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TEACHERS’ MOTIVATION AS A DETERMINANT OF STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

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TEACHERS’ MOTIVATION AS A DETERMINANT OF STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

 

ABSTRACT

 

This study focuses on teachers’ motivation as a determinant of students’ academic performance in some selected public secondary schools in Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

 

The findings of this essay are based on the data collected from ten public secondary schools in Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State.  The instrument that was used for data collection was the questionnaire and the results of the data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as percentage and frequency distribution to organize, summarize and extrapolate data from respondents. Spearman’s Rank Order Correlation Coefficient was used to test hypotheses formulated.

 

It is evident from the results obtained that motivation of teachers has a significant relationship with students’ academic performance.

 

Some of the recommendations that were made are; proper social recognition should be introduced to encourage teachers remain in the teaching profession; principals and heads of department should know that several factors motivate teachers in schools such as involvement in school management, teacher supervisory techniques and good communication systems; government, parents and the society should recognize and appreciate the efforts of teachers, rather than accuse them of failures that are the obvious results of unfairness and injustice meted out to them.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Background to the Study

 

Motivation is not completely a new term. What is interesting about motivation is that it is commonly assumed to be a good thing that goes in influencing individual’s behaviour and performance at work. Indeed, motivation determines an individual’s capacity and performance at work. Motivation brings about job satisfaction. The relevance of job satisfaction and motivation is very crucial to the long-term growth of any educational system around the world.

 

Motivation ranks alongside professional knowledge and skills, centre competencies, educational resources and strategies as the veritable determinants of educational success and performance. Professional knowledge, skills and centre competencies occur when one feels effective in one’s behaviour. In other words, professional knowledge, skills and competencies can be seen when one is taking on and mastering challenging tasks directed at educational success and performance.

 

In Nigeria today, motivation is a big issue that cannot be neglected in the school system. It is not an over-statement to say that teachers’ motivation determines the performance of their students. Motivation to work is very essential in the lives of teachers because it forms the fundamental reason for working in life. While almost every teacher works in order to satisfy his or her needs in life, he or she constantly agitates for job satisfaction. Job satisfaction in this context is the ability of the teaching job to meet teachers’ needs and improve their job and teaching performance.

 

The teacher plays a significant role in a student’s life. As one becomes a product of one’s learning, the student builds himself or herself with the teachings of a teacher. The teacher’s knowledge, along with the teacher’s feelings, becomes integrated within the student’s schemata. Should the teacher not like teaching as a result of not being motivated, the student emerges from the classroom with a dislike for education, but when a teacher loves his or her profession, the student learns to love education. There are many dynamics which coalesce into the person who loves his or her profession, and the major of these dynamics is motivation. When one understands the components involved in the construct of motivation, one can better become motivated and remain motivated. When a teacher remains motivated, loving the teaching profession, the students will not only learn the content taught by the teacher, they will also be motivated toward learning. Much has been said about motivation, but little seems to have been done. What then is motivation?

 

Tracy (2000) defined motivation as all those inner striving conditions described as wishes, desires, and urges to stimulate the interest of a person in an activity. It is therefore an inner state that stimulates and triggers behaviour. Mitchel (1986) defined motivation as those psychological processes that cause the arousal, direction and persistence of voluntary actions that are goal directed. Ukeje (1991) said the relative incidence of specific behaviours such as teaching and learning, discipline and control in schools could be undermined if teachers were not motivated.

 

In job performance, an employee’s ability determines what he can do but his level of motivation invariably determines what he accomplishes after all. Teacher motivation naturally has to do with teachers’ desire to participate in the pedagogical processes within the school environment. It has to do with teachers’ interest in the students’ discipline and control, particularly in the classroom. Therefore, it could underlie their involvement or non-involvement in academic and non-academic activities which operate in schools. The teacher is the one who translates educational philosophy and objective into knowledge and skill, and transfers them to students in the classroom. Classroom climate is important in teacher motivation. If a teacher experiences the classroom as a safe, healthy, conducive, happy place with supportive resources and facilities for teaching for optimal learning, he or she tends to participate more than expected in the process of management, administration, and the overall improvement of the school. The teacher commands and emits the image of one who improves knowledge and the physical conditions of the classroom through orderliness, discipline and control. The teacher makes diagnosis of students’ feelings and attitudes inferred by their behaviour and response in the classroom environment.

 

Hence, Lash and Kirkpatrick (1990) concluded that in the absence of school programmes, the major responsibility of working with children in the school rests with the teacher. However, it should be noted that a teacher who is not motivated will find it difficult to work with children in the school. Likewise, Maehr and Midgley (1991) affirm that what takes place in the classroom, even though the classroom itself is not an island, is critical. Therefore, depending on the degree of congruence with classroom practices and school environment, teachers’ teaching activities and motivation may dilute or enhance students’ academic performance.

 

It is therefore noteworthy that if excessive research could be carried out, it will not only help the teachers who are directly faced with the challenge of motivation, but also help the students, parents, school administrators and others who are directly linked with the children’s welfare.

 

Statement of the Problem

 

Teachers’ motivation for efficient performance in our educational system has not always received due attention despite the obvious leading roles teachers play in the classroom towards attaining educational objectives. This has remained a very serious problem. Generally, teachers’ motivation has therefore been very low. The ill treatment and neglect of teachers breed dissatisfaction and hamper classroom effectiveness efficiency and productivity. In the face of frustration, low morale, harassment, condemnation and job dissatisfaction, teachers have been accused of being responsible for the poor performance of students in external examinations, their involvement in examination malpractice, cultism and other negative vices. Teachers’ motivation can have several effects on how students learn and how they behave, because students are not always internally motivated; they sometimes need situated motivation which is found in environmental conditions that teachers create. Nwadiani (1998) acknowledged that schools in Nigeria are fast decaying. This can be linked to the fact that most teachers are not motivated, and when teachers are not motivated, it tells on their job, thereby affecting students’ academic performance negatively. Teachers need to be properly motivated. Ozigi (1992) pointed out that teachers in Nigeria were unhappy, frustrated, uninspired and unmotivated. The school environment is dotted with dilapidated buildings equipped with outdated laboratory facilities and equipment.

 

In Nigeria today, teachers at times have to work under the most unsafe and unhealthy conditions. It is not unusual to find teachers and students interacting academically under collapsed school buildings. Likewise, students are sometimes left with no option but to receive lessons under shades and open roofs while teachers make do with the little available outdated materials at their disposal to teach. This has no doubt translated into teachers’ low morale which in turn translated into students’ poor academic performance in external examinations, their involvement in examination malpractice, cultism and other negative dispositions. There are some states in Nigeria where their teachers have not been paid salary for months, yet every parent wants his or her child to acquire education and skills through teachers but apparently, none of them seems to worry whether teachers can cater for their families, educate their children, settle health bills and contribute meaningfully to community development.

 

This study is out to delve into the main factors that are responsible for teachers’ lack of motivation and its effects on students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Ikorodu Area of Lagos State.

 

Purpose of the Study

 

The continual effect of teachers’ motivation on the academic performance of students in Nigerian public secondary schools which has generated a lot of controversy in the school system, and lack of awareness of its implications, inspired this study.

 

The purpose of this study therefore is to:

 

1)  investigate into the different sources of teachers’ motivation

 

2)  assess the present level of teachers’ motivation

 

3)  determine the relationship that exists between teachers’ motivation and students’ academic performance

 

4)  to make recommendations on solutions to the problems of motivation.

 

Significance of the Study

 

At virtually every point in the growth and development of education in Nigeria, we are ever reminded that the quality of education depends to a large extent on the quality of its teachers (Afe 2002, FGN, 1998). We are ever reminded of the magical feats of teachers as they transform educational objectives into knowledge, skill and educated human labour. With the rapid changes in the population which is affecting the demographics of the schools in Nigeria, one is also reminded of the need to motivate teachers in order to produce the desired educational results. This is even more urgently necessary in this era of materialism and display of wealth in the face of wide spread poverty and decay in the country. The assumption is that motivation will ensure high level of teacher effort towards meeting school objectives and improvement in all its ramifications.

 

In view of this, the significance of the study is not only to find out what motivates teachers and its effects on the academic performance of students, but also to propose concrete and achievable practicable steps through which there can be total eradication of poor motivation of teachers in secondary schools.

 

The findings of this study will help government to find solution to the increasing problem of teachers’ motivation in secondary schools. The findings of this study will also afford teachers, parents and school administrators the opportunity of taking positive steps which would maximize teachers’ motivation in secondary schools.

 

Scope of the Study

 

The study was carried out in ten selected public secondary schools in Ikorodu Area of Lagos State. The subjects were principals, vice principals and other teaching staff of the selected schools.

 

Research Questions

 

1)  What are the sources of teachers’ motivation?

 

2)  What is the present level of teachers’ motivation?

 

3)  What relationship exists between the level of teachers’  motivation and students’ academic performance?

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