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PERCEPTION OF PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS TOWARDS TEACHING PROFESSION IN NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
The global claim that education is a major sure and potent instrument for the attainment of sustainable development in all human society today cannot be over-emphasized. Education is conceived as a powerful agency which is instrumental in bringing about the desired changes in the social and cultural life of a nation. Developing countries face barrage of extra-ordinary problems among which are abject poverty, ignorance etc. the solution of course, lies in proper education of the citizenry. Ogunna cited in Okemakido (2013) explained that education helps cushion high rate of literacy effect, emancipate the masses from the shackle of ignorance, equipping them with cognitive skills to induce development and make them aware politically economically, socially and enable them produce and develop teaming human resources, producing caliber of personnel imbued with skills for productivity. Weje in Uwaifo (2009) opined that education unlocks the door of modernization and sustainable development and that, it is teachers that hold the key to the door. The whole process of education is shaped and mold by human personality called the teacher, who plays a pivotal role in any education system. Thus, the teacher has the responsibility of translating educational policies into practice and programs into action.
The teacher is the pillar of educational development. Country’s level of development among other things is hinged on the quality of education given to its citizenry by the teacher. On this premise, teachers’ attitude, willingness, motivation and above all items or love for the teaching profession is the major focus of this work. It is important for the educational sector to have willful and talented teachers who will help to promote educational system which is almost at the dead point especially in Nigeria. Teachers constitute the most essential body of personnel within the educational system. They transmit accumulated knowledge of the present to generation upon generation and thus interpret this information with reference to the past with the view to modify the future. This responsibility is the professional role/duty of the teacher in the formal school setting. Given the enormous responsibilities bestowed on the teacher by his calling and society, his condition of service remains pitiable. In fact, parents and indeed the society need to be educated to understand the realities about teacher and the teaching profession. It had never occurred to them that this negative and low rating of teachers have a boomerang effect on the educational system and the society at large.
Attitude is defined as a state of readiness shaped through the experience and influences the response of individual towards the stimuli. It is precursor of the behavior and varies from favorable to unfavorable through neutral. Attitude is made up of three components affective, behavioral and cognitive hence acts as a yardstick of the individual behavior (Bhargava and Pathy 2014.Factors which bear influence on the attitude of the teacher are the domestic environment, family background, socioeconomic background, beliefs and educational institutes etc.
School status, school infrastructure, safety conditions in the school, social and professional status all these factors are vital in casting impression on the teachers attitude(Barros & Ela 2008). Another factor which casts influence on the attitude is the experience .This holds true for teaching profession also. Teaching experience of the teacher contributes significantly in forming attitude (Suja, 2007). The teacher’s attitude towards the subject and student is significant in creating desire to learn in the students. Gender and type of training are the paramount factors influencing the attitude of the teacher (Oral, 2004; Bozdogen et al, 2007). It is found that female teachers have positive attitude towards teaching profession (Capa & cil; 2007). Inadequate financial remuneration and delay in payment of salaries are the causes of teacher’s having low attitude towards teaching profession (Osunde & izevbigie, 2006). These negative factors when minimized can encourage teachers to be more conscious and responsible towards their duties. Initial teacher training helps in shaping the attitude of student teachers towards teaching profession. Development of positive attitude towards profession helps in developing creative thinking and motivating students (Celikoz & Cetin; 2004). The different learning environment, instructional materials and strategies adopted in initial teacher training programme are also responsible for difference in attitude of student teachers towards teaching profession.
The type of attitude possessed by the teacher influence the quality of the work accomplished and teaching. Attitude of the teacher has the imprint of competencies that she possesses Bhargava and Pathy 2014.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The way at which teaching as a profession when compared to other professions like engineering, medicine, and Law professions is rated in Nigeria is nothing to talk about, the profession continues to enjoy low esteem and professional autonomy in Nigeria. This is evident in the number of prospective university undergraduate students who chooses teacher education program yearly through the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and most of them choose the courses as a last resort. The prospective candidates are so few and to make up for the short fall, candidates who fail to get cut off points in other faculties and those with some deficiencies even after registered in other faculties are pushed to the faculty of education. Similarly, majority of the university administrators who are not academic staff believe that those who are not good enough for specialized studies such as Management sciences, pure and basic medical Sciences should be directed to the faculty of education. This situation creates a negative attitude towards the teaching profession. Examining prospective teachers’ attitudes towards teaching profession is so important because faculty of education students in universities are train to potentially take teaching responsibilities after completion of their program. Therefore, gaining an appreciation of their attitudes towards teaching profession may provide useful insight into the future of teaching profession and acceptance. The findings of the study will therefore evaluate prospective teachers’ attitudes and possible practice of teaching profession in Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main objectives of this study is to find out the perception of prospective teachers towards teaching profession in Nigeria, specifically the study intends to;
1. Find out prospective teachers’ attitude towards teaching profession
2. Find out whether there is gender difference in the prospective teacher attitude towards teaching profession
3. Analyze the effect of Government attitude towards education on the attitude of prospective teachers in Nigeria
4. Examine the reasons behind the different attitudes of prospective teachers towards teaching profession.
1.4 Research Questions
1. What is the prospective teachers’ attitude towards teaching profession?
2. Is there significant gender difference in the prospective teacher attitude towards teaching profession?
3. Is there any effect of Government attitude towards education on the attitude of prospective teachers in Nigeria?
4. What are the reasons behind the different attitudes of prospective teachers towards teaching profession?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
Ho: there is no effect of Government attitude towards education on the attitude of prospective teachers in Nigeria
Hi: there is effect of Government attitude towards education on the attitude of prospective teachers in Nigeria