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Background to the Study
The school is a place where human beings are gathered for the purpose of teaching and learning. The school grooms and socializes students. This is in addition to its custodial role of cultural perpetuation. The school is the only social institution where formal education is given to the young of the society and where they also learn about the ways of the society. Central to the actualization of the goals of the school system is the human factor. The human factor cannot be under played in any organization such as the school system. The absence of the right quality and quantity of the human resource in the school system goes a long way in affecting the educational services provided in the school system. In the secondary school system, for example, there are two categories of the human factor that render educational services. These are the teaching and the non-teaching staff. The job performance of these two categories of staff, to a large extent, is influenced by the nature of leadership exhibited by the principal, who is the school administrator. The achievement of secondary school goals depends on the ability of the principal to provide purposeful and directional leadership.
The principal is the chief executive officer of a secondary school. Generally, the principal commands respect, dignity, honour and wisdom. The nature of leadership exhibited by the principal is vital to the realization of the goals of secondary education. As a leader, the principal is saddled with the responsibility of harmonizing the activities of teachers, students and the non-teaching staff in order to improve the learning situation and to actualize the goals of the school. The type of leadership exhibited by a principal is a function of a principal’s training and attitude to work; and this impact positively or negatively on the way the teachers perform their duties. Generally, teachers expect principals to be knowledgeable about all aspects of the school system, and so they look up to him to provide the necessary impetus for the effective performance of their jobs. Teachers like a good and visionary leader who can make clear and consistent decisions, while earnestly considering all shades of opinions. They also like a leader with sound moral character whose integrity and intellect they respect (Spring, 2012).
Attitudes are evaluative statements, favourable or unfavourable, related to a person, object, and event or habitual ways of reacting to situations. Attitude could also be negative, positive or neutral. It reflects how one feels about something. For instance, the reactions or action of the principal towards teachers’ job performance are determinant of his/her attitude which could either be favourable or unfavourable. This expresses his/her attitude towards his job. Afolabi and Aigbodion (2006) asserted that there are three components of attitudes, which include the affective, the behavioural and the cognitive, which is known as ABC components. The affective component is related to the statement which affects another person or emotional component of attitude that consists of feelings, pleasure or displeasure, ambivalence that the attitude object elicits. The behavioural component refers to that part of attitude which reflects the intention of a person in a short run or in a long run. The cognitive component is the intellectual aspect of attitude, it refers to the beliefs, the perceptions and information one has about the attitude object; it consists of what the attitude holder sees, thinks, knows or reasons about persons, ideas or things which go a long way to influence the overall impression formed and perception of the attitude of objects subsequently. Attitude refers to the consistent tendency to react in a particular way often positively or negatively, toward any matter. Therefore, attitude is a person’s inner thought and feelings. The primary attribute of a principal is the ability to create a warm and friendly atmosphere for teachers to function. This helps to create harmonious working relationship which can improve the job performance of the teachers; thereby creating effectiveness and efficiency in the school system.
Attitude of principals towards work may have positive or negative effects on teachers’ efforts and job performance. The attitude of the principal would be positive if he shows commitment to his supervisory functions as a school head. But if he is negligent to his supervisory role performance or helping the teachers to accomplish their teaching task through effective supervision, he could be deemed as having negative attitude to work. One of the components of a principal’s attitude toward work is the type of leadership adopted by the principal. Leadership as a concept is the process of directing others (teachers and students) towards the accomplishment of goals and involves elements such as influencing and motivating people, either as individuals or groups, managing conflict and communicating with subordinates (Botha, 2012). The leadership styles adopted by principals could be democratic, autocratic or laissez-faire. As the leader of a school, the principal has the power to influence activities in the school because the principal is the pivot of reforms and changes within the school. This can only happen when the principal has a positive attitude towards his job and the teachers. Positive attitude entails being a social architect, a community servant, an ethical, fair and morally just leader, and a good listener that exercises foresight in decision making.
The attitude of the principal equally entails his fairness to issues, leadership styles, personal relationships with teachers and visionary outlook as they affect the job performance in secondary schools. Over the years, it has been observed that some principals are not fair to issues affecting teachers and students as well. Some principals seem to be influenced in their judgments by immediate actions of teachers especially in the Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER). The principal could score a teacher who has always been absent from school high either because of personal relationship or because of a favour received prior the period of evaluation. When such happens, the principal can be said to be unfair. Likewise, the visionary lifestyle of the principal can influence the job performance of the teachers either positively or negatively. A principal that is not able to articulate and forecast probable future occurrence may not be able to direct the school resources towards achieving educational goals.
As a social architect, the principal must possess the skills and abilities to transform the school into a high performing organization focused on improving teaching and learning outcomes. As a community servant the principal must be ready to serve. Serving has to do with service to humanity and respect for others. As an ethical, fair and moral leader, the principal has to create a moral order that bonds both principal and teachers (Sergiovanni, 2001). Furthermore, a principal needs to be fair and consistent in his judgment whatever the case may be; his judgment must be credible and reliable. A principal should be a good listener, irrespective of how unpalatable the circumstance might be. The school principal should be a visionary leader. There is always something bigger and better available to forge a new vision for a school and such a vision should be firmly grounded in a transformational view of education.
Teachers as partners in progress are expected to complement the efforts of the principals through effective teaching and learning in the classroom. They are expected to impart knowledge in the most interesting manner, that is, teachers must work their students into such a state of interest in what the teachers are going to teach them that every other object of attention is banished from their minds. According to Ejiogu (1999), since teachers are the greatest determinants of quality in any educational system, it is of great importance for them to be of good conduct. The effective job performance of teachers, which may be aroused from internal satisfaction, can be propelled by the attitude and encouragement from the school principal. The principal plays a vital role in the job performance of not too good teachers who need some support and little guidance. Blasé and Blasé (1994) stated that praise by the principal provides teachers with an increased efficacy, self-esteem, and creates greater motivation.
Teachers’ job performance is the ability of the teacher to combine relevant inputs for the enhancement of teaching and learning processes (Adeyemi, 2010). Principals can therefore encourage performance of their teachers by identifying their needs and trying to satisfy or meet them. Performance is the ability to combine skillfully the right attitude towards the achievement of educational objectives and goals. Owoeye (1999) asserted that variables of job performance such as effective teaching, lesson note preparation, effective use of scheme of work, effective supervision, monitoring of students’ work and disciplinary ability are virtues which teachers should uphold effectively in the school system. In this regard, teachers’ performance could be measured through annual performance/evaluation report on staff of teachers’ activities in terms of performance in teaching, lesson preparation, lesson presentation, mastery of subject matter, competence, teachers’ commitment to job and extra-curricular activities. The influence of principals’ attitude to work on job performance of teachers therefore, cannot be over emphasized.
Statement of the Problem
Observations in recent times tend to reveal that some secondary school principals in Edo State display lackadaisical attitude towards their job. This, to some extent, may have negatively affected the job performance of secondary school teachers in the Edo State, which has become a subject of concern to stakeholders in the educational sector. The manifestation of this is the recent sacking of teachers by the Edo State government on offences ranging from lateness, absenteeism, trading during school hours, among others, as reported in the Punch Newspaper of October 16, 2012. Many reasons are being advanced for these ugly developments that now characterize the education sector. Among these reasons include non availability of instructional materials, poor classroom conditions, gross shortage of teaching and non-teaching personnel, poor conditions of service, incessant harassment of teachers by government, general decadence in the society, the attitude of principals to work, poor job performance of teachers among others. The attitude of principals to work and its influence on job performance of teachers has been a subject of controversy by researchers (Nwandiani, 1998; Adeyemi & Bolarinwa, 2013). The controversy is centred on whether or not the attitude of the principals influences the job performance of teachers. While some researchers opined that principals’ attitude to work influences teachers’ job performance, others feel otherwise (Riketta, 2002). Common observation in the school system shows that principals’ attitude could have impact on job performance of teachers. Therefore, this study investigates whether any relationship exists between principals’ attitude to work and the job performance of teachers in Junior Secondary Schools (JSS) in Central Senatorial District of Edo State, Nigeria.
The following questions were raised to guide this study:
The following hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to examine the influence of principals’ attitude to work on job performance of secondary school teachers in Central Senatorial District of Edo State. Specifically, the study sought to:
Significance of the Study
This study would be of benefit to principals, teachers, students, parents, policy makers and government. The principals would benefit from this study because the findings would expose them to attitudinal change and reveal the importance of cultivating good attitude which is vital to creating good working relationship with teachers. In the area of school commitment, the study would help the school principal to realize the need for dedication to work and to identify the needs of the teachers in the school especially as it relates to supervision of instruction and thereby influencing their job performance.
The teachers would benefit from this work because the findings of this study would help them to know the various attitudinal behaviours the principals are likely to exhibit and be prepared to deal with them accordingly. It will also encourage them to put in their best irrespective of the principals’ attitude to work and his leadership style. It would also help the teachers to deal with internal conflict especially conflict of interest and opinion emanating from their instructional task performance so that they can help improve the classroom situation and help students academic performance.
The implementation of the recommendations of the study would help to create a better teaching and learning atmosphere that would be beneficial to students. The parents would benefit from the findings of this work because through improved method of teaching, better future for their children may be assured. The policy makers would through the findings of this study make better policies for the education system. This can help to create favourable attitude to work which may help in improving productivity of teachers. The government through the findings of this work would be made aware of principals’ attitudinal disposition that can either make or mar the progress of the school system. By this awareness, government would know what to put in place to enhance favourable attitudinal disposition of principals towards their job, may invariably helping to improve job performance of teachers in schools.
The study would contribute immensely to existing literature in the areas of principals’ attitude to work that promote teachers’ job performance. Future researchers may find the work very useful in carrying out researchers in this area.
Scope of the Study
The study covered all public junior secondary schools in Central Senatorial District of Edo State. There are five local governments in the District, namely: Esan West, Esan Central, Esan North East, Esan South East and Igueben Local Government Areas. Undoubtedly, there are many factors that contribute to the principal attitudinal disposition but this study is concerned with the following: principals’ attitude to work, principals’ leadership styles, principals’ personal relationship with teachers, principals’ fairness to issues and principals’ visionary outlook.
Operational Definition of Terms
The following terms are defined according to their use in this study.
Attitude: Attitude as used in this study relates to principals’ personality and disposition in school as it pertains to the discharge of his official responsibilities. Attitude as measured in this study were fairness to issues, leadership style, personal relationship with teachers and visionary outlook. This was rated as favourable and unfavourable.
Principals’ Attitude: This is concerned with the behaviour of secondary school principals especially towards work. This can either be favourable or unfavourable. Principal attitude is favourable when his personality and disposition in the discharge of his official duties encourages high job performance in school. Principal attitude is unfavourable when his disposition to work does not promote good environment that enhance productivity in school.
Teachers’ Job performance: This is the ability of teachers to perform effectively in their assigned teaching responsibility such as effective teaching, lesson note preparation, effective use of scheme of work, effective supervision and monitoring of students’ work and classroom discipline. Job performance in the context of this work was rated High, Average and Low. A teacher who scored 60% and above, 40% to 59% and below 40% in the Annual Performance Evaluation Report Scale were rated as High, Average and Low job performance respectively.
Leadership style: This refers to the principal’s manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans and motivating teachers in the school system to enhance job performance. Such style could be democratic or participatory, autocratic and laissez-fair.
Personal relationship: This relates to the interpersonal relationship that exists between the principal and the teachers in the school. This relationship could be positive or negative.
Fairness to issues: This is related to principal’s truthfulness in his judgment of issues in the school, especially as it has to do with handling matters concerning teachers and others within the school.
Visionary outlook of Principal: The ability of the principal to use his initiative to make good plans and policies and strategize for the growth and development of the school especially in the implementation of the goals of the education system.