The talk of education revolution will remain on paper if the primary stakeholders – teachers - remain less motivated. Policies can be made and a lot is said but once teachers, who are the primary implementers of those policies, are not well-motivated, we shall continue to churn out poor results, hence compromise overall quality.
When my supervisor recently availed a ticket and the programme for the conference on education quality assurance in Dortmund in Germany, I was of the view that, this was about academicians and professors, but surprisingly the conference was full of secondary school teachers from across the world apart from Africa.
When presentations commenced, a lot was tackled, ranging from education policies, teacher enrolment and trainings, teacher motivation, teacher behaviour and conduct before students and outside the class, to teacher job satisfaction as well as student behavioural dynamics and family background, among others.
Witnessing the love and the pride that teachers manifested for who they are meant a lot to me and it reminded me the famous phrase “teachers in Diaspora” meaning those professional teachers that discarded the profession and opted for other careers that are considered more rewarding.
It is those rare moments that I have found a teacher proud of their profession but on further investigation about the decency of their satisfaction, it was realised that what makes the teacher satisfied is not actually money as many think, but rather a combination of many variables that education policy makers have continued to ignore yet significant for quality teaching and learning.
Continuous teacher capacity building has been the talk of the town in so many countries across the globe and this has been fully executed with meetings and conferences.
What happens when it gets to international conferences for teacher empowerment? Who represents the teachers? Not even the head of any school is invited to take part. Instead, policy makers are always sent to represent and this is noticeable in developing countries that have continued to grapple and cry over the quality of our education system.
Paulo Freile tells us “to stop milking the starved cow”. Teachers need to be assessed on a regular basis if we are to create a knowledgeable labor-force, but this will not be achieved if teachers are not well motivated and empowered to champion the next generation of intelligentsia and this can only be achieved through staging a vibrant education system with a well motivated teaching body.
It is a common understanding that education is a fundamental human right and an ultimate answer to sustainable peace and development. It is therefore provision among countries throughout the world to educate its populace. In this case therefore the learning environment and teachers` motivation upon knowledge development rather need attention in the field of teaching and learning. The classroom psychological implication of teachers concerning their motivation and the student aptitude to study well has a lasting impact on students’ opportunity to learn.
The classroom behaviour and the repeated dealings in which students and teachers engage as they learn are important because they constitute the knowledge that is produced. Availability of teaching and learning resources and teachers` motivation enhances the effectiveness of schools as these are basic variables that can bring about good academic performance in the students. The educational effort that will be helpful in developing human resources needed is not given much attention.
On that accord, therefore, all learning institutions should make every effort to magnetise and retain the best of its human resource. This implies that well trained and motivated teachers who are deployed in various should be in position to nurture and bring about well rounded students who will perform academically well in various discipline. We need to understand that most, teachers are trained and have clear goals to guide their teaching, but good motivations for the teachers and the availability of both teaching and learning materials appears to be inadequate. As a result, there has been a public outcry about general poor student’s performance and half baked graduates and among the many reasons advanced for that pandemonium teacher de-motivation is the epic.
The write is a PhD student of Comparative Education and leadership at Beijing Normal University