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IMPACT OF TEACHER-COMPETENCE ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE
The study attempted to examine the relationship between teacher preparation, professional development and students’ academic performance in selected secondary schools in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State. In the study, relevant and related literature was reviewed under sub headings. The descriptive research survey design was applied in the assessment of the respondents’ opinions, with the use of the questionnaire and the sampling technique. In this study, two hundred respondents were selected randomly through the application of the stratified random selection method to represent the entire population of the study.
Five null hypotheses were formulated and tested with the use of the Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient tool at 0.05 level of significance. Results indicate that: a significant relationship exists between teachers’ mastery of content and students’ academic performance in the school, a significant relationship exists between teachers’ teaching method and students’ academic performance, teachers’ educational qualification had a statistically significance relationship with students’ academic performance, there is a significant relationship between teachers’ years of teaching and students’ academic performance and it was revealed that a significant relationship exists between teachers’ attitude and students’ academic performance. The following recommendations were made by the researchers at the end of the study, teachers should always endeavour to teach well in the school, knowing that, they are the people that are responsible for the moulding and changing the characters of the children in the school. and students should be responsive to their teachers.
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.10Background to the Study
The teacher occupies a very important position in any school system. According to Akande (2005), teachers’ work is very crucial because without the teacher, there will be no president, no governors, no senators and illiteracy would have covered the whole earth. With the teacher, there is enlightenment, knowledge and civilization in the world. No nation can rise above its teachers. Therefore, the teaching profession is important because it is the job that produces educated and learned people for the development of the society (Wuji, 2005).
Before one becomes a professional English Language teacher, a studious stage is passed through. For instance Uzor (2006) agrees that a teacher passes through the teacher-training college or the University education to become a trained teacher. According to Uzor, the essence of an English language teacher going through rigorous teacher-education or training, is to arm oneself with the appropriate skill, ability and expertise that are inherent in the teaching and learning processes in the subject-matter. As Onyeji (2007) puts it, English language teachers are trained in order to acquire the needed skills of teaching i.e. knowing what to teach (mastery of content) and knowing how to teach (mastery of methodology). The English language teacher, who is trained and experienced, equally knows how to manage the classroom and how to deliver the objectives of what is taught in the classroom. At any stage or school level, a teacher requires to acquire cognate experience and training to effectively deliver the good in the classroom, appropriately as a professional. Abagunde (2004), opined that, students’ performance in English language is largely dependent on the extent of how teaching is carried out in the classroom.
For an English teacher to effectively handle any subject, preparation is needed. This could be in terms of reading through what is to be taught, writing note of lessons, doting appropriately all ‘Ts’ and all ‘I’s’, in order to deliver the lesson effectively and for the students to maximize the objectives of what has been taught. According to Arinze (2004), effective teacher preparation in English language comes as a result of previous professional development the teacher had undergone. This culminates from the strict education the teacher has received which had helped him to master the nitty-gritty of the arts of teaching and classroom management (Greenfield, 2006). Greenfield observes that both the preparation and professional development of a teacher, give the teacher the impetus and academic authority to effectively teach in the classroom, and by extension, the effective learning ability of the students. Greenfield is of the opinion that, effective teaching in English language as a result of effective preparation and professional development, result in effective students’ academic achievement in any subject-matter, at any school level (primary, secondary and tertiary institutions).
A teacher in English language gets prepared to teach by getting professionally developed. For instance Arisekola (2007) opines that, there are some stages of preparing or developing a teacher to get him/her ready for the classroom job of teaching and learning. At the primary school, the teacher receives the Nigerian Certificate of Education (NCE) to teach at the basic level, for the secondary schools, the teacher receives the degree or certificate of Bachelor of Arts in Education (B.A.Ed); or Masters in Education (M.Ed), while for the tertiary institutions, the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree is required for the teacher to effectively teach and for the students to perform adequately. The above degrees or certificates, enable the English language teacher to carry out the teaching work without let or hindrance, and for the students to learn with high academic achievement (Nkemjika, 2000).
A teacher in English language needs to be developed professionally through the teacher-educational programmes that are available in the Nigerian higher institutions. According to Lawal (2002), an English language teacher is said to be effectively developed and professionally competent, when he/she is specifically trained or educated in order to train others in the school system, the (learner(s). Aside from knowing how to educate the learner(s), the teacher who is professionally developed, has some personality variables that distinguish him/her from a non-professional, non-trained teacher. Leon (2004), says that a non-professional teacher is a ‘cheat’, because he does not know how to teach and as such, the learner learns poorly under a non-professional, non-trained teacher’s tutelage. Good teaching begets good learning. Trained teachers in English language who are professionally sound, produce students who are academically sound. The primary goal of a teacher is for the students to have high academic laurels and to excel in their educational careers.
Adeleke (2006) is of the view that, teachers’ performance in English language is determined by the performance of the students at the end of any examination(s) or tests in the class. Highly trained, prepared, professional developed and experienced teachers in English language, produce students that are excellent in academic and in characters as well, be it at the primary, secondary or tertiary levels of any educational system. A student is said to have performed well if he/she scores 60% and above in any examination(s) and test(s) organized by the school at the end of any school year or session. A traditional assumption in teaching has been that students require challenging learning tasks, tasks of intermediate difficulty. This idea has been disproved. Research shows that students need and enjoy very high success rates, which come only from tasks at an appropriate difficulty level that are clearly taught and readily comprehended. For example, Good and Good (2001) and Everton (2003), found that high socio-economic status elementary children learned best when the teachers’ questions elicited about 70% correct responses, while low socio-economic status pupils learned best with about 80% correct answers to questions. They concluded that learning proceeds best when the material is some-what new or challenging, yet relatively easy for children to understand and integrate with existing knowledge and skills. Another study carried out by Filby (2005), concluded that, younger students and less able students, almost errorless, performance high during the teaching of an effective teacher, which equally produces better and greater satisfaction to both the teacher and the students.
In effective schools, effective English language teachers monitor students’ progress which takes place at all levels of the school system. Effective English language teachers monitor minute-by-minute comprehension, reading and writing skills of students, their overall success and engagement rates along with the longer term achievement records of every student in the subject-matter. Effective English language teachers monitor achievement scores for individual students, class interactions among students, students’ grade levels and so on. Improvement minded English language teachers also monitor average achievement scores for their students, comparing their performances with the performances of other students in the classrooms in a particular school in order to know whether their students are high achievers in the subject or not (Boot 2003). Whatever level or form, monitoring of students’ progress takes effective school teachers of note to use the achievement information as the basis for modifications of teaching and learning processes or school wide improvement plans in English language (Nwagbara, 2007).
1.2 The Theories of Learning (S-R Theories) (Skinner, 1991)
The (S-R) theory of learning propounded by B.S. Skinner (1991), underpins this study because, it is the theory that concerns learning which is the dependent variable in the study. The most crucial features of the connectionist or S-R theories of learning and more specifically, behavior, are contained in the two important letters ‘S’ and ‘R’ and the hyphen in between them. ‘S’ means stimulus or thinking bond. According to this school of thought, which includes great behaviourists like Watson (1946), Thorndike (1949), Hull (1943), Pavlov (1958) and Skinner (1991), behavior is a transaction between the stimulus or stimuli that impinge on an organism and the resultant responses, the ‘R’. This connotes that learning involves some lasting or permanent changes in the relationships between the ‘S’ and ‘R’ connection. The behaviourists emphasized that all knowledge emanate from the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. For the behaviourists, man is born with the ability and capacity to acquire knowledge and everything he knows comes from his sensory experience. Sensory qualities are connected in the mind, because they occur closely together in time or space as one interacts with his environment. Learning therefore, occurs through close association of events or ideas. For the behaviourists, learning occurs only through experience. Skinner (1991), did not reckon with the existence of the innate ideas in man as being responsible for his knowledge. To him, learning is mechanistic; that is to assume that the mind is machine-like and of simple elements with no mysterious elements and therefore, the product of life experience. Thus, behavior is not learnt but inborn in man. For instance, the baby-sucking behavior as well as the sexual behaviour in man, are not learnt, but inborn behaviours. Although, some behaviours could be explained in terms of maturation. They include walking, speech, flying of birds in the sky as well as swimsging of tadpoles in the sea.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problem inherent in the teaching and learning processes in English language, is as a result of teacher–factor. For instance, the academic performance of students is affected negatively, when teachers do not possess the necessary teaching competences in terms of mastery of the contents or possession of good teaching methods in English language as a subject of study in schools. Also, teachers’ negative attitudes, poor personality, inexperience, poor classroom management, poor personal hygiene, poor teacher–student relationship, lack of communicative skills and poor judgments in the classrooms, contribute greatly to the poor academic achievement of students in English language in the schools. Apart from the above mentioned problems, many English teachers are lazy and therefore, find it difficult to prepare themselves before appearing in the classrooms. This has caused them to be poorly exposed to the course materials and absolute deficiency appearing in their mastery of what to teach poor methodoly on how to teach the subject in the classrooms. By extension, this has caused the great down-ward trends of the quality in the educational standards in Nigerian school system, with the attendant low performance of students in both spoken and written English language in and out of the school.
Many teachers who teach English language in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions these days are “cheats”, because they do not possess the required professional skills, the required cognate experience and the training that is innate in effective classroom teachers. Lack of competence and professional skills, are some of the main factors militating against high academic performance by students in the Nigerian school system.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of teacher-competence on students’ academic achievement in selected Senior Secondary Schools in Education District IV of Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos, Nigeria.
The specific objectives of this study will be amongst others to:
(1) Find out whether teachers’ mastery of content affects students’ academic achievements in schools.
(2) Examine the difference between teachers’ teaching methods and students’ academic achievement in schools.
(3) Investigate whether there is difference between teachers’ qualifications and students’ academic achievement in schools.
(4) Find out whether there is difference between teachers’ experience and students’ academic performance.
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the background information and statement of the problem of the present study, the following research questions will be raised to guide the study:
1.5 Research Hypotheses
In this study, the following hypothesis will be tested:
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be of great benefit to the following:
(1) Teachers: They would benefit from the findings and recommendations of this study because it will give them an insight on how to carry out their jobs in the school. It will enable teachers to be more productive in doing their daily job of teaching and learning. With this study, many teachers would be-oriented in the art of teaching knowing fully well that the way they teach will affect students’ academic achievement in schools.
(2) Students: They would benefit from the study because it will help them to have the understanding that their teachers required to be an exemplary one, if his/her teaching experiences would be of great benefit to the child or the student. With the findings and the recommendations of this study, students would be able to identify teachers who “cheat” as a result of incompetences and real teachers of note in the school system. With this study also, students would be able to know that they need to be taught by trained and experienced teachers if they would put up high performances in their academic careers.
(3) Parents: They would learn that the careers of their children hang in the balance, if they are being coached by unprofessional, inexperienced teachers. With this study, parents would be able to know that there is a great difference between the academic achievement of students who are taught by well trained teachers and those taught by non-trained, inexperienced teachers.
(4) Society: The society will be able to understand the difference in the academic performance of children taught by two types of teachers (the trained and the untrained) in the school system. This is because the society benefits if the children are well brought up by a well trained teacher. Students will be well behaved apart from the exhibition of high academic achievement, and this will better the lots of the society.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study will cover the impact of teacher-competence on academic achievement of students in selected Senior Secondary Schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Teaching competence: This is the expertise of the teacher in English language or any other course taught in schools. It means in order words, the mastery of teaching contents and the methodology in classroom presentation of English language.
Education: Education is derived from the Latin word “educare” which means to draw out. Education is therefore defined as a process of drawing out and developing the potentialities of an individual.
The School: The school is one of the chief agents of education. It is a formal and a planned institution with rules and regulations established for educating the young and charged with the responsibility of transmitting the cultural heritage of the people by showing knowledge and its appreciation as well as adherence to its norms.
Teaching: Hyman (1990) sees teaching as the art and practice of imparting to a learner knowledge, skills, values and norms that will be useful to the total development of the individual.
Training: This refers to giving a course of specific instruction or practice to a learner with the purpose to shape, develop or acquire appreciable habits.
Indoctrination: This is a process in which the learner is compelled to accept a set of ideas without questioning.
Coaching: This involves teaching, training, instructing or advising an individual or persons in a particular area of subject in which a student is deficient.
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