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Teaching Profession- Attitude of Undergraduates

Attitudes of Undergraduates Towards Teaching Profession: A Case Study of Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki


Teaching profession Abstract

Teaching profession- The study is designed to investigate the attitude of undergraduates towards teaching profession. Four research questions guided the study. The sample size was three hundred (300) students in Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki. A copious review of related literature was carried out in order to give a theoretical background to the study. The questionnaire was the main instrument for data collection. The data collected was presented in tables. Mean scores were used to analyze the data collected. The findings of the study show that undergraduates dislike taken teaching as a profession and believe that teaching is for the female folks and they see teaching as a difficult task. That parents, government and teachers attitude affect the undergraduates interest towards teaching profession. That teachers are not well paid and teaching profession is tedious and teachers are most often too strict and stingy. The need for government to take full funding of education, and that teachers needs re-orientation in terms of dressing habit and the need to professionalize teaching profession. The study x-rayed the educational implications of the findings. Based on these, some recommendation were put forwards, that government should always ensure prompt payment of teachers salary, and the condition of service should be made attractive in order to be compared with other profession, teachers with educational qualifications are allowed to teach, parents should encourage their children to study education courses. Apart from this, the prolification of different teaching association should be discouraged. Thus the need for one teachers’ association. Finally, the study put forward a number of issues which could be subjected to further research. It was believed that further work areas will prove a very rewarding experience. 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  1. 1 Background to the Study

          This investigation arose out of the critical need to attract and retain talented young men and women in the teaching profession in Nigeria. The researcher sought to bring into focus the Nigeria teacher, his job and his profession as seen by Nigerian university undergraduate.

          The author was of the opinion that every Nigerian child deserves education of the highest attainable quality. This is because education is the largest industry and the most labour intensive in Nigeria today. Indeed, education in Nigeria as in many countries of the world, is not only the biggest industry, it is also everybody’s business. One is either a pupil, a student or parent, a guardian or an education official or at least, one has a brother, sister an aunt whose child or children is in school.

          Educators are constantly seeking ways of improving education to suit people and the world in general. However, educators have realized the importance of training a child to fit him/herself into the society in which the child belongs. This has led to the shifting of emphasis from the traditional memorization to the acquisition of specific skills. Brumer (1977) said that the impact of education in the modern world is tremendous. It affects all facts of life-socially, economically, morally and politically. Generally, teachers and educators have an important role to play in the education process. Falayojo and Akindelu (1986) said that teacher have important role to play in the achievement of education in any country and this role should not be neglected.

          Teachers constitute the most essential body of personnel within the educational institutions. Teachers essentially transmit to the present generation the accumulated knowledge of the present and thus interpret this information with reference to the present and a view to modifying the future. This responsibility is the professional role/duty the teacher performs in the formal school system.

          Teaching has often been regarded, and generally referred to as one of the professional course. Many people if asked would readily classify it as a profession, but the important issue is not whether teaching is generally regarded and referred to as a profession. But whether teaching enjoys prestige and privileges which are accorded to other profession like medicine, law, engineering, accountancy, architecture and so on.

          Professional status is very vital factor in occupational prestige, hence it boast the morale of employee and productivity, therefore it is important to address the question of professionalism in teacher education in this country.

          At this present time, many people are becoming aware of the significant impact of teachers on the lives of youths and society. Thus, the teacher accomplished this role through socialization of the individual child, by exposing him a lengthy, period of time in a formal setting. Besides, society benefits tremendously as teachers prepare undergraduates to various occupational roles, which may require higher academic qualifications. But inspite of the apparent good work to the society, there is still a wide spread misconception concerning the nature of teaching and the professional status of teachers.

          The attitude of undergraduates towards teaching profession could be connected with government attitude concerning teaching profession. The Nigerian government concentrated attention more towards economic sector, health sector, agricultural sector etc. This was viewed by Akor J.A (1998:29) who said that in Nigeria teacher are poorly paid and their welfare is often neglected. They see many kinds of workers with less education, training and qualification being rewarded better than them (the teachers). They are further describe by decrepit buildings, inadequate materials and texts, irritated by the pressures of poverty and social segregation, overcrowded classes and over loaded teaching schedules. The situation is such that teachers find it shameful and nervous to appear before any social gathering and introduce themselves as such. Such a situation has resulted in most of undergraduates neglect of teaching profession.

          In Nigeria, teachers are looked down upon by all and sundry. The word teacher is associated with poverty, inferiority and social misfit. Teaching is seen as unskilled job meant for women, the old and the poor (Popoola 1992:43). The question now is how true are these assertion? These assertions are further buttressed by the imposition of the self defeating adage propounded by the imperialists that teachers rewards are in heaven.

          Ukeje (1992:32) have some of the major goals of education which could be achieved by teachers. These goals are;

To provide men and women with the minimum skills necessary for them to take their place in society, and to seek further knowledge. To provide young men and women with vocational training that will stable them to be self-supporting. To awaken an interest in and a task for knowledge. To make people think critically. To put people in touch with and train them to appreciate the cultural achievements to mankind’s.

          In these educational goals, teachers are directly, involved in each, for example in making men and women in the society to have necessary skill and be self-supporting. It is the teachers that teach the skills and also give the vocational training. 

          The question is; what is the attitude of the government towards teachers in terms of salary and incentives? It has been observed that the standing of a profession is to some extent viewed from the social background of its recruits. Infract the higher the social strata from which the recruits generally are employed, the higher the status of the profession.

          Public opinion is a factor that could not easily be discounted. In effect, the public attitude determines to a great extent whether an occupational group has a professional status. For instance, medical doctors and engineers are accorded high status by the general public even nowadays undergraduates. A question that one may like to ask is how does the Nigerian undergraduates view teaching?

          Surprisingly, in the fifties and early sixties, teaching was an esteemed profession even though some of the practitioners were not highly educated. The same respect accorded to doctors, lawyer and other prestigious professions were also accorded to teachers. Teachers were happier then and the dream of the most parents at that time was for their children to become teachers, because teachers were highly regarded in the society. This notion was supported by Awolowo (1986) when he asserted that at the time he grew up, the elite of the society were the pastors, catechist, teachers, clerks and interpreters who where “highly respected, admired and adored” and his father wanted him to be so respected, “so he enjoined me to read well so I could take place in that elite group”.

          A great deal have be assumed, speculated and generalized about the teachers in the Nigerian society and the status of the teaching profession. This has generated a lot of write up in articles, Journals, newspapers, Magazines and even debates on the television and radio stations in the country. The reason for the assertion and degradation of the teaching profession are not far fetched. The one that interested the researchers most is the protest against poor condition of service by teachers which is global. According to Case and Bimbaum (2004:54&55) “If there is any dominant characteristic that differentiates the contemporary teachers from his predecessors it is militancy”. Teachers are angry and are becoming angrier every minute. Few years ago it was almost unthinkable in Nigeria for teachers to show the public how they fell by walking out of their classrooms. This is because the teachers are no longer satisfied with being the society’s “stepchild” or “whipping boy”. A situation whereby a clerical officer on grade level four in the civil service will regard himself rich, superior and more fashionable than his counterpart (teacher), it then suggest that the teacher is not given his rightful place in the country.

          Fabamiye (1986) stated that…village teacher often owned the only relief and ridge bicycle to be seen. He was regarded as part magician since he owned the only music box this master’s voice gramphone). He served as interpreter to the Irish priest or the British District officer. He was usually impeachable dressed in Khaki short, white shirts, tie, stocking and knocking shoes. During the school holidays, he traveled to bigger towns and was full of stories of “Civilized experiences” on his return. The above situation does not apply to the present day teacher. Today teachers are dishearted and humiliated and these affect the desire to be a teacher. Not all the teachers makes effort to motivate talented youths to choose teaching as their occupation. In fact, some teacher by word or deed destroy any interest pupils have in teaching as a vocation. It is only in rare cases that we do find enthusiastic and dynamic teachers who by their actions attract youths to the profession. The question is how do teachers view themselves? What must have gone wrong between the early times and now?

          Mgbodile (2004) said that quality of recruits into a profession in terms of academic performance affects the standing of a profession. If recruits into teacher’s College (T.C.II) are holders of Schools Certificate of education, the professional status will be high. If on the other hand, those recruited to teacher or to go into teacher’s training colleges are men and women with poor certificate, the status of teaching as a profession is bound to be low in the eyes of the public. Mgbodile (2005) further argues that in the past when the missionaries were made to pick the best products from the primary schools to enter into the preliminary teacher training colleges (P.T.C) the products of these institutions proved their worth and were respected by the society. They showed their capabilities in teaching, interpreting in churches and inn organizing the local communities. Today the story is different.  

          There are various categories of teachers. One of them according to Fagbamiye (1986) are teacher who enter teaching because it is perhaps the cheapest means of upward mobility, with government subsides and bursary to education students, it costs little or nothing to educate oneself. As a result, poor students seek solace in the teachers; training institutions and see it as a mean of improving themselves educationally and materially at little or no cost. 

          This research project is therefore, based on the rationale that, in recent times interest in teaching profession has not been significant in the choice of undergraduate students in Ebonyi State. This brings to the fore the necessity to investigate the overall attitude of undergraduate towards the teaching profession.

  1. 2Statement of the Problem

Teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world. Yet many undergraduates shows apathy towards taking teaching as a profession. This is evident on the enrolment fall of students into faculty of education Obanya (1996) and Popoola (1998). However, the reasons for their negative attitude is the major concern of this study.

Based on the statements, the study tends to find out those factors that influence the undergraduates attitude towards teaching profession in Ebonyi State.

  1. 3Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to find out the attitude of undergraduates towards teaching profession in Ebonyi State. The study specifically seeks to:

  1. Find out the factors responsible for low interest of students into teaching profession.
  2. Find out whether such factors like poor funding and inadequate incentives influences student attitude.
  3. Find out whether parents exact influence on the students choices of career.
  4. Find out possible measures that could be adopt curbing the negative attitude of students towards the teaching profession.
    1. Significance of the Study

The significance of this study is varied because the result will provide information to federal and state government of Nigeria, undergraduates, teachers, general public (parents), policy makers on the attitudes of undergraduates towards teaching profession and the need for teaching profession.

This study when completed will contribute some knowledge which may be of help to the federal and state government of Nigeria to improve the quality of the educational system and as well encourage the government to budget more fund in financing educational industry.

For undergraduates the study will provide information that will help them to develop positive attitude and interest towards teaching profession. 

For the teachers, the study will serve as a useful sources of information to the teachers into how they will know student feelings, and this knowledge will help them in improvement of their behavior.

The result of the study will also provide information to the general public to encourage their wards towards taking teaching as their career and as well as open the eye of the public to the importance of teaching

Moreso, the project work when completed will help to identify the problems associated with the teaching profession and it will enable policy makers or curriculum planners to enact and implement programme and policy that will help to bring the teaching profession competitor favourably with other profession.

Finally, the findings will also create an avenue or opportunity for further studies or researches on this topic and related topics.

  1. 4Scope of the Study

The study is focused in Ebonyi State University Undergraduates. It limits itself to identifying factors that limit students’ interest towards teaching profession.

  1. 5Research Questions

 The following research questions guided the study:

  1. How do undergraduate students think or feel about teaching profession?
  2. To what extent do the parents, government and teachers’ attitude affect the undergraduates interest towards teaching profession?
  3. To what extent does factors like poor stipend and tedious nature of the job affect students’ attitude towards teaching profession?
  4. What are the possible remedy for improving students’ attitude towards teaching profession?

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