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Promoting Effective Teaching and Learning in Secondary Technical School As Perceived By Principals in Ebonyi State

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of Study

Students’ academic performance is an aspect of education that has been and still is of great concern to parents, school managers, educational researchers and policy makers in both developing and developed nations. It is also of great concern across all levels of education in a number of countries (Principe, 2005). It is an area that has been the subject of intensive research over several years (Li et al., 2010; Monk, 1998). On the one hand, educational researchers are under pressure by policymakers to isolate factors that underpin improvement of academic achievements (An et al., 2008). On the other hand, schools and institutions of higher learning are under pressure to improve academic performance (Broh, 2002). In the United Kingdom for instance, improving educational attainment is a policy priority (Steele et al., 2007). The introduction of ‘performance-based resources allocation’ is a characteristic of a pressure regime and therefore schools as well as other organizations have to work hard so as to avoid projects or activities with high likelihood of failure (Liefner, 2003). In the United States, underachievement of the minority students has been a matter of grave concern to educators, parents and policymakers for several decades (Chang, 2012). However,lack of consistent findings on the most effective determinants of academic improvement remains a challenge and a source of frustration to policy-makers due to delays in policy implementation process (Marks, 2010). Also, according to Handerson and Mapp (2002) as cited in Teodorovic (2011), some school variables have been found to be associated with students’ achievement. They include staff cohesion in academic and disciplinary matters; pleasant working environment, principals’ leadership, high expectation for students, school goals, inter-staff relations, emphasis on academic achievement, encouragement and active engagement of parents, strong management teams and quality teaching at the school. Evidence from research continues to demonstrate in a consistent manner that family Socioeconomic Status (SES) is closely related to student performance (Chang, 2012; Engin-Demir, 2009). Further investigation identifies SES as one of the most powerful predictors of student academic achievement across all racial and large groups (Chang, 2012:23). Leadership in schools has also been identified as important in relationship to students’ achievement (Locus et al., 2010). Other factors associated with students’ performance include students’ prior academic achievement, learning skills and habits, and learning strategies and approaches (Li et al., 2010).

These factors have been identified as key predictors of the students’ further achievements at higher level of study (Li et al., 2010). However, Shimada (2010) warns that no single variable has a strong impact on academic achievement, arguing that the educational process is complex and several factors create combination effect.

Secondary school level is the bridge between the primary and tertiary levels. The importance of secondary education made the federal government to state the broad aims of secondary education as preparation for useful living within the society and for higher education. The underline principle here is that the secondary schools should be able to provide quality secondary education for effective teaching and learning to all those who can benefit from it.

However, it appears that the secondary schools are not living up to expectation in discharging its obligations. Omoregie (2005) lamented the products of today’s secondary system can neither usefully live in the society nor move into higher institution without their parents’ aid or forgery. They cannot think for themselves or respect the views and feelings of others. They love no iota of dignity of labour except for things that will give them quick money.

It must be stressed that education cannot be an instrument par excellence for achieving national development where the secondary education is not effectively managed by the principals to accomplish its aims and objectives. In the administration of secondary schools, the principal is central. He is the man at the helms of the affairs who receives all praises (in terms of success) and blames (in terms of failure). According to Ibukun (1999), the jobs of the school principal in Nigeria has progressively become more complex and highly hazardous. In order to cope with the ever-rising challenges of the system, the school principal must be ready to see himself as a change agent. According to Ajayi (2002a) and Omoregie (2005), secondary education in Nigeria is riddled with crises of various dimensions and magnitude all of which combine to suggest that the system is at crossroad. It is against this background that this paper examined the concept of output of secondary school from the three domains of learning (cognitive, affective and psychomotor), the problems militating effective administration of secondary schools and the roles of the principals towards meeting the goals of the system.

School leaders have complex roles and carry out a wide range of functions that are necessary to support and develop a strong school organization where students are engaged and learning. Ultimately, everything they do is intended to support student achievement. But their effects on students are largely indirect (Hallinger & Heck, 1996; Supovitz, 2013). School leaders set the goals and mission of the school, promote trust and collaboration, and actively support instruction (Supovitz, Sirinides, & May, 2010). Their efforts can also lead to stronger organizational processes—such as better parental involvement, curricular coherence, and behavior policies—that lead to stronger classroom instruction, which, in turn, affects student achievement. Because their influence is indirect and there are many potential processes through which they can affect instruction and achievement, it is difficult to discern what it is that ultimately has the greatest effect on students.

Currently, principals are first and foremost expected to be instructional leaders. But there are so many aspects to ensuring that a school has effective instruction that it is hard to determine where school leaders should put their efforts. Principals are asked to coach and model good instruction, enable professional development for teachers, hire effective teachers and fire ineffective ones, manage relationships among staff members, facilitate collaboration around instruction and student support, set the vision for the building, create ties with families and communities, and maintain order and safety in the building so that instruction can occur. Given limited energy these roles at once, which is the most important role to play? Studies on leadership have pointed to a wide array of school processes through which leadership affects student learning. Bryk, Sebring, Allensworth, Luppescu, and Easton (2010) classified school processes into four broad areas—instructional guidance, the professional capacity of staff members, family and community involvement, and the learning climate of the school. Leadership works primarily to develop those four organizational supports. For our analysis, professional capacity of staff members includes qualifications; professional development quality; and the extent of teacher collaboration, innovation, and teacher socialization, all of which have been associated with higher student achievement (Bryk, Camburn, & Louis, 1999; Kruse, Louis, & Bryk, 1995). Parent-community ties refer to the degree to which schools foster relationships with parents and the community and include an element of how the school involves parents in their child’s academic progress. The learning climate of the school encompasses the basic elements of student and teacher safety and the more complex aspects of school culture that foster student development (for e.g., by promoting high expectations for student success).

Statement of Problem

As it is believed by principals, it is a great a challenge when a program fails to meet up with the objectives for which it was setup. Uwaifo (2011) identified that Basic Technology before now known as “Introductory Technology” was structured to assist learners to develop interest in Technology. The aim therefore as outlined in the National Curriculum for Junior Secondary Schools (1998) is that at the end of junior secondary school, technological appreciation would have been attained and solid foundation laid for students’ entrance into a vocation of their choice.

Olaniyan & Ojo (2000) stated that a nation that does not take the development of her technology as a serious matter will find her being relegated to the back bench in the committee of nations, even if such a nation has all the resources in the world, she would still be poor economically, socially and politically.

To achieve the aim setting up Basic Technology as well as the aims of technical secondary schools as stated in the Nigeria Policy on Education (2004) some of which are:

To give training and impart the necessary skills leading to the production of craftsmen, technicians and other skilled personnel who will be enterprising and self reliant and

To enable young men and women to have an intelligent understanding of the increasing complexity of technology.

These aims according to Ofoha, Uchegbu, Ayinkwa & Nkemdirim were stated about three decades ago; Uwameiye & Aduwa – Ogiegbaen (2006) noted that for these objectives to be realized, adequate teaching methods must be put in place for its teaching so that according to them adequate achievement can be guaranteed.

Today, however, according to Oni (2007), the nation still lacks quality vocation–technical programmes in technical institutions and this has been discussed by many educationists and identified as the major setback for attaining goals of education in Africa (Obanya, 2007).

Inadequacy of functional education however leads to unemployment which by extension leads to underdevelopment of any nation saddled with this problem. In an attempt to address the problem of unemployment, this study looks into the strategies for improving the teaching and learning of Basic Technology in Junior Secondary Schools.

Purpose of Study

This research work is set to find out effective teaching and learning in secondary technical schools as perceived by principals in Ebonyi State.

Succinctly, it is set to:

  1. Determine the effect of government funding on teaching and learning process in technical schools.
  2. Ascertain possible outcome of students’ interest in enrolment process.
  3. Ascertain if teachers’ qualification has effect on students’ academic achievement.
  4. Find out the effect of time and credit load allotment on teaching and learning in technical schools in Ebonyi State.

Significance of Study

This research work will be of benefit to school administrators whom it is their duty and obligation to plan, budget and execute plans. This research work will guide principals, especially in technical schools towards what to expect as regards teaching and learning.

The knowledge from this research work will help to boost teaching and learning in technical secondary schools with the use of best devices for teaching and learning.

Also, it will help to improve the students in the use of modern interactive aids for communication and other technology related devices.

It will also bridge the wide gap between theory and practical in the technical colleges and be of help to other users of information; either for consumption (direct use/application) or for research purposes (modification).

More so, the government who it is their responsibility to provide funds and instructional materials for effective teaching and learning.

Research Question

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What are the effects of government funding on teaching and learning process in technical schools?
  2. To what extent does students’ interest affect the enrollment process in technical schools in Ebonyi state?
  3. To what extent does teachers’ qualification affect students’ academic achievement in technical schools?
  4. What are the effect of time and credit load allotment on teaching and learning in technical schools in Ebonyi State?

 

Scope of Study

This research work is on effective teaching and learning in secondary technical schools as perceived by principals in Ebonyi State. Hence, the work shall be limited to Principals in Ebonyi State.

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