Background of the study
The knowledge of Economics as a subject is generally considered very vital in fostering societal development. It is therefore germane for technological, social, economic, political, institutional and physical development of every society. Economic Education Web (EcEdWeb) (2014) asserted that students should be taught Economics so as to develop the skills and knowledge with which they would take important decisions today and in future, especially in their roles as future leaders of the society. Foundation for Teaching Economics (2014) also affirmed that the future of students and the society depends on the ability of students to make informed, prudent and rational decisions. The knowledge of Economics could assist them to make rational decisions (New Zealand Commerce & Economics Teachers Association (NZCETA), 2014).
The teaching and learning of Economics also develops in students the knowledge of finance. This financial education is developed through the inculcation of financial skills. Council for Economic Education (2014) opined that financial literacy is needed for students to have a bright and successful future, which could make a massive difference in curbing generational monetary mismanagement. Bell (2014) revealed that students’ financial skills have a significant positive impact on their employability. These financial skills are also germane for students’ entrepreneurial career, wealth generation and poverty eradication. The teaching and learning of Economics is therefore vital in making citizens self-reliant and productive.
Nigerian government recognises the importance of Economics to societal development, by ensuring its integration into the school curricula. Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) (2008) stated that the philosophy of Economics curriculum aimed at preparing students for entrepreneurial career and getting them acquainted with evolving economic-developmental issues capable of repositioning Nigeria strategy be among the twenty most developed economies in the world by the year 2020. Its curriculum therefore focuses on using education to empower the citizenry through value-orientation and re-orientation, consumer education and skills’ acquisition. This is in consonance with the National Policy on Education, which emphasised that the senior secondary education shall amongst others provide entrepreneurial and career skills for self-reliance and societal development (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2009).
However, as important as teaching and learning of Economics is, teachers, government, parents, and other stakeholders have been uncomfortable over the recent poor achievement and low interest of students in the subject at the senior secondary school level. This is evident in the West African Examinations Council Chief Examiner’s report on the Senior School Certificate Examination (2005) which revealed that the percentage of candidates that failed Economics increased from 21.29 % in 2004 to 28.41 % in 2005. This fell slightly to 24.37 % in 2006. The Chief Examiner’s report (2009) also showed that between 2006 and 2009, candidates overall performance fell. The Chief Examiner’s Report (2013) further revealed that there was no significant improvement in candidates’ performance from 2009 to 2013. These reports collectively and individually attributed poor achievement in Economics to several factors rising from poor teacher preparation, inadequate infrastructural facilities, inadequate funding, and problem of policy implementation to ineffective teaching methods.
The West African Examinations Council (2014) has noted that challenge of dearth of infrastructure and manpower in senior secondary schools as well as over population of students are responsible for poor students’ achievement. Problem of students’ over population is a precursor for the urgent need of instructional approaches that would facilitate learning in spite of classroom congestion. The Chief Examiner’s Report (2013) further identified that many candidates lacked manipulative skill, explanatory skill, discussion skill, communication skill, and writing skill. They could not articulate their ideas intelligently on paper, and could not manage their time well; they spent most of their time writing down irrelevant preambles that earned them no marks. Amongst other recommendations were that the teachers should develop skills for critical thinking in the students, rote learning should be discouraged; the discussion and practice of topical economic issues in the classrooms should be strengthened, so that students would be able to link connections between theoretical economic principles and real-world events. These recommendations can be effectively implemented through the employment of appropriate and relevant innovative teaching strategies.
Indeed, the main purpose of any instructional process is to bring about desirable learning outcomes for students, especially in form of improved academic achievement and interest. Achievement describes the level of success in relation to a task that is carried out. Uwalaka (2013) conceptualized achievement as something very good but difficult, which is carried out successfully. Academic achievement is an output of an instructional process. It measures the extent to which students have attained the stated objectives (Igbo, Okafor, &Eze, 2014). In the words of Jebur, Jasin and Jaboori (2011) achievement is the accomplishment of performance in a particular subject matter. They further noted that it is the learning that takes place under a specific course of instruction. It is thus the mastery of skills and knowledge which learners gain in the course of an instructional process usually measured by an achievement test. The results of achievement test provide information on the extent to which students have attained stated instructional objectives. 
Interest refers to the psychological state of engaging with particular classes of objects, events, or ideas over time (Hidi&Renninger, 2006). McGrew (2008) defined interest as the focused interaction between an individual and a class of objects, ideas or activities that results in a lasting affective disposition towards the objects, ideas or activities. Interest is the earnest desire to know something (Eze, 2008). Durik and Harackiewicz (2007) identified two types of interest, namely: situational interest and personal interest. Situational interest is said to be spontaneous, transitory, and environmentally triggered, while personal interest is less spontaneous, of lasting personal value and activated internally. Most often, situational interest precedes, facilitates and reinforces the development of personal interest. Thus, while situational interest catches students’ attention, personal interest sustains and reinforces it.
Instructional strategy adopted by a teacher during an instructional process is a crucial factor in determining effective and productive teaching and learning. This position is reinforced by CENGAGE Learning (2014) that students’ responses, in a survey on what sparks students’ engagement and interest in the teaching and learning process, revealed that for teaching and learning process to be interesting, exciting and fun, the teaching method adopted by the teacher is a crucial factor. The Economics Network (2009) identified teaching method as one of the factors why Economics is difficult for students. National Economics Teaching Association (NETA) (2014) emphasized that students’ engagement in the teaching and learning process is the foundation of learning. The assertion of Gamson (2010) reflects that the instructional method employed by the teacher plays a crucial role in the acquisition and understanding of skills and meaningful learning.
Goodman (2010) opined that there are numerous strategies available for teachers to employ in order to efficaciously teach and promote life-long learning. The Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) (2008) pointed out that Economics is a living subject and has to be taught and learned in a practical, enthusiastic and realistic way. Since Economics is both theory and concept-based (that is, abstract in nature), there is a need for teaching strategies that can permeate its abstract and difficult nature. It is also strongly emphasised by the NERDC (2008) that Economics teachers should employ interactive and learner-oriented instructional strategies such as cooperative learning strategies to teach learners. Federal Republic of Nigeria (2008) strongly recommends that cooperative learning should be used to teach Economics at the senior secondary schools.  This trend has direct relevance to constructivism.

Dheeraj and Kumari (2013) asserted that constructivism has brought a revolution in the field of education and this is affirmed by various research studies all over the world. Constructivist theory emphasises an active and learner-centred learning process where learners construct their own ideas which are connected to their prior knowledge. This is based on the belief that learning occurs and is made effective when learners are actively involved in the teaching and learning activities, rather than passively receiving instruction (Gray, 2011). This helps learners to transform information, transfer knowledge, formulate hypotheses and look at alternative decisions, through their cognitive structure (that is, schema). It is an arrangement whereby both the teacher and learners are engaged in an active dialog and in which the teacher gives students questions rather than answers. Scholars have emphasized that an engaged student is a successful one (National Economics Teaching Association (NETA), 2014). The researcher therefore considered a study of instructional strategies that hinge on constructivist theory not only pertinent, but also relevant to senior secondary school students’ achievement and interest in Economics...... 

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Size: 149 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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