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MENTORING AND CAREER PROGRESSION OF TEACHERS IN PRIVATE PRIMARY SCHOOLS
The study investigated the relationship between mentoring and career progression of teachers in Lagos State Education District V1. Four research questions and four hypotheses were formulated and tested in the study. The study adopted the descriptive survey research design. The sample was made up of 250 teachers in Education District V1 of Lagos State randomly selected from Government approved private primary schools in the 5 Local Government Areas in the District. A researcher constructed questionnaire titled “Mentoring and Career Progression of Teachers”(MCPT) Descriptive questionnaire was used for data collection. The demographic information of the participants was presented using simple percentages while independent T-test, Pearson Product Moment Correlation Co-efficient were used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The study found a significant relationship between mentoring and teachers’ job commitment; teachers’ job satisfaction; teachers’ job performance and teachers’ preparation for administrative duties. The study recommended, among other things, that school proprietors, principals, heads of schools and teachers also should be exposed to the rudiments of mentoring so that they become familiar with the concept and also mentoring of newly- recruited teachers is necessary for enhancement of teacher’s performance and productivity.
Background to the Study
Education is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of others, but may also be autodidactic. Any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. Education is commonly divided into stages such as preschool, primary school, secondary school and then college, university or apprenticeship.
It is also the wealth of knowledge acquired by an individual after studying particular subject matters or experiencing life lessons that provide an understanding of something. Education requires instruction of some sort from an individual or composed literature. The most common forms of education resultfrom years of schooling that incorporates studies of a variety of subjects. (Wikipedia online encyclopedia (2012).
Education began in the earliest prehistory, as adults trained the young of their society in the knowledge and skills they would need to master and eventually pass on. In pre-literate societies this was achieved orally and through imitation. Story-telling continued from one generation to the next. As cultures began to extend their knowledge beyond skills that could be readily learned through imitation, formal education developed.
Long before the Europeans arrived, education had been part of Nigerians. Children were taught about their culture, social activities, survival skills and work. Most of these education processes were impacted into the children informally; a few of these societies gave a more formal teaching of the society and culture. In these Societies, there are formal instructions that governed the rites of passage from youth into adulthood. The youth is expected to have attained the necessary social and survival skills as well as having a grounded knowledge in the culture. These are the foundations of education in Nigeria, and upon them were the western education implemented upon.
There were three fundamentally distinct education systems in Nigeria in 1990: the indigenous system, Quranic schools, and formal European-style education institutions. In the rural areas where the majority lived, children learned the skills of farming and other work, as well as the duties of adulthood, from participation in the community. This process was often supplemented by age-based schools in which groups of young boys were instructed in community responsibilities by mature men. Apprentice systems were widespread throughout all occupations; the trainee provided service to the teacher over a period of years and eventually struck out on his own. Truck driving, building trades, and all indigenous crafts and services from leather work to medicine were passed down in families and acquired through apprenticeship training as well.
Over the centuries, in the practice of education there have been those responsible for passing information, skills and cultures to the next generation. These were custodians of knowledge charged with the job of educating next generation. They are and have always been referred to as teachers. Teachers are indispensable within the teaching – learning process. Hence, they constitute a major input in the accomplishment of educational goals and objectives in all nations.
Teaching involves the use of wide body of knowledge about the subject being taught. Teachers at all levels of the educational system are very important in the overall development of any nation. Teachers’ education is the process which nurtures prospective teachers and updates qualified teachers’ knowledge and skills in the form of continuous professional development.
Mentoring teachers is a practice that is viewed as a favorable strategy for preparing novice teachers for their new roles in education. Pairing a veteran teacher with one just beginning a teaching career will reap benefits for the new teacher (Marge 1999). Additionally, mentoring represents a career opportunity for teachers with years of professional experience behind them.
For the new teacher, having a mentor means removing fear of the unknown from the teaching equation. It can be an abrupt and frightening event to go fresh into the classroom as a brand new teacher, just certified, without the benefit of compassionate assistance from a more experienced fellow teacher. In addition to helping new teachers get over the hump of their early days in the profession, mentoring has the potential of being a vehicle for best-teaching practices.
Different scholars have made attempts to develop various definitions of the term “Mentoring”. This could be as a result of the prevalence of mentoring in various settings and the wide range of issues which mentors address. Mentoring is an old concept but its value has only been acknowledged in the last 20 years.
The use of the word mentoring dates back to the days of the Homeric legend of the Trojan war. When Odysses, King of Ithaca left to go and make war on the Trojans. He left his son Telemachus and his wife Penelope in the hands of mentor, friend and retainer. To a major degree, the mentor was responsible not only for the boys education but for shaping his character, the wisdom of his decisions and the clarity and steadfastness of his purpose.
Some scholars have described mentoring as a concept of process(Roberts, 2000). Others describe it as a specific set of activities(Bowman and Bowman 1990). Mentoring is a term generally used to describe a relationship between a less experienced individual called mentee or protégé and a more experienced individual known as a mentor. Traditionally, mentoring is viewed as a dyadic, face to face long term relationship between a supervising adult and a novice student that fosters the mentee’s professional academic or personal development( Donaldson, Ensher& Grant- Vallone 2000).
All of these definitions show that mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing ad-hoc help. It is an ongoing relationship of learning, dialogue and challenge. It involves informal transmission of knowledge, social capital and psychological support perceived by the recipient as relevant to work, career or professional development. It usually should be face to face and during a sustained period of time between a person who is perceived to have greater relevant knowledge wisdom or experience (the mentor) and a person who is perceived to have less.
A mentor is usually an experienced, knowledgeable, respected, competent and professionally mature person who guides and provides opportunities for the professional growth of protégés by identifying situations and events which contribute knowledge, experience and values to the life of the protégée. Mentors should possess good interpersonal skills, be conversant with relevant principles, be able to empathize with the circumstances of the mentee and capable of initiating and fostering learning beyond transmission to incorporate transactional and transformational process (Carter& Francis, 2000).
Career progression is seen to be a lifelong process of managing learning, work, leisure and transition in order to move towards a personally determined and evolving preferred future (Wikipedia,2014). It has also been defined as the upward movement or advancement made by people in a particular job.
There is a link or relationship between a teacher’s ability to progress in the teaching career and rise to the top and the availability of a mentor. Bandra (1976) is of the opinion that learning would be laborious if not hazardous , if people had to rely solely on the effect of their own actions to inform them on what to do.
A lot of researches have been done to examine the benefits of mentoring for protégés. It has been discovered that mentoring is related to important careers outcomes such as career progress, promotion rate and job satisfaction. It is against this background that this study examines the role of mentoring in career progression of teachers in Lagos State.
Statement of the problem
It has been observed that there seem to be little or no mentoring activity happening in schools especially in private schools, inspite of the important role ascribed to mentoring relationships as regards individual career development in many organizations. In the education sector, guiding younger teachers, toward skills has become more important than ever before. It is therefore pertinent to delve into the educational sector especially the private schools to discover if any mentoring takes place, if there is any system in place to enable a teacher rise in the course of the years and how the availability or unavailability of a mentoring process has affected the teacher’s career life. It is as a result of these that the researcher has embarked on the study.
Objectives of the Study
This study examines the relationship between mentoring and career progression among teachers in private primary schools in Education district V1 of Lagos State, in a bid to ascertain if any mentoring occurs in private primary schools in lagos and how this affects a teacher to progress in career. Specifically it:
The study provides answers to the following questions:
The study is guided by the following hypotheses:
Significance of the Study
The study is significant because its results would provide insight to various stakeholders of the fact that:
There is no planned system of career progression in most private schools in Lagos and it is not uncommon to find teachers stay at the same level in their career lifes in private schools for a good number of years. Career progress is usually determined by a teacher’s ability to attend seminars, take courses, attain degrees paid for from personal funds and this ought not be.
The problem of lack of mentoring can be directly traced to the fact that most school heads and leaders were never mentored and therefore do not have what it takes to mentor another. Its also important to note that a teacher’s ability to rise in career has direct bearing on attitude to work, job performance, job satisfaction and commitment.
Mentoring is important and heads and leaders of schools ought to create a system of mentoring for teachers to improve job performance, satisfaction, commitment and overall help them progress in the course of career life.
Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms have been defined operationally as follow:
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