BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Education is a veritable tool in which the student develops him/her as well as contributes meaningfully to the society. Sharing the same viewpoint, Fafunwa (1974) as cited in Ogbodo, Etuk and Afangideh (2013) submit that education is the aggregate of all the process by which a child or young adult develops abilities, attitudes and other forms of behaviour which are positive value to the society in which he lives. Therefore, proper educational system equips students with necessary skills, aptitudes and positive values that would facilitate their meaningful contribution to the society far better than they met it.
Nevertheless, sustained development of the student as well as the society does not just evolve. It inevitably requires a synergy among the teachers, optimal learning environment and the students. Such synergistic relationship ensures that teachers bring the right skills, equipment, materials and information together at the right time and in the right place (Ogbodo, Etuk and Afangideh, 2013). These features are all couched in effective classroom management practices. Corroborating this assertion, Marzano, Pickering and Pollack (2001) submit, to effectively teach their students, teachers need to employ effective behaviour management strategies, implement effective instructional strategies, and develop a strong curriculum. Having the same view as Marzano, Pickering and Pollack (2001), Walker (2009) opined, the best teachers don’t simply teach content, they teach people.
The concept of classroom management practices has not been homogenized among academic scholars due to some reasons. Notably among them are the diverse studies on the concept, leading to a more narrowed, contextual definition of the concept. Yet, concerted efforts have been made to clearly define the concept. According to Sunday-Piaro (2018), the concept classroom management practices refers to the action and direction a teacher takes to create a successful learning environment, having a positive impact on the students’ performance, given learning requirements and goals. Elsewhere, McCreary (2010) defined classroom management practices as the methods and strategies an educator uses to maintain a classroom environment that is conducive to student success and learning. Despite the varied definitional viewpoint on classroom management practices, there are still points of agreement among the scholars. Such agreement lies on their consensus of the objective of every classroom management practices. Within that continuum are phrases such as ‘having a positive impact on students’ academic performance’ and ‘to maintain a classroom environment that is conducive to students’ success and learning’. Thus, classroom management practices, as succinctly described by Saifi, Hussain and Bakht (2018), alludes to every one of the things that a teacher does to compose students, space, time, and materials with the goal that students’ learning can occur.
Discipline, quality of the teacher and the teachers reward system are constructs of classroom management practices. According to Sunday-Piaro (2018), discipline is one of the key variables of classroom management practices. Ada (2004) defined discipline as a function of the interaction between teacher and student that bring about self-control and respect for authourity. It involves establishing and keeping rules based on the reciprocal understanding between the teacher and the student which must not breached. In the same vein, Sunday-Piaro (2018) contend that a qualified teacher is one that has passed the Teacher Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) professional qualifying examination. A qualified and professional teacher that is armed with the necessary classroom management skills are more likely to be proactive in resolving conflict in the classroom, thereby eliciting a better school environment that is conducive for learning. On teachers reward system, Effanga (2013) in Ogbodo, Etuk and Afangideh (2013) opined that students come to school with different desires and expectations. The objective of the teacher, therefore, should be proper and positive channeling of these desires and drives towards better students’ academic performance.
Accordingly, students’ academic performance is a concept that has gained increased momentum recently. This is not just because of the increased concern on the performance of students in most public examinations but because of its importance in the field of education. Sunday-Piaro (2018) sees students’ academic performance as a concept used to qualify the observable manifestation of knowledge, skill, understanding and ideas. According to Fadipe (2000), it is the outcome of both quality and quantity of internal and external objectives accomplished. The concept of students’ academic performance has been often measured using different parameters. Such parameters as identified by Sunday-Piaro (2018) include: previous educational outcomes, socio-economic status of the parents, parents’ educational background, self-effort and self-motivation of students, learning preferences, standard and type of educational institution the student attend, and the schools in which they study. Yet, there are different views in past studies on which of these parameters dominantly predict students’ academic performance. For instance, Durden and Ellis (1995) contend that the measurement of student’s previous educational outcome is the most prominent, while Graetz (1995) and Considine and Zappala (2000) were of the view that socio-economic status of the parents and school environment and teachers expectation from their students respectively influences students’ academic performance.
Past studies on the effect of classroom management practices on students’ academic performance is well documented. Finding from such study indicate that between the first 3years to 5years of a teacher’s career, which is often considered to be the toughest year of their profession, 30% of teachers abandon the profession and nearly 50% leave within the first five years of entering a teaching career. These are notably because of cases of poor classroom management practices. Championing this assertion, Daly (2005) contend that there’s not a teacher alive who hasn’t felt frustration of trying to manage a classroom with at least one student who repeatedly pulls other students off-task with annoying, disorderly behaviour. When a classroom is properly managed, it provides an environment in which teaching and learning can flourish Marzano (2013). It equally ensures that teachers reward appropriate behaviours, impose sanctions on inappropriate behaviours, adapt lessons based on student characteristics and effective use of the lesson period (Emmer and Stough, 2001; Gettinger and Kohler, 2006) as cited in Yildiz (2017). It put the teacher in a position of being a guide, counselor, disciplinarian, custodian, evaluator, curriculum engineer and management (Harden and Crosby, 2009) as cited in Saifi (2006). To the students, it increases their participation in classroom activities, leading to the decrease in disruptive behaviours (Marzano, Marzano and Pickering, 2003) as cited in Yildiz (2017).
However, failure to manage classrooms effectively exerts negative influence not just on the students’ academic performance but on the entire school. As a consequence, parents withdraw most of their children from such school, leading to decrease in the school population Sunday-Piaro, (2018). Poor performance of the students resultantly lead to the student not being able to defend his/her certificate soon after graduation. Additionally, students with disruptive behaviour can persuade other students to join them, which cause teachers’ effectiveness to be questioned as well as increase their stress level (Braden and Smith, 2006; Etheridge, 2010) as cited in Sowell (2013). Therefore, teachers who use classroom management practices effectively has been proven to manage their classroom better which inevitably affects the students’ academic performance and behaviours accordingly.
Public secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area (L.G.A) of Akwa Ibom State are recently giving both school administrators and stakeholders a cause for concern. This concern is not particularly because of their academic performance perhaps in public examinations but because of the disruptive behaviours. In such schools, there are cases of students loitering, unapproved absenteeism, lateness to school and female students unwanted pregnancies only for them to resume school latter on. Thus, there is a growing perception that most public secondary schools are not safe and conducive for learning Sowell, (2013). In the past, students with such unruly behaviours did not question teacher’s authoritative role in the classroom in curbing such disruptive behaviours for fear of referral to the principal’s office and the redistribution that came when teachers contact their parents Ravich, (2000). However, over the past 100 years, students have changed thereby necessitating a change in classroom management practices.
Furthermore, in Nigeria, the National policy on Education (NPE) of 1997, which was revised in 1981, 1988 and 2004 failed accordingly to give attention to classroom management practices, leading to more literature on increased cases of disruptive behaviours in public secondary schools. More so, studies have been conducted on classroom management practices and students’ academic performance, however, the findings have produced mixed results. Study conducted by Phillipson and Phillipson (2012) only focused on the effects of teacher on students’ achievement. Ӧzer and Anil (2011) study centered on students’ achievement and the period allocated to learning while Lamberger and Clemens (2012) examined the effect of feelings as measured by belonging to school and being accepted on students’ achievement. None of these studies examined precisely the relationship between classroom management practices as measured by discipline, qualified teachers and teachers reward system on students’ academic performance. It is on this background that this study on classroom management practices and students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Uyo L.G.A was carried out.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Annually in Nigeria, results of public secondary school students that engage in public examinations such as West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and National Examination Council (NECO) are publicly announced. While few students are likely to pass, a substantial number of them fail woefully while other results are withheld. This has progressively become a norm despite the number of teachers employed, the commitment of the school administrators and the overall concern of the school stakeholders.
Findings have shown that poor classroom management is significantly responsible for this anomaly. This could be as a result of students’ indiscipline which deters them from being focused on classroom activities, unqualified teachers being employed and the teachers reward system. These are indications that public secondary schools lack what it takes to manage learning environment professionally, leading to disruptive behaviours among students, noisy, chaotic and unconducive school environment which affects students’ academic performance negatively. Yet, teachers and effective classroom management practices are inseparable factors that are inevitable if enhanced students’ academic performance is to be achieved. It is on this background that this study on classroom management practices and students’ academic performance of students in public secondary schools in Uyo L.G.A was carried out.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The main purpose of this study is to assess the relationship between classroom management practices and students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Uyo L.G.A. Specifically, the followings were the purpose of this study:
i. To find out the relationship between discipline and students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Uyo L.G.A;
ii. To examine the relationship between qualified teachers and students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Uyo L.G.A; and
- To assess the relationship between teachers reward system and students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Uyo L.G.A.
1.4 Research Questions
The study attempts to provide answers to the following research questions:
i. What is the relationship between discipline and students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Uyo L.G.A;
ii. What is the relationship between qualified teachers and students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Uyo L.G.A; and
- What is the relationship between teachers reward system and students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Uyo L.G.A.
1.5 Significance of the Study
At the completion of this study, the findings would be of immense significance to the state government, teachers, students as well as researchers. To the state government, the findings of this study would bring to their notice the important role of classroom management practices in achieving any educational objectives. With this, they would be able to prioritize the inclusion of classroom management practices in subsequent formulation of National Policy on Education (NPE) or on policies that are to be revised in the future.
To the teachers, the knowledge of this study would enable them to come to the realization that merely being a graduate in any education course does not in itself qualify one as a professional teacher. This would enable the teachers who are not yet professionally affiliated to do so as classroom management practices and other useful teaching skills are taught, learnt and practiced therein. Equally, the students would know that just like the teachers, they have a role to play in ensuring a conducive learning environment. More so, the findings of this study would serve as a reference material to students and researchers alike who would be conducting similar study.
1.6 Scope of the study
This study centered on classroom management practices and students’ academic performance in public secondary schools in Uyo L.G.A. Geographically, this study was conducted in Uyo metropolis of Akwa Ibom State. The content scope of this study centered on the concept of classroom management practices, the concept of students’ academic performance, the relationship between discipline and students’ academic performance, the relationship between qualified teachers and students’ academic performance, and the relationship between teachers reward system and students’ academic performance.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
This study made use of copies of questionnaire that was administered on the respondents. As a consequence, the study was limited to the truthfulness of the responses obtained from the respondents. Equally, variables of classroom management practices that influence students’ academic performance in public secondary schools cannot be generalized in other schools like private secondary schools and higher institutions. Hence, the researcher acknowledged this limitation. Additionally, the researcher would have liked to extend the scope of this study to include public secondary schools in other L.G.As, private secondary schools or higher institutions, however, classroom management practices in these schools differs sharply among these schools. This equally served as a limitation to this study.
1.8 Organization of the Study
This study consists of five chapters. Chapter one was the introduction, which was made up of background to the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, research questions, hypotheses of the study, scope of the study, significance of the study, limitations of the study, organization of the study, and definition of terms. Chapter two was titled review of related literature. It was designed into three (3) parts: Conceptual framework, theoretical framework and empirical review. Chapter three focused on the research methods adopted in this study. Therein, design of the study, area of the study, population of the study, sample and sampling technique, instrumentation, validity of the research instrument, reliability of the research instrument, method of data collection, method of data analysis and decision rule were all considered. Chapter four considered data presentation and analysis as well as test of hypotheses, while Chapter five comprised of summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations.
1.9 Operational Definition of Terms
Students Disruptive Behaviours: This refers to behavioural deviation from the standard or approved behaviour in secondary schools.
Public Secondary Schools: This means schools that are owned by state government.
Management: This entails the process by which teachers achieve classroom objectives by effectively handling students’ unruly behaviour in the classroom.