E-journal of All India Association for Educational Research (EJAIAER)

 

    VOL.20                            Nos:  3 & 4                 September & December, 2008

 

A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF ORIENTATIONS OF COLLEGE TEACHERS ON THE BASIS OF SOME  PRESAGE VARIABLES

S. R. Pandya

INTRODUCTION

Every teacher shows preference to and adopts a specific philosophy, style and behaviour for carrying out the teaching-learning process in the classroom. The specific philosophy provides a basis for selecting teaching-learning process through which a teacher’s orientation towards his / her teaching gets reflected. According to Duck (1981), the following indicators are necessary for analysing a teacher’s classroom behaviour: The nature of the learner may presume to be passive (Lockean) or active (Platonic).The nature of the subject matter  may  be amorphous (rote-learning) or structured (understanding the relationship among the components of the subject matter).The manner in which the subject matter is used to guide students towards meaningful learning activities  could be cognitive or affective. The nature of behaviour trends one should exhibit in order to carry out one’s philosophical position could include encouraging students for convergent thinking or divergent thinking.

 

PHILOSOPHICAL BASIS OF TEACHING

There are six different philosophies which could influence a teacher’s behaviour which are as follows:

 

Perrenialism emphasises humanities as presented in great books with the assumption that there are no absolute truths and standards more real than the physical world. The teaching would be based on S-R association theories of learning with behavioural objectives and assumption of one correct answer. The behaviour trend of the perennialist is convergent thinking - the authoritarian world-view. The nature of the learner is platonic (active).  The nature of the subject matter is structured. They are geared strongly towards cognitive learning and to some extent, towards affective learning.

 

Essentialism emphasises physical sciences as used by authorities. It assumes that there are no absolute truths and that success is based on absorption of knowledge about the physical world. As far as the essentialist is concerned, the learner is passive, and the subject matter is strongly structured and to some extent amorphous. Students are geared strongly towards cognitive learning and convergent thinking.

 

Experimentalists believe in active learning and learners. As it is believed that all knowledge has some internal correlation with each other, it necessarily has to be structured. The aim of the teacher while using subject matter to guide students towards meaningful learning activities so as to gain knowledge. They strongly believe in divergent thinking and a non-authoritarian world-view. Experimentalists emphasise on social sciences as a framework for problem-solving, assuming that the physical world is constantly changing.

 

In case of existentialism school of thought, the assumption is that the learner is active, the subject matter learnt is structured, the focus is more on affective learning and divergent thinking. It emphasises problem-solving in the area of highly controversial and emotional issues in any subject matter, the assumption being that the learners “confine” themselves and their relationship to the environment by their choices.

 

 

Reconstructionism implies that one has decided what the “perfect” form of society is and seeks to reach that society through teaching techniques associated with experimentalism or existentialism. The learner here is active and the subject matter is structured. On the other hand, they organise subject matter towards affective learning and not cognitive. There is a characteristic shift from acceptance of students’ contributions to an emphasis on the best solution – a shift from divergence to convergence, which gives it a special appeal.

 

Behaviourism implies that one has decided what the “perfect” form of society is and seeks to reach that society through teaching techniques associated with essentialism. The learner here is passive and the subject matter is amorphous. The behaviourist encourages cognitive and affective learning as well as convergent thinking.

 

CONCEPT OF TEACHER ORIENTATIONS

Some teachers give high importance to one type of orientation and less to the other type. On the other hand, some teachers give high importance to both orientations. According to Duck (1981, p.275), “teachers with low level of student orientation usually believe in the philosophies of perennialism, behaviourism or essentialism.” If such a teacher’s content orientation is also low, he / she believes that the students are lazy and careless about studies, and is unable to change this situation and hence his/her main job is to provide information to his/her  students. However, if a teacher with low level of student orientation possesses a high level of content orientation, he / she believes that the students do not really want to learn but they will respond to strong direction and control. On the other hand, teachers with high level of student orientation usually believe in the philosophies of existentialism, reconstructionism or experimentalism. If such a teacher’s content orientation is also low, he / she believes that the students do not really want to learn but they will respond to teachers they like. Such a teacher’s primary responsibility is to win students’ friendship so that they can be taught.

 

A teacher with high levels of both orientations believes that students like to learn and explore and a teacher’s primary responsibility is to integrate students’ and system’s needs by creating a learning climate and make learning meaningful and relevant. A teacher with moderate levels of both orientations believes that students’ and system’s needs are incompatible. It is of primary importance that something be taught, but students’ needs cannot be ignored. A teacher’s primary responsibility is to push students enough for them to maintain classroom morale. In other words, on the basis of their student and content orientations, teacher performance / behaviour can be studied. The present research is aimed at comparing senior college teachers on the basis of their gender, faculty and location of the college in terms of Mumbai and Thane districts, qualifications, nature of appointment and   teaching experience.

 

OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF THE TERMS

Teacher Orientation is a sum total of a teacher’s orientation towards his / her students and content.Student Orientation refers to the extent to which a teacher places emphasis on facilitating students’ psychological, social, emotional and intellectual growth and development. Content Orientation refers to the extent to which a teacher places emphasis on gaining knowledge, mastering skills and methodologies, using the best methodologies of teaching, reaching the matter to students, developing professionally, being known as an effective teacher and successfully completing the content.

 

OBJECTIVES

1.To study Mean Teacher Orientations of senior college teachers.

2.To compare Teacher Orientations of senior college teachers on the basis of (a) Gender, (b) Location of the college in terms of Mumbai and Thane districts, (c) Faculty, (d) Qualifications, (e) Nature of Appointment and (f) Teaching Experience : 1.Student Orientation(SO); 2. Content Orientation (CO); and Total Orientation (TO).

 

NULL  HYPOTHESIS

There is no significant difference in the Student Orientation, Content Orientation             and Total Orientation of senior college teachers on the basis of the (a) Gender, (b)   Location of the college in terms of Mumbai and Thane districts, (c) Faculty, (d) Qualifications, (e) Nature of Appointment and (f) Teaching Experience.

 

METHODOLOGY

The present study deals with teacher orientations of existing senior college teachers. Hence it has adopted the descriptive method of research. The investigation is aimed at comparing teacher orientations of existing senior college students on the basis of their gender, faculty, location of the college, nature of appointment, qualifications and teaching experience.  Hence it has adopted the causal comparative method.

 

Sample

The sample of the study was selected using a four-stage sampling technique. At the first stage, two districts in which colleges affiliated to University of Mumbai were selected out of five districts using simple random sampling technique (lottery method).These districts were Mumbai and Thane districts. At the second stage, colleges situated in Mumbai and Thane districts were selected on the basis of faculty of teachers, namely, arts, science and commerce faculties using stratified random sampling technique where the strata consisted of faculty of teachers. At the third stage, colleges were selected from different locations of the two districts i.e. north, south and central Mumbai as well as Vasai, Navi Mumbai and Thane city of the Thane district. At the fourth stage, teachers were selected from these colleges using incidental sampling technique due to reasons beyond the researcher’s control.                              

 

Initially, data were collected from 168 teachers. However, 8 forms of teachers were discarded as they were incomplete. Thus, the final sample included 160 teachers.   The wastage rate of data was 4.76%.  The data were collected from 18 senior colleges situated in Greater Mumbai and Thane districts and affiliated to University of Mumbai. The sample consisted of 97 (60.63%) and 63 (39.38%) male and female teachers respectively. There were 57 (35.63%), 48 (36.25%) and 45 (28.13%) teachers from Arts, Science and Commerce faculties respectively in the sample. Also, the sample included 116 (72.5 %) and 44 (27.5%) teachers from Mumbai and Thane districts respectively.

 

TOOLS

1. Personal Data Sheet for Teachers

This tool was prepared by the researcher to collect data from teachers regarding their name, name of the college, gender, faculty of study, teaching experience, qualifications and nature of appointment.

 

2.S-C Teaching Inventory

This tool was used to measure teacher orientation in terms of Student Orientation, Content Orientation and Total Orientation. The SC Inventory (Spire, 1974) includes 40 items covering four categories of statements which are as follows:

Category I: Statements which reflect a teacher’s willingness to share classroom authority and responsibility with students.

Category II: Statements which reflect a teacher’s tendency to centralize classroom authority in his/her own hands.

Category III: Statements which reflect a teacher’s concern for the content of the job i.e. the performance of task activities, including planning and scheduling course content and evaluating student progress.

Category IV: Statements which reflect a teacher’s concern for “role attribute” on the job, including having respect from students and colleagues, being an expert, or modelling behaviour for students to evaluate.

The internal consistency reliability of this tool was established using the Cronbach’s Alpha and was found to be 0.83 and the test-retest reliability of this tool was found to be 0.77 on a sample of 106 students including 51 girls and 55 boys in the Indian context. The scoring was done in such a way that higher the score, higher the score on the specific orientation. The minimum possible score on the Student Orientation as well as Content Orientation 0 and the maximum possible score on these two aspects was 20 each.

 

ANALYSIS OF DATA

The techniques used for inferential analysis of the data in the present study includes the t-test, ANOVA and ù2 Estimate. The Mean SO and CO of senior college teachers is 10.66 and 10.38 respectively and hence can be termed as average since the maximum possible scores on both these dimensions are 20. Further analysis of the data revealed that (i) 6 teachers have a High Score on Student Orientation and Low Score on Content Orientation, (ii) 17 teachers have a High Score on SO and High Score on CO. Both these categories of teachers usually believe in the philosophies of existentialism, Reconstructionism or experimentalism. (iii) 11 teachers have a Low Score on SO and Low Score on CO, (iv) 10 teachers have a Low Score on SO and High Score on CO. Both these categories of teachers usually believe in the philosophies of perennialism, behaviourism or essentialism. (v) 116 teachers have a Moderate Score on SO and Moderate Score on CO.

 

TESTING OF HYPOTHESES

1 (a): There is no significant gender difference in the Teacher Orientations. This null hypothesis was tested using the t-test. The t-ratios for SO, CO and TO were found to be 0.83, 0.54 and 0.89 respectively and not significant at 0.05 level. Hence the null hypothesis is accepted. Hence, there is no significant gender difference in the (1) SO, (2) CO and (3) TO of teachers.

 

1 (b): There is no significant difference in the Teacher Orientations on the basis of location of the college in terms of district. This null hypothesis was tested using the t-test. The t-ratios for SO, CO and TO were found to be 1.93, 4.47 and 4.03 respectively and not significant at 0.05 level for SO but is significant at 0.01 level for CO and TO. Hence the null hypothesis is accepted for SO but rejected for CO and TO. The mean CO and TO of teachers from Thane district are significantly greater than those from Mumbai district. However, there is no significant difference in the SO of teachers from Thane and Mumbai districts. 10.60 % and 8.70 % of the variance in Content Orientation and Total Orientation of teachers is associated with the location of the college in different districts. The probable reason for this could be that teachers from Thane district might be giving more importance to teaching content matter, may have stronger desire to acquire latest knowledge in the subject matter, updating the learning material used by them, making efforts for their own professional development, making detailed plans of each classroom activity, planning appropriate question papers, implementing new teaching approaches in the classroom, having stronger desire to be known as an effective teacher, teaching basic as well as progressive curricula, emphasising systematic student evaluation and attending professional meetings as compared to teachers from Mumbai district. One of the probable reasons for this could be that teachers teaching in colleges situated in Mumbai district have to travel very long distance – as much as two to three hours a day to reach their place of work leaving very little time and energy for professional development and improvement. Moreover, Thane being a relatively smaller place compared to Mumbai, teachers from Thane district might be having greater motivation to be known as effective teachers.

 

1 (c): There is no significant difference in the Teacher Orientations on the basis of faculty. This null hypothesis was tested using the technique of ANOVA. The F-ratio was found to be 1.79, 5.57 and 5.32 for SO, CO and TO respectively and not significant at 0.05 level for SO but is significant at 0.01 level for CO and TO. Hence the null hypothesis is accepted for SO but rejected for CO and TO. Hence, there is no significant difference in Student Orientation of teachers from Arts, Science and Commerce faculties. There is a significant difference in Content Orientation of teachers from Arts, Science and Commerce faculties. 5.40 % of the variance in Content Orientation of teachers is associated with the faculty in which the teachers are teaching. There is a significant difference in Total Orientation of teachers from Arts, Science and Commerce faculties. 5.12 % of the variance in Total Orientation of teachers is associated with the faculty in which the teachers are teaching. The Content Orientation as well as Total Orientation of teachers from Commerce faculty is significantly greater than those from the Arts and Science faculties. The probable reason for teachers from commerce faculty having higher Content Orientation as compared to teachers from arts and science faculties could be that there is a very strong demand for admissions to commerce courses with an emphasis on job-oriented courses thereby making it necessary for commerce teachers to be giving more importance to teaching content matter, having stronger desire to acquire latest knowledge in the subject matter, updating the learning material used by them, making efforts for his / her own professional development, making detailed plans of each classroom activity, planning appropriate question papers, implementing new teaching approaches in the classroom, having stronger desire to be known as an effective teacher, teaching basic as well as progressive curricula, emphasising systematic student evaluation and attending professional meetings as compared to teachers from arts and science faculties.

 

1 (d): There is no significant difference in the Teacher Orientations on the basis of qualifications (classified into only PG, PG with M.Phil and PG with Ph.D.).This null hypothesis was tested using the technique of ANOVA. The F-ratio was found to be 0.97, 0.58 and 0.28 for SO, CO and TO respectively and not significant at 0.05 level. Hence the null hypothesis is accepted. Hence, there is no significant difference in the Student Orientation, Content Orientation and Total Orientation of teachers on the basis of their qualifications. 

 

1 (e): There is no significant difference in the Teacher Orientations on the basis of nature of appointment (classified into permanent. on probation or temporary).This null hypothesis was tested using the technique of ANOVA. The F-ratio was found to be 0.75, 1.63 and 1.00 for SO, CO and TO respectively and not significant at 0.05 level. Hence the null hypothesis is accepted. Hence, there is no significant difference in the Student Orientation, Content Orientation and Total Orientation of teachers on the basis of their Nature of Appointment.

 

1 (f) : There is no significant difference in the  Teacher Orientations on the basis of teaching experience (classified into below 5 years and above 5 years).This null hypothesis was tested using the technique of t-test. The t-ratios for SO, CO and TO were found to be 2.11, 1.40 and 2.27 respectively. This t-ratio is not significant at 0.05 level for CO but is significant for SO at 0.05 level and for To at 0.01 level. Hence the null hypothesis is accepted for CO but is rejected for SO and TO. Hence, there is no significant difference in Content Orientation of senior college teachers on the basis of their teaching experience. However, the mean SO as well as TO of teachers with more than 5 years of teaching experience is significantly greater than those with less than 5 years of teaching experience. It is probable that teachers with more than five years’ teaching experience have gained adequate confidence so as to give more importance to the development of knowledge and skills amongst students, provide their students an opportunity to decide the aims of learning and content matter, provide them an opportunity to evaluate teacher performance, provide them an opportunity to make mistakes and learn from experience, make himself / herself available outside the class to help students, have developed the intellectual capacity to accept a mistake made by him / her that is pointed out by a student, to treat students as individuals and create an informal atmosphere in the class. In short, teachers with more than five years’ teaching experience focus their attention more on the development of students as compared to teachers with less than five years’ teaching experience.

 

The magnitudes of Mean Student Orientation Score as well as the Mean Content Orientation Scores are 10.66 and 10.38 respectively and hence can be termed as average since the maximum possible scores on both these dimensions are 20. According to Spire, this implies that the senior college teachers believe that “students’ and system’s needs are incompatible. They believe that it is of primary importance that something be taught, but students’ needs cannot be ignored; the teacher’s first responsibility is to push students enough to get the work done, but also to do something for them to maintain classroom morale.” Similarly, the Mean Total Orientation Score of teachers is 21.15 and the maximum possible score is 40. Hence it may also be termed as average. This also implies that senior college teachers do not clearly indicate preference for any specific philosophy of teaching. Thus it may be said that steps need to be taken to enhance senior college teachers’ orientation towards development of students and their own professional development so as to enhance their own effectiveness as teachers with the ultimate aim of student development.

 

EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY

Teachers teaching in colleges situated in Greater Mumbai need to be motivated to pay more importance to their own professional progress. They also need to be given more facilities for the purpose including residential quarters so as to reduce travel time so that they can devote more time for improving their professional performance. Similarly, teachers from Arts and Science faculties need to be motivated for more effective professional performance. Besides, the implication of this study for the field of teaching is that teachers need to be trained and motivated to perform better with an emphasis on higher and equal importance to fulfilling students’ and system’s needs so as to enhance their own and their institution’s effectiveness. In practical and operational terms, teacher effectiveness can be enhanced by enhancing their Student Orientation and Content Orientation as follows:

 

Student Orientation

Every teacher need to be encouraged to organise his /her subject around the needs and skills of every type of student, enable students to have a say in subject content and objectives, help students to set subject goals and content, allow students a voice in setting subject’s objectives and content, allow students to evaluate the performance of their teacher,  allow students to make their own mistakes and to learn by experience, be available to discuss with students on an “as needed” basis, tailor the subject content to the need and skills of each class, allow students to plan their own subject of study according to their interests, take an interest in the student as a person, modify his position if one of his students show him where he /she was wrong,  to allow students to have a say in evaluating teacher performance,  be concerned about the student as a person and  establish an informal classroom atmosphere.

Content Orientation

Every teacher need to be encouraged to keep up to date in the field, to up-date class and lecture materials constantly,  attend to his own professional growth, plan in considerable detail all class activities, construct fair and comprehensive examinations, be known as an effective teacher, plan and organize his coursework carefully,  try out new ideas and approaches on the class, have scheduled office hours to meet students, teach basic subjects as well as more advances subjects, give examinations to evaluate student progress and attend professional meetings.

 

REFERENCES

Aldridge, J. M. &  Fraser, B. J. (2000) A Cross-cultural study of classroom learning environments in Australia and Taiwan. Learning Environments Research 3, 101-134.

Angelo, T.  &  Cross, K. P. (1993) Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Duck, L. (1981). Teaching with Charisma. Allyn and Bacon, Boston.

Entwistle, N. & Ramsden, P. (1983) Understanding Student Learning. Croom Helm, London.

Fraser, B. J. (1990) Individualised Classroom Environment Questionnaire. Australian Council for Educational Research, Melbourne.

Goh, S. C. and Khine, M. S. (Eds.) (2002) Studies in Educational Learning Environments: An International Perspective. World Scientific, Singapore.

Khine, M. S. and Fisher, D. L. (Eds.) (2003) Technology-rich Learning Environments: A Future Perspective. World Scientific, Singapore.