EFFECTS OF BRAINSTORMING AND THOUGHT-STOPPING COUNSELLING TECHNIQUES ON EDUCATIONAL TASK-AVOIDANCE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN MINNA CITY, NIGERIA

0
54

EFFECTS OF BRAINSTORMING AND THOUGHT-STOPPING COUNSELLING TECHNIQUES ON EDUCATIONAL TASK-AVOIDANCE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN MINNA CITY, NIGERIA  

ABSTRACT 

 

This study investigated the effects of brainstorming and thought stopping counselling techniques on academic task-avoidance among secondary school students in Minna metropolis, Nigeria. Five research questions were formulated with their correspondinghypotheses to guide the study. The hypotheses postulated were tested at 0.05 Alpha level of significance. Quasi-experimental design was adopted for the study using pretest, post-test, control group design. A sample size of 48 participants was purposively selected from senior secondary school two students in Minna metropolis for the study. Samples were randomly assigned into treatments and control groups. Instrument of Behavioural Strategy Rating Scale by Aunola, Nurmi, Parrila and Onatsu-Arvilommi was adopted for the identification of the participants while Academic Task Avoidance Scale adapted from Rhodewalt (Self-Handicapping Scale) and Ottenbreit and Dobson (Cognitive and Behavioural Avoidance Scale) was administered at pre and post intervention phases to assess treatment outcome. Data collected were analyzed using both the descriptive and inferential statistical methods of mean, standard deviation, independent sampled t-test and Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA). The finding revealed that: brainstorming counselling technique is effective in reducing academic task avoidance among secondary school students (p = 0.000); thought-stopping counselling technique is effective in reducing academic task avoidance among secondary school students ( p = 0.024); brainstorming counselling technique is effective in reducing academic task avoidance of both male and female secondary school students ( p = .200), significant difference did not exist between the genders; thought-stopping counselling technique is effective in reducing academic task avoidance of both male and female secondary school students (p = 0.024) significant difference does exist between the genders and comparing the two techniques, both are effective (p = .002), significant difference did not exist among the techniques. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended among others that counsellors, school psychologists and class teachers should be encouraged to use brainstorming technique in managing academic task avoidance among students’ secondary schools.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

          1.1     Background to the Study

Students are described as task avoidant if they fail to or refuse to follow the instructions of an authority or conform to rules. These students may routinely fail to complete assigned homework, expected school responsibilities, and other expected activities. In the cases of failure, student may look polite and apologetic when the problem is called to his attention. The failure to embark on the task may have many possible explanations (the students may not understand the instructions; forgot or did not know the rule; was simply slow to start) and does not imply any specific intention or motivation on the part of the students. Alternatively, students may be resentful and openly defiant when confronted with his behaviour. In contrast, refusal to embark on the task suggests an oppositional intention on the part of the students which can be regarded as a behavioural problem. The students refuse to follow an instruction or request, or obey a rule intentionally. That is, it is assumed that the act of refusal is conscious and willfully carried out.

According to Ashley (2015) the links between task avoidance and academic achievement are well established by studies. Academic task avoidance is a prominent contributor to declines in academic achievement, whereas task engagement is an important prerequisite of academic achievement. Studies with elementary school students (Hughes, Luo, Kwok & Loyd, 2008), high school students and college students (Nurmi, Aunola, SalmelaAro & Lindroos, 2003) all indicate that task avoidance is associated with academic achievement, such that task avoidance predicts lower achievement and lower achievement predicts continued task avoidance. School students who exhibited low task engagement performed worse in school over time, and students who perform poorly in school became less engaged, overall and in terms of reading achievement (Onatsu-Arvilommi & Nurmi, 2000).

Some students purposefully withdraw efforts, resist novel approaches to learning, and avoid tasks. Task avoidance is an act of refraining or escaping from an action. Task avoidance can be an intentional behaviour which can be repeated, and therefore, has the potential of developing into a habit over time. Students often display academic task avoidance in the classroom as a manifestation of various fears about their ability to cope in unknown social or academic situations. Since avoidance behaviour typically removes a person from unpleasant circumstances, the avoidance response is believed to be strengthened via mechanisms of negative reinforcement. Academic task avoidance is associated with maladaptive strategies, such as self- handicapping, learning helplessness, procrastination and defensive pessimism (Martin, Marsh & Debus, 2001). Students may have the intention to perform an academic activity within the desired or expected time frame, yet failing to motivate themselves to do so (Ferrari, 1998). A large percentage of students suffer from academic task avoidance and the negative consequences related to this dilatory behaviour. Academic task avoidance is associated with poor academic performance (Beswick, Rothblum, & Mann, 2000), depression and dejection (Lay, 2000), lack of punctuality, difficulties in following directions and an increase in health problems as the semester deadlines approach (Rothblum & Solomon, 2001). In addition, numerous studies draw attention to the circumstances under which students are likely to be academic task avoidant. For instance, when asked to report why they task avoidant, college students offered reasons related to task aversiveness and fear of failure (Solomon & Rothblum, 2001). Moreover, research showed that academic task avoidance could stem from less effort on the task (Sadler & Buley, 2003), low self-efficacy (Haycock, McCarthy & Skay, 2000), low task capability, high level of performance anxiety and non-self-determined academic motivation are associated to academic task avoidance (Sene´cal, Koestner & Vallerand, 2001). Academic task avoidance may be affected by personality characteristics such as trait of academic task avoidance, socially prescribed perfectionism, concern for a favourable public impression and low levels of conscientiousness (Lay, 2000).

Academic task avoidance among students is fundamentally important in intellectual thoughts and these behaviours vary. They include both physical and mental activities which students utilize to distract themselves to avoid primary academic task. There are inconsistent in their behaviour and performance in avoiding specific tasks. Having developed avoidance strategies, students may forego their efforts to succeed in protecting their public image of incompetence. Academic task avoidance may also include purposely withdrawing effort, of avoiding new task that seem difficult or challenging. Some examples of academic task avoidance strategies among students as stated by Julianne, Debra, Evic, Carol, Margaret, and Yongjin, (2002) include: Chatting with friends instead of working; scratching or messaging them as a means of escaping from real task; looking up at the ceiling, looking outside the window or day dreaming when seated on the desk; claiming to be too busy and does not have the time when they really do have the time; browsing the internet or checking their e-mails when they should be listening to lecture and downplaying the importance of task so that they feel less guilty for not doing it. Purposefully withdrawing efforts or self-handicapping by students is a manifestation of academic task avoidance.

Students generally engaged in academic task avoidance behaviour in order to protect self–worth, which may be threatened by poor academic performance at a new or most challenging task. When students have an irrational fear of academic situations their normal reaction are just to avoid tasks. Avoidance quickly reduces their anxiety, so the next time they encounter an anxiety producing situation (academic task) their first reaction is to avoid it. This research study is targeted at using brainstorming and thought-stopping counselling techniques on reduction of academic task avoidance of students.

Brainstorming technique is a strategy used to generate a number of ideas to help solve a particular problem. Brainstorming is a cooperative approach in which a number of people collectively agree upon a solution after all of their ideas are brought forth and discussed. It stressed that all ideas are welcome and even ideas which are perceived as funny or silly can lead to creative solutions. It provides students with the problem/topic that is new to them and one that challenges their current level of knowledge on the issue. Brainstorming techniques vary but there is a general structure to follow when developing brainstorming sessions. After the problem or issue is presented, students are organized into groups to brainstorm all possible ideas which could solve the problem. Discussion of these ideas takes place after the brainstorming session ends, usually after a defined period of time. Each idea will be discussed and considered, some ideas will be eliminated, and a final list will be ranked for possible use as a solution toward solving the problem.

Experimental studies have shown the efficacy of brainstorming counselling therapy in reducing psychological distress that follows a significant loss (Wittouck, Van Autreve, De

Jaegere, Portzky, & Van Heeringen 2011) post grief disorder (Shear. Frank. Houck & Reynolds 2005), grief symptoms of death of loved ones, challenge maladaptive grief-related thoughts.  Self-blame, reduction of confusion about self-identity/ life role, difficulty in accepting the loss, difficulty in moving forward in life and reduction in anger related to the loss (Doughty, Wissel & Glorfield, 2011). This study intends to use brainstorming counselling to determine the effectiveness of the technique on academic task avoidance of students.

Thought-stopping is a self-instructional procedure aimed at nipping the persistent or obsessive thoughts that causes anxiety. In thought-stopping training session, the clients are given thoughts to concentrate on and after several seconds, the modifier asks to stop. This practice is repeated over and over. Then the clients will go ahead to practice same on those anxiety-evoking thoughts. When the technique is eventually internalized, the clients can then try it out when the occasion for it calls. Thought-stopping is a cognitive therapy which is used to deal with irrational thoughts that make it difficult for a person to concentrate on anything else. Thought-stopping counselling technique is a way of helping client to control obsessive intrusive idea. Thought-stopping helps a client control unproductive or self-defeating thoughts and image by suppressing or eliminating them. This procedure is appropriate for clients who ruminate about past events that cannot be changed or engage in repetitive and unproductive thinking and anxiety producing fantasies.Thought-stopping technique has been used in various studies to overcoming anger and irritability (Davies, 2000), fear (Susan, 2007), anxiety (Kennelly, 2009; & Williams, 2003), social anxiety, shyness andworry (Robert, 2006),low self-esteemand depression (Paul, 2007). It was used by other researchers to overcoming obsessive compulsive disorder (David, 2009), coping with phobias (Brenda, 2007), overcoming chronic pain (Frances, 2005) and traumatic stress(Claudia, 2008). The two techniques will be used in this research to determine their effectiveness on academic task avoidance among students.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

In Nigeria, over the past years, there has been considerable attempt on taking steps to ensure that secondary schools are positive and safe environment for learning. Although, the emphasis in this development has been to implement evidence-based, constructive and practical practices, there is need for constructive procedures in managing behavioural problems when it arises. It is clear, that there are other problem behaviours manifesting from secondary schools students; that of students’ academic task avoidance is highly prevalent and of serious concern to educators. Academic task avoidance is a counter-productive behaviour which can be recognized in all spheres of life including education, business and household. It is obvious that if students are academic task avoidant, the teachers’ ability to teach and the students’ ability to learn will be seriously restricted. Academic task avoidance such as students’ refusal to follow instructions, display of direct defiance of overt resistance and student actual acknowledgement of instructions directives but indicate via words or gestures that he/she does not intend to comply can cause serious disruption to the teaching-learning process.

Academic task avoidance causes a substantial loss in instructional time and

subsequently reduces students’ learning attainments. It also causes disruption which can bring about negative effects throughout the students’ lives in the school, at home, and in the community. It is logical to assume that most students who display academic task avoidance on regular basis will have problem in succeeding in their academic programme. The reason is obvious that when teachers provide learning instruction, they require tasks from their students that involve following directions to manifest the expectations. Students who do not follow these directions will have difficulty completing the academic tasks set by the teacher, which will in turn affect their academic achievements. Academic task avoidance is associated with poor academic performance, depression, dejection, lack of punctuality, difficulties in following directions, and an increase in health problems as the semester deadlines approach. Academic task avoidant students have reasons related to task evasiveness: fear of failure, task demand, low self-efficacy, low task capability, level of performance anxiety and non-selfdetermined academic motivation as justifications for their avoidance behaviour toward academic tasks.

It is imperative for educators and counsellors to take urgent measure to understand the nature of students’ academic task avoidance in order to adopt more effective steps to change this very challenging and disturbing behaviour. It is in view of the persistent occurrence of academic task avoidance among students and the negative outcomes experienced by Nigerian students that the researcher deemed it necessary to carry out this study with a view to exploring the effectiveness of brainstorming and thought-stopping counselling techniques on academic task avoidance in Minna metropolis, Niger State,

Nigeriain order to make the students useful to themselves and the society.

        1.3          Objectives of the Study

The following objectives were formulated to guide this study to:-

  1. Determine the effects of brainstorming counselling technique on academic taskavoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.

 

  1. Determine the effects of thought-stopping counselling technique on academic taskavoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.
  2. Examine the differential effects of brainstorming counselling technique on academic task-avoidance between male and female students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.
  3. Examine the differential effects of thought-stopping counselling technique on academic task-avoidance between male and female students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.
  4. Compare the differential effects of brainstorming and thought-stopping counselling techniques on academic task-avoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.

          1.4        Research Questions

This research seeks to answer the following research questions:-

  1. What is the effects of brainstorming counselling technique on academic task-avoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria?
  2. What is the effects of thought-stopping counselling technique on academic taskavoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria?
  3. What is the differential effects of brainstorming counselling technique on academic taskavoidance between male and female students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria?
  4. What is the differential effects of thought-stopping counselling technique on academic task-avoidance between male and female students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria?
  5. What is the differential effects of brainstorming and thought-stopping counselling techniques on academic task-avoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria?

1.5  ResearchHypotheses

The following hypotheses have been formulated to guide the study:-

HO1: There is no significant effects of brainstorming counselling technique on academic taskavoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.

HO2: There is no significant effects of thought-stopping counselling technique on academic task-avoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.

HO3: There is no significant differential effects of brainstorming counselling technique on academic task-avoidance between male and female students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.

HO4: There is no significant differential effects of thought-stopping counselling technique on academic task-avoidance between male and female students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.

HO5: There is no significant differential effects of brainstorming and thought-stopping counselling techniques on academic task-avoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.

        1.6         Basic Assumptions of the study

The study is based on the following assumptions:-

  1. It is assumed that brainstorming counselling techniques would have effects on academic task-avoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis,

Nigeria.

  1. It is assumed that thought-stopping counselling techniques would have effects on academic task-avoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.
  2. It is assumed that brainstorming counselling technique would have differential effects on academic task-avoidance between male and female students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.
  3. It is assumed that thought-stopping counselling technique would have differential effects on academic task-avoidance between male and female students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.
  4. It is assumed that brainstorming and thought-stopping counselling techniques would have differential effects on academic task-avoidance among students of secondary school in Minna metropolis, Nigeria.

        1.7          Significance of the Study

Students’ academic task avoidance behaviour is of concern to every educationist at all levels. The stakeholders, parents, students, teachers’ counsellors, psychologist and other concerned individuals are always worried on the psychological distress of the behaviour. It is expected that the findings of this research would be useful to knowledge theory building counsellors, psychologists, students, teachers’, parents, curriculum planners and researchers. Brainstorming and thought-stopping techniques based on empirical studies have been used for reduction and solving various psychological maladaptive disorders but not specifically academic task avoidance of students.

The findings of the study will add to knowledge especially to the theory building on behaviour modification techniques with regards to brainstorming and thought-stopping counselling techniques. The treatment packages of brainstorming and thought-stopping counselling techniques used in this research will be of great relevance for psychotherapy and counselling interventions for counsellors and psychologists as intervention for academic task avoidance of students at individual or group basis.

It is also hoped that the findings of this study will be very significant to the counselling profession because it will further highlight the important role of counsellors in reducing and controlling the negative effects of academic task avoidance behaviour, taking into considerations the different nature of students’ manifestation of the behaviour.

Similarly, it is hoped that the findings of the study willstimulate and improve students’ skills to appreciate the importance of full participation in the school academic activities without avoiding them in order to achieve their educational needs/objectives and as well be free from the psychological distress associated with academic task avoidance. Besides, academic task avoidant treatment procedures the students learnt would assist them on managing the frequency of their indulgent in academic task avoidance.

The findings of this study are intended to enhance students’ academic task avoidance reduction in the classroom. The application of counselling techniques such as brainstorming and thought-stopping adopted in this study wound be useful for class teachers in minimizing the effects behaviour which threatens the general objectives of academic performance. The findings could enable teachers gain an insight into teaching/learning strategies when they read about the treatment packages used in this study, thereby facilitating an effective classroom management instead of physical punishment.

The findings would help parents build skills to prevent academic task avoidance among their children/wards, so that the students can be useful to themselves and to the society.

Similarly, school administrators will gain more knowledge and understanding about the ills of academic task avoidance. They may use the findings of this study to come up with programmes that will help minimize students’ academic task avoidance in their schools so that students may be helped to develop interest in learning and other school activities.

Furthermore, the findings of the study will sensitize curriculum planners to develop curriculum materials that will promote and emphases the development of students learning strategies that will assist learners to appreciate and respect the dignity of academic schedules focus.

          1.8       Scope and Delimitations of the Study

The scope of the study was all students in senior secondary two in Minna metropolis, Nigeria who exhibited academic task avoidance behaviour. The study was delimited to examining the effects of brainstorming and thought-stopping counselling techniques on academic task-avoidance among students in secondary school two in Minna metropolis, Nigeria. The delimitation was because of the prevalence of academic task avoidance of students at this level despite their five years in the secondary school and to also examine whether brainstorming and thought-stopping counselling techniques can be effective on managing academic task avoidance among students.

EFFECTS OF BRAINSTORMING AND THOUGHT-STOPPING COUNSELLING TECHNIQUES ON EDUCATIONAL TASK-AVOIDANCE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN MINNA CITY, NIGERIA  

Leave a Reply