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.
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.
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.