TEACHING PRACTICE EXPERIENCES OF COMPUTER AND INTEGRATED SCIENCE STUDENT-TEACHERS, CHALLENGES AND POSSIBLE PANACEA
Teaching practice experience is an important component of becoming a teacher. It grants student-teachers experience in the actual teaching and learning environment (Ngidi&Sibaya, 2013; Perry, 2014). During teaching practice, a student-teacher is given the opportunity to try the art of teaching in his field of study be it in computer science or any other subject before actually getting into the real world of the teaching profession(Kasanda, 2011). Student-teachers also know the value of teaching practice as remarked by Menter (2010). According to Menter, they perceive it as ‘the crux of their preparation for the teaching profession’ since it provides for the ‘real interface ‘between student hood and membership of the profession.
1.1 Background of the study
A student teacher reflected that the practical component of teacher training – practice teaching – was a part of the course fraught with difficulty and thus exceedingly stressful. She did not appear to enjoy the experience. This student teacher’s experience identifies her own feelings around practice teaching. This anecdotal reference serves to position the research question as both relevant and constructive in terms ofthe ongoing research around teacher training in South Africa. Many problems confront teachers who enter the workplace for the first time after completing their studies. Student teachers who qualify from our current teacher training programmes are not always ready to enter the classroom. These problems are related to their practice teaching experiences, a conclusion that may be deduced from the researcher’s own professional dealings with student teachers. One gets the impression that some student teachers are inadequately prepared for the real situation during their practice teaching. Research conducted by Tang (2003) found the quality of student teachers’ learning experiences in the field to be a major concern. Converting theoretical knowledge into practice will always remain a challenge – learning to teach is a complex process (Solomon, Worthy & Carter as cited in Farrell, 2002). In support ofthese views, many researchers have written about the ‘shock of reality’, a phrase referring to the difficulty of shifting from theoretical training and academic knowledge to the actual work ofteaching (Johnston, Rastoy, Holdaway & Friesen as cited in Bertone, Meard, Euzet, Ria & Durand, 2003). Research undertaken in 1999 by the United States Department of Education’s National Centre for Education Statistics shows that only one in five teachers feels 1 ! well prepared to work in a modem classroom (Thomas & Loadman, 2001:195). Supporting this finding, French researchers alsD fDcused on the limitatiDns ofpractical experience (Charlie & Durand as cited in Bertone et aI., 2003). On the other hand, Borlo and Mayfield (as cited in Bertone et aI., 2003) found that practical experience can alsD be of great value in learning how to teach. An appropriate mix ofchallenge and SUPPDrt cDntributes tD students’ positive experiences ofpracticals (Tang, 2003). Anumberoffactorsaffectsuccessfulimplementationofanintegrated science curriculum, including various outputs and inputs related to teacher quality such as professional development experiences, adequate planning periods, and adequate content preparation of teachers with regard to content knowledge associated with the curriculum taught (Huntley, 1998; Knudson, 1937; Leung, 2006; Palmer, 1991; Southern Region Education Board, 1998). Other researchers have examined the relationship between teacher quality and teacher retention (Ingersoll, 2000; National Center for Education Statistics, 1996), and national organizations have defined minimum content preparation standards to improve teaching and learning (Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium [ITASC], 2008; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Educators [NCATE], 2007; National Middle School Association [NMSA], 2008). This study examines factors related to teacher quality inputs (i.e., coursework, grade point average, and teacher test scores). Okorie (1986) stated that, education is a part of life, which is deliberately controlled and experiences developed according to a conscious plan. According to Emereole (2000), it is usually planned according to the individual and societal needs and the most veritable instrument for change in any society. Therefore, the quality of education provided in any society and the nature of the change affected by that education are both dependable on the quality of teachers and the affected by that education are both dependable on the quality of teachers and the effectiveness of their teachings in schools (Awotua-Efebo, 1999). Kizlik (2007) posits that, education is a means to cooperative dynamic and life long process through which a society deliberately generates knowledge, skills, values and other form of behavior for its survival and sustenance, and transmits these from one generation to another. Asuru (2000) observed that, it is pertinent to note that the individual countries of the world provide education for their citizens for different reasons. According to Adagba (2005), the reasons are the different ways, which these countries believe that they would help the citizens as human being and their country as a Nation. Akpomi (2010) also stressed that, the Government of Nigeria in her aim to achieve their philosophy of education has therefore set up an implementation committee for the National Policy of Education in 1983, knowing fully that, the important of teaching practice and internship in teaching education cannot be overemphasize, the committee therefore recommends: Those methods of training teachers need to be rationalized, so that they reflect the Nation’s, Education philosophy, policies and structure. That massive training of untrained primary school teachers should be done by the method on the job training. The selection and training of lead teacher who will provide personal instruction to teacher, trainee and supervise them well.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In Nigeria, teacher- training institutions have been critiqued for inability to produce teachers who are properly grounded in pedagogy and content as well as ability to collaborate professionally in the work environment. For example, educationists observed that the transition from academic theories in universities to classroom practice has often been very sharp suggesting that student teachers are not often properly groomed to put into practice current pedagogy and interactive skills that has been theoretically learnt. Whereas, the National Policy on Education, (FGN 1981 revised 1998 and 2004:40) states ‘teachers shall be regularly exposed to innovations in their profession.’ The teaching practice exercise in many educational institutions had become rife with complaints of drudgery among staff and students and consequently frustration on the part of both of them. (Imogie 1998). It was in view of the stated reasons as well as the need for teachers to address new challenges in education, both at the national and global levels that the Faculty of Education of a Nigerian university restructured the Teaching Practice exercise in line with its position on Teaching Practice. “Students Teaching Practice Log Book” recently adopted by the faculty: The training of teachers involve more than giving them the knowledge and skills necessary for good teaching. We are aware that, for teachers, what goes on inside the classroom is closely related to what goes on outside. The quality of teaching is closely influenced by the professional growth of teachers and the relationship with their colleagues, either as supportive communities who work together in pursuit of common goals and continuous improvement or as individuals. It is in view of the above that prompt the researcher to investigate teaching practice experience of computer and integrated science students teachers in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to ascertain teaching practice experience of computer and integrated science students teachers, but to aid the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objectives;
i) To ascertain the impact of teaching practice on students teacher’s credibility
ii) To examine the effectiveness of teaching practice programs by students teachers
iii) To examine the relationship between teaching practice experience and teachers quality
iv) To examine the role of government in restructuring the teaching practice program
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
To aid the successful completion of the study, the researcher the researcher therefore formulates the following hypotheses;
H0: teaching practice experience has no impact on students teachers credibility
H1: teaching practice experience has impact on students teachers credibility
H02: there is no significant relationship between teaching practice experience and teachers quality
H2: there is significant relationship between teaching practice experience and teachers quality
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the federal ministry of education, who are saddle with the responsibility of formulating and implementation of educational policy formulated by her or the House committee on education of the higher and lower chamber of the legislators, the study will also be of great importance to faculty of education in respective higher institutions in the country as the findings will proffer way out of the dwindling teaching practice program. The study will also be useful to researchers who intends to embark on a research in a similar topic as the study will serve as a spring board for further study
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers teaching practice experience of computer and integrated science students teachers. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which militate against the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Teaching practice is a key influence on student learning – a desired outcome and primary goal of higher educational institutions.
A student teacher, pupil-teacher or prac teacher is a college, university or graduate student who is teaching under the supervision of a certified teacher in order to qualify for a degree in education
Integrated Science is a revolutionary introductory science curriculum developed at Princeton, intended for students considering a career in science.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study