ROLE OF COMMUNICATION IN EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS OF BWARI AREA COUNCIL
Background of the Study
In Nigeria public discussions frequently focus on educational standards. The public’s unhappiness becomes more prominent following the annual release of the public examinations results. Student outcomes do not match the government and parental investment. All stakeholders are concerned about why the system is turning out graduates with poor results. To them, it is questionable whether or not teachers in the public secondary schools, the most important factor in the effectiveness of schools and in the quality of a child’s education is the competent to communicate and teach effectively. The National Policy of Education states, “No Education system can rise above the quality of teachers in the system” (FGN, 2006). Ogunsaju (2004) opined that the academic standard in all Nigerian educational institutions has fallen considerably below societal expectations. Blumende (2001) corroborated this view when he reported that the decline in the quality of education cannot be ignored by anyone who is aware of the significant role of education as an instrument of societal transformation and development. There is a need to focus on teachers’ adequacy and competency in respect to their pedagogical practices and strategies and mastery of the curriculum and subject content (Chall & Popp, 1990; Stuart, 2004; Rodgers, 2001). In support of the aforementioned scholars, Ekwesili (2006) institutionalized the Private Public Partnership (PPP) and School Based Management Committee (SBMC) to manage secondary education and to promote school effectiveness since students’ success depends on the amount of learning that takes place in the classroom and other related ‘how effective and efficient the teacher performs in schools’.
In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), education remains the largest industry and government continues to ensure that funds, instructional materials and teaching personnel are made available for the sector. Government has also continuously encouraged secondary education by adopting the social demand approach towards planning the sector and by subsidizing the Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) fee in the Territory over a long period of time. An indication of government interest in the general education in the FCT is reflected in the budgetary estimates of the Territory.
Academic achievement is usually established through examinations, which consist of set questions that seek to determine how much an individual perceives the subject as a result of learning. Commendable performance is an indication of effective learning. Secondary education in Nigeria has been characterized by poor performance in national examinations, especially in core subjects such as Mathematics and English Language (MoEST, 2005).
One of the most potent barometers so far, if not the strongest, of measuring school and teacher effectiveness is the performance of pupils in public examinations such as Senior School Certificate Examination (S.S.C.E.) in Nigeria. The issue of declining academic performance of secondary school students in two principal subjects (English Language and Mathematics) at the Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE) has generated much interest among stakeholders in the education sector, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The quality of education and performance of students depends on the teachers as reflected in the discharge of their duties. Over time pupils’ academic performance in both internal and external examinations had been used to determine the effectiveness of teachers and teaching (Ajao, 2001).
Teachers have been known to have important influence on students’ academic achievement and they also play a crucial role in educational attainment; because the teacher is ultimately responsible for translating educational policies and principles into actions based on practice during interaction with the students (Afe, 2001). Both teaching and learning depend on teachers: no wonder an effective teacher has been conceptualized as one who produces desired results in the course of his duty as a teacher (Uchefuna 2001). Considering governments’ huge investment in public education, its output in terms of quality of students has been observed to be unequal with government expenditure. Consequent upon the observed deterioration in the academic achievement, attitude and values of secondary school students in public secondary schools, one wonders if the high failure rates and the failure of the students especially in external examinations is not a reflection of the instructional quality in the schools.
Therefore, the ineffectiveness of teachers in classroom interaction with the students could be responsible for the observed poor performance of students and the widely acclaimed fallen standard of education in Nigeria. Effective teaching of any subject will not only stimulates student’s interest in the subject but also enhance their achievement in the examination. To achieve effective teaching and learning process, there is the need for use of instructional materials.
Instructional materials are the different teaching aids or apparatus which a classroom teacher employs to facilitate his or her teaching for the achievement of the stated objective. Agun (1992) defined instructional materials as those materials which are helpful to the teachers and students and which maximize learning in various areas. The use of instructional materials in teaching these two critical subjects is very important because it provides a concrete basis for conceptual thinking motivates people to learn and captures pupils’ imagination if used correctly (Ajalla, 1997). Some scholars have also observed at one point or the other that the knowledge base in all professional fields, changes over time teaching is not an exception. With advances in educational research, and the rapidly changing demographics of students in Nigeria, the knowledge base in education will never be ‘complete’ or finished (Fafunwa, 2004; Farrant, 2004; Wasagu, 2009) in Awwalu M.I and Najeemah B.M.Y, (2012).
One of the key elements in any school and effective teaching is a Teacher. Teachers are the key propellers for school improvement. By implication, the task of a teacher, which includes sustaining education system, do not rest on his or her professional competency alone, but on the entire features of the school climate (Loukas, 2007). But, public schools which are owned by government and are predominantly occupied by citizens of lower socioeconomic status in Nigerian society and are facing challenges of educational sub-standard, lack of adequate resources, leading to poor teaching, students poor academic performance and dropping out.
Darling-Hammond (2006) opined that teacher preparation and knowledge of teaching and learning, subject matter knowledge, experience, communication skills and the combined set of qualifications measured by teacher licensure are all leading factors in teacher effectiveness. The realization of the goals of a secondary school as an educational organization hinges on effective communication among the various operating personnel. Communication helps to build relationships and facilitates achievement of goals. Thus the need for effective communication strategies for the improvement of a secondary school cannot be overemphasized.
The basic function of “education” itself relies almost entirely on communication. This can be inferred that classroom interactions between teachers and students occur rapidly in a classroom. It is indicated that teachers in secondary schools may have interactions with 150 different students in a single day. However, teachers are usually not aware or are not able to describe or remember what happens in these interactions with their students. For example, in a study conducted by Good and Brophy as cited in (She and Fisher, 2002), it was observed that teachers are usually not aware on how many questions they asked students and what kind of feedback they provided.
In any society, the teaching profession is perhaps the largest and single profession. It is however; not the most attractive but it has the greatest impact on the overall development in society. For this singular reason, effective communication improves learners’ expectations and motivation to learning in secondary school education. Communication has deep significance for human organizations since individuals make specialized contributions to the achievement of the overall goals of the organization.
Secondary education is a comprehensive type of education with a core curriculum, designed to broaden the knowledge and outlook of students who “successfully complete the junior secondary school” (FME, Status Report 2003 P.55). It is a stage, where a student enters at the age of thirteen (13) years. This statement was upheld by the World Bank, 2011, that “Secondary education is now being recognized as the cornerstone of educational systems in the 21st century.” This is the most crucial stage of one’s life. At this stage, teacher plays an important and crucial role at secondary school level. I would like to say that if secondary school teachers (English and Mathematics) succeeded in framing sound base of these subjects to the students of secondary level, it is justified to say that they will be able to make useful scientific discoveries. That is why, these teachers occupies the most important and crucial position in entire educational system.
The cognitive domain of learning involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills. It includes the recognition of specific facts, procedural patterns and concepts that serve in the development of abilities and skills. Effective teaching of any subject will not only stimulates student’s interest in the subject but also enhance their achievement in the examination. To achieve effective teaching and learning process, there is the need for use of instructional materials.
It is precisely from this background that the researcher seeks to evaluate communication as an effective tool in teaching and learning (English and Mathematics) in the use of instructional materials in Secondary schools in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory. With hope of making concrete suggestion on how best students’ expectations and motivation to learning English and Mathematics in secondary school education can be properly enhanced through effective communication.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
This study is to look into the “Role of Communication in effective teaching and Learning in Secondary Schools of Bwari Area Council”. It has to be kept in mind that people do not communicate by just composing sentences, but by using sentences to make statements of difficult kinds, to record, to describe, to classify, to give and ask for information, to ask questions, make requests, etc. Therefore, students acquire the language by using it. The quality of any educational system is determined by the quality of the teaching-learning process. Teachers interpret and communicate the curriculum to learners. They ensure that efficient and effective use the country’s investment in education, act as role models to the learners and transmit societal values from generation to generation.
The importance of English and Mathematics, occupying a unique position among subjects taught in secondary schools cannot be overemphasized. The act of teaching is fundamentally concerned with passing ideas, skills and attitude from the teacher to the learner. Concerns are being raised in recent times about the poor performance of students at public examinations like: the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), the National Examination Council (NECO) and the Joint Admission and Matriculations Board (JAMB) examinations. On one hand, teachers have been blamed for failing to equip the students with the necessary skills to enable them competes in such examinations. On the other hand, teachers put the blame on students; indeed, the corner stone of good education in any secondary school is its teachers because all other factors mean little without competent teachers.
The reason for this could be ascribed to the fact that there are topics in these subjects that pose serious problem of comprehension to students. Scholars like Mutebi and Matora (1994) emphasized the role of communication in instructional materials utilization on teaching and learning. According to them, we learn and remember 10% of what we hear, 40% of what we discuss with others and as high as 80% of what we experience directly or practice. However, the questions here are: does the use of instructional materials really influence students’ academic performance? Is teaching effectiveness enhanced by the use of instructional materials?
A basic understanding of the priorities of today’s generations is a crucial element to help educators to better understand, relate and communicate to the learners in their teaching. The success of a school system is dependent upon the “quality of communication” in it.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
- ) To identify the role of communication in effective teaching and classroom management.
- ) To determine the effect of use of instructional material on student’s achievement in English and Mathematics in secondary schools. Specifically, the study intends to:
- find out the mean achievement scores of students taught with instructional materials and
- those taught without instructional materials
- ) To identify how communication and development can be used to improve student performance in examinations.
1.4. Research Question
This study intends to examine and provide answers to the role of communication for quality of teaching and learning using Instructional materials in public secondary schools in Bwari Area Council. To guide the study three research questions were posed.
- i). Does teachers’ classroom effectiveness on the use of instructional materials have any impact or influence on student’s academic performance?”
- ii). What are the effects of effective communication of teachers on students’ academic performance?
- iii). What are the effects of students taught by highly qualified, moderately qualified and less qualified teachers using instructional materials?
- iv). What are the effects of communication in the understanding of learners’ learning styles in classroom environment?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
To guide the study, three hypotheses were formulated as follows:
H01: There is no significant difference between the academic performance of students taught with instructional materials and those taught without instructional materials by qualified (highly, moderately and less) teachers through their communication skills.
H02: There is no significant relationship between effective communication of teachers and students learning styles on their academic performance.
H03: There is no significant difference in the academic performance of students taught by highly qualified, moderately qualified and less qualified teachers through their communication skills.
1.6. Significance of the Study
Teachers have been known to have important influence on students’ academic achievement and they also play a crucial role in educational attainment because the teacher is ultimately responsible for translating educational policies and principles into actions based on practice during interaction with the students (Afe, 2001).
- i). This study will contribute towards the achievement of the teaching and learning in the study area. The findings of this study will make a contribution to the ongoing debate surrounding effective teaching methodologies using instructional materials on students’ performances in public examinations as a measure of teachers’ communication skills.
- ii). The researcher is of the opinion that the study will inform policy development towards more accurate and reliable measures of school performance, that is, value added analysis.
- the study would likely promote awareness in both teachers and the taught and will further improve effective classrooms control for better teaching and learning.
- Finally, outcomes of the study will produce recommendations that might be useful for educators and curriculum planners at the time of designing syllabi.
1.7 Scope and Delimitation of Study
This study is specifically designed to examine the role of communication for quality of teaching and learning in public secondary schools in Bwari Area Council. To this end, 8 schools public senior secondary schools drawn from 4 districts in Bwari Area Council. A total three thousand five hundred (3500) respondents were randomly selected and bordered on two principal subjects (English and Mathematics).
In addition, the value added results from the other subjects will not be generalized. Students’ academic achievement is not the only important goal of education that can be used to judge teacher’s teaching effectiveness. Multiple indicators of teacher’s teaching effectiveness are required such as, teachers’ mastering subject & knowledge of teaching methods, regular preparation of lesson plan for teaching, checking of student’s homework regularly, arrangement of weekly/monthly test to evaluate and assess the student’s academic achievement and performance in the subject area, attitude of students to learning, social functioning and attendance. While these are desirable, students’ academic achievement still remains the main indicator of post-basic education. The study is narrowed to students’ academic achievement only. As the research was completed in a relatively short period of time other factors and variables are not considered. This might have an impact on the results of the study.
1.8 Basic Assumptions of the study
The study was based on the following assumptions
- i). The target respondents would cooperate and give correct information.
- ii). Well performing schools had adopted Effective communication in teaching and learning ‟strategies that were not employed by low performing schools to improve academic performance.”
- By adopting the strategies employed by well performing schools, poor performing schools can improve their performance.
- It is assumed that classroom is a place where knowledge is socially constructed through interaction among teachers, students, and materials.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined in order to provide an understanding of how they will be used in this study. The definitions of other key concepts are presented in the relevant chapters.
Academic performance – This refers to the ability to study and remember facts, being able to study effectively and see how facts fit together and form larger patterns of knowledge, and being able to think for yourself in relation to facts and being able to communicate your knowledge verbally or down on paper.
Content relevance: student’s perception of whether the course instruction and its content, or both, satisfied personal needs, personal goals, and career goals.
Effective learning – This refers to students‟ being available, focused and committed to undertake learning willingly.
Effective school – This refers to a school whose educators are responsible for producing acceptable results, by putting emphasis on instructional leadership, focus on vision and mission, communicating high expectations for success, monitoring of student progress, home-school relations, and creating an opportunity to learn for each student.
Effective teaching – This refers to helping students to learn by providing adequate context and content, and involving the learners in the process of responding to questions, summarizing findings and discussions and research and report on unanswered questions.
Effective teachers: Teachers that displays certain characteristics in a class.
Instructional materials: Devices developed or acquired to assist or facilitate teachers in transmitting, organized knowledge skills and attitudes to the learners within an instructional situation (Nwachukwu, 2006).
Poor performing school – This refers to a secondary school that consistently obtains a mean grade of below C+ in Senior School Certificate Examinations.
Secondary education: A comprehensive type of education with a core curriculum, designed to broaden the knowledge and outlook of students
Teacher immediacy: a set of verbal and nonverbal behaviours that reveal a teacher’s willingness to approach and be approached by students.
Teacher clarity: A multidimensional construct that explains three broad teachers’ behaviour clusters in a classroom: – presentation or verbal clarity, structural or message clarity, and instructional process clarity (e.g., stresses important aspects of the content, assesses and responds to perceived deficiencies in student understanding.
Well performing school – This refers to a secondary school that consistently obtains a mean grade of at least C+ and above in Senior School Certificate Examinations.