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Background to The Study
Teachers’ quality has been the focus of considerable debated worldwide since the middle of 20th century. Riovkin, Hanushek and Kain (1998), demonstrated in a study that the influence of teachers’ quality on students achievement is many times greater than any other commonly observed variable such as home-background, conducive class environment, etc.
Teachers’ quality is a topic with high priority. Teacher qualities differ considerably, between countries and also between states. The National Policy on Education, (Federal Republic of Nigeria, Revised 2004) while stressing the importance of teacher quality in curriculum implementation noted that no nation’s educational system can rise above the quality of her teachers. Teachers are central to any consideration of schools and majority of educational policy focus directly or indirectly on the role of teachers. Moreover, parents, teachers and administrators emphasize repeatedly the fundamental role that teachers play in comparison to other determinant’s of academic performance. Teachers play in comparison to other determinant’s of academic performance. Teachers are important in any educational system because the quality of teachers in any educational system determines to a great extent the quality of the system itself.
For many years, educators and researchers have debated which school variables influence student achievement. As policy makers become more involved in school reform, this question takes on new importance since their initiatives rely on presumed relationship between various educational related factors like class size, teacher quality, school size, etc. Peter (1997), stated that “quality is the basic indispensable feature of a thing”. For example the characteristics of high quality science teachers relates to those attributes that enhances the fitness and efficiency of that teacher in performing the duties that are associated with science education.
Teacher quality is an important educational topic among policy makes, educational leaders, teacher education institution and those interested in (improving public education. It is a pivotal policy issue in education reform and American Council on Education (1999) stated “quality of the teacher is the key to improved student performance regardless of the condition of the schools, the affluence of the child, the nature of the community, or any other element in the lives or educational environment of school children”. Quality teachers are those who use a wide variety of instructional methods, experiences, assignments and materials to ensure that children are achieving a variety of cognitive objectives. Well-prepared highly qualified teachers are essential if we are to ensure that our student achieve the high standards necessary for them to live fulfilling lives and become productive students.
Teacher quality was defined by Ingersoll (1996) as a measure of teacher qualification, teaching practices, teacher certification, teacher experience and teaching preparations. Teacher qualification includes such components as content knowledge pedagogical knowledge, teaching credentials and verbal abilities. Shulman (1987) identified seven (7) areas of professional for quality teaching which are academic subject, knowledge of teaching strategies, knowledge of student’s characteristics and cultural background, knowledge of curriculum materials and programs, knowledge of teaching environment, subject specific knowledge of teaching strategies and knowledge of the goals and purposes of teaching. Salvin (2003) emphasized that a good quality teacher must know his/her subject matter very well and how to motivate children. He must also know how to use class time effectively, and how to respond to individual differences.
An integrated science teacher should endeavour to acquire adequate knowledge which will enable him teach any aspect of the content of the integrated science programme and for the integrated science teacher to be useful in the class he needs to continuously update himself both in the content and method of teaching integrated science
Quality teachers know their subject and possess the verbal ability to transfer knowledge to their students. They are intentional teachers who are constantly examining and upgrading their own teaching practices, through attending professional seminars and conferences. Reynolds (1995) found that good teachers possess the ability to carry out all the tasks involved in effective instruction. Quality teachers are thinkers, who understand the development levels and needs of their children, who continually experiment with strategies to solve problems of instruction and who are trained to use differentiated instruction that recognizes individual differences.
Gregorian (2001) stressed that one of the most fundamental complain of poor quality teaching in schools to day can be attributed to teachers preservice learning. Darling-Hammond clung and Fre low (2002) concluded that quality teacher preparation programs play a critical role in preparing quality teachers. Geo (2007), also discerned the following two key teacher qualification variables that, across studies, are consistently shown to produce strong, positive effects on student learning which are (i) Teacher’s knowledge of subject matter; he explained this using mathematics by saying that teachers with stronger mathematics knowledge produce better students achievement in mathematics compared with less knowledgable teachers. (ii) Teacher’s level of experience matters. He explained this by saying that after five years of experience years of experience.
Statement Of Problem
According to what I have heard and experienced, there is critical shortage of qualified teachers throughout the country. This has forced many states to employ people who do not meet the requirement of a qualified teacher, that is, they have not demonstrated subject matter competence. They do not have formal training as teachers and many do not have prior experience of teaching. Many secondary schools have significantly higher teacher vacancy rate but teacher transfers out to other profession in greater numbers. In my senior secondary school three (SS3), I had a physics teachers who just graduated from university as a chemical engineer two( 2) years before he was employed in my school. According to the physics teacher, this was his first time of teaching. The physics teacher from my observation as a student did not have a good knowledge of subject matter and his method of teaching was good enough. This reflected on the performance of the senior secondary three (SS3) students in physics when their WAEC (West African Examination Council) result was out. The performance was poor. This study will seek to assess how teacher quality affects student’s academic performance in integrated science
The following research questions are raised to guide the researcher in this study on teacher’s quality on performance of junior secondary school students in integrated science in Egor Local Government Area, Edo State.
Does the method of teaching adopted by the teachers affect student’s academic achievement in integrated science?
How does instructional materials employed by the teachers influence students achievement in integrated science?
Does the qualification of integrated science teachers affect the performance of students?
Does the experience of integrated science teachers in the secondary school affect performance of students in the subject?
The Scope Of Study
This study is restricted to Egor Local Government Area of Edo State and it will focus on integrated science teachers of the local government. Due to shortage of time, the research will not be able to carryout the study in the entire state.
Limitation Of The Study
The following are limitations encountered by the researcher during the study, these includes inadequate finance of the researcher, limited time for the study, inexperience of the researcher in research studies and difficulty in finding reliable and adequate data/information for the study.
Significance of Study
It is hoped that this study will advance teacher quality for effective achievement in students. This study will no doubt contribute immensely and meaningfully towards improving teacher quality and also help attend to other unfavourable working conditions which affect teachers, schools and students as a result of decrease in quality and number of teacher’s. This study will assist the federal, state government, Head teachers, and principals of schools to see the need for improvement of teacher quality in order to boost the academic performance of students.
Definition of Concepts
Subject matter knowledge: It refers to the extent to which the teacher exhibits and demonstrates a comprehension of purpose and ideas within the discipline.
Pedagogical Knowledge: In this work, it is used as teacher knowledge of subject matter (content) and general knowledge of the instructional methods or teaching methods in which teacher use to effect learning in classroom.
Experienced Teachers: Trained instructors who must have practiced in the field for at least five (5) years after graduation.
Qualified Teacher:- One who has acquired professional competence as a teacher in any University or College of Education or obtained bachelor degree in education or Nigeria certificate of Education in integrated science, physics, chemistry or biology
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