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INFLUENCE OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE ON STUDENTS’ INTEREST, SELF-EFFICACY, AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ACCOUNTING IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN AKWA IBOM STATE
1.1 Background of the Study
Education has been widely acknowledged as the process of raising individuals or groups along mental, physical, moral, social, and vocational dimensions through a planned programme of activities and instruction as well as other forms of relevant experiences. Education therefore, could be seen as the process of changing attitude and behaviour of a person or group of persons through teaching and learning process (Udo and Akpanobong, 2017). The Nigerian education system is structured into Early Child Care and Development (0-4 years); Basic Education (5-15 years). This encompasses Pre-Primary (1 year), 6 years of Primary Education and 3 Years of Junior Secondary Education; Post-Basic Education of 3 years in Senior Secondary Education and Technical Colleges; and Tertiary Education provided in Colleges of Education, Monotechnics, Polytechnics, and the Universities (FRN, 2013).
Post-Basic Education and Career Development (PBECD) is the education received after a successful completion of ten years of Basic Education and passing the Basic Education Certificate Examination. It includes senior secondary education, higher school, and continuing education given in Vocational Enterprise Institutions (VEIs) to either Basic Education graduates who are not proceeding to Senior Secondary Schools or Senior Secondary graduates that are not proceeding to tertiary level, as a means of preparing them for the world of works, wealth creation and entrepreneurship (FRN, 2013). Secondary education is not just an indispensible bridge linking the Basic and Tertiary Education; it is the foundation for higher manpower development. It offers diversified curriculum to cater for the differences in talents, disposition, opportunities and future roles of individuals. Therefore, the proper handling of the secondary school students will yield good results at the tertiary education level in terms of character and learning. There are four types of secondary schools in Nigeria. These are: Federal Government Colleges, managed by the Federal Ministry of Education; Government Secondary Schools, managed by States Government; Mission or Islamic Secondary Schools, owned and managed by the Church or Islamic organisations; and Private Secondary Schools, owned and managed by individuals and organisations. Secondary Schools are co-educational while some are single gender schools. Students in the Senior Secondary Education level in Nigeria are expected to choose subjects either in the arts, sciences or social sciences based on the curriculum of the senior secondary education, at the second year into the senior secondary level (SS2). The National Policy on Education (FRN, 2013) states that the curriculum for senior secondary education shall consist of Science, Mathematics, Technology, and Business Studies as fields of studies. Financial accounting is one of the subjects in the field of Business Studies designed to equip secondary school students with the relevant knowledge and skills for higher education and useful living within the society.
Musa (2015) defined financial accounting as the process of recording, classifying, selecting, measuring, interpreting, summarising and reporting financial information of an organisation to the users for objective assessment and decision-making. National Examinations Council (NECO) as cited by Umar and Abdulmutallib (2017) stated that as an occupationally oriented subject that provides trained manpower for the development of a nation, the aims of teaching financial accounting in Nigerian secondary schools are to enable the students to acquire basic financial accounting skills and practices, and their applications in contemporary business activities, and to prepare them to further their study in the field of financial accounting. Mohammed (2011) stated that financial accounting aims at providing specialized instruction to prepare students for career in financial accounting field; fundamental instruction to help students assume their economic roles as consumers, workers and citizens; background instruction to assist students in preparing for other professional careers requiring advanced studies in accounting; and accounting skills for personal use in future. The objectives of financial accounting as stated by the West African Examination Council (2010) are to assess candidate’s understanding of accounting principles and the role of accounting in recording business transactions; assess the appreciation and application of the rules and functions of accounting as they apply to organisations; and assess students’ foundation for further studies in accounting. Thus, the assessment of students’ academic performance could serve as a yardstick to determining whether the objectives are being achieved or not.
Inyang (2014) stated that performance is recorded when the skills taught are successful and objectives realized on the part of the teacher and the students in the teaching-learning process. The author further stated that internal and external examinations/tests, transfer of learning as well as a permanent change in the behaviour of the students consequent upon the learning process form the yardstick of measuring performance. Siegler in Sargent (2009) opined that financial accounting has conceptual and procedural aspects, and that weak learners may understand the procedure, but not the concept, or the concept, not the procedure. This could imply that those set of students with limited ability in financial accounting may not be able to grasp large quantity of numerical information in their working memory as other students and this could lead to poor academic performance. Inyang (2014) noted that in secondary schools, the trend in students’ academic performance and choice of financial accounting as a career subject have been discouraging. According to the author, this could be noticed in the low number of students offering the subject at senior secondary two class and the external examinations. The poor academic performance of students and the low number of students offering the subject especially in external examinations could result in the lack of interest in the subject by students.
Interest could be viewed as a situation in which an individual links the essence of things or situations with needs or wants. Interest according to Schiefele in Essien, Akpan, and Obot (2015) is a feeling of identification with a person and some conditions, things or other persons. According to the authors, interest has been defined as a kind of consciousness accompanying and stimulating attention, a feeling, pleasant or painful directing attention, the pleasurable or painful aspect of a process of attention, and as identical with attention of itself. The term interest could be used to indicate a permanent mental disposition and could be given a boost or destroyed through participation, experience, familiarity, study, and work, and may also influence an individual’s self-efficacy.
Students’ self-efficacy comprises the beliefs regarding their ability to learn and apply the positive effect of the learning. These beliefs are associated with the behavioural pattern exhibited by the students towards learning and this establishes an obvious difference in the learning abilities of students. Students’ ability to adapt to new strategies, methodologies and techniques that foster the skill to be learnt, independent learning and academic performance depends greatly on the students’ self-efficacy. This could imply that self-efficacy may affect students’ intelligence and academic performance.
Intelligence encompasses the logical capacity for necessary adjustment. It proffers opportunities to individuals to respond flexibly to challenging situations. Intelligence has been defined in different ways including the capacity for logic, understanding, self-awareness, learning, planning, creativity, and problem solving. Ogwo and Oranu (2006) observed that earlier studies have indicated intelligence as the key factor influencing academic performance. According to the authors, high intelligence is the main measure of academic success. The diversity of students within a classroom is increasingly widened. Peterson in Udoudo (2014) noted that within each classroom, students of a wide academic range with different labels such as gifted, fast learners, average learners, slow learners, and below average all face their teacher daily with full hope that their learning needs would be met. These students, equipped with different intelligences and vast learning capabilities, all in the same classroom are faced with the challenge of learning and achieving success in their academics within a specific time frame and their intelligence are assessed in like manner without recourse to the diversities in intelligence.
Multiple intelligence is entrenched in Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences which takes a pluralistic view of learning by recognizing that each person has dissimilar cognitive strength. Gardner (1983) opined that for learning to occur, concentrating on the strengths and skills of an individual gives the individual enthusiasm and the chance to learn in the ways that the individual learns best. Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence recognized eight intelligences which describe the different ways individuals are “smart”, that is, how their natural talents are manifested and how they learn best. These intelligences are: verbal/linguistic intelligence, logical/mathematical intelligence, visual/spatial intelligence, musical intelligence, bodily/kinesthetic intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intrapersonal intelligence, and naturalistic intelligence.
Linguistic intelligence is the skill and interest surrounding words, syntax, phonology, grammar, and can be found within the context of both written and spoken language. Gardner (1983) noted that a person with little interest or skill in writing can be persuasive, but are far less likely to agonize over the word choices and placement that form complex poetic rhythms. Individual with such intelligence are innately skilled at using words to communicate. This intelligence is associated with storytellers, politicians, comedians, and writers. Students who are strong in this type of intelligence seem to learn best by repeating, saying out loud, hearing, and seeing words, but rely on a variety of different learning techniques.
Many students learn better from hearing words spoken orally than they do from silent reading, and one may find that these students like to read out loud to themselves, which can be disruptive to the class. Such students may appear rude and disinterested in class when their eyes wander from the written text, but they could just be trying to shut out distractions and absorb the material aurally. Rather than viewing this as a discipline problem, which might in turn affect the students’ interest, self-efficacy and academic performance, it could be pertinent to try to find ways to accommodate students who learn best auraly. A student with highly developed linguistic intelligence and an active imagination may have trouble engaging in subject matter that does not tap into this natural proclivity, and may even do poorly in school as a result of disinterest. Fortunately, most subject areas can be approached through a verbal route and this type of student should be encouraged to apply linguistic creativity in as many areas as possible. Personal attention can be very encouraging to these students and the teacher may want to display their work in class, or ask them to read aloud to the class.
Logical intelligence is defined as the capacity to use numbers effectively and reason well. Skill in logical concepts is often dominated by the ability to recognize patterns and relationships, in this case between numbers. This develops into strong abstract thinking skills that may or may not revolve around numbers; these skills include prediction, inference, calculations, approximations, classification, generalization and hypothesis testing (Armstrong in Udoudo, 2011). This skill is associated with mathematicians, scientists, computer programmers and accountants.
Spatial intelligence is the capacity to accurately understand and mentally navigate the surrounding world. This ‘navigation’ can occur in several ways, including a sense of direction, the ability to match or compliment patterns, shapes, or colors, and accurately recalling physical objects and spaces in a different context or medium. Gardner uses the example of traditional intelligence testing as an example of this intelligence. A puzzle that asks the recipient to find an identical visual pattern match from a selection, or of a drawing rotated or mirrored, is testing visual-spatial intelligence (Gardner, 1983). Concrete examples of people using visual-spatial intelligence include someone who is seldom lost (they can mentally orient themselves even in a new context), an architect who can draw a space based on measurements and/or recollection, and an artist who paints a portrait of a physical object. This ability to accurately recall or reproduce something seen or experienced is core to spatial intelligence. This type of intelligence is associated with hunters, sailors, engineers, inventors, and surgeons, interior decorators, architects, painters, and sculptors.
Musical intelligence is skill and interest in the formal and informal aspects of music. Someone who excels at the formal aspects of music may have a strong understanding of music theory or rhythm, and accurately predict musical patterns. Gardner describes musical intelligence as one of the first of the eight multiple intelligences to emerge in young children. It is also the most varied multiple intelligence in terms of development, and Gardner describes the difference within musical intelligence with the example of three pre-school children who have early musical talent. One child plays the violin with both accuracy and feeling, the second sings a complete aria after hearing it only once, and the third plays a self-composed minuet on the piano (Gardner, 1983). They would all be considered exceedingly talented, though their skills are quite different. Some people will be very skilled in, or appreciative of music, and others have cannot hear the difference between the sounds or notes of an instrument; this is what defines musical intelligence. This type of skill is associated with performers, composers, critics and music-lovers.