1 Joseph D. Agbir
1 Samuel I. Wachin
2Godwin G. Apav
1Department of Chemistry, College of Education, Katsina-Ala.
2Department of Mathematics, College of Education, Katsina-Ala
This study was carried out to determine the frequency of science and technology teachers’ professional development through teacher support programmes in Benue state education zone A. A stratified random sampling technique was used to draw 210 science and technology teachers from 35 secondary schools who participated in the study. Science and Technology Teachers Professional Development Questionnaire (STTPDQ) with a reliability of 0.89 was used for data collection. Data obtained were analyzed using percentages. The results of the analysed data showed that; there was a low frequency of professional development of science and technology teachers through the support programmes in class management and control; in presentation of learning experiences and methods. It was recommended that, state and federal government should embark on intensive programme of in-service training to equip all professional teachers with the skills and competencies needed to effectively participate in all aspects of curriculum development so as to be able to produce the required manpower needed to develop our economic potentials geared towards achieving vision 2020.
Science and technology education have been recognized worldwide as contributing greatly to the material growth of nations. In fact, it is generally accepted that adopting the scientific frame of mind is a prerequisite for development in almost all areas of human endeavors. Thus, in any country issues of science and technology education are of considerable importance for economic prospect. In developing countries (like Nigeria) issues of science and technology education are even of particular importance as it is principally by means of science and technology that a people can achieve national development (Gift in Akpan, 2008).
Nations at the fore front of economic development today according to Akpan (2008), are those that have invested enormous resources over considerable time in (i) the establishment and nurturing of a stable, well-supported science and technology system (ii) the promotion of mission oriented research in the basic science coupled with long term technology development and (iii) the institution of well articulated programmes for the education of a large scientifically and technologically literate workforce. Investment in these areas ascribes much of the phenomenal rate of economic growth shown by Japan, America, Europe, Asia and the Far East. It is at this stage of economic growth that Nigeria has wished to be by the year 2020. If science and technology education should hold the key to sustainable economic development then Nigerian educational system must give prominence to science and technology education in all facets that will provide the required scientific and technologically literate workforce, so as to enable her achieve her dream of becoming one of the largest economies by the year 2020.
Science and technology subjects taught in our schools have their various subjects curricular. These are implemented by teachers. The teachers who should operate these curricular according to Sotonwa (2003), and Ajala (2010) are supposed to be highly skilled professionals, highly knowledgeable science and technology teachers. But at present, this situation is not tenable; this has painted a blurred picture for Nigeria towards the actualization of her vision 2020.
Nigeria can however, actualize her dream if her preparation of adequate science and technology teachers that will move this country forward is anchored on well conceived and implemented innovative strategies which will guarantee teachers’ unhindered access to continuing professional development. This can be achieved by raising the knowledge base capacity of these teachers through the frequency of participation in the support programmes that will assure their professional growth and development (Ugwu, 2005; Olaleye, 2013; Wenglinsky, 2002). Frequency of participation in the support programmes in this study is conceived as the regularity of attendance of science and technology teachers at the professional development programs such as refresher courses, seminar, conferences, workshops and symposia aimed at raising their knowledge base in their respective subjects. When teachers regularly participate in these support programmes it improves their knowledge base and equip them with new trends and better methods of teaching and learning in their subject areas. These support programs as stated by Ochu (2006), Ajiboye (2005) and Joshi (2009) include conferences, seminars, workshops/refresher courses and mentoring programme. These programmes are wrapped in a familiar phrase known as in-service training progrqamme, it is the position of this study that, the frequency of attendance to the support programme by science and technology teachers at the secondary level of education in Nigerian schools will produce sound knowledge based teachers who will sustain the development of a knowledge-based science and technology driven economy that will spur Nigeria in the circle of the largest economies by 2020.
The National Policy on Education (NPE, 2004), has categorically stated among other aims that, teachers shall be regularly exposed to innovations in their professions; shall regularly receive in-service training programme. This in-service programme therefore creates a forum where teachers are exposed to new skills, new knowledge and ideas so as to keep up to date with changes in their fields. This is aimed at enhancing the professional growth of the teacher on his job. The study therefore is to determine the frequency (regularity) of exposure of science and technology teachers to in-service science training programme in various areas of the curricular that is geared towards developing their professional competence aimed at sustaining a science and technology based driven economy.
Specifically, the study intends to:
i. Determine the frequency of professional development of science and technology teachers in class management for effective science teaching.
ii. Determine the regularity of professional development of science and technology teachers in presentation of learning experiences and methods of teaching.
iii. Determine the frequency of professional development of science and technology teachers in evaluation of student’s attainment of stated educational objectives.
Based on the specific objectives, three research questions were posed to guide the study. They include:
- What is the frequency of professional development of science and technology teachers through the support programmes in class management for effective science teaching?
- What is the frequency of professional development of science and technology teachers through the support prorgammes in the presentation of learning experience and methods to students?
- What is the regularity of professional development of science and technology teachers through the support programme in evaluation of student’s attainment of stated objectives?
Survey research design was adopted for this study. The population for this study consisted of all science and technology teachers in secondary schools in Benue state Education Zone A. Three out of seven Local Government Areas (L.G.A) comprising this zone were randomly selected. The selected LGAs have 70 grant aided secondary schools. A total of 35 of these schools were selected for this study using a proportionate stratified random sampling technique. One teacher each of Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Introductory Technology was selected from each of the 35-schools to provide a sample size of 210 science and technology teachers. Stratification was based on location. Where there was more than one teacher majoring in any of the six subjects, simple random sample was used to select the participant. The sampled teachers had qualifications ranging from NCE to M.Ed/M.Sc with teaching experiences ranging from 3-32 years.
Frequency of science and technology teachers’ professional development questionnaire (STTPDQ) was used as an instrument for data collection in this study. The instrument developed by the researchers consisted of two parts. Part A-consisted of five items which sought information on qualifications, sex, name of school, teaching subject and number of years of teaching experiences. Part B-consisted of 10-items. A 3-category frequency response was used to code the frequency of respondents to the support programmes.
The face validation of STTPDQ was carried out by three experts in science education as well as two specialists in measurement and evaluation. These resource persons vetted the items in terms of clarity of words and appropriateness of the items to the intended purpose. The Reliability coefficient of the instrument was established using Kuder-Richardson formula (K-R21) which gave a value of 0.89. With the aid of four research assistants, the questionnaire was administered to the respondents.
Data resulting from this exercise was analyzed using frequency counts and percentages for all the three research questions posed. And the results got were presented in tables after answering the research questions.
Research question one
What is the frequency of professional development of science and technology teachers through the support programmes in class management for effective science and technology teaching?
Table 1: Frequency of Support Programmes of Science and Technology Teachers Class Management (N=210)
|Support Programmes Responses categories|
|(conferences/workshops seminars/refresher (F) (O) (R)|
I attended the support programme on class 13(6.20) 40(19.9) 157(74.80)
management and control
Frequency = F
Occasional = O
Rarely = R
Number in parentheses represents percentages.
Table 1 shows that, science and technology teachers in the study area (about 74.80%) are rarely exposed to support programmes even in class management and control. While 19.9% often times attend the support programmes on class management. However, 6.20% of them frequently attend the support programmes on class management. This result therefore indicates a low frequency of professional development of science and technology teachers through the support programmes in class management for effective science and technology teaching.
Research question two
What is the frequency of professional development of science and technology teachers through the support programmes in the presentation of learning experiences and methods to students?
Table 2: Frequency of Support Programmes of Science and Technology Teachers in Presentation of Learning Experiences/ Methods.
(Conferences/Workshop/seminar Responses categories
Refresher Course) I attended the support programme on (F) (O) (R)
Innovative teaching methods/skill 30(14.29) 56(26.67 124(59.04)
Innovative learning method/skill 11(5.2) 25(11.9) 174(82.9)
Practical skill development in 15(7.14) 17(8.10) 178(84.70)
Selection and utilization of 26(12.38) 41(19.52) 143(68.10)
Criteria for effective organization of 37(17.62) 46(21.90) 127(60.48)
learning experiences and content
Table 2 shows that, science and technology teachers do poorly receive support programmes in the presentation of learning experiences and content, as most of them (59.04% and 82.9%) do rarely attend workshops/seminars and conferences on either innovative teaching/learning methods and skill development and acquisition to improve their professional expertise in teaching. Also quite a high number of teachers sampled have reported that they have neither attended any support programmes on practical skill development in students (84.70%) for effective conducts of practical nor have attended any on selection and utilization of instructional materials (68.10%) for effective teaching. Yet, 60.48% of the sampled teachers have reported rarely attending any support prorgammes in criteria for effective organization of learning experiences and content. These results as presented show a high frequency of science and technology teachers who are rarely professionally developed though the support programmes in the presentation of learning experiences and methods to students. This therefore indicates that, the frequency of professional development of science and technology teachers in this aspect of the curriculum is low.
Research question three
What is the regularity of professional development of science and technology teachers through the support programme in evaluation of student’s attainment of stated objectives?
Table 3: Regularity of Support Programmes of Science and Technology Teachers in Evaluation of extent of Attainment of objectives?
(Conferences/Workshop/seminar (F) (O) (R)
Refresher Courses) I attended the support programme on
Continuous assessment (CA) 21(10) 47(22.38) 142(67.62)
Evaluation instruments 10(4.76) 18(8.57) 182(86.67)
Instrument development and validation – 25(11.90) 185(88.10)
Methods of evaluation in psychomotor, – 30(14.29) 180(85.71)
affective and cognitive domains.
The results in Table 3 show that, only 10% of the sampled science and technology teachers have attended support programmes on continuous assessment, while majority of them (67.62%) rarely attended any such programmes. Also on evaluation instruments only 4.76% of the science and technology teachers sampled frequently attend support programmes while 86.67% of them rarely attend any such programmes on this issue.
On instrument development and validation, none of the sampled teachers indicated frequency of attendance. However, 11.90% of the sampled teachers reported that often times they are professionally developed through the support programmes on this issue. While majority of the sampled teachers (88.10%) reportedly are rarely professionally developed through the support programmes in instrument development and validation.
While none of the sampled teachers has indicated the frequency of professional development through the support programmes in methods of evaluation in psychomotor, affective and cognitive domains, 14.29% of the sampled teachers have often times been attending the support programmes in this area. Yet the majority of sampled teachers (85.71%) have reported that they are rarely professionally developed through the support programme in this area. This result as presented indicates that, the regularity of professional development of science and technology teachers through the support programmes in evaluation of student’s attainment of stated objectives is very low.
Discussion of Findings
The result from this study reveals that, science and technology teachers are rarely exposed to the support programme or in-service training opportunities in curriculum development at the secondary school level generally. The finding agrees with Ochu (2006), Salman (2009), Olaleye (2013) and Udoh, Osu and Udo (2008). This situation as observed limits teachers’ effectiveness on their jobs.
The study also revealed certain specific curricula areas of importance that science and technology teachers rarely receive the support programmes for quality assurance. These include teaching/learning methods, selection and utilization of instructional materials, continuous assessment, methods of evaluation and development of evaluation instruments. These findings corroborate well with that of Udogu, Amachu, and Chinwe (2007), Sotonwa (2003), Ajala (2010) and Ajiboye (2005), who reported at various times the inability of the present crop of Nigerian science teachers to demonstrate competencies in these vital curricula areas. If we are teaching to promote science and technology for scientific literacy in Nigerian children, then, we must accept a strong responsibility and a major challenge in improving our proficiency and our professional skills through the various teacher support programmes. Only then will the quality of our teachers be assured.
Implication for Achievement of Vision 2020
The teacher support programme is aimed at creating a forum where teachers are exposed to new skills, new knowledge and new ideas, so as to keep abreast with happenings/challenges in their areas. This study revealed that, Nigerian teachers are rarely given in-service training so as to be professionally competent on their jobs. This implies that, the Nigerian teacher is rarely exposed to new ideas, new knowledge and changes in his field. This scenario is an index of under development where a solid foundation cannot be laid for the production of scientifically and technologically literate workforce that can develop our economy, hence making it impossible to actualize our dream of becoming one of the largest economies by the year 2020.
Today, government reform agenda as it affects science and technology education is aimed at revamping and revitalizing Nigeria’s science, technology and innovation systems for better performance, enterprise development and national economic growth and development. To actualize this according to Olayiwola (2004) requires professionally trained teachers, who are highly motivated, highly skilled, dedicated and sound academically in science and technology. These are the type of teachers that will sustain a knowledge based science and technology driven economy that will see Nigeria sitting among other great economies by the year 2020. But at present these teachers are yet to be found in Nigeria-implying our dream to achieve 2020 is yet to be planned for.
The status of science and technology teachers’ professional development through the teachers support programmes in vital curricula areas is poor. There is an indication that teachers rarely attend these support programmes. This will therefore limit their effectiveness on the job.
Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations were made:
1. Professional development programmes on classroom management and control should be regularly organized by Federal and State Ministries of Education as well as State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEB), and more teachers frequently sponsored to attend such support prorgammes. This will equip more science and technology teachers with the classroom management skills that will aid them in maintaining well managed classes with fewer disciplinary problems. Only then will effective teaching/learning be guaranteed.
2. State governments should encourage multinational companies and non-governmental organizations in the state to contribute their quota in the educational development of the state by organizing these professional development programmes on presentation of learning experiences and methods to students. Done this way, there will be an increase in the frequency of organizations as well as the number of science and technology teachers participation. This will greatly raise the frequency of science and technology teachers that will be professionally developed in this direction and will hence improve their competencies at presenting learning experiences and methods to their students.
3. State Ministries of Education, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), local government education authorities (LGEA) should regularly organize these professional development programmes on evaluation of students’ attainment of stated objectives for teachers. When the frequency of organization of this programme is increased more teachers will frequently participate thereby increasing the regularity of professional development of science and technology teachers in this regard.
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