The importance of training and development in any sector cannot be underscored more. The work environment requires that the staff is taken through periodic training and development sessions so that they can hone more skills in order to deliver their mandate. According to Okotoni & Erero (2005, pg.2), training and development ensures that employees can execute both major and minor elements of their mandate. In this regard, it is important for that all the players in both the public and private sector acknowledge the need for training and development in all work related programs. This dissertation focused on training and development in public schools in Nigeria.
This is based on the low response by stakeholders involved in the public education sector in Nigeria. Okotoni & Erero (2005, pg.5) argue that the below par performance of the government and other stakeholders with regards to teacher training and development in the public education sector is not because of a lack of will to capacity build the teaching staff, but a failure to make considerable efforts towards meeting the goals that are identified for teacher training and development in the public education sector. In order to ascertain this, this dissertation report’s findings and results from a case study of public studies in Nigeria.
As outlined in the methodology, the researcher sampled sixty-two respondents from various schools in the identified area of study. The sampled population was from teachers in L.E.A Primary School, Lugabe Primary and Junior Secondary School in Garki School District in Abuja, Nigeria. The following is a presentation and exploration of the data collected from the questionnaires that were filled by the respondents. The presentation of results will be ordered according to the variables explored in the data collection instrument used during the research.
- Results and Findings
The following section features the presentation and analysis of the data collected during the study.
The researcher wanted to establish the age groupings of the teachers in the public education sector in Nigerian schools. This variable is important because it relates to experience and teaching skills.
The researcher wanted to establish the period for which the teachers had been working in their respective schools. This is important because the research also seeks to establish whether the schools had organized any training and development programs for the teachers.
The gender split between the respondents is an important factor in any research. The following is the gender split between the respondents sampled in the study.
The highest level of education is very important to the performance of a teacher (Olagunju, 2014, pg.2). Ideally, teachers with a higher education qualification are exposed to more knowledge. For instance, a teacher with a master’s degree is exposed to more training and knowledge compared to a teacher with a bachelor’s degree. The difference in knowledge and training has an implication on the performance of a teacher. Although a higher level of education does not negate the need for teacher training and development, it is an indicator of the capacity of the teaching staff in the public education sector in Nigeria (Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media’s Marketplace. 2012, pg.30).
80.6% of the respondents were graduates with bachelor’s degrees. The number of respondents who had school certificates accounted for 1.6% of the respondents. This is comparable to the 6.5% of the respondents who had master’s degrees as the highest qualifications. 11.3% of the respondents had other educational qualifications. The fact that 6.5% of the respondents had master’s degrees is impressive. Even more impressive is the overwhelming 80.6% of the respondents who had bachelor’s degrees. This shows that the teaching staff in the public education sector in Nigeria is sufficiently trained. The following graphical presentation shows the employment status of the respondents of the study.
The table above shows that 88.7% of the respondents were certified by the National Teacher Institute or an equivalent institution. This shows that most of the teachers in the public education sector in Nigeria are certified teachers. Before teachers are certified by the National Teachers Institute, they undergo ardent training courses in certified teaching institutions. These institutions use curriculums that have been designed to adequately impart skills and develop the capacity of teachers to perform in the public school system.
- Courses Taught in Schools
The researcher wanted to establish the courses that the respondents taught in their respective schools.
The table above shows that 11.3% of the respondents taught English courses in their schools. 30.6% and 6.5% of the respondents taught science and technology courses respectively in their schools. Although his focus was on maritime operations the argument by Squire (2009, pg.4)that it is important to note that with new discoveries and inventions, teachers teaching science and technology courses need continuous training in order to update them with current information is valid. This vindicates the need for teacher training and development programs because, among other things, they help the teachers keep abreast with the developments in their subject areas in addition to instruction methods.
- Training for Teachers Organized by Schools
One of the objectives of this study was to establish whether the public schools organized teacher training and development programs. As such, it was important for the researcher to explore the variable during the data collection process.
The table above shows that the schools in which 80.% of the respondents taught had organized teacher training and development programs at least at one point in their stay in the institution. This is very impressive compared to the 19.4% of the respondents who reported that their schools had not organized any teacher training and development programs in their schools.
- Last Teacher Training Attended
It is not just enough to establish whether the schools had organized teacher training and development programs previously. It was important for the study to establish the last time the respondents attended teacher training and development programs. This is in order to determine whether the teacher training and development programs were frequently organized. The following are the results regarding this variable.
At times, the deployment of teachers in schools is not done on a needs basis. In this regard, some schools get more teachers in certain subject areas that they require while there is a shortage in other subject areas. In such situations, school administrators exercise their discretion and reassign teachers to the subject areas where there is a shortage in personnel. While this is inspired by good thoughts, it might handicap the teacher’s ability to deliver on their mandate. For instance, a teacher who is trained to teach languages may find it difficult to teach the sciences. As such, it was important for the research to establish the differences between the courses that the respondents were trained to teach and what they actually teach.
In addition to collecting information on how often teacher training and development programs are organized, it is important to explore the teacher’s perception of the teachers on the importance of the programs to their careers (Watts, 2012). This information is important to both the administrators at the school level and departmental educational offices, in order to make the public education sector attractive (Bossaert, 2003, pg.7). It would be a worrisome trend if teachers did not perceive the teacher training and development programs as important to their careers (Marks and Spencer, 2007). Such a finding would necessitate inquiries on why such perceptions prevail. The study sought to establish the perception of the respondents on the importance of teacher training and development programs. This variable as measured on a three-point scale. This tool was appropriate for rating the perceptions of the respondents.
The table above shows that 61.3% of the respondents deemed training and development important to the development of their careers. This shows that 61.3% of the teachers in the Garki school district would want teacher training and development programs frequently organized because they are important to career advancement. 37.1% of the sampled population thought that teacher training and development programs were quite important for their career advancement. The study found that 1.6% of the respondents did not deem teacher training and development important for their career advancement. Although this number is quite small, it is important to establish why this group of respondents thinks that teacher training is not important to their career development (Harder, National Research Council (U.S.)., American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials., & United States. 1994, pg.15).
- Effect of Teacher Training on Teacher Performance
It was not just enough to get the perceptions of the respondents on whether teacher training had an effect on their performance as teachers. The study sought to establish whether teacher training had a positive effect on their performance. In order to establish this, the research used a four-point scale. If a significant number of the respondents thought that teacher training and development programs enhanced their performance, this would vindicate the need for increased teacher training and development programs in the schools. This is because they enhance their capacity to deliver on their mandate (Lim, 2013, pg.28). Conversely, a significant number of respondents reporting that teacher training and development programs did not enhance their performance would call for a review of the approach and content in these programs. This is because ideally, they would not be achieving their objective.
The study showed that 64.5% of teachers strongly agree that teacher training and development enhanced their performance as teachers. 32.3% of the respondents agreed that teacher training and development programs enhanced their performance. By disregarding the degree to which the respondents agreed, the study showed that 96.8% of the respondents agreed that teacher training and development programs enhanced their performance as teachers. This vindicates the need for periodic organization of these programs in schools. This is because they build the capacity of teachers and help them perform better in the classrooms.
- Attendance of Teacher Training and Development Seminars/Programs
The researcher sought to establish whether the respondents had attended any professional training and development seminar or conference in the last fifteen months. The study wanted to establish the motivation for attending these seminars. This is important, especially for the school administrators because they can use this information to design training and development programs that meet the needs of their staff (Sharma, n.d. pg.182).. However, it was important first to establish whether the respondents had attended any teacher training and development programs or professional seminars in the last fifteen months.
The table shows that 67.7% of the respondents had attended a training and development seminar in the last fifteen months compared to 32.3% who reported not to have attended a teacher training and development seminar in the last fifteen months.
- Motivation for Attending Seminars and Professional Conferences in Teacher Training and Development
This part of the data collection procedure utilized a qualitative approach. The study wanted to establish the aspects that motivated the respondents to attend seminars and professional conferences on teacher training and development. As espoused earlier, this information is important because it reveals elements that can be incorporated into the training and development programs to make them suitable to the needs of the teachers (Aka, 2012, pg.187). Additionally, this section sought to understand whether the teacher training and development programs were useful to the respondents. In a more precise approach, the study sought to understand how useful the respondents found the professional seminars and conferences. The responses were gotten from respondents who reported to having attended a seminar or a professional conference in the last fifteen years. Several themes were common across the responses given by the studied population.
One of the common themes across the respondents was a consensus that teacher training and development programs were useful to their careers. This was one source of motivation for attending the teacher training and development conferences. In the opinion of the respondents, the programs helped to enhance their capacity and develop their careers. Training and development programs are extremely important for veteran teachers. The Edutopia team argues that regular ad ongoing opportunities are necessary for veteran teachers. These opportunities allow them to learn from one another. Professional development on an ongoing basis helps update the teachers on new instruction methods, emerging technological tools that can enhance learning in the classroom and new curriculum resources (Edutopia Team, 2008). This offers effective motivation for the respondents to attend the professional training programs.
Another common theme across the respondents was that they were motivated by the fact that the training programs offered them personal development. Personal development entails the improvement of one’s identity and awareness. Through the process of personal development, the teachers can develop their potential, talents, facilitate future employability, build their human capital, enhance the quality of the lives they lead and help their students realize their dreams and aspirations (Aubrey, 2010). In addition to career development, the respondents felt that the training programs enabled them to develop as individuals and become better people in the society.
The fact that the teacher training and development programs helped improve the teaching and learning process also served to motivate the respondents to attend the conferences (Elvitigala, n.d. pg.7). According to the Edutopia Team (2008), teacher training programs are important, especially for fresh graduates. New teachers are often posted to challenging schools. In these schools, the teachers are assigned to challenging classes, often with minimal support and supervision. Even if such teachers are well prepared from the teacher training institutions, they find it difficult to deliver on their mandate. Arguably, it is for this reason that almost half of the teachers quit the profession before the end of the first five years. Edutopia Team (2008) argues that teacher training and development programs offer the new teachers the support required to enable them maneuver the new environment (European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, 2008). Additionally, the new teachers can pick up practical instructional methods that can be used to deliver on the contents of the curriculum effectively. This improves the teaching process and by extension the learning process for the students.
The respondents also confided that the teacher training and development programs were important in the training of English courses. This is because most of them were organized by British councils. Through the training, the teachers could acquire tested approaches on teaching English as a second language. It is important to understand that the instructional methods used to teach English to native speakers are different from those used for people using English as a second language. The use of one instructional approach for the other leads to loss in efficiency, thereby deterring learning. The respondents felt that the teacher training and development programs helped them to teach English courses better. This reflected positively on their productivity and by extension, the productivity of the students
According to the Department of Education in the United States of America, it is necessary to invest in schools in order to ensure that the teachers are adequately prepared. The return in this investment is manifested in the form increased productivity by the teachers and the retention of teachers with increased performances (Shelton, 2001, pg.40). In order to enhance this, the Department of Education encourage that the teacher training and development programs are designed innovatively in order to achieve an increase in educational productivity in the both the short-term and the long-term (Bowie & Bronte-Tinkew, 2006, pg.7). These programs focus on developing key competencies that are requisite for the teachers to develop and sustain the effectiveness in the classrooms (Merchant, n.d. pg.12). These programs should emphasize on student outcomes, thereby refining their approaches in order to achieve improved results.
Although the study did not focus on the design of the teacher training and development programs in the public education sector in Nigeria, the endorsement some of the respondents gave vindicates their presence in the school system and the continued calls for their improvement. When the respondents were asked how they found the teacher training and development programs that they attended, the common theme was that these programs were well organized, relevant to their professions and focused on approaches that were both practical and relevant. This shows that the teachers are receptive to the training and development programs. In this regard, there is a need to ensure that the teacher training and development programs widen their coverage in order to include the 32.3% who reported not to have attended a teacher training and development seminar in the last fifteen months.
While this will be covered more adequately in the recommendations, it is important to underscore this premise, especially in consideration of the percentage of the population that had not attended teacher training and development programs. The qualitative and quantitative data collected from the study supports this premise adequately. For instance, the study found that 61.3% of the teachers in the Garki school district would want teacher training and development programs frequently organized because they are important to career advancement. Any laxities lie on the administrators’ part and that of policy makers in the public sector (Nwachukwu & Ajayi, 2012, pg.85). The analysis of data shows an increased need for teacher training and development programs. The following section will correlate the findings of this study to other similar studies in the public sector in Nigeria. This will help illuminate further the importance of this phenomenon and also inform the recommendations made by the study.
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