Teaching Skills And Students’ Academic Performance In Social Studies In Akwa Ibom State Of Nigeria

Teaching Skills And Students’ Academic Performance In Social Studies In Akwa Ibom State Of Nigeria
Teaching Skills And Students’ Academic Performance In Social Studies In Akwa Ibom State Of Nigeria



1.1     Background to the Study

Education as a concept is very difficult to define in any precise terms. One of the reasons for this is that it has the growing qualities of a living organism, and among its permanent attributes is that it is constantly changing in emphasis, and at the same time, adapting itself to new demands and new circumstances (Igwe, 1990). There is also the fact that education does not only change with the years; it is also sensitive to place and time. It is on account of this particular attribute that its meaning often differs from one country to another, and even within the same country like Nigeria, it is not exactly the same with rural and urban dwellers.

Teaching Skills And Students’ Academic Performance In Social Studies In Akwa Ibom State Of Nigeria

Though there are inherent differences in interpretation of concepts, some definitions repeatedly are worthy to be mentioned. For instance, Morris (2002:415) defines education as “the act or process of imparting knowledge or skill: systematic instruction”. This is the general meaning of the word as it applies to all forms of training embracing both formal and informal education. More specifically, education is said to be “a change in behavior, that teaching is to cause people to learn: and learning is the process by which behaviour changes as a result of experience” (Etuk, Udofot & Udosen, 2007:60). Whatever happens depends on the quality of experience, and depends most importantly on the teacher, who is the most vital agent of all educative experiences and processes. It is the teacher who decides what actually goes on in the classroom, and who translates theories into action and principles into practice.

From the standpoint of a nation, education is said to be “a long term investment by the state to make itself a better place in which to live and a better place in which to make a living” (Osokoya,1987:108). This is the conceptualization of education as an investment by the state for its continued existence and improvement; and as a powerful instrument devised by man for his own improvement and survival.

Education may be seen as the key that unlocks the door to modernization and economic growth. In this context, it should be realized that it is the teacher that holds the key to that door. It is for this reason that it is often advocated that the teacher should be accorded a prime place in any human society.

A teacher may be defined as a person who imparts knowledge and who through that process interacts with learners, and effects changes in them. The changes effected in learners, in the long run, would affect the welfare of the society. Therefore, as Harris and Liba (2006:19) rightly put it, “the tasks of identifying effective teachers with appropriate skills is crucial to teacher education, certification and selection, in so far as teaching contributes to the social welfare and to ultimate human survival”.  In view of the crucial role of the teacher in teaching-learning situation and the need to improve teaching and hence learning, the impact of teaching skills has long been a topic of popular and academic interest, especially in the developed nations where there is increasing interest in the analysis of the teacher’s duties to see how they can be more efficiently performed.

Teachers need to be trained on the practical skills required of them in the classroom for effective and efficient teaching. This appears to be broadly true for all stages of education, from infants’ school to the university. But enquiries carried out in England and America over half a century ago have pointed out that teachers with little or no training tend to use authoritarian and inefficient methods that make pupils see schools as a repressive place with little to enjoy (Musgrave & Taylor, 1999).

A good teacher is one who has a good understanding of what his pupils need to learn and also their capabilities for learning. He is able to judge just how much he needs to intervene in pupils learning and knows the most effective way of providing this assistance. Thus the skills of teaching lies in knowing who, what and how to teach and also being able to judge when (Farrant,1980:169). He also identified the professional skills of the teacher as thus:

(a)     A good teacher establishes a productive classroom atmosphere from the start by means of good organization and carefully planned teaching structures.   

(b)     He can create specific kinds of climate setting for different lessons e.g. serious and business like or relaxed and enjoyable.

(c)      He uses friendly humour and creates excellent teacher pupil relations.

(d)     He uses pupils’ ideas as much as possible.

(e)      He gives praise generously to pupils.

(f)      He teaches in a relaxed manner with no sign of nervous strain.

(g)     He exercises good class control and discipline.

(h)     He explains things to pupils very clearly, by choosing a code that is known by everyone to whom the message is to be sent.

(i)      He includes a variety of children’s activities in his lesson.

(j)      He deals with problems promptly before they escalate or get out of hand.

(k)     He uses efficient system of dealing with routine administrative matters such as registration, giving out books, tidying up after practical lessons etc (p.169).

(l)      He does not over-react to children’s misbehaviour but uses appropriate punishments.

Teaching Skills And Students’ Academic Performance In Social Studies In Akwa Ibom State Of Nigeria

Similarly, Wayne and Young (2003:116) also targeted teacher skills in the analysis of studies that examined the characteristics of professional teachers, their skills and link to students performance. Teaching skills factors like communication skills, evaluation skills, motivational skills, utilization of instructional materials, learners activity, organizational skills, questioning skills and lesson planning were the eight skills targeted by them to teachers to have very significant influences that could have far-reaching implications on the academic achievement of students.

In this regard, it becomes necessary to show-case some of these skills, namely, communication skills, evaluation skills, learners’ activity skills, motivational skills, organizational skills and utilization of instructional materials.

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Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of onlineproject.com.ng. A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.