory. Constructivist theory holds that humans generate knowledge and meaning from an interaction between their experiences and their ideas. The constructivist theory is a learning approach which argues that individuals learn best when they actively construct knowledge and understanding through interacting with others (Santrock, 2004).  A strong proponent of constructivist theory is Vygotsky. Vygotsky (1978) acknowledges the conceptual shift from individual to collaboration and social interaction which could be found in simulation (Rogoff, 1998 cited in Santrock, 2004). This theory is seen to be strongly linked to the present study on the grounds that students will learn best as they actively construct knowledge through their interactions with one another which simulation readily provides. During infancy, it is an interaction between their experiences and their reflexes or behaviour-patterns. Piaget called this system of knowledge schemata. Simulation method of teaching is a teaching method that involves students’ active participation through role play. Therefore the outcome of this study may help to strengthen the constructivist theory.

Apart from theoretical significance, the result of this study will also be of practical benefit. Practically the result of this study will hopefully be of immense benefits to Government teachers and students, authors, curriculum planners, government and the society at large.

             The findings of this study will be helpful to Government teachers. It will provide a sort of guide to them. It will reveal the efficacy of simulation to the teachers based on which they would see it as one of the more effective method of teaching Government and begin to use it. In line with this it is hoped that the teaching and learning of Government will become more interesting, effective, meaningful and less tedious on the part of the teacher. The study will also reveal to students the various interesting activities they would be involved in while studying Government. This would stimulate and retain their interest in Government and enable them to better understand government concepts to be able to achieve and retain better in the subject.

 The findings of this study would hopefully spur authors of Government textbook to begin to publish textbooks that will appeal to the interest, experiences and ability of students. This study will inform authors of the need to include learner-centred activities in the textbooks to make it more beneficial to the students

            Also if this research establishes the efficacy of simulation in enhancing students’ achievement and retention in government, the result could trigger off more researches and innovations in teaching Government. Based on the findings, workshops and seminars on how to use the simulation method in teaching different topics in Government to enhance better understanding in the subject could then be sponsored by relevant government body.

            Finally the benefit of effective teaching and learning of any subject has a direct implication to the society. Effective teaching and learning of Government in school manifest in the society in a number of ways, for instance, the application of the knowledge of the subject in solving and handling political problems and issues and the discharge of their civic responsibility and obligations in the society by the students. This will make the society to be more organised and peaceful. The students can apply the knowledge only when they learn the subject well through innovative teaching method such as simulation method.

Scope of Study

            The study was delimited to the investigation of the effect of the simulation method of teaching on students’ achievement and retention in Government. The investigation was restricted to the topic – Electoral process and Pre-colonial political administration in Nigeria as found in the section of government meant for SS11 students.   The choice of the topic was informed by the teachers who identified the topics as one of those that students found difficult to learn.

            The study will be carried out with only SS11 Government students in four co-educational secondary schools in Nsukka education zone. The decision was taken to ensure that gender which is one of the variables of interest in the study, receives adequate attention.

Research Questions

The following research questions will guides the study;

1.  What are the mean achievement scores of SS11 Government students taught   with simulation method and those taught with the lecture method?

2.  What are the mean retention scores of SS11 Government students taught with simulation method and those taught with the lecture method?

3. What are the differences in the achievement mean scores of male and female SS11 student in Government achievement test when taught using simulation method?

4. What are the differences in the mean retention scores of male and female SS11 student in Government achievement test when taught using simulation method?


The following hypotheses, which will be tested at 0.05 level of significance, will guide the study:

H01: There is no significant difference between the mean achievement scores of SS11 Government students taught using simulation method and those taught using the lecture method.

H02: There is no significant difference between the mean retention scores of SS11 Government students taught the Government  using simulation method and those taught using the lecture method      

H03: There is no significant difference between the mean achievement score of male and female students in Government achievement test.

H04: There is no significant difference between the mean retention score of male and female students in Government retention test.




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