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1.1                 Background to the Study

Teaching involves many skills that cannot be learnt at an instance, to train a competent and efficient teacher, all things being equal, the trainee teacher should be introduced progressively to the teaching situation with fewer complexities and then to more complex ones, teaching practice is an excellent tool to accomplish this objective, it is viewed and has often been used as a successful method in trainee teacher’s education. For this reason, teaching practice has been used in several institutions as stages of professional development for some time now. The art of teaching does not merely involve a simple transfer of knowledge from one to other, instead, it is a complex process that facilitates and influences the process of learning, hence, quality of a teacher is estimated on how much the students understand from his/her teaching.

The classrooms cannot be used as a learning platform for acquiring primary teaching skills, training of teachers in specific teaching skills is a major challenge in teacher education programmes, the pedagogic skill for teaching can be acquired only through more structured and cheaper faculty training techniques (Paris & Shanks, 2010). Some of these skills involve set induction skill which is the act of introducing a lesson to awaken learners’ interest in the lesson and create an atmosphere of curiosity and motivation in the class. According to Isave (2012), set induction is a teaching skill used by the teacher for learners‟ induction to attend and learn. The teacher is a powerful agent to set the learners into the right mind so as to prepare the class for the lesson. Hence, the teacher has to undergo the teaching practice exercise to have such skills.

Ruairc (2013) defines teaching practice as an important component of becoming a teacher. Teaching practice grants student – teachers experience in the actual teaching and learning environment. Teaching practice is known to expose student- teachers to the actual practice of teaching. It is during this period that student- teachers are given the opportunity to try the art of teaching before actually getting into the real world of the teaching profession (Kiggundu and Nayimuli 2009). In view of this, Perry (2012) argues that teaching practice creates a mixture of anticipation, anxiety, excitement and apprehension in the student- teachers as they commence their teaching practice. Thus, this provides student- teachers with the chance to express their personal educational philosophies, theories and understandings. In other words, this creates an opportunity for student- teachers to experiment and test their knowledge and skills in the profession of teaching and learning with an understanding of their personal educational philosophies and theories.

It is needful to note that teaching practice is not a bed of roses for the student- teachers because they experience challenges, which in a way can hamper their ability to derive maximum benefits from the exercise. Important part of a student teacher’s preparation and training, especially in the developing and underdeveloped worlds where teaching can be disrupted by a range of challenges. Such as geographical distance, low and uneven levels of teacher expertise, a wide ranging lack of resources as well as a lack of discipline among a cross-section of learners and educators (Marais and Meier 2014). It is important that these challenges be addressed, as they may affect the student teachers’ performance during teaching practice exercise as well as their perception of the teaching profession in subsequent years (Quick and Sieborger 2010).

Teaching practice has been defined by Ndagi (2014) as the teaching which those training for teaching or any education work are engaged in a specified period of time on graduation under a supervisor or supervisor guiding, directing and assessing trainee teacher. In some cases, the student- teachers must master the subject matter before going to classroom, and starts to teach. It is a vital scheme which has been in existence since the introduction of education course in Nigeria Certificate in Education (N. C. E). These programmes make teaching practice compulsory and no candidate is awarded certificate in Education without teaching practice. Teaching practices is a crucial element in the professional training of teachers across the world. The importance of teaching practice in teacher education programme cannot be overemphasized. It is the critical periods of the translating of theory into practice. The student -teachers have been facing a lot of difficulties which they have dealt with for effective teaching and learning to take place.

Teaching practice is a period during which a student teacher is assigned to a specific institution; primary or secondary school for a supervised teaching as one of the requirements for graduation and effective teaching experience. Also, Okorie in Agusiobo and Udegbe (2010) defined teaching practice as a period that enables student teachers to learn about the actual work of the teacher in the classroom as well as out-of-class experience. Teaching practice provides the laboratory where a student practicalizes what he/she had learnt concerning effective teaching. This makes it an important factor in preparing students for future teaching assignments.

To achieve the above objectives, the student- teacher is usually required to undergo at least twelve weeks teaching practice to enable him/her acquire the expected skills which will position him/her as a competent professional teacher. During this period, the student teacher may be faced with some challenges which include classroom management, attitude of the supervisors towards the student teachers, curriculum development, instruction and environmental challenges. Learning environment according to Maduewesi (2015) include the classroom surroundings, physical facilities in the classroom and teacher- student relationship. Physical environment comprises all those equipment, materials, furniture and learning space that make up the place where learners learn. When all these things are made available to the student teachers, they will be motivated to carry out the task assigned to them and the aim of teaching practice will be achieved.

 Supervisor is described as college or university lecturer (trained teacher) who is responsible for coordinating the student teachers while teaching. He is also seen as somebody who guides and coordinates the activities of teachers and other school personnel towards the realization of educational objectives. He mediates between people and school programmes in order to ensure that the processes of teaching and learning are improved (Ogunsaju, 2014).

Supervision is an essential activity that exists to help teachers do a better job. Supervision is very important factor in teacher preparation because they help in the improvement of teaching and learning processes. During teaching practice exercise, the attitude of supervisors toward the student teachers can improve the ability and competence in the student teacher or it can mar the objective of the exercise. When the student teacher is not properly supervised the whole exercise will be unproductive. The supervision of students during teaching practice should be regular. The supervisor should be qualified and experienced so that he will be able to render to the student teachers the desired mentoring as will be needed from him/her.

It is needful to voice out clearly that teaching practice is not completely an easy task for the student teachers as they experience challenges, which in a way can affects their ability to perform well and derive maximum benefit from the entire exercise, which is an important part of a student teacher’s preparation and training is nothing to write home about due to several challenges and difficulties encountered by the student-teachers and to a large extent the attitudes of the student-teachers.

Teaching practice that is supposed to be a training ground for the adequate teachers’ preparation in institution of education in Plateau State, particularly Federal College of Education, Pankshin is marred by poor educational policy, lack of equipment and instructional resources, ill-equipped staff and lack of infrastructural facilities. This has posed a great challenge to the acceptability of the products from the institution and the image of the area institution gradually, facing out in terms of high recognition and competitiveness. The adequacy and efficiency of teaching practice in the college requires a review because education programme in the College of Education does not adequately prepare teacher trainees for real classroom teaching effectiveness. It follows therefore, that the more effective the teaching the better, the opportunities for student-teachers to develop their teaching skills at their schools of practice. It is in line with the above background that this study seeks to examine the constraints to teaching practice in Federal College of Education, Pankshin.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

It appears that student teachers are not performing very well during teaching practice exercise, this might not be unconnected to poor performance during their teaching practice exercise preparation. However, from the researchers experience, it is clear that the performance of the student teachers in Teaching Practice Exercise (Edu 311 for NCE and EDU 300 for B.Ed) were not convincing enough to prove that the students perform well.

While students are on teaching practice exercise, they are assessed based on both the official and unofficial skills, and so this yields a gap between theory and practice. Ijaiya (2013), noted that many student-teachers fail to acquire enough teaching skills to the detriment of pupils’ learning. This might not be unconnected to lack of enough time and training for the student-teacher to master the skills effectively during teaching and learning. Even if some of these skills are learnt by the student during pre-service training, it seems that most of the student teachers are not utilize these skills during teaching practice exercise, the student teachers go to the classroom without instructional material, most of them fail to demonstrate the skills of reinforcement, and also the skill of closure to round up the lesson and so on.

The attitude of some student teachers make them not perform well while on teaching practice exercise they tend not to use instructional materials, master the subject matter well, no good methodology, inability to control classroom during the teaching, over familiarity, lack of accommodation and office facilities for the student teachers, too much of works at time is given to the student- teachers, as the permanent teachers become lazy in seeing the student-teachers, lack of cooperation from their practicing schools attitude of the pupils towards the student teachers and difficulty on the part of student teacher to manage his class effectively etc. It is against this that the researcher intends to examine the challenges of teaching practice exercise among students of Federal College of Education, Pankshin.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine the constraints of teaching practice exercise among students of Federal College of Education, Pankshin. The purposes of this study include the following:

  1. Find out the teaching skills student-teachers are exposed to before the teaching practice exercise.
  2. Find out the extent to which student-teachers are motivated during the teaching practice exercise.

3.Find out the challenges encountered during teaching practice exercise by student teachers.

1.4 Research Questions

            This research is guided by the following research questions:

1.What are the teaching skills student-teachers are exposed to before the teaching practice exercise?

  1. To what extent are student-teachers motivated during the teaching practice exercise?

3.What are the challenges encountered during teaching practice exercise by student teachers?

 1.5 Research Hypotheses

            The following research hypotheses were raised:

Ha: There is a significant relationship between constraints to teaching practice exercises and student-teachers’ effectiveness in Federal College of Education, Pankshin.

H0: There is no significant relationship between constraints to teaching practice exercises and student-teachers’ effectiveness in Federal College of Education, Pankshin.

1.6 Significant of the Study

The study will be of great importance to all education stakeholders and education generally in Nigerian society. The segments of the society that will benefit directly from the study are: student-teachers, teacher educators, curriculum experts, decision makers in education, school management, parents, state school based management committee, supervisors and other stakeholders.

The study will acquaint students in colleges with the challenges of the programme and the role they can play to surmount the challenges. This will help them to be better graduates that are well equipped with what it takes to face the realities of teaching. It will enable our Colleges and Universities to equip their students with the rudiments of teaching before sending them to teaching practice. It will also help to device means of removing the problems and thus modify the programme. The removal of these hindrances will also make for more effective organization and implementation of the programme.

In addition, the teacher educators (lecturers), will benefit from the findings of the study. This is because detecting the impact of teaching practice on student-teachers’ performance will improve the conduct, organization and evaluation of teaching in Nigerian Colleges of Education. The educators can use the findings of the study as an indispensable tool for creating rating scales for student-teachers during teaching practice.

Furthermore, the findings of this study will be of great help to curriculum experts who will be equipped with first-hand information on the impact teaching practice skills have on student-teachers’ performance in teaching practice. The curriculum experts can use the findings of the study for teacher training programmes, syllabus design, improvement of teaching methods and instructional materials utilization. The experts will be able to update the curriculum of teacher education to suit the needs, aspirations and interest of the student-teachers and the general public.

The study will be of benefit to school managers because it will help them in internal supervision of their teachers in the school. The findings will guide the supervisors to check whether the student teachers are applying the teaching skills appropriately in teaching and learning. Similarly, the ministries of education at both federal and state levels will benefit from findings of the study as it will help in easy monitoring and supervision of teaching and learning activities, curriculum planning and recruitment of teachers.

Moreover, state school based management committee will also benefit from the findings as it will guide them to check whether the teachers are applying skills like questioning, and reinforcement where applicable.

            Future researchers will benefit from these findings because the study will be as a reference for their research in the near future. Finally the findings of this study will benefit the general public because education is the key to building a society.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The study accessed the constraints to teaching practice exercise on student-teachers’ effectiveness in Federal College of Education, Pankshin. The study covered only 300 level student-teachers 2020/2021 academic session in Federal College of Education, Pankshin, Nigeria. Despite the fact that the study is limited to the selected college of education, its findings will be applicable to other colleges of education in the state and other parts of the country as a whole.

1.8 Definition of Term

Teaching practice: teaching practice is the training for teaching or any education work are engaged in a specified period of time on graduation under a supervisor or supervisor guiding, directing and assessing trainee teacher.

Student teacher: This is a student still undergoing teachers’ education, which is being sent out to school as part of his or her training in the college.

Constraints: These are challenges that militate against the effectiveness of a phenomenon. They hinder the smooth running of it.

Effectiveness: This refers to the positive influence of teaching practice on students.

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