TEACHERS EFFECTIVENESS IN THE TEACHING OF SOCIAL STUDIES AT JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 Background of the Study
The future growth of any nation, even the most advanced nations of the world depends quite considerably on the quality of education it provides for its citizens. The quality of education depends upon inspired, satisfied and truly dedicated teachers. This in turn can only be achieved through an effective teacher. Education is the gateway to national development in Nigeria. If it is to be developed to meet her social, political, economic and technological needs, there must exist effective social studies teachers to teach their respective subjects. Therefore, the quest for an effective teacher in teaching social studies is borne out of the desired need to attain the laudable goals of high educational standards coupled with the much needed moral rectitude in our society today (Korve, 2008).
The attainment of the Education Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All Goals (EFA) which is geared towards ensuring that by the year 2015 all children particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities have access to, and complete, free and compulsory primary education of good quality depend to a large extent on teachers’ effectiveness and other students or learners related factors. Education is an instrument for national development but if it is to achieve that objective, emphasis must be placed on the quality of educational programmes undertaken as well as the quality of teachers who implement them. This is because a quality or effective social studies teacher produces qualitative education which in turn leads to rapid national development (Barth, 2013).
The process of evaluating the effectiveness of teachers has changed over time along with the definition of what effective teaching is, due in part to increasing state and federal attention to school-level and classroom-level accountability for student learning. Effective teaching has been defined in many ways throughout the years (Muijs, 2006; Cruickshank andHaefele, 2011; Cheng andTsui, 2012), and methods for measuring teachers’ effectiveness have changed as definitions and beliefs about what is important to measure have evolved. Although there is a general consensus that good teaching matters and that it may be the single most important school-based factor in improving student achievement (Darling-Hammond, 2012; Wright, Horn, and Sanders, 2010), measuring teacher effectiveness has remained elusive in part because of ongoing debate about what an effective teacher is and does.
In a discussion of research-based indicators of effective teaching, Cruickshank and Haefele (2011) stated that “an enormous underlying problem with teacher evaluation relates to lack of agreement about what constitutes good or effective teaching”.Besides a lack of clear consensus on what an effective teacher is and does—or perhaps because of it—there is not a generally agreed-upon method for evaluating teacher effectiveness. Muijs (2006) further stated that commonly used methods of evaluating teachers’ effectiveness include classroom observations designed to measure teacher practices against some standard of effective teaching and value-added models that set out to measure the contribution of individual teachers to their students’ achievement gains.
Teachers have been shown to have an important influence on students’ academic achievement and they also play a crucial role in educational attainment because the teacher is ultimately responsible for translating policy into action and principles based on practice during interaction with the students (Afe, 2012). Both teaching and learning of social studies depends on teachers: no wonder an effective teacher has been conceptualized as one who produces desired results in the course of his duty as a teacher (Uchefuna, 2012).
Considering governments’ huge investment in public education, its output in terms of quality of students have been observed to be unequal with government expenditure. Consequent upon the observed deterioration in the academic achievement, attitude and values of secondary school students in public secondary schools, one wonders if the high failure rates and the poor quality of the students is not a reflection of the instructional quality in the schools. In other words the ineffectiveness of teachers in classroom interaction with the students could be responsible for the observed poor performance of students and the widely acclaimed fallen standard of education in Nigeria (Afe, 2012).
Teaching effectiveness has been accepted as a multidimensional construct since it measures a variety of different aspects of teaching such as; subject mastery, effective communication, lesson preparation and presentation (Onyeachu,2013). The influence of teachers’ teaching effectiveness on the learning outcome of students as measured by students’ academic performance especially in social studies has been the subject of several studies (AdediwuraandTayo, 2011; AduandOlatundun, 2010; SchacterandThum, 2014; Starr, 2012). The above studies suggest that effective teaching is a significant predictor of students’ academic achievement. Therefore effective teachers should produce students of higher academic performance.
Poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been linked to poor teachers’ performance in terms of accomplishing the teaching task, negative attitude to work and poor teaching habits which have been attributed to poor motivation (Ofoegbu, 2004). It has also been observed that conditions that would make for effective teaching such as resources available to teachers, general conditions of infrastructure as well as instructional materials in public secondary schools in Nigeria are poor (Oredein, 2000). These prevailing conditions would definitely show a negative influence on the instructional quality in public schools, which may translate to poor academic performance, attitude and values of secondary school students.
Although social studies teachers’ instructional effectiveness would significantly influence students’ academic achievement, other factors such as socio-economic background, family support, intellectual aptitude of student, personality of student, self-confidence, and previous instructional quality have been found to also influence students’ examination score either positively or negatively (Starr, 2012). Recent examinations of the factors that influence students’ scores have identified variables associated with teachers’ effectiveness. The existence of this factor is not surprising since a major function of schools is to put in place contexts in which students can learn, and the more successfully they manage these interactions, the more effective the teacher is likely to be. To this end, Blankstein (2012) had stated that students’ grades and test scores are not good indicators of the quality of teachers’ instruction.
In support of the above view, a study carried out by Joshua (2011) showed that Nigerian teachers condemn the use of student achievement scores as indicators of teachers’ competence, performance or effectiveness. Since students’ academic scores are not the only predictors of teachers’ effectiveness, researchers have sought other fairer ways of evaluating teachers’ effectiveness. Students, administrators, colleagues and the teachers’ self-evaluation have been used to evaluate teachers’ effectiveness. Students’ competence in the evaluation of the effectiveness of their teachers has been of great concern to researchers in education. However, studies have shown that students’ ratings are valuable indicators of teachers’ effectiveness (ImhanlahiniandAguele, 2006; Pozo-Munzo, 2009). Despite the fact that there are research reports in support of students’ rating of their teachers’ effectiveness, Nuhfer (2004) and Pozo-munzo(2009) warned that students rating should be one of a comprehensiveevaluation system and should never be the only measure of teachers’ effectiveness. The school administrators’ evaluation has also been used to evaluate teachers’ effectiveness.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The issue of poor academic performance of students in social studies has been of much concern to all and sundry. This poor performance to some extent is attributed to students’ factors and sometimes teachers’ effectiveness in teaching the subject. The quality of education on the other hand depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties.
Over time, students’ academic performance in both internal and external examinations had been used to determine excellence in teachers and teaching. Result from earlier researches revealed deficiency in the effective teaching of social studies at junior secondary schools. The factors responsible for such ineffectiveness include; inadequate and unqualified social studies teachers, inadequate teaching aids, poor infrastructures, and inappropriate use of methodology.
Despite the importance of social studies such as students’ familiarity with their physical and social environment; improved social relationships and interactions, skills and ability to think relatively, critically, among others, most students exhibit nonchalant attitude towards the subject which may be as a result of teachers’ ineffectiveness in teaching the subject. It is based on the above problems that the researcher is interested in carrying out this study to determine the effectiveness of social studies teachers in teaching of the subject in junior secondary school in Kogi State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
This study is intended to determine the effectiveness of the teachers in the teaching of social studies at junior secondary schools. Specifically, the purposes of the study is to;
- Determine the extent to which teachers mastery of the social studies content contributes to his effectiveness
- Determine the extent to which the use appropriate learning resources by social studies teachers contribute to their effectiveness.
- Determine the influence of teachers’ instructional method on their effectiveness.
- Determine the extent which the use of appropriate classroom management style by social studies teachers contributes to their effectiveness.
- Determine the influence of communication skill on social studies teachers’ effectiveness.
- Determine the extent to which gender difference among social studies teachers contributes to their effectiveness.
- Determine the influence of location on social studies teachers’ effectiveness.
- Determine the influence of teachers experience on their effectiveness.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The findings of the study have both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, several suppositions and suggestions have been made on how teachers’ effectiveness in teaching his subject influenced students’ academic achievement. For the purpose of this study therefore, Expectancy theory by Victor Vroom, theory of social learning by Albert Bandura and Extrinsic theory of motivation by Abraham Maslow are significant, because the theories provided insight on how cognitive motivation increases ones effectiveness. The findings of this study will therefore add credence to the tenets of these theories.
Practically, the parents, students, teachers, researchers and policy makers would benefit from the findings of the study. The joy of parents is to see their children excelling in academics. This wish has eluded most parents. However the finding of this study if implemented would help the parent to enroll their wards into the right school where only effective teachers are employed to teach social studies.
The finding of this study would also be of benefit to the students. This is because the students are functional members of the society. The outcome or product of effective teaching is consumed by the society. The values inculcated by an effective social studies teacher would help to build the society socially, economically and politically. Social studies curriculum among other things emphasized honesty, leadership, followership, nationhood, etc. these values if translated into the students will go along way to building a healthy society.
The finding of this study would help the teachers to understand better the factors that influenced their effectiveness, thus making them better teachers of the subject. These will in turn influence students’ performance in the subject. The assumption is that greater effectiveness would have concomitant positive influence on students’ achievement in social studies.
The outcome of this study would also help school administrators to identify what to emphasize in the course of supervising teaching and learning in the school system. Supervision is an integral part of the school system which ensures proper curriculum implementation. This study is particularly important because it will help school administrators to quickly identify those factors such as punctuality, mastery of content, the issue of appropriate learning resources or teaching aids, the use of appropriate class management style that contribute to teachers effectiveness.
The findings of this study will provide additional literature for subsequent researchers to draw from the course of conducting researches, and also reveal problems which could be the basis for further research, thus contributing to the existing knowledge of teacher effectiveness in the teaching of social studies in junior secondary schools. The finding of the study will also help researchers to identify the various ways of measuring teacher effectiveness.
Lawson Peter – Chief Editor in Projectvilla Nigeria. A writer and academic researcher.