Background of the Study
Education has been recognized as playing an integral part in the building of a nation. Education is the process of helping to change students’ knowledge and behavior in desired ways. The Saskatchewan Education (1991) observed that one of the purposes of education is to provide children with skills and knowledge needed to function capably as adults. With the world changing rapidly the abilities today in schools need to be reassessed as do the ways in which students are expected to learn.
One of the basic ways of attaining national objectives is through the provision of vocational and business skills, values and attitudes. This can be acquired through effective teaching. In the view of Bruner cited in Saskatchewan Education (2000), teaching is a broader and more encompassing term, involving any activity on the part of one person intended to facilitate learning on the part of another. However effective teaching occurs when the student is placed at the focus of decisions that are made not only about the curriculum itself but also about the process by which the curriculum is delivered.
Effective curriculum delivery requires many things among which are application of appropriate instructional methods and strategies and the right learning environment. Ngetich and Ndege (2011) observed that for learners to benefit from instruction, teachers need to be careful about the organization of learning experiences so that knowledge could be internalized and retained by the learners and be useful to them. In the same vein, Kochhar (1991) remarked that even the best curriculum and the most perfect syllabus remains dead unless quickened into life by the right methods of teaching and the right teachers.
Instructional methods are critical to teaching and learning process. Instruction refers to those curriculum-related, professionally informed decisions that teachers purposefully enact to enhance learning opportunities for students. Gargne in Saskatchewan (2002) defines instruction as any activity on the part of one person intended to facilitate learning on the part of another. Effective instruction is interactive and designed to accommodate student learning needs and styles through a variety of teaching practices. Instruction and teaching are related activities that scholars use synonymously.
Method refers to procedure or process for attaining a goal or objective. Methods are procedures or ways used to teach material to the students. Used in the context of instruction or teaching, a method is viewed as a well staged procedure to teach a subject. Instructional methods are ways by which information is presented to students. Ngetich and Ndege (2011) conceived instructional methods as mode of delivery systems or teaching and learning methods employed in our educational process with the view of facilitating the attainment of set goals or objectives. For effectiveness of teaching and learning process, methods of instruction must have certain qualities and characteristics. Ngetich et al identified the characteristics of a good teaching method to include; a good teaching method should produce certain changes in terms of knowledge understanding and habits of students. Furthermore, the source stated that good teaching methods should arouse interests on students rather than pressing on facts and figures, and should shift emphasis from verbalism and memorization to learning through purposeful concrete and realistic situation.
Instructional methods are varied and many. Scholars have examined teaching methods from different perspectives. One general view held is that which divides them into two; teacher–centered approaches, and student-centered approaches emphasizing on the paramount role played by teacher or student. Another view considers instructional methods in terms of instructor led, lecture method, demonstration method, practical exercise, controlled practical exercisers, practice method, case study or team practice, coach and pupil and independent (Saskatchewan Education, 2000). The source further classed instructional methods into Direct instruction, Indirect instruction, Experiment learning, Independent study and interactive instruction.
It has been recognized that there are different types of instructional methods which may be used. Each method has certain advantages and disadvantages; some are more suited for certain kinds of instruction than others. Also, each of the different methods requires greater or lesser participation by students. Moreover, the choice of methods depends on what to teach (content), who we are teaching (learner), and the level of competence expected (Obi, 2005). One method, or perhaps a combination of methods, is usually most appropriate for most subject matter and Objectives. In effect based on the subject matter, a teacher will need to determine which instructional methods and strategies that best showcase the information to be taught.
Strategy is a procedure or technique used by the individual or group at different levels of educational system to attain desired outcome or engineer changes or innovation. According to Glueck (2000), a strategy is a unified, comprehensive, and integrated plan designed to ensure that the basic objectives are achieved. For the purpose of this study, strategy is viewed as all available procedure and techniques used by business teachers at different levels of educational system to attain desired objectives.
Instructional strategies, according to Brown (1998) involve a formal expectation of a desired teaching content by the teacher. They determine the approach a teacher may take to achieve learning objectives. Instructional strategies can be classed as direct, indirect, interactive, experiential, or independent, (Saskatchewan, 1991). For business teachers to create learning environments and to specify the nature of the activity in business education, effective teaching and the need for appreciable application of instructional methods and strategies are necessary tools for effective teaching and learning of business studies in technical schools.
Technical schools are those educational institutions that focused on the study of technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practical skills, attitudes, understanding and knowledge relating to occupations in various sectors of economic and social life (Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), 2004). As contained in the document, technical schools are further understood to be; an integral part of general education; a means of preparing for occupational fields and for effective participation in the world of work; an aspect of lifelong learning arid a preparation for responsible citizenship; and a method of alleviating poverty.
Following the decision of the Federal Government to introduce the 9-year Basic Education Programme and the need to attain the Millennium Development Goals, (MCGs) by 2015, and the critical targets of the National Economic Empowerment and Development strategies (NEEDS), the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (2007) developed a 9- year Basic Education curricular for use at all levels of education System in Nigeria. Business Studies is one of the subjects identified as an educational strategy for meeting the nation’s vocational and business skills needs. According to Obi (2003) business studies is an integral pre-vocational subject taught at the Junior Secondary School (JSS) level. As a pre-vocational subject, Business Studies exposes students to general business knowledge and gives basic ideas about business (Njoku, 2008). The five components of Business Studies relate specifically to business and distributive operations and they form part of vocational education, which encourages the use of the head, heart and hands in acquiring specific practical training required in business and industry. NERDC (2007) aptly captured the general objectives of Business Studies as follows: provide the orientation and basic skills with which to start an occupation for those who may not have opportunity for further training; provide basic business skills for personal use now and in the future; prepare students for further training in Business Studies; relate the knowledge and skills to the national economy; and develop basic skills in office occupation. The NERDC document also arranged topics under each theme to enable the learner start from simple to complex ideas, adopted the guided discovery method of learning and teaching and prescribed activities for each of the topics to promote learning and skill development.
Business Studies is concerned with the acquisition of knowledge and skills, attitudes, values and problem solving (Obi, 2009). The nature of the content of usiness subjects requires that business teachers effect learning through the use of diverse instructional methods. Osuala (2009) opined that business subjects would be effectively taught using modern instructional methods and strategies because they provide action learning and are individualized or personalized. Some of the identified methods involve; team training discussion, role playing, simulation, and fieldtrips. To attain effective teaching and learning of business subjects, Okwuanaso and Nwozor (2006) identified some of the strategies to be adapted to include: training, cooperative learning, computer assisted programme, instructional films, drill and practice. These modern instructional methods are student-centred and promote learning. The teaching of each of the components of business studies requires special methods and strategies.
In the learning of office practice which is the connecting link between schools and business, students are expected to be exposed to business practice and procedures, equipment and methods used in office (Harms, Steer and Harris in Osuala, 2009). Instructional methods appropriate for teaching office practice include use of visuals aids, simulation, demonstration, case study, role play, field trip and, question and answer (NERDC, 2007).
Commerce affords learners the knowledge of functions of commercial institutions. Some of the methods appropriate in teaching commerce include: Excursion or Field Trips to industries and commercial organizations. Others are lecture and Guest Speaker’s which promote learning.
Book keeping relates to keeping and managing of financial Records. Methods relevant in teaching book keeping include developmental approach, teaching and learning by principle approach, the inductive or role discovering/problem solving approach, the facts process approach and lecture.
Typewriting is the act of printing on paper (Igbinoba, 2008). Teaching methods that could be applied to typing as observed by Njoku (2008) should include; Demonstration, apprenticeship, problem solving and discovery methods.
Shorthand is a skill subject which involves the use of the head, the heart as well as the hand in quick response to spoken sounds. The sub-skills involved in learning shorthand are listening, reading writing ability to recall what has been heard and language skills. A combination of the following methods could be used to teach shorthand: Inductive or Discovery approach, Reading method, Writing method, Demonstration method, Repetitive approach and Question and Answer.
In order for the teaching of Business Studies to meet the expected goals of equipping the learner with vocational business skills that will enable him to be useful in the society, it is imperative that business teachers need to be knowledgeable in the subject matter and be able to select the instructional methods and strategies that best suits the subject and enable the learner to internalize, retain and apply what had been learnt. The need for students to acquire the necessary vocational and business skills, values and attitudes has become an issue of serious concern and challenge to business teachers.
Business teachers comprise of teachers and instructors/technologist. Osuala, in Njoku (2008) states that a business education teacher is a person who holds a degree in business education from a recognized University or an NCE (National Certificate of Education). He stated further that holders of NCE from the recognized colleges of education in business education are competent to teach the five components of the JSS Business Studies programme. In the same vein, Njoku (2008) viewed business education teacher is a person who has undergone a 4 year Programme in a reputable university or 3 years programme through NCE and has been certified as competent for the award of a Bachelor’s degree /NCE in business education after meeting the requirements of the institution and the department (Njoku, 2008). Njoku added that any person who has obtained a degree or a professional certification in areas such as accountancy, marketing and office technology and management, and also obtains a post-graduate certificate in educational foundations and pedagogy clearly qualifies as a business education teacher. At the other hand, instructors/technologists are experts equipped for the development and application of devices, machines, and techniques for Business Studies (Yiğit, 2004). Both business teachers and instructors play very important role in the teaching and learning of Business Studies as they are professionally equipped to impart manipulative skills for employment into the learners.