Background to the study

In Nigeria school system, teacher quality should be examined in various ways. It could be examined in term of teachers’ qualification and teachers’ competence. It could also be examined in terms of teachers’ status, teachers’ teaching experience and teachers’ dedication to duty (Adeyemi, 2007). It could as well be examined in terms of teachers’ integrity and teachers’ job performance (Wilson & Pearson, 1993; Ayodele, 2000). In this regard, the teaching force seems to be a major variable in determining the quality of a school system. Teachers as one of the inputs into educational process constitutes an important aspect in pupils’ learning. Considering this point, Umeasiegbu (1991) argued that “The level of performance in any school is intimately related to the quality of its teachers” while “the quality of any school system is a function of the aggregate quality of teachers who operate it”

Teachers touch lives of all children from a variety of backgrounds, including those from families that exhibit a wide range of cultural and linguistic diversity. They also touch the lives of children with varying ability levels, including those with significant disadvantages, such as poverty, parental and societal neglect, as well as intellectual, social and physical disabilities. Generally, quality teachers are those teachers that students remember and cherish forever. Such teachers have long-lasting impacts on the lives of students. They have good classroom management skills and ensure good student behaviour, effective study and work habit. They also possess the knowledge of the subject matter they teach, and are equally prepared to answer questions thus making lessons interesting for students.

Nevertheless, some teachers tend to leave the teaching profession for other jobs or transfer from one school to another. Putting those most vulnerable children and youths at risk of failing to realize opportunities afforded them through quality education. Understanding why teachers leave is the first step in getting them to stay. Most times, teachers leave when they encounter environments that lack essential professional supports. These includes: job dissatisfaction; poor working condition and low salary, inadequate support from parents, administration, colleagues and the public; poor motivation of students; and lack of space for teachers to participate in key decisions affecting the school. Another reason is lack of induction and mentoring programmes for new and experienced teachers (Ingersoll and Smith, 2004). The complexity of issues embedded in retaining high quality teachers, made administrators find addressing these essential issues to be a daunting task. It is therefore paramount to assist administrators in planning, implementing, and evaluating a high quality teacher retention initiative that will help keep the best teacher in their schools.

Quality teachers, as studies have consistently shown, are teachers who are better trained, more experience and licensed in the subject they teach (Mayer, Mullens & Moore, 2000). In terms of competence, researchers have argued that teacher competence is a function of teacher qualifications (Aghenta, 2000). How competent teacher could be in teaching seems to depend largely on teacher’s qualification. This contention supported Mullen’s (1993) argument that the level of a teacher’s subject matter competence is a prime predictor of pupils’ learning. He argued that it is not only the qualifications obtained by a teacher that could contribute to a teacher’s quality but actual achievement in terms of subject matter competence. Researchers have also attributed the low achievement of students in schools to teachers’ inadequate knowledge of the subject matter.

The length of teaching experience of a teacher have been an important factor determining how effectively the teaching-learning process in a school has been achieved. The importance of experienced teachers in schools has been highlighted by many researchers (Akinleye, 2001; Commeyra, 2003). Researchers have also given different opinions about teaching experience and pupils’ learning outcomes in schools (Waiching, 1994; Dunkin, 1997). Their arguments were based on the fact that experience improves teaching skills while pupils’ learn better at the hands of teachers who have taught them continuously over a period of years.

Teachers’ integrity seems to be another variable of teacher quality in the school system. Academic integrity has been defined as the dignity which an individual exhibits in the pursuit of academic knowledge (Beehr, 1996; McCabe, 2001). Others have described it as prestige of oneself in his or her educational endeeavours (Glasner, 2002; Obi, 2004). As such, how a teacher conducts himself or herself effectively in a school system is a function of his or her integrity (Chandon 2000; Uyo, 2004).

In the same vein, teachers’ job performance is another variable that could determine teacher quality in a school system. It refers to the actions of the teacher in performing certain jobs or duties in the school. It is the totality of the input of the teacher towards the attainment of educational objectives (Ajayi, 2005; Olorunsola, 2010). It is the act of accomplishing a given task in a school organization. It could be measured through the level of teachers’ competene in subject matter, lesson note preparation, content covered, level of coverage of scheme of work, lesson presentation, monitoring of pupils’ work, effective supervision, effective leadership and the disciplinary ability of teachers (Adeyemi, 2008).

Notwithstanding, the aforementioned variables of teachers’ quality, how teachers have been performing their job effectively in relation to the internal efficiency of the school system has been a matter of concern to stakeholders in education (Jones, 1997; Ige, 2001; Olubor, 2004). Student motivation is an essential element that is necessary for quality education. How do we know when students are motivated? They pay attention,begin working on task immediately, ask questions and volunteer answers, they appear to be happy and eager (Palmer, 2007).

Basically, very little, if any learning can occur unless students are motivated on a consistent basis. The five key ingredients impacting student motivation are: student, teacher, content, method/process, and environment. The teacher must be well trained, focussed and monitor the educational process, be dedicated, responsive to his  or her students, and be inspirational. The content must be accurate, timely, stimulating, and pertinent to the student’s current and future needs. The method or process must be inventive, encouraging, interesting, beneficial, and provide tools that can be applied to the student’s real life. The environment needs to be accessible, safe, positive, personalized as much as possible and empowering. Motivation is optimized when students are exposed to a large number of these motivating experiences and variables on a regular basis. That is, students ideally should have many sources of motivation in their learning experience in each class. (Palmer, 2007; Debnath, 2005; D’ Souza & Maheshwari, 2010).

As such, Senge, Kleiner, Roberts, Ross, & Smith (1994), suggest that teachers should be “producers of environments that allow students to learn as much as possible” or that schools should become learning habitants wherein relationships are fostered between people, students develop their own individual instruction plan, and variety of investigating system options replace the passive receipt of information. Senge et al., 1994; Lengnick- Hall and Sanders, 1997). In view of the foregoing, the purpose of this study will be examine teachers qualifications and teaching methods as correlates to senior secondary students performance in English Language in Lagos.

Statement Of The Problem

The Federal Ministry of Education (2006) reporting on Nigeria, revealed that the academic performance of students in the senior school Certificate Examinations conducted between 2000 and 2006 was below fifty percent (50%). The falling standard of education in the nation is becoming so high, more especially in our secondary schools. The students are performing very poorly in their academic performance. Their continuous assessment is poor; their terminal examination is equally very disappointing (“F.C.E Staff secondary school 2009 end of third term examination” report). The performance of Nigerian Secondary School students in external examinations showed 98% failure rate in the 2009 November/ December Senior School Certificate Examinations conducted by the National Examination Council (NECO- SSCE); out of the total number of 230, 682 candidates who sat for the examination, only 4,223 obtained credits level passes and above in five subjects including English (Bello – Osagie & Olugbornila, 2009).

In the 2009 May/ June Senior School Certificate Examination conducted by the West African Examination Council (WASSCE), only 25.99% of the total number of candidates obtained credit level passes and above in five subjects including English language, while in 2010 May/  June WASSCE, out of the 1,135,557 candidates that sat for the examination, only 337,071 (24.94%) obtained five credit level passes and above in subjects that included English language (Owadiac, 2010).

The federal government of Nigeria has made several attempts and enacted laws concerning the development of education. Among such attempts is the law concerning the recruitment of teachers this is done in order  to achieve educational aims and objectives. This could be achieved if there are qualified teachers to teach at the appropriate level. There is need for this research, in order to achieve educational aims and objectives. This could only be achieved through having qualitative teachers to teach at the appropriate level. There is need for this research, in order to find out if there is any relationship between teachers‟ quality and students‟ achievements, more especially in these few years that the nation is witnessing the massive failure of (SSCE).

This study aims at determining, whether there is a correlations between qualification of teachers and the academic performance of students of secondary schools in English  Language.

Objectives of the Study

This study is set to achieve the following objectives:

  1. To investigate the quality of secondary school teachers in teaching and learning English Language in Lagos State
  2. To examine the experiences of secondary school teachers in teaching and learning English Language in Lagos State
  3. To analyze the relationship between teacher’s quality and students’ academic performance in English Language in Lagos State
  4. To analyze the relationship between teacher’s qualification and students’ academic performance in English Language in secondary schools in Lagos State

Researcher Questions

The following research questions guided the study.

1. What is the quality of secondary school teachers in teaching and learning English Language in Lagos State?

2. What are the experiences of secondary school teachers in teaching and learning English Language in Lagos State?

3. What is the relationship between teacher’s quality and students’ academic performance in English Language in Lagos State?

4. What is the relationship between teacher’s qualification and students’ academic performance in English Language in secondary schools in Lagos State?

Significance of the Study

The purpose of any educational research is to contribute to the development of knowledge. The research findings would be of great help to the government and other stakeholders by revealing the relationship between the qualification of teachers and students‟ academic performance in our schools. This will consequently guide the ministry in adopting a new policy of recruiting teachers i.e. to make sure they recruit qualified teachers who are highly effective i.e. those with knowledge of content, teaching experience, professional certificate and overall academic ability.

The findings will be of benefit to students, most especially those in the post graduate studies, to add more, or to contribute from where the researchers stopped or what is left to be done in the area of study.

The research findings will be of benefit to any individual who is interested in knowing the relationship between teachers‟ qualification and students‟ achievement. The findings will be of great importance and help in conference writing related to the area. It will make teachers plan and present their lesson excellently and also those unqualified teachers to go and further their studies so as to meet the minimum required qualification for teaching.

The research findings will help the society to dictate what is to be included in the curriculum so as to improve the quality of the teachers as well as the students. This study will be of significance to curriculum planners. The information from this study will be of benefit to the curriculum developers of the National policy on education to forestall all the lapses during the course of building.

    Basic Assumptions

In the study it is assumed that:

  1. There are qualified and unqualified teachers in the schools.
  2. There are experienced and inexperienced teachers in the schools.
  3. The schools have some of the basic materials for learning but lack most of the materials.
  4. Some of the teachers will cooperate with the researcher.

    Scope of the Study

The study is concerned with Teachers’ Qualifications and Teaching Methods as Correlates to Senior Secondary Students Performance in English Language.. The researcher was restricted to teachers and students of  SS1-iII public senior secondary schools of  Lagos metropolis.

Limitations of  the study:

  1. The study covered only Lagos , hence making it very difficult to generalized the whole schools in Nigeria .
  2. Only public senior secondary schools were selected for the study, private schools did not have the opportunity of being included.

This might affect the generalization made on the findings as it affects the population of the study


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