ON THE ATTITUDE AND INTERACTIONS OF ACADEMIC STAFF TOWARDS EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND CONDUCT OF EXAMINATIONS
MAHBOOB ADEKILEKUN JIMOH
DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY
OSUN STATE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
PAPER PRESENTED AT A ONE-DAY WORKSHOP ON ETHICS OF TEACHING AND EXAMINATIONS ORGANIZED BY OSUN STATE COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, ILA-ORANGUN FOR THE ACADEMIC STAFF HELD ON 12TH SEPTEMBER, 2013. ON THE ATTITUDE AND INTERACTIONS OF ACADEMIC STAFF TOWARDS EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND CONDUCT OF EXAMINATIONS
Education is a powerful tool with which people of a country can be empowered through knowledge and skill acquisition in order to engender a functional society. Investment in education is so beneficial that it guarantees sustainable well-being of the citizens now and in the future. No country has ever climbed to stardom or development without qualitative and functional education. One important agent for providing quality education is the teacher who we train here. In a situation where we derelict our duties as teacher educators, the apprentice teachers under us would make jest of our system. This would even be a child’s play when they graduate into the larger labour market to compete with others from other climes. As such, we should take a cursory look and examine our attitude towards the training of these future teachers. This we can do when we consider how we teach them and conduct our examinations in various course offerings at theoretical and practical cum professional levels. The objectives of this paper are to:
1. examine our attitudes to teaching and identify whether we have justifiably teach the students as much as is professionally required; 2. examine our comportment and interactions during teaching whether we have lived up to the expectations of our learners/students; 3. re-orientate ourselves on the need to attain efficiency during teaching; 4. examine our attitudes to examinations. This covers both continuous assessments as well as end of semester examinations. It also entails our comportment during examinations and while examining (marking) our answer scripts; 5. ensure maintenance of high standard examination system as a panacea to academic and moral excellence in our College; 6. remind us about examination regulations involving both staff and students. It is not just adequate to have regulations for students and discipline them for breaches. There is a pertinent need to check-mate erring staff who do not conduct examinations as is required by the ethics of examination.
Attitude of Academic Staff to Teaching
Teaching by an academic staff worth the calling begins with preparation towards this important activity. Many of us are of the opinion that it is only teachers in primary, secondary or even teachers-in-training that prepare for teaching through writing and usage of lesson plan. A large number among us do not prepare for the topic we are to teach even as this may have been incorporated in the course materials already given to the students. Some merely go to lecture halls/rooms to read the course materials verbatim along with some measure of business activity. Doing this is largely unwholesome and is bereft of teaching ethics. An academic staff is expected to live above board as a lecturer. He should prepare ahead of the class by properly going through the topic for presentation whether or not it is in a course material with the learners. He or she should give additional information to whatever that is contained in students’ course material in terms of in-depth explanations imbued with experiential touch and matters that can bring about change of behaviour (which is learning) and which will make the course being taught impact on the lives of individuals. This will, in no small way, influence the society. An educationist said that the best assessment of the performance of a teacher lies in the amounts and usefulness of his teaching after he/she must have left the classroom or completed the course. Related to the above is classroom management. This aspect is related to how we also expect these apprentice teachers to manage their classrooms during teaching practice. A peep into a lecture hall with a lecturer inside have revealed bizarre outlook that is anything but effective classroom management. Students would sit on desks on which they should write, putting their dirty feet on the benches. A lot rests on us to address this situation. At this junction, we need to assess our mode of lesson presentation. Are we methodical about it?. Do we organize our ideas and issues in logical order? Do we proceed from simple to complex? What about pedagogy? Is the best one for the topic for discussion identified and used? After each major issue, we should allow students to participate in the class. This we can do by sequential evaluation questions to ensure students are following the course of the lesson. It is necessary to summarize our presentation, however short this can be. This, as usual, is a brief and short recapitulation of what was taught. This may be what some students will hang on to go and follow up the presentation. This should also be followed by some evaluation questions. We may not have an opportunity to do a general last class revision. If we indulge in the habit of giving evaluation questions after every lesson, our students will know us for this. We may use such to prepare for quizzes and tests as measures of continuous assessment as well as what students call for, after completing the course – AOC (Area of Concentration).
Interaction with Students during Classroom Delivery
Lecturers should ensure that they create friendly classroom environment which can make us command the attention of the students we teach. This is largely a function of how we relate with the students. In this regard, we should not be jesters in the classroom. Neither should we be business men! But we should punctuate our lessons with some input that will make the class lively from time to time. Even with the use of course materials, let us engage the students in some jottings and taking down of some salient issues. This is only additional information to contents of course materials consequent upon advance preparations. As much as possible, we should maintain eye contact with our students. Their number not withstanding, doing this will enable us check their excesses and unwholesome engagement inimical to progress of lesson. Where some students are paying attention and others are involved in irrelevant extraneous activities, there will be divided loyalty in the class. It takes an interacting teacher to put this under check.
Attitude of Academic Staff to Examinations
Issues relating to this were discussed during the previous workshop on examinations. Bringing this up again is to serve as reminder, knowing full well that another examination is just around the corner. This time around, attention will be on College examination regulations, examination irregularities, student examination misconduct, staff examination misconduct and disciplinary measures for both staff and students. These are produced for you to keep you aware of these stipulations. This is because many academic staff considers these, as contained in the College Students Hand Book, as matters pertaining to students only. The other side to it is why do we have sections 8.3, 8.5 and 8.6.2 pertaining to students? For the avoidance of doubt, let us go through these sections together in order to guide the discharge of our duties as chief invigilators and invigilators. I want to express my profound appreciation to punctual and active invigilators. Many cases considered by the Students’ Disciplinary Committee, bordering on irregularities and misconduct during examinations, are pointers to dedication to duty by these astute academic staff. When we go for invigilation, let us be there punctually. Through experience over the years, we would have realized that for an examination to commence at the stipulated hour (9.00am, 12.00 noon or 3.00pm), it is necessary that a duty-conscious invigilator ought to be at the examination venue not less than thirty minutes before the hour. This will enable assessment of number of candidates, sitting arrangement, adequacy of venue and sourcing for additional venue if need be. Let us all within ourselves imagine the situation of an indolent, invigilator coming after the hour. I also want to commend the efforts of observant invigilators. Revelations have shown that students have novel devices for preparing examination malpractices. How do you place writing into examination hall with dull (inkless) pen which an unsuspecting invigilator may only perceive as a paper to do rough work! Detecting cheats who write on palms, thighs and clothing materials, all take vigilance. Kudos to invigilators who detect these. They are helping immensely to sanitize our examination system in spite of our numerous challenges. An act of examination malpractice that is vastly spreading is the use of mobile phones, i-pads, i-pods, Bluetooth devices, e.t.c. Our examination regulation prohibited use of all these electronics gadgets. We should not spare any student which fails to put away his/her phone during examinations. The rule is that they should not bring it to the examination hall at all. Famakinwa (2013), in our previous workshop, states “Mobile phones should not be brought into exam room under any condition. If it is necessary to bring a mobile phone into the exam room, all alarms must be disabled and the phone switched off. If a student’s phone causes a disturbance during exam, the bag in which the phone is kept should be removed from the exam room at the students risk and action should be taken against such erring student”. It is necessary to highlight some unethical and unwholesome attitudes and actions of some invigilators before, during and after examinations. These are as enumerated by Fakayode (2013): 1. Absence of invigilator without due permission or with wrong or flimsy excuses; 2. Unauthorized swapping by invigilators;
3. Lateness to examination venues;
4. Low-level of cooperation with the chief invigilator;
5. Wrong delegation of authority by the chief invigilator;
6. Care-free attitude of examination monitors - Deans and Directors; 7. Paying little or no attention to invigilation and supervision; 8. Stopping and/or coercing candidates to stop examination before the stipulated time; 9. All forms of discussion that are not relevant to the examination that is underway during invigilation such as political talk, social matters, sports, religious issues and concerns, family matters, sundry departmental/school matters etc, all of which that can take attention of invigilators away; 10. Undue victimization of candidates during invigilation;
11. Marking answer scripts by invigilators while on supervision duty; 12. Leaving examination hall during or immediately after examinations without permission from the chief invigilator; 13. Receiving phone calls, which disturb candidates during examinations. Invigilators are expected to put their phones off or in vibration/silent mode; 14. Irrelevant comments on candidates’ scripts. If they commit exam irregularity, subject them to trial; 15. Illegal and unauthorized seizure of candidates’ scripts; 16. Not waiting for packing of examination materials after examinations; 17. Wrong packing of answer scripts;
18. Undue sending out of candidates from examination hall without informing the chief invigilator; 19. Undue interference in disciplinary matters due to sentiments; 20. Aiding and abetting examination malpractices;
21. Careless handling of examination materials such as answer scripts, attendance list (used and unused) etc.
Our students will learn if we teach them well and if we stick to the ethics of our profession. A well administered examination will add value to the certificates they take from the College. We should realize that these students will, at a later time, come to terms with what we are training them on. As future teachers who will be saddled with the nation’s educational system, we should play our roles in their qualitative preparation in the face of all odds.
Fakayode, S.A. (2013) “Ethics of Examination Invigilation: Implications for both Staff and Students”. Paper presented at a Workshop for all Examination Stakeholders in Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun, held on 5th March. Famakinwa, S.A. (2013) “The Need for Effective Conduct of Examination in Nigeria”. Paper presented at a Workshop for all Stakeholders in Osun State College of Education, Ila-Orangun, held 5th March.