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Background to the Study
School systems worldwide are faced with the challenge of how to improve teaching and learning outcomes which can be possible through effective supervision of schools. Supervision is the process of guiding, directing and helping the teachers in the improvement of the instructional process (Afianmagbon, 2004). Supervision is viewed as a process of directing, overseeing, guiding or making sure that expected standards are met (Igwe, 2001). Supervision can also be defined as that which helps to improve the teaching and learning processes in schools. It involves supervising teaching and classroom activities of the teachers (Igbo, 2003). Supervision can thus be regarded as an educational process that focuses on the improvement of teaching and learning processes in schools.
The purpose of supervision in secondary schools among others include to provide assistance to teachers towards the improvement of teaching and learning process; to provide a conducive teaching and learning environment in order to promote effective teacher performance and learning in schools; to help teachers in identifying their strengths and weaknesses with a view to providing relevant in-service training; to induct beginning teachers into the main stream of the school system (Oluwole, 2007). Supervision is important in schools because according to Akpa and Abama (2000), it improves the teaching competence of teachers which invariably, positively enhances students learning. In the view of Oyedeji (2011) it will be very difficult to attain the standards that are set if supervision is not adequate or not undertaken at all. Therefore, supervision helps to enhance the quality of education. According to Onasanya (2006), teachers need supervision to work harder no matter their level of experience and devotion. Without supervision both teachers and school administrators backslide rapidly in their performance.
Supervision can be grouped into two categories: instructional and personnel supervision. Instructional supervision is a service that exist to help teachers to do their job better (Anuna, 2004). Personnel supervision on the other hand, deals with the set of activities which are carried out by the supervisor with the aim of sensitizing, mobilizing and monitoring staff in the school towards performing their duties ultimately in terms of achievement of the stated aims and objectives of the educational system (Nwankwo, 2008). The study has concentrated mainly on the instructional supervision. The reason being that instructional supervision is an essential activity for the effective operation of a good school (Ajani, 2001). To crown it all, the Federal republic of Nigeria (FRN) (2004) stated that the success of any system of education is dependent on adequate supervision of instructions.
Schools are mainly established for instructions and supervision is designed to improve instruction. Supervisors are then put in charge of schools to supervise them to make sure that everything is done correctly. A supervisor is a person or someone who possesses the right and appropriate professional and academic qualifications that will enable him/her to carry out supervisory practices in schools effectively (Afianmagbon, 2004). In the same vein, Hazi (2004) has defined a supervisor as any certificated individual assigned with the responsibility for the direction and guidance of the work of teaching staff members. The above implies that a supervisor should be an individual with appropriate professional qualification to enable him/her carry out supervisory practices in schools effectively.
There are two categories of supervisors namely the internal and external supervisors. The internal supervisors are the principals of secondary schools or staff delegated by the principals. The external supervisors are those from the Ministry of Education (MOE), Teaching Service Board (TSB) and Area Education Offices (AEO) supervising secondary schools. It is regarded that in the secondary school system, only external supervisors are qualified to supervise instructions forgetting that internal supervisors do the bulk of the job so
that when external supervisors come, it becomes easier for them. Udoh and Akpa (2004) agreed with this by stating that in Nigeria, there is the problem of insufficient and inadequate trained supervisory staff. Thus, the concept of in-built- supervisors is incorporated in the school system so as to bring about permanent features of supervision than infrequent visits of the external supervisors.
According to Udoh and Akpa (2004), the fact that external supervisors being at a distance can make the teachers and other school staff to relax their efforts, hence the need for principals as internal supervisors. Giwa (2005) is also of the view that, principals should not abdicate their supervisory responsibilities by delegating instructional supervision to a subordinate in the school. The above shows that both the internal and external supervisors have to work collaboratively so as to bring about continuous supervision in schools. This makes the teaching and non-teaching staff to be up and doing and thereby ensuring high productivity as well as easy achievement of school goals and objectives.
Both internal and external supervisors carry out supervisory practices in the course of supervising secondary schools. Supervisory practices involve the activities carried out by supervisors in the process of carrying out supervision in schools. According to Oyedeji (2008), external supervisors carry out their supervisory practices by paying routine visits to schools in order to identify problems of each school. Where new schools are established, supervisors pay advisory visit in order to give necessary advice. Supervisors also carry out full supervision exercise, in which case, buildings, furniture, equipment, sanitation, water, lighting, library facilities, students and records are examined, notes of lesson and audio visual aids are also examined, as well as records such as attendance register, a log book, visitors’ book, cash book, ledgers, scheme of work, minutes of meetings by Board of Governors and Parents Teachers Association. Principals as internal supervisors carry out supervisory practices by establishing clearly defined objectives for academic achievement and they
concentrate on the available resources and their operations on attaining them; they provide adequate time table for teaching, routine checks of lesson notes and subject diaries (Oyedeji, 2008).
In carrying out supervision in secondary schools, demographic variables such as gender, experience, qualification and age are involved. Thus, the study seeks to determine the extent to which demographic variables can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices in the North-Central States of Nigeria. Demographic refers to a group of people that have a particular set of qualities (Marriam-Webster, 2015). The demographic variables used in this study are gender, experience, professional qualification and age.
Gender refers to the social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female and the relationship between men and women, boys and girls (Hannan, 2001). Gender also refers to the socially-constructed roles and responsibilities of men and women (Akinboye, 2004). Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWASD) (2006) defined gender as the social roles allocated respectively to men and women in a particular society and at a particular time. Thus, gender means the socially and culturally constructed roles for men and women. Gender in respect to the study refers to the supervisory roles of male and female supervisors (internal and external).
Some research studies carried out on gender rated male and female principals as equal in ability and personal qualities (Barter, 2001). A study carried out by Adigwu (2004) on comparative study of performance of female and male principals observed that both male and female principals had above average performance in their supervisory roles. Also, Akpan and Eno (2006) carried out a study aimed at comparing male and female secondary school principals’ administrative competencies in supervision showed that male principals were not significantly better in supervision than their female counterparts. Uko (2002) carried out a study on gender leadership styles and administrative effectiveness of principals and the
findings revealed that men are better school administrators. A study on principals’ supervisory strategies and secondary school discipline by Ugboko and Adediwuara (2002) showed that there is no significant relationship in the supervisory strategies used by principals and their gender. A study carried out by Crossman and Crossman (2004) showed that females perform better in school administration and supervision. Hemphill, Grifiths& Fedrickson (2002) found in their study that male principals do not demonstrate superior performance than their female counterparts. Also, according to Ugwu (2006) the tacit assumption in most South-East States of Nigeria is that males are superior to females in most things that count. Following these disagreements over which gender performs better, the study seeks to determine the extent to which gender can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices.
Experience is another demographic variable. Experience is the knowledge gained through repeated trials (Tom, 2007). Experience, according to Paula (2007), is a particular instance of personally encountering or undergoing through something. Richard (2007) also stated that experience is an event or series of events participated in or lived through. Akpan (2007) defined experience as a process of gaining knowledge or skill. Therefore experience is the professional growth that takes place in an individual as a result of continued stay, training and retraining on the job and other related processes. In view of the above, supervisory experience can be regarded as the number of years a supervisor has stayed on the job which can make some supervisors to be highly experienced while others are averagely experienced.
Some research studies showed that experienced principals operate from a deeper and more sophisticated knowledge base. Their years of experience have given them extensive repertoires of effective management, counseling, supervision and evaluation of teachers under them (Ezike, 2005). The findings of Ruggai and Agih (2008) showed a high relationship between experience and job performance of supervisors. Studies carried out by
Davies (2005) showed that experienced principals operate from a deeper and more sophisticated knowledge base than the inexperienced principals. Nwangwu (2006) observed that work experience is a major feature of many professions. Also studies carried out by Ibian (2005) indicated that experience has significant influence on principals’ effectiveness. On the contrary, Emeh (2004) found out that experience do not influence their job performance. Also, Achunine (1998) stated that the length of time one stays in a job does not necessarily make one efficient. Based on the agreement and disagreement between studies carried out on experience, the present study sets out to investigate whether experience can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices.
Experience in relation to the study can be viewed as the length of time one has put in supervision as internal or external supervisor. For the purpose of this study, 1-20 years of experience is classified as moderate experience while 20 years and above is regarded as having high experience on the job. This classification is necessary because it will help to determine whether the job performance of principals as internal supervisors as well as external supervisors are influenced by their different years of experience in their supervisory practices.
Professional qualification is another important demographic variable. A profession is an occupation requiring extensive education or specialized training (Ezike, 2005). Professional qualification is a body of knowledge acquired by a person after programmed learning, purposely designed for performance of a specific task or job (Mbaebu, 2002). Professional qualification is the increased growth and advancement in knowledge, skills, attitudes and sophistication needed for continued effective performance of a profession (Ogbonnaya, 2004). Professional qualification therefore, means the skills and high standards of behaviour expected of a professional person. Professional qualification could also be referred to the area a person has specialized in with high expertise in such an area.
There are research evidences on professional qualifications. For instance, Agbor (2006) commenting on issue of qualification of principals noted that the academically qualified principals have shown the tendency to succeed more than their non-qualified counterparts in a situation where many things have to be managed. Obi (2002) stated that principals’ qualification can tell in one way or the other on students’ academic performance. Katozai (2005 observed that knowledge is the chief weapon in the hand of principals and therefore he/she should be a qualified person. Ogunymi (2005) observed that good qualification is a necessary prerequisite for effective school administration and supervision. The findings carried out by Ruggai and Agih (2008) revealed that there is a significant relationship between professional qualification and job performance of teachers as well as supervisors in Bayelsa State. A study carried out by Khan (2001) also showed that heads with higher professional qualification are more efficient. Quinn (2002) argued that professional qualification might not be quite necessary in the appointment of supervisors especially when the principal has acquired a reasonable level of job experience in instructional supervision and teaching as well. On the contrary, Ogbaji and Oti (2006) posit that professional qualification of principals has no impact on their job performance. To them, on-the-job experience is a more important variable in the job performance of school administrators and supervisors than professional qualification.
Based on the disagreement on the impact of professional qualification on principals as internal supervisors and the external supervisors from the Ministry of Education, Teaching Service Boards and Area Education Offices, the researcher is encouraged to investigate whether professional qualification can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices. For the purpose of this study, the professional qualifications of supervisors are as follows: B.Ed/B.A. Ed/B.Sc.Ed, PGDE, M.Ed, Ph.D.
Age is also another demographic variables used for the study. Age can be referred to as the number of years that a person has lived. There are different types of ages such as chronological age, mental age, psychological age among others, but the study has focused on chronological age. Chronological age is a measure of the time that has passed since a person’s birth (Schwall, 2012). This is to say that it is a person’s age measured in years, month and days from the date the person was born.
There are some research findings on age, for instance, the findings of a study carried out by Ibukun, Oyewole& Abe (2011) revealed that there was a significant difference between principals’ age and their leadership effectiveness. That the older the principals were perceived to be more effective in schools leadership. Also, Ogunsanya’s (2001) study showed that a positive relationship existed between principals’ productivity and age. Okolo (2001) research on primary school head teachers’ performance also showed that age tended to affect the head teachers’ administrative and supervisory performance. That older head teachers had generally spent more years on the job, attended more seminars and participated in relevant professional discussions that exposed them to new techniques of administration and supervision. However, on the contrary, Glasscock (1991) research study showed that age did not affect principals’ performance of their leadership responsibilities. Based on the disagreement on the age and leadership effectiveness of supervisors, the researcher sets out to determine the extent to which age can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices. For the purpose of this study, the chronological age of supervisors is classified as: below 30 years as younger age and above 30 years as older age.
Supervision is the glue of a successful school (Hanmock & Robert, 2005). If supervision is the glue, one must wonder just how strong the bond is and why the supervisory practices must be effectively carried out. Thus, as North-Central States are assumed to be educationally disadvantaged, this calls for effective supervision of secondary schools. This
then urged the researcher to investigate the extent to which gender, experience, professional qualification and age can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices in the North-Central States of Nigeria
The Ministry of Education has provided supervisory manual to be used by secondary school supervisors in the North-Central States of Nigeria, which comprise a series of standard practice instructions which guide the secondary school supervisors, in carrying out their supervisory practices (See Appendix B, pp.100). This forms the bench mark on which the supervisory practices of secondary school supervisors in the North-Central States can be used to determine whether the demographic variables such as gender, experience, qualification and age can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices in the North-Central States of Nigeria.
Statement of the Problem
The survival of every country depends on education and good education is as a result of good supervision. Hence the need for effective supervision in today’s educational system. Males and females, experienced and inexperienced, professionally qualified and non-professionally qualified, young and old supervisors carry out supervisory practices in secondary schools. The outcome of the use of the above caliber of personnel in supervision of instructions has implication for the quality of education which at times is below the expected standard. Perhaps, this seems to suggest that demographic variables such as gender, experience, professional qualification, age among others have not been effectively applied to secondary school supervision. Available studies have focused on constraints to effective secondary school supervisory practices but not on demographic variables as predictors of effective secondary school supervisory practices in the study area. This prompted the researcher to find out the extent to which demographic variables can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices in the North-Central States of Nigeria.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is to determine the extent to which demographic variables can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices in the North-Central States of Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to:
1. Determine the extent to which supervisors’ gender can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices.
2. Find out the extent to which supervisors’ experience can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices.
3. Ascertain the extent to which supervisors’ professional qualification can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices.
4. Determine the extent to which supervisors’ age can predict effective secondary school supervisory practices.
Significance of the Study
This study is important from both theoretical and practical viewpoints. From the theoretical angle, the study was based on the behaviourist theory by Chester Barnard. The assumption of the behaviourist theory is that the best approach to facilitate work and productivity in an organization is through an understanding of the worker and his job content. This theory is related to the study which seeks attainment of quality education through effective supervision of secondary schools. Thus, the supervisors would ensure that for quality education to be attained, equal attention has to be given to staff welfare elements and their job content for effective supervision of secondary schools.
With regards to the practical relevance, the findings of this study would be of help to the supervisors, educational administrations, teachers, Ministry of Education, government, policy makers, future researchers and those undergoing educational courses in Colleges of Education and post-graduate studies.
The findings of this study will be of great benefit to the supervisors because the study will provide useful information to the supervisors which if applied to supervision would serve as part of solution to the supervisory activities. It will also lead to the improvement in the supervisory practices in secondary schools.
Teachers will benefit from this study because it will help them to improve on their teaching as well as their professional competencies.
The findings will be of benefit to the educational administrators because the educational implications emerging from the findings of the study will help them in solving related problems.
Ministries of education can use the findings of the study and be motivated to organize seminars, workshops and conferences for teachers and supervisors on the significance of gender, experience, professional qualification and age on effective secondary school supervisory practices. This can go a long way to increase the knowledge and performance of teachers and supervisors in secondary schools.
The findings of the study would be of benefit to the government in that the findings on gender, experience, professional qualification and age of supervisors can enable her to know the categories of supervisors to employ for effective supervision in schools.
Policy makers can benefit from the study in that they can use the findings to make policies that will have long standing effect on effective supervision in schools.
Future researchers can benefit from the study by making use of the suggestions emerging from the findings of the study as well as relevant information for their research.
The findings of this study can be of benefit to those undergoing educational courses in Colleges of Education and post graduate studies because they can use relevant information of the research for their studies.
Scope of the Study
The study was carried out in the North-Central States of Nigeria on demographic variables as predictors of effective secondary school supervisory practices in North- Central States of Nigeria. North –Central State has six states namely: Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau states, including the Federal Capital territory of Nigeria. The study focused on demographic variables such as gender, experience, professional qualification, age and supervisory practices.
The following research questions were posed to guide the study:
1. To what extent do supervisors’ gender predict effective secondary school supervisory practices?
2. To what extent do supervisors’ experiences predict effective secondary school supervisory practices?
3. To what extent do supervisors’ professional qualifications predict effective secondary school supervisory practices?
4. To what extent do supervisors’ ages predict effective secondary school supervisory practices?
The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and were tested
at0.05 level of significance using linear regression analysis:
H01: Supervisors’ genders do not significantly predict effective secondary school
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