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Workshop on improved teaching methods in Tertiary Institutions

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  • Thursday, 15 November 2018 00:00

REPORT ON THE 2-DAY WORKSHOP ON IMPROVED TEACHING METHODS IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES ORGANISED BY AFE BABALOLA UNIVERSITY (ABUAD), ADO-EKITI ON FRIDAY 6TH AND SATURDAY 7TH JANUARY, 2012.

1.0 INTRODUCTION

In line with the founding philosophy of Afe Babalola University, to blaze the trail in the development and promotion of quality university education in Nigeria, the Founder, the Vice-Chancellor and other management staff of the University, successfully organized the second edition of the workshop on ‘Improved Teaching Methods in Nigerian Universities’, on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th January, 2012.

OVERVIEW

The workshop participants were drawn from within and outside the University. Participants include leading academics and researchers in Nigerian and foreign universities who presented papers at the forum. Participants also include ABUAD academic staff and students who were involved in the interactive session, as well as other interested individuals. Indeed, more than five hundred participants engaged in various activities of the workshop. The workshop was aimed at improving teaching methodologies and techniques to foster knowledge generation, storage and transmission in the nation’s universities. The workshop is also a manifestation of ABUAD’s vision of becoming a pacesetter, dedicated to the promotion of academic excellence and committed to reversing falling standards in the quality of university education in Nigeria. The specific objectives of the workshop were to:

  • Appraise participants with recent scholarship and key elements in teaching methodologies;
  • Examine the relative and complementary  roles of teaching pedagogy and methodology across disciplines;
  • Elaborate critical issues associated with effective teaching and the enhancement of the learning process;
  • Spotlight best practices and emergent models that are key to effective teaching and learning;
  • Provide a platform for the exchange of views and networking opportunities between academics, researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders in the education sector.

2.0 PRESENTATIONS AND DISCUSSIONS

The Workshop commenced on the Friday 6th January, 2012 with welcome remarks by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sidi Osho. This was immediately followed by the Opening Address by the Founder and President of ABUAD, Aare Afe Babalola.

In his opening address, The Founder drew a distinction between standard of education and quality of education in Nigeria. He remarked that the fact that Universities in Nigeria maintain the standards set for it by statutory regulatory bodies does not mean that there is guaranteed delivery of quality education. He went further to identify the yardsticks for quality education, which include a conducive environment, impressive structures, modern teaching facilities, good and receptive students and quality teachers. Subsequently, ten plenary sessions were held during the 2-day event.

All presentations were followed by questions, comments, and suggestions.

The first Guest Lecturer, Professor Hakeem Tijani, presented a lecture on “Teaching Pedagogy and Methodology across Disciplines.”  The Guest Lecturer highlighted the imperatives of inclusion in teaching pedagogy, and methodology.  He posited that teaching is best approached through a value-based philosophy deeply rooted in the Vision and Mission of the teacher’s own institution.  He shared his experience on teaching Pedagogy and methodology particularly in foreign Universities, where recruitment of faculty members features an elaborate process, with the new faculty member undergoing rigorous recruitment exercise, particular teaching skills, evaluation of student’s performance, as well as interviews with senior academics, including Professors, HOD and Dean of the faculty.

The Guest Lecturer also contextualized faith as a key mechanism that connects with the University Vision and Mission.  Among other things, preparation was identified as key for the success of a good teacher particularly in the management of a classroom.  The Guest Lecturer further identified faith in a religious context, as a factor that motivates the teacher and that also influences his teaching style, lesson cycle, text selection and syllabi.  While ensuring students access to quality education, faith brings to fruition the expectations between the instructor and the students.  He further asserted that the faith of the instructors and administrators should influence the curriculum and environment of the institution.  The Guest Lecturer reinforced his ideas with experience frown from the Baylor University Model also known as BU1000, which is an infusion of the University’s Vision and Mission into the lecturer’s approach to teaching and the pursuit of knowledge by his students.  The Guest Lecturer added that at Adeleke University, the Model was developed and adopted as Student Life Seminar in which lecturers engage with students for the transfer of knowledge critical to the transformation of students.  Therefore the model embraces effective teaching and retooling the teaching pedagogy critical to the success of lecturers.

The Guest Lecturer identified pedagogy as a concept that embraces critical thinking in the classroom both on the parted of the teacher and his students.  The concept assists in knowledge synthesis, learning and evaluation of student performance.  Consequently, the Guest Lecturer admonished that lecturers should engage students in activities that embrace interactive techniques, dialogue, testing and culminate in the development of partnerships with students in order to enhance both teaching and learning.  Effective teaching, according to the Guest Lecturer, needs to integrate local examples and methodologies with global best practices.  Also, effective teaching techniques embrace innovation and creativity in the dispensing of knowledge.  It also motivates and challenges students to maximize learning.

The Guest Lecturer suggested critical steps that ABUAD can adopt to transform teaching pedagogy and methodology.  This includes orientation for new faculty; exposure to novel techniques to foster transfer of knowledge, as well as management of the classroom to enhance face-to-face and online teaching techniques, including the case of social media.  The University was also encouraged to sign MOUs across disciplines involving lecturers and other stakeholders in the University to promote teaching and learning.

Dr Femi Akinwunmi, presented the second lecture, titled, ‘Planning and Managing Teaching Methodology in Higher Institutions.  The Guest Lecturer began his presentation by addressing the question earlier posed by the Founder of ABUAD: Who is a teacher?  The Guest Lecturer defined a teacher as an individual who has a passion for the profession.  Among other things, the Guest Lecturer, emphasized that a teacher should master his subject; be a good listener and be objective in his approach to teaching and learning.  In order to foster effective teaching, according to the Guest Lecturer, a teacher must take into account the socio-economic background of his students.  This is identified as key to the approach the teacher needs to adopt in relating with his students.

The Guest Lecturer also elaborated on the imperatives of quality as a key concept that drives effective learning.  According to the Guest Lecturer, quality is a multi-layered and often complex concept, which defines an outcome, property or process.  He therefore posited that quality, teaching techniques transform students’ perception and the way they apply knowledge to the real world.  It is therefore key to maximizing student performance.

 

The Guest Lecturer subsequently discussed planning of lectures.  Lesson planning, according to the Guest Lecturer, is a core skill, which is part of professional preparation.  As part of a detailed elaboration, the Guest Lecturer emphasized that a Planned Instructional Procedure or teaching method should address pertinent issues, including adjustment for students with differed abilities; encouragement of students to be continuously involved in learning activities; adequacy of the curriculum; monitoring of student progress; adequate assistance to students with special needs, as well as consolidation and integration of skills.

The Guest Lecturer went further to identify the 4Ps of the teaching model as follows: Planning, Preparation, Presentation and         Practice. The lecturer elaborated the critical contribution each P makes to the effective teaching and learning. The Guest Lecturer also discussed the seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. They are:

1)      Encourages contact between students and lecturers

2)      Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students

3)      Encourages active learning

4)      Gives prompt feedback

5)      Emphasizes time and task

6)      Communicates high expectations

7)      Respects diverse talents and ways of learning

The Guest Lecturer further offered some tips on the direct methods of teaching to include tests, assignments, projects, examinations, field work and oral examinations.  Such other indirect methods, he suggested, include syllabuses, scheme of work, lesson notes and questionnaire.

The Third Lecture, titled, ‘Fundamentals of Effective Teaching,’ was presented by Professor Olufemi Olowolafe.  The Guest Lecturer elaborated the three major components of the academic profession consisting of teaching, research and service.  He traced the history of the teaching profession, which is as old as the ancient civilizations.  In the opinion of the Guest Lecturer, priests and prophets were the first teachers, who engaged in teaching the children of the aristocratic class.  Regular employment of teachers later began with the Greek and Roman Civilizations.

In contemporary times the quest for excellence has become a global concern, particularly in tertiary educational institutions.  The Guest Lecturer discussed the imperatives for effective teaching as a mechanism to sustain learning.  Academics entering the teaching profession are challenged to understand the fundamental differences between a good teacher and a bad one.  Generally, a good teacher would be on alert to address negative issues that may threaten his success, including Reading lecture notes, with rare eye contacts with students, a threat to low grades and Rushing the lectures with the attitude of “just get me out of here.”

According to the Guest Lecturer, the most important issues to address are the motivation of students and the need for the teacher’s enthusiasm; not necessarily the subject matter.  Among other things, Lecturers are admonished to organize courses into chapters/outlines; introduce textbooks and other references for the course; define goal and objectives and state class expectations.

The Guest Lecturer provided a detailed outline on the approach as for effective teaching beginning from 2 months preceding the start of the course.  Pertinent activities expected of lecturers include all actions necessary for effective delivery of lecturers in a manner that stimulates learning.

The Lecturer identified lecturing as possibly the oldest teaching method as it proves to be as efficient and effective as other methods.  The advantages of lecturing include its ability to harness up-to-date information; it assists students to focus on important aspects of the course; it stimulates enthusiasm and further learning; and allows the teacher to demonstrate enthusiasm, interest and attitude critical to motivating students.

The Lecturer examined in detail the structuring of effective lectures, which embraces the introduction; body of the lecture; periodic summaries within the lecture; and conclusion where the lecturer recaps the major points as a roadmap to the next lecture.

Finally, the Guest Lecturer acknowledged the emergence of computer-based technologies, which have revolutionized contemporary teaching and learning approaches.  Among other things, the Guest Lecturer elaborated the imperatives of the internet as a critical tool for effective teaching and learning.  Equally important are compact discs and other storage materials necessary for harnessing knowledge. His paper, in submission, provided the best reference in developing an effective teaching methodology guide.

The Fourth Lecturer, Professor Olusola Akindutire, centered his lecture on ‘Improving the Development of Instructional Materials through Research for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning Process.’  The Guest Lecturer identified teaching aids as key tools critical to facilitating teaching and learning.  The Guest Lecturer defined some key concepts necessary to understanding the process of teaching and learning.  Teaching was defined as a process of imparting knowledge through instruction, while learning refers to acquisition of knowledge.

The Guest Lecturer identified the Perceptual Mode Concept as a key mechanism critical to learning, as humans often retain very little proportion of what they hear.  Consequently, instructional materials are applied to aid the learning process.  In this context, the perceptual mode is a means by which the learner becomes aware of situations around him.

The Guest Lecturer amplified the contributions of human sensory organs critical to learning, including the Eye (for sight); the Ear (for sound); the Nose (for smell); the Tongue (for taste) and Skin (for touch).

The Guest Lecturer discussed the theoretical background that underpins the use of instructional materials for effective teaching and research.  This includes the Stimulus-Response theory as well as the law of exercise and effects; where frequent and recently performed activities tend to be repeated.  In this context, the more a response is used, the stronger it is associated with original conditions that elicited it.  Instructional materials were further identified as critical tools necessary for bringing about effective learning.  According to the Guest Lecturer, they are instruments and devices for passing information about learning experiences to prospective learners.

The Guest Lecturer also emphasized the need to develop different types of instructional materials through research because of the need to improve on techniques that aid learning.  There is also the need to embrace emergent technologies that transform teaching and learning.  Various instructional materials are also identified as critical to contemporary teaching and learning, including: Multimedia packages; power point presentation; Chalk and Talk; textbooks and handout; teaching manual and E-learning.

Challenges:  The Guest lecturer identified challenges in Universities: Non-availability of electricity supply; inadequate funding; lack of handling expertise; etc.

 

After the fourth lecture, practical teaching demonstration classes

The first practical teaching lecture was delivered by Barrister S. Olarinde. The topic of her lecture was ‘Double Deck Marriage in Nigeria’. She identified the basic legal principle to be that which can be created legally between a male and female who possess legal capacity to marry and who comply fully with all formal requirements.  The Guest Lecturer also indicated the legal effect of statutory marriage which is a special contract that creates status (married) and confers on the spouses’ rights and obligations that are specific to the status of husband and wife of a monogamous marriage, such as right to consortium, right to maintenance, right to live in the matrimonial home.

Comments and assessments conducted after her demonstration teaching by the invited Guest Lecturers and the students showed that her lecture was well understood. But certain areas for improvements were also noted.

The second practical teaching lecture was delivered by Professor I. O. Orubuloye on ‘Introduction to Sociology’. He commenced by stating hints on effective teaching methods. He went further to define Sociology as the scientific study of the society. It is a fusion of Greek & Latin (Socius – Society & Logos (study at a very high level), thus it is a high level study of society. He also said that sociology deals with the study of everyday situations, such as Relationships which could be established by chance, a member of a society/community could also be a father at home and owes obligation to the society and his home.  In church, we perform certain roles and build relationships; Thus Sociology is seen as the scientific study of all these relationships.

Comments and assessments conducted after his demonstration teaching by the invited Guest Lecturers and the students showed that his lecture was well understood and provided the best classroom outline.

 

The third practical teaching lecture was delivered by Dr. Yekini Lawal and the lecture centered on Motivation. He defined motivation as a process that elicits controls and sustains certain behaviors. The importance of motivation involves the performance of all learned responses. The Guest Lecturer further identified the intrinsic and extrinsic concepts of motivation. The intrinsic concept refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself and exists within the individual rather than relying in any external pressure. The extrinsic motivation refers to the performance of an activity of the individual. Examples are money and grades, coercion and threat of punishment.

Comments and assessments conducted after his demonstration teaching by the invited Guest Lecturers and the students showed that his lecture was well understood and can be adjudged as an example of best practical teaching, with his class control and class movement. Certain areas for improvements were also noted.

The fourth practical teaching lecture was delivered by Mr. David Bodunde and the lecture was on ‘Security and Intelligence’. He identified the importance of intelligence from pre-modern times till present day, emphasizing the role of ancient soothsayers in pre-modern intelligence. He further noted that the application of modern intelligence has revolutionized intelligence in areas of ultra project, use of enigma machine, space orbiting, human intelligence and such like.

Comments and assessments conducted after his demonstration teaching by the invited Guest Lecturers and the students showed that his lecture was well understood. But certain areas for improvements were also noted.

The fifth practical teaching lecture was delivered by Mr. A. Osasona. The topic for the lecture was ‘Chemical Reactions’. He noted that chemical reactions occur when a substance is converted from one form to the other. He further identified the different types of chemical reaction to include combination reaction which occurs when two or more elements combine to form one compound and Decomposition reactions which occurs when a single compound breaks up to produce two or more substances. The Double Decomposition, the Guest Lecturer identified involves the combination of two soluble substances to produce one insoluble and one soluble product. Radicals for instance, are exchanged in double decomposition.

Comments and assessments conducted after his demonstration teaching by the invited Guest Lecturers and the students showed that the lecture was well understood. But certain areas for improvements were also noted.

 

The sixth practical teaching lecture was delivered by Miss F. Adefolaju. The topic of her lecture was ‘Set Theory’. She defined a set as a collection of well defined objects. It is also the collection of things that are alike or form a unit. Sets are conventionally denoted with capital letters. She further gave the two ways of describing the members of a set. These are by intentional definition and by listing each member of the set, done by enclosing the list of elements in curly brackets. The Guest Lecturer further gave insight into the types of sets under elementary mathematics. These include finite set, infinite set, power set, universal set and single set. At the end of the class, an assignment was given against the next class.

Comments and assessments conducted after her demonstration teaching by the invited Guest Lecturers and the students showed that her lecture was well understood. But certain areas for improvements were also noted.

 

3.0 COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Participants noted the following challenges associated with teaching and learning in Nigerian universities.

ü  Lack of an enabling environment prevailing in the classroom undermines both teaching and learning in most universities.

ü  Inadequate funding of the education sector, particularly during the long era of military rule, accelerated falling standards and spurred brain drain.

ü  Low morale among academic staff us a major factor for the low ranking of Nigerian universities by the global ranking bodies.

ü  Academic curricula in many Nigerian universities have become inadequate and sometimes irrelevant in grooming professionals for the nation’s public and private enterprises.

ü  Academic staff in many Nigerian Universities lacks the exposure to novel teaching tools and methodologies critical to fostering knowledge generations, storage and dispersion.

 

4.0 ABUAD TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

At the end of the plenary sessions, the Founder and President, ABUAD, Aare Afe Babalola gave a lecture on the ABUAD teaching philosophy. He noted that the philosophy of ABUAD is to produce graduates who will compare favorably with their counterparts from reputed Universities like Harvard, Yale, Stamford, Oxford or Cambridge. Given the conducive environment, attractive and impressive structures, intelligent students who are willing to learn, use of modern teaching facilities and quality teaching, he sees ABUAD achieving this feat in no distant time.

The Founder emphasized the need to have teachers who teach purposely to ensure that the students assimilate what they teach by using the most modern method of teaching which would enable the students assimilate and learn and be prepared to do research. He suggested that teachers in ABUAD must identify and implement the most applicable teaching methodology and adapt it to meet the ever-changing dynamics of tertiary learning and apply what they learn to solve problems and expand knowledge.

While noting that is impossible to have a uniform approach in teaching students, considering the diversity in human nature, the Founder therefore suggested the following as a means towards ensuring quality education:

  1. A good teacher must know his peculiar characteristics and learn to make himself audible and likeable.
  2. You must try to know your students possibly by name.
  3. Ascertain the ability of your students and categorize them
  4. Know the subject matter thoroughly and update your knowledge.
  5. Prepare your notes of lesson and power points in advance.
  6. Ensure that you do all you can to make the students interested in your subject.
  7. Introduce the course to the students at the beginning.
  8. More home work should be given to out to students so as to reduce emphasis on final examination.
  9. Interact with students throughout the lesson.

10.  Give analogy/examples to make your teaching lively.

11.  Give assignments to the students at the end of each lesson.

12.  Prepare them for tutorial at the end of each lesson.

13.  Give additional reading books.

14.  Give the next topic to the students to work on before the next lecture.

15.  Move around the class and avoid staying in the front of the class all the time.

16.  Avoid chorus answers.

17.  Take full control of the class

18.  Learn to use interactive board.

19.  Check your microphone which must be wireless microphone.

 

The foregoing, which constitutes ABUAD teaching method would undoubtedly improve the quality of education.

5.0 RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS

The main recommendations and conclusions arising out of the sessions as well as the final deliberations were as follows:

  1. Participants expressed serious concern about the deteriorating standards in the quality of tertiary education in Nigerian and admonished academics to be passionate in their approach to teaching, research and public service.
  2. In view of the critical roles teaching aids and novel techniques can play in transforming the learning behavior of students, Nigerian universities are urged to invest in the necessary infrastructure and deploy novel technologies to assist effective teaching and learning in the classroom.
  3. Both new and existing academic staff in Nigerian universities should engage in capacity development initiatives aimed at upgrading their skills for effective teaching.
  4. Lack of adequate funding continues to pose a threat to the delivery of qualitative education in Nigerian universities. The unenviable trend calls for an effective Public-Private partnership agenda aimed at mobilizing resources to drive academic and research activities in Nigerian universities.
  5. Participants further noted that the Education Trust Fund (ETF), which harnesses its resources from the private sector, has excluded private universities in its allocation of grants. This development is viewed with grave concern. The agency is urged to review its policy to include private universities in the allocation of grants as they are equally engaged like public universities in grooming future leaders for the development of Nigeria.
  6. Nigerian universities are urged to allocate more resources for funding of research and the opportunities for academic staff to attend both national and international conferences critical to fine-tuning their skills and knowledge, as well as building their capacity to engage in cutting-edge research.
  7. Sequel to the successful nature of the workshop and its potential to transform teaching and learning practices in Nigerian universities, participants urge ABUAD to ensure that the workshop becomes an annual event.
  8. Finally, it is the consensus of participants that ABUAD has blazed the trail in its bold deployment of novel technologies in the classroom, creating a model for other universities to emulate, in the concerted effort aimed at transforming teaching and learning practices in the classroom.

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DOMINION UNIVERSITY

Dominion University, Ibadan is a private university located in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.

Our mission is to educate a new generation of ethical and entrepreneurial leaders in Nigeria and Africa at large.

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