Abstract: The research determines the Influence of School Environmental Variables on Teaching Effectiveness in Agricultural Science. This research was conducted in Obot Akara, Local Government Area. A review of literature was used as a guide in establishing principles for the study. In order to achieve the objectives of this study, two research questions and their corresponding hypothesis were formulated for the study. A survey research design was employed in carrying out the study. A simple random sampling technique was used to select one hundred respondents for the study. Questionnaire was the major instrument used for data collection. The data generated was analyzed using independent chi—square statistical analysis. The result of the study reveals that there is significant relationship between class size, school facilities and teaching effectiveness in Agricultural Science.
Influence of School Environmental Variables on Teaching Effectiveness in Agricultural Science
1.1 Background to the study
Environment is a very important factor in achievement of goal of any educational programme. People acquire most of their knowledge through the interaction with facilities provided in the environment for learning. Also learning is influenced by the environment, people are exposed to and the facilities provided in such environment lead to experienced. This active interaction with the environment is regarded as the most basic requirement for proper intellectual development. The physical appearance and general condition of school physical facilities are the striking basis upon which many parents and friends of any educational institution make initial judgment about the quality of what goes on in the school. They are often turned off by dilapidated school blocks with sinking roofs and broken walls, bush lawn and over grown hedges. Also are profane writings on walls, littered lawns and path ways.
Finally, the school physical environment is like a mirror reflecting the image of a school and through it the public decide whether or not to associate with the particular school. In Nigeria today, schools are closely associated with the communities. Most communities depend on the neighborhood school for the provision of good and appropriate environment for accommodation, furniture and all form of equipment for certain activities like clubs or village meetings, wedding reception and church services. There is need for a well-planned and organized educational environmental enrichment because it promote good interpersonal relationship. Moreover, Ajayi and Ashaolu (2005) opined that environmental enrichment regarding physical facilities is a major factor in students’ academic achievement.
Supporting this, Ayodele (2005) and Ajayi (2007), have shown that school resources aid students’ academic achievement. Environments exert a lot of influence on the students. If the environment is conducive to academic activities especially after school hours in the homes (for the day students), this will naturally result in higher scores achieved by the students. But if the environment is noisy as obtainable in many yards, make shift accommodations and the likes, the students may not have enough time to go through their notes in their homes. This must have been the wisdom behind the existence of boarding houses in some schools. Students who live in flats may have better opportunities relative to their counterparts who are not so endowed. Results show that students who lived in flats achieved higher scores in agricultural science relative to their counterparts who lived in yards. In other words, type of accommodation where the students reside after school hours is positively correlated with the scores achieved in agricultural science examinations.
A well experienced teacher is an asset both to the students, the school and the nation at large. This is because, the teacher knows how to present his subject matter, communicate effectively and impart knowledge to the students. The reverse is also obtainable where the teacher is inexperienced. A bad workman quarrels with his tool. Where the teacher is well experienced, the students will easily understand the subject of agricultural science and this will be made manifest in their scores. Results show that the level of teaching experience possessed by the agricultural science teacher is statistically significant and positively correlated with scores achieved by the students in agricultural science examinations.
The school is a social and learning agent that provides the environment upon which a child may be formally educated in order to attain educational goals. Human beings, have unlimited capacity to learn, but may however be limited by the behaviour patterns and facilities that the immediate environment offers. Nature only provides the raw materials in form of potentials, but it is the environment that determines the extent of development. A child who wants to learn Agricultural Science and develop desirable attitudes, interest, appreciation, understanding, habits, abilities, knowledge and skills requires a stimulating environment.
A stimulating school environment enables the teachers to teach a variety of activities with broad-base ideas about what the students are likely to learn or respond to. This makes it possible for both the teachers and the students to work cooperatively and productively towards attainment of educational goals. School environmental variables that affect teaching and learning include the following: Science and Computer laboratories, library facilities, adequate classroom facilities, workshop facilities, farm buildings and structures, farm lands and play grounds to mention but a few. Teachers and other personnel to manage and service the physical facilities are the teaching, non-teaching and the administrative staff of the school. The availability of those resources and facilities in a given school environment influence the teaching, learning and the performance of both the teachers and the students.
Agricultural science is important to the nation because it had been the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy before the discovery of crude oil. It provides essential commodities such as fuel, fiber and shelter which are vital for comfortable living. Agro-based industries also depend largely on agriculture and it creates employment opportunities for the people in the country. Hence, there is need to improve the teaching of agricultural science in secondary schools. Agricultural science is one of the core curriculum subjects taught at both junior and senior secondary schools in Nigeria. It is a subject taught in secondary schools as a means for self-reliance and preparation for further studies. Agricultural science is therefore designed for inculcation of the necessary skills for the practice of agriculture for effective citizenship and contribution to food security for national sustainability (Nwakpadolu 2013).
The primary and most effective means to revive and further entrench Nigeria agricultural sector is to improve teaching and learning of agricultural science in secondary school. This was portrayed by Fatunsin (2012) when he stated that “the importance of effective teaching and learning of agricultural science as well as other science subjects on the growth and development of the nation’s agricultural sector of economy cannot be over-emphasized”. He stressed further that the labour force of tomorrow are the young secondary school students of today.
Olaitan (2011) stated that agricultural production in Nigeria is still essentially subsistence in all its ramifications. This is because food production has continued to be mainly the concern of illiterate farmers most of whom are already advanced in age. For Nigeria to advance technologically in agriculture, the need to prepare a significant number of students in secondary schools to pursue course of study in agriculture in higher institutions of learning may therefore arise. He stated further that the aim of teaching agricultural science in secondary schools is to arouse interest, create agricultural awareness and train the young people in the acquisition of appropriate skills, abilities and competencies both mental and physical in order to equip the individual to live in and contribute meaningfully to the development of his society.
It is now certain that most of secondary school products cannot gain admission into higher institutions because of their poor performance due to lack of facilities to train them well when they were at secondary school levels. School environment which include instructional spaces planning, administrative policies planning, circulation spaces planning, spaces for conveniences planning, accessories planning, the teachers as well as the students themselves are essential in teaching-learning process (Turner, 2008). The extent to which students learning could be enhanced depends on their location within the school compound, the structure of their classroom, availability of instructional facilities and accessories.
It is believed that a well-planned school will gear up expected outcomes of education that will facilitate good social, political and economic emancipation, effective teaching and learning process and academic performance .Relating this study to international occurrences are the assertions of Turner (2008), stated that safe and orderly classroom environment (aspect of instructional space), school facilities (accessories) were significantly related to students’ academic performance in schools. The researcher asserted that a comfortable and caring environment among other treatments helped to contribute to students’ academic performance.
The physical characteristics of the school have a variety of effects on teachers, students, and the learning process. Poor lighting, noise, high levels of carbon dioxide in classrooms, and inconsistent temperatures make teaching and learning difficult. Poor maintenance and ineffective ventilation systems lead to poor health among students as well as teachers, which leads to poor performance and higher absentee rates (Frazier, 2002). These factors can adversely affect students’ behavior and lead to higher levels of frustration among teachers, and poor learning attitude among students. Effective teaching is synonymous with teaching (teacher) and was define by Afe (2013) as the type of teaching characterized by the exhibition of intellectual social and emotional stability, love for children and positive disposition toward the teaching profession and ability to inspire good qualities in students.
According to Evans (2013) stated that teaching effectiveness is a measure of the extent of realization of the instructional objectives. It is a not growth in intellectual’s aptitude and skills as measured by students achievement. Sander’s (2010) and Wenglinsky’s (2012) work asserted that teacher effectiveness is the single biggest contributor to students success. Teacher effectiveness outweighs other factors which influence students performance such as class size, gender and some economic background of the students over the years, teaching which was a noble profession has been taken over by imposters who have no business in teaching in the classrooms.
Other studies have investigated the relationship of poor school environment including problems with student teacher ratio, school location, school population, classroom ventilation, poor lightening in classrooms and inconsistent temperatures in the classroom with students health problems, students behavior and student achievement (Crandell and Smaldino, 2006; Davis, 2009) complement these, the present research will examine the aforementioned areas of schools environment as it affect students performance in Obot Akara Local Government Area.
Influence of School Environmental Variables on Teaching Effectiveness in Agricultural Science
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Emphasizing the importance of school environment and teaching effectives, Oluchukwu (2006) asserted school environment is an essential aspect of educational planning. He went further to explain that unless schools are well sited, buildings adequately utilized and maintained, much teaching and learning may not take place. The high levels of students’ academic performance may not be guaranteed where instructional space such as classrooms, libraries, technical workshops and laboratories are structurally defective.
Unfortunately, a survey of the Nigerian school environment revealed that there are extremely large class size, lack of teachers, poor infrastructure, absence of sports grounds and facilities, lack of functional libraries, poor social relationship, etc. (Nwideeduh, 2003; Nwabuwanne, 2010; Joshua, 2009).
it is now certain that most of the secondary school products cannot gain admission into federal universities or universities of their choice due to poor performance in the placement examination into these schools. This poor performance may be attributed to poor learning environment especially in the following areas: schools building, library services, and school location.
A number of studies have attributed the falling standard of education to poor school environment (Joshua, 2009; Cornea, 2003), The problem this studies seeks to investigate therefore is: schools environment variables and teaching effectiveness in Agricultural Science in Obot Akara local Government Area