TEACHING PRACTICE EXPERIENCES OF COMPUTER AND INTEGRATED SCIENCE STUDENT-TEACHERS CHALLENGES AND POSSIBLE PANACEA

ABSTRACT

The purpose of the study is to investigate the challenges facing the computer and integrated science students teachers during their teaching practice exercise and the possible panacea. To guide the study, six research questions and two research hypotheses were structured and used. The researchers used case study which cover all the 2007/2008 computer and integrated science final year student of the school of science education, Enugu State college of education (Technical), Enugu. A sample of 110 final year students were selected for the study through proportionate simple random sampling techniques from all the department under school of science education. Questionnaires were used to collect data after scrutinizing for face validation by research experts including the researchers’ supervisor. One hundred and ten questionnaire copies were distributed to the respondents (student, teachers) and exactly the same numbers were collected back after filling. The collected data were analyzed using likert nominal scale mean value correlation with the computed table mean value using the formula of appendix 3.0 findings of the study have shown that computer and integrated science student teachers are faced with a lot of personal, institutional organization and staff, supervision, pupils and classroom/laboratories equipments challenges. Based on the findings of the research, some remedies were suggested and recommendations adduced.

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Education is a good instrument for the comprehensive development of the human beings where the whole body is effectively utilized to achieve a predetermined set of objectives (Ejili and Anyanwu, 2006). It is a complex process which starts to improve out lives as soon as we are born, and continues to do so until we die. According to Aguba (2006) “aim of Education is the production of good men, that is for one to be educated, one must be prepared to use knowledge in the service of god and humanity. We can say that, education is a process of acquiring ideas, skills and values that facilitated the development of the society. The nation recognizes the importance of teacher education when they continued to give a major emphasis in all our educational planning. This is basically because no educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers, that is to say that the quality of the teachers in any country determines national development. The national policy on education of the federal Republic of Nigeria (1998) outlined the purpose of teacher education as follows: a. To produce highly motivated, conscientious, effective classroom teachers for all learning in our education system. b. To encourage further the spirit of enquiring and creativity in teachers. c. To help teachers to fit into the community and the society at large and to enhance their commitments to national objectives. d. To provides teachers with intellectual and professional background adequate for assignment and to make them adaptable to any changing situation not only in the life of their country but to the wider world. e. To enhance teachers’ commitment to the teaching profession in teacher education, teaching practice is a very important aspect of any teaching-training programme. It is a student-teacher and prospective regular teacher what housemanship is to young medical doctor. Questions may be asked-why does a young lawyer on being called to the Bar choose first to study under an older and more experienced lawyer? Why do young medical doctors go for housemanship under the more experienced ones? Why do vocational education students go on industrial training? Likewise, why do student – teachers or prospective teachers go on teaching practice? These questions and their answers are very similar. No human being anywhere would have to face some dangers that could be voided. There is a popular adage, which says that “prevention is always better than cure” or a stitch in time, saves nine” most of the student teachers do not seem to be fully aware of this fact. May be because of the small proportion of the entire time allocated to teaching, he needs to go through adequate and appropriate teaching practice experience. Akilaiya (2001) defined teaching practice as an integral part of teacher education programme which provides opportunity for student teachers to put all theoretical knowledge into practice in real school situation. It is a compulsory practical exercise for every student – teacher. It is the first opportunity for a student-teacher to participate in activities involved in teaching in actual situations. It affords the prospective teachers the opportunity to test, prove the lecture – room theoretical assertions and at the same time provide a forum for him to try out teaching and see whether he can really be a good teacher. So it is very essential that student – teachers should take teaching practice very seriously. The objectives of teaching practice for assessing student – teachers are as follows: i. To provide opportunities for the students to acquire and prove teaching skills. ii. To enable the students effectively plan and prepare lessons. iii. To help the students develop traits, attitudes and abilities; iv. To enable the student to bring about learning in children, and v. To enable the students to acquire the characteristics of a teacher and to display appropriate behaviour. The seven principles for good practice on good teaching and learning in schools are: i. It encourage good contact between student and lectures, ii. It develops reciprocity and co-operation among students iii. It gives prompt feedback iv. It emphasizes times on task, v. It communicates high expectations and vi. It respects diverse talents and ways of learning According to Iloh (2001), the key actors in teaching practice are; the student teachers, the resident supervisor, the college supervisors and the principals/heads of department of the co-operating schools. The student – teacher is the prospective teacher that is still under training, who is acquiring skills, knowledge and techniques required for teaching profession. At this point, he puts all he had learnt into practice. The resident supervisor means the co-operating teacher in the co-operating school. He is the teacher the student – teacher meets at school where he is doing his teaching practice. He may be the class teacher of the class the student – teacher is using for practice. He sees whether the student – teacher is punctual and regular in this class. He also assists him with his lesson note so as to have an effective lesson note. College supervisor is the student –teachers lecturer. He comes to find out whether the student-teacher has really understood what he has been taught as regards the teaching techniques and methodology. And finally brings back the student-teachers performance to his school. The principals/head of departments of the co-operating school is the person in charge of the co-operating school where the student – teacher is doing his teaching practice. He helps in the selection of co-operating teachers who can work with the student-teachers. He builds rapport among resident teachers and student –teachers to enhance their professional growth. Microteaching is one of the most important developments in the field of teaching practice. It is originated in Stanford University in 1963. This practice holds very great promise for the future of teacher preparations. It goes a long way to solving some of the challenges involved in student teaching practice. Before the introduction of the microteaching, there was no provision for the student – teacher to practice the act of teaching before they go on teacher practice. And their performances in teaching practice during those periods where not satisfied. So microteaching helps the student-teachers to have an early encounter with teaching and in this way attempts to put into practice some of the theories learnt in the lectures.The importance of teaching practice is that it is a crucial period for the teachers to put into practice concepts learnt at school. It is difficult to recognize good teaching unless one has passed through the process. In order to translate theory into practice, the student-teacher will encounter a lot of challenges, but since teaching practice is important in the teaching preparation programme, there is a need for adequate planning and implementations. This study is mainly focused on finding out those challenges encountered by the practicing student – teachers and possible solutions to those challenges.

1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY 

The importance of the teacher in relation to the quality of education a country provides to its citizenry, explains, in part why special training and practical experience are part and parcel of any well-programmed teacher education scheme. The teaching practice experience exposes the student-teachers in the field of teaching and enhances them to be effective in the classrooms. There are numbers of problems that militate against the effective implementation of the teaching practice programme in general. The specialized nature of the programme further complicates problems in this areas. The study would therefore investigate fully the challenges and also find the possible solutions to them. i. The supervisors principal etc ii. Pupils in the classrooms, and

iii. The parent institution.

1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS 

The study aims at investigating the challenges encountered by student – teachers during teaching practice and their possible solutions. This study is specifically meant to: i. Find out the exact role of the student –teachers, the cooperating teachers (i.e. the resident supervisors), the college supervisors and the principals/heads of departments of the cooperating school. ii. Find out challenges encountered by student – teachers during teaching practices.

iii. Identify useful solutions to the challenges outlined in (ii) above.

1.4 SIGNIFICANCES OF THE STUDY 

Every year, thousands of prospective teachers from colleges and universities are programmed in various schools for training students in teaching experiences which are meant to contribute greatly to their preparation as beginning teachers. Having acquired lots of theoretical knowledge, it is necessary that the students are exposed to practical training, for them to become very skillful on the job. Since teaching practice is very important in the teacher education. Any effort towards improving the major areas of challenges encountered in its execution as a means of reorganizing and making the practice more efficient is one in the right direction. The teaching practice programme is the first real life experience that the student have in their preparation as teachers. If therefore this first experience is without challenges such as those that were mentioned in this study, necessary positive attitude would develop and hence the likelihood of the individuals succeeding in their chosen career as teachers will increase. The prospective teachers will become acquainted with lesion preparation, use of instructional materials and handling of student adjustment problems in the classroom.

The teaching practice is meant to introduce student to one of the important aspect of the teacher education programme, such as relating effectively with co-workers (both academic and non-academic) and in handling students’ problems both within and outside the classroom. Above all, it exposes students to real life experiences.

1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY 

Due to certain constraints such as time, and finance, this research work was limited to the challenges which the student – teachers encountered during their teaching practice and possible panacea using Enugu state college of education (Technical) computer and integrated science final year student – teachers.

This research wok does not in any way investigate problems associated with policy implementation in entire state but mainly focuses on those challenges that influence effective performance of student – teachers during their teaching practice.

1.6 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY 

There are different factors that make this project to be carried out within the confinement of Enugu state college of Education (Technical) in regards to investigating student – teacher’s challenges during teaching practice. Some of these constraints include: (1) Time The period within which the project is expected to be completed is very short. Therefore, many respondents or large geographical area cannot be covered, thereby creating a constraint to the areas (ii) Finance It is obvious that research requires huge amount of money for it to be carried out and financial status of the researchers not encouraging, necessitate the choice of the scope of the study as appropriate one. (iii) Respondent

During the time of administering questionnaire, the respondents in school cannot be reached out due to long vacation of the school. This creates a barrier to the project, compelling us to use computer and integrated science. Final year student – teachers in Enugu State College of Education (Technical), Enugu.

1.7 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

In order to examine student – teachers challenges during teaching practice, the following research questions were formulated, (1) What are the personal challenges facing student – teachers during teaching practice? (2) What challenges are associated with the pupils in the classrooms towards the student – teachers? (3) Do we have challenges posed by the relationship between the school principals and regular teachers and the student – teachers during the teaching practice? (4) Do we have challenges faced by the teaching practice student – teachers as a result of the organizations of the practicing schools? (5) Examine the challenges associated with the teaching practice student – teachers from the supervision/supervisors? (6) What challenges are posed by the student – teachers institutions on the student – teachers exercises?

(7) What are the possible remedies to remove the adverse effects of the various challenges to the student – teachers teaching practice exercises?

1.8 RESEARCHER HYPOTHESES 

1. Computer and integrated science student – teachers do not have challenges facing them during teaching practices 2. preparation of the student – teachers in their parent institutions and levels of administration in the hosting schools have no effect on the success of the student – teachers’ exercises.