THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CLASSROOM TEACHER’S PEDAGOGICAL AND BEHAVIOURAL COMPETENCE ON THE TEACHING-LEARNING PROCESS
This research study was aimed at determining the extent of influence of classroom teacher’s pedagogical and behavioral competence on the teaching- learning process in Lagos State Education District V. Descriptive research design was adopted for the study. The participants in this study were made up of 150 students (70 males and 80 females) and 100 teachers (45 males and 55 females) randomly selected from ten primary schools in Lagos State Education District V Two self-constructed instruments were used to elicit the relevant data. The statistical tools used to test the hypotheses were T-test, Pearson’s Product Moment Correlation Coefficient and One- way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). The participants in this study were made up of 150 students (70 males and 80 females) and 100 teachers (45 males and 55 females) randomly selected from ten primary schools in Lagos State Education District V. The results showed that there is a significant correlation between pedagogical competence and teaching effectiveness; there is a significant difference between teachers’ behavioral competence and pupils’ academic performance; there is a significant difference among the academic performance of pupils taught by teachers displaying incompetent, moderately competent and highly competent teaching pedagogy; and that there is a significant gender difference in teaching activities. These results were discussed generally and recommendations were made based on the findings.
1.1 Background to the study
Education experts, in general agree that there are three factors that influence the success of the teaching and learning process. These interrelated factors are the society, school and family environments. A study conducted by Miguel and Barsaga (1997), considered factors affecting pupils’ performance, investigating the variables of teacher, students, parents and community, and concluded that the teachers were the key factor affecting students’ achievement. Teachers are charged with the main aim of making students learn effectively and efficiently and in order to achieve this aim, the teacher has to do several activities such as planning, provide effective instruction and evaluate the learning activities using appropriate methods and techniques. Thus, the quality of the teaching-learning process depends on the efficiency and quality of the teacher and this is of great importance in the initial stage of education when the pupils are at an early age.
Therefore, for the teaching-learning process to be effective it is necessary that the teacher be endowed with teaching competency. Teaching competence refers to “The right way of conveying duties of knowledge application and skills to students”. The right way here includes knowledge of content, processes, methods and means of conveying content. According to Donald (1982) teacher competency are “those of knowledge, abilities and beliefs a teacher possess and brings to the teaching-learning situation”. A competent teacher would create classroom condition and climate which are conducive for students learning, being competent affects his performance and makes the learning process effective. The quality of education is normally measured by pupil’s performance in their tests and pupil’s performance is related to teacher’s competence and teacher performance in classroom. Thus, three conceptual dimension of teacher quality that are commonly used in making Judgments about teacher’s work are teacher competence, teacher performance and teacher effectiveness. Teacher competence is directly linked with teacher’s performance in complex situation as is thought to serve as a causal factor for success because “competent performance presumes competence” (Westera, 2007). Teacher competency differs from teacher performance and teacher effectiveness in the sense that it is a stable characteristic of the teacher that does not change appreciably when the teacher moves from one situation into another.
The studies conducted so far indicate that there does not exists a single set of competences which all effective teachers possess or all the ineffective ones lack. This is because the concept of teacher competence in a highly situational one and involves value judgment when one absolute set of competencies is effective in relation to all kinds of learner groups. There are different ways of classifying teacher competence and it can be in term of teacher function. Essentially, teachers have two major roles in the classroom. (i) to create the condition under which learning can take place i.e. the social side of teaching and (ii) to impart, by a variety of means “knowledge” to their learners i.e. the task oriented side of teaching. The social side of teaching could be referred to as the “enabling” or management functions” while the task oriented side of teaching referred to as the ‘instructional functions’’. These functions complement each other and are very difficult to separate the two in actual practice. Based on this premise various organization have attempted to classify teaching competence. For example the British general has identified promoting learner’s autonomy, subject knowledge, course and session preparation and planning, teamwork, flexibility, assessment and evaluation of learning as necessary teaching competence to be possessed by a teacher in order to make the teaching- learning process efficient and effective. While the general teaching council for Scotland views teaching competence as comprising of professional knowledge and understanding, professional skills and abilities and professional value and personal commitment.
For the purpose of this research work teaching competence for prospective teachers required by the department of education at Montana state university will be adopted. These include communication competence, intellectual competencies (conceptual, integrative and quantitative) abilities for problem solving and effective teaching, professional competencies, pedagogical competencies, behavioral competencies and social competence. Emphasis will be on pedagogical and behavioural competence and how it influences the effectiveness of the teacher in the classroom.
1.2 Theoretical Framework
This study is anchored on the effectiveness of classroom teacher’s pedagogical and behavioural competence on the teaching-learning process. The essential elements of some of the theories that throw light on this problem are appraised below:
1.2.1 Social Constructivist Theory.
This theory is generally attributed to Jean Piaget, who articulated mechanisms by which knowledge is internalized by learners. He suggested that through processes of accommodation and assimilation, individuals construct new knowledge from their experiences. When individuals assimilate, they incorporate the new experience into an already existing framework without changing that framework. This may occur when individuals’ experiences are aligned with their internal representations of the world, but may also occur as a failure to change a faulty understanding; for example, they may not notice events, may misunderstand input from others, or may decide that an event is a fluke and is therefore unimportant as information about the world.
In contrast, when individuals’ experiences contradict their internal representations, they may change their perceptions of the experiences to fit their internal representations. According to the theory, accommodation is the process of reframing one’s mental representation of the external world to fit new experiences. Accommodation can be understood as the mechanism by which failure leads to learning: when we act on the expectation that the world operates in one way and it violates our expectations, we often fail, but by accommodating this new experience and reframing our model of the way the world works, we learn from the experience of failure, or others’ failure.
It is important to note that social constructivism is not a particular pedagogy. In fact, social constructivism is a theory describing how learning happens, regardless of whether learners are using their experiences to understand a lecture or following the instructions given to them. In both cases, the theory of social constructivism suggests that learners construct knowledge out of their experiences through interaction with the components of the home, school and classroom environments via their five senses.
However, social constructivism is often associated with pedagogic approaches and factors that promote active learning in school or classroom. Accordingly, the learner is seen in the theory as a unique individual with unique needs and backgrounds and as such he/she is considered as an integral part of the learning process (Wertsch 1997). According to the theory, the teacher’s role is a facilitative one as they only need to help the learners to understand the content or subject matter of the lessons themselves. Hence, the class is most times more of a discursive one as learning activities are learner-oriented. The learners are meant to participate fully and actively in activities directed at harnessing knowledge (Bauersfeld, 1995). Therefore, the learners must be appropriately motivated to learn via proper interaction with their environment – the home, school and classroom.
In summary, learning is viewed by social constructivists as an active process, where learners should learn to discover principles, concepts and facts for themselves, hence the importance of encouraging guesswork and intuitive thinking in learners (Ackerman 1996). Consequently, individuals make meanings through the interactions with each other and with the environment they live in. Knowledge is thus a product of humans and is socially and culturally constructed (Ernest 1991; Prawat and Floden 1994). Therefore, in line with the submission of the theory, learning is a social process, which neither takes place only inside our minds, nor a passive development of our behaviour but shapes us by meaningful external forces, such as engagement in social activities and interaction with our environment (home, school, and classroom), which is constituted of both available human and material resources.
1.2.2 Learning Styles
Knowledge of learning styles, or ways students prefer to grasp and process information was used to plan and scaffold students’ work in the constructivist setting. Kolb’s cognitive learning style model (Kolb, 1984, Kolb & Kolb, 2005) was selected for use in this study because of its roots in experiential learning, which is closely tied to constructivism.
Based on the work of John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, Jean Piaget, and Paulo Freire, interaction between the learner and the environment is central to experiential learning, as learners examine and test ideas and then integrate these ideas as part of the learning process.
Viewing learning as a process and not a product, developing inquiry skills, acquiring knowledge as opposed to memorizing, and applying knowledge and skills in the context of relevant settings reflects experiential learning. Experiential learning also holds that transformation takes place as ideas are formed and reformed as a result of experiences, feedback, and reflection.
These constructs are central to transformed practice and part of situated learning in sociocultural settings, in which students also critically examine, extend, and apply information in old and new settings as well as use information to innovate in new contexts (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000). A learning style model associated with Kolb’s theory points out that learners’ cycle through four stages in the learning process: concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. Creating conditions in which students interact with experience leads to experiential learning and construction of knowledge.
1.2.3 Medley’s Model of Teacher Effectiveness
Another relevant theory that strengthens the importance of this study is Medley’s Model of Teacher Effectiveness. It was proposed by Medley, (1982). The model identified nine factors that form the structure of teacher effectiveness. The factors are outlined thus:
Pre-existing teacher characteristics: is the knowledge, abilities and beliefs that the teacher is expected to possess on entering into professional training. These characteristics are stable personality traits (like general intelligence or interest in children) that are believed to be relevant to successful teacher performance but that a teacher education programme cannot and should not try to develop in students who do not already possess them (Medley, 1982).
Teacher Competence: refers to the knowledge, abilities, and beliefs a teacher possesses and brings to the teaching situation. These attributes constitute a stable characteristic of the teacher that does not change appreciably when the teacher moves from one situation to another (Medley, 1982).
Teacher Performance: refers to the behaviour of a teacher while teaching a class (both inside and outside the classroom). It is defined in terms of what the teacher does (Medley, 1982).
Pupils’ learning experiences: this refers to the behaviour of pupils while teaching is going on. This factor is not a teacher characteristic, but it has a great deal do with how effective the teacher is, since the amount a pupil learns depends on what the pupil does (what experiences he or she has). Any effect the teacher has on pupil learning must result from some effect the teacher has on the pupil‟s learning experiences (Medley, 1982).
Pupil learning outcome: is a direct result of pupils’ learning experiences. Learning is, after all, something that pupils do, which a teacher facilitates by providing opportunities. When a teacher “teaches,” what he or she really does is to try to provide certain learning experiences or opportunities for the pupils who are expected to develop the desired learning outcomes (Medley, 1982).
Teacher training: reflects the efforts of teacher educators or others to help a teacher to grow in competence – that is, to add additional competencies to his or her repertoire. The set of competencies a teacher has at the end of pre-service preparation is a mixture of pre-existing teacher characteristics and knowledge, abilities, and beliefs acquired during training (Medley, 1982).
The External teaching context: is the set of characteristics of the school in which the teachers works. The external context interacts with the competencies the teacher possesses to determine how well that teacher performs in that particular situation. The physical and support facilities in the school, the media and materials available to the teacher, and the relationship between the school and community are variables that belong in this cell (Medley, 1982).
The Internal teaching context: is the set of characteristics of the class taught by the teacher as a group. The internal context interacts with teacher performance in determining the learning experience pupils have in that classroom. Such variable as the class size, the average ability, heterogeneity, the ethnic composition and socio-metric properties (profiles) belong in this cell influenced by the teacher’s performance and the internal teaching context. Finally, pupil learning outcomes are a result of pupil learning experiences and individual pupil characteristics. Therefore, when discussing pupil outcomes it is necessary to take into consideration all of the components that affect pupil performance (Medley, 1982).
Individual pupil characteristics: are the characteristics of individual pupils that determine what learning outcomes result from any particular learning experience that a pupil might have. Two pupils will be affected differently by identical learning experiences because they differ in ability, interests, values, background and so on (Medley, 1982).
In summary, the model indicates that the quality of the teacher depends not only on the quality of training but also on the teacher’s background or the teacher’s pre-existing characteristics. The pupil’s learning experience is influenced by the teacher’s performance and the internal teaching context. Finally, pupil learning outcomes are a result of pupil learning experiences and individual pupil characteristics. Therefore, when discussing pupil outcomes it is necessary to take into consideration all of the components that affect pupil performance.
1.3 Statement of the problem
Getting children education right has been a priority for most countries. But these children are being denied education right. Ololube, (2006) revealed that the present development of events within the education sector in Nigeria shows that Nigeria is at the wrong side of getting our children’s education right. In the past two decades, Nigeria has experienced a number of structural reforms in her educational system. However, it is frequently ignored that most of the reforms do not consider getting the education of our children right and policies designed to create school effectiveness and quality improvement vis-à-vis ensuring that policies are implemented as stipulated is been undermined by authorities. However, Nigeria cannot afford to be on the wrong side if we are to be recognized in the international committee of nations (Ololube, 2006).
Moreover, there are several methods of teaching that can inculcate and give pupils insight during instructional processes (Harris & Muijs, 2005; Ololube, 2005b). But do our teaching methods engage the part of pupils’ minds from which insight spring? Similarly, there are different levels of classroom competencies that teachers should possess in order to create quality in instruction (Creemers, 1994c,). But many of our primary schools teachers are in dearth of most of these characteristics. The most unfortunate thing is that the traditional stereotype of our teachers who stand in front of the classroom and teach children has been at odds for many years now. Since most of the instruments of change which can enhance academic excellence are not easily obtainable, the consequence effect is that friction and frustration have set in and successful learning is not taking place (Stones 1966). Pupils are experiencing negative effects on their learning, and It has been a source of concern to all the stakeholders in education i.e. government, teachers, parents, religious bodies, law environment agents and society at large. The society cannot exist without making mention of the school which is the major agent of change.
The above situations do not guarantee any hope for higher academic performance. In the absence of appropriate measures which can improve education per excellence, it is unreasonable to expect tremendous gains in areas of pupils’ conduct, motivation and achievement. It is envisaged that knowledge derived from understanding the effectiveness of classroom teacher’s pedagogical and behavioural competence on the teaching-learning process will help reduce the myth with which academic excellence is viewed by most primary school pupils, educators and the general public.
1.4 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of classroom teacher’s pedagogical and behavioral competence on the teaching-learning process in primary schools in Lagos State Education District V. Specifically, this study aims at examining:
1. The relationship between teacher’s pedagogical competence and teaching effectiveness
2. The relationship between teachers’ behavioural competence and pupils’ academic performance.
3. The difference among the academic performance of pupils taught by teachers displaying ineffective, moderately effective and highly effective pedagogical competence.
4. The gender difference in teaching activities.
1.5 Research questions
To direct this investigation, the following research questions were raised:
1. Is there any relationship between teachers’ pedagogical competences and teaching effectiveness?
2. Is there any relationship between teachers’ behavioural competence and pupils’ academic performance?
3. Is there any difference among the academic performance of pupils taught by teachers displaying ineffective, moderately effective and highly effective pedagogical competence significant?
4. Is there any significant gender difference in teaching activities?
1.6 Research hypotheses
The following hypotheses were tested in the course of this study.
1. There is no significant relationship between pedagogical competence and teaching effectiveness.
2. There is no significant relationship between teachers’ behavioural competence and pupils’ academic performance.
3. There is no significant difference among the academic performance of pupils taught by teachers displaying ineffective, moderately effective and highly effective pedagogical competence.
4. There is no significant gender difference in teaching activities.
1.7 Significance of the study
The contribution that this study would make is in the provision of useful practical information on primary education for the Ministry of Education, while contributing to the intellectual debate and the literature on the relationship between classroom teacher’s pedagogical and behavioral competence and teaching effectiveness. A further contribution of this study is the attempt to assist curriculum development specialist and national policy makers who design teacher-training policy for primary schools. The study investigates teacher competence i.e. pedagogical and behavioral competence of the classroom teacher and its effects on performance in a very specific setting taking into consideration the reality in Amuwo odofin, including the contextual constraints and the stage of development. The study provides a model of competency which could be used as a basis for the development of teacher-training policy and the design and implementation of a teacher-training curriculum. The study also provides an integrated approach model for developing teacher competence in teacher training institutions. It is hoped that the development of this model will also be a contribution to the literature on how to develop teacher competency in teacher training institutions.
1.8 Scope of the study
The study was conducted in Lagos State Education District V. It was restricted to investigating the effectiveness of classroom teacher’s pedagogical and behavioral competence on the teaching-learning process in the private and public primary schools in the Education District. From the 44 public and 84 private primary schools, ten (10) were used.
1.9 Limitation of the study
The study was restricted to primary schools because this is the stage where the influence of the teacher is strongly felt. Also the best way of determining classroom teacher’s competence and effectiveness is through classroom observation and knowledge testing, but it was not possible to observe actual classroom situation because the research work is a secondary study. Another limitation encountered in the course of study was reluctance on the part of teachers and pupils to answer the administered questionnaire correctly and individually.
1.10 Definition of terms
1. Competence: It refers to skills or knowledge that leads to superior performance. These are formed through an individual/organizations knowledge, skills and abilities and provide a frame work for distinguishing between poor performances through to exceptional performance. Competence can apply at organizational, individual, team, occupational and functional levels. Competences are individual abilities or characteristics that are crucial to effectiveness in work.
2. Teaching Competence: This refer to the right way of conveying units of knowledge, application and skills to situations. The right way here includes knowledge of content, processes, methods and increase of conveying content, if in the knowledge, abilities and belief a teacher possessions and brings to the teaching situation. These attribute constitute a stable characteristic of the teacher that does not change appreciably whom the teacher moves from one situation to another.
3. Teacher performance: This refers to the behavior of a teacher while teaching a class (both inside and outside the classroom). It is defined in terms of what the teacher does.
4. Teacher effectiveness: This refers to the result a teacher gets or to the amount of progress the pupils make towards some specified goal of education. It is defined in terms of what the pupils do.
5. Pedagogical competence: This could be defined as the procedures of doing something and having enough skill and knowledge to carry out a function. As regards teaching, pedagogical competence is characterized by the ability of the teacher to adapt to effective work methods, to analyze the task to be performed, to begin the process, to perform the task and to analyze ones procedure.
6. Behavioural competence: These refer to competencies that are required by teachers in term of behaviour. It can be understood as manifestation of how a teacher views him or herself (self-image) and how he or she typically behaves (traits) and what motives him or her.