AN ANALYSIS OF TEACHERS’ PERCEPTION OF THE SUPERVISORY BEHAVIOR OF SCHOOL INSPECTORS
1.1 Background to the Study
It is generally accepted that a major purpose of educational supervision is to help teachers improve instruction (Doll, 1983; Sergiovanni and Starratt, 1983). In the Nigerian school system, there are two popular types of educational supervisors, namely internal supervisors and executive supervisors.
Internal supervisors include head teachers of primary schools, principals and vice principals of secondary schools as well as heads of department, since they all perform supervisory functions in their schools (Obilade, 1989). External supervisors also called Inspectors of Education are those formally designated officers of the Federal and State Ministries of Education who are expected, as their primary responsibility, to inspect or supervise schools and work directly with teachers in order to improve the quality of instruction in schools.
The critical tasks of these external supervisors/inspectors, such as helping teachers improve instruction, curriculum development, and staff development require the ability to apply interpersonal skills. The fact that supervisors and teachers are interested in achieving the common purpose of improving instruction would lead one to expect them to relate cordially at the professional level. In reality, however, teachers and supervisors interact in terms of each group’s negative preconception of the other.
The concept of “supervision” was known as “inspection” which referred to the specific occasion when the whole school was examined and evaluated as a place of learning. Blumberg (1980) has described the working relationship between supervisors and teachers as “a private cold war”. This is how supervision was perceived by teachers. Whether teachers still perceive supervision in this way is what this study will investigate.
Supervision may be seen as a positive for programme improvement. Sergiovanni and Starrat (1983) defined Supervision as a set of activities and role specifications specially designed to influence instruction. This statement is supported by Martimore and Martimore (1991) who point out that appraisal is a continuous systematic and purposeful two-way communication between the appraisers and appraisees. From these definitions it can be seen that appraisal or instructional supervision refers to the improvement of instruction as well as teacher growth and the learning activities of the students.
Wiles and Lovell (1975) argue that teachers may view supervision or appraisal in different ways. Some may view it as a positive force for programme improvement, whilst some see it as a threat to the individuality of the teachers. Others still perceive it as a source of inspiration, assistance and support.
Jones (1993) points out that unless appraisal genuinely benefits the staff of the organization, there is little point in embarking on the scheme. Staff must feel that they are deriving some benefits from the process, rather than seeing it as mere paperwork or a superficial exercise. One may therefore conclude that appraisal should play a central role in the personal and professional development of teachers, as well as the development of the institution at large.
Basically, there are four (4) images of instructional supervision: these are the traditional scientific method image, the human relation image, the neo-scientific management and the human resources image of appraisal. All these images can be practiced at schools. Cogan (1973) gives another image of instructional supervision as the “… clinical supervision… in class supervision that proves powerful enough to give supervisors a reasonable hope of accomplishing significant improvement in the classroom instruction”. Clinical supervision refers to face-to-face contact of supervisors and teachers with the double intention of improving instruction in the classroom and of improving professional growth, which is a form of staff development.
Supervision of instructions takes place in the classroom and more widely in the school as an organization. Squelch and Lemmer (1994) emphasize the need to ensure that supervision takes place in a comfortable, non-threatening environment. The success of the supervisory programmes depends on the realization by both the supervisor and the teacher that supervision does not take place in a vacuum, but in an organization. The school is a complex and unique organization which has characteristics of both bureaucracy and professionalism. Hence, it is very important for teachers to be aware of this so that if certain supervisory activities are done in a bureaucratic style they can understand that it is all part of the official and accepted system.
Generally, classroom observation or supervision is seen as a way of gathering information for appraisal purposes. In this way, classroom supervision also improves the quality of children’s education by improving the teacher’s effectiveness. Jones (1993) also sees it as vital to look at what actually happens within the classroom. He also emphasizes the need to have an agreed criterion so as to avoid arbitrary judgment. Classroom observation appears to work best if set in a cycle of preparation, observation and feedback, hence the need for the appraiser and appraisee to work hand in hand before and even after the observation process. In a study of supervision and teacher satisfaction, Fraser (1980) says that “… the improvement of the teacher learning process was dependent upon teacher attitudes towards supervision”. Unless teachers perceive supervision as a process of promoting professional growth and student learning, the supervisory exercise will not have the desired effect. The need for discussing the lesson observed by the teacher and the supervisor is also seen as vital.
Kapfunde (1990) says that the teachers usually associate instructional supervision with the rating teachers. Wiles and Lovell (1995) state that teachers may perceive supervision as a worthwhile activity if supervisors give teachers security; by backing their judgment even though at times a teacher’s judgment can be wrong. Teachers must feel that the supervisor is more effective teachers. Cogan (1973) states that teachers seem to have some ambivalence about supervision because there is a “… dramatic contrast between a strong commitment to the principle of supervision and a stubborn, deep-seated distrust of direct supervisory intervention in the classroom”. However, Marks (1985) states that the concept of the educational supervisors has changed over the years. Teachers regarded traditional supervisors as inspectors, who came on a fault-finding mission to the teacher’s classroom. However, when this opinion is contrasted with modern supervision, some teachers manage to see the worthiness of the whole programme if the supervisors are democratic and fair (Cogan 1973). In education, the role of educators has undergone dramatic shifts in the recent past. Many teachers, especially student teachers and newly qualified teachers may not have the proper guide in teaching. Hence, the need for instruction in the classroom to be supervised. How these teachers perceive supervision is what this study will examine.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Since the attainment of independence in Nigeria 1960, the ministry of Education has introduced many policies. Some of them are as follows: Education for All (EFA); Vocational and Technical Education and introduction of more practical subjects, thus expanding the existing curriculum.
Educators find it difficult to manage all these educational changes. Although many in-service courses have been introduced coupled with some staff development courses at individual institutions, the need for classroom instructional supervision was seen as vital. Classroom instructional supervision was put in place to monitor the implementation of the new changes, to correct and practically adjust the new curriculum and also improve the education of both educators and students. The research therefore aims at finding out the perception of teachers about the supervisory behavior of school inspectors in secondary schools in Uhunwonde Local Government Area of Edo State.
1.3 Research questions
1. Is there any difference between the responses of male and female teachers about the perception of the supervisory behavior of school inspectors of education?
2. Is there any difference between the responses of experienced and non-experienced teachers about the perception of the supervisory behavior of school inspectors of education?
3. Is there any difference between the responses of teachers serving in rural and urban areas teachers about the perception of the supervisory behavior of school inspectors of education?
1.4 Research Hypotheses
In view of the research questions raised above, the following hypotheses were also raised:
HO1: There is no significant difference between the responses of male and female teachers about the perception of the supervisory behavior of school inspectors of education.
HO2: There is no significant difference between the responses of experienced and non-experienced teachers about the perception of the supervisory behavior of school inspectors of education.
HO3: There is no significant difference between the responses of teachers serving in rural and urban areas about the perception of the supervisory behavior of school inspectors of education.
1.5 Purpose of the Study
Educational activities need supervision and inspection to achieve educational objectives. Supervision and inspection are good machineries to up-grade teachers into required standard. Teachers need supervision and inspection to work harder no matter their level of experience and devotion. The supervisory behavior of school inspectors have been a major challenge to the achievement of this goal. In view of the important role of instructional supervision in education, this study therefore focused on the following:
I. To investigate teachers’ perception of the supervisory behavior of school inspectors.
II. To investigate the perception of male and female teachers about the supervisory behavior of school inspectors of education.
III. To investigate the perception of teachers serving in rural and urban areas teachers about the supervisory behavior of school inspectors of education.
IV. perception of experienced and non-experienced teachers about the supervisory behavior of school inspectors of education.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study will be of importance in the following ways: The study will be invaluable to Government as it will help it to initiate policies that will ensure that majority of school inspectors employed go for in-service training on new knowledge and skills on how to conduct successful school inspection and school inspectors who posses bossing style to teachers should be counseled. The study is also important to decision makers in the standard control and curriculum development of the Ministry of Education and Education Boards as it will also prove to be a repository of knowledge in the provision of sounder grasp of what teachers want and how the teachers perceive the supervisory activities. This study will help teachers express their views about supervision.
1.7 Scope and Delimitation
The research established the perception of teachers’ of instructional behavior of supervisors. The study focuses on the teachers in Uhonwonde Local Government Area of Edo State.
1.8 Definition of Terms
School inspection: School inspection is concerned with the improvement of standards and quality of education.
School Inspector: A school inspector is one who inspects; directs; advises; guides; refreshes, encourages; stimulates; improves; and over-see teachers and the instructional process.