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This study aimed at exploring the effect of the constructivist teaching method on students’ academic performance in security education in public junior secondary schools in Ojo local government, area of Lagos state.

The researcher constructed a questionnaire and the questionnaire was used to collect data. The study sample consisted of two junior secondary school (II) classes in two schools chosen as a purposeful sample which were distributed into two groups as follows: The first group was the experimental group and was taught by using the constructivist teaching method; this group consisted of (50) students; the second group was the control group and were taught using the traditional method; this group consisted of (50) students.

The questionnaire was introduced to university professors and educational supervisors, Modifications were made according to their advice.

The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics consisting of frequency count, mean, and average percentage. Three hypotheses were tested and all three hypotheses were positive. The study concluded that students can generate new ideas from existing knowledge when taught through the constructivist teaching method.

There was a significant difference in the average percentage of male students compared to female students when it comes to generating ideas to solving social science problems, particularly in security education.

The study also concluded that the perception of students towards the use of constructivist teaching methods in the teaching and learning process was positive in public junior secondary schools in Ojo local government area of Lagos state.


Word count: 287

Keywords: Constructivist teaching method, Perception, Performance, Security Education



Title Page i

Certification ii

Dedication iii

Acknowledgements iv

Table of Contents v

Abstract vi


  • Background to the Study 1
  • Statement of the Problem 7
  • Purpose of the Study 8
  • Research Questions 8
  • Research Hypotheses 9
  • Significance of the Study 9
  • Scope of Study 10
  • Limitations of the Study 10
  • Definition of Terms 11



2.1 Introduction 12

2.2 Conceptual Review 12

2.2.1Concept of Security Education 12

2.2.2 Purpose of Security Education 14

2.3 Concept of Constructivist Method 17

2.3.1 Why is Constructivism Important 18

2.3.2 Benefit of a Constructivist Classroom 21

2.3.3 Constructivism as a Tool in Implementing Curriculum 22

2.3.4 Role of a Teacher in a Constructivist Classroom 23

2.4 Theoretical Framework 25

2.5 Empirical Review 37

2.6 Summary of Literature 44



3.1 Introduction 45

3.2 Research Design 45

3.3 Population of the Study 46

3.4 Sample and Sampling Techniques 46

3.5    Research Instrument 46

3.6    Validity of Instruments 46

3.7    Reliability of the Instrument 47

3.8    Method of  Data Analysis 47

3.9 Summary 47


4.1 Introduction 48

4.2 Research Participants’ Characteristics and Classification 48

4.3 Analysis of the Research Questions

4.4 Summary of Result……………………………………………………………….41




5.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………..41

5.2 Discussions of the Findings of Research Question One……………..……………..41

5.3 Discussions of the Findings of Research Question Two…………..………………….42

5.4 Discussions of the Findings of Research Question Three…………………………….42

5.5 Summary of the Study…………………………………………………………………43

5.6 Conclusion of the study……………………..………………………………………44

5.7 Recommendations…………………………..…………………………………………..4




  • Background to the Study of Effect of the Constructivist Teaching Method on Students

Security Education is one of the general subjects taught at junior secondary schools in Nigeria. Security education involves the process of imparting knowledge, skills, and awareness related to security practices and measures to individuals or groups. It aims to promote a comprehensive understanding of potential threats, risks, and vulnerabilities that can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information, assets, or systems. Security education encompasses various aspects, including cyber security, physical security, personal safety, and risk management.

The primary goal of security education is to empower individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to make informed decisions and take appropriate actions to protect themselves, their organizations, and the resources they are responsible for.

It involves raising awareness about security best practices, creating a security-conscious culture, and fostering a proactive mindset toward identifying and mitigating potential security risks. In this context, Security education addresses a wide range of topics, such as threat landscape, secure practices, data protection and privacy, incident response, security policies and procedures, social engineering awareness, security technologies

According to Nigerian Educational Research Development Council, (2010), the main objective of studying security education at junior secondary school is the formation of the young people’s conscience for the benefit of society through the preparation of an aware and educated generation of security immunity (Al-Sultan, 2009).

It seeks to consolidate the prevailing community values that call for the protection of young people (Al-Maliki, 2006), so the importance of security education lies in the protection of individuals and communities to fight against the crimes and accidents, and fortify the students from deviant ideas which affect the different social, psychological, economic and cultural aspects (Al-Shahri, 2010).

Effective security education employs a combination of methods, including training sessions, workshops, awareness campaigns, online resources, and simulations. It should be tailored to the specific needs of the audience, considering their roles, responsibilities, and level of technical expertise.

Continuous reinforcement and updates are crucial to keep up with emerging threats and evolving security practices. By investing in security education, individuals and organizations can create a security-conscious culture, reduce the likelihood of security incidents, and improve overall resilience in the face of cyber security threats and risks.

Determining students’ success, need to be assessed. Recent years studies examining individual differences in learning are most popular. Applied assessment should have greater importance for students to be able to show their personal potential.

From this aspect, the constructivist method of learning becomes an essential approach.

Constructivist method of learning can be used as a dependable, current assessment method and as a research tool, which gives a great advantage on academic studies. To achieve the above-stated objectives, security education teachers should acquire the necessary test construction skills and know the processes of standardizing instruments for the assessment of students.

The West African Examination Council in 1992 noted that one of the major constraints to achieving its objectives were found to be inability of teachers to develop the desired test items necessary for assessing the learners. According to Ubani as cited in Obidegwu (2008), the performance of learners depends on a large extent, on the quality of training received by teachers in test construction. One of the primary goals of using the constructivist teaching method in teaching security education is that students learn how to learn by giving them the training to take initiative for their own learning experiences.

Constructivist teaching is based on constructivist learning theory.

This theoretical framework holds that learning always builds upon the knowledge that a student already has; this prior knowledge is called a schema.


Because all learning is filtered through pre-existing schemata, constructivists suggest that learning is more effective when a student is actively engaged in the learning process rather than attempting to receive knowledge passively. A wide variety of methods claim to be based on constructivist learning theory.

Most of these methods rely on some form of guided discovery where the teacher avoids most direct instruction and attempts to lead the students through questions and activities to discover, discuss, appreciate, and verbalize the new knowledge. Constructivism is a kind of learning strategy that lays emphasis on active role of learners in the process of constructing their own knowledge.

Constructivism according to Fosnot (2005) is the concept that learners actively construct their own knowledge and meaning from their experiences.

The implication of constructivism according to Kato and Kamoi (2001) is that the child becomes very autonomous refusing to be governed by reward and punishment. Nwafor (2007) explained that the new wave of changes is changing the educational goals to not just equipping the learner with basic knowledge, skills, and values but with higher cognitive skills such as problem-solving and thinking, that will enable the learner to adapt freely in a rapidly changing world.

In the constructivist classroom, the teacher’s role is to prompt and facilitate discussion. Thus, the teacher’s main focus should be on guiding students by asking questions that will lead them to develop their own conclusions on the subject. Traditionally, assessment in the classrooms is based on testing.

In this style, it is important for the student to produce the correct answers. However, in constructivist teaching, the process of gaining knowledge is viewed as being just as important as the product. Thus, assessment is based not only on tests, but also on observation of the student, the student’s work, and the student’s points of view.

The lecture method on the other hand, is a method of teaching in which the teacher delivers the lesson to students with little or no active participation of the students. It is a teacher-centered approach involving largely a one-way form of communication from the teacher to the students.

For this reason, it is termed a didactic approach because most of the talking is carried out by the teacher while the students remain passive listeners, taking down note. At the secondary school level, there is a strong objection to the exclusive use of the lecture method in teaching science.

However, one important indicator of successful learning is learning achievement. Achievements are evidence of how successful a person’s efforts are. Students’ achievements are influenced by various factors. One factor influencing learning achievement is critical thinking skills.

If students have good critical thinking skills, then students have good learning outcomes. Critical thinking skills are considered as an important skill in education because it has a crucial role in a successful life in today’s evolving world. According to experts, critical thinking is an inseparable part of education at any level because it is needed by humans to face today’s world, which includes thinking, analyzing, evaluating, choosing, and providing solutions for the problems.

Reports by Chief Examiners of the Examination bodies in Nigeria like the Basic Education Certification Examination (BECE, 2011) indicated that students’ Academic Performance in Security Education is not encouraging over the years. Academic Performance according to Ogundukun, and Adeyemo, (2010) is seen as the exhibition of knowledge attains or skills developed by students in a subject designed by test scores assigned by teachers.

Students’ poor academic performance especially in post primary institutions in the country has been of great concern to parents, scholars, educators, those in the education delivery industry and government at large. Many people have wondered what could be responsible for this.

Students’ academic performance and educational attainment have been studied within different frameworks. Many of them have a focus on parents’ education, occupation or home background (like family income, activities of the family and work methods), while other studies look at it from the teachers’ variables (such as teachers’ age, experience, education, gender, etc), school variables (such as environment, buildings and structures, location etc), students variables (such as attitudes, self-concept, self-esteem, study habit, interest, etc.) or parents support (such as achievement, motivation or parental attitudes, education, the aspirations of parents etc.).

A cluster of other variables has been implicated as being responsible for the dismal performance of students in science subjects. These include government-related variables, curriculum-related variables, examination bodies, and textbooks-related variables.

Apart from these variables, some specific variables has been identified by Amazigo in Betiko (2002), such as poor primary school background in mathematics, lack of interest on the part of the students, lack of incentives for the teachers, incompetent teachers in the primary schools, students not interested in hard work, the perception that science, technology and mathematics are difficult, large class and psychological fear of the subject.

Often time, the teacher is blamed for poor performance and even when the student is blamed, explanations are proffered only in terms of the student’s cognitive or intellectual ability.

Little or no consideration is given to the fact that the student’s conception of himself or herself in the science subjects (where physics is one) could affect his or her achievement in science generally. Little attention is paid to the fact that a child’s attitude towards a subject could also influence his or her performance in the subject.

This poor perception of the subject prior to learning could lead to poor achievement (Vulda, 2012). STAN, (2002) as cited by Ojimba,(2012) was of the view that a negative attitude developed through repeated failure emanated from poor perception, anxiety and fear of the subject. Anxiety can be generated on the part of the student if he is not certain of the prospect of his line of thought.

It is therefore a key factor in any endeavour because it affects one’s ability to endure, concentrate, and perceive. It has been observed that so many students fear physics and such fear is characterized by mass disenchantment among the students towards the subject.

The end product is the declining popularity of the subject over the years.

Abdulraheem (2004) stated that beliefs are the ideas people are committed to, sometimes called core values. They shape goals, drive decisions, create discomfort when violated, and stimulate ongoing critique.

There are a number of suggestions that apart from school-related factors, the student’s achievements are a facet of attitudes that students have. Wasike (2013) stated that academic performance is an individual’s inherent potentials in terms of intelligence combined with other sociological factors.

He identified personality factors such as anxiety, achievements, motivation and level of interest as factors that affect academic performance. Students with high self-efficacy received higher grades than those with low self-efficacy and student with negative self-concept have poor academic performance.


Therefore academic performance is a facet of many interrelated variables; key among them is the inherent students’ effort, teacher’s inputs, and school environment and students attitudes.

  • Statement of problem

Security Education is perceived as a very easy subject for students from the junior secondary school. It is well known that students consider security education as a least problematic area within the realm of social science and it traditionally attracts more students than other social science subjects, but some studies have shown that about 45% of security education students actually fail security education because of the negligence towards it being perceived as an easy subject.

Research has made us know that attitude towards social science change with exposure to social science, but the direction of change may be related to the quality of that exposure, the learning environment and the teaching method.

Based on the above, some studies have been conducted to determine the factors that affect students’ achievement in security education. From these studies, some basic factors can be listed including; teaching-learning approaches, method of studying, intelligence, gender, motivation, teachers’ attitude, student’s attitude, self-adequacy, cognitive style of students, career interest, socio-economic levels, influence of parents, etc.

Most of these studies revealed that constructivist method of teaching significantly predicted students’ performance, while a lot also revealed that the constructivist method of teaching alone without ability, personal effort and initiative did not significantly predict better academic performance. Since research findings on how the constructivist method of teaching predicts students’ achievement does not lead itself to simple summary, there is therefore the need for further research especially in security education, which is the concern of the researcher.

1.3    Purpose of the Study

The main aim/purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between constructivist teaching method and junior secondary school students’ academic performance in security education. Specifically, this study sought to;

  1. Determine whether students are able to generate new ideas from existing knowledge.
  2. Determine the extent to which male and female students are able to generate new knowledge from an existing knowledge as they relate to solving social science problems after being exposed to constructivist method of teaching.
  3. Determine students’ perception towards the use of constructivist approach in teaching and learning process.
    • Research Questions
  1. Are students able to generate new ideas from existing knowledge?
  2. To what extent to which male and female students are able to generate new knowledge from an existing knowledge as they relate to solving social science problems after being exposed to constructivist method of teaching?
  3. What are the students perception towards the use of constructivist approach in teaching and learning process?


1.5   Research Hypotheses

Ho1: There is no significant relationship between students’ ability to generate new ideas from existing knowledge.

Ho2: There is no significant difference between male and female ability to generate new knowledge from an existing knowledge as they relate to solving social science problems.

1.6    Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will serve as a guideline to teachers, educational practitioners and curriculum developers; so that they ensure that they utilize educational policies, methodologies and activities that will help students improve their thinking in security education.

Specifically, to the teachers, the findings of this study will provide a guide in their choice of teaching methods appropriate for identified difficult lessons.

This is necessary so that whatever students perceive as easy would really turn out easy and in providing attention so that whatever lesson that is identified as difficult may be properly addressed to improve students critical thinking.

To the school counselors and all those involved in the education of children, this study will provide input to the counseling of students who are disoriented from certain educational career and career opportunities to discover their strength and weaknesses and channel their gains to appropriate educational and vocational pursuits.

To the students, this study will provide means of revitalizing their social and religious morality as well as their aesthetic and ethical values towards strengthening their human qualities and improving their self-concept, attitudes, anxiety and achievement in security education.

The study of the subject matter also exposes the students to appreciate the concept of the fundamental unity of science and also give them the understanding and opportunity to embrace the roles and functions of science in everyday life and the world in which they live.

1.7   Scope of the Study

This study will be conducted in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State and limited to two (2) senior secondary schools at Ojo. The population of this study was drawn from junior secondary school two (JSS II) in the selected school within the education zone. This study surveys and evaluates the extent to which constructivist teaching method affect junior secondary school students’ performance in security education in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

  1. Sample size: This depends on the nature of the problem chosen by the researcher. Sample size is of a greater importance in quantitative studies as opposed to qualitative ones. If the sample size is too small, the statistical tests cannot identify significant relationships or connections within a given data set. It is advised that other researchers should base the same study on a larger sample size to get more accurate results.
  2. Implementation of your data collection methods: It is necessary to acknowledge that If a researcher doesn’t have a lot of experience in collecting primary data, there’s a certain risk that the implementation of the methods may develop flaws. However, to conquer this limitation, the researcher has reviewed and visited previous related studies to learn and assimilate information on how to collect the research data.
  • Financial Constraint: Insufficient fund tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for resources and reliable responds from respondents. I could not offer any gift or monetary incentives for the respondents to answer the questionnaire. This might have resulted in certain prospective respondents choosing not to respond to the questionnaire. This might not have created a motivation among respondents not to take a chance to give opinions

1.9   Operational Definition of Terms

Constructivist teaching method: is a learning method based on the belief that learning occurs as learners are actively involved in a process of meaning and knowledge construction rather than passively receiving information.

Perception: Is the organization, identification and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the presented information or environment

Performance: refers to the manner or degree of accomplishment, it is a measure of how well an individual performs.

Self-efficacy: Ones’ perception that he or she can successfully achieve a particular outcome.

Security education: Security education involves the process of imparting knowledge, skills, and awareness related to security practices and measures to individuals or groups

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