Background to the study
. Conscious of the fact that success in the realization of educational goals depends largely on the teacher, the National Policy on Education, FRN (2004), recognizes that the quality of education is guaranteed by teacher effectiveness. The teacher’s task is to teach, educate, provide educational guidance, promote the quest for scientific knowledge and conduct regular assessment (FRN, 2004).In view of the important and diverse nature of the teacher’s job, the necessary resources and conducive working environment must be provided to facilitate the effective execution of his/her task. The provision of favourable physical and psychological working environment is the task of school administrators.
The quality of such administrative service transcends location so that principals and teachers in all schools are supposed to be offered a fair and equal opportunity to be effective. This is particularly important because the practice in the state has been that education zonal offices are located in the local government council headquarters and they appear to concentrate on schools nearby. As a result, teachers in the distant areas stand the risk of being deprived of needed motivation because the officers in the zonal offices do not extend their services to such areas.
The most important factor in teaching is the teacher, not technique method or curriculum because he translates all these into meaningful learning experiences for students, (Abiogu and Ugwuja 2007). Next to the quality of the teacher is the quality of administrative services provided in schools to enhance effective teaching. By implication, teacher effectiveness goes along with the quality of administrative services provided, A teacher here refers to one who guides and tutors another towards the acquisition of desired knowledge and skills,
The concept of teacher effectiveness is elusive given that teaching is a complex activity (Zeichner, 2006) However for the purpose of this study, teacher effectiveness refers to the process of the teacher’s interaction with the students in educating them and students performance in tests and examinations (Hughes, 2001). In Benue State constraints to teacher effectiveness are multiple Ada, (2000) identifies some to include: a)lack of professional training b)physical characteristics of the teacher, c) personality traits, and d) administrative constraints.
In the first instance, teaching is one of the most difficult jobs because human behaviour is complex and difficult to modify or change especially if one is not equipped to do so, (Abottchampman , Hughes & Wyld, 1992). This lack of professional training becomes a major constraint to teacher effectiveness .Physical characteristics such as voice quality and non-verbal communication skills and such effective qualities as fairness, patience, humour and concern for students can enhance teacher effectiveness (Dimmock, 2005). Therefore a teacher who lacks these qualities will likely fail to foster the social, emotional and psychological development of the child. Other personal attributes that can affect teacher effectiveness include: good health, punctuality, regularity and fairness (Okoh, 1990). In addition, personality traits such as self-concept, aggressiveness, locus of control and attitude to work in general, are believed to affect effectiveness. These personal attributes are particularly desirable if the teacher is to view teaching as a cause beyond oneself (Dimmock, 2005). This implies that love for the job itself will lead to greater commitment and self sacrifices, without which teaching becomes a stop over to other jobs or just another boring means of earning a living. In such a situation teacher effectiveness is sacrificed.
Some of the contributing factors to teacher effectiveness, of course, lie on the school administration. The decision to dwell on administrative constraints stems from various factors. In Benue State, 90% of teachers in government secondary schools are trained,(Benue State Education Summit Digest,2005). The premise is that they possess adequate professional competencies. Secondly, this researcher shares the views of Bello, (2000) that it is possible for teachers lacking desirable physical and effective traits to be given adequate training and provided conducive working environment. Thirdly, because of fewer job opportunities in Benue State, due to lack of industrialization, some people going into teaching are just looking for job and need to be highly motivated by school administrators to be effective.
Finally, many of the decisions involving the organization and running of schools in the state are made by school administrators. Such decisions as organization for curriculum implementation, supervision of instruction, provision of adequate facilities and equipment, provision of favourable school community relations and staff motivation, rest with the school administration,(Focho, 2006) Evidently, a proper articulation by school administrators of these issues will enhance effective teaching or quality delivery which will be reflected in high students performance in examinations. On the contrary, if these issues are not handled satisfactorily by school administrators, dissatisfaction sets in reducing motivation and effectiveness while promoting teacher stress, (Oboegbulem, 2004).
A constraint here may be taken to mean a hindrance, therefore, administrative constraints may include those hindrances emanating from the way schools are managed. The term school administrator is not limited to any one person or position, rather it refers to any one involved in the management process of the school. These include’ principals, vice-principals, subject masters, state ministry of education, teaching service board, and local government education officers, director of secondary schools, curriculum planners, the state government, the minister of education and the federal government. Considering that teacher effectiveness is a function of teacher characteristics (professional, and personal) and the quality of administrative service, it is evident that administrative constraints can make a teacher ineffective despite the possession of desired characteristics.
Another indication of constraints to teacher ineffectiveness which may be due to administrative factors is noticeable in the fact that many students in the researcher’s school attend private evening classes to ensure content coverage and better understanding. Their complaint is that their regular teachers neither teach well nor do they cover the scheme of work . This also seems to be the trend in other parts of the state. Another evidence of constraints to teacher effectiveness is noticeable in the frequent radio announcements made by principals on the state radio demanding some teachers to report for work or face disciplinary actions,(Torkula, 2004). There are also obvious cases that some government secondary school teachers are involved in other income generating activities.
Constraints to teacher effectiveness are again reflected in student’s poor performances in external examinations. The contention that Benue students in Government Secondary Schools perform poorly in external examinations is corroborated by results of the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations as conducted by National Examinations Council of Nigeria (NECO) and West African Examination Council (WAEC).(see appendix III). There have been complaints of a steady decline in performances. Therefore indications of teacher ineffectiveness in some government secondary schools in Benue State do abound.
In an effort to look at causes of teacher ineffectiveness fingers seem to be directed to school administrators. From the researcher’s experience there is little instructional supervision leading to lack of quality control and technical support to teachers. Teachers in the researcher’s school tend to do as they please because no one really checks if they follow or complete the syllabus. Furthermore, teachers are often in conflict with the principal and this often degenerates to exchange of angry words during staff meetings. To compound the problem, these same teachers often express dissatisfaction with the textbooks, the timetable, the length of syllabus, workload, class size and inadequate allowances.
Based on the above, two fundamental questions arose; what exactly is the nature of the teacher’s working conditions, and are the school administrators providing the necessary conducive working environment?. Secondly, how prevalent is this malaise in the state or is it peculiar to the researcher’s school? Conversations with teachers from the area under study reveal that teachers in other schools experience similar problems. It is the feeling of this researcher that educational authorities in Benue State are not fully aware of the nature and extent of the problems encountered by teachers. Probably, the issues raised by teachers at joint meetings are not properly oriented For example, teachers complain of poor working conditions and inadequate motivation but the nature and extent of these problems have not been fully delineated. Thus, it becomes imperative to investigate the nature and extent of their ineffectiveness that relates to the administrative machinery.
Statement of the Problem
Benue state is often listed among the educationally backward states in Nigeria. The administrative structure of schools in all ramifications should be enabling rather than constituting a constraint to teacher effectiveness as presently seems to be the case here. However, it is appalling to note that statistics from the State Ministry of Education and its affiliate agencies reveal that SSCE students are performing below expectation. The researchers interaction with principals, parents and teachers revealed that the conditions under which many students learn in many government secondary schools in Benue State is un-conducive and deplorable and capable of rendering the teacher ineffective and posing a hindrance to positive educational outcomes.
The Benue situation seems to be such that factors relating to poor teacher disposition towards quality delivery and consequent administrative constraints to efficient productivity are both at play here. The later however as a consequence of the former and needing investigation especially in government secondary schools where the situation seems most deplorably glaring. The problem of this study therefore put in question form is: what are the administrative constraints to teacher effectiveness in government secondary schools in Benue State?
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the administrative constraints to teacher effectiveness in government secondary schools in Benue State. Specifically the study intends to;
- Find out how the organization for curriculum implementation constitutes constraints to teacher effectiveness.
- Find out how instructional supervision may constitute constraints to teacher effectiveness.
- Find out how the school plant management may constitute constraints to teacher effectiveness.
- Determine how school- community relations may constitute constraints to teacher effectiveness.
- Determine the extent to which in-adequate motivational factors act as constraints to teacher effectiveness.
Significance of the Study
Teacher effectiveness had always been a function of both teacher characteristics and management practices of school administrators. The present study may be theoretically significant as a collaboration to the scientific management or efficiency movements of the 19th centuries as well as the human relations and job satisfaction theories of same period which posited that for the worker to be efficient and effective he must be satisfied with his job and have a conducive working environment. This study involved to a great extent principals and teachers and thus seek to expose more recent trends as to the effects of job satisfaction and conducive working environment on the teacher especially in Benue State. This may be of benefit to future researchers who will pick up on other aspects of administration that hinder teacher effectiveness or cause job dissatisfaction that are not covered by this study.
Generally, results of this study may be of interest to government, educational policymakers, principals, teachers, parents and other researchers who can gain access to the findings through publications and seminars that can be generated from the findings.
Specifically the findings of this study may help the government to adopt better strategies aimed at increasing the level of teacher job satisfaction and efficiency in the state. It is hoped that by seeking to pin point specific areas of administrative hindrances and making recommendations, resultant issues may be systematically clarified. This may make it possible for the state government to adopt positive approaches aimed at curbing administrative factors that hitherto hindered teacher effectiveness and thus enhance the teaching learning process in all government secondary schools in the state to the benefit of present and future generations. The results of the study may also convince government that teachers are generally dissatisfied because they are ill motivated. This may spur the government to address such motivational issues as allowances and promotion opportunities. The findings of this study may help educational policy makers in the state to come up with better strategies to improve teacher effectiveness. For instance, curriculum planers and the director of secondary education responsible for the approval of programs may review the unfavourable aspects pertaining to the organization for curriculum implementation. Identifying instructional supervision problems may also help principals and instructional supervisors to improve their supervisory practices. Publication of the results of the study may alert the Director of secondary education in the state ministry of education about the poor state of facilities and equipment particularly in rural schools with a view to remedying the situation. This may benefit the rural students as they may be better placed to compete with their counterparts in the urban schools.
The research findings may make school principals and parents aware of the special needs and gains of school community relations. This may be made possible through workshops and seminars that may be generated . These may eventually alert parents and local authorities about their level of cooperation and hopefully efforts may be made to canvas for more of their support to the benefit of the school and society at large. The school may thus be enabled to represent the society better.
The findings of the study may also give the teacher union leaders first hand and concrete information as to the nature of teachers problems through publication of findings. This may equip them better in negotiating welfare issues with the ministry of education. In the event where identified problems are redressed, it is hoped that teacher unrest by way of strikes may be reduced and students academic achievements may improve.
Scope of the Study
The study was carried out among principals and teachers of government secondary schools in Benue State of Nigeria. The study covered all government secondary schools in the twenty three local government councils. This is because all government secondary schools in the state operate under one Ministry of Education and the school structure, curriculum content and SSCE Examination structure are quite homogenous. The study does not include Technical, Vocational and Private secondary schools.
The content area focuses on organization of curriculum implementation, method of instructional supervision and school plant management. Also to be considered will be school -community relations as well as motivational factors.
Research Questions The following research questions were formulated to guide the study;
- To what extent does organization for curriculum implementation constitute constraints to teacher effectiveness?
- To what extent does instructional supervision constitute constraints to teacher effectiveness?
- To what extent does the school plant management constitute constraints to teacher effectiveness?
- To what extent do school/community relations constitute constraints to teacher effectiveness?
- To what extent do in-adequate motivational factors act as constraints to teacher effectiveness.
The following null hypotheses were tested at P < 0.05 level of significance:
- There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of principals, and teachers in government secondary schools of Benue State as to how organization of curriculum implementation constitutes a constraint to teacher effectiveness.
- There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of principals and teachers in government secondary schools as to how instructional supervision constitutes constraints to teacher effectiveness.
- There is no significant difference in the mean ratings of principals and teachers of government secondary schools of Benue State as regards school plant management constituting a constraint to teacher effectiveness.
- There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of principals and teachers of government secondary school of Benue State with regards to school community relations acting as constituting a constraint to teacher effectiveness.
5 There is no significant difference between the mean ratings of principals and teachers in government secondary schools of Benue State with regards to how in-adequate m