INFLUENCE OF CLASS-SIZE ON TEACHING AND LEARNING
1.1 Background to the Study
A teacher is a person who provides education for pupils and students. He is someone who facilitates education for an individual and may also be described as a personal tutor. According to Mbise (2015) a teacher is an expert who is capable of imparting knowledge that will help learners to build, identify and to acquire skills that will be used to face the challenges in life. The teacher also provides to the learners knowledge, skills and values that enhance development.
A teacher is the person who is capable of creating behavioural change in terms of cognitive, psychomotor as well as affective domain (Senge, 2016). An educated person is capable of utilizing the available opportunities in both private and public sectors. The educated person can easily secure employment as well as having life skills that will enable him/her to interact well in the society.” The teaching process cannot be carryout without the teacher acquiring the necessary qualifications.
Qualification is a special skill or type of experience or knowledge that makes someone suitable to do a particular job or activity (Musau and Migosi, 2015). Therefore, teachers’ qualification is a particular education level a teacher possesses to make the teacher suitable to teach. Qualification of the teacher is one of the critical factors that drive students’ academic performance therefore, there is need for the qualification of teachers to be studied as it may influence the academic performance of students in Basic science being a preparatory subject for science students and a foundational subject for students (Hakielimu, 2011).
Kola and Sunday (2015) identified seven indicators of teachers’ qualification which are: teachers’ formal education; teachers’ education in the subject matter of teaching (in-field preparation); teacher education in pedagogical studies; duration of the preparation period; certification and licensing status; years of experience and preparation in professional development activities.
However, by qualification, certification is also recognized as a crucial aspect of teachers’ qualification. Certification is a measure of teacher qualifications that combines both aspects of knowledge about the subject matter with teaching and learning processes (Darling-Hammond, 2014). Certified teachers are usually those who have graduated from accredited teacher education programs (Kola and Sunday 2015). These categories of teachers are also required to complete an induction program or pass a national teacher examination test to obtain a license (Kola and Sunday (2015)
In the Nigerian context, a certified teacher must be licensed by the Teacher Registration Council of Nigeria (Teachers’ Registration Council of Nigeria, 2014) apart from graduating from an accredited institution. The major problem facing Nigerian now is the rate at which private teacher training institutions are springing up. Many of these institutions bribed their ways to get accredited when they have not met the required standard. Darling-Hammond, (2014) further argued that teachers’ education and certification are related to teacher’s effectiveness in the teaching/learning process. The author added that several aspects of teachers’ qualifications like subject matter knowledge, preparation experience, and teaching experience had been found to have some relationship with students’ achievement. Some believed that certified as a teacher does not guarantee achievement gain for students (Kane, Rockoff and Staiger, 2016).
While Darling-Hammond, Berry and Thoreson, (2015) agreed that been certified as a teacher influences academic gain. In agreement with Darling-Hammond, Berry and Thoreson, (2015) also added that students who are taught by certified teachers outscored those with another kind of teachers in the educational system in Nigeria.
According to Fred (2016), a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) is a graduate professional degree which prepares students for work as a teacher in schools, though in Nigeria additional work like fields and researches must be done in order for the student to be fully qualified to teach. Also, the Bachelor of Education degree is awarded at Universities and Colleges of Education across the nation as a first degree. The Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) can be done as combined honours with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) or Bachelor of Science (B.Sc).
It can also be done as a single honours degree with specializations in Nursery and Primary Education, Curriculum Development, Educational Administration and Policy Studies, among others. Students usually undergo intensive teaching practices at the 2nd and 3rd years of study. Upon graduation, they are registered by the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) and can be employed as teachers afterwards. Postgraduate education usually takes the form of an Master’s Degree in Education (M.Ed.), Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE), and Gradate Diploma in Education (GDE) (Fred, 2016).
In the same way, a Bachelor of Science Education is a degree awarded to students who complete the four to five-year course of study in the field of science (major and minor in Basic science, chemistry, physics, and math) with major Educational courses. It is the combination of degrees in science and education course (sometimes referred to double degree programs B.Sc + B.Ed. = B.Sc.Ed.). Even though B.Sc and B.Ed. are notionally two degrees, they must be taken together. There are very few universities that offer this course because it requires collaboration between the Faculty/School of Science and that of Education, to ensure that the teacher not only can work in an education institution but also in an industrial area related to science.
Nevertheless, teachers’ qualifications could, could also mean all the skills a teacher required to teach effectively. Such skills include formal education, experience, subject matter knowledge, pedagogy studies, duration of training, certificate/licensing and professional development (Kola and Sunday (2015) Someone might have a teaching certificate at hand but without adequate knowledge of subject matter, this individual has no teaching qualifications yet.
Similarly, Darling-Hammond, Berry and Thoreson, 2015) asserted that someone without proper knowledge of pedagogy or someone who spent few years in training without completing the required years does not possess teacher qualifications. Rice (2013) is of the view that professional development and experience also count for teachers’ qualifications.
In another development, professional development is also seen as part of qualification of the teacher education. These are activities that develop the teachers’ individual skills, knowledge, expertise and other characteristics as a teacher. It is a conscious and systematic steps to ensure teachers upgrading and continuous self-improvement (Oluremi, 2013). Professional development is critical to the retention and improvement of any teacher in the classroom. Professional development is an aspect of teachers’ qualifications that is paramount for an effective classroom teacher.
Oluremi (2013) further asserted that professional development enhances and improve teachers teaching skills. This author posited that there was the need to foster teacher’s continuous professional development to cope effectively to improve the quality of education. Teachers’ continuous professional development is highly relevant both to improving educational performance and effectiveness, and for enhancing teachers’ commitment, identity and job satisfaction (Kola and Sunday (2015)Wilson, Floden, and Ferrini-Mundy, 2015). Shamim, Rashid,and Rashid (2013)Hollins, (2014)Boe and Shin 2017).
Gore, Griffiths and Ladwig, 2014)Oluremi, 2013).Gavora, 2013). Agharuwhe, (2013) cited that professional development is related positively to students’ achievement. Professional development helps practicing teachers to upgrade their content knowledge and teaching skills to adjust to the introduction of new curricula, new research finding on teaching and learning (Agharuwhe, 2013).
Basic science is defined as a cumulative approach of scientific study that synthesizes the perspectives of the individual disciplines, and integrates them during all phases of the approach to a question or problem, with the results having an influence on policy and management decisions (Gallagher, Ayres, Baron, Beauchemin, Hutchinson, La-Baugh, Sayre, Schwarzbach, Schweig, Thormodsgard, Riper and Wilde 2018). Integrated science is interdisciplinary.
Thus, integrated science not only involves personnel with diverse expertise, but also aims at collaborative efforts to examine the linkages among single-disciplinary perspectives, during which new methods, concepts, and approaches are often developed. With the major goal of developing scientifically literate individual that are concerned with high competence for rational thoughts and actions. The overall objective of basic science as enumerated in National Policy on Education (2014) were to enable students develop interest in science and technology, apply their scientific and technological knowledge and skills to meet societal needs, take advantage of the numerous career opportunity offered by the science and technology, become prepared for further studies in science and technology, to avoid drugs abuse and to be safety and security conscious. Basic Science is resource intensive and in an era of poor finding or scarcity of resources.
Basic Science as an integrated science subject is taught at the primary and junior secondary school levels of education in Nigeria so as to prepare the students for the core science subjects and courses at the senior secondary and tertiary levels of education. This implies that for students to be able to study science subjects at the senior secondary school level successfully, such students has to be well grounded in Basic Science at the primary and junior secondary school levels. In view of this, basic science is given great emphasis in Junior Secondary School Curriculum.
The teachings of basic science therefore make students to: have first-hand experiences of the way a problem situation is tackled by a scientist; be inquisitive about their physical and biological environment; enable students to comprehend the major unifying science concepts and pattern such as the principle of conservation of energy, the structure of materials and the law of gravitation.
It also provides opportunities for students to use measuring instruments such as thermometers, voltmeters, ammeters and observational aids such as a simple microscope, and it also make students acquainted with science process skills such as measuring, observing, experimenting, inferring, predicting, classifying, communicating, and recording of data.
However, many factors have hindered the successive implementation of the core curriculum in basic science.
These factors according to Chukwuneke and Chikwenze (2012) include teachers’ method of teaching, learning environment, student’s view of the subject, availability of instructional aids, among others these hindrances had led to the poor academic achievement of students in school examinations. Likewise, Ichado (2015) also argued that the environment from which the students come from play a major role in influencing the academic performance of students.
In a research carried out by Nuthana and Yenagi, (2015) on the causes of poor academic performance in science among Enugu secondary school students identified some factors such as low teachers’ knowledge of subject matter, lack of educational training of the teachers, lack of motivation of the teachers, poor provision of in-service training to teachers and lack of educational training as the major factors.
Ekwe (2015) posited that the teachers occupy the central position in the teaching and learning process and learning cannot be forceful and as such the teachers must be ready to learn before they can teach. However, due to the important position occupied by teachers in the teaching learning process, their qualifications become necessary to be investigated. Bamin, Kazi and Hasan (2013) observed that in addition to personal characteristics, teachers need to acquire and obtain educational training as it is critical for ensuring ones access to social, economic and civic life in the 21st century.
In recent time, basic science teachers with educational qualification on Basic science are lacking in primary and secondary schools, these lead to the inadequate teaching of the subject as some other teachers in related fields are employed to teach while some are volunteers. The teaching of basic science demands a great task to prepare the students to meet the demands of studying for examination.
Teachers are responsible for students’ academic performance; hence what really counts in determining the quality of a teacher is the quality of what goes on in the classroom. They should be guided and equipped by sound knowledge or relevant principles so as to cope with classroom situation. Teachers with multiphase background, training and qualification have over the years, dominated the teaching profession in Nigeria. With the emergence of new job opportunities, the teaching profession began to lose the best of its brain.
Consequently, those who could not get better job stay on; new entrants use it as a stepping stone, while others who were not trained to teach but have no other job joined the teaching profession (Arisekola, 2017). Teacher effectiveness hinges on mastery of the subject, ability to impart the subject matter to the learners and to exhibit the indices of educated person so as to achieve educational objectives. The educational objective focuses more on high students’ academic performance, in order for the students to be better individuals and contribute to the development of the nation as a whole (Abdullahi, 2016).
Furthermore, the gender of the teacher affects the qualification, commitment and availability of the teachers. In the work of Druva and Anderson (2010), the authors posited that female teachers prefer working in the cities and close to their location which may influence the overall distribution and development of the teachers. This is because some schools in the local communities may have school garden that these female teachers may be working there with some of the children and this female attitude may influence the availability of the teacher, participation in teaching the students. The gender of the teacher is a strong predictor of the teachers’ availability and level of personal development.
This development is seen as part of the qualification of the teachers which male teachers in the rural areas are seen to have developed more time than the female in the rural areas.
Onwuachu, (2015) have investigated reasons for students’ low achievement in science. Among the reasons were teachers’ failure to comply to professional ethics and conduct of teaching. Hence, every teacher has his/her own personality and attributes which shows individual teacher characteristics. With these problems, the limits to effective learning of Basic science may have been minimally set.
INFLUENCE OF CLASS-SIZE ON TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN ENUGU EDUCATIONAL ZONE