This chapter contains the themes that were used to conduct the study. The themes include teacher quality,-classroom environment, class discipline, quality of the instructional methods, and assessment. The chapter also shows the conceptual framework, gaps in literature review and operational definition of variables.
A teacher is a person who possess specified knowledge and skills from an institution of higher education and have fulfilled requirements for certification (McNergney and Herbert l998).Teacher qualifications include attaining a post graduate certificate in education (PGCE), Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) and Bachelor of Education.
Teli(2000), defined teacher qualification as the highest educational certificate possessed by a particular teacher. Whitehurst (2006) views teacher qualification indicators as; teacher’s academic ability, teacher certification status, teacher’s instructional practice in the classroom, teacher’s subject matter expertise and experience.
In America teacher preparation takes the form of undergraduate training with a period of teaching practice designed to provide opportunities to practice in the classroom.
During teaching practice, the trainee is required to maintain a record about students’ needs and abilities, classroom rules and routines and the flow of instructional activities. At the same time, the trainee is expected to conduct tutoring sessions in the classroom or/and assist the teacher with classroom activities. It is after successful completion of the five year undergraduate course that a teacher is awarded a certificate or licensed if they meet the basic requirements and standards of a particular state. Moreover, the certification is a way of preventing harmful teaching practice.
Thus the certified teacher needs to continually attend seminars organized in colleges and university campus to discuss issues of teaching and share ideas about more and less effective teaching strategies. In a research carried out by Moreau (1987) in South Africa, asserts that extra training of teachers influences pupil learning outcomes positively. Extra training improves teacher performance by sharpening both their technical skills and their instructional competence.
This is confirmed by the fact that many state governments in United States of America have increased the requirements for one to qualify for certification (MacPhialWilcox and King 2007). At the same time, it was noted that possession of master’s degree or teacher education at graduate level did not have an impact on pupil learning.
However, Bidwell and Kasadra (2007) asserted that teacher qualification is closely tied to teaching skills that is the nature of instruction and concluded that teacher retention in the profession was of significant importance in influencing the level of student performance. Goldhaber and Brewer (2000) noted significant achievement on high school students handled by teachers with standard, probationary or emergency certification as compared to those students handled by teachers who are not certified and those who held private school certification. Similarly, Fetler (1999) found that students of fully certified teachers did better than those of emergency certified teachers.
In India, there are two groups of teachers; teachers with formal Education (TFEs) and subject specialist teachers. The TFEs are teachers with minimum qualification in Bachelor of Education degree or Masters in Education but they are not subject specialists. Specialist teachers include teachers with at least a Master’s degree in a particular subject.
In conclusion, teacher training should provide appropriate field experience. The trainees should practice with experienced teachers in their subject field (Emmer and Stough, 2001). They recommend that teacher training programs should provide content and supervised experience related to classroom organization and behavior management.
Fetler (1999) found that a positive relationship exists between the number of teaching years and students achievement. The Research affirmed that up to seven years’ experience the performance of students was continually gaining, however between eight and fourteen years’ experience the performance negatively reducing.
Wenglinsky (2000) states that teachers with a major or minor in the areas that they teach produce better gains in students’ achievement. This was irrespective of teachers’ professional development, teacher classroom practices, and class size and student demographics. Confirming the same remarks Hawk, Coble and Swanson (1985) observed that teachers assigned in-field had
greater gains in student achievement as compared to students of teachers’ assigned out- of- field. This was an indication of importance of content knowledge irrespective of application of instructional methods.
The major challenge on teacher experience is the fact that experienced teachers are given an opportunity to select the school they want to teach. Normally, they select district school a situation that disadvantages students at risk of educational failure who end up being taught by inexperienced teachers (Telia, 2008). On the other hand, Greenwald,
Hedges and Laine (1996) noted that there was no difference in academic performance of students handled by teachers of at least more than five years’ experience. To enhance teacher quality after training National Assessment of Educational Progress of America recommended the need for in service courses for teachers so that they could continually balance methodology with content. The in-service courses in America are also aimed at addressing the rapid changes in the field of Academics.
Willingness to think in different ways, to provide students with the newest research in content as well as in methodology, requires additional information for teachers who have been teaching for many years or who have been required by the nature of their assignments to teach out of their field of study. The opportunity to coordinate history training across all levels, particularly where clear feeder patterns exist, and to encourage a mutual updating of knowledge and teaching and assessment techniques should spark additional efforts.
Fawns and Nance (1993) stated that “teacher knowledge,” reason and judgment should be
emphasized as opposed to teaching behavior. Their research showed that a strong correlation exists between subject knowledge and students’ academic performance. To Lafayette (1993) a teacher sound subject command gives a teacher a high degree of confidence to meet the requirements of the learners and consequently affecting their academic performance.
There are several management techniques that have proven successful in the classroom. Three of the major techniques are binders/notebooks, note-taking and homework policies. All three have worked independently to increase student motivation, success and confidence in the classroom. While there are many other techniques that are highly effective, these three are the most popular and most often used to promote student achievement. In order to promote organization in the classroom, a teacher could choose to implement one, two, or all three of these strategies at the beginning of the year. By establishing the routines at the beginning of the year, students will maintain organization throughout the year to achieve optimum success
Baker (2005) observes that improved teacher training in classroom management is a critical part in improving academic performance in a particular subject. Factors contributing to effective classroom management include: teaching methodology, lesson planning and preparation, interpersonal relationships and student motivation (Gaston, Lee and MacArthur 2010).
Paine et al (1983) observed that structuring a classroom so that it supports positive student behavior requires prior planning. The structure of the classroom environment should decrease the likelihood of inappropriate student behavior and increases desirable student interactions and consequently improves academic performance. A classroom environment would enable learners to study in a way that is interesting, enjoyable and purposeful. Among models to restructure a good classroom environment include: use of a variety of teaching methods and involving students to numerous learning activities, physical class arrangement that allows a teacher to access students, efficient use of class time and ensuring that students interact positively during cooperative learning activities (Emmer and Stough,2001). V ‘ Kerr and Nelson (2002) assert that the use of rules is a “powerful, preventive component of classroom organization and management plans.” Rules are aimed at establishing the expected behaviors, what to be reinforced and the consequences for inappropriate behavior. Thus emphasis of effective class discipline helps to cut down on discipline problems and leave the classroom with fewer interruptions and disruptions. Wong (2007) believes that student performance is influenced by how well the procedures are laid out and taught to them.
To instill class discipline, teachers should introduce class rules early enough when the year is beginning and make sure they are understood by all. The teacher should be fair and impartial across all the students. In case of disruption within a lesson, the teacher should deal with the interruption with as little distraction as possible. Teachers should consider over planning as a recipe to avoid giving students free-time within the lesson.
The teacher should be consistent in that they cannot afford to ignore negative behavior. Collins (2007) advocates for “cooperative discipline” where the teacher and students work together to mark decisions. To him teachers should come up with a code of conduct that shows how students should behave and not how ‘they should not behave. This instills discipline in a child as they know what is expected of them. Glenn et al (2003) emphasized the need for teachers to hold class meetings severally. Class meetings encourage respect among teacher and students. According to Barbara Coloroso theory of Inner self control, students should be given an opportunity to develop their s exposed to numerous learning activities so that they can take pride in their accomplishments and instill a desire for knowledge.
Key Components of Effective Classroom Management
There is increasing agreement among researchers regarding the type of school and classroom environments needed to support positive behavior among a wide range of students. Current research indicates five components of effective, comprehensive classroom management:
1. Understanding students’ personal and psychological needs
2. Creating an affirmative classroom climate and a community of support by establishing positive teacher-student and peer relationships and maintaining constructive involvement with students’ caregivers.
3. Involving students in developing and committing to behavior standards that promote on-task behavior and help support a calm, safe learning environment.
4. Using instructional methods that facilitate optimal learning by responding to the academic needs of individual students and the classroom group 5. Implementing responses to unproductive student behavior that treat students respectfully and help them develop skills for working effectively in the classroom and school settings
The classroom environment is a large part of classroom management that will either encourage students to succeed, or hamper their abilities and cause more failures. The classroom environment is different than the classroom management because it deals with how the students feel in the classroom. While classroom management focuses on procedures, routines, and expectations, the classroom environment focuses on the relationships between students and teachers, as well as how the students feel amongst their peers in the classroom (Stepanek, 2000). Lumsden (1994) states that, “If students experience the classroom as a caring, supportive place where there is a sense of belonging and everyone is valued and respected, they will tend to participate more fully in the process of learning”. It is up to the teachers to establish the feeling of caring and support at the beginning of the year. Students will test their limits at the beginning of the year; therefore teachers must establish their rules regarding interaction as soon as possible. Many times, by encouraging behavior that is more positive and uplifting in one classroom, the behavior will carry on into other classrooms, taking the safe environment further than one classroom. Student achievement, as well as emotional and social outcomes, can all be positively affected by a safe, positive learning environment (Stepanek, 2000)
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