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Varsity teachers, stakeholders chart course for teaching

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An ambitious move to reposition the teaching profession for efficient delivery of qualitative education in Nigerian schools has been taken by scholars at the University of Ibadan (UI). It was at a one-day workshop, where scholars and other major players in the education sector gathered to compare notes on how best to evolve the right teaching-learning process in Nigerian schools.

Though, they attributed lack of passion and incentives, as anathema to effective teaching/learning process in the university system, the scholars, however, sought a more functional ways to promote effective teaching and learning in the school system. With the theme: “Effective Teaching, Innovation and Ethics in the Arts and Humanities,” the major focus of the summit was how teaching could be made more functional, interesting and rewarding.

The workshop, organised by nation’s premier university, the University of Ibadan (UI) Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Leaning in conjunction with the Faculty of Arts, was held at the Faculty main auditorium. It was the consensus of participants, who comprised renowned scholars and professionals from higher institutions of learning within and outside Nigeria that there could not be effective teaching and learning in any academic environment unless there is passion in the teachers and learners, coupled with the right incentives propelled by available resources from the institutions.

Appraising the system, the workshop, however, blamed the poor performance of students in their academic pursuit on the lackadaisical attitude of some teachers, who it accused of dereliction in their duties. Besides, participants chided most students for their poor attitude to their studies, insisting that some universities and schools also contributed significantly to students’ poor performance since the required enabling environment and instructional facilities are not provided to aid learning ability.

To them, this is one of the reasons why students in private universities mostly perform better than their colleagues in the government public schools. Scholars, who x-rayed the challenges facing teaching and learning in higher institutions at the workshop include the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) of the host university, Prof. Yinka Aderinto, who represented the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka; Prof. Toyin Falola from the Department of History of University of Texas, United States of America; Prof. Sam Kayode Adekeye, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Redeemers University, Ede, Osun State; Prof. Olusegun Ajiboye, the Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) and the Dean of UI Faculty of Arts, Prof. Ademola Dasylva who hosted the summit.

Setting thetoneof theworkshop, Dasylva, said the summit was yet another activity aimed at actualizing the university vision plan. While welcoming participants to the summit, the don, however, alluded to the provisions of “Curriculum and Academic Programmes,” of the university’s Strategic Plan, which states inter alia to ensure that academic programmes are made attractive both in content and delivery to students. Again, to ensure that requirement for the training in pedagogy of all newly appointed academic staff is strictly adhered to, and that facilities are provided for existing academic staff to be exposed to training in pedagogy at the convenience.

“We are going to use the presentations to evolve our own parley to achieve better effective teaching policy in the department. Some of our dysfunctional instructional materials are already undergoing rehabilitation to make teaching/ learning process much effective,” Dasylva added.

The above provisions, the don pointed out, underscored the significance of making content delivery as lecturers more attractive to students through effective teaching and innovation, saying that was the major reason for the important summit. According to him, although visible efforts had been made through various capacity building training sessions, workshops, seminars, conferences on research and innovation organised for young and budding academics, the aspect that has to do with effective teaching which could translate to effective learning had for many years been taken for granted in most of the Faculties and universities.

He expressed worry that there is neither a policy in place nor a standard to serve as an approved template to guide our academics in the Faculty, and therefore noted that it was a rather difficult task to determine if an academic is under-performing or not. The summit, among other objectives, was set out to formulate what will be considered as effective teaching policy and standard which shall guide faculty members towards ensuring attractive and effective teaching methods.

It is to articulate the attributes of a world class university, while the exposure through the summit, as well as the proposed policy will engender, among other things, effective and quality learning among students. In his paper that dwelt on challenges facing teaching/learning process in the country, Prof. Falola spoke on the need for passion and incentives, which to him, override whatever one is taught to be.

Towards this, the scholar, who noted that universities should work out incentive modes to celebrate diligent lecturers, insisted that incentives could not be generated without resources. According to him, in overseas, students are categorised into ‘Tiers of Research School’ based on their levels of academic brilliance. “There is Tier I Research School where only five students are taught and their peculiarities are catered for.

They have Tier II teaching universities, which accommodate much larger number of students. Such could be replicated here in Nigeria, but the needed resources must be available,” he said. Specifically, Falola hinted that provision of infrastructural facilities is not the ultimate to aid teaching-learning process, but also the aesthetics that make up the learning environment.

He said: “There must be aesthetics within the teaching/learning environment. How the school premises appear in terms of beautification determines more the assimilation of students. However, teachers must not close gate to debates with the students because classroom is a democratic space. “A teacher must lead, but not dictate and should not destroy the creativity of students. Achebe was a student in the University of Ibadan, here when he wrote ‘Things Fall Apart’. It meant he was then ahead of some of his lecturers. Wole Soyinka was denied professorial title here because his creative instinct was not appreciated.

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