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Background of the Study
Organizations are established essentially to achieve their stated objectives or targets. Such objectives cannot be achieved without putting in place strong mechanisms. One of such mechanisms is supervision. Supervision of educational activities generally and in particular classroom instructions is not only necessary but important to evaluate teachers’ performance and their effectiveness in the discharge of their duties as transmitters of education. Education is the transmission of what is worthwhile from generation to generation. It is the process of assisting learners to acquire knowledge, skills and acceptable attitudes and moral behaviours that would make them responsible citizens able to take care of themselves, their families and contribute to society (Chukwu, 2011). In agreement with this, Joseph (2014) stated that education is the principal method through which society transmits knowledge from one generation to another. Education can be described therefore, as a very strong weapon used by the society to instill in learners its norms and values that they can use to appreciate the past, reshape the present in order to advance the future of their societies. It is the means through which individuals acquire relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes that would help them fit well into the society and shape their lives for the better and enable them contribute toward the general development of their society.
The essence of education is to change positively, the behaviour of the learner and to make him a better citizen of his society who can contribute to national development. Education is a vital instrument ‘par excellence’ fo r effecting and achieving national development (Federal Republic of Nigeria, FRN, 2004). In line with this, the second Nigeria philosophy of education states that education fosters the worth and development of the individual for each individual’s sake and for the general development of the society. Kimani,
Kara and Njagi (2013) stated that education helps societies fashion out and model individuals to function well in their environment. Education serves a lot of purposes. It equips the citizenry to reshape their society and eliminate inequality (Boit, Njoki and Chang’arc (2012) as mentioned by Kimani et- al (2013). The Government of Trinidad and Tabago (2005) regards education generally as a tool for bringing about a relative change in behaviour of the learner as a result of learning. According to Ekundayo, Oyerinde and Kolawole (2013), the behavior change can only occur in learners based on the quality of instructions given to them at any level of education vis-à-vis how such instru ction is delivered during the teaching-learning process. However, no matter how well packaged an instruction may be at any level of education, particularly at the primary school level, if there is no effective supervision, especially during the delivery period, such instruction may fail to achieve the expected or desired results.
Primary education, as stated in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004), is the education given in institutions for children aged six to eleven years plus. The policy states that this level of education is the basic foundation upon which the rest of the education system is built. It is therefore the key to the success or failure of the whole education system. This is because, if the foundation is solidly laid, the main building, that is, the rest of the system (of education) would equally be solid and would stand the test of time. The level is of six years duration. Primary education is meant to achieve certain goals. These goals as contained in the NPE are to: inculcate permanent literacy and numeracy and ability to communicate effectively; lay a sound basis for scientific and reflective thinking and give citizenship education as a basis for effective participation in and contribution to the life of the society. Others include, to mould the character and develop sound attitude and morals in the child; develop in the child the ability to adapt to the child’s changing environment; give the child opportunities for developing manipulative skills that will enable the child function
effectively in the society within the limits of the child’s capacity and finally provide the child with basic tools for further educational advancement, including preparation for trades and crafts of the locality. Teaching at the primary level of education in Nigeria shall be by practical, exploratory and experimental methods (FRN, 2004). For effective teaching and learning at this level, the policy stipulates that teacher-pupil ratio shall be 1:35. It also states that the advancement or promotion of pupils from one class to another shall be based on continuous assessment. This calls for the supervision of the entire school programme including the teachers.
Supervision in the school system refers to any effort carried out by individuals particularly designated officials to ensure that educational activities are carried out well or effectively through provision of guidance and direction to the teachers. Supervision focuses on instructional improvement (Nwangwu, 2008). According to Chike-Okoli (2005), supervision is the process of improving all elements and conditions surrounding teaching and learning to produce better learning by providing the leadership necessary to effect improvement in the work of teachers. Similarly, Glickman, Gordon and Rose-Gordon (2007) posit that supervision is a cycle of activities between a supervisor and a teacher with the aim of improving classroom performance.
Also, supervision is a process of interaction between supervisors and teachers. It is an interaction in which individuals or supervisors work with teachers to improve instruction with the main aim of making learning better for the learner (Wadesango, 2009). According to Onasanya (n.d), supervision is essentially the practice of monitoring the performance of school staff, noting the merits and demerits thereby increasing the standard of schools and achieving educational goals. Supervision makes it possible to understand whether educational activities are in harmony with specified principles and rules (Ahmet and Izzet, 2013). To this end, Mblanga, Wadesango and Kurebwa (2012) define supervision as a process of facilitating
the professional growth of teachers primarily by giving them feedback about classroom interactions and helping them make use of the feedback in order to make teaching more effective.
Although other personnel within a school like the head teachers, the assistant head teachers and heads of departments do perform supervisory functions, supervisors from the Local Government Education Authorities (LGEAs), the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) are the focus in this study. Ogunnu (2002), says these officials, that is, the supervisors are also referred to as school inspectors. There is no single definition of a supervisor. A supervisor, according to Hazi (2004), is any certified individual assigned with the responsibility of directing and guiding the work of members of a teaching staff.
Above definition shows that the supervisor is saddled with the responsibility of assisting the teachers do their work better through collaborative efforts between the two of them. Kiadesi (2000) describes a supervisor as a person who, by virtue of his functions carries out duties which deal with managing both human and material resources within the school system and how they can best be utilized. Contributing to the concept, Chike-Okoli (2005) says that a supervisor is an education officer that is responsible for making sure that teachers do their work effectively. The supervisor helps teachers to teach in such a way that the child would understand so that the child can, at the end acquire the abilities, attitudes and skills that are stated in the objectives of the instruction. The researcher sees the School supervisor as that person that is officially appointed by the Local Government Education Authority or State Universal Basic Education Board or the Ministry of Education to assist schools to maximize the available resources to them (human, financial and material) to achieve the set goals and objectives of the school.
School supervisors are appointed in order to carry out certain roles or functions in the school. These include leadership and advisory roles, among others. Kolawole (2012) says the work of supervisors revolve around professional guidance of teachers, identifying problems in schools, proffering solutions and helping professional colleagues to perform the job of teaching to maintain the required and adequate standard. School supervisors do not only supervise instructions in schools in order to ensure high academic standard, they also serve as links between the schools and the supervisory bodies. They communicate Government’s educational policies to schools. They also give professional advice to schools’ heads and supervisory agencies on the problems confronting teachers.
For a supervisor to be able to carry out his supervisory roles effectively and efficiently, he needs to possess certain qualities. A supervisor needs intelligence, a broad grasp of the educational process in society, a likeable personality and great skill in human relations (Chike-Okoli, 2005). Also, Olorunfemi (2008) states that the supervisor should be honest, objective, fair, firm, open, democratic, approachable, imaginative, innovative, a good listener and observer, friendly, courteous and consistent in his interactions with teachers and others. The supervisor should also be an education facilitator, should possess sound knowledge and technical know-how in his area of specialization and have positive attitudes toward management. Good communication skills and good leadership style are also among the qualities of a good supervisor. Looking at the qualities of the supervisor, it is clear that the supervisor facilitates, assists, encourages and motivates teachers and pupils alike. He uses his knowledge and experience to make teaching and learning a worthwhile experience for both teachers and pupils. Despite all these good attributes of the supervisor, teachers seem to have varying perceptions of the activities of the supervisor in the school system, particularly at the primary school level.
Perception has been defined variously by different people. To some, it is a way of regarding, understanding or interpreting something. To some others, it is a kind of awareness. In line with this, Brignall (2012) defines perception as the process by which people become aware of the world around them through their senses. That is, perception is a set of processes by which an individual becomes aware of and interprets information about the environment. It is a way by which we interpret our experiences (Otara, 2011). Otara went further to say that what people often observe or assess as your ability to be a leader and your effectiveness becomes their perception. This therefore means that what teachers observe and assess as the ability of supervisors to effectively or otherwise carry out their official assignments in the school system is the teachers’ perception of the supervisors’ roles.
One thing common to all these definitions is ‘senses.’ All show the important role senses play in perception. They do not only allow people to perceive their environment, they also enable them to act in response to what they perceive. This means that whatever meaning an individual gives to a situation or attaches to something will affect or shape the choice and action the individual takes in response to the situation. The researcher sees perception as the vision of the mind. In the context of this study therefore, perception means how primary school teachers in Minna Education Zone visualize or see as the roles of supervisors in primary schools. In essence, perception here refers to the particular way one understands somebody or something. Teachers’ perception in this regard therefore, refers to the particular way primary school teachers understand the roles or activities of supervisors in the primary school system.
Teachers are very important people in the life of a nation. They train school children or students and equip them with appropriate knowledge and skills that will enable them to face the challenges of life as they grow up and subsequently take over the mantle of leadership of their societies in their later years. Rosado (2012) says teachers are the gate
keepers to the doors of education and ultimately to the doors of personal advancement and of the well being of the society and the nation. According to Webster (2011), the teacher is that person who instructs and directs others and preaches without ordination. Teachers, as stated by Maduewesi (2005) exert a lot of influence on the character formation and socialization process of the children within the learning environment. There must be good and cordial relationship between the people that hold the key to the doors of knowledge (teachers) and the people (supervisors) that are responsible for the supervision of how the door is opened and what takes place inside the room (the classroom), that is, teaching.
As earlier mentioned, it seems however, that classroom teachers perceive supervision and the roles supervisors play in schools differently. Some teachers perceive supervision as being autocratic especially in the traditional form of supervision. This form of supervision, as stated in Ogoda (2013) makes the supervisor look scary to teachers because of his high handedness. This form of supervision is strongly criticized for not only being autocratic and coercive but also ineffective and is contrary to the interest of the education system (Opadokun, 2004). On the other hand, other teachers perceive the supervisor as playing democratic roles. Democratic supervision, according to Daku (2006), is a form of supervision that eliminates from the minds of the teachers, the feelings that the supervisor is superior to them and even the head-teachers. This type of supervisor carries out his roles democratically by carrying every one along and encouraging the use of motivation, understanding and harmonious working relationship for the achievement of the set objectives of the school.
There are yet others who perceive the supervisor as exhibiting laissez-faire attitudes in the way he performs his professional roles. Opadokun opines that the laissez-faire kind of supervisor allows teachers and head teachers to do what they like with little or no correction, assistance or direction from the supervisor. Ityav (2009), states that many teachers see the supervisor as a fault-finder, autocratic, lacking pragmatism and dynamism and capable of
intimidating teachers for no just cause. Some supervisors, according to Ayeni (2012), are aware of this negative perception of their roles. And in a bid to change, become laissez-faire thereby creating room for other negative habits like absenteeism, lateness to school, truancy, laziness and so forth on the part of the teachers and even the pupils. These attitudes in turn make the teaching-learning process ineffective as both the teachers and the learners are left to do what they want.
With these varied perceptions of teachers toward the roles of supervisors in the school system, it goes without contradiction that the way supervisors’ roles are perceived by both male and female teachers may go a long way in creating a workable relationship between the two. This would obviously affect positively or negatively the work of the supervisor which is essentially to assist teachers in the teaching - learning process. This is because gender appears to be a factor in the way supervisors’ roles are perceived by teachers.
Gender could simply be described as being male or female by natural make up. Features that are distinct characteristics associated with being a male or a female. According to Palan (2001), gender is the classification of characteristics distinguishing male masculinity and female femininity. In support of Palan, Favrel and Sterba (2008) assert that gender is the social attributes and opportunities with being male or female and relationship between women and men, girls and boys. These distinguishing characteristics between the two could result into males and females thinking or perceiving something or situations differently. It is therefore not out of place to say that there could be a disparity between the way male and female teachers perceive supervision generally. Ekundayo et al (2013) opined that while male teachers are having challenges of bullying, extortion and intimidation from supervisors, the female ones are complaining of sexual harassment and undue financial demands from the male supervisors.
Location and qualification seem to be among other factors that shape the perception of teachers on supervision and the role of supervisors. According to Chike-Okoli (2005), teachers in the urban areas have more positive perception of the roles of their supervisors than the rural area teachers. It seems the ones in the urban areas are more enlightened and exposed and seem to know what a supervisor ought to do and otherwise. Fasasi (2011), posits that teachers in urban and rural schools tend to be different in their perception of supervisory roles. Fasasi further states that those teachers whose schools were located in urban areas expressed a significant difference in their perception of supervisory roles from the teachers whose schools were located in rural areas, that urban schools enjoy certain facilities more than rural schools. Such facilities, are easy communication, adequate and relevant teaching - learning materials, qualified personnel and conducive academic environment. Fasasi therefore concludes that primary school teachers’ perception of supervisory roles was influenced by the location of schools, among other things. Chike-Okoli asserts that most teachers in the rural areas engage in farming and so, based on this, they can likely believe that supervision is meant to witch hunt, intimidate and extort money or food items from them.
Professional qualification acquired by the teacher such as Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE), Bachelor of Education (B.Ed), Bachelor of Art in Education (BA.Ed), Bachelor of Science in Education (B.Sc. Ed), Master in Education (M.Ed), Master of Science in Education (M.Sc Ed), among others seem also to be another strong indicators of teachers’ perception of supervisors. Hazi (2004) opines that teachers with higher qualifications seem to have total disregard for supervisors with the belief that they even know what the supervisor does not know. The supervisor on the other hand, feels threatened by such teachers thereby creating an unnecessary and avoidable rivalry between them. Also, teachers with minimum and non-professional qualifications like NCE, TC II and Higher National Diploma (HND)
tend to be more submissive to supervisors. This may be attributed to the fact that some of them lack the necessary professional skills to carry out their teaching functions effectively.
However, there are strong indications that despite the fact that the relationship between the supervisor and the teacher ought to be cordial, of a partnership and collaboration between the two, teachers in the zone are seen and heard discussing supervisors in manners that suggest that there is no good relationship between these two. It appears supervisors are still intimidating and harassing teachers, while teachers are usually scared whenever there is a supervisory visit. Such situations have adverse consequences on the achievement of schools’ targets (Yildirim, 2013). It is doubtful therefore, if the teaching-learning process would enjoy the expected growth if the scenario is allowed to persist, considering the fact that supervisors and teachers are important stakeholders in the teaching-learning process.
It is obvious that without supervisors to oversee the general activities of schools, the set objectives of schools could hardly be achieved easily. This is because the teachers, the pupils and perhaps, the management might be doing what they like and when they like. Obviously, personal observation shows that though the rate of punctuality to school by primary school teachers and pupils in Minna Education Zone is commendable, there is equally high rate of lateness, truancy, absenteeism, indolence on the part of both the teachers and pupils. Primary School pupils are also seen roaming the streets in uniforms during school hours. Cheating and other forms of social vices are common among pupils. These situations call for concern of stakeholders in education and any well meaning individual because, if the above trend is ignored, the teachers in these primary schools would lose grip of laying good and very solid foundations for pupils and this could affect the performance of the pupils at other levels of education. It is also observed that teachers are normally not happy and comfortable when they see supervisors in their schools and do not hide their displeasure
about it. It is common to hear them asking what the supervisors have come to do or that the head teacher should just ‘see’ them and let them go .
Statement of the Problem
Ideally, it is expected that teachers and supervisors perform complementary roles in ensuring effective initiation, performance and sustenance of educational process. As such, supervisors contribute significantly in conjunction with teachers to ensure that the aim of education is actualized. Unfortunately, it has been observed that in most public primary schools in Minna Education Zone, it is fast becoming a tradition to see teachers panic, question or grumble when they see supervisors deployed to their schools for their supervisory functions. Such attitudes might not be unconnected with the fact that many of the teachers particularly those in the rural schools find themselves in unconducive learning environment as a result of either inadequate classroom blocks and furniture or total absence of instructional materials like text books, teaching aids among others which do not facilitate their work and so militate against their optimal performance. And perhaps, in their view or thinking, rather than making things easy for them, the supervisors would be on their necks. As such, some even try to avert the supervision. In the extreme, it has been reported severally that some teachers unfortunately go to the extent of bribing supervisors in order to present biased supervisory report.
It is pertinent that this situation cast a doubt on teachers’ understanding of supervisory roles of the supervisors in ensuring effective and efficient educational system in their localities. It should be noted that if this situation is allowed to persist, one could wonder on the future, quality and reality of educational process in public primary schools in Minna Education Zone. It is based on this that the researcher took it as a worthwhile responsibility to engage in a study that will try to establish the true position of these teachers on supervision with a view to determining some clear remedial strategies to ensure that the ideal relationship
and understanding between teachers and supervisors are strengthened. Therefore, establishing the true perception of primary school teachers on the roles of supervisors in primary schools in Minna Education Zone of Niger State was the concern of this study.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to assess primary school teachers’ perception of supervisors’ roles/activities in public primary schools in Minna Education Zone of Niger State. Specifically, the study sought to:
1. Ascertain primary school teachers’ perception of supervision in primary schools in Minna Education Zone.
2. Ascertain the supervisory activities that are carried out by supervisors in primary schools in Minna Education Zone.
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