EFFECTS OF TEACHERS’ PERSONALITY ON SECONDARY SCHOOL DISCIPLINE (A CASE STUDY OF SOME SELECTED SCHOOLS IN UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF AKWA IBOM STATE)
1.1 Background of the Study
Discipline is a rudimentary ingredient that plays a crucial role in school system, which insists on upholding the moral values of students. It comprises a wide spectrum of meaning, well from the negative or positive perspective. However, it is humans immune to always focus on the negative smell and that would be considered a popular issue if it involves an individual or a group that claims an intimate relationship within a society.
The subject teachers are the front- line workers in the delivery of good quality discipline service. They maintain a close and frequent contact with their students and hence should have a good knowledge of their students’ character, strengths and weaknesses. In schools which adopt a Whole School Approach to Discipline, the subject teachers handle most of the students’ behaviour problems in the classroom and will only refer the students with very severe problems to school counsellor, the discipline team or other senior staff. The teachers continue to maintain a very close working relationship with the discipline team about the development of the cases to help the students adjust to school life.
A teacher is a person engaged in interactive behavior with one or more students for thepurpose of effecting a change in those students. The change, whether it is to be in knowledge(cognitive), skill (psychomotor) or feeling states (affective), is intentional on the part of the teacher(McNeil and Popham, 1973). This designation distinguishes the teacher from instructionalmaterials and other school personnel.
The essential task of the teacher is to arrange the conditions of the learner’s environment so that the processes of learning will be activated, supported, enhanced, and maintained (Gagne, 1976). Teacher personality is a crucial factor in arranging the conditions of the learner’s environment for effective teaching.
Personality may be viewed as the dynamic organization of those traits and characteristic patterns of behavior that are unique to the individual (Callahan, 1966). Some social psychologists take the position that personality is purely a matter of social perception – which it is meaningless to speak of anyone’s personality apart from the particular people who interact with him, get impressions about him, and use trait terms in describing him (Holt, 1971).
A trait is a simple behavioural pattern – a disposition or tendency to behave in a describable way. According to All port (1966), a trait (1) is more generalized than a habit, (2) is dynamic and determinative in behavior, (3) may be viewed either in the light of the personality which contains it, or in the light of its distribution in the population at large, and (4) cannot be proved nonexistent by the sheer fact that some acts are inconsistent with it.
Research on teacher personality is based on the assumption that the teacher as a person is a significant variable in the teaching-learning process. Personality influences the behavior of the teacher in diverse ways, such as interaction with students, methods selected, and learning experiences chosen (Murray, 1972).
The effective use of a teacher’s personality is essential in conducting instructional activities. Personality aids teaching, for communication takes place between the teacher and the learner even in the absence of the spoken word (nonverbal communication). The teacher whose personality helps create and maintain a classroom or learning environment in which students feel comfortable and in which they are motivated to learn is said to have a desirable teaching personality (Callahan, 1966).
Each individual has characteristic attributes of personality which influence both the manner in which he behaves toward others and the ways in which they respond to him. The teacher with pervasive authoritarian characteristics, for example, is likely to reflect them in his relationships with students and in the techniques he uses in his instruction (Morrison and McIntyre,1972.)
This study is set to investigate the effects of teacher’s personality on school discipline in secondary schools. The importance of personality type and leadership behaviour among teachers in school administration cannot be over looked given the background that it determines the extent to which a school goal and objectives can be achieved. It must be noted that one cannot talk about teachers’ personality without mentioning the leadership behaviour of teachers in school discipline. Thus, the school teachers’ leadership behaviour and personality type influences both the students and other teachers in term of school discipline.
A teacher is exposed to three types of leadership style: Authoritarian leadership style, Democratic leadership style and lastly, the Laissez Faire leadership style (Falodun, 2003). The leadership style adopted by the school teacher often determines the perception which the students and other teachers will have about school discipline.
For instance, if a secondary school teacher adopts the authoritarian leadership style, this will invariably influence the perception of the students that teachers are autocratic, rigid and unforgiving. This will also make students to tag school discipline as harsh and unfriendly. Olaleye (2008) contents that leadership behaviour of the school principal, either male or female, contributes to a range of perception which the students have about their teachers.
Research on personality type of school teachers has for long being of interest to educational manager and evaluation experts. To some authorities, personality is important because it directly affect the school learning culture; others have argued that the personality of teachers usually enhance the school discipline. Adetona (2003) noted that the task of any school teacher is to produce well educated boys and girls through effective teaching and discipline.
Personality type of a teacher often determines the leadership behaviour of such teacher in effecting discipline in a classroom situation or within the school environment. School discipline is associated with higher students’ motivation, good academic performance, and improved attitudes of the students towards their teachers.
A significant challenge for secondary school teachers in Nigeria today is to identify the students need and the type of leadership model to be employed in transforming the students. The leadership model developed by Bass and Avolio (1997) identified three leadership behaviours. First is the Transformational Leadership Behaviour and can be identified by certain behaviour which includes inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. Secondly, The Transactional Leadership behaviour which can also be identified with exchange of rewards for meeting agreed upon objectives. This leadership behaviour monitors the students to ensure mistakes are not made but allows group work among the students. In this case, the female teachers intervene only when things go wrong. Thirdly, the Non-Leadership Construct, popularly known as the Laissez Faire leadership behaviour where the female teacher leaves the students to their own devices as well as giving them no direction.
Empirical research evidence shows that students’ perception of their school teacher’s personality type emanates from the leadership model employed by the teacher. Again, students’ perception of their teacher’s personality, especially the female teachers is found to be a stereotyped one (Adebowale, 2007). It follows that it is not only the personality and leadership behaviour of the school teachers that form the perception of the students about school discipline but also certain factors which include the societal view of discipline; the religious contention of the role of discipline in learning; peer perception about school discipline and even, the values a family holds about discipline.
This research will therefore investigate the effects of teachers’ personality on school discipline. It also shows how students’ perceptions about schools discipline are formed; and the adverse effect of these perceptions on the students’ academic performance.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Teachers’ personality vis-à-vis school discipline has generated a lot of debate among educational administrators, school managers and even among the teachers themselves. Some scholars hold view that there is correlation between teachers’ personality and school discipline but have not yet give empirical findings of how teachers’ personality affects school discipline.