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TEACHERS’ VARIABLE AND STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT IN INTEGRATED SCIENCE IN UYO, EDUCATION ZONE, AKWA IBOM STATE
1.1 Background of the Study
Teachers’ variable has been the focus of considerable debate worldwide since the middle of 20th century. Rovkin and Kain (2008) demonstrated in a study that, the influence of teachers’ variable on student’s achievement is many times greater than any other commonly observed variable such as home background, conducive class environment and others.
Teacher’s variable is a topic with high priority. Teachers’ variable differs considerably between countries and also between states. The National Policy on Education (Federal Republic of Nigeria revised 2004) while stressing the importance of teachers’ variable in curriculum implementation noted that, no nations educational system can rise above quality of teachers.
Teachers are central to any consideration of schools and majority of educational policy focus directly or indirectly on the role of teachers. Moreover parents, teachers and administrator emphasize repeatedly the fundamental role that teachers play in comparison to other determinants of academic achievement. Teachers are important in any educational system because the quality of teachers in any educational system determines to a great extent the quality of the system itself. For many years, educators and researcher have debated which schools variables influence student achievement its policy makers become more involved in school reform, this question takes on new importance since their initiative rely on pressured relationship between various educational related factors like class-size, teacher quality schools size and others. Peter (2007) stated that “quality is the basic indispensable feature of a thing”. For example, the variable of high quality science teachers relates to those attributes that enhances the fitness and efficiency of teachers in performing the duties that are associated with science education. Teachers variable is an important educational topic among policy makers, educational leaders, teacher education institution and those interested in improving public education. It is a pivotal policy issue in education reform. An American council on education (2009) stated that “teacher’s variable is the key to improved students achievement regardless of the condition of the schools, the affluence of the child, the nature of the community, or any other element in the lives or educational environment of school children.
Teacher’s variable was defined by Ingersoll (2006) as a “measure of teachers qualification, teaching practice, teacher’ certification, teacher’s experience and teaching preparation. Shulman (2007) identified seven areas of professional for quality teaching which are academic subject, knowledge of teaching strategies, knowledge of student’s characteristic and cultural background, knowledge of curriculum materials and programs, knowledge of teaching environment, subject of specific knowledge of teaching strategies and knowledge of the goals and purposes of teaching.
An integrated science teacher should endeavor to acquire adequate knowledge which will enable him teach any aspect of the content of the integrated science programme, and for the integrated science teacher to be useful in the class he needs to continuously update himself both in the content and method of teaching of integrated science. Integrated science teachers should know their subject and possess the verbal ability to transfer knowledge to the science students. They are intentional teachers who are constantly examining and upgrading their own teacher practices, through attending professional seminars and conferences. The purpose of teaching is to make the students acquire accurate and useful knowledge about objects and events in the universe. Effective teaching requires the teacher to be good example to the students.
Education as a concept has to do with the idea of eradicating ignorance, injecting awareness, moral discipline, mental development and exploring new frontiers. In its formal context, education involves formal context, education involves principled, conditioned and systematized approaches, and in most cases, this formalities are seen in classroom, specifically in teacher – student’s relationship. The quality of education, here determines the productivity of a person (student) where all of these features of education are achieved, the quality of education is said to be standardized. But if there is downward fluctuation or a short fall in any of these features, the standard of education is said to have fallen. The later is always observed in many ways. The output of teachers, the attitude of government, the product of the students themselves, the productivity of these people as workers afterwards and others. Such a fall is not always left uncommented.
In the recent past, there has been a comment in the falling standard of education from concerned individuals, teachers, group of individuals, corporate institutions, parents and governments, at times from students themselves. When mentioning this, the government links it to the teachers. On their part, the teachers attribute the fallen standard of education to government’s refusal to provide adequate teaching and learning facilities. Parts of the blame also go to the student.
They are also accused of lacking in discipline require of them for serious academic work, parents also are blamed for not providing their wards with the proper learning materials and in time. The parents see most teachers as half-baked education personnels. They therefore accuse teachers of dereliction of duty, lack of dedication and unseriousness.
The students who are in the centre of this drama of accusation blame the teachers and the government for their poor academic achievement. When we sum up the above, we have a result similar to the flectional encounter of three blind men with an elephant each giving its description based on what he touched. The reality of the situation is that each accused the other, with the other not ready to own up any fault, but at the end each of them becomes a contributory factor to the fallen standard. These accusations and counter accusation have forced some authorities to thinking aloud in a attempt to throwing light on the issue.
The teacher is expected to influence the child in a manner that the child will be able to fit into society in any given capacity. Also since the success of any student depends mostly on the teachers. It is good to employ qualified and professional teachers who are experienced in the field of teaching.
Although to recent, they have been a mix feeling among researcher about the standard of education in schools in Nigeria. Many researchers believe that the standard of education has fallen while others believed that the standard of education is still very high because of technological development in the country and other developed nations in the world.
In as much as this argument persist among researchers, factors such as gender, educational, age and marital status, have been shown to have an important impact on student academic performance and also play a crucial role in their educational attainment (Langd, 2000). Both teaching and learning depend on teachers, for there can be no meaningful socio-economic and political development in any society without teachers (Adeyemi, 2000).