An Evaluative Study of Humanistic Values Education Through African Literature in French in some Selected Colleges of Education in Nigeria

Author: Opara, Carol

Supervisor: Owhotu V. B.

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the existing curriculum in African Literature in French in Colleges of Education in Nigerian with regard to the: (i) expected major objective for which the subject was established and (ii) the coverage of the content and the appropriateness of the existing methodologies for teaching literature as a humanistic experience in Colleges of Education in Nigeria. The central problem was the extent to which the curriculum inculcated humanistic values in students of African Literature in Fernch which would enable them to appreciate the universal nature of man in terms of given social/cultural stimuli and the corresponding responses. The theoretical framework centred on a critical review of related studies under the following: (a) Literature; (b) Curriculum; (c) Evaluation; (d) Humanistic values. Five research questions were generated, namely:- 1. Is the teaching of any of the three aspects - prose, drama, and poetry of African Literature in French neglected and if so, is the neglect crucial in the attainment of the objectives of inculcating humanistic values in the students? 2. Is the ability of promote humanistic values through the teaching of the subject dependent on the availability of adequate teaching resources in the individual Colleges of Education? 3. Is the availability of trained, qualified and experienced teachers crucial in the attainment of the objective of the course? 4. Is the ability of the students of Literature in French in the Colleges of Education to discern universal humanistic values through African Literature in French dependent on the students' pre-entry qualification? 5. What is the relationship between students' acquisition of humanistic values through African Literature in French and the methods employed in the teaching and evaluation of the programme? The methodology of the study employed the "illuminative Curriculum Evaluation Approach, the approach to curriculum evaluation which require the soliciting of value judgement of teachers and students on the programme. The use of this approach was based on successful use of the illuminative theory on related studies such as those by Bill Gibby (1978), Stenhouse (1975), Cronback (1963), Eisner (1969) and Lawton (1978). The population of the study embraced all the teachers and students of French in the thirty one Colleges of Education that offer French in the country. Three hundred and one students and fifty-six teachers from sixteen of those colleges made up the sample. The colleges were selected on the basis of cluster random sampling while the subjects were also randomly selected using multi-stage sampling after clustering the samples together. The main instrument for data collection was the questionnare which was administered to both teachers and students. The construction of the questionnaire owed much to standardised scales and instruments like the Likert Scale (W.H. Fitts, 1965), Self, Appraisal Inventory (Tuckman, 1975), California Test of Personality (Tuckman, 1975). The questionnaire was validated by applying item analysis tests of undimensionality and discriminability, consensus by colleagues, lecturers and supervisor. Data was also collected through library research involving content analysis of research bulletins, journals and books on related works and studies. A pilot study was carried out to validate the questionnaire. This necessiated a revision of the questionnaire for the student. In testing between the dependent and the independent variables, for the main study, two basic steps were involved - the ranking of the colleges according to their success in inculcating humanistic values and the compilation of the average index of value for each college. These procedures allowed the colleges to be categorised into three - those inculcating them to an averagely high degree and those inculcating them to a low degree. The major finding from this categorisation was that the colleges were just barely able to inculcate humanistic values in students with a mean index of 0.681 for all the Colleges of Education. Marked differences were noticed among the individual colleges in their ability to promote humanistic values with four (25%) of them attaining satisfactory results, five (31.2%) average results and seven (43.7%) poor results. The analysis of these differences involved the testing of the relationship between the dependent and the independent variables using the following statistical measures. The relationship between aspects of the curriculum emphasised and the inculcation of humanistic values was tested using the Analysis of variance. The relationship between the availability of teaching resources and the promotion of humanistic values was tested using the Spearman Rank Correlation Coefficient. The relationships between the promotion of humanistic values and academic qualification and experience of teachers, students' pre-entry qualification and teaching and evaluation methods were tested using the chi-square test. The major results were as follows:- 1. Most of the colleges taught only prose and neglected drama and poetry. This significantly affected the ability to inculcate humanistic values. The colleges where such values were satisfactorily inculcated were those in which drama, at least was also emphasised. Poetry was hardly touched in all the Colleges of Education. 2. The ability of each college to inculcate humanistic values through the teaching of African Literature in French was found to be significantly related to the availability of teaching resources with those colleges with adequate resources rating highly in the amount of humanistic values inculcated in students. 3. No significant relationship was found between the teachers' academic qualifications teaching experience; and their ability to inculcate humanistic values in their students. However, professionally trained teachers among them were found to be positively promoting the required values more than the non-professionally trained ones. 4. The relationship between the individual students' pre-entry qualification and their ability to acquire humanistic values through the study of African Literature in French was found to be significant. Students who were able to discern humanistic values through the study of the subject came from colleges which insisted on at least a credit in French at the 'O' level examination as a pre-requisite for coming on the course. 5. No significant differences were found among the colleges in terms of the methods used. The lecture method was the method often used. However, the relationship between the type of evolutional strategies used was found to be significant. Those students who gained most came from colleges where conventional evaluation techniques, such as terminal end-of-year examinations were used. The analysis of data proved that the noble objective of promoting an understanding of the universal aspirations and cultural values through African Literature in French is quite attainable. Teachers must therefore be aware of this objective for it is on them that the ultimate implementation of the curriculum rests. It does seem from the study that the need to train teachers to teach the course in schools was not matched with adequate preparation. The Colleges as it appeared did not have adequate resources and the teachers in these Colleges of Education also appeared not to have had professional training themselves. These shortcomings affect the extent to which the objective was achieved in the Colleges of Education. These findings suggest that any new curriculum must be introduced with careful thought to such relevant issues as the people to admit, the specialised training for the teachers, the resources required as well as the evaluational strategies required. With regard to the implementation and improvement of the African Literature in French curriculum in the Colleges of Educaton, the following recommendations were made: 1. The teachers of the course must undergo re-orientation programmes through seminars, workshops and conferences where they can re-examine such issues as the standardisation of the curriculum, the use of experimental projects and other field-work techniques of instruction, etc. 2. Each of the Colleges must have at least three teachers of French so that each can specialise in either prose, poetry or drama respectively. 3. The colleges should be equipped with adequate resources for teaching African Literature in French. Such should include recorded cassettes, tapes, language laboratories, facilities for pictures and film viewing, journals in French as well as supplementary reading materials. 4. Students admitted to read African Literature in French must have at least a credit at the 'O' level G.C.E. examination. Where this is difficult to achieve, a pre-entry remedial course in French should be established and this should provide opportunities of attachment to institutions in Francophone countries so that the students can acquire adequate oral ability in the language and also cultivate sufficient interest in the French language. 5. Seminars and workshops should be organised for teachers of the programme to thoroughly understand how to achieve the best results through the use of the continuous assessment form of evaluation, since the results of the study indicate that continuous assessment is not being successfully utilized in the Colleges of Education. The implication of the study involved an analysis of the theoretical and empirical aspects of the curriculum with a view to highlighting the expected central objective of the programme and appraising the instructional processes used. It also identified problem areas in implementation and prescribed constructive strategies for curriculum improvement with a view to producing disciplined minds for our multi-value society. In addition, it has opened more avenues for further research.