ABSTRACT: This study investigates Teachers’ Characteristics And Pupils’ Academic Performance In Social Studies. The population for this study comprised all Primary Five (5) pupils in all public primary schools in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area, numbering about one thousand nine hundred and sixty(1,960) pupils. The sample size for the study was 120 pupils randomly selected from eight (8) primary schools in Nsit Local Government Area. Stratified random sampling technique was used. The design used was descriptive survey design. Three research questions and three hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The instrument used for data collection the study was Pupils’ Achievement Test (PAT) for data collection. The data collected was analyzed using independent t-test.
The findings revealed that, It was signified that teachers with Good communication skill would performed more effectively in the teaching of social studies while those with poor communication skill performed poorly in social studies teaching, implied that pupils taught by qualified teachers performed more significantly better than those whose teachers are not qualified, it also, signifies that teachers’ who adopt good motivational skill would be successful in his/her lesson while those who has poor motivational skill performed poorly in social studies. It was recommended that, Government and communities to ensure that pupils have access to the schools nearest to their areas of residence, Efforts should be made by stakeholders to provide schools with functional libraries, well equipped with current reading reference materials, Qualified teachers should be posted to rural schools to teach social studies in schools within the study area and Enough security to be provided through fencing of schools to ensure peaceful school academic environment.
Teachers’ Characteristics And Pupils’ Academic Performance In Social Studies
1.1 Background to the Study
Teachers are essential in the entire educational system of any nation and are pivots on which education wheels revolve. Ashimole (2011) emphasized that teaching and learning depends largely on teachers, and that it is on teachers’ number, quality and devotion that rest the effectiveness of all educational arrangements, development and growth. Similarly Akinsolu (2010) observed that teachers are vital prerequisites for pupils’ attainment of educational goals and objectives.
The Federal Republic of Nigeria in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2006) also recognized the importance of teachers by stating that no nation’s education system can be greater than the standard of their teachers. Therefore, teachers remain the major factor in any educational system, and their quality of teaching is undoubtedly one of the most important factors shaping the teaching /learning and performance of pupils (Fenstermacher & Richardson, 2005). The teacher is ultimately responsible for translating educational policies and principles into actions based on practice during interaction with the students. Researches abound on contributions of teachers to educational performance of pupils (Mushtaq & Kahn, 2012).
However, pupils’ academic performance in both internal and external examinations has persistently been reported low and has always been attributed to classroom characteristics of teachers (Ibe, 2013). Teacher characteristics in this study are those attributes, characters and behaviours exhibited by teachers in the classroom and during teaching and learning process. Teachers’ characteristics examined in this study are teacher’s Gender, teaching experience, qualification, interpersonal relationship with the pupils and teachers’ knowledge of subject matter. The prevailing conditions of these factors would definitely have a negative or positive influence on the instructional quality in schools, which may translate to either good or poor academic achievement of primary school pupils.
Orlando (2013) listed nine behaviours/characteristics of an effective teacher which are respect for pupils, creating a sense of community and belonging in the classroom, warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring, ability to set high expectations for all pupils, has his own love for learning, a skilled leader, ability to “shift-gears” and flexible when a lesson isn’t working, collaboration with colleagues on an on-going basis and maintenance of professionalism. However, the big question is: Do our primary school teachers of social studies in Nigeria possess these characteristics of an effective teacher? Why has our pupils‟ academic performance in social studies been persistently reported low? These are the questions/problems addressed in the present study.
Many variables affect pupils’ academic performance. They include family life, community, diet, involvement in extracurricular activities, and the school environment. Teachers however, have a direct responsibility to shape a pupil’s academic pupils academic performance, and are the most important school-based factor in their education (e.g. Rockoff 2007; Rivkin, Hanushek and Kain 2008; Aaronson, Barrow and Sander 2007). This is why it is important to examine which teacher characteristics may be related to pupils academic performance. Every school has a different mix of teacher experience, education, teacher attendance, and pupils-teacher-ratio, among other readily available measures.
Considering which teacher characteristics produce the best student achievement at the school level can help the school in identifying unique ways to increase pupils’ achievement with the teacher resources available to them. Examining the relationship between teacher characteristics and student achievement at the school-level allows me to look at the school and examine if there are certain teacher qualities that increase the school’s overall student achievement.
This is important for education administrators because knowing what teacher characteristics influence pupil academic performance will help the school’s administration make adjustments in order to increase pupil academic performance. This does not necessarily mean that all pupils will benefit, but it will help identify teacher characteristics that are correlated with increasing the school’s overall pupils’ academic performance. The location of a school is another factor that not only may help determine pupil academic performance, but the school’s access to teachers. Looking at the breakdown of schools by location is beneficial because different areas have different community demographics, and are attractive to different types of teachers.
1.2 Statement of the problem
The teacher holds the “axis‟ upon which the world of education rotates. That is why in Nigeria, the National Policy on Education emphasized that no educational system can rise above the level of its teachers’. This means that there can be no quality science (biology) education without equipped, prepared and motivated teachers who possess the pedagogical skills, teaching methods, attitudes, work ethics, responsibilities and interpersonal relationships. These are teacher characteristics that are capable of setting up a situation in which learners can learn to learn effectively vis-a-vis high achievement.
However, there are hues and cries amongst stakeholders in education over the growing rate of failure in science subjects especially and subsequent dropout in the Nigeria secondary schools in recent times. According to placement chief examiner’s report there has been a downward trend in pupils‟ performance in social studies over the years. The results Show that for the over one million pupils per year that registered for social studies, only 35.74%, 35.61%, 33.57%, 33.94% and 33.87% passed at A-C6 level for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively. Since the teacher is the key implementer of the curriculum and controls what goes on in the classroom, this sorry state of affair on pupils’ ‟ performance cannot be tackled without investigation into teacher characteristics with a view to proffering solutions.
1.3 Objective of the study
The purpose of this study is to investigate “Teachers’ Characteristics and Pupils Academic Performance in Social Studies in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State”. Specifically, this research is carried out to:
- Find out the influence of teachers’ communication skills and pupils academic performance in social studies.
- Find out the influence of teachers’ motivational ability and pupils academic performance in social studies.
- Find out the influence of Teachers’ qualification and pupils academic performance in social studies.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions guided the study.
- How does teachers’ communication skills influence pupils academic performance in social Studies?
- How does teachers’ motivational ability influence pupil’s academic performance in social studies?
- How does teachers’ Teachers’ qualification influence pupil’s academic performance in social studies?
Teachers’ Characteristics And Pupils’ Academic Performance In Social Studies
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were posed to guide the study:
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of pupils in social Studies between whose teacher has good communication skills and those whose teacher has poor communication skills.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of pupils in social studies whose teacher is qualified and those whose teachers is not qualified.
- There is no significant difference in the academic performance of pupils in social studies whose teachers has good motivational skill and those whose teacher has poor motivational skills.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study would be significant in the following ways:
(i) It will bring to our awareness that every child no matter their gender should have equal educational opportunity
(ii) It will help the teachers teaching social study to adopt effective social teaching skills as to improve pupils’ performance despite their sex differences.
(iii) It will enable the pupils to shun negative attitudes because this may likely hinders their learning abilities in social study.