10 Problems of Teaching Practice Exercise in Nigeria and Solutions 

Every student going through any teacher training program in Nigeria must undergo the teaching practice exercise.

The teaching practice exercise in Nigeria is a compulsory practical-based course for teachers in training to get first-hand experience in teaching students in schools in order to solidify and practicalize the knowledge and techniques of teaching they have gained over the years in the school.

In Nigeria, the teaching practice exercise runs for a minimum of 4 weeks and can last as much as 12 weeks. Teachers in training are assigned to mentor teachers in a school they are posted to who monitor and guide them for the period of the exercise.

Supervisors also come from the University or colleges of education to assess how well the student teachers teach. This exercise is designed to ensure that truly competent teachers are trained. 

However, many challenges come in the way and affect the effectiveness of teaching practice in Nigeria.

Challenges Affecting Teaching Practice in Nigeria

Below are some of the problems of the teaching practice exercise in Nigeria

1. Insufficient time allotted

In many schools, the teaching practice exercise only lasts for 6 weeks. This cannot be said to be enough time for trainee teachers to get enough practical knowledge about teaching to be handed over a class. 

Now, although this six-week time frame is manageable, in some cases, it becomes lower which poses a serious issue.

For instance, during my teaching practice exercise, we only stayed for four weeks and it was toward the end of the term. So we taught for one week, the other week was revision week, and for the other two weeks, the school was writing their exams. 

So I practically experienced a 1 week of teaching practice.

2. Lack of adequate mentor teachers

The idea of teaching practice is that each trainee teacher is attached to a mentor teacher in the school they are posted to. 

That mentor teacher monitors and guides them on what is expected in class and even supervises them before the supervisor from the University comes.

However, what is obtainable in most schools is that the trainee teachers are left to themselves and they teach the classes how they know. 

This gives them experience but doesn’t help them get better since they will have to make the mistakes more experienced teachers can easily help them avoid.

Mentor teachers must be present with all trainee teachers to ensure that they make the most of the exercise and truly learn.

3. Lack of adequate supervision

Many of the schools where student teachers are sent do not hold them accountable enough to actually commit to the teaching practice exercise.

So it is not uncommon to see trainee teachers who do not show up to school except when they hear that their supervisors are coming. Or those who come to school but don’t give their best in teaching.

More stringent supervision is needed to address this issue.

Universities should partner more with the schools and send in supervisors more often, apart from just the day of assessment to oversee the activities and compliance of trainee teachers.

Related: Supervision vs Inspection: 8 Types of School Supervision

4. Poor assessment process

We already know from the previous point that the assessment of the teaching practice exercise is done in one day. On such days, trainee teachers pick a topic they like, rehearse with the students on how to behave, and simply act a beautiful script before the assessors.

This does not give a true picture of the trainee teacher’s ability.

A continuous assessment approach should be adopted instead; with emphasis on showing the trainee teachers their mistakes and letting them do better over and over again. Rather than just accessing to give scores. 

Since the assessors cannot come every day due to the logistics of it, the teachers in the school should be brought on board to assist. This continuous assessment can be part of the responsibilities of the mentor teachers.

5. Unsupportive schools

Many of the reforms I have highlighted in this article involve a working partnership with the schools the trainee teachers are posted to. 

However, we cannot deny the fact that some schools just aren’t supportive of the teaching practice exercise.

I can remember there were some schools during my time that said they only wanted three trainee teachers and those posted there had to start another long process of finding a school to accept them.

The Ministry of Education should come in here to enforce that all schools accept students for teaching practice. 

6. Financial Constraints

We cannot deny that many Nigerian higher institutions are run on a tight budget. This lack of adequate financial resources is one issue that affects education at all levels in Nigeria and it trickles down to teacher training programs.

Related: 12 Problems of Financing Education in Nigeria and Solutions

7. Distance of the school and security concerns

In a nation like Nigeria, the faculty of education typically has the highest number of students in the university.

So finding schools to cater to the needs of all trainee teachers demands that some students will have to go long distances to schools in remote areas. 

This presents a challenge to both the trainee teachers and supervisors. Once the Ministry of Education makes it compulsory for all schools to accept teaching practice students, it will help in having more trainees in urban areas.

Another issue that limits the number of schools trainee teachers can be sent to is the security concerns in some areas in Nigeria, especially Northern Nigeria.

While the Ministry of Education cannot stop security issues, the government’s system as a whole needs to look into this and it will improve the quality of the teachers’ training programs.

Related: 15 Problems Affecting Schools in Nigeria And Solutions

8. Poor orientation

Many of the issues we have looked at would not even exist if there was sufficient orientation of the trainee teachers and the schools they’re posted to on what’s expected of them.

However, this is not the case.

I can remember that in my own school, I was the one telling the principal what I was to do and not to do. She didn’t get any briefing from my university.

Also, I couldn’t benefit so much from the orientation organized for us (over 2,000 students were expected to stay in a single hall). Colleges of Education should put more effort into orientation. 

9. Lack of motivation

We cannot deny that many Nigerian students are in faculties of education because they have no other option. Others were “dumped” there because they couldn’t meet the requirements for the course they originally applied for.

This lack of motivation or interest in teaching affects their approach to every aspect of the program, including the teaching practice exercise.

So they just give the minimum required to get by and they come out as half-baked teachers.

Universities must stop treating faculties of education as dumping grounds for students who don’t meet admission requirements. They should instead make it more competitive.

This will create a sense of value in the courses and once students see themselves as privileged to be teachers, they will be more motivated for it.

10. Lack of Inclusion and Special Needs Education

One area we want to develop as a nation educationally is special needs education. Teachers need to be trained to handle students with special needs.

However, the teaching practice exercise does not make any room for this.

We can only get better if this is considered as well.

Related: 12 Problems Affecting Teaching Profession in Nigeria and Solutions


The dignity of the teaching profession in Nigeria can be restored and the effectiveness of the teaching practice exercise is pivotal to this. If the problems affecting teaching practice in Nigeria are truly resolved, better teachers will be produced from our teacher training programs.

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