Attitude is important in all walks of life; of which the profession of teaching is no less important. This project assessed how the attitude of teachers influences the academic performance of pupils in Early Childhood Education. It is delimited to pre-primary schools in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos state. The sample population were 200 teachers selected from 10 pre-primary schools in the above-mentioned local government area. The Chi-square statistical tool was employed in data analysis. The following recommendations, among others, were made: The National Policy on Education should be reviewed to include among others the education of the Nigerian child from 0 – 2 years; The government should of necessity establish free pre-primary schools to cater for all Nigerian children of the required age; More Teacher Education Schools for the pre-primary should be established to produce the required number of teachers and steps should be taken to ensure adequate teacher preparation; A uniform curriculum geared towards the needs of Nigerian children from different backgrounds should be produced and its use should be enforced both in the government established schools and in the private schools; The school environment should be made conducive for teaching and learning by providing a well-motivated workforce with necessary equipment and facilities put in place; There should be adequate supervision to ensure the achievement of objectives.
1.1 Background to the Study
Teaching is both an art and a science. According to him, it is an instrumental, practical art rather than a fine-art. That is teaching "requires an improvisation, spontaneity, the handling of a vast array of considerations of form, style, pace, rhythm and appropriateness in ways, so complex that even computers must lose the way" (Anyanwu, 2000).
Tumble (2003) states that teaching process is too complex, with a nearly infinite variety of circumstances, subjects, student groups, and age groups to be reduced to simple, how-to-do-it recipes.
Gage (2004) opines that teaching can and should have a scientific basis. Science deals with relationships between both input (independent) variables and output (dependent) variables. According to Ernest (1990), a sizeable amount of good research has been carried out that relates teaching and administrative practices to students' achievement as well as motivation, attitudes and self-esteem.
Ideally, with emphasis on ideal, an effective, successful teacher would create a good academic atmosphere and good school attitudes, maintain high academic engagement and successfully manage the classroom to prevent inattentive, off-task and distruptive behaviour.
Realistically, however, misbehaviour will occur and the teacher must plan in advance for handling it (Berliner 2001). Children must be oriented to learn new material such as orientation by the teacher, often includes a review of home work, a review of previous materials and skills, an explanation of the purposes and objectives of the new material, and a statement of the relationship of the current lesson to previous material. Asubel (2005) says that such orientation or comments serve as advance organizers that help the children, easier to relate to what children already know and therefore more learnable.
There are many teacher characteristics and teaching patterns that correlate with higher children achievement and or improved school attitudes, that is, with effective teaching. Most relate to improvement of classroom climate, management and feedback and reinforcement practices, involvement in self improvement and improvement of other teaching practices that increase pupils engagement and content courage and improve organisation, structuring and clarity, expectations or children interest and motivation (Ayo, 2000).
The personality of the teacher matters a lot in the classroom. According to Musson (2004), personality of the teacher includes his emotion, motivation, values, goals and general ways of perceiving his environment, have become moulded up and processed through training that he can be relied upon as a teacher. This also includes method of conducting oneself that is, what one should do and what one should not do as a member of teaching professions.
According to Akande (1999) other qualities of the teacher that can affect his performance at work and pupils' academic achievement includes: Scholarship, cheerfulness, firmness, tolerance, democratic attitude, impartiability, loyalty, having the knowledge of the child's psychology, honest, self discipline, sociability, creativity, resourcefulness, neatness, good sense of homour, simplicity, adaptability etc. Beside all these, the teachers should have a command of theoretical knowledge about learning and human behaviour. He should possess the technical skills of teaching that facilitate students' learning achievement (Adeleke, 2002).
Furthermore, a teacher ought to display such attitudes that promote learning and good human relationship, and should have perfect mastery of facts of his subject matter as this will enhance his/her teaching and pupils’ academic achievement.
In the work of Gourneau(2005), he identified five attitudes of effective teachers which may affect pupils’ academic performance, they are:
1. Demonstrating Caring and Kindness
2. Sharing Responsibility
3. Sensitively Accepting Diversity
4. Fostering Individualized Instruction
5. Encouraging Creativity
Gourneau reiterated that the component of pupils’ academic performance that are influenced by teachers’ attitude should be tested, based on teachers’ possession on non-possession of the above-mentioned factors; and that is the theoretical framework that this study will adopt.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Attitude is an integral part of human character. According to Bartlett(2000), Good attitude is made up of attributes such as zeal, love for the job, and the desire to improve. In the teaching profession, these attributes cannot be overemphasized. The reverse of the above-mentioned attributes, which would be indifference, dislike for the job and lack of desire to improve, might, needless to say, have negative implications for the job. The problem of this study, therefore, is to investigate the implications of teachers’ attitude on the academic performance of pupils in early childhood education.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to find out teacher’s attitude on academic performance of pupils in early childhood education in Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Other specific objectives of the study are:
1. To identify the effects of teachers’ personality on academic performance
2. To identify basic teachers’ attitudes that enhance academic performance.
3. To identify the areas of teachers’ personality that needs to be improved upon.
4. To identify the aspects of teachers’ attitude that are detrimental to pupils’ academic performance.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions will be posed in this study.
1. What are the effects of teachers’ personality on academic performance?
2. What are the basic teachers’ attitudes that enhance academic achievement of pupils?
3. What are the areas of teachers’ personality that need to be improved upon?
4. What are the areas of teachers’ attitude that are detrimental to pupils’ academic performance?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
These hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study:
1. The lifestyle of teachers will not significantly influence the academic performance of pupils.
2. The negative character traits of teachers will not significantly influence the academic performance of pupils.
3. Teachers’ attitude to work will not significantly influence the academic performance of pupils.
1.6 Significance of the Study
1. Teachers would benefit from this study, because its findings and recommendations will direct them on how well to become an effective teachers with good characters. The findings of this study will equally help teachers to have better insight on the essence of good behaviour in the teaching profession.
2. This study will assist the upcoming researchers to carry out more work on the issues being treated in this study. Also researchers and readers would find this work very important because, it will serve as a reference material to their work.
3. Pupils would benefit from the findings and recommendations of this work because it would assist them to work hard, identify teachers perceived to be either good or bad in the school the recommendations of this study would help pupils/children to change their attitudes towards their studies.
4. The society will also benefit from this study immensely, including parents, the school administrators etc.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study covers teacher’s attitude on academic performance of pupils in early childhood education in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.8Definition of Terms
Teaching styles: It is an embracing concept referring to the teacher’s ways of getting pupils to learn through structured methodology.
Early childhood education: This means formal education that is received from 0 – 8 years.
Teaching effectiveness: The ability of the teacher to achieve the stated objectives at the end of the teaching.
Teaching techniques: Teacher’s ways or method of teaching.