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EFFECTS OF TEACHERS’ KNOWLEDGE OF SUBJECT MATTER, UTILIZATION OF RESOURCES AND CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT ON THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF STUDENTS IN BIOLOGY
This chapter covers the following: background of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, and significance of the study, delimitation of the study, limitations of the study and definition of terms.
1.1 Background of the Study
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to all and sundry. The problem is so much that it has led to the widely acclaimed fallen standard of education in Delta State and Nigeria at large. The quality of education depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties. Over time pupils’ academic performance in both internal and external examination had been used to determine excellence in teachers and teaching (Ajao, 2001). 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, 2001). Both teaching and learning 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, 2001).
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. This fact is also applicable to teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter, for instance, Lucky (2003) states that teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter is very important if the performance of the students must improve. He however laments that in pubic secondary schools in Nigeria, government is not selective in their employment process. The people on top employ nepotism and partially in their practice.
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, 2006). The influence of teachers’ teaching effectiveness on the learning outcome of students as measured by students’ academic performance has been the subject of several studies (Adediwura and Tayo, 2007; Adu and Olatundun, 2007; Schacter and Thum, 2004; Starr, 2002). 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 teachers’ strong effect 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, 2002). To this end, Blankstein (2005) had stated that students’ grades and test scores are not good indicators of the quality of teachers’ instruction. In support of this view, a study carried out in Nigeria by Joshua, Joshua and Krinsonis (2006) 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 teacher has been of great concern to researchers in education. However, studies have shown that students’ ratings are valuable indicators of teachers’ effectiveness (Imhanlahini and Aguele, 2006; Pozo-Munzo, Rebolloso and Fernandez, 2000).
Despite the fact that there are research reports in support of students’ rating of their teachers’ effectiveness (Nulfer, 2004). The school administrators’ evaluation has also been used to evaluate teachers’ effectiveness. The accuracy of school administrators’ evaluation of teachers’ effectiveness has also been studied. Jacob and Lefgren (2006) found a positive correlation between a principal’s assessment of how effective a teacher is at raising students’ achievement and that teacher’s success in doing so as measured by the value-added approach.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is quite obvious that teachers play a very significant role in the career and academic achievement of students. Not only in biology but in other courses as well. Students cannot do without teachers. That is why it is mandatory for the school management to employ professional teachers who are qualified for the post.
Even with the aforementioned, teachers at many times are wrongly selected or employed on the ground of partiality and nepotism. They employ teachers who are wanting in their teaching duties. It is quite unfortunate that some of this teachers do not master the subjects, neither do they utilize the instructional material nor are they effective in class management. All these defeat the purpose of recruiting the teachers.
However, it is quite untrue that such non-challant attitude or ineffectiveness is practiced by all teachers. Some teachers have actually shown high level of dedication and that is why this research is necessary. The problem of study is therefore to investigate the relationship between teachers’ effectiveness and students’ academic achievement in biology, subject mastery, utilization of the instructional materials and classroom management in Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State