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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT VOLUME 8 NO 1, JUNE, 2010


TEACHING PRACTICE VARIABLES AS PREDICTORS
OF ATTITUDE OF BIOLOGY TEACHER-TRAINEES TO SCHOOL WORK

Olufemi A. Ajayi
Department of Educational Foundations and Instructional Technology
Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun, Ijebu Ode
E-mail: olufemi_jy@yahoo.com

 

Abstract
Teaching Practice (TP) is one stage of the programme that affords teacher trainees the opportunity to test the much acquired pedagogical skills, competencies and mastery of subject matter. In consideration of the above, this study sought to find out the TP factors which predict student teachers’ attitude to work. A sample of one hundred (n=100) biology education students with teaching practice experience from the two universities where teacher education programme is mounted in Ogun state was used. The research design was a non-experimental (ex-post facto) type. The findings indicate that 27.2% of the four TP variables significantly accounted for the variance in attitude of biology teacher trainees. The implications of the findings were discussed with appropriate recommendations offered.

Keywords: Teacher, attitude, biology, school, work


Background to the study
It is often said that no nation can rise above the quality of education of its citizenry. And, by extension no educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004; Omoregie, 2006). Omoregie opined further that quality of teacher determine the quality of human resources in all other sectors of labour market. It points to the significance of quality training desired in teacher education programmes in Nigeria. The question then is what is teaching and who is a teacher? Teaching is a systematic, rational and organized process of transmitting knowledge, attitudes and skills in accordance with professional principles. While a teacher is a person who had undergone approved professional training in education at appropriate levels capable of imparting knowledge, attitudes, and skills to the learner (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2002).

According to Adeyoju (1999), just as man invented language, tools, weapons, clothing, and shelters, the need for training became an essential ingredient in the march of civilization. She opined further that, training is imparting, sharing and promoting old and new knowledge. The knowledge could be in form of information, assisting and encouraging people to find information so that they can acquire new skills and improve their performance generally. In the words of Lawal (2006), training is teaching/learning activities carried on for the primary purpose of helping members of an organization to acquire and apply the knowledge, abilities and attitudes needed by that organization to carry out its job.

Indeed, skills or attitudes, as a determinant of behaviour and performance can be shaped by new experience often provided by activities included in training programmes (Adeyoju, 1999). The question now is - How thorough is teacher education programmes being run in the faculties and institutes of education of our various universities today? This concern is corroborated by the findings of Amadi cited by Ogundipe (2006) in a study on achievement of teacher education objectives. He suggested the modification of the strategies to achieve our educational objectives and the need for teacher-educators, in particular, to think about the deeper meanings of teacher preparation objectives and re-orient their methodology of teaching and training of teachers.

Assessment of teachers’ attitudes, proficiency and effectiveness in the primary and post-primary institutions today suggests the abysmal state of teacher preparation in our training institutions. This by extension is responsible for the falling and failing standard of education being experienced. Of course, the causal factors range from contingency effects of external factors around the school system to the effects of the interplay of other units within the school system itself amongst other things (Oluwatimilehin, 2006). In his study, Ogundipe (2006) reported that, a trained teacher should be thoroughly and rigorously groomed in all techniques of teaching and all aspects of pedagogy, whether he has been on practice or not, since it is not sufficient to organize a brush up programme for a quack nurse, doctor or lawyer to make a professional out of him.

Few of the deficiencies noticed in the teacher education programmes in Nigeria were reported by Ogundipe (2006). He decried the situation whereby it is only when the supervisor is around that the student teacher  (PGDE) will be in school or worst still in lecture rooms of the training institution rather than classrooms of primary or secondary school. The assessment instrument for student teachers was also reported to have failed to capture the student-teacher’s ability to be punctual at school, conduct school assembly, relate freely and professionally with teacher colleagues, conduct examination, participate effectively in all school activities and keep school records. Omoregie (2006) reported the time allocation for teaching practice in many teacher education programmes as being grossly inadequate. Further still, she identified supervision of the exercise as being inadequate. Mereni (1985) reported application of theory of synergism between State Ministry of Education, the State School Board, the Teacher Training Colleges and the Nigerian Union of Teachers in Imo State in 1980 to resolve the problems of inadequate supervision personnel, high cost of student-teaching internship, and poor student assessment and evaluation.

Reports from previous studies (Adeyoju, 1999; Ogundipe, 2006; Adedibu and Olayiwola, 2007) indicate apathy, truancy, lateness to school and other forms of poor attitude to work among teacher-trainees. In the context of science technology and mathematics (STM) education Okebukola (2005) in Adedibu and Olayiwola (2007) highlighted the features of the envisaged graduate science teacher that will emerge for service in the Nigerian secondary school system starting from 2011 vis-à-vis the present crop of teachers undergoing training in our universities. An eight point weakness was discovered which carry-over effect must be seriously addressed to avert an imminent disaster in STM education delivery. The discoveries include:
*          Lack of practical skills as a result of inadequate exposure to teaching practice
*          Poor classroom control and management
*          Lack of in-depth subject matter knowledge
*          Lack of self-reliant and entrepreneurial skills
*          Inability to communicate effectively in English language
*          Lack of professionalism
*          Poor attitude to work and
*          Poor computer skills

Meanwhile Akale (2005) in Adedibu and Olayiwola (2007) reiterated the fact that nothing is absolutely wrong with the curriculum contents for teacher preparation. The content is in the hands of teachers whose preparedness to ensure its relevance to national development, remains questionable and at best doubtful. The challenge here therefore for the teacher trainers and trainees is to re-indicate themselves to the ideals of the noble profession by shunning acts of corruption and other vices that have eroded the dignity of the teaching profession (Adedibu and Olayiwola, 2007). It is on this premise that this study sought to measure attitude to work of biology teacher-trainees alongside specific teaching practice variables.

Statement of the problem
The study sought to find out how the teaching practice variables: length of teaching practice exercise, timing of teaching practice exercise, adequacy of teaching practice assessment instrument and supervisor factor predict attitude to work of biology teacher-trainees in the university.
Research questions
The study sought to provide answers to the following questions:

  • What is the collinearity status of the teaching practice predictor variables?
  • To what extent would the four teaching practice variables: length of teaching practice exercise, timing of teaching practice exercise, adequacy of teaching practice assessment instrument and supervisor factor, when taken together predict biology teacher-trainees’ attitude to work?
  • What is the relative contribution of the four predictor variables to the criterion?

Scope of the study
The study is limited to the contribution of the four predictor variables to work attitude of biology teacher trainees from the only two universities with education programme in Ogun state. It is thus expected that the application of the findings will be done within the limits of the variables and the population of study.

Significance of the study
It is expected that the results of the study will make the policy makers, curriculum developers, and administrators from the two universities and others sharing the same characteristics with them to see the need for an improvement in teaching practice exercise and the entire teacher education programme in general. The result of the study is also expected to take teaching to an enviable position occupied by other professions that are highly celebrated like medicine, engineering, and law.

Methodology
Sample and sampling procedure
The sample for this study is one hundred students of biology education programme (n=100) from the two universities with teacher education programmes in Ogun state. The two universities were purposively selected on the basis of the availability of the programme of interest. The students’ sample was selected on the average of 50 from each of the participating universities using a simple random technique.

Instruments
Two instruments were personally developed by the researcher for this study. They included Teaching Practice Variable Assessment Inventory (TPVAI) and Biology Student-Teacher Attitudinal Scale (BSTAS).

The TPVAI consists of sections A and B. Section A consists of items that capture demographic information about the respondents. The items included name of the institution, sex with a score range of 1 (Male) to 2 (Female), age with scoring patterns of 1 for 17 – 22 years; 2 for 23 – 28 years; 3 for 29 – 34 years, and 4 for 35 years and above. Section B of TPVAI is made up of items on length of teaching practice (TP) exercise, timing of TP, supervisor factor, and adequacy of TP assessment instrument. The response format for this section of the instrument is Yes or No, with a total score range of 20 to 40.

BSTAS is also made up of sections A and B. The items in section A are exactly the same as those in section A of TPVAI. Section B contained items on the general attitude of student-teachers to work in the school on a response with scoring pattern of Strongly Disagree  = 1; Disagree = 2; Agree = 3, and Strongly Agree = 4. The score range for this section of BSTAS is 23 to 92.

Validation and reliability of the instruments
Both the TPVAI and BSTAS were subjected to screening by the experts in educational evaluation and curriculum who ensured the suitability of each in content, language and format. The final versions of the instruments were trial tested  with reliability coefficients and indices of 0.72 and 0.52 for TPVAI and 0.9 and 0.81 for BSTAS.

Data collection and analysis
The instruments were personally administered by the researcher to the respondents in their institutions for data collection and it lasted two days. The data collected were analyzed using tolerance and variance inflation factor to provide information about collinearity status of the predictor variables. The proportion of variability in attitude to work of biology teacher-trainees predicted by other variables in the study was explored using multiple regression analysis.

Results and discussion

Research question one

What is the collinearity status of the teaching practice predictor variables?


Table 1: Collinearity statistics for the predictor variables

Variables

Tolerance

VIF

Length of TP

.549

1.823

Timing of TP

.560

1.784

Adequacy of instrument

.861

1.161

Supervisor factor

.904

1.106


The result from table 1 above indicates tolerance values much greater than 0.1 and VIF values much lower than 10 for all the teaching practice variables. What this suggests is high orthogonality of the variables. At this instance, all the four variables are fit for consideration as predictors of the criterion (attitude).

Research question two

To what extent would the four teaching practice variables: length of Teaching Practice exercise, timing of Teaching practice exercise, adequacy of Teaching practice assessment instrument, and supervisor factor predict attitude to work of biology teacher-trainees?


Table 2:           Composite effect of teaching practice variables on student teachers’ attitude to work

Parameters

Value

R

.521

R2

.272

Adjusted R2

.241

Standard Error of Estimate

8.35

F(4; 95)

8.857*

P

0.000

                        * Significant at < 0.05


From table 2 above, the four teaching practice variables were found accounting for 27.2% of the variability in attitude of biology student-teachers to work using R2 value. The contribution of the predictor variables to the criterion was also found to be significant with F(4; 95) ratio 8.57 at 0.000 alpha level.

It follows that all the teaching practice variables are important factors for consideration in measuring the attitude of student-teachers to work amongst several other variables, in an attempt to come up with an improved internship for student-teachers.

 

Research question three

What is the relative contribution of the four predictor variables to the criterion?


Table 3:           Relative effect of the four teaching practice variables on attitude to work

Variables

Standardized Coefficient

t

P value

Length of TP

-.116

-.984

.327

Timing of TP

.576

4.928

.000*

Adequacy of instrument

.047

.500

.618

Supervisor factor

.112

1.215

.227

* Significant at 0.05 alpha level


Table 3 indicates .576 beta value, and 4.928 t value at less than .05 alpha for timing of TP; .112 beta value and 1.215 t value at alpha level greater than .05 for supervisor factor; .047 beta value, and .500 t value at alpha greater than 0.05 for adequacy of assessment instrument and for length of TP is -.116 beta value and t value of .984 at alpha greater than 0.05. Therefore, the values suggest that timing of TP contributes most, followed by supervisor factor, length of TP, and adequacy of assessment instrument in that order to the variance in attitude. To mount an effective internship for teacher-trainees from the university, it is pertinent to focus attention most on timing of TP vis a vis the university programme and the school calendar of selected schools, followed by other variables in order of their significance.

 

Conclusion and recommendations

With the present era of science and technological revolution and advancement world over, Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind. And for her to catch up with this latest development, serious attention needed be given to the education industry and teacher education programme in particular. The reason being that the much talked about technological advancement can only directly and indirectly emanate from the classroom.

Findings from this study reveal that the four teaching practice variables, length of teaching practice exercise, timing of teaching practice, adequacy of teaching practice assessment instrument, and supervisor factor significantly account for variation in work attitudes of student-teachers. To improve teaching practice therefore, it becomes imperative to address sincerely all the aforementioned variables. The percentage contribution of the predictors combined to the criterion according to this study was however found to be small, meaning that, there is need to keep an open mind to explore several other variables that may predict the student-teachers’ attitude to work.

With the abysmal state of teacher education programme in this country (Ogundipe, 2006; Omoregie, 2006) and revelation from the findings of this research, the challenge is before the curriculum developers to review the teaching practice aspect of the teacher education programme. The need is also there for the implementers of the programme, as well as the management of the concerned institutions to collaborate and evolve a much more comprehensive assessment instrument and technique for teaching practice. Moreover, the supervisors, and all other personnel that are involved in the exercise must be alive to their responsibilities and shun all other vices that may undermine the success of the exercise. It is also a recommendation of this work that a one full year of internship be adopted for teacher education programme considering the challenges and enormity of tasks involved in effective teaching.

References

Adedibu, A. A. and Olayiwola, M. A. (2007). Towards Ensuring Adequate Science Teacher Preparation for Sustainable Development: An Analytical Review. 50th Anniversary Conference  Proceedings of STAN, 228 – 229.
Adeyoju. C. A. (1999). Training, value and adjustment among primary and post primary teachers in Obemeata, J. O., Ayodele, S. O. and Araromi, M. A. (Eds). Evaluation in Africa. Ibadan: Stirling Horden Publishers (Nig.) Ltd.
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2002). Teachers Registration Council Handbook.
Federal republic of Nigeria (2004). National policy on education. Lagos: NERDC,.
Lawal, M. K. (2006). The effect of staff training and development in the Nigerian banking industry: a case study of Co-Operative Bank Plc. Quill Pen. A Journal of Communication Issues and Events. 36
Mereni, J. I. (1985). Synergism in education: an innovative approach to practice teaching supervision. International Review of Education. Vol. 31, No. 2.
Ogundipe, M. A. (2006). A review of the training of professional teachers in Nigeria and the challenges before the Nigerian universities. Journal of Applied education and Vocational Research. Vol. 1, No. 1, 35 – 38.
Oluwatimilehin, J. T. B. (2006). School administrators leadership behaviour and teachers attitude to work in selected secondary schools in an oil rich state of Nigeria. Journal of Applied Education and Vocational Research. Vol. 1, No. 1, 66.
Omoregie, N. (2006). Inadequacy in teacher education in Nigeria: the way out. arts and education. d-Ed



 

Appendix I

International Centre for Educational Evaluation
Institute of Education, University of Ibadan, Ibadan

Teaching Practice Variables Assessment Inventory (TPVAI)

Dear Respondent,
The inventory is designed to audit teaching practice variables in teacher education programmes. The required information is for the purpose of research only and so your cooperation in this regard is highly solicited. All information provided shall be treated with utmost confidentiality.

Section A:        Bio data

Introduction:          Please respond to the items below using a tick (Ö) in the box that is most applicable to you.

Institution: ………………………………………………………………………………….
Sex:                 Male (   )                      Female (   )
Age:                 17 – 22 yrs (  )      23 – 28 yrs (  )        29 – 34 yrs (  )     35 yrs & above (  )
Level:              100L (   )         200L (   )         300L (   )         400L (   )

Please respond to the items below using Yes / No for the presence or absence of the entity or variable in focus.

S/No

Items

Yes

No

1.

Teaching practice exercise is not less than two times in my institution.

 

 

2.

The schedule of teaching practice in my institution is not less than 12 weeks for one session.

 

 

3.

My last teaching practice was not beyond second term of the secondary school calendar.

 

 

4.

The last teaching practice experience I had began within the first 3 weeks of the term.

 

 

5.

My first teaching practice was not before 300 level.

 

 

6.

My supervisor at the last teaching practice spent more than 20 minutes with me in the classroom.

 

 

7.

My supervisor at the last teaching practice did not bother to enter the classroom with me before making his assessment.

 

 

8.

It was not possible for my supervisor at the last teaching practice to come to my school before he made his assessment.

 

 

9.

My supervisor demanded for gratification (cash or/and kind) from me at the last teaching practice.

 

 

10.

My supervisor did not have sufficient time to collect and look through my lesson note at the last teaching practice exercise.

 

 

11.

My supervisor at the last teaching practice was friendly and encouraged me to be well composed.

 

 

12.

My supervisor discussed my strength and weaknesses with me after his/her assessment at the last teaching practice.

 

 

13.

My supervisor at the last teaching practice was from the field of knowledge highly related to my subject specialization.

 

 

14.

My performance in classroom teaching was graded at the last teaching practice exercise.

 

 

15.

The teaching practice assessment form in use has provision for regularity and punctuality at school.

 

 

16.

The record of my participation at PTA meetings at the last teaching practice was obtained by my supervisor.

 

 

17.

There is provision for the assessment of student teacher’s participation in school clubs and societies in the teaching practice assessment form in use.

 

 

18.

Student teacher’s involvement in school games and sports is duly assessed during teaching practice exercise.

 

 

19.

The keeping of other relevant statutory records besides the lesson note is duly assessed during teaching practice exercise.

 

 

20.

Student teacher’s participation in school exams is duly assessed during teaching practice exercise.

 

 

 

Appendix II

International Centre for Educational Evaluation
Institute of Education, University of Ibadan, Ibadan

 

Biology Student-Teacher Attitudinal Scale (BSTAS)

 

Dear Respondent,
The questionnaire is designed to collect useful information on how teaching practice variables determine the attitude of biology teacher trainees. The required information is for the purpose of research only and so your cooperation in this regard is highly solicited. All information provided shall be treated with utmost confidentiality.

Section A:        Bio data

 

Instruction:                  Please respond to the items below using a tick (Ö) in the box that is most applicable to you.

1.         Institution: ………………………………………………………………………….
2.         Sex:     Male (   )          Female (   )
3.         Age:     17 – 22 yrs (  )     23 – 28 yrs (  )    29 – 34 yrs (  )   35 yrs & above (  )
4.         Level:  100L (  )          200L (  )          300L (  )          400L (  )

 

Section B

Please respond to the items below using Strongly Disagree (SD), Disagree (D), Agree (A), and Strongly Agree (SA). Put a tick (Ö) against any of the options that best represent your opinion. There is no right or wrong option.

 

S/N

ITEMS

SD

D

A

SA

1.

There is limit to the effort of student-teacher in preparing for a class teaching.

 

 

 

 

2.

Classroom teaching is an easy task that can be done any time and anyhow.

 

 

 

 

3.

A student-teacher can teach without a lesson note, where it is not possible to have one.

 

 

 

 

4.

It is appropriate to use a half-way prepared lesson note for teaching in a situation of emergency.

 

 

 

 

5.

Student-teacher should follow the format in writing lesson note rigidly under whatever circumstance.

 

 

 

 

6.

It is very important to do a teaching sufficiently enough for the time limit of the lesson.

 

 

 

 

7.

Student-teacher can always take the opportunity of lesson period for social interaction with his/her students.

 

 

 

 

8.

Instructional materials are very important to class teaching but only when available in the school.

 

 

 

 

9.

It is not all lessons one can teach with instructional materials.

 

 

 

 

10.

It is advisable for a student-teacher to take something to the class where the relevant instructional material is not available.

 

 

 

 

11.

Going to the class with instructional materials is more important than using it.

 

 

 

 

12.

Student-teacher does not need to be monitored for regularity in school like the practicing teachers.

 

 

 

 

13.

Being punctual in the school is not as important as going to classes.

 

 

 

 

14.

Teaching practice period is required to make student-teacher relax from strenuous academic work in the university.

 

 

 

 

15.

There is no need for me to give any special attention to my way of dressing requirements for teaching practice exercise.

 

 

 

 

16.

It is unavoidable for a student-teacher to make all efforts at meeting the dressing requirements for teaching practice.

 

 

 

 

17.

It is not compulsory for student-teacher to be involved in the conduct of exams as it is the duty of practicing teachers only.

 

 

 

 

18.

The student-teacher being a temporary member of staff is not expected to keep a marks book, but a temporary marks sheet.

 

 

 

 

19.

There is nothing wrong if the student-teacher does not fill diaries, scheme of work and movement book.

 

 

 

 

20.

Attendance at PTA meetings is a must for both practicing teachers and student-teachers.

 

 

 

 

21.

Attendance and full participation at morning assembly is essential and compulsory for student-teachers

 

 

 

 

22.

It is time-saving for student-teachers to do some other things in times of school games and sports.

 

 

 

 

23.

It is time saving for student-teachers to do some other things at meeting times for school clubs and societies.