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For education to survive in Nigeria there is need to reward and motivate teachers because an unmotivated teacher is incapable of motivating students to learn. To this end therefore, this paper focuses on rewarding and motivating Nigerian Languages Teachers for greater effectiveness in the classroom. Highlighting the negative consequences of poor motivation of teachers in the classroom, The paper further presents a perspective on the level of motivation in the teaching profession in the past and at the present. It also reviews the concepts of reward and motivation pointing out the need to ensure adequate reward for Nigerian languages teachers as a strategy for the effective teaching of Nigerian languages in schools. Finally, the paper proffered some recommendations. 


The challenging situation to implement the curriculum of education in the classroom makes teachers exhausted, which prevents the success of the objectives of education. Being intrinsically and extrinsically motivated increases the satisfaction of a teacher which will make teachers to put in their best to actualize the goal of education. So, teacher motivation has an important role to play in the job of teaching. The economic situations prevailing at any point in time affects teachers’ motivation and their level of inputs. A teacher who is certain of his monthly salary, incentives and other benefits puts in his best and ensures that his pupils get the best out of him. On the other hand, when the prospect of a continued payment of teachers’ salary and other incentives are gloomy, there will be lack of enthusiasm to teach. Furthermore, Maduewesi (1990) asserts that an unhappy teacher is incapable of relating favourably with children and therefore will be unable to provide the desired level of interaction necessary for adequate learning to take place in the classroom.


Teacher motivation is an internal force which pushes a teacher to put more effort in order to achieve the stated objectives. It is the eagerness and willingness to do something without needing to be told or forced to do it. Mbakwem (2001) asserts that motivation deals with the processes of arousal, expectancy and incentives. In the same vain, Eke (1992) views motivation as an umbrella term that is used to explain the circumstances which enhances the initiation, maintenance, and direction of human behaviour in the pursuit of a goal.

For teachers to perform their best in the classroom, series of rewards must be given to teachers. In this paper, teacher motivation is classified into two:

·          Intrinsic motivation

·          Extrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation: This refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual than relying on any external pressure. This type of motivation is gotten mainly from students. It is not in the form of concrete reward, but in the form of gratitude and commendations. Ellis (1984:1) defines intrinsic motivation as self- respect of accomplishment and personal growth. That is, the emotional and personal benefits of the job itself are known as intrinsic rewards. In the same way, Lathan (1998:83) emphasizes that intrinsic reward takes an important role in teachers’ lives. These gestures by students to their teachers motivate them to perform creditably in the future. These expressions help to boost the moral of the teacher and motivate him to work harder. Intrinsic motivation is likely to be increased by a sense of relatedness. Raffini (1996:8) defines relatedness as “the degree of emotional security” that teachers feel. A sense of belonging and acceptance is developed by conforming to the social and academic expectations of their colleagues and administrator.

Extrinsic motivation: Itcomes from outside of the individual. It deals with those rewards that are concrete, which are in the form of salaries, fringe benefits and incentives given to a teacher to motivate him to do more. Prompt payment of salary or a teacher who gets a book, money, or a certificate of honour for being the best teacher in any subject is an example of extrinsic motivation. Furthermore, Lathan (1998:82) asserts that salary, fringe benefits and job security are known as extrinsic motivation. In addition, Herzberg (1993:49) also identified physical conditions, the amount of work and facilities available for doing the work as extrinsic rewards.In his categorization, Herzberg included competition as extrinsic motivation because it encourages the performer to win and beat others, not to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity. 

According to several authorities, the proper approach to work motivation lies in a careful distinction between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. Herzberg (1964) distinguishes between extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. He goes further to define extrinsic reward as salaries, fringe benefits, and job security and intrinsic reward of the job itself such as self-respect, sense of accomplishment and personal growth.


  Teaching is concerned with giving directives to an individual who will result in a change in behaviour of the individual. Achinine (1997) asserts that teaching in school is a formal action geared towards providing opportunities for the pupils to positively change behaviour. Teaching is both an art and a science that use methods to shape behaviour.

Here in Nigeria, this noble profession has been bastardized by unaccomplished promises and educational policies. Let us trace the certification of Nigerian teacher from independence. The 1960s teachers were next to the white colonial masters in order of ranking. They were respected and valued. A community of old always consults him before taking any decision because his input is crucial to the decision of the elders. The olden days teachers were robust and well fed. They never suffered anything. Their accommodation and food were taken care of by the community. They represented the community at government and other meetings. These satisfactions made them to produce graduates of higher quality. Noble Nigerians like Tafawa Belewa, Alhaji Shehu Shagari and late Samuel Akintola were teachers before they joined politics.

But a modern time teacher is not recognized and valued in any where. He goes with tattered cloths and worn-out shoes. He never introduces himself before important people as a teacher, if he want to be recognized. He is always hungry and hence, always angry. Because his salary is too meager to sustain his family, he resorts to farming and other businesses to make the end meet. Because of these distractions, universities and other institutions of higher learning began to produce half baked graduate which destroyed the standard of education in Nigeria.

Former minister of Education, Fafunwa in his contribution to education in Nigeria on Punch News Paper of 1st October,2010 to commemorate the fiftieth National Anniversary which he tagged “Education: Large in quantity, poor in quality. He assessed the quality and state of Nigerian education before independence, at independence and what obtains now. He said “You should be mindful of this fact that when you are dealing with a small number of students with surplus facilities and well-motivated cum quality teachers, quality will be guaranteed and so there will be a big gap in quality when doing the same with a huge number of students in a crowded classroom, using inadequate and obsolete equipment and with disillusioned teachers. Before and shortly after independence, facilities were superb, we had fewer number of students, teachers welfare was adequate and the general environment was good” In his view, compared to the quality of education before independence, at independence and what obtains now. He was of the view that why education excelled before independence was because there was adequate facilities and teachers were motivated.

He goes further to complain about the present Language policy, which he asserts “For education, our language policy must change. We must use our mother tongue to teach our children if we must experience growth in our search for technological advancement. Nations like China, Japan, Spain, Germany and India are examples of nations that have experienced development as a result of this”.


There is a sense in which motivation can be considered synonymous with education. When we motivate the teacher, we improve the chances of students in school being better educated. Furthermore, Nwagwu (1987:19) states that the two most important component of any educational institution are teachers and the students. He further pointed out that educational administrators and the presence of facilities and equipment are necessary because they aid and support the activities of teachers and students in the teaching learning process. In addition, Obanya (2004) says that the better educated the citizenry is, the greater the likelihood of him/her contributing to overall societal development. Motivation implies the development and liberation of talents. Teachers are the primary actors in the process of talent cultivation. A democratic society strives to harness the talents which teachers and schools have cultivated for proper participation in development.


Some of the ways which a teacher can be motivated are enumerated bellow:

·          Prompt payment of salaries.

·          Sponsoring teachers for further education.

·          Harmonizing rural / urban dichotomy in primary / secondary school posting.

·          Giving scholarships to teaching staff children.

·          Building staff quarters, especially schools in rural areas.

·          Granting loans to teaching staff to build houses and buy car.


The three major Nigerian Languages are Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. As stipulated in the language policy cited by Emenyonu (1994:78) that “In addition to appreciating the importance of language in the educational process, and as means of preserving the people’s culture, the government considers it to be in the interest of the national unity that each child should be encouraged to learn one of the three major languages other than his own mother tongue”. Instead of the society to embrace the good gesture, they made students and teachers in these departments subject of mockery. A case in point is the mockery and stigmatization experienced by undergraduate student of Igbo who were called all sorts of mockery names like “IGBO, IGBO BK”, making them not to be proud to introduce themselves as students studying these courses to any one. Such students were seen by others as people that came to west time and parents resources. This situation has led people to want to know the relevance studying Igbo in a higher institution. Teachers of Nigerian languages suffer the same neglect and stigmatization. It is for the same reason that Professors or doctorate degree holders in Nigerian Languages scarce, instead scholars prefer to major in Linguistics.

For the society to recognize Nigerian Languages as important, government should give special preference to the students and teachers of these languages. This will motivate the teachers to put in their best and make the students in the department to be valued in the society. This will attract talented scholars into the study.

Furthermore, for Nigerians not to lose their culture local languages should be developed and teachers of these languages motivated so as to attract the interest of the talented scholars that could have gone into studying foreign languages.          


Considering the importance of teachers in the society today especially in character molding and in learning, there is a need to equip and motivate teachers for they are the life wire of development in all asset of life. Furthermore, for Nigerians to excel in technological advancement, local languages teachers must be put into considerations. Efforts should be made to motivate them so that they have all the resource to make more research on the development of these local languages and to give their students the best. I am of the same view with Bab Fafunwa that for Nigerians to experience growth in development, we must use our mother tongue to teach our children and at the same time motivate the Nigerian languages teachers. Nigerians should inculcate the spirit of rewarding and motivating their teachers so that teachers would put in their best to produce people that will develop Nigeria.


·          Effort should be made to organize award / prize giving day to teachers that performed creditably.

·          The Government should make Nigerian Languages compulsory for admission into Nigerian Universities.

·         Enough text books should be written on Nigerian Languages.

·          Employment segregation on people that graduated from Nigerian Languages Departments should be stopped. 

·          Government should be given scholarships to students of Nigerian Languages.

·          One Million Naira loans should be granted to teaching staff at least once in two years.


Citation - Reference

All Project Materials Inc. (2020). REWARD AND MOTIVATION FOR NIGERIAN LANGUAGES TEACHERS: THE WAY FORWARD. Available at: [Accessed: ].


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