The Effect of Teacher’s Qualification on the Academic Achievement of Senior Secondary School Students in Igbo Language

The Effect of Teacher's Qualification on the Academic Achievement of Senior Secondary School Students in Igbo Language


The Effect of Teacher’s Qualification on the Academic Achievement of Senior Secondary School Students in Igbo Language


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Teaching is a complex and multi-dimensional activity intimately involved in human behavior. Understanding what constitutes quality teaching is complex. There needs to be a system in place that ensures that every child benefits from quality teaching. Providing access to learning is the collective responsibility of all role-players including the government, teachers, school management, parents and the broader school community. Quality teaching is not only about how well the teacher presents the content or the quality of teaching skills. It is about the quality of the learning that takes place as a result of the teaching (Schreuder, 2014). Good teaching is the combination of writing, speaking, discussing, giving punishment, explaining, taking the exam at right time. Quality teaching pertains to what is being taught and how well it is being taught. The content should be appropriate, suitable and intended for a worthy purpose (Fenstermacher & Richardson, 2014). The curriculum mirrors the purposes and goals. It is rigorous, coherent and organised to teach the skills and knowledge needed by learners. Quality teacher is someone who has mastered the subject he or she teaches as well as how to teach it; understands how learners learn and knows how to address challenges or problems experienced by the learners; and is able to use effective teaching methods for all learners including those with special needs (Amoor, 2010). Education, and in particular the curriculum, which is developed to provide education, is dynamic and needs to be reformed constantly if it is to respond to an everchanging world. Professional development provides the support teachers need to learn, and be part of, pedagogical transition. The way teachers were trained during their initial training does not match what is require from them a number of years. Accounting is a subject that has received on-going criticism because of the poor performance of learners and declining numbers of those opting to do the subject. Professional development is crucial in ensuring quality teaching (Schreuder, 2014)

Participation in Professional Development Activities

Professional development activities can be conducted by many different organizations, in schools and out of school, on the job or on sabbatical leave. On these occasions, practicing teachers update their content knowledge and teaching skills to adjust to the introduction of new curricula, new research findings on teaching and learning, changes in the needs of the student population, etc. Critique has been leveled against the episodic nature of these activities and the fact that very little is known about what they really consist of. There is mixed evidence on the effect of teachers’ participation in professional development activities on student outcomes. On the one hand there are some studies on in-service professional development, which found no effect (Angrist &Lavy, 2001, Jacob &Lefgren, 2004), while other studies found that higher levels of student achievement were linked to mathematics teacher participation in content-specific pedagogy activities related to the curriculum (Brown et al.,1995; Cohen & Hill, 1977; Wiley & Yoon, 1995). Wenglinsky (2000) found a positive effect of professional development activities that focused on the needs of special education students, on higher-order skills, and on laboratory skills in science. More recently Harris and Sass (2007) identified what they call the “lagged effect of professional development”, i.e., the larger effect of professional development three years after taking place. The correlation between student achievement and teacher professional development activities does not allow us to draw conclusions about a causal link, as this variable is confounded with other attributes of teachers, i.e., participating teachers are likely to also be more motivated and, usually, more specialized in the subjects they teach. Teachers ‘Formal Education Findings related to teachers’ academic degrees (e.g., bachelors or masters, etc.) are in-conclusive. Some studies showed positive effects of advanced degrees (Betts, Zau, & Rice, 2003~ Ferguson & Ladd, 1996; Wayne &Youngs, 2003), while others showed negative effects (Ehrenberg & Brewer, 1994; Kiesling, 1984). Some argue that the requirement of a second degree raises the cost in terms of teacher education and the time it involves and may prevent quality candidates from choosing this profession (Murnane, 1 996).Teacher Education in the Subject Matter of Teaching (in-field preparation). This characteristic is related to the subject matter knowledge teachers acquire during their formal studies and pre-service teacher education courses. The evidence gained from different studies is contradictory. Several studies show a positive relationship between teachers’ preparation in the subject matter they later teach and student -Hammond, 1999, 2000; Gold Haber & Brewer, 2000; Guyton &Farokhi, 1987), while others have less unequivocal results. Monk and King (1994) find both positive and negative effects of teachers’ in-field preparation on student achievement. Gold Haber and Brewer (2000) find a positive relationship in mathematics, but none in science. Also, Rowan, Chiang, and Miller (1997) report a positive relationship between student achievement and teachers’ majoring in mathematics. Monk (1994), however, finds that having a major in math&matics has no effect, and a significant negative effect of teachers with more coursework in physical science. Recent studies in the USA on the widespread phenomenon of out-of-field teaching, Ingersoll (2003) portrays a severe situation where almost 42% – 49% of public Grade 7-12 teachers teaching science and mathematics actually lack a major or full certification in the field (1999-2000 data). In Israel, according to arecent survey (Maagan, 2007), these percentages are even higher for elementary teachers —42% in mathematics and 63% in science (2005-2006 data). The Committee (NRC, 2010) considered the wider issues of quality control in teacher education and pointed out that in the USA, as elsewhere, there are procedures for ensuring quality at individual and at institutional level. They point out that there are many difficulties in ‘teacher tests’, not least being confident that the items measured are significant in teacher performance. Referring to institutional quality, they review the application at state level in the USA of Standards and point out: The standards that do exist are not based on research that demonstrates links between particular standards and improved outcomes for students taught by teachers who were educated in a particular way because such evidence is not available We note that teacher education is hardly alone in lacking data that directly link components of professional preparation to the outcomes for those who receive the professionals’ services9. (NRC, 2010: 159) A study in North Carolina over the years 1994-2004 reported that elementary school students in Grades 2 to 5 fared better in math and reading tests when they had been taught by teachers with National Board Certification (NBCTs) (Clotfelter et al, 2007). Similarly, a small-scale study by Sato et al (2008) reported higher quality assessment practices among NBCTs. However, such findings have been challenged by Rouse (2008) who did not find a significant relationship between board certification and pupil attainment in his quasi-experimental study of 54 teachers in North Carolina. In other studies, Gimbert et al (2007) have attempted to relate different models of teacher preparation to student attainment but could find no correlation whilst Lustick and Sykes (2006) found significant achievements in teacher learning through Board certification, but did not consider student outcomes. However, in a survey of NBCTs due to renew their certification (after ten years), 98% reported that National Board Certification had positively influenced their careers and 92% reported that National Board Certification had positively influenced their students’ learning (Petty et al, 2007). In the UK, work undertaken by the Centre for Market and Public Organisation at Bristol University (Slater et al, 2009) has examined the effect of individual teachers on pupil outcomes. Using a definition of teacher quality restricted to impact on student outcomes, Slater et al (2009) use a unique dataset containing the GCSE examination results and Key Stage 3 test results in math, science and English for 7,305 pupils taught by 740 teachers across 33 schools in England between 1999 and 2002. Pupil records are linked with particular teachers through class lists provided by the schools. The analysis considered subject-specific prior achievement (for previous teacher effects) and observable school effects (intake, resources, selection). According to the findings of this (non peer reviewed) study, teacher characteristics of gender, age, experience and education do not play any statistically significant role in explaining variability in teacher effectiveness. A negative effect was shown only in relation to very low levels of experience. The authors concur with research conducted in the US (Kane et al, 2008) in concluding that teacher characteristics are not reliable indicators of teacher quality. One English study of the influence of CPD took a longitudinal approach and did claim that there were detectable changes in teaching style that derived from the professional development experiences (Boyle et al, 2005). Those CPD experiences that were found to be most effective were the longer term ones that included peer observation and sharing of practice. However, a relatively large scale study of CPD in England found that only 24% of schools were attempting to evaluate CPD undertaken by teachers in terms of the influence on pupil attitudes (Goodall et al, 2005).

Challenges of Teaching and Learning the Igbo Language


Pronunciation problems emerge mainly from lack of language laboratory. The language laboratory enhances students’ performance. It is a vital tool for teaching vocabulary, grammar and listening comprehension. The language laboratory is an audiomedia which is important in the teaching of the Igbo language. It involves listening to voice and imitating the voice. Unfortunately, at COOU, Igbo language department does not have a language laboratory. Ajisafe and Okotie (2011) observe that many secondary schools and universities in Nigeria do not have language laboratories because of the general notion that laboratories are not for Art subjects but for science subjects. But they forget that language laboratory is essential to the Phonetics teacher who teaches the sounds of the language.


 Linguistics textbooks on Morphology, Syntax and Semantics written in Igbo are not available. Hence, Igbo language lecturers use Linguistics textbooks written in English to teach Igbo language students in an Igbo language class. This is a great factor that militates against effective teaching and learning of the Igbo language. Umo (2013) laments that the greatest problem facing the teaching and learning of the Igbo language is lack of textbooks written in Igbo for Igbo learners. For effective teaching and learning to take place, adequate instructional materials should be made available. Unfortunately, the Igbo language does not have enough textbooks. Even though some Igbo language scholars are writing books, most of their books are on literature and culture and not on the grammar, syntax, semantics, discourse analysis or lexicology of the language.


 Most Igbo language students have negative attitude towards the Igbo language, (Onwuka, 2009) and this attitude has affected their value system. Chidi-Ehiem & Ogbu (2017) observe that students cultivate the nonchalant attitude towards learning the Igbo language at secondary school level. Onwka (2009) further observes that elderly native speakers of the language are responsible for the negative attitude of students towards the language because of their uncomplimentary remarks about the language. These comments influence their children negatively hence, they do not have any regard for their mother tongue. Fabumi & Salawu (2005) observe that the attitude of Yoruba elites towards the language is not encouraging. The elites prefer their children to speak the English language because it has political relevance . Similarly, Tawallbeh, Dagamseh & Al-Matrafi (2013) observe that the reason for people’s poor attitude towards their language is because they feel that their language has no economic prospects.


 Many students were not properly taught the Igbo language at secondary school level and when they become Igbo language students, they find it difficult to write in Igbo language particularly in the use of diacritic marks. This is in line with Onwuka (2009) observation that teachers in secondary schools only prepare students during external examinations such as SSCE which is why students are not well grounded in the Igbo language at secondary school level.


 Igbo orthography controversy still militates against the development of the Igbo language up till this moment. Some scholars advocate that Igbo words should be written together while others advocate that it should be separated such as; n’ihena or n’ ihena. This is a major problem in teaching the Igbo language  TERMINOLOGICAL PROBLEMS

Many terms are springing up daily and the language does not have real terms for such concepts. Such as Desktop, Iphone, and Ipad do not have Igbo equivalents hence, translation of such electronic digital devices from English to Igbo is a problem

 IGBO LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT SERVES AS A DUMPING GROUND FOR DEFICIENT STUDENTS At COOU, most students in Igbo language department did not apply to study the Igbo language but at the point of registration, the students were found to be deficient in Mathematics and such students are sent to Igbo language department. This is the surest way of getting into the department. Hence, the department appears to be a dumping ground for deficient students and such students who do not have interest in studying the Igbo language will pose problems for the language teacher. Similarly, Fabumi & Salawu (2005) observe that few undergraduate students in Yoruba department were forced to study Yoruba because they could not be admitted to study other courses. However, such students eventually get admission to study other courses and end up abandoning the Yoruba language department.



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