High productivity is the hallmark of growth and development of nations all over the world. There is no greater factor for the social economic and political advancement than a good educational system (Fafunwa, 1980). The level of efficiency, productivity and the ability of the educational system to achieve its set goals depend on the teachers as reflected in performing their defined roles because teachers are the fulcra upon which the whole educational system revolves (Eduese, 2006). Teachers have been shown to have an important impact on students’ achievement and also play a crucial role in educational attainment (Lloyd, Mensch and Clark, 2010).
Both teaching and learning depend on teachers, for there can be no meaningful socio-economic and political development in any society without teachers. For successful schools and educational systems, teachers are very vital. In view of this, Omotayo (2007), Adedeji (2008) and Oguntoye (2012) agreed that teachers are very important to the success of the school system in achieving its goals and objectives. Fasanmi (2006) opined that the standard of education in any country cannot be above the standard of its teachers.
Physics is a discipline that has been plagued by many problems such as declining popularity and low enrolment especially in institutions of higher learning, poor academic performance in both external and internal examination and gender differences noticed in such performances. According to Akinyele (2011), the academic achievement of students in secondary schools has been a subject of concern to many people including parents, administrators, educators, psychologists and counsellors. The poor achievement of students in science especially physics has continued to be a major concern to all and particularly those in the main stream of science education (Ariyo, 2006). As observed by Akanbi (2013) that the trend in the enrolment and performance of secondary school students in science subjects, especially Physics assumed threatening and frightening dimension. There are many reasons for this poor performance, in the opinion of Akanbi (2013) poor performance in Physics may be due to a number of fundamental reasons, which could be due to shortage of science teachers in quality and quantity, inadequate laboratory equipment and facilities, shortage of suitable Physics textbooks and other factors. Bamidele (2004) observed lack of interest in physics by students due to preconceived idea that physics is a difficult subject has affected the enrolment and performance of students in physics. Theses authors seems to forget the personality of the teacher as a factor that could influence the performance of students.
As to who should teach secondary school physics for higher students’ achievement, research results are abound (UNESCO, 2006). Increasing the number of female teachers is often recommended as a strategy for raising enrolment and achievement among girls and women (Chege and Sifuna, 2006; UNESCO, 2006). But unless female and male teachers are trained to be sensitive to gender equity, increasing the number of female teachers alone may not have the desired result. At early stage of physics, the secondary school teacher in her daily classroom work is `at home`. Teachers often perpetuate sex role stereotypes directly and indirectly through what they teach and through their behavior, their interaction, different skills and abilities of girls and boys. Female teachers may inspire girls to higher achievement and accomplishment or direct them towards conformity with prevailing domestic ideals. Having qualified female teachers is therefore important but not sufficient. They must also understand sex role stereotypes and their potential effects.
According to Agrighabo and Mji (2004), the conservative, reproductive nature and function of education continues from pre-service to profession teaching. They contend that the status of sex role stereotype does not therefore seem to be countered by the teacher education colleges and that there is a positive association between teacher gender and students’ achievement. Chudger and Sanker (2008) asserts that being in a female teacher’s classroom is advantageous for language learning but teacher gender has no effect on physics learning.
However Casey (2010) found out that if a female teacher has anxiety of her physics skills, then this will be transferred more likely to female students who will acquire the impression that boys are better than girls in physics and these will cause the students to perform poorer in physics. Walker and Walkerdine (2005) were interested in exploring how it is that girls who start off as good as or better than boys in physics gradually fall behind in the subject, generally ending up incompetent. They discovered gender stereotyping of school knowledge. Physics subject is characteristically seen as objective, high level, high status and quit essentially a male subject. Languages and the arts in contrast are seen as softer, less vigorous subject for girls rather than boys. As another consequence of the stereotyping process, men typically end up teaching the ‘male’ subjects and women the ‘female’ ones (Phillida, 2005).
Where schools are segregated by gender, the availability and quality of female teachers crucially affect enrolment, achievement and attainment. The need to juggle teaching duties and domestic responsibilities accounts for a reportedly high rate of absenteeism, sometimes this leads to the abandonment of the profession or a decline in productivity among female teachers (Chege and Sifuna, 2006). Female teachers if adequately trained can identify girls at risk of dropping out and provide the special care and encouragement needed to keep them in school (Elsanabary, 2013).
Stake and Katz (2011) argued that female teachers were more positive that their male counterparts in their attitudes and behaviors towards pupils. This had a direct bearing on achievement for classes taught by female teachers. On the contrary, Driessen (2007) insisted that teachers’ sex had no effect whatsoever on the achievement, attitude or behaviour of students. This study is therefore designed to investigate the effects of teachers’ sex on students’ achievement in physics in secondary schools in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State.
Low student enrolment and performance has continued to be associated with physics learning at the secondary school level. Declining instructional quality has been identified as one of the many serious problems facing the third world countries, particularly in Africa (Adeniji, 2012). The decline in instructional quality in schools may have resulted to the poor performance of students in physics, which is an indication that the standard of education has fallen.
Teachers as basic tool in curriculum implementation remain a very crucial factor that influence students’ experience and achievement, and continuing educational development. In the teaching-learning sphere, it has been established by research that the teacher makes a permanent effect on the personality and memory of their students by reflecting his own personality in teaching (Wheeler, 2011; Ozel, 2007; Spanjaard, 2009).
Presently, the teaching profession appears to have been taken over by women. There is the general fear that the perceived fallen standard of education in Nigeria may not be unconnected with this present trend. Research over time has revealed that teachers’ gender is an indicator and general predictor of students’ academic performance in physics. Despite these breakthroughs, government and employers in the field of education are yet to give adequate consideration to teachers’ gender, as a factor that can determine teachers’ effectiveness, and their students’ academic performance. It is therefore on this premise, that this study was designed to investigate the effects of teachers’ sex on students’ achievement in physics.
The purpose of the study is to examine the effects of teachers’ sex on students’ achievement in physics. Specifically, the study will:
The following research questions has been raised to guide the study:
The following null hypotheses has been formulated to guide the study:
This may be of great benefit to the students, teachers, school administrators and educational policy makers.
The study may benefit the students in such a way that when the right teachers are placed in the teaching of physics, the teacher will be able to work hard which will translate into better academic performance for the students.
The study may expose the teachers to the importance of his/her gender in the teaching/learning of physics and the need to avoid gender bias and stereotype in such a way that it will not affect the learning of physics.
The school administrators may come to understand the place of gender in the learning of physics and the need to place the right teacher for the right subject which may enhance the academic performance of the students.
Finally, the educational policy makers may benefit immensely from this study in that, they will be expose the relationship between gender of the teacher and academic performance of the students so that they will be properly guided when making educational policies especially as it relates to the recruitment and placement of teachers.
The study will focus on the effect of teachers’ sex on students’ achievement physics. The study will be limited to Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State.
Effect: This is a change in students’ achievement in physics that could be as a result of the teacher’s attribute(s)
Teachers: This is an individual who provides training or education in physics to the students
Sex: This is the state of being male or female
Students: These are individuals who study physics in an educational institution.
Achievement: This is a result of the efforts of the students in physics examination or test.
Physics: This is the natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force.