EFFECT OF TEACHERS GENDER ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE
Background of the Study
Agriculture is the mainstay of economic growth and development of many developing countries including Nigeria. English adapted the word agriculture from Latin. Hornby (2012) viewed agriculture as simply a science, art or practice of farming. Livinus (2011) defined Agriculture as the human activity of cultivating crops and plantations for production of food and goods such as fibers, biofuels and animal feed. Agriculture is importance for the development of the nation because of its primary role in food production. Food is one of the basic needs of man. The development of the Nigerian economy will
therefore depend on the development and growth of the agricultural sector Tomori
Osinem (2008) opined that agriculture is a science and systems which involve the cultivation of crops and rearing of animals for man’s use. The researcher described agriculture as the science and systems which involve the cultivation of crops, rearing of animals, raising poultry birds and aquatics for both man and industrial use.
This science and systems of crop cultivation can be achieved through agricultural education. Agricultural practices have been the main activity of Nigerians, employing about 70 percent of the population before the oil boom. Today, about 60 percent of the Nigerian population is employed in agriculture in one form or the other (Alkali, 2010). This fact has influenced the educational policy and practice of the country. In order to achieve this policy objective, agricultural science has been made compulsory at senior secondary school level.
Federal ministry of education (FME, 2007) stated that the objectives of agricultural science are to stimulate and sustain students’ interest, to enable students acquire useful knowledge and practical skills, to prepare students for studies and occupations in agriculture. These objectives might not be realized with the current traditional approach of teaching and learning in operation.
Gbore (2013) further stretched that teachers’ role in the preparation of students to succeed in examinations cannot be undermined. There has been significant noticeable difference in the proportion of male to female science teachers in the country, Agricultural Science in particular. In Ekiti state public secondary schools for instance, statistics show that male Agricultural Science teachers constitute the larger proportion of 76.47% while female constitute about 23.53% (Ekiti state teaching service commission, 2014). Gender gaps in educational outcomes are a matter of real and growing concern.
A phenomenon in the school system that has been rather disturbing is the fact that despite the clamour for gender equality treatment and advancement in teaching and learning of science, boys and girls do not seem to e level of academic achievement in the teaching and learning of science and Agricultural Science in particular. Okoro, Ekanem and Udoh (2012) cited Ammermueller and Dalton (2006) that large literature existed on the difference between the academic achievement of boys and girls.
Academic achievement or performance is used in the school to refer to students’ success in learning specified curriculum content as revealed by continuous assessment and examination. According to Adediwura and Tayo (2007), academic achievement is designated by test and examination scores or marks assigned by the subject teachers. It could also be said to be any expression used to represent students’ scholastic standing. Levin, Wasanga and Somerset (2011) reported that the academic achievement of students at secondary school level is not only a pointer of the effectiveness of schools, but also a major determinant of the well-being of youths in particular and the nation in general. Yusuf and Adigun (2010); Lydiah and Nasongo (2009) noted that the performance of students in any academic task has always been of special interest to the government, educators, parents and society at large.
According to Ali (2013), academic achievement is a measure of the degree of success in performing specific tasks in a subject or area of study by students after a learning experience. It is the outcome of education that indicates how well a student or class of students is doing academically.
Gender as a concept, is socially and culturally determined. This means that people’s perception, ideas, values and expectation about masculinity and feminism are created, influenced and determined by culture and socialization. Thus gender is an analytic concept which projects or stresses the cultural responsibilities of men and women (masculine and feminine) in a given society.
Gender differences have become critical issues of concern around the world most especially to educators and researchers. Hansman, Tyson and Zahidi (2009) reports that there is no country in the world that has yet reached equality between women and men in different critical areas such as in economic participation or education. This is also evident from the reports of Okebukola (2002) in a study titled “beyond the stereotype to new trajectories in science teaching”, Longe and Adedeji (2003) in their study on increasing girls access to technical and vocational education in Nigeria, Yoloye (2004) in the study on increasing female participation in science and Ezirim (2006) in the study on “scaling up girls participation in science education: towards a score card on quality education” asserts that gender has impact on science education.
Francis (2007) in his study on student and teacher related variables as determinants of secondary school students academic achievement in chemistry affirms that teacher’s gender has direct effect of students’ achievement in chemistry. Francis (2012) opined that teacher’s gender has significant effect on achievement mean scores of pupils in science; male teachers were more effective than their female counterparts.
According to Kathryn (2013), teachers’ unconscious gender biases can produce stereotypic explanations for students’ success and participation in the classroom. Teachers view male students’ domination of the classroom and their time as typical masculine behavior. Kathyn (2013) affirms that gender bias can occur within subject areas and school activities. For example, in subject such as Mathematics and sciences, there are different participation patterns for girls and boys that boys are naturally better at mathematics and science than girls. Teacher unconscious stereotyped gender bias that boys are smarter than girls, especially in mathematics and the science, meant they were willing to work with boys to reach capable of achieving that goal but girls were not. Conversely, teachers of subjects perceived as feminine will spend more time engaged with girls.
Thomas (2006) in a study on how a teacher’s gender affects boys and girls affirms that one theory asserts that the teacher’s gender shapes communication between teacher and pupil, while another says the teacher acts as a gender-specific role model, regardless of what he or she says or does. According to this second theory, students are more engaged, behave more appropriately, and perform at a higher level when taught by me who shares their gender. Girls have better educational outcomes when taught by women and boys are better when taught by men (Thomas, 2006).
In Nigeria, in spite of the enormous role that Agricultural Science plays in national development and the efforts of government and other stakeholders at improving science education, Agricultural Science results in the examination conducted by most certified examination bodies like the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and National Examinations Council (NECO) have not been satisfactory. This study therefore intends to examine the teacher gender and its effects on the performance of students in Agricultural science, a case study of selected secondary schools in Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti state .
Statement of Problem
Educators continually search for more effective ways to engage their students during learning as well as to increase student learning outcomes. This has led to an urgent need to improve the quality of education through the determining various factors affecting students’ academic performance including teachers’ gender.
According to Alkali (2010), Agricultural science which is one of the compulsory subjects offered in secondary schools in Nigeria, seems not to have yielded a positive outcome in the way it is being delivered to students. In Nigerian educational system, agricultural science is mostly taught by equal number of male and female teachers.
This study intends to determine the teacher gender and its effects on the performance of students in Agricultural science, a case study of selected secondary schools in Ado Local Government Area of Ekiti state.
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