1.1 Background of the Study
The central thrust of reforms in the teacher education programme is to produce teachers who can perform adequately in the world of work and meet the present day challenges. Teaching practice is a vital aspect of the teacher preparatory programme in teacher training institutions and in Faculties of Education in Nigerian Universities. It serves as an opportunity for student-teachers vis-a-viz supervisors to be exposed to the realities of teaching and professional activities in the field of education. Every profession has its own practical side; the training of lawyers, doctors, engineers and other well-known professions make adequate provision for practical work which forms an integral part of the total training of the professions, hence the teaching practice exercise is the practical aspect of the teacher education programme. A sound profession and teaching practice constitutes and important and indispensable component of the process involved in the adequate preparation of professional teachers (ObiageliOkobiatet al., 2011).
According to Adesinaet al., (1989) teaching practice can be defined as a teacher education programme or activity which involves the student-teacher putting into practice his/her acquired theory of teaching under the genuine experience of the normal classroom situation. It is an opportunity for student-teachers to face the realities of their chosen careers in terms of its demands, challenges and excitement. It can also be seen as the periods when student teachers are aided to put into practice the theories and principles of education which they have learnt in the classroom as they teach (Ogonor and Badmus, 2006).
The aim of the teaching practice exercise according to Ogonor and Badmus (2006) are:
i. To provide the teacher trainee some type of pre-service training which serves as an opportunity to be exposed to the realities of teaching and performance of professional activities.
ii. It provides opportunities for students to test theories learnt and idea in the classroom as they come in contact for the first time with real life situations.
iii. It provides trainees the opportunity to utilize the various teaching trainees the opportunity to utilize the various teaching methods in actual classroom/school conditions under the constant supervision of competent and experienced teachers.
iv. It exposes student teachers to professional activities which are part of the teacher roles in schools.
Also the teaching practice exercise enables the students to be more familiar with variety of instructional materials and resources, evaluate and select those materials appropriate for the objectives in a teaching unit or lesson (Afolabi, 2000).
Anupama (2009) summed this up by stating that the positive side of the whole exercise of teaching practice is to give sense of accomplishment to student teachers. The learn to take responsibility, gain confidence and improve upon their management skills.
In Federal College of Education, Centre for Degree Programmes in affiliation with University of Ibadan, the teaching practice is a compulsory course for students both at the penultimate and final levels of the Bachelor of Education programme, the teaching practice exercise is a 6-week duration programme which is a co-operative venture involving both the student-teachers and supervisors (usually academic staff of the College and Faculty of Education). The teaching practice exercise is the equivalent of industrial training in Engineering, Sciences and other professions.
Subjects in curriculum and teaching methods offered in the Bachelor of Education Programme are intended to prepare students teachers in the pedagogical skills in specific subjects. Ojoawo (1996) like other educators is of the opinion that the theoretical dimension takes care of the acquisition of knowledge in the classroom while the practical dimension constitutes all forms of pre-serviced contact with the act of teaching in the classroom.
Links between theory and practice are emphasized in education programme so that students could draw close professional links between the universities and the secondary schools where they are prepare to function as teachers. Uvevbu (2004) noted that the knowledge and skills acquired are demonstrated before examiners who give feedbacks so as to improve their practice before they are finally evaluated. Teaching practice creates a mixture of anticipation, anxiety and apprehension in the student teachers as they commence their teaching practice (Manionet al., 2003).
According to Perry (2004), teaching practice is exciting but challenging. It is against this backdrop that this study tries to examine the teaching practice experiences of student teachers vis-a-viz supervisors; challenges and possible panacea.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Teaching practice is a period when student teachers are given opportunity to try the art of teaching before actually getting into the real world of teaching profession. Inspite of the observed relevance and purpose of the teaching practice in teacher preparatory programme, a number of challenges appear to hamper realization of its objectives in the professional growth of students in training. Many student teachers get agitated about entering the classrooms to take up teaching tasks in unfamiliar environment. According to Kiggundu and Nayimuli (2009) such mixed feelings can contribute to the making or discouraging of student teacher. Hence the focus of this study is to investigate the various challenges faced by student teachers vis-a-viz supervisors during teaching practice exercise.
1.3 Research Questions
1. Is there any challenges faced by students’ teachers during teaching practice?
2. Does institution/universities related problems poses challenges to student teachers during teaching practice?
3. Is there a significant difference between the opinion of the student teachers and supervisors on the challenges faced during teaching practice?
4. Does school of teaching practice school related problems poses challenges to supervisors?
1.5 Significance of the Study
It is expected that the results of the study will make the teaching policy makers, curriculum developers, and administrators from both institutions and others sharing the same characteristics with them to see the need for an improvement in teaching practice exercise and the entire teacher education programme in general. The result of the study is also expected to take teaching to an enviable position occupied by other professions that are highly celebrated like medicine, engineering, and law. The findings of this research work will go a long way in making the teaching practice exercise a befitting one for the following persons or bodies.
1. The student teachers are made to realize the importance of the programme and likely challenges he/she might face during the period. This is achieved from the exposition made of the challenges involved in teaching practice. As a result, the student teacher will get himself/herself ready for any of such challenges.
2. It will make the practicing school management to be aware that student teachers are facing challenges during their teaching practice exercise and practicing school management will be ready to give them maximum assistance and co-operation. Based on this, the practicing school will equally benefit from the findings of the research work.
3. The planners and organizers of teaching practice for effectiveness of the programme.
4. The supervising lecturers will equally gain from the findings of this research work, because they will be aware of the concerns of the student teachers. This awareness, will make the supervisors adjust and be friendly to the student teachers. They will also assist student teachers in their areas of difficulty.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The study is restricted to the opinion of the student – teachers and the supervisors on their challenges faced during teaching practice from the Federal College of Education Abeokuta.
1.7 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to examine the challenges faced by student-teachers viz-a-viz supervisors during teaching practice exercise and suggest solutions that will tackle the existing problems.
Basically, the purpose is aimed at the following:
· To determine the strategies that could be adopted to improve the teaching practice programme.
· To identify the challenges encountered by student teacher during teaching practice period.
· To identify the challenges encountered by supervisors during the supervision of their students in teaching practice period.
· To identify student teachers’ problem resulting from the supervision.
· To ascertain the problems of the student teachers resulting from the practicing school.
1.8 Definition of Terms
i. Teaching: it is a way of promoting learning and the act of imparting knowledge.
ii. Teacher: a person whose job is to impart knowledge especially in a school.
iii. Practice: repetition of an activity to improve skill.
iv. Experience: collection of events and or activities from which an individual or a group may gather knowledge, opinion, and skills.
v. Teaching-Practice: According to Adesina and Talabi (1989) teaching practice can be defined as a teacher education programme or activity which involves the student-teacher putting into practice his/her acquired theory of teaching under the genuine experience of the normal classroom situation.
OTHER SIMILAR EDUCATION PROJECTS AND MATERIALS