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EFFECTS OF COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING AND SOLUTION FOCUSED BRIEF COUNSELLING TECHNIQUES ON SELF-CONCEPT OF SECONDARY SCHOOL UNDERACHIEVERS IN ILORIN METROPOLIS, NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
Self-concept is the image that people have of themselves. This image is formed in a number of ways, but is particularly influenced by interactions with important people and events in their life. Many scholars described self-concept in different ways such as the perception or image of one‘s abilities and uniqueness. At first, one's self-concept is very general and changeable... as one grows older, these self-perceptions become much more organized, detailed, and specific (Pastorino& Doyle-Portillo, 2013). According to Abdulkadir (2011), self-concept may be high or low. It refers to a man‘s nature or personality, image or the qualities that makes up the individual.Ajoku (1998) pointed out different terminologies used to represent self-concept such as self-esteem, self-image, self-identity, self-perception, self-acceptance and self-worth. In this study, self-concept comprises among others the above terminologies.
Research conducted by Marsh, (2004) has established that there is close relationship between self-concept and academic achievements of students. Students with high self-concept participate enthusiastically in the learning process. Such students are more confident, active and motivated towards learning and perform better in examination as compared to those students with low self-concept because self-concept is the significant tool that differentiates between academic achiever and underachiever students.The lower the self-concept, the lower the aspiration for academic success; because the lower the aspiration, the lower the achievement and vice versa. This situation occurs because the students‘ actions are influenced by their self-concept as it is the basis for all motivated behaviour(Ahmad, Zeb, Ullah, & Ali, 2013). Gender has also beenhighlighted to influence academic self-concept and academic achievement in various studies done on gender, self-worth, and academic achievement among students.A significant difference in self-concept was noted between males and females and in their
academic achievements (Lanza, Osgood, Eccles, & Wigfield, 2002; Sar-Abadani-Tafreshi, 2006).
Achievement can be described as something which someone has succeeded in doing. In education, the term academic achievement refers to the performance or accomplishment of students in academic or learning task (Ngwoke, Numonde, & Ngwoke, 2013). It is used to indicate the degree of success attained in some general or specific area of academic task (Enyi, 2009). Academic underachievementcan be defined as a discrepancy between the child‘s school performance and some index of his/her actual ability. That is, one whose achievement score is lower than his/her ability score. Ability may be measured by test scores or even by observing the child at home or at school. Underachievement is most commonly defined as a discrepancy between potential (or ability) and performance (or achievement). A student who appears capable of succeeding in school but is nonetheless struggling is referred to as an underachiever (Coil, 2010; McCoach&Siegle, 2001).Based on the definitions, underachievers can be described as students who, in a significant way, are not working up to their potential. These students often see ‗YOU CAN DO BETTER‘ written boldly in red on their homework, test papers, and report cards and receive this message in many other ways, both verbally and nonverbally.For a variety of reasons they continue to do much less than they are capable of doing.
The low academic achievement of students in external examinations in Nigeria has become a source of great concern to all the stakeholders in the education sector. This calls for concerted efforts for remediation (Ngwoke, Numonde, & Ngwoke, 2013). This problem if not urgently addressed will lead to academic failure in final examinations such as the examinations conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO). To buttress this, Ali (2009) claimed thatmost secondary school leavers failed the May-June examinations conducted by WAEC and NECO.Of the candidates who sat for the year 2009 May/June Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations, 84% failed. Also, of the
candidates who registered for 2013 WASSCE (May/June edition), 20.04% obtained credits in English language, Mathematics and at least three other subjects (Ogundare, 2013). Though not all these failures wereunderachievers, majority of them may be described as academic underachievers since their failure may not be attributed to any learning disability or difficulty.
For a better clarification of who the underachieversare; here are their major characteristicsas mentioned by Williams (2008) irresponsibility, laziness, poor study skills,lower attainment value on learning, and disinterest in school, as well as lower academic self-concept which is the focus of this work. Based on the findings of some researchers, academic underachievement has no gender barrierbecause it affects both sexes but in different forms and rates. Weiss (cited in Chukwu-etu, 2009) posited that gender differences affect underachievement, with approximately 25% of females who are above-average in academic performance may be considered underachievers as compared to 50% of above-average males.
Cognitive restructuring was originally developed by Albert Ellis and Arron Beck. It is a psychotherapeutic process of learning to identify and dispute irrational or maladaptive thoughts. That is, a coping technique; substituting negative, self-defeating thoughts with positive, affirming thoughts that change perceptions of stressors from threatening to nonthreatening(Dombeck, 2014). In this technique, four major steps are to be followed. They are: identification of problematic cognitions known as "automatic thoughts" which are dysfunctional or negative views of the self, world, or future; identification of the cognitive distortions in the automatic thoughts; rational disputation of automatic thoughts with the Socratic dialogue and development of a rational rebuttal to the automatic thoughts (Hope, Burns, Hyes, Herbert &Warner, 2010).
The researcher‘s choice of cognitive restructuring is based on its efficacy in managing both cognitive and behaviour problems as noted by Ekennia, Otta, andOgbuokiri (2013).The purpose of cognitive restructuring is to widen students‘ conscious perspective and thus allow
room for a change in low self-concept perception to a positive one because cognitive restructuring has been used to help individuals experiencing a variety of psychological or psychiatric conditions, including low self-concept, depression, substance abuse disorders, anxiety disorders, bulimia, social phobia, borderline personality disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD), and gambling, just to name a few (Chronis, Gamble, Roberts, & Pelham, 2006).Cognitive restructuring helps students consider any maladaptive patterns in their thinking-feeling-behaviour cycles.
Solution Focused Brief Technique (SFBT), often referred to as simply 'solution focused therapy' or 'brief therapy', is a type of talking therapy based upon social constructionist philosophy. It focuses on what clients want to achieve through therapy rather than on historical background of problem(s) that made them seek help (Guterman, 2006).Solution Focused Brief Technique(SFBT) is used to treat the entire range of clinical and psychological disorders, and in educational and business settings. Meta-analysis and systematic reviews of experimental and quasi-experimental studies indicate that SFBT is a promising intervention for the youth with externalizing behaviour problems and those with school psychology and academic problems, withsignificant effect measures. The researcher prefers this technique because it has been used by many researchers to find solution to problems like Parent-child conflict, child behaviour problems, diabetes, domestic violence, suicide, self-harm, alcoholism, substance abuse, gambling, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, delinquency, antisocial behaviour, life coaching, poor self-concept, school counselling related issues (Pichot& Dolan, 2003; Stephen, 2014). It is the belief of the researcher that application of SFBT will beuseful in enhancing the self-concept of secondary school underachievers.
From theexplanations so far, it is clear that low academic self-concept may be one cogent aspect of affective domain that contributes immensely to the academic failure of secondary school students irrespective of gender, or age (Wilson, 2009). In this regard, cognitive
restructuring and solution focused brief counselling techniques would be applied and tested if they would be of useful measures to strengthen the self-concept and self-confidence of these secondary school academic underachievers due to their records of efficacy in managing same or related psychological and behavioural problems in the past.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The low academic achievement of students in external examinations in Nigeria has become a source of great concern to all stakeholders in education, Kwara State is not an exception. Many secondary school students in Kwara State fail their external examinations, while some drop-out and tagged as academic underachievers. These may be as a result of poor academic self-concept or other affective domain variables.In teaching and learning situation students who have positive self-concept are actively involved in learning process, while the others who are quite passive with negative self-concept usually experience academic failure. It can be stated that, self-concept is critical and central variable in human behaviours. Individuals with positive self-concept are expected to function more effectively; this is evident in interpersonal competence and intellectual efficiency.In contrast, negative self-concept is correlated with personal and social maladjustment and academic underachievement (Olorunfemi-Olabisi &Akomolafe, 2013).
For secondary school underachievers to be helped, there is need to expose them to counselling interventions techniques and programmes that will help them reshape their self-concept. This may reverse their ugly trends of academic underachievement so that theycan become successful students to be proud of, be it at home and school, and worthy ambassadors of the nation as a whole. Various cognitive behavioural modification techniques like cognitive behaviour, self-management, token economy, time out,modelling counselling techniques and many others have been used by many researchers to treat students with affective domain disorders like depression, anxiety, negative self-concept, low self-esteem, attitude and
motivation, attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder and many others at various level of educations, but none of them combined both cognitive restructuring and solution focusedbrief counselling techniques to enhance students‘ poor academic self-concept. Thus, the researcher
deems it necessary tofocusthis work on the effectivenessof cognitive restructuring and solution focused brief counselling techniques on self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The study was to achieve the following objectives:
- To examinethe effectiveness of cognitive restructuring counselling techniqueon the self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis
- To examine the effectiveness of solution focused brief counselling technique on the self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis.
- To find out the differentialeffectiveness of cognitive restructuring and solution focused brief counselling techniques on the self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis.
- To examine the differential effectiveness of cognitive restructuring counsellingtechniqueon the self-concept of male and female secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis.
- To examine the differentialeffectiveness of solution focused brief counsellingtechnique on the self-concept of male and female secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis.
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the above objectives, five research questions were raised.
- What is the effectiveness of cognitive restructuringcounsellingtechniqueon self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis?
- What is the effectiveness ofsolution focused brief counsellingtechniqueon self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis?
- What is the differentialeffectiveness of cognitive restructuring and solution focused brief counsellingtechniques on the self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis?
- What is the differentialeffectiveness of cognitive restructuring counsellingtechnique on the self-concept of male and female secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis?
- What is the differentialeffectiveness of solution focused brief counsellingtechnique on the self-concept of male and female secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis?
The following hypotheses guided the study
Ho1 There is no significant effectiveness of cognitive restructuring counsellingtechnique on self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis.
Ho2 There is no significant effectivenessof solution focused brief counsellingtechnique on self-conceptof secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis.
Ho3 There is no significant differentialeffectiveness of cognitive restructuring and solution focused brief counsellingtechniques on the self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis.
Ho4 There is no significant differentialeffectiveness of cognitive restructuring
counsellingtechniqueon the self-concept of male and female secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis.
Ho5 There is no significant differentialeffectiveness of solution focused brief counsellingtechniqueon the self-concept of male and female secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
The basic assumptions underlying the study were:
- It is assumed that cognitive restructuring counsellingtechniquemay have effectiveness on the self-concept of secondary school underachievers.
- It is assumed thatsolution focused brief counsellingtechniquemay have effectiveness on the self-concept of secondary school underachievers.
- It is assumed that there may be differentialeffectivenessof cognitive restructuring and solution focused brief counsellingtechniques on the self-concept of secondary school underachievers.
- It is assumed alsothat cognitive restructuring counsellingtechnique may have differentialeffectiveness on the self-concept of male and female secondary school underachievers.
- It is assumed also that solution focused brief counselling technique may have differentialeffectiveness on the self-concept of male and female secondary school underachievers.
1.7 Significance of the Study
It is hoped that the findings of this work would make valuable contribution to knowledge and research especially in the areas of psychology and counselling by pointing out the effectiveness of both cognitive restructuring and solution focused counselling techniques on the self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis. It is hope that the findings of this work, would add value to therapeutic building in behaviour modification and management most especially in cognitive restructuring and solution focused brief counselling techniques in
remolding the self-concept of secondary school underachievers so as to make them think positively about their personal and academic ability.
The findings of this research work will be significant to school counsellors and psychologists. It will be of great importance towards improving their level of awareness about the relationship between poor academic self-concept and academic underachievement among secondary school students. It will also increase their awareness of the effectiveness of cognitive restructuring and solution focused brief counselling techniques in enhancing the self-concept of secondary school underachievers.
It is hope that the findings of this study will also helpparents,teachers and school authorities in understanding the negative impact of poor academic self-concept on the low academic performance of affected students. The findings of the study will help to provide
information to parents, school authorities and teachers on the antecedents of low academic self-concept and academic underachievement and the possibility of sending their low academic self-concept and underachiever students to counselling clinic for therapeutic intervention that will assist them to develop coping skill in order to achieve their maximum potentials to improve their academic achievements
To students, the findings will assist them to understand the influence of poor academic self-concept on their academic performance as well as the effectiveness of cognitive restructuring and solution focused brief counselling techniques needed for the development of self-help to improve their self-concept and academic performance.The students who are able to gain control over their low academic self-concept after their exposure to treatments will develop self
confidence in their ability to control and direct their behaviours and consequently achieve their goals especially in academic performance.
The findings of this work will be an eye opener to government and related agencies that control secondary school education such as the Kwara State Teaching Service Commission
(KWTSC) and others to understand that poor academic self-concept may contribute to low academic performance amongstudents. There ishave the need to develop policy and embark onprogrammes that will enhance students‘ academic self-concept and academic performance.
To the community that experiences poor SSCE results on yearly basis,the findings of the study will help them in understanding the negative effects of poor academic self-concept on the academic achievement of their wards.Poor academic self-concept is one of the major silent factors that undermine the students‘ academic performance which later leads to academic underachievement that is underrated by the community.
It will also serve as a reference data for counselling programme on how to improve low academic self-concept of the victim students in order to enhance their academic performance as well as to serve as valuable source of information for subsequent researchers in the same or related area(s).
1.8 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The study was designed to examine the effect of cognitive restructuring and solution focused brief counselling techniques on self-concept of secondary school underachievers in Ilorin metropolis, Kwara State, Nigeria. The study investigatedthe effect of two counselling techniques (cognitive restructuring and solution focused brief techniques) on self-concept of secondary school underachievers. The study was limited to academic self-concept of SSII secondary school academic underachievers with the application of academic self-concept scale as well as administration of treatment procedures to the subjects. For effective and efficient work, the study covered three secondary schools inIlorin metropolis which comprisedpartsof three Local Government Areas (Ilorin East, Ilorin South and Ilorin West).