Valentine Joseph Owan
University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria
Background: The attitudes of many undergraduates towards practicum exercise is declining in each passing year, affecting the quality of educational leaders produced from higher education. Studies in the past, have documented that there is no significant difference in the attitudes of students with or without practicum experience towards academic activities in higher education. Little or nothing seems to be known at the moment regarding the reasons why there is an indifference in the attitudes of students after completing a practicum course. In response to this gap, we designed this study to assess principals' leadership variables as the presumed cause of undergraduates' declining attitudes towards practicum exercise in secondary schools. Methods: A census study was carried out in Cross River State, where the entire 667 secondary school administrators (271 principals and 396 vice principals) were studied. “Principals’ Leadership Variables and Undergraduates’ Attitudes Towards Practicum Exercise Questionnaire” (PLVUATPEQ), designed by the researchers, was used in data collection. Data collected were analysed using simple linear regression analysis. Results: We find amongst others, that principals’ leadership styles, communication patterns, decision-making and supervisory approaches significantly predict undergraduates' attitudes towards practicum exercise relatively. Each of these independent variables accounts differently for the variance in the dependent variable based on their unique coefficient of determination. Conclusion: It was concluded generally, that principals’ leadership variables significantly predict undergraduates’ attitudes towards practicum exercise. The attitudes of undergraduates towards practicum exercise increases as the leadership styles, communication patterns, decision-making skills, and supervisory approaches of principals improve. The implications of this study are discussed for policy and educational reforms.
Keywords Practicum  Principals  Leadership  Variables  Attitudes  Exercise  Undergraduates
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