CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
Competence is the ability of an individual to do a job properly. A competency is a set of defined behaviors that provide a structured guide enabling the identification, evaluation and development of the behaviors in individual employees. The term “competence” first appeared in an article authored by White in 1959 as a concept for performance motivation. Some scholars see “competence” as a combination of practical and theoretical knowledge, cognitive skills, behavior and values used to improve performance; or as the state or quality of being adequately or well qualified, having the ability to perform a specific role. For instance, life, management competency might include systems thinking and emotional intelligence, and skills in influence and negotiation.
Online Wikipedia (2015), Competency is also used as a more general description of the requirements of human beings in organizations and communities.
Competency is sometimes thought of as being shown in action in a situation and context that might be different the next time a person has to act. In emergencies, competent people may react to a situation following behaviors they have previously found to succeed. To be competent a person would need to be able to interpret the situation in the context and to have a repertoire of possible actions to take and have trained in the possible actions in the repertoire, if this is relevant.
Competent teachers are the most critical piece in improving students’ achievement and closing the achievement gap. The single most important influence on student learning is the quality of teaching, yet most schools don’t define what good teaching is (Danielson, 2006). This is a problem because if it is not defined, teachers may not be given the opportunities to improve practices in the classroom, which invariably may affect student’s achievement negatively. Regardless of training, competency would grow through experience and the extent of an individual to learn and adapt.
The issue of poor academic performance of students in Nigeria has been of much concern to all and sundry. The quality of education depends on the teachers as reflected in the performance of their duties.
A teacher’s competency in 21st century according to UNESCO (2008) is that a competent teacher should have firm knowledge of the curriculum of his/her subjects and to use technology into the curriculum. Formal system of education depends on three components that are curriculum, students and teacher.
Teacher’s role is to impact education and education builds societies. An individual is units of a society. Individual makes society and societies make nations. That nation is taken as to be civilized that has some rules and regulations to pass a peaceful life. These are called traditional values and cultures, a set of values. Every society has an established set of values called virtues and vices that takes conscious measures at various levels to promote the virtues and eliminate the vices. These sets of values transfer from generation to generation by education either informal or formal education.
Education is impartially and acquisition of knowledge and getting awareness. So, it is the only education that gives awareness about the traditions and these rules to pass life in the society and doubt these value changes with the passage of time. Education develops the personality and character. It is the development of all these capabilities in the individual which enable a person to control its environment and fulfill ones possibilities. According to Curzon (2003) education is a human activity has largely on the related process: known as learning and teaching process. It nurture of human personality.
But Wrag (2004) views about education that it partly rectifies what a learner already knows and for these skills are needed. It is a work of harmony. Learners are ignorant how and what to learn but a proficient and skilled teacher can guide them. Education rectifies any unfairness and for this a teacher needs competency in its profession. Rectification can only be done if the teacher has passion and profession. Because education is teaching learning process whereas teacher is teaching and a learner is learning in a formal system of education. So, with respect to learning and teaching a teacher’s role is central based.
The quality of education depends upon the provision of education that education depends upon the provision of education that is being provided by two sources that are teacher and curriculum. In formal system of education a student’s has to depends on teacher who transmits, interpret, and facilities subject matters knowledge. Education of the highest quality requires teachers of the highest quality and highly skilled and professional teaching can do this. Teacher prepare citizens for future, citizens make a nation and high level of knowledge, competencies and skills are the very basic conditions for active citizenship, employment and several conversion. These builds one’s future on professional and personal level and high-quality education is essential for this purpose. But different subject need different techniques, skills for effectives teaching and learning process and its outcome. All these (Sujathamalinia, 2007) techniques, abilities and skills combine and make a teacher competent. The reliability of a work depends upon its competency and competency depends on consistency of the work. A teacher needs different kind of skills in different competencies in the subject. Goals are fixed that teacher and learners have to achieve in that subject so is the case in English subject.
Overtime students’ academic performance in both external and internal examinations had been used to determine excellence in teacher teaching (Ajao, 2001). Teachers have been shown to have an important influence on students’ academic achievements and they also play crucial role in educational attainment because the teacher is ultimately responsible for translating policy into action and principles based on practices during interaction with the student (Afe, 2001). Both teachers and learners depends on teachers, no wonder an effective teacher has been conceptualized as one of who produce desired result in the course of his duty as a teacher (Uchefona, 2001). Many studies have revealed that students academics achievements is enhanced where the teachers possess adequate knowledge of the subject matter and a good command of pedagogical skill have a strong positive effect on students’ academic achievement in regular classroom teaching (Olarewaju, 1995, Lockhead, & Verspoor 1991).
Owolabi (2003) described a teacher as an instructor responsible to teach, direct control, interpret and instruct the learner for better attainment. Records have shown that student’s performance in senior secondary certificate of education (SSCE) is quits, below average (Ikoh, 2007). This performance is blamed on teachers (Ashibi2005) and government inability to effectively sponsor education and motivate teachers to enhance their productivity (Agba eta, 2009). The mixed feelings about the cause of poor academic performance of student in secondary school, especially in social studies make this research more imperative even as it focuses on the competency level of the social studies teachers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Teacher’s primary role of transmission of knowledge and skills is never in dispute. Therefore a teacher would need to demonstrate efficiency in this primary role. Indeed teacher’s academic background, training and professional competence is at stake here Ivowi (2006). There is deficiency and poor academic performance of students in Art and Social Science (social studies) and this could be traced to lack of teachers’ competence and learning resources in our classrooms (Nwosu, 2000). It has also been observed that the present state of Social Studies teaching in Nigeria indicates that many people who teach Social Studies in secondary schools are not professional Social Studies teachers (Inyang, 2003). This might be one of the reasons for the poor performance of students in the subject.
Thus, the questions which Social Studies teachers should ask themselves include: Do I have the academic professional competencies to enable me teach the content meaningfully? Do I have the mastery and skills to carry out the evaluation based on the evaluation procedures? This study therefore aims at investigating the influence of teacher’s competence on students’ performance in Social Studies.