Availability and Accessibility of Information Resources as Predictor of Lecturers' Teaching Effectiveness.

Author:Odunlade, Racheal Opeyemi

Background to the Study

Availability of information resources plays a major role in teaching and learning. For effective teaching to take place information resources must be provided and teachers must have access to various types of resources particularly in their areas of specialization. This will not only broaden their knowledge base but also prepare them ahead of the challenges that may face them in the course of imparting knowledge. A variety of activities that are performed by teachers in the course of carrying out their professional duties is hinged on close interaction with the various information resources in their areas of specialization. These include preparation of course materials, communicating in the language of the discipline, facilitation of learning activities with relevant materials, engaging in elaborate conversation with learners, giving exercises that involve critical thinking to learners, and so on.

Existing literature affirms that availability and accessibility of information resources are two inseparable factors in determining information resources utilization (John-Okeke, 2006). Availability of information resources is key to use. After all, an information system that is not available to users when needed is almost as useless as none at all (University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, 2008). Consequently, such resources cannot be accessible. Teachers as the mainstay of educational goal cannot but make use of information resources if they are to impart knowledge adequately and successfully, regardless of the level of teaching.

Nowadays, varieties of trends are affecting the education sector globally, and educators are being urged to shift from an emphasis on teaching to that of learning, but with an alignment of teaching, learning and assessment which boils down to the concept of effective teaching. The primary goal of teaching is to ensure that meaningful learning occurs (Ogunyemi, 2000). It is assumed that whenever teaching occurs, learning is likely to take place. As a result, one may be right to conclude that teaching in all ramifications should be made effective in order to produce a well-rounded human being, thereby bringing about teaching effectiveness. Hence, teaching effectiveness can be described as an embodiment of activities (cognitive, affective and psychomotor) that the teacher undertakes in the course of discharging his duties, which in turn yield professional fulfillment on the part of the teacher and knowledge transfer that brings about academic achievements on the part of students (Odunlade, 2012). At the center of these activities lie information resources and its day to day application to teaching and learning.

Statement of the problem

Information resources utilisation is germane to the teaching profession. This is particularly true for teachers in technological education where they are expected to employ various instructional and learning resources to enhance the effectiveness of their teaching and to promote students' learning outcomes and hands-on skills. Information materials are key aspects of instructional and learning resources. In spite of this, it is not certain if these resources are available for use in Nigerian Polytechnics and where there are, access to the resources could pose a major threat. It is in view of this that this study aims to find out the type of information resources available for polytechnic lecturers in complimenting teaching and how access to these resources has contributed to their teaching effectiveness.

Review of Related Literature

Teaching is perhaps as old as the creation itself. In the last few decades, there has been a lot of controversy among educators as to whether teaching is a profession or a career (Oprah, 2003). While some regard teaching as an occupation which anybody can engage in without training, due to their belief that the skills necessary to make a person an expert teacher are inborn, the other school of thought holds that there are basic skills that an expert teacher needs to acquire (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2006; Renzulli, 2009). For instance, a teacher needs to understand a subject well enough to convey its essence to students. Good teachers must be able to translate information, good judgment, experience and wisdom into relevant knowledge that a student can understand, retain and pass down to others (Claxton, 2009). Teaching, therefore, involves a level of competence that is both theory and practice- oriented.

Of late, the concept of teaching effectiveness has become a subject of discussion across the world; and cannot be discussed outside the taxonomy of educational objectives proposed by Benjamin Bloom and his team (Bloom, 1956; Krathwohl, 1964). The taxonomy provides a classification of educational objectives that is similar to classification schemes used for plants and animals. It consists of a set of general and specific categories that encompass all possible learning outcomes that might be expected from instruction. It is based on the assumption that learning outcomes can be best described in terms of changes in student behaviour. The taxonomy is divided into three parts: the cognitive, affective, and the psychomotor domains.

The cognitive domain of learning emphasizes remembering or producing something which has presumably been learned. It also emphasizes objectives which involve the solving of some intellectual task for which the individual has to determine the essential problem and then record given material or combine it with ideas, methods or procedures previously learned. Put in another way, cognitive domain stresses intellectual outcomes: that is, what goes on in the head such as knowledge, understanding, recalling of and remembering previously learned materials, facts and principles, grasping ideas or theories, and using learned knowledge in new situations. In other words, showing knowledge and reasoning skills (Krathwohl, 1964).

The affective domain emphasizes learning objectives that have to do with feeling, emotion, appreciation, and degree of acceptance or rejection. It varies from simple attention to complex but internally-consistent qualities of character and conscience. A large number of such objectives in the literature are expressed as interests, attitudes, appreciations, values, and emotional sets or biases. The psychomotor domain includes those objectives that emphasize muscular or motor skills: that is, some manipulation or act which requires a neuromuscular coordination. These objectives are more related to skill outcomes such as handwriting, speaking, typing, swimming and operating machinery. These features are dominant in commercial subjects, health science, home economics, industrial education, music, physical education and technical education.

Existing literature offer several definitions of teaching effectiveness. Specifically, Pagani and Seghieri (2002) describe teaching effectiveness as an aspect of teaching that is influenced by a combination of teacher characteristics such as clarity, capacity to motivate the students and to help them in the study of topics, ability to organize lessons with exercises and handouts, teacher's gender, age, previous experiences, physical aspects of the classroom or laboratory (such as crowded classrooms or insufficient number of computers). Students' characteristics such as age, gender, high school origin, mark obtained at the end of high school, faculty attended by student, or class size also influence teaching effectiveness. In the view of Monahan (2005), teaching effectiveness or teaching excellence can result from many diverse activities. Hence, there is no single definition of excellent teaching in terms of what the teacher does. Teachers employ teaching activities that are dependent partly on the personality of the teacher and because what works for one may not work for the other, styles of teaching can be said to be divergent.

It is obvious from the above explanation that one may not be able to attribute a single definition to the concept of teaching effectiveness in terms of what the teacher does because teachers employ teaching activities that are dependent partly on the personality of the teacher. However, literature is replete with dimensions of teaching...

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