STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING PRACTICAL PROJECTS IN WOODWORK IN COLLEGES OF EDUCATION (TECHNICAL) IN NORTH-WESTERN STATES OF NIGERIA

ABSTRACT
The study was motivated by a great concern about the future and continuity of woodwork practical projects in all tiers of society and our education system particularly in Colleges of education (Technical). The concern stemmed from poor performance, low and declining skill practice in performance. Pertinent questions and doubts were raised on the strategies employed by teachers currently teaching woodwork in Colleges of Education (Tehcnical). The study therefore focused on the in-service training, motivation, instructional materials and teaching technique in woodwork practical project as a frame of reference. Four research questions guided the study and hypotheses formulated were tested at 0.05 level of significance. The study adopted a survey research design. The area of the study was the seven Northwestern states. The population and sample for the study was made up of 15 woodwork lecturers and 28 instructors in the seven Colleges of Education (Technical). A questionnaire titled “Strategies for improving practical projects in woodwork in Colleges of Education (Technical) in Northwestern states of Nigeria” consisting of 70 items was structured, based on the woodwork practical projects, administered to 43 teachers. Data collected were analyzed using eh means and test statistics. The study recommended re-training, motivation and in-service training for woodwork teachers not once but on regular basis through workshops and seminars.

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Woodwork is one of the practical-based courses in Colleges of Education (Technical). Woodwork basically deals with the use of wood. Wood is a material cut from complex living organism called tree. Trees are first felled before cutting into logs. Waltan in Mohammed (2011) stressed that these logs are thereafter converted or sawn into various sizes, making it suitable for building and constructional purposes. Woodwork is the art of producing objects or things from wood in buildings or rooms such as doors, windows, roof, bed, cupboards, chairs, and tables. Woodworkincludes timber technology, safety rules in the workshops, tools and classification of materials such as nails, adhesives, fitting and their uses. Preparation of timber, classification, construction joint, forestry and product of trees, woodturning, repairs, and maintenance of tools and equipment are practical aspect of woodwork (Rix, Has, and Teixeira 2008).

Making things from wood is one of the oldest occupations in the world. Woodwork according to National Policy on Education (Federal Government of Nigeria [FGN], (2004) comprises machine/hand tools, carpentry and joinery, upholstery and furniture making. In the past, the woodwork personnel were the most important person in the house building industry being the designer, builder and furnisher of the home. All woodwork students learn the skills that enable them to work in a workshop or on-site, these skills are transferable from one discipline to the other (Scottish Further Education Unit, 2005). At a workshop bench a joiner can make a great range of components: door and screens, windows and stairs to name a few. On site, a carpenter will be involved in the construction of a building, building partitions, floors, roofs and the installation of the components made by the joiner (Berger 2003). The craft of the woodwork has a real and tangible tradition behind it, which involves the use of working drawings. Working drawings are preliminary skills of practical geometry which is necessary before the varied work of carpentry and joinery can be successfully undertaken; the need for skill acquisition is inevitable (Okoro, 2006) through colleges of education.

Colleges of Education aim at providing students with knowledge, attitude, and skills leading to gainful employment in the teaching profession and the world of work (FGN, 2004). The institutions that provide technical education in Nigeria include, Technical Colleges, Colleges of Education (Technical), Polytechnics, and Universities. They give full training intended to prepare students for entry into various occupations (Okoro, 2006). Delmar (2006) stated that woodwork requires technical skills from students for good performance in areas, such as how to use and maintain hand and power tools on given job.

Motivation as defined by Offorma (2012), is a condition which initiates, guide and maintains behaviors until some goal is reached.Ngwoke (2004) described motivation as the internal state or mental and psychological state in an individual which compels energizes, sustains and directs the individuals activity towards a goal. Motivation is a psychological construct to explain purposive or goal-directed behavior in human beings. Motivation in this study is an attempt aimed towards imitation, arousal, energizing, and sustenance of interest in woodwork teachers to engage in and remain in-service train, or retrain in large scale practical project woodwork

In-service training is a training programme aimed at improving the teacher. Therefore, woodwork teachers with varying qualification, knowledge and skills need to update their knowledge and skills through regular training, in order not to be obsolete. This informed the introduction of Technical Teachers Training Programme (TTTP). The programme was principally designed for improvement of technical teachers’ knowledge and skills. Unfortunately, this programme was conceived without first identifying the needs of the teacher (Oranu, in Sowande, 2001). In other words, there is need to first find out the areas the teachers lack required strategy and need for improvement in their performance before embarking on any training or re-training of technical teachers.

Teachers’ ability to use a variety of instructional materials and a combination of teaching methods and the ability to manage group learning is at the core of practical projects. This means that the teacher understands the need for careful preparation of lessons and schedules and that he/she able to organize teaching and learning around a variety of learning modes such as individual and group learning materials and teacher support services are critical to success in teaching and learning at this level of schooling. Practical projects apart from services to area that are thinly populated, also help to create educational opportunities for students by bringing college closer to home and meeting the needs of communities. Many of today’s on-the-job injuries result from the improper use of hand tools. Workers have lost their eyesight and had their vision impaired, tendons severed, bones broken, and arms, legs and fingers infected through puncture wounds, all because of unsafe practices with hand tools or use of tools poorly designed for the specific job. There is no set of established codes concerning the proper use of hand tools and power hand tools, It is necessary for woodwork teacher or instructor to stress the seriousness of using hand tools because the used of tools in woodwork is inevitable (Rix, Haas, &Teixeira, 2008). Therefore, woodwork students have to be taught proper skills of handling woodwork tools.

Practical projects in woodwork can be taught with the use instructional materials on how to handle woodwork hand tools. Although, most colleges don’t have modern instructional equipments and media, this is why above 90% of technical teachers in Nigeria are mostly using the chalkboard and textbook method which is regarded as traditional method in teaching and learning process(Shuaibu, 2007). Some teachers are not all that capable to operate machines and available equipment, so the few colleges that have them are unable to use them effectively, which will results to inability of the teachers to put across the concepts to the students. This could contribute to poor performance of students in practical projects.

Students in woodwork need to acquire skills in order to be employable in woodwork establishments.Such skills in woodwork would assist the student in employment. According to Barlaw (2001), employability prospects of woodwork graduate depends largely on the acquired work skills whether in self or paid employment. However, Bukar (1994) noted that process of skill acquisition and development, as it cuts across the three domains of educational objectives is cumbersome, tedious, and time consuming. This calls for enormous skills from teacher of practical based course like woodwork especially in Colleges of Education (Technical).

Strategy is planned series of actions for achieving something. According to Egbita (2006), instructional strategies are decisions about organizing people, materials and ideas to provide learning. Also, Hamza (2010) posited that strategy teaching requires comprehensive instruction that include attention to promote knowledge (what to do), procedural knowledge (how to do it) as conditional knowledge (when and why to do it) as a coherent and substantiated logic for making one set of choices rather than other. Operationally, strategy is the total pattern of decision, which shapes the long-term capabilities to the overall strategy. Strategy is the reconciliation of technical requirements with operational resources (Umar, 2010).

The ultimate and successful test of a good technical education programme is not how much factual information students can remember, but what technical skill they possess or perform in their technical fields of employment (Okoro, 2006). There is urgent need to re-strategize the quality of the graduates of woodwork in order to reach this aim, practical project. The fundamental ingredient of woodwork practical project is skill development and subsequently, the need for it to be improved upon. The skill improvement strategy when developed, is therefore utilitarian. According to Abimbola (2007), skills are not just acquired in vacuum; they are rather developed in a workshop or laboratory that is replete with the latest facilities and necessary materials. In line with this, acquisition of skill in practical work is essential (Ikpeamaonwu, 1991).

The state of any nation’s economy depends on the quality of skills its workers acquired. FGN (2004) stipulated the needs to prepare future citizens for useful and productive lives through the acquisition of appropriate practical skills required as craftsman and technician sub-professional level. To achieve this objective, it does not only require human resources, but also requires material, tools, equipment and skills. Skills are not acquired in a vacuum, in other to enhance standard and quality, proper instructional material must be available which forms the greatest aspect of skill acquisition (Beck, 1994). Offorma (2010) stressed that the success of an educational programmeis largely dependent on the quality of its teachers. Re-training of woodwork teachers to meet the current technological needs of the society is essential. According to Abdullahi (2010), teachers should be trained not once or twice, but on continuous basis to make them up to date to stand the rapid changes in the technological world.

Woodwork students from College of Education in the North-West geo-political zone are not properly skilled in practical, hence the study.In the midst of other factors that lead to poor performance of Colleges of Education (Technical) students, the competence of the teachers must be outstanding. As the saying goes, no education system can rise above the quality of its teachers. This becomes necessary to identify the strategies for improving the woodwork teachers in woodwork practical project in the North West zone of Nigeria.

Statement of the Problem
Today’s world of technology depends largely on high skilled manpower for productivity. Colleges of education (Technical) have major role to play in the production of this competent manpower for wood industries. It is expected that graduates should posses skills which will enable them perform in their areas of discipline. Osuala (2001) observed that the skilled job opportunities in industries are not filled up. Oranu (2001) stated that Colleges of Education (Technical) products are weak in practice of their trades.

Many Colleges of Education graduates especially those in woodwork are jobless. They are jobless not because of the absence of the job opportunities but because they are not skilled enough to take up the available teaching and industrial jobs (Osuala, 2001). In extension, this means the graduates of Colleges of Education are not competent to take up available employment. UNEVOC (2007) expressed that majority of graduate of woodwork in developing countries are not self-reliant due to incompetence reason not far away from poor practical project orientation.

Unfortunately, despite all effort by government to ensure qualitative education at the Colleges of Education (Technical) and bring about high competent products both in academic and employability, there have been persistent reports of high failure rate among students (FGN, 2001; NCCE, 2009). One probable cause of the high failure of the students in recent years according to NCCE (2010) Chief Accreditation Community Report is partly due to poor performance in practical by the students. Abdullahi (2010) attributed students’ lack of practical skills necessary to develop and manage their career lives to the growing gap that exist between students school experiences and the real world of work. The problem of this study therefore is to determine strategies for improving practical projects in woodwork so as to produce skilled craftsmen and technicians in woodworks to train technical teachers for secondary schools and technical colleges.

Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of the study therefore is to determine the strategy for improving practical project in woodwork in Colleges of Education (Technical) in Northwestern states of Nigeria. Specifically, the study will determine:

1. In-service training needs for improving practical projects

2. The need motivation of teachers as means for improving practical projects

3. Instructional materials for improving practical projects

4. Teaching techniques for improving the use of hand and machine tools

Significance of the Study
The findings of the study will be beneficial to the ministry of education and researcher, wood industries, curriculum planners, technical education teachers, student and the society at large. The findings of this study will be beneficial to the Ministry of Education. They can use the result of the study to organize training workshop and seminar for woodwork teachers in order to update their skills and knowledge in woodwork. The ministries will also use the findings of the study to employ teachers, for instance using the woodwork teacher for Colleges of Education (Technical).

The findings of the study will be beneficial to wood industries where College of Education (Technical) graduates seek for employment upon graduation. Woodwork graduates will be better equipped with practical skills to perform more effectively in tier various jobs and assignment in the industries. This will also help the industries minimize the huge financial expenditure on retraining of Colleges of Education (Technical) graduates upon employment.

The findings of the study will provide suitable information that will aid at objective planning and successful curriculum, beneficial to curriculum planners and training institutions. In that this institution will be able to incorporate the aspect of teacher competency required, as identified practical project skill in the curriculum. The findings will help the curriculum planner aimed at persuading woodwork teachers, technicians to improve practical project practice as well as develop practical skills, knowledge and attitude favorable to change in woodwork today.

The findings will be beneficial to technical education teacher; it will improve the quality of skills needed in practical education providing employment to vocational programme.

The findings of the study will be beneficial to woodwork teachers because if the quality required of these teachers are upgraded through in-service training with the findings of this study, the teachers will use the new knowledge to teach practical better to students. This invariably will motivate the students to learn and also give the teacher’s job satisfaction.

The findings of the study will be beneficial to students because when the woodwork teachers are well equipped with the practical knowledge required, students will be instilled in the proper knowledge. The students will therefore learn better and be able to work more effectively due to improved skill acquisition. If this is achieved, parents will also be happy because they will see value in their efforts.

The society will also benefit from the findings of the study because when students graduate with expected skills, they will reduce the problem of quack woodwork technical teachers, thereby, offering good services to the society. This will go a long way in achieving the much-needed technological development in Nigeria.

Research Questions
This study is guided by the following research questions:

1. What are the in-service training needs of teachers needed for improving practical projects in woodwork?

2. How can motivation of teacher improve practical projects in woodwork?

3. How can instructional materials improve practical projects in woodwork?

4. What are the teaching techniques that will improve the use of hand and machine?

Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses formulated to guide this study and is tested at 0.5 level of significance.

Ho1: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of instructors and lecturers on the need teacher for in-service training to improve practical projects.

Ho2: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of instructors and lecturers on the need for motivation of teachers as a means of improving practical projects.

Ho3: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of instructors and lecturers on instructional materials for improving practical projects.

Ho4: There is no significant difference in the mean responses of instructors and lecturers on the teaching techniques for tools handling to improve practical project.

Scope of the Study
The study is delimited to improving practical projects in work through in-service training, motivation, instructional materials and use of hand and machine tools in woodwork. It is delimited to woodwork lecturers and instructors in North-western states of Nigerian on strategies for improving other aspect of woodwork like theoretical are not covered by the study.

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