A STUDY OF THE CORRELATION BETWEEN TEACHERS’ GENDER AND STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN ECONOMICS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN LAGOS STATE
1.1 Background to the study
Gender gaps in educational outcomes are now a matter of growing concern to educational researchers today. Boys are increasingly less likely than girls to attend university and to receive a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, female undergraduates continue to be under-represented in such technical fields as engineering and computer science. One popular, if controversial, response to these patterns has been a renewed push for single-sex education – an effort that has drawn support from across political divides (Dee, 2006).
Regardless of the academic subject, boys, according to Dee (2006) are two to three times more likely than girls to be seen as disruptive, inattentive, and unlikely to complete their homework. However, how boys and girls view academic subjects vary across subjects in ways that parallel the gender gaps in subject test scores. For example, girls are more likely than boys to report that they are afraid to ask questions in Mathematics, Science, and Social Sciences. They are also less likely to look forward to these classes or to see them as useful for their future. Meanwhile, boys, as compared to girls, register more negative perceptions of English class.
But while boys and girls may exhibit different behaviours and prefer different subjects, Dee (2006) noted that it is not quite the same thing as having a different experience because of the gender of the teacher. The critical question here, therefore, is: Are there any evidences that teachers relate better to students whose gender they share or vice versa? According to Dee (2006), significant patterns can be detected within the United States National Educational Longitudinal Studies (NELS) data survey. He noted that when a class is headed by a woman, boys are more likely to be seen as disruptive, while girls are less likely to be seen as either disruptive or inattentive. Besides, when taught by a man, girls are more likely to report that they did not look forward to the subject, that it is not useful for their future, or that they are afraid to ask questions. The above situation is noted by Dee to be strongest in Science, where students’ report indicates that female science teachers are far more effective in promoting girls’ engagement with those fields of study.
Boys also have fewer positive reactions to their academic subject when taught by an opposite gender teacher. In particular, when taught by a female teacher, boys are more likely to report that they do not look forward to the subject (i.e. loose interest in the subject or find it less intriguing).
Besides, gender differences are obvious from birth and children are socialized very-early into appropriate sex-type occupation (Azikiwe 1993). Gender according to the United Nations (UN) definition as adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women (F.M.C.W) 1996 in Beijing China is “Man and Woman” and this definition applies to this study. Green (1979) reveals that culture and tradition have assigned occupations to males and females in the society, thus each sex is straightjacket in areas considered exclusive for it. For instance, women traditionally are expected to be employed in such areas as nursing and teaching.
Also, in the Nigeria’s Pre-colonial traditional society before the advent of western education, indigenous education of children is polarized between the sexes according to their future roles in the society.
Fafunwa (1974) captures this trend through his explanation that boys received rigorous training on the farm under the instruction of their fathers, while girls underwent training at home in child care food preparation and so on under strict supervision of their mothers. Not too long ago in these times of formal western education in Nigeria, a dichotomy existed strictly in the kind of vocations pursued by boys and girls, perhaps as carryover effects. Emeyeonu (1994:125) properly described this situation by stating that girls were not supposed to go into Engineering, Law, and Medicine but should go into professions like teaching and nursing. He went further to assert that:
“A female student applying to study mechanical engineering is look down upon as an oddity and an exception to the role and perhaps should have her head examined. Girls were supposed to do Arts, Education and Home Economics. Unfortunately, most young Nigeria girls aspiring for higher studies have come to believe this myth and have approached their choice of careers with diffidence and timidity”.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The majority of arguments of single-sex schools and classrooms focused not only on the effects of gender on interactions among students, but also on the need to increase the number of students with teachers of the same gender (Krieg, 2005).
Besides, researchers like Meece (1987), Hopf and Hatzichristou (1999), Rodriguez (2002), and Etaugh and Hughes (1975) have found that (i) teachers interact differently with students of similar gender than they do with students of opposite gender, and (ii) that a teacher’s perception of student’s characteristics and abilities varies systematically by gender. Other studies according to Krieg (2005) found that male students benefit at the expense of female students in the amount and quality of interaction received from teachers of both genders. Consequently, the arising questions here are: Is there any relationship between Economics teachers’ gender and their attitude to teaching Economics? What relationship does Economics teachers’ gender have with the quantity of class and home works given to students in Economics? Is there any relationship between Economics teachers’ gender and students’ performance in Economics? This study therefore attempts to find answers to the above posers through examining the correlation between teachers’ gender and students’ academic performance in Economics.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The objectives of this study will be to:
- determine whether the teachers’ gender impacts his or her relationship with the respective students;
- ascertain whether there is any relationship between the teachers’ gender and the quantity and quality of class and home works given to students;
- determine whether there is any relationship between the teachers’ gender and students’ performance; and
- ascertain whether teachers’ gender has any relationship with their attitude to teaching.
1.4 Research Questions
These questions will be adduced to guide the study.
- Is there any relationship between the teachers’ gender and their attitude to teaching?
- What relationship has teachers’ gender with the quantity of class and home works given to students?
- Is there any relationship between teachers’ gender and students’ academic performance?
- Does the teachers’ gender impact their relationship with their respective students?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses will be stated and tested during the study.
(i) There is no relationship between the teachers’ gender and their attitude to teaching economics
- There is no relationship between the teachers’ gender and the quantity of class and home works given to students in economics
(iii) There is no relationship between teachers’ gender and students’ academic performance in economics
(iv) Teachers’ gender does not impact their relationship with the respective students
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study would be significant for its content as a contribution to knowledge, as it articulates the relationship between teacher-gender differential influence on teacher’s relationship with students and the impact of this relationship on students’ academic performance.
The study will also remain a reference document in the department of Art and Social Sciences, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos for researchers and students carrying out research on the same or similar topic.
The work will be useful to gender analyst. It will also be useful to the counsellor trainers and psychologist. It will also be useful to the teachers, parents and students.
Ultimately, its findings will also be of great reference to government, educational planners and policy makers, educational administrators and so on, when making decisions on issues pertaining to recruitment
- Delimitation of the Study
This study covered only ten secondary schools randomly selected from the secondary schools in Lagos State. Besides, only thirty (30) economics teachers and thirty (30) economics students randomly selected from the ten sampled schools were involved in the study. In the whole, the study was limited to examine the relationship between teachers’ gender and students’ performance in Economics.
- Limitations of the Study
These were some of the limitations encountered during the process of this study.
- There was limited time to cover more schools as the study would have needed.
- Financial constraint limited the study from involving a larger part of the population.
(iii) The restrictive attitude of custodians of secondary data centres limited the researcher’s access to adequate secondary as well as the volume of the literature reviewed.
- Definition of Operational Terms
(i) Gender: This refers to biologic maleness and femaleness of an individual.
(ii) Teaching: This is process of developing the cognitive, affective and psychomotor powers of the learners. It is also a process whereby knowledge is transmitted from the teacher to the learner. It is as well a complex process whereby the learner is made to pay attention, make observation, association ideas, and remembers previous experiences.
- Profession: A type of work for which you need special knowledge and training.
(iv) Teacher: Anyone who imparts knowledge to another who is the recipient of what is being imparted (learner).
AZIKIWE, Uche (1993): “Gender Issues in Technical Teacher Education. The Nigerian Experience”, Journal of the Nigerian Vocational Association, Vol. 1, No. 2
DEE, Y. S. (2006). “How a Teacher’s Gender Affects Boys and Girls” http//abcnews.go.com/US/wirestory?
EMENYEONU, E. N. (1994): Ideas and Challenges in Nigerian Education. Enugu: New Generation Books.
ETAUGH, C., HUGHES, V. (1975): “Teacher’s Evaluation of Sex-Typed Behaviour in Children: The Role of Teacher Sex and School Setting”, Developmental Psychology, 11 (2), pp. 394-395
FAFUNWA, A. B. (1994): History of Education in Nigeria. London: George Allen and Unwin Limited.
GREEN, G. (1979): “The Failure of Women to Succeed in Predominantly Male Occupations”, The Journal of Vocational Education Research 4 (2).
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MEECE, J. L., (1987): “The Influence of School Experiences on the Development of Gender Schemata”, In L.S. Liben and M.L. Signorella (eds.), Children’s Gender Schemata, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass