Background to the Study

Owing to the challenges that faced directorate of inspection, principals were entrusted with the task of instructional supervision within the schools. Several Commissions of education have discussed and made recommendations on improvement and maintenance of quality education. The commissions recommended that instructional supervision be undertaken in the schools by trained qualified and experienced personnel. The principals of schools were mandated amidst many other responsibilities to carry out instructional supervision in their schools. Principals have been legitimately entrusted with the task of managing schools in order to achieve the educational goals. Instructional supervision requires that principals focus mainly on the teaching staff who implement curriculum directly through instruction. Principals therefore ought to give instructional supervision special place in their discharge of duties.

Supervision in schools is very important and as a result only those teachers, who are trained, qualified, experienced and of high professional integrity are promoted as principals. The instructional supervisory activities of the principal enable every child to reach their individual academic success. The purpose of instructional supervision is to improve the quality of teaching through improved skills of teachers which in turn improves students’ academic performance. As the agents of the Quality Assurance Standards Officers (QASO) principals have been assigned instructional supervisory activities. The activities involve improving teaching and learning; developing supervisory strategies; executing strategies for improvement; maintaining the school system; improving curriculum and library materials; evaluating students’ progress and timetabling (Okumbe, 2003).

The principals play the role of supervisor from time to time by checking the teachers’ classroom work and assessing their overall performance based on students’ academic achievement. Principals are also charged with the duty of promoting the academic and professional status of teachers by availing them with current curriculum materials and in-service courses. The principals are expected to provide the right motivation and stimulation for staff and students to enhance academic achievement. They are to use supervisor-teacher friendly methods moving away from the traditional method of control and authoritarianism (Wenzare, 2012). The traditional methods of inspection instill fear to teachers and lower their moral (Republic of Kenya,1965). Principals therefore ought to be sources of inspiration for teachers and their students.

Instructional supervisory skill of the principal is key to the improvement of quality education in any school and leads to enabling students perform well in their academics .Highlight of the instructional supervision has been made by many stake holders who are increasingly holding the principals accountable for the results of their students (Zepda, 2003). Poor performance is being registered in schools and yet principals are in schools expected to make a difference in student’s academic performance through instructional supervision. While there have been many studies carried out on Instructional supervision a little has been done on the relationship between the variable and students academic achievement. The stakeholders are more and more becoming conscious of the need for the schools to be accountable of the results of the students they are teaching. This is exerting pressure on the principals to improve teaching in their schools. This pressure helps the principals to be keen on carrying out effective instructional supervision to improve students’ academic performance. Principals have to pay attention to the instructional leadership activities that bring about effective instructions which lead to academic success of the students. Principals have to relate administrative tasks and processes by a well established program of supervision which helps to knit together the various activities towards achievement of school goals. Glickman et al (2010) description of supervision as a “glue” of a successful school holds true. As a result of its binding activity it acts as a sensory system and lifeblood of the school.

Researchers have focused on variables relating to the principals and their roles of instructional supervision. Some others have researched on instructional supervision activities and improvement of teachers’ class instruction. However studies on this field have failed to bring in the variable of the students who are recipients of principal’s instructional supervisory activities.

Without bringing in student’s academic achievement the study will not be complete because teaching is only a means to an end which is student’s academic achievement. Student’s academic achievement is crucial when discussing the instructional supervision because it provides a reflection of the quality of the activities that have been offered. Poor academic achievement of students raises concern as to whether instructional supervision has positive influence on the

student’s academic achievement. This study therefore examines principals’ instructional supervisory roles and its influence in student’s academic achievement.

Statement of the Problem

Although the Ministry of Education is focused on improving the supervision of instruction in schools much still needs to be done. Informal discussion among people in Abakaliki Education Zone and related research findings suggest that poor students’ performance in Secondary schools is as a result of ineffective supervision of teachers by principals. This assumption from the stakeholders that students in secondary schools in Abakaliki Education Zone perform poorly as a result of ineffective supervision of principals is not verified. Yet the fact that many students perform poorly in their examinations is a reality. The purpose of instructional supervision is to support teachers develop their professional skills and techniques in order to help students learn better and perform well. Instructional supervision in schools as earlier stated is aimed at improving teacher instruction and hence students academic performance. The goal of this practice as laid down by the Ministry of education is to enhance quality of education and thus make students succeed in their studies.

Poor academic achievement raises concerns as to whether principal’s instructional supervisory skills are effective in schools. Principals are expected to provide effective supervision of instruction services by motivating, stimulating and consulting with teachers in order to improve student’s academic achievement. The Ministry of Education through Ebonyi state secondary education board(SEB)in liaison with Association of principals of Secondary schools do organize workshops and in-service training for principals in order to equip them as instructional supervisors. With these interventions in place it would seem reasonable and indeed necessary, to ask why students should perform poorly in their academic performance in public secondary schools in Abakaliki Zone.

Some researchers have found out that principals spent less than a third of their time in supervision (Cooley & Shen 2011) and (Goodwin, Cunningham & Childress, 2012). They have been reported to use only 20% of their time for visiting classes, curriculum related task and staff development. Instructional supervisory activities that the principals should carry out in schools are clearly stipulated by the Ministry of Education. The poor rate at which secondary school students in Abakaliki Zone perform need urgent attention hence principals are required to put instructional supervisory activities first in their discharge of duty.

Although principals have been trained and prepared as instructional supervisors there is little to show effectiveness of instructional supervision in secondary schools in Abakaliki Zone. When there are principals who are trained and have the necessary knowledge and skills in supervision one fails to understand why majority of students continue to perform poorly. Instructional Supervision within a school is expected to have effect on the teaching of students by teachers which bring about students academic achievement. However very little is known about instructional supervision and how it influences student’s academic achievement in Abakaliki Education Zone. Research on this field has been done on the following areas; skills and responsibilities of supervisors in schools Sturge Krajewski, & love (2010); skills of principals in instructional supervision in public secondary schools Muoka (2013); and supervision of instruction in public secondary schools Baffour-Awuah (2011).

While Sturge et al (2014) reviewed research reports, articles and texts this study collected data from relevant respondents for its findings. The students’ academic achievement was not addressed and hence it became the dependent variable of the current study. The researchers focused on instructional supervisory practices but failed to bring out the end result or purpose of the practices. Instructional Supervision is only a means to the students’ academic achievement.

This study therefore examined the supervisory skills required of Principals for effective management of secondary schools of Abakaliki Education Zone of Ebonyi State.

Purpose of the study

Generally, the purpose of this study is to Examine the supervisory skills required of principals in order to ensure effective management of instruction in Abakaliki Education Zone of Ebonyi State from which the following specific purposes were derived.

1. To ascertain how classroom observation/clinical Supervision skill will influence principal’s effective management of Secondary School.

2. To examine how workshop skill will influence principal’s effective management of Secondary School.

3. To assess whether principal’s micro-teaching skill will influence management.

4. To examine the challenges principals face in carrying out their supervisory obligations.

5. To find out the ways principal’s supervisory skills can be improved.

Significance of Study

This study hopes to contribute to improvement of performance of the supervision role of principals. It is hoped that the study findings will be useful to the principals, Association of principals of Secondary School(APSS) and Ebonyi State Ministry of Education. The study will be a tool of learning for the above agents of education because they are involved in one way or another in instructional supervision in the schools. The principals were challenged to improve their ways

of motivating, supporting and directing teachers and allocating more of their time in instructional supervision. The study is hoped to help principals reinforce those supervisory activities that positively influence student’s academic achievement.

The APSS will use the findings to report to the Ministry of Education (MOE) on areas that require attention particularly during the formulation of policies relating to internal supervision in schools. APSS would further use the study to improve their in-service programs for principals and teachers for better students’ academic performance. The challenges that principals face while carrying out instructional supervision would also be known and be addressed by APSS.

The research will also help the MOE plan workshops or in-service courses that will help principals learn or acquire new ways of helping teachers develop their instructional skills for improvement of academic achievement in secondary schools in Abakaliki zone. Teachers would also benefit from the study by getting insights of the instructional supervisory skills that principals have been entrusted to perform in their schools to support, motivate and stimulate them. The study would enable the teachers know what to expect from their principals and take initiative to seek for those services from their principals. Students would also benefit from the study as a result of improved supervisory skills of the principals. The students would be able to cover the syllabus on time, understand each subject well as a result of quality teaching through improved teaching methodologies of teachers.

The students would also be keen to set targets of their performance as a result of consistent monitoring of their academic achievement. They would benefit from quality instructional time which would be realized as a result of observance of punctuality by teachers which would spill over to the students. In this area of study there are suggested areas for researchers to study in order to enrich knowledge in this field. This would further improve the quality of education through better learning and teaching strategies. Other researchers would be motivated to study the problem in other learning institutions that would add to the existing data in order to further improve the quality of education through better learning and teaching strategies.

Scope of Study

This study was delimited to supervisory skills required of principals in order to ensure effective management of instruction in Abakaliki Education Zone. The study was delimited to Abakaliki Zone owing to the shortage of sufficient empirical research investigating the above problem. The parents and the community at large have decried the low grades that students get at the Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations.

Principals were used in the Study because they play a key role in the instructional

supervision of their schools. They interact with teachers almost on a daily basis in and out of classrooms and indirectly influence students academic performance. Principals are the internal supervisors who offer professional support, motivation and encouragement.

The research was also delimited to the teachers because they work under principals and are the subjects of principals’ supervisory roles. Teachers influence students’ academic achievement by their good instructional skills developed through effective instructional supervision. The teachers are also in a position to share information relating to the principals supervisory skills in their schools and suggest ways for improvement.

Research Questions

This study was guided by the following research questions;

i. How does classroom observation/clinical Supervision skill influences principal’s effective management of Secondary School?

ii. How does workshop skill influences principal’s effective management of Secondary School?

iii. How effectively do principal’s micro-teaching skill influences management?

iv. What challenges do principals face in carrying out their instructional supervision?

v. How would the principals’ instructional supervision be improved?

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