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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MENTORING BEHAVIOUR AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AMONG TEACHERS
The study examined the nature of mentoring relationship and professional development amongst newly qualified teachers and experienced teachers in Lagos State public secondary schools. Descriptive survey design was employed in order to assess the opinions of the respondents. The sample consisted of 120 teachers randomly selected from Lagos State Public Secondary Schools. Five null hypotheses were generated and tested in this study using the Pearson product moment correlational statistics and the t-test statistical tools at 0.05 level of significance. The results show that a significant difference exists in the mentoring behaviour between the mentor and the mentee in the school, and between experienced teachers and the newly employed teachers. Also a significant positive relationship exists between mentoring behaviour and professional development amongst teachers and between teachers’ skills and qualities required for successful mentoring programme in secondary schools in Lagos State. However, no significant gender difference exists in the professional development of teachers in Lagos State secondary schools due to mentoring programme put in place. Based on the conclusions of this study, it was recommended that experienced teachers and the newly appointed teachers should work hand-in-hand in order to ensure that cooperation exists amongst them and mentoring should be implemented in schools at all levels.
1.1 Background to the Study
Mentoring can be traced to the Greek mythology based on the story of “Mentor in Homer’s Odyssey”. The world ‘Mentor’ is now synonymous with the word ‘trusted adviser, friend, teacher, counselor and wise person’. On the other side of the divide, words like student, protégé, learner, and mentee are used to describe the one who is directed or mentored. There are always two sides of the coin. And there is mentor-mentee kind of relationship in mentorship. According to Cutterbuck (2000), mentoring presently has appeared to be a serious subject-matter in the academic circles which involved research and experimentation. Cutterbuck is of the opinion that mentoring is currently receiving implementation and being used across educational systems anywhere. This is because mentoring cut across all spheres of the educational sector: ranging from the peer mentoring in school, to aid problems with bullying, to professional development for teachers, management and support staff.
It is difficult to describe the word ‘mentoring’, as majority of scholars and researchers alike, have mixed up the meaning of mentoring with coaching and counseling as techniques of directions. There seem to be a confusion in the actual function of mentoring. This is because the concept has developed differently in the North America to the rest of Europe. For instance, the term “protégé” is used to refer to a mentor relationship where the learner is younger, less powerful and naïve; who is seemingly guided and directed by the older, more powerful, senior and experienced individual who is also an expert (Oti, 2009).
Mentoring is a process which aids learning and development, and thus, enhances or improves performance either for an individual or group of individual or business organization (Sutton Regeneration Partnership, 1999). The main thrust of mentoring is to ensure that individuals are supported and encouraged to manage and control their learning in order to maximize their productivity, potential, enhance their personal skills and performance, and also be the person they are expected to be (Parsloe and Wray, 2000).
In Nigerian secondary school system, there is no formal programme for mentoring, rather, the informal type of mentoring exists. This is a situation where senior member of staff picks another individual on an informal arrangement to mentor or direct him/her on the way forward towards development of the teaching profession. This individual who receives mentoring is regarded as the newly qualified teacher, or the newly employed teacher who just graduated from the school system and does not know the nitty gritty of teaching profession (Uzomah, 2008).
Individuals (newly qualified teachers) who are mentored, see the mentoring system as a welcome development. This is because, they perceive the mentoring as a vehicle for the enhancement of their career. There also, exists cordial relationship between the mentors and the mentees. This is seen in terms of their friendship and espit de corp that seems to spring up between the director (the mentor) and the directed (the mentee). Ayomide (2003), states that for the fact that there is no formal programme on mentoring in the Nigerian secondary school system, most people who are mentored see the mentoring as an assistance by the older teacher, which should not be misused. In the light of this, they seem to embrace the development and perceive it as a technique designed to enhance their teaching profession. In most cases, the mentees respect and honours the mentor(s) and sees them as experts and wise advisers who prevent them from committing errors in their chosen careers (Adeleke, 2004).
The rapport that exists between the mentor and the mentee, to a large extent, brings about good result in the mentoring process. This is because, the cordial relationship that occurs between the mentor and the mentee encourages the mentor to have a good disposition in directing and teaching the mentee so that at the end of the mentoring process, he/she (the mentee) becomes a better professional person and this goes a long way in enhancing and improving the skills and professionalism of the mentee, who is regarded as the newly qualified teacher employed to teach (Adekoya, 2000).
Abel et al (1995), pointed out a series of mentors’ roles to the beginning teachers. They identified such roles as parent-figure, support system, guide, counselor, scaffolder and role model. This implied that mentors are a sort of surrogate academic parents who are in the habit of helping people to do things right and to enhance professionalism amongst their mentees. They are role models because they play the roles which their mentees would like to play in future time. The mentors’ functions include supporting the young, newly employed teachers to get things done effectively and to counsel the new staff based on their acquired experiences due to long service in the field of teaching. According to Burgess and Shelton (2007), the functions of the mentors include identifying starting points for mentoring, mentoring for the aim of achieving growth and professional development in the workplace, and also to assess the level of development and or growth attained by the mentee.
Buell (2004) also identified four common techniques for mentoring. According to him, cloning, nurturing, friendship and apprenticeship are some of the main approaches to effective mentoring. Buell stated that there should be an element of nurturing and friendship between the mentor and the mentored. Such friendship should be cordial and the nurturing devoid of insincerity. The one who is nurtured should remain loyal and respectful to the one who nurtures him/her. That is to say that both the mentor and the mentee ought to have relationship that is total for the benefit of mentoring to be achieved by the mentee. Kajs (2002) supports a framework for directing and mentoring novice teachers who are fresh on the job of teaching and learning. As Kajs put it, the framework for supporting novice teachers should include: knowledge of the stages of teacher development, an appreciation of adult learning principles, an appreciation of the role of professional development, skills in assessment, interpersonal skills, and relevant classroom knowledge and skills. Kajs believes that if the above identified framework for supporting the newly employed teachers are put in place, mentoring programme will be successful and the aim of developing the teaching profession of the new teacher will also be achieved.
In another development, Williams et al (1998), carried out an effective study on mentoring relationships in the secondary schools, in the study, the following were highlighted as elements of mentoring relationships: supporting, actively teaching, guiding, provision of information, offering practical strategies, feeding back on lessons and providing clear assessments of practice. Williams is of the view that maintenance of relationship is of paramount importance if mentors and mentees should achieve their set out goals. Also, Rowley (1999) opined that the key characteristics of a ‘good mentor’ include commitment, recognizing the role of the newly employed teacher, providing instructional support, being effective with interpersonal skills, modeling continuous learning, communicating hope and optimism. Rowley also stated that for one to make a good mentor, the mentor ought to see the mentee as one who needs to be directed and this is done by providing instructional support and by providing effective communication which keeps hope and optimism alive. Without communication and feedback, the relationships between the mentor and the mentee may not be cordial and strong.
Boydell (1994), observed that there are five major steps a mentee may pass through. The identified five steps are doing things well, learning to improve; doing things better and learning to integrate; doing better things and learning to implement. This implied that the main idea in mentoring is to enable the mentee to learn how to do things better and well.
1.2Statement of Problem
The problem inherent in the lack of relationship between the mentor and the mentee in the teaching profession cannot be overemphasized. This is because, lack of mentoring relationship between the mentor (experience teacher) and the mentee (newly employed teacher), brings about low performance and poor productivity of the newly employed teacher who lacks the wherewithal to carry out the teaching job due to poor mentoring relationship.
If there is no mentoring relationship between the mentor and the mentee, it becomes obvious that the newly employed teacher (the mentee), suffers lack of knowledge of the nitty gritty of the teaching job. Where the newly employed worker in the school system, is not effectively directed and counseled by the experienced mentor (teacher), he/she performs below expectation, and the resultant effect is low productivity, and by extension poor academic achievement of students which has been the main cause of low standards of education in Nigeria today.
The above problems gave rise to the examination of thenature of mentoring relationship and professional development among newly qualified teachers in Nigerian public secondary schools.
1.3Purpose of the Study
The main objectives of this study include to
(1) find out if there is difference in the mentoring behaviour between the mentor and the mentee in the school.
(2) investigate if there is mentoring behaviour between experienced teachers and the newly employed teachers in Lagos State secondary schools.
(3) asses if there is relationship between mentoring behaviour and professional development amongst teachers in secondary schools in Lagos State.
(4) examine if there is relationship between teachers’ skills and qualities required for successful mentoring programme in secondary schools in Lagos State.
(5) find out if there is gender difference in the professional development of teachers in Lagos State secondary schools due to mentoring programme put in place.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions will be raised in this study:
(1) Will there be difference in the mentoring behaviour between the mentor and the mentee in the school?
(2) Will there be difference in the mentoring behaviour between experienced teachers and the newly employed teachers in Lagos State secondary schools?
(3) Will there be any relationship between mentoring behaviour and professional development amongst teachers in secondary schools in Lagos State?
(4) Will there be any relationship between teachers’ skills and qualities required for successful mentoring programme in secondary schools in Lagos State?
(5) Will there be gender difference in the professional development of teachers in Lagos State secondary schools due to mentoring programme put in place?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following hypotheses will be formulated and tested in this study:
(1) There will be no significant difference in the mentoring behaviour between the mentor and the mentee in the school.
(2) There will be no significant difference in mentoring behaviour between experienced teachers and the newly employed teachers in Lagos State secondary schools.
(3) There will be no significant relationship between mentoring behaviour and professional development amongst teachers in secondary schools in Lagos State.
(4) There will be no significant relationship between teachers’ skills and qualities required for successful mentoring programme in secondary schools in Lagos State.
(5) There will be no significant gender difference in the professional development of teachers in Lagos State secondary schools due to mentoring programme put in place.
1.6Significance of the Study
This study will be of great benefit to the following:
1. Teachers: They would benefit from the findings and recommendations of this study because it will give them an insight on how to carry out their jobs in the school. It will enable teachers to be more productive in doing their daily job of teaching and learning. With this study, many teachers would be-oriented in the art of teaching knowing fully well that the way they teach will affect students’ academic achievement in schools. It will also help the new teachers to understand the importance of relationship and team work in the school.
2. Students: They would benefit from the study because it will help them to have the understanding that their teachers required to be an exemplary one, if his/her teaching experiences would be of great benefit to the child or the student. With the findings and the recommendations of this study, students would be able to identify teachers who “cheat” and real teachers of note in the school system. With this study also, students would be able to know that they need to be taught by trained and experienced teachers if they would put up high performances in their academic careers.
3. Government and School Authority: The findings and recommendations of this study will be helpful to both the government and school authorities in that it make them to understand the role mentoring relationship plays in an ideal school setting. This is because if there is good mentoring relationship among teachers, there will be teaching effectiveness in the Nigerian school system.
1.7Scope and Limitation of the Study
This study covered the nature of mentoring relationship and professional development among newly qualified teachers in Lagos State public secondary schools. This study will be limited to some selected secondary schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.8Definition of Terms
The following operational terms used in this study will be defined thus:
1. Mentoring Relationship: This is the relationship that exists between the mentor (old teachers) and the mentee (the newly appointed teachers).
2. Professional Development: This is the process whereby teachers or workers in any organisation is developed through training and retraining processes.
3. Newly Qualified Teachers: This is a new teacher in a school organisation. He/she is a person who is newly employed to teach either in primary or secondary school.
4. Mentor: This is a person who mentors. In a school, he or she could be an experienced and trained teacher who advises or counsel the newly employed teachers.
5. Mentee: This is a person who is mentored. He or she could be a person newly employed in the primary or secondary school, who needs the direction, counseling and guidance of an experienced teacher.
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