Examples of Social Studies Teaching Controversial Essay Topics and Issues in Education

THE CONTROVERSIAL TEACHER

Study the case entitled “The Controversial Teacher” and answers the questions underneath it.

Mr. Ikasola qualified as a teacher after completing a Bachelor Degree in teacher training programme from one of the reputable universities in Canada. After graduation, he returned home to accept a job in one of the secondary schools in the northern part of the country. Two years later, he joined the English Department of Amina High School in the southern part of the country. His reason for coming to Amina High School was because he wanted to be nearer to his town.

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Within a few weeks of being at Amina High School, he observed that his department was in dire need of improvement. He suggested to his head of department – Mr. Umar, an NCE holder, that he should be given a free hand to run the department, but Mr. Umar made him to understand that if such request is granted, it would be against the school policy and administration. Because his request was turned down, he (Mr. Ikasola) started speaking ill of Mr. Umar to other colleagues and even to the school principal. On several occasions, he openly condemned Mr. Umar’s leadership style. In addition, he attempted to frustrate Mr. Umar’s effort to maintain high academic standards in the departments.  Mr. Ikasola deliberately started to teach ineffectively, sometimes skipping classes.

At one point, attempts were made by some members of staff, even from other departments, counselled him to cooperate with his head of department, they even suggested some specific ways in which he could channel his  energies towards constructive ends.

At such counsel visits, Mr. Ikasola would pretend to listen attentively. As they spoke, he assumed that his stand on the running of the department had been well taken, after all, he is a degree holder while the highest qualification of his head of department is NCE. He realized that other colleagues were not in agreement with his proposal. Consequently, he started nursing grudges against those members of staff who were trying to assist him to resolve his ego problem. As a result, he stopped attending the staff common room and therefore became a loner.

A few weeks later, complaints about Mr. Ikasola started pouring into Mr. Umar’s office. The students complained that Mr. Ikasola rattles, babbles, and prattles and have been presenting himself as a deficient teacher. Consequently, Mr. Umar put down the allegations in writing to Mr. Ikasola asking for his comments. Instead of Mr. Ikasola explaining himself to Mr. Umar, he wrote directly to the principal accusing his head of department, Mr. Umar, of “cheap blackmail” against him, inciting students to write against him.

The principal then asked Mr. Umar for his response on Mr. Ikasola’s allegations. Mr. Umar replied to the principal, surporting his response with the accusation letters written on Mr. Ikasola to him by different students. It was discovered that besides accusation of incompetent teaching, Mr. Ikasola was alleged of using vulgar words in addressing students in the classroom. The students also complained his new mode of dressing, saying that he (Mr. Ikasola) paraded himself more like a farmer than a teacher; others claimed that he appeared more like a palm wine tapper than a classroom teacher.

When the principal received the response from Mr. Umar, he sent for Mr. Ikasola to discuss the matter with him. Surprisingly, during the discussion, Mr. Ikasola flared up and accused the principal of taking side with Mr. Umar.

As the principal was contemplating on what to do, some parents have gone to the Ministry of Education to report Mr. Ikasola’s professional incompetence and misconduct, which in their assessment was unbecoming of a teacher in charge of their children. Before the principal could react, complaints from the parents increased, the Parents’ Teachers’ Association also sent a petition both to the principal and the ministry requested that Mr. Ikasola be relieved of his post immediately or transferred to any other school. The principal was surmoned by the Ministry Officials on the matter, asked him to provide them with recommendations on actions to take against Mr. Ikasola.

 

As an administrator answer the questions below:

* What do you consider to be Mr. Ikasola’s major problem?

* Would you agree that Mr. Ikasola be sent for a kind of training? If so, what kind of training would you recommend?

* What responsibility does a principal have in guiding teachers with unexpected behavioural problems within the school system?

* How would you handle complaints from individual parents, the P.T.A and the Ministry of Education on Mr. Ikasola?

* From administrative point of view, what would be your recommendations to the Ministry of Education Officials?

 

Case 2

The school involved in this case was founded in 1979. However, the school has not enjoyed the service of any principal for more than two consecutive years. This incident occurred during the tenure of office of the third principal in the school. The school was not different from other schools of the contemporary period; fund was not forthcoming from the government; typists, bursars and other forms of resources were notg sufficiently available. The school, being the first secondary school in the community luckily enjoyed the support and goodwill of the community both financially and morally. A typewriter and a cyclostyling machine were presented to the school by the community. Fortunately, one of the teachers was a good typist; he immediately combined the work of typing with his teaching duties. This teacher called Femi volunteered to help the school to type questions papers. He did this for two years before an ugly incident occurred.

The principal, Mr. Kane, was an experienced principal; he had worked in many schools as a principal and he claimed to be a principal with a difference. He evolved a motto, “Strive for Excellence” for the school which used to be the watchword at every morning assembly. In an attempt to monitor all activities all alone, he ended up not delegating power to any teacher. Though, he claimed to be a democratic, but he always ended up usurping the powers of any committee in the school.

As the May/June 1983 promotion examination was approaching, the principal instilled fear in the students generally and form four students in particular. He threatened that only 50% of them would be promoted to form five because he believed in excellence. He emphasized that there was no point promoting many and at the end record a low percentage pass.

He was critical of this because the school was just about to present the first set of students for WASCE. In preparation for the examination, an Examination Committee was set up with Mr. Dele as the Chairman. Usually, Mr. Femi would type the questions and this gave him the automatic membership of the examination committee.

The committee decided to produce copies of the question papers on the morning of each examination day. The examination was to start on Monday, but on the previous Friday, the principal invited the committee Chairman to inquire about their plans for the examination and how they intended to go about the work of cyclostyling. The Committee Chairman informed him of the committee’s plan. The principal agreed. The principal later invited the Clerical Assistant who had been taught how to operate the cyclostyling machine. He gave the already cut stencils containing the questions to him to cyclostyle. The committee members learnt of this and later decided not to participate in the cyclostyling exercise. They restricted their assignment to collection of question papers from the Clerical Assistant every morning for onward distribution to the invigilators.

After the examinations, the marking exercise started as usual. Mr. Femi, the teacher-typist, detected some foul play in Mathematics paper. The answer scripts of four students were more or less a replica of each other. He then decided to meet the principal on the issue. The principal advised him to cancel the paper and set another one for all form four students, but he refused and agreed to do that if it was a consensus opinion of all teaching the staff. The principal agreed to call a staff meeting when it became clear that Mr. Femi was unyielding.

At the meeting, Mr. Femi presented his case and tendered the students’ answer scripts as exhibits. The staff unanimously agreed to set up a five man committee to investigate the case especially after some teachers had spoken of similar observations in their papers. The committee investigated and submitted its recommendations within four days.

Mr. Femi was the principal witness at the committee’s sittings. One of the teachers who appeared before the committee alleged that it was Mr. Femi who gave out his questions to some students. She buttressed her argument by explaining that some parents had come to report the case to her at home while the examination was on and it was Mr. Femi that was alleged by these parents. One of the parents was quoted as saying that his son informed him of this after finding him with a live Mathematics question paper that was yet to be taken.

This female teacher said she decided to keep quiet because she felt that Mr. Femi was a respectable member of staff and that if she reported, the students in question would be affected adversely.

The four students were interrogated and it was only one of them that confessed of her knowledge of all the question papers they took. It took others some measures of threat before they confessed. Three of them pointed to the fourth student, Bola as the person who supplied the question papers. After much pressure, Bola mentioned the name of the clerical assistant. The clerical assistant also confessed giving out the live questions. The four students confessed to have received the live questions and gave other four students. All the accused persons were made to write down their confessional statements. Bola, the principal student actor, in her plea for leniency for the clerical assistant, said that it was she who approached him for help because she wanted to get to form five at all cost and that it was the principal’s stand on the number of students to be promoted to form five that made her explore such possibility.

All the members of the examination committee were interrogated. In fact, the Chairman testified that it was on the strength of his testimony that others were invited. They all condemned the principal’s leadership style. They described him as an autocratic leader. They argued that if he had not intruded into the affairs of the committee, the clerical assistant would not have had the opportunity of being the custodian of the question papers.

 

Questions:

* As an Educational Administrator, give five cogent recommendations to the school.

* Analyze the case by highlighting the major issues at stake

* What solutions can you proffer for solving the problems involved in this case?

* What are the major implications of this case for the school system?

 

Social Studies Teaching Controversial Issues in Education

Case 3

SEX SCANDAL IN A SECONDARY SCHOOL

Among the standing committee set up by the board of governors of Aje Community Grammar School was the Emergency Committee to handle emergency cases on behalf of the Board. Such an emergency situation was the case indicated above. The report follows:

Principal’s Report

After explaining the purpose of the meeting, the principal reported on the incident that happened on Saturday, September 29. On Sunday, September 30, the class matron informed him of some blood-stained benches found in Form C Classroom. The way the benches were arranged together with stains of blood suggested some sex act. A form five boy who beat up two junior students and forced them to wash the blood-stained benches was suspected of the act.

Investigation was conducted among the girls by the matron. There was a roll call and each of the girls was examined privately for evidence of the affair. When it came to the turn of a girl, by name Adeola Badaru (IIC), she was unwilling to be examined. The girl was finally examined and found to have a tear in her private part. The suspected girl was taken home to her parents together with the principal then conveyed the girl to the Aje Rural Hospital at about 8:00pm. The medical examination proved that the girl had a tear as a result of sex. She was recommended for further treatment at the Maternity Section of the Hospital.

On Tuesday October 2, the girl was called before the school’s disciplinary committee to identify the boy with whom she had the deal. The girl named and identified Alimi Alabi (FORM V) who has been suspected due to his interference with evidences of the scandal. He was the student mentioned earlier who forced boys to wash benches and beat them for not doing so in time.

Alimi did not accept guilt before the disciplinary committee. He denied knowledge of the offence. He later wrote a statement to the principal, exonerating himself of the offence and named a boy, a friend to the senior prefect, whom he said had come from Aaya, a neighboring village, as the one that engaged in the act.

Another meeting of the disciplinary committee of the school was held at which pictures of the Aaya boy were shown to the girl. She said she did not know the boy. The senior prefect acknowledged knowing the boy and agreed that the boy, a primary school mate, had visited him in the school before, on learning from his parents that he was schooling in Aje. He however denied that the boy came to the school on Saturday night of September, 29, let alone commit the offence.

The disciplinary committee then went into the case and evidence adduced as follows:

Evidence from Adeola Badaru

After the principal’s report, the panel called in Adeola Badaru, the girl involved, to give evidence. She stated that it all started in her year one when Alimi Alabi called her and requested her friendship. When she refused, Alimi on an occasion beat her up and she became sick. She reported to her parents about the beating and her mother came to see the matron about it.

This term, on the night of Saturday September, 29 when a function was taking place in the school dining hall, a boy, Salami Sanni, whom she followed out, showed her to form IC classroom where he said her brother was waiting. Upon reaching the place she saw Alimi who forcefully had sex with her. She tried to cry for help but her voice was not loud enough.

Evidence from Salami Sanni

Salami denied that he was sent by Alimi to call Adeola. He claimed that he was in the dining hall throughout the period of the function.

Evidence from Alimi Alabi

Alimi denied that he knew Salami Sanni and Adeola Badaru until only recently when they all appeared before the disciplinary committee of the school. According to his statement, on Sunday 30th   September, he was playing with his classmate, Dele Adesanmi and Gaffar Olamide, when his friend called him to see some blood stained benches in Form 1C class. When he got to the scene, he felt it was not decent for the blood to continue to be there. He therefore asked some junior boys to wash the blood from the benches. The junior boys refused to obey him and he beat them as a result.

He further said that he knew the boy that committed the scandal to be a friend of the school prefect and that he had witnesses who would testify to this. He named the following as his witnesses Nureni Ajao (V), Jimoh Alata (V), Ajani Oke and Oluwole Badmus (V).

The witnesses were called and interrogated,

First Witness, Oluwole Badmus (V): He said that he did not know anything about the incident on the day it happened,

Second Witness, Nureni Ajao (V): He said that he did not know anything about the matter until the following day when he heard about it.

Third Witness, Jimoh Alata (V): He also said he did not know anything about it until the following day. Jimoh Alata contradicted himself when he said he was around the scene of the incident but did not see the culprits involved.

CONCLUSION: From the investigation conducted, the committee concluded as follows:

* That it was Alimi who had sex with the girl that Saturday night.

* That Alimi used his position as a senior student to harass this girl and even beat her up until finally the girl succumbed to his obnoxious will for sex.

* That Alimi started ‘chasing’ this girl when she was in Form One.

* That Salami Sanni’s statement that he was not sent to call the girl is a lie.

* That Jimoh Alata gave a contradictory statement and might be trying to hide the truth about his friend.

* That the girl also was to blame for leaving the dining hall where all students were watching a play for a classroom where the incident took place.

* That the girl did not show enough resistance as she claimed.

 

Questions:

* With the above conclusion, what would be your recommendations as a member of the committee?

* Examine the committee’s conclusion and indicate, with cogent reasons, whether you would arrive at similar conclusions or a different set of conclusions altogether

 

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