The term ‘research’ when used in relation to the average Nigerian leaves an odd taste in the mouth. Somewhere in our heads, we assume that the two should not be used in the same sentence because it is hardly the reality.
As unfortunate as this is, what makes it even sadder is the fact that most Nigerian teachers do not participate in it since it is not part of the culture of wider society.
Would anyone blame some of these teachers?
Not particularly. After all, many young people find themselves as teachers simply because they could not find other jobs. This is why you may find a Civil Engineering graduate with absolutely no background in teaching or even passion for it, in the classroom teaching Mathematics.
Such a person will assume that teaching is merely about showing up in class with copied lesson notes or worn textbooks and then recycling the knowledge that was passed down to him about a decade or so earlier.
Nonetheless, even if we concede that most people teach only to keep body and soul together, we must not forget that there is a duty to the younger generation; the students that look up to the teachers for knowledge.
According to Sage Publishing, a renowned educational resource, cultivating a research-based approach to developing one’s craft in the classroom can accrue lots of benefits including:
- Finding solutions to specific problems within the classroom and school at large
- Providing a professional base for imparting knowledge, skills, and understanding
- Connecting with sources of information and networks of professional support
- Clarifying processes and priorities when introducing some form of change to the learning process, such as curriculum, assessment etc.
- Enabling you to teach more effectively and strategically
- Developing influence and efficiency with your students, within your school and widely in the profession.
Therefore, we must remember that research is not meant for those working on their thesis alone. Even if we would rather be doing something else, other than teaching, we owe it to our students to bring our A-game every time. Besides, someone must have done the same for us to be where we are now.
We can only bring the best version of ourselves to the classroom if we access the best versions of other people through documented work or even communities.
Interestingly, at Skills Outside School Foundation, we offer communities for collaboration to enable teachers be better version of themselves. You can reach out to us anytime.
Take some time out today to research into the challenges you face in the classroom or find out more effective ways of teaching.
It is a good day to work towards becoming a better teacher!