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SOME TEACHERS CHARACTERISTICS AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS IN NIGERIAN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN EDUCATION
This study assesses the influence of teachers’ characteristics on students’ academic performance in Nigerian secondary schools, focusing on Education District (IV), Lagos. Four research questions and four hypotheses were formulated to guide the study.
The descriptive survey research design was used to carry out study. The data collection instrument was a self-structured and validated questionnaire. The sample size for the study were One hundred (100) secondary school students, with 50 students each randomly selected from two secondary schools from Education District (IV), Lagos state. The sample students were randomly selected from University of Lagos International School and Yaba College of Technology International School, Lagos state.
The findings of this study are that: There is a significant relationship between the quality of teachers and students’ academic performance; There is a significant influence of teacher experience on students’ academic performance; There is a significant influence of teacher training on students’ academic performance in Education District (IV), Lagos; There is a significant influence of teacher’s professional development on students’ academic performance in Education District (IV), Lagos.
The following recommendations were made: A strict policy of employing only trained teachers should be enforced by the government. Teachers should be made to teach only in their subjects of specialization in order to ensure optimal efficiency; Experience should be favored among teachers. The more experienced teachers should be allowed to rub their expertise on the upcoming ones; Education stakeholders and the government should ensure that teachers comply with standard pedagogical practices and that they are kept abreast of developments in teaching pedagogy; Grants, opportunities and scholarships should be made available to teachers who wish to pursue professional development on the job.
1.1 Background to the Study
What students learn, retain and practice after leaving school has direct impact on the nation’s competencies and skills. What is learnt both formally and informally determines the individual’s ability to contribute to national development. Educated human resources constitute manpower and personnel that bring about national development (Aghenta, 2006). It therefore means that the quality of education received by the citizens determines the level of development of any nation. A number of factors determine the level of performance in the school system especially the quality of the input and school process variables (Ochuba, 2008). Goals of education can only be achieved with a well organised school system that would ensure that all aspects of school life are well articulated and effectively co-ordinated.
Teachers play a vital role in ensuring quality education delivery. They are best known for the role of educating students in their care. The most common role teachers’ play in the classroom is to dispense pertinent knowledge to students by following the curriculum. Teachers use various methods such as lecture, small group activities and hands-on learning activities to dispense knowledge to students. Beyond that, they serve many other roles in the classroom. Teachers set the tone of their classrooms, build warm environment, mentor and nurture students, become role models, listen and look for signs of trouble etc. (Fraser & Walberg, 2005). They are therefore, responsible for promoting the mission and ethos of the schools through structured classroom prayer, participation in the liturgical life of the school, and modelling of appropriate standards of behaviour.
Adeogun (2010) contend that the quality of the educational system depends on the quality of its teaching staff and that a school without human resources may not be able to achieve the goal and objectives of the educational system. Adesina (2010) noted that teachers are the major indicator determinants of quality education. Highly professional teachers, who are dedicated are needed in schools. It has been established that there is a high correlation between what teachers know and what they teach. Thus the ability to teach effectively depends on the teacher’s knowledge and knowledge occurs in a variety of forms.
Teaching is demanding in a variety of ways which include time, effort and commitment. Teachers prepare pupils for the job market and the socio-economic development of every nation. They are required to exhibit good qualities and accommodate the academic, social and emotional needs of their students (Williams, 2013). The passion they have reflects through their effectiveness. While in the classroom, they adapt to various learning styles and classroom dynamics by using superior classroom management techniques to create a healthy classroom environment which is safe, resourceful and productive. Teaching quality, as perceived by the student, is quite closely linked to student engagement measures, and the relationships work mainly in expected directions (Xuehui, Emily & Tanja, 2008). For educational aspirations, significant positive effects are seen for students who report that teachers care for students, treat students fairly and encourage questions. Significant negative effects are seen among students who report that teachers assign lots of homework and always lecture in class.
Educators are at the core of every educational system and therefore, the quality of the educators in every school system reflects and impacts the overall quality of the school system and the potential of the students within the system (Darling-Hammond, Wei, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009). Educators, as lifelong learners, equip learners with the skills and resources needed to attain success academically and socially. However, to accomplish this requires more consistent and effective programmes which adequately prepareeducators and provide them with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to successfully engage students and increase academic achievement (Intrator & Kunzman, 2006). Effective teaching and learning cannot occur without congenial classroom environment. Teachers maintain positive and effective learning environment through well‐prepared and varied lessons, which cater for the range of student abilities and interests. It also involves, setting of realistic and challenging academic standards of student performance. Teachers are required to demonstrate commitment to teacher professional development through interest and attendance at appropriate in‐service courses, commitment to a programme of professional study.
Teacher training, teaching experiences, pedagogical practices and professional development are all teacher concepts that impact students and these are the attributes that this study focuses on. Teachers with the relevant characteristic traits have been recognized as the most vital resources in the educational system since they are the ones who interpret the aims and goals of education and ensure that the students are educated in line with them. Odunusi (2009) stated that teachers with the right characteristics are the hubs of any educational system upon their devotion and quality. Dalton & Moir (2002) reported that teacher training could provide teachers with assistance necessary to increase the academic performance of students. Lauriala (2008) described reformative in-service education for teachers as capable of developing teacher cognitions and factors crucial to changes in knowledge concerning students, learning, and their roles as teachers.
The status of teaching as a profession cannot be underestimated. Teachers’ characteristics need to be clearly identified and standardized in line with what students need to succeed. The success of students is hinged majorly on the adeptitude of the teachers. It is strongly believed that teachers who are enamoured with the necessary attributes will strongly influence the academic achievement of their students. This is what this study aims to examine.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Teaching is a career that provides challenges, excitement, personal reward and chance to encourage and support others to achieve their goals Johnson, Kahle and Fargo (2007).Good teachers work with their colleagues, parents, other professionals and community members to inspire their students to learn. Through the comprehensive training teachers go through during their pre-service training, they acquire qualities such as strong knowledge in particular subject areas, patience, good sense of humour etc. These qualities are essential to ensuring a permanent change in pupils’ behaviour. With such qualities, teachers are expected to motivate and encourage students to study hard to improve the standard of education.
However, there have been public outcries that the academic performance of Nigerian students in general and Lagos State in particular has been below expectation.
Many students are poor in literacy and numeracy. Ochuba (2008) similarly reported that there has been a public outcry on the continual decline in the standards of education in Nigeria as indicated in public examinations and performance of education outputs that are inadequate for employment.
The question then is does that mean the qualities teachers’ possess do not impact positively on their students’ performance? If that is the case, what might have been the possible causes? This study seeks to determine the relationship between the quality of teachers and the academic performance of the pupils in the Metropolis.
1.3 Purpose of Study
The main purpose of this study is to assess teachers’ characteristics and students’ academic performance in Nigerian secondary schools in Education District (IV), Lagos. Specifically, this study aims to:
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were answered in this study:
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were tested in this study:
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study would hopefully provide some insight for educational planners and policy-makers by highlighting some basic but apparently neglected educational services such as education resource centre services, in-service training and internal supervision of instructions.
The suggestions of this study may positively assist teachers and school administrators to re-examine the educational services that are provided by them and identify the services which are essential for quality teaching and learning.
The findings of this study may also hopefully contribute to existing literature by extending the stock of knowledge on the influence of educational services on teacher quality in Lagos state secondary schools. It will also provide some useful reference materials for future researchers who might be interested in conducting similar studies elsewhere. Furthermore, the study places much emphasis on the fact that teachers should be academically, physically and intellectually sound to be able to produce quality students which the nation needs in this millennium.
Finally, the study is expected to guide educational planners on the provision of educational services that may improve the quality of secondary school teachers
1.7 Delimitation of the Study
This study is delimited to teachers’ characteristics and students’ academic performance in Nigerian secondary schools. It covers Education District (IV), Lagos State.
1.8 Definition of Key Terms
The following terms are defined operationally as they are used in this study:
Teacher training: The policies and procedures designed to equip teachers with the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours and skills they require to perform their tasks effectively in the classroom, school and wider community.
Teaching experience: Familiarity with teaching skills and knowledge acquired over months or years of actual practice.
Pedagogical practices: The method and practices used in teaching.
Professional Development: This encompasses all types of facilitated learning opportunities including credentials such as academic degrees, to formal coursework, conferences and informal learning opportunities situated in practice.
Academic achievement: Examination result of students at the end of an achievement test.
Teachers self-efficacy: This refers to the extent to which a teacher is able to promote students’ learning.
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