STRATEGIES CONSIDERED EFFECTIVE FOR TEACHING JOB SKILLS BY ANAMBRA STATE SECONDARY SCHOOL BUSINESS TEACHERS
Background to the Study
Education and business forms the bedrock of any nation’s development. Effective teaching strategies must not be taken for granted if a nation can boast of being economically, technologically and educationally developed, Daniel (1998).
The inability of colonial system of education to solve Nigeria socio-economic problems including skills acquisition among our secondary school leavers in the 2oth century generated a lot of public outcry among stakeholders. This led to the birth of national policy on education which was instrumental to the introduction of business subjects in public secondary schools in Nigeria.
Today, researchers and scholars including Atuenyi (1999), Onifade (2007) as well as policy makers unanimously agreed that business education has a critical role to play in national development because of its job skills potentials. They also emphasized the need to shift from financial capital development alone to more of human capital development.
Eya (2007) observed that the practical approach to teaching job skills in secondary schools is a major missing link. He also stated that the solution does not lie only with the availability of qualified teachers and modern teaching facilities, but also the effectiveness of the strategies applied in teaching. Ezekwesili (2007) affirmed that the reforms in Nigeria education system were aimed at promoting functional education for life skills acquisition, job creation and poverty eradication
Business Education is defined by Anao (1986) as the sum total of knowledge, skills and attitude that are required for successfully promoting and administering business enterprise either as an employee or entrepreneur. In the same vein, Nwaokolo (1998) also summarized business education as business skills, attitude and knowledge acquired from secondary school and post secondary institutions for performing business operations of personal or corporate nature.
Business education at the junior secondary school level comprised of the following subjects being taught at pre-vocational level and as an integrated subject. They include:
(1) Introduction to Business Studies (Business Overview)
(2) Office Practice (Effective Office Practice)
(3) Commerce (The Heart of Business)
(4) Book-Keeping (Business Success)
(5) Shorthand (Skills for Business)
(6) Keyboarding/Typewriting (Communication Tool)
At the senior secondary level, business subjects are made up of the
following vocational subjects:
Whether at the junior or senior secondary level, the principal objectives of these subjects remain to bequeath the students with the relevant job skills, knowledge and attitude necessary for paid or self-employment as well as for higher education in business areas.
Job skills are those skills necessary for getting, keeping and doing well on a job (Robinson, 2010). Today, any youth without job skills is without a future and any business education programme which does not pay adequate attention to how students will acquire and practice job skills is not useful. Against this backdrop, Ohiwerei (2009) reported that as business education graduates complained about lack of jobs, companies complained of receiving lack of skilled applicants.
Some of the job skills inherent in business education are:
(1) Basic ICT skills (keyboarding, word processing, data management, internet operations etc)
(2) Entrepreneurial skills (Time management, marketing, basic accounting, micro-business management etc)
(3) Communication skills (written and verbal: ability to write a clear and concise sentences, reporting, presentation, telephone skills etc)
(4) Problem solving skills (creativity, practical, investigating, researching, analyzing, identifying/evaluating options etc)
(5) Interpersonal skills (leadership ability, delegating, team work etc).
As the acquisition of job skills for paid or self-employment is at the centre of business education and youth empowerment, job skill is not acquired by chance, it is planned, taught, learnt and practiced in a strategic manner especially in secondary schools. Some school of thought believed that the growing number of unemployed school leavers in Nigeria is not as a result of scarcity of jobs, but lack of skills. The high rate of unemployment in the country is so disturbing that parents have started to question the rational for sending their children to school.
In addition, the high rate of crimes and other social vices such as armed robbery, kidnapping, prostitution, political thuggery, human and drug trafficking etc, prevalent in Nigeria today were attributed to unemployment of our school leavers. In view of this, Nwachokor (2002) stated that business education is a formidable force in equipping youths with appropriate skills, knowledge, abilities and competencies to enable individuals to be gainfully employed or self employed, leading to sustainable economic growth and poverty eradication in our society. This shows that business education inculcates the necessary skills with which a person could be a paid employee or self-employed if effective strategies are used in teaching business subjects.
Teaching strategy is a method, step, means, approach or procedure of achieving the stated goals of education, Emeniru (1989). Okwuanaso and Nwazor (2000) stated that in teaching and learning situation, strategies are same as methods and procedures of teaching. Teaching strategies play very important role in the teaching and learning process. Effective strategies are also very crucial in teaching and learning job skills at secondary school level.
This is because the consequences of lack of effective teaching of job skills are devastating. For instance, lack of effective strategies in teaching job skills may result to poor or zero skills acquisition among school leavers. Poor or zero skills acquisition may result to unemployment. Joblessness on the other hand, results to poverty and social ills.
Agwu (2001), Uwameiye (2005) both observed that the teaching strategies adopted by most business education teachers are more of theory rather than practical and inquiry, and the type of teaching materials used are all outdated, therefore, no longer relevant for teaching in the present information technology era. They further stressed that most teachers are not after students’ participations and contributions in the class, but are concerned with covering their scheme of work. The type of strategy to be adopted by any teacher depends on the information or skills the teacher is trying to convey. A good teaching strategy or method must cater for the three major ways through which learning can be done, namely auditory, visual and kinesthetic. More so, a good teaching strategy must consider students’ background knowledge, environment and learning goals.
Mannison (2009) proposed six groups of instructional strategies for teaching job skills as follows:
(1) Direct Instructional Strategies: According to him, these strategies are highly teacher-centred and very effective for providing instructional information to students. Examples are; Lecture Method, Listen and Visualize Method, Programmed Instruction Method, Individualized Instruction Method, etc.
(2) Indirect Instructional Strategies: He defined this group as student-centred strategies which seek a high level of students’ involvement in observing, investigating, drawing inferences from data and forming hypotheses. Examples are: Inquiry Method, Assignments or Dalton Method, Questioning Technique, Read and Practice Method, etc.
(3) Interactive Instructional Strategies: He stated that interactive instructional strategies rely heavily on discussion and sharing among participants. Students can learn from peers and teachers, at the same time, develop social skills and rational thinking. Examples are; Discussion, Invitation of Guest Speakers/Resource Persons, Debates, Role play, Conferencing etc.
(4) Experimental Instructional Strategies: He described these Strategies as learner-centred and activity oriented. It involves personal and practical experience of the learner. Examples are; Field Trip, Office Visits, Workshops, Laboratory exposure etc
(5) Independent Instructional Strategies: He defined Independent strategies as a range of instructional methods which are purposefully provided to foster the development of individual student initiative, self-reliance and self-improvement. Examples are; Critical Thinking Method, E-learning, Project Method, Computer Assisted Instruction, etc.
(6) Materials/Visual Aid Strategies: This involves the use of instructional materials and visual aids in teaching and learning process. It enables the learner to learn through sight and sound. Examples are; Television, Video Tapes, Use of Textbook, Instructional Films, etc.
In business education, the major thrusts of effective teaching strategies according to Tema (2007) are:
(a) To deliver quality teaching and learning of business subjects in schools.
(b) To ensure employability of business education graduates
(c) To enhance status and attractiveness of business education programme. While the guiding principles that are considered major drivers of these strategies are: effectiveness, quality, accessibility, entrepreneurship, employability and sustainability. On this basis, Eya (2001) disclosed that the two major characteristics of a good and effective teacher are knowledge of the subject matter and the effectiveness of strategies used in dispensing such subject to the learner.
A good number of researchers and scholars in this area of study including Collins (1979), Daniel (1998), Atuenyi (1999), Agwu (2001), Ohakwe (2001), Ezeom and Afe (2004), Nwodo (2006) and Onifade (2007) all agreed that:
· No nation can rise above the quality of her teachers.
Effective teaching strategies are not receiving adequate attention from the teachers, school and education authorities as well as government.
· Teaching and learning of job skills in business education will continue to suffer a set back, and unemployment among school leavers with its social ills will also continue to soar if urgent steps are not taken to ensure effective teaching of job skills at secondary schools level.
Finally, Maduako (1996) warned that the mistake of a teacher is more devastating in effect to the future of any nation than those of doctors, engineers or lawyers. For instance, the mistake of a doctor may lead to the death of a patience, that of an engineer, may lead to the collapse of a bridge, and of a lawyer, someone may go to jail, but if a teacher makes a mistake in education, even generations yet unborn may suffer the consequences.
In view of the above scenario, the researcher considered it worthwhile to conduct a study on the effectiveness of the six groups of instructional strategies for teaching job skills in business education at secondary school level through the opinions of male and female, urban and rural, degree(s) and non-degree(s) as well as experienced and less experienced business teachers in Anambra State of Nigeria. This study would not have come at a better time than this. It is timely, necessary and the right steps in the right direction.
Statement of the Problem
One of the major observed flaws in the education system by parents, teachers, government etc is the absence of effective strategies for teaching job skills in business education at secondary school level not only in Anambra State but the whole nation. It was also to observed that the availability of teachers, provision of teaching facilities and equipment including computers in Anambra State schools does not seem to be matched with effective teaching strategies in order to impart the much needed job skills to the youths in schools.
Today, unemployment is not only ravaging the youths and future leaders of this country, but also poses one of the greatest challenge to the government and people of Nigeria. The growing rate of unemployed school leavers is so disturbing that parents have started to question the rational for sending their children to school. It was equally observed that young school leavers roam the streets of the cities and urban centres in Nigeria without job or any meaningful means of livelihood. Many of them get involved in crimes and other social vices, such as armed robbery, kidnapping for ransom, prostitution etc. thereby constituting nuisance to the society.
These school leavers are unemployed because they seem to lack the necessary skills for paid or self employment. Job skills in business education is not by chance, it is effectively planned, taught, learnt and practiced in a strategic manner especially at secondary school level. Unfortunately, effective teaching strategies which among others include direct, indirect, interactive, experimental, independent and materials/visual aid that could be employed to foster the teaching of job skills in business education at secondary school level and make the school leavers employable on graduation seem not to be properly indentified and utilized by business teachers in Anambra State and indeed, the entire country.
It is generally believed that if business education students are properly taught the requisite job skills before leaving schools, they should certainly acquire the desired job skills necessary for paid or self employment. Moreover, unemployment and poverty will be eradicated in our society. The problem of this study therefore, is on how to identify those instructional strategies which could best be used to impart the requisite job skills on business education students among the six groups proposed by Mannison (2009). They include direct, indirect, interactive, experimental, independent and materials/visual aid.
Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of this study is to determine from the view point of business teachers in Anambra State secondary schools, strategies considered effective for teaching job skills among the six groups of instructional strategies proposed by Mannison. This study will specifically seek to:
(1) Ascertain how effective business teachers in Anambra State consider direct instructional strategies for teaching job skills.
(2) Determine how effective business teachers in Anambra State consider indirect instructional strategies for teaching job skills.
(3) Find out how effective business teachers in Anambra State consider interactive instructional strategies for teaching job skills.
(4) Ascertain how effective business teachers in Anambra State consider experimental instructional strategies for teaching job skills.
(5) Determine how effective business teachers in Anambra State consider independent instructional strategies for teaching job skills.
(6) Find out how effective business teachers in Anambra State consider materials/visual aids strategies for teaching job skills.
Significance of the Study
The findings of the study will be of immense benefit specifically to business teachers, students, government, education authorities, researchers and many more stakeholders.
The findings of the study will spur business teachers to determine and use effective strategies in teaching job skills at secondary school level. It could also help the teachers to keep abreast with modern equipment, technologies and facilities that should be combined with effective teaching strategies to yield excellent results in teaching and learning job skills in secondary schools. They could also enhance the professional growth of the teachers and bring about interactive business classes through the use of student-centred strategies to improve the teaching and learning of job skills for the individual and national development. The findings could equally assist the teachers to overcome the obstacles in identifying and applying effective strategies in teaching job skills at secondary school level so that students will acquire the necessary job skills while in secondary school. In addition, many students will imbibe the culture and develop interest in entrepreneurship on graduation, thereby helping them to create jobs and eliminate unemployment in the society.
The findings of the study could attract the desired attention of the government and other relevant education authorities to the importance ofeffective strategies in teaching and learning job skills in schools. Government could use the outcome of the findings to design an effective training package for teachers as it concerns the effectiveness of strategies involved in teaching job skills in secondary schools. The findings could also assist the government in finding fundamental solutions to unemployment among school leavers. It may also no longer be necessary for the government to make extra budgetary provision for establishing skills acquisition centres, instead, use secondary schools that are more accessible to the youths as skills acquisition centres.
Finally, the findings could serve as a guide to researchers who would want to conduct further study on the effectiveness of strategies for teaching job skills at secondary school level in Nigeria and beyond.
Scope of the Study
There could be other strategies for teaching job skills in secondary schools, sequel to time and financial constraints, the researcher could not study beyond the six groups of instructional strategies proposed by Mannison (2009), viz: direct, indirect, interactive, experimental, independent and materials/visual aid strategies.
No effort was made to use items outside the above proposed six groups. Moreover, only public secondary school business teachers participated in the study.
The following research questions will guide the study:.