1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Lecturers are essential in the entire educational system of any nation and are pivots on which education wheels revolve. Ashimole (2011) emphasized that teaching and learning depends largely on lecturers, and that it is on lecturer’s number, quality and devotion that rest the effectiveness of all educational arrangements, development and growth. Similarly Akinsolu (2010) observed that lecturers are vital pre– requisites for students‟ attainment of educational goals and objectives. The Federal Republic of Nigeria in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2010) also recognized the importance of lecturers by stating that no nation’s education system can be greater than the standard of their lecturers. Therefore, lecturers remain the major factor in any educational system, and their quality of teaching is undoubtedly one of the most important factors shaping the teaching /learning and achievement of students (Fenstermacher & Richardson, 2011). The lecturer is ultimately responsible for translating educational policies and principles into actions based on practice during interaction with the students. Researches abound on contributions of lecturers to educational achievements of students (Mushtaq & Kahn, 2012). However, students‟ academic achievement in both internal and external examinations has persistently been reported low and has always been attributed to classroom characteristics of lecturers (Ibe, 2013). Lecturer characteristics in this study are those attributes, characters and behaviours exhibited by lecturers in the classroom and during teaching and learning process. Lecturers characteristics examined in this study are lecturer’s Gender, teaching experience, qualification, interpersonal relationship with the students and lecturers knowledge of subject matter. The prevailing conditions of these factors would definitely have a negative or positive influence on the instructional quality in schools, which may translate to either good or poor academic achievement of Secondary school students. Orlando (2013) listed nine behaviours/characteristics of an effective lecturer which are respect for students, creating a sense of community and belonging in the classroom, warm, accessible, enthusiastic and caring, ability to set high expectations for all students, has his own love for learning, a skilled leader, ability to “shift-gears” and flexible when a lesson isn’t working, collaboration with colleagues on an on-going basis and maintenance of professionalism. However, the big question is: Do our environmental education lecturers in Nigeria possess these characteristics of an effective lecturer? Why has our student’s achievement in environmental education been persistently reported low? These are the questions/problems addressed in the present study. Anita (2013) carried out a study on Lecturer characteristics and students academic achievement in Biology in schools in Nandi south district, Kenya. Findings revealed that lecturer’s qualification does not influence student’s academic achievement. On the contrary, Thomas (2014) conducted a study on effects of lecturer’s qualification on student’s performance in schools in University of Ado Ekiti, Ekiti state, Nigeria. The findings revealed a significant difference in achievement of students taught by lecturers whose highest qualifications were Bachelors of Science degree in Education and master’s degree. The author recommended that Masters Degree lecturers should strive to further their studies while graduate lecturers without professional qualification should be encouraged to proceed on Post graduate Diploma in Education to enhance teaching in their special area. It can be seen that there is a disagreement between Anita (2013) and Thomas (2014) on lecturer qualification as a predictor of student’s achievement. Research on influence of lecturer qualification on achievement of students is therefore inconclusive. For this study five lecturer characteristics were considered namely lecturers gender, years of experience, qualification, inter personal relationship with their students and knowledge of subject matter. The lecturer is regarded as one of the greatest inputs into the educational system. Lecturers are recognized as the most important school factor affecting student achievement (Sass, Hannaway, Xu, Figlio, and Feng 2010). Lecturers facilitate effective teaching and learning. At the same time, poor academic performance of students can be blame on lecturers. This is because the ability of a lecturer determines his capabilities based on the level of his exposure through training and skills learnt. In consonance with the above, Ajayi (2015) claimed that the poor quality of lecturers in Nigerian schools can be traced to poor training received in lecturer training institutions through obsolete materials and equipment. According to Nwagwu (1979), hostile school environments that are joyless with pretty oppressive demands contribute to the dropout of learners from school. The lecturer is one of the environmental factors within the school. A lecturer is thus considered to be a leader whose quality is seen in his ability to initiate ideas and structure, organize and manage his classroom, increase students’ skills and knowledge, prepare and present interesting and yet challenging lessons, guide students to success and have the ability to assess and evaluate students’ learning correctly.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The lecturer holds the “axis” upon which the world of education rotates. That is why in Nigeria, the National Policy on Education emphasized that no educational system can rise above the level of its lecturers. This means that there can be no quality environmental education without equipped, prepared and motivated lecturers who possess the pedagogical skills, teaching methods, attitudes, work ethics, responsibilities and interpersonal relationships. These are lecturer characteristics that are capable of setting up a situation in which learners can learn to learn effectively vis a vis high achievement. In Nigeria, the poor academic performance of students has become a worrisome phenomenon among stakeholders in education. The above trend shows that failure rate in each succeeding year is on the increase and did not indicate any improvement. This is certainly disturbing and calls for urgent action to remediate the situation in order to enhance academic performance of students, thus salvaging the education sector out of this nagging problem. Though factors responsible for the continuous poor performance of students have to some extent been dealt with in literature, but yet the students’ poor performance still needs remediation and since, the lecturer occupies a central position in the educational sector, there is a general belief that no education system can rise above the quality of lecturers in the system. Since the lecturer is the key implementer of the curriculum and controls what goes on in the classroom, this sorry state of affair on students‟ achievement cannot be tackled without investigation into lecturer characteristics with a view to proffering solutions. Hence, this research work sought to find out the influence of lecturers characteristics on students’ academic achievement in university of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to examine the environmental education lecturer’s personal characteristics and year 4 environmental education student academic achievements. Other general objectives of the study are:
1. To examine the environmental education lecturer’s personal characteristics.
2. To examine the influence of lecturer’s qualification on student academic achievement.
3. To examine the influence of lecturer’s personal characteristics on student academic achievement.
4. To examine the influence of environmental education lecturer’s experience on student academic achievement.
5. To examine the relationship between lecturer’s personal characteristics and student academic achievement.
6. To make recommendations based on the findings of the study.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What are the environmental education lecturer’s personal characteristics?
2. What is the influence of lecturer’s qualification on student academic achievement?
3. What is the influence of lecturer’s personal characteristics on student academic achievement?
4. What is the influence of environmental education lecturer’s experience on student academic achievement?
5. What is the relationship between lecturer’s personal characteristics and student academic achievement?
6. What are the recommendations based on the findings of the study?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no influence of lecturer’s personal characteristics on student academic achievement.
H1: There is a significant influence of lecturer’s personal characteristics on student academic achievement.
H0: There is no relationship between lecturer’s personal characteristics and student academic achievement.
H1: There is a significant relationship between lecturer’s personal characteristics and student academic achievement.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is significant in many respects. The study will help to reveal the components of lecturer’s characteristics responsible for students’ academic achievement in colleges and universities of education in Nigeria. It will compare the relationship of the variables with one another as they affect students from the college used for the study. Ranking of the factors will be done according to the perception of the students to make readers have an overview of the interrelatedness of the variables used for the study. This is of particular significance in a democratic environment where political parties attempt to improve educational performance in a competitive manner. The study therefore offers empirical support to assist educational policy makers, administrators and educators in the educational planning and implementation. Finally, students would also benefit from the study through suggestions offered on ways of improving students’ academic achievement by the various interactions of the components of institutional factors identified in the study and the study will lay a solid foundation which subsequent researchers in similar studies may build upon.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study is based on the environmental education lecturer’s personal characteristics and year 4 environmental education student academic achievements, a case study of University of Calabar.
1.8 LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Attitude: - Refers to the state of mind or the way of thinking about something especially as it is shown by the behaviour. It is a judgment that can be changed as a function of experience.
Characteristic: - A particular quality of a feature that is typical of someone or something.
Personal Characteristics: They are what make up one's personality. They help a person get along in a new situation. For example, dependability and patience are qualities that employers would like a good worker to have.
Demographic characteristics: - This is the particular qualities or features in relation to the number of lecturers handling the given students.
OTHER SIMILAR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROJECTS AND MATERIALS