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PROBLEMS FACED BY PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS IN IRBID GOVERNORATE AS PERCEIVED BY THE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS Fatima Nasser Khalifeh Al-Jarrah Psychological Counseling, AlBalqa Applied University, Jordan Hala Yousef Abdelrahman Khasawneh Educational Management And Supervision, AlBalqa Applied University, Jordan Abstract The Purpose of the present study is to identify the problems faced by primary school teachers from the viewpoints of school administrators based on such domains as: curriculum issues, students, local community, school building, facilities, scientific devices and to identify whether there is variation in the availability degree of such problems faced by teachers attributed to school administrative experience, or the academic qualification. A two-part questionnaire was developed based on (Alshamari, 1425 AH) to measure problems faced by primary school teachers within Irbid Governorate, and adjusted in light of the comments of the judges who validated the study instrument. The first scale measures the demographic characteristics of participants, whereas the second part measures problems faced by primary school teachers as perceived by the school administrators within Irbid Governorate. Sample (N=100) was representative of the public primary school administrators within Irbid Governorate. Results indicated problems faced by teachers; and found statistically significant differences (α=-0.05) attributed to the academic qualification effect on the problems faced that are related to the local community. Further, no statistically significant differences ((α=-0.05) were found attributed to experience effect on all domains. In light of the results, the authors called for increasing the funds allotted for school buildings, student numbers to accommodate classroom size, greater involvement of teachers in curriculum design and development. It is also recommended to set up remedial plans for poor achievers, help students pay greater attention to homework assignments, and invite parents to periodically hold meetings about the teaching process. 166 Keywords: Primary School, Irbid Governorate, School Administrators Introduction The today's world is witnessing far-reaching scientific and technological breakthroughs that have penetrated every corner of our life, most importantly education. The educational system has experienced tremendous growth in almost every domain that increased the attention given by educators to the various educational institutions in terms of means, programs, activities so as to keep track with the fast developments taking place in the community. Developed and developing countries altogether greatly emphasize on education in recognition of its active role in community development and progress. As a result, education has become a developmental leverage for all countries that effectively help social and economic problems and achieve welfare and prosperous because its major focus is training and educating human leader who can create progress and make changes. This, of course, necessitates many requirements such as an insightful educational administration that visualizes the virtual dimensions of progress, and can assume pivotal roles and takes the new responsibilities demanded by the process of modernization (Bahjat, 1991). School is the academic place where interact educator's efforts to achieve the educational outcomes. Schools are no longer places where learners receive bulky knowledge by memorization and rote; instead they have become mechanisms to help learners acquire kills of positive adaptability with self, environment, community and the changing life. Presently, the duties and responsibilities of schools have broadened to include social responsibility towards the community where the locate by contributing in finding solutions for the social, vocational, health and cultural problems. In reality, they centers disseminating knowledge and culture throughout the community and success in this mission is expected only from an effective school administration (Saman & Morsi, 1985). In light of the significant role of schools in community development and progress, it is necessary, therefore, to take care of teachers, especially if known that their performance does not depend on themselves per se, but also on positive factors within school environment such as the effective school administration that satisfies teacher needs, consider individual differences, treat teacher indiscriminately, recognition of their values an empower best use of their capabilities and talents and increase mutual understanding to increase participation, cooperation, mutual trust that is based on frankness, truthfulness and friendliness (AL Halwani, 2007). 167 Although there are positive factors, there are also negative factors that counteract the organizational climate of the school including failure to meet teacher needs, ignorance of individual differences, underestimate their skills, ineffective employment of their abilities and capabilities, and misunderstanding..,etc. The negative factors also include conflict, poor participation or cooperation, disruption of the humanistic relations among employees. Both positive and negative factors reduce morale and lower performance level. The more advanced a community, the greater and wider responsibility will be held by the administration. In fact, effective administration is a powerful mechanism to bring about progress in the modern life and achieving welfare. It is clear that progress in the developing countries will not take place unless there are in place administrative systems that put cornerstone for building and developing towards higher levels (Hellriegel and Slocum, 1982 There are a variety of essential criteria that can be used to evaluate quality of school administration in light of modern approaches to school administration. Most importantly, setting clear goals, identifiable duties and responsibilities in terms of division of specialized work, and demographic method that harnesses school capacities in service of the teachinglearning process. Good school administration is one that sets up an effective communication system involving interrelationships inside the school and with the local community outside school walls (Kizlik, 1999). The school administrators perform functions that include planning, coordinating and directing educational activities taking place in school to develop and progress The administration of a school has a significant part to take in creating the educational climate that assists every member to school to grow. The school principal, for instance is the most influential figure in defining the school climate. Many studies found that good school climate associates with awareness by teachers to the trust felt by their director towards them so that they are asked to cooperate their opinions are respected and are involved in the decision-making process (Ellis, 1988). However, the role of a school principal and teacher is defined by their interrelationship, which requires accurate analysis from both psychological, social and personal aspects (Betty, 2001). School administration is both science and art because dealing with others requires understanding, sympathy and acceptance o that to strike balance among different parties inside school towards the intended goals, improve staff competencies, and performance level thereby school principal can be said an effective educational leader (Publication by UNISCO Institute of Education-UNRWA, 1986). 168 Presently, schools take wide and varied roles in community, and the teaching-learning process surpassed the routine functioning such as running the everyday routine activities including discipline, student attendance/absence, providing textbooks, repair of the school building. The new role of school is rather student-centered in which school administration is required to provide the necessary environment and means to help the mental, physical and spiritual development of students, and harness students with life skills for both present and future, while in the same time improve the performance level of their teachers, and empower them to implement the curriculum effectively, which in the final analysis improve the whole educational process and facilitate accomplishment of the targeted goals. (Morsi, 1993). In this context, school principals take a significant part in running the teachinglearning process because he/she assumes various roles like the educational leader who takes responsibility in carrying out numerous management functions that create an appropriate educational environment, and also assumes the role of educational supervisor who carefully evaluates and supervises progress of the educational process (Battah and Saud, 1993). Statement of the Problem The problem addressed by the current study is to identify problems maintained by primary female teachers in Irbid Governorate from the viewpoints of school administrators that would impede their perfect job performance, and to identify relationships with some variables in order to find out suitable solutions to such problems faced by the female students. The problems encountered were categorized into: - Problems related to curriculum issues - Problems related to students - Problems related to the local community - Problems related to building and equipments - Problems related to scientific devices Significance of the Study The significance of the present study stems from the dearth research studies available that addressed problems faced by female students at primary schools in Irbid Governorate from the viewpoint of school administrators, which adds greater value to this study. At the same time, identifying problems encountered by female students and effect on performance will help finding out meaningful practical solutions. 169 Further, identification of problems faced opens the door to conduct further studies on the effect of such problems on teacher performance and relationship with administrators and students. Objectives of the Study Primarily, the present study seeks to identify: 1. Problems encountered by primary female teachers as perceived by school administrators in the such fields: curriculum issues, students, local community, building and equipments, and scientific devices. 2. Whether the availability degree of problems faced by female teachers would vary by experience of school administrators and their academic qualifications. Hypotheses The study hypothesized that: 1. There are no statistically significant differences at (α=. 05) related to the problems faced by primary female teachers in Irbid Governorate as perceived by school administrators. 2. There are no statistically significant differences at (α=.05) in the availability degree of problems faced by primary female teachers attributed to experience Operational Definitions of school administrators and academic qualification. - Problems: a situation or a state impeding accomplishing intended educational goals on the primary school level, and solving it requires analysis of basic components, causes and surrounding circumstances to achieve appropriate decisions. - Primary female teachers: female teachers who teach primary students from the first through the tenth grade levels representing the obligatory stage in the educational system of Jordan. - School administration: a team of educated workers in schools administrators and technologists under supervision of the school principal who implements school regulations and instructions as ordered by the school district. Prior Studies There are a number of prior studies that addressed problems of school administrations. For instance: 170 1. Al Shamari (1425AH) conducted a study for purpose of identifying managerial and technical problems encountered by principals of girl public schools at city of Hael as perceived by female school principals and supervisors. The researcher employed the questionnaire instrument to collect data and was administered to school principals and supervisors. Major results indicated poor quality of maintenance of the school buildings, lack incentives for talented principals, dissatisfaction with overload teaching, low morale of teachers regarding extracurricular activities, excessive sick vacations by teachers, narrow of classrooms, inappropriateness of school buildings to the educational process, poor funds available to school administration, irresponsiveness to school needs by school district, excessive absence of teachers, frequent absence of students pre and post vacation, apathy with training courses. 2. Allowati (1992) was conducted for the purpose of identifying problems encountered by elementary school principals in Sultanate of Oman from the viewpoints of school principals and teachers. Most salient problems included the school building and lack of public utilities. As for students, there was perceived weakness in their academic achievement, infrequent parental visits to inquire about their children, little significance given by parents to parent's council. 3. Al Madahdji (1991) sough to explore problems hinder effective school administration. The study concluded that most significant managerial problems are focused on school textbook, administrative duties, and problems related to the local community. However, problems impeding school advancement include overloaded classroom, apathy by parents regarding academic performance of their children, ineffective monitoring of academic progress of their children, low morale of teachers, lack repairmen of the school building, and other facilities, and shortage of instructional aids and devices. 4. Al Halwani (2007) sought to identify problems encountered by UNRWA primary school principals as perceived by school principals and teachers. Results indicated that regarding the curriculum, parents complained that find it difficult for them to keep along with the new curriculum, the curriculum does not respond to individual differences and capabilities of students, in addition that teachers are assigned by the administrators to teach courses that contradict with their majors. As for student area, problems included general academic weakness, failure to achieve the homework assignments, and excessive absence. Regarding local community, there was ineffective cooperation by parents with the behavioral problems of their children, disinterest with inquiry about their children, dissatisfaction with the parents' council, lack of instructional aids provided by the local community, regarding the 171 school building and equipments there was inadequate rooms, and halls to perform different activities, lack of suitable and healthy environment with good ventilation and heating, in addition to shortfall of instructional devices such as computer sets. 5. Derwesthuizen, (1996) was conducted for the purpose of identifying major problems facing secondary novice teachers in Kenya. Most importantly, the critical problem for headmasters was incapability by students to pay for their tuition, incapability to afford textbook price, shortage of physical facilities and other school equipments, lack adaptability by staff members, lack of playgrounds, and long distance walked by students to attend school, language difficulty. However, there are problems associate with the demanding educational system that calls for more financial support to accommodate with. 6. Highett, (1993) sought to explore problems influencing effectiveness of school principals within South Australia region. The sample consisted of school principals, parents, and interested parties in educational issues. Major problems identified by the study was insufficient funds available for school activities, inadequate assistance by those interested in education, and ineffective cooperation with teachers to improve school level, and apathy by parents regarding their child's education. 7. Anderson (1986) sought to identify problems facing private educational service within rural regions of Alaska from the viewpoints of teachers, school principals, and School District employees. Most importantly, the study revealed ineffective mail service between schools and the School District, which counteracts direct communication. Further, parents' involvement and professional contribution were poor, in addition to shortfall of public services, resources, and aids that help teachers accomplish their goals. There was general agreement between the opinions of School District employees, school principals and teachers in that regard. Procedures Population (N=100) consisted of all school administrators at public primary schools of the Ministry of Education located within Irbid Governorate out of which a representative sample (100) was randomly selected. Instrumentation A questionnaire scale measuring problems faced by primary teachers in Irbid Governorate was developed depending on al Shammari (1425 AH) with insightful opinions from experts who judged on the questionnaire items. In its final form, the questionnaire included two subscales the first measurable demographic characteristics of respondents. The second part measures problems faced by 172 primary female students in Irbid Governorate from the viewpoints of school administrators. Table (1) shows some study variables. educational Level Experience Table (1) Frequencies and percentages by variables Category Frequency Percentage Diploma BA MA or higher Below 5 years 5-10 yrs Above 10 yrs Total Having removed unsuitable items, the final version of the questionnaire consisted of (45) items and covered five areas: - Problems related to curriculum issues (9 items) - Problems related to students (9 items) - Problems related to local community (9 items) - Problems related to building and equipments Problems related to scientific devices (9 items) Each item was measured using Likert 5-item scale, where each item was given one of the five ratings as follows: - Item that receives very high rating was assigned score 5 - Item that receives high rating was assigned score 4 - Item that receives moderate rating was assigned score 3 - Item that receives low rating was assigned score 2 - Item that receives very low rating was assigned score 1 Validity For validation, the instrument was sent to a number of expert judges teaching at Al Balqaa Applied University to elicit their opinions about the questionnaire in terms of: 1. Appropriateness of items in their respective areas 2. Accuracy of item wording, intelligibility, and inclusiveness 3. Any other changes they would suggest or add a new item The questionnaire was modified based on the suggestions they recommended and the questionnaire in its final form included 45-items. 173 Reliability To verify reliability, the instrument was tested using the T-retest method, and administered couple weeks later on a group without the original sample consisted of (30) participants. Pearson correlation ranging ( ) was computed for their estimates on the overall study instrument between the two tests. The internal consistency reliability coefficient ( ) was computer using Chronbach alpha. Table (2) shows internal consistency Chronbach alpha and retest reliability in the areas and overall instrument which considered appropriate for the purpose of the present study. Table (2) Chronbach alpha and retest reliability of the domains and overall instrument Area Reliability on repeat Internal Consistency Problems related to curriculum issues Problems related to students Problems related to local community Problems related to building and equipments Problems related to scientific aids and devices Aggregate problems Question one: what are the problems faced by primary female teachers as perceived by school administrators? To answer this question means, and standard deviations were computed for problems faced by primary female teachers as perceived by the school administrators as demonstrated by the f
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