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This study investigated the influence principal’s gender has on teachers’ work behaviours in secondary schools in Anambra State. Five research questions and three null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The study employed a descriptive survey design, using a sample size of 1000 teachers (male and female) selected from schools in Anambra State through multi-stage sampling technique. A 50 item adapted questionnaire was used to elicit information on the teachers’ work behaviours as it relates to; acceptability of responsibilities, commitment to school functions, adherence to school rules and regulations, ensuring discipline in school, and attendance to instructional duties. Mean scores were used to answer the research questions while t-test was used to test the null hypotheses. The findings of the study indicated that 41 items out of the 50 identified items in the questionnaire were accepted by both male and female teachers as their work behaviours. This goes a long way to saying that principal’s gender has no significant influence on teachers’ work behaviours which was also the conclusion of the study based on the three null hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of significance. Although there were few disagreements on male and female teachers’ responses, such disagreements, were minimal, which include that; female teachers are unwilling to assist in carrying out their principal’s personal duties, find it difficult to tolerate individual differences of other colleagues, and can not avoid fighting and quarreling with staff and students; male teachers can not avoid having other businesses for profit making as well as failure to show concern for badly done work especially when under female principal’s administration. Among others, it was recommended that the government should organize teachers’ forum through the Post Primary Schools Service Commission and Nigerian Union of Teachers, where teachers could meet on a regular basis to discuss and learn the right work behaviours and the implications of violating such behaviours. Conclusions and implications of the study were also made, as well as suggestions for further studies to identify the problems of education in Nigeria.
Background to the Study
The primary goal of any school organization is to achieve high academic performance of its students. This cannot be attained without good rapport between principals and teachers who would properly and devotedly teach and direct these students. Since the teacher is the prime implementer of curriculum in the school, performance of students depend so much on the teachers’ actions and reactions otherwise known as teachers’ work behaviours. Teachers’ work behaviours are those actions, activities and reactions of teachers in a school system while discharging their duties (Arguris & Schon, 1999). There are expected work behaviours of teachers in the school system. Such behaviours among others as identified in Teachers’ Service Manual (1990:16) are;
v Teachers should teach diligently and resourcefully the subject in the curriculum, inculcate by precepts and examples good conduct and behaviour among the students in and out of the school.
v Teachers should maintain proper order and discipline in the classroom, on duty and on the play ground under the direction of the principal.
v Teachers should be in the classroom or on the school premises at least ten minutes before the time prescribed for the opening of school and shall remain in the school throughout the official school hours.
v Teachers should conduct classes in accordance with the school timetables, which must be accessible to students and principals.
v Teachers should observe duty periods even beyond the prescribed hours of instruction.
v Teachers should attend all meetings or conferences called by the principal of the school or any other related authority for consideration of matters that will promote the advancement of education.
v Teachers in conjunction with the principals should provide parents with information in writing on the students’ school progress attendance and punctuality at least three times in a school year on an approved report form.
Ukeje (1985:44) described teachers’ work behaviours in terms of functions and activities related to good teaching. The behaviours include;
v Ability to explain
v Ability to inform
v Ability to initiate
v Ability to show how
v Ability to direct
v Ability to unify, etc.
To buttress his points, Ukeje (1985) also noted as expected behaviours of the teachers; Adaptability, attractive-personal appearance, breathes of interest, carefulness, considerateness, co-operation, and dependability.
Igwe (2004:39) also outlined the following as teachers’ work behaviours:
v Possession of a good mastering of subject matter
v Ability to communicate, and
v Ability to have a sense of humour
Igwe also made it clear that no single teacher can posses all
the above mentioned qualities and behaviours, but they serve as
indicators or parameters for measuring and evaluating teachers’ work behaviours. It is also worthy of note according to Igwe, that teachers’ work behaviours are classified into theory in use and espouse theory. He concluded that teachers should be positively motivated, knowledgeable, competent, dedicated and disciplined. Okonkwo (2007) also outlined five major parameters for measuring teachers’ work behaviours as follows: acceptability of responsibilities, attendance to meetings, obtaining permission to be absent from duty, attending to duties, and regularity to school. He concluded that these five major parameters for measuring teachers’ work behaviours can only be determined under the close supervision of a principal or leader in the school system.
Principalship has been defined by Vandiver (2003) as the position held by the chief school leader, who takes decisions for the school and also influences the teachers to carry out duties that will lead to the achievement of the decisions taken. Some principals find it difficult to influence teachers in their duties, in school. According to Emeghara (2007), some factors that hinder principals from influencing teachers’ work behaviours include; gender issues,
exposure/experience, leadership style and indiscipline. The re-curing factor that seems to affect principals more is the issue of gender.
An influence, affecting both the study of leadership and the practice of administration, has been the controversial proposition that men and women bring systematic differences to their leadership styles. It has been argued that, because of their early socialization processes, women have developed values and characteristics that result in leadership behaviours that are different from the traditional aggressive, competitive and controlling leadership behaviours of men (Helgesin, 1999 & Loden, 2004). These authors also contend that women typically bring to administrative positions, an approach to leadership that is consistent with developmental, collaborative and relationship-oriented behaviours. These behaviours are seen as more compatible than traditional male behaviours with the idealized view of leadership. Consequently, it is anticipated that women will be more effective administrator-leaders than men.
Other theorists and researchers believe that there are no systemtic gender-related differences in the leadership behaviours of
men and women. They argued that, given equivalent level of responsibility within an organization, women and men exhibit the same leadership behaviours. Any gender-related differences in leadership behaviours that might have been found by some researchers are ascribed either to rater bias (Bass, 1999) or to the use of gender-biased instrument (Astin & Leland, 2000).
Gender bias between the sexes exists in Nigeria. It has hindered and continues to hinder development generally. Such gender differences manifest in the following areas: dissemination, exclusion from development programmes, legal and customary barriers to owning properties, systematic violence against women, poor quota on political appointment and so on. African tradition, culture, social and even biblical doctrines buttress men’s bossy behaviours over women. Some of these established order according to Asoegwu (2006), made men to arrogate to themselves the position of leadership and use of power in administration. Cantor and Bernay (1999) concluded from their studies that unconscious practices and social norms support the notion that power (which is often associated with force, authority, dominance and violence) is
masculine. This is a universal phenomenon, which is accentuated by some traditional and cultural norms.
In the African sub-region and Nigeria in particular, there is the belief that men’s domineering attitude over women even have a biblical origin. God using a single rib from Adam created Eve. Christ’s twelve Apostles were men only. God also commanded wives to be submissive to their husbands. Traditionally, women are not allowed to break kolanut in Igboland. In Northern Nigeria, married women remain in purdah and are allowed to come out only at night with escorts. In Western Nigeria, women are supposed to be on their knees when greeting or answering questions from their husbands or other males. Strangely enough, in some parts of the middle belt, wives and daughters are offered for sex by their husbands/fathers as hospitality to their male friends/strangers if such a guest is to pass the night with them (Asoegwu, 2006). Also, young girls are trafficked for prostitution. The effect of gender cannot be over emphasized. It hinders development by seizing to permit the women folk to express their potentials. This height of chauvinism can suppress whatever good administrative qualities a woman has.
Emeghara (2007), outlining some factors that hinder principals from influencing teachers’ work behaviours, explained that female principals find it difficult to influence the behaviours of their autocratic male vice-principals and teachers especially if such a principal is a laissez-faire leader, who uses lesser supervision strategies and allows every one take decisions by themselves..
Female teachers are fast increasing in number and are ascending to the position of principalship (Nonye, 2007). Based on the gender issue/effects mentioned above, as highlighted by Asoegwu (2006), in Nigeria, If the populace is still generally looking down on women, this poor perception and disregard might as well be carried into the school system. If such poor perceptions are noted in the school, it might be an evil wind that would blow no one any good. This is because, performance of students, which is placed in the hands of teachers and principals may be affected.
In the recent time, there is this out-cry concerning the degeneration of educational standards at various levels in Nigeria. There is also generally an overtly poor performance of students at the secondary school level in particular. This was revealed in the
result released by WAEC, May/June, 2009. According to Owoyemi in the Vanguard Newspaper of 16, September, 2009, only 29.5% of the total population of students who sat for the examination credited both English and Mathematics. Knowing that the performance of students depends highly on the teachers’ work behaviours and that no student can perform better when the teachers’ work behaviours are not positively influenced by their principal, the researcher therefore investigated teachers’ work behaviours with reference to principal’s gender.
Statement of the Problem
In the past, women are constrained by cultural practices and religious beliefs to be educated or hold public offices in Nigeria. Today, many women are educated and hold highly rated offices like Vice Chancellorship, Directors General, Ministerial positions, and the like. The era, prior to the civil War in Nigeria, marked a period of teachers’ strong commitment and diligence to duties. That era appeared to be when principals of secondary schools were mainly males. Currently things have changed. The number of male and
female principals in Anambra State is almost equal, while most female teachers are still fast ascending the ladder (See table 1 appendix i). Coincidentally, teachers’ work behaviours appear to have deviated from what they used to be. Ukeje, Akabogu and Ndu (1992) indicated that classroom teachers have generally abandoned their teaching responsibilities for other businesses; when they do teach, they do so half-heartedly.
In a study commissioned by African Higher Education Collaborative (AHEC), carried out by the researcher and a research team at Ogbaru L.G.A of Onitsha zone last year during the rainy season, the following observations were recorded: among the nine secondary schools
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