LEARNING TO TEACH IN NIGERIA: A STUDY OF THE INITIAL PRIMARY TEACHER EDUCATION SYSTEM

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Happiness Kenneth

Abstract

The poor quality of the teacher workforce is a widely debated issue in Nigeria. However, empirical research in this area has typically been limited; and what there is, has tended to be quantitative in nature, lacking in rigour, and not adequately representing the perspectives of stakeholders. Student teacher voice, in particular, has been absent. Additionally, most research has tended to focus on specific aspects of training thereby largely ignoring weaknesses in the practices and processes of the teacher education system as a whole. This study is qualitative in nature, draws centrally on student teachers’ perspectives and employs a mainly phenomenological approach to data collection. It was located in two colleges of education in South-West Nigeria (one in a local and one in a rural area) and included field visits to associated cooperating teaching practice schools. The study focused on the Primary Education Studies department of the National Certificatein Education (NCE) programme. The participants were purposefully selected to include full data sets from 14 Primary Education Studies students. Data for contextual purposes were also collected from three lecturers, two head teachers and one cooperating teacher. Data were mainly gathered through semi-structured interviews and were analysed at three levels: individual, group and system level. The first level of analysis answered the first research question: How do the student teachers articulate their experiences of learning to teach? It explored the individual experiences of the student teachers and presented them in first person narrative accounts in a way that preserved the form of the data. The narrative accounts were further analysed to identify common experiences and answered the second research question: What themes emerged in student teachers’ narratives about learning to teach? In the third level of analysis, the focus was on the system and an Activity Theory framework was employed as an interpretive lens in answering the overarching research question: How do the process, policies and practices of the initial teacher education system in Nigeria mediate primary student teachers’ experiences of learning to teach? The findings suggested that the system was unable to attract high quality, well-motivated student teacher candidates to programme, and the selection processes lacked rigour and robustness. As a result only six of the 14 students expressed an intention to become a teacher and of those only four planned to teach in the primary sector. There were many ways in which the impact of the system on developing the student teachers into effective practitioners was significantly limited. First, teaching and learning practices in the colleges were reported to be largely transmission oriented and concerns were raised about the professionalism and competencies of the lecturers. Second, there were no obvious monitoring, accountability or quality assurance processes in the system; and a particular lack of transparency was reported in relation to assessment procedures. Third, there were many examples of ways in which the relationships between colleges and cooperating schools were reported to be dysfunctional, leading to a poor flow of information, lack of collaboration and clarity about roles and responsibilities. Additionally, learning resources were limited in both settings and language barriers were encountered. Four, there was a marked power imbalance between student teacher and lecturer; and student voice was inhibited by the practices, policies and processes of the primary education studies programme, and the cultural norms embedded in the education system as a whole and the wider society.  

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date1 Aug 2019