The investigation was conducted precisely to find out the strategies for enhancing students interest in the study of mathematics in post primary schools in selected schools in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) in conducting this research, research questionnaire were formulated, one hundred students and ten Teachers were randomly secreted for the study questionnaire were the main instrument for the collection of the data from the data analysis it was discovered that the student interest in the study of mathematics can be enhance by proper and consistent use of instructional materials in teaching the subject employment of highly qualified teachers and guidance and counselors, and finally, inclusion of mathematics as a course in the university curriculum recommendations solving the problems that limpid the effective use of the above strategies were suggested
It is generally believed that students’ attitude towards a subject determines their success in that subject. In other words, favorable attitude result to good achievement in a subject.
A student’s constant failure in a school subject and mathematics in particular can make him to believe that he can never do well on the subject thus accepting defeat. On the other hand, his successful experience can make him to develop a positive attitude towards learning the subject.
This suggests that student’s attitude towards mathematics could be enhanced through effective teaching strategies. It has in fact been confirmed that effective teaching strategies can create positive attitude on the students towards school subjects Bekee (1987), Balogun and Olarewaju (1992), Akinsola (1994), Akale (1997), Olowojaiye (2000), Attitudes are psychological constructs theorized to be composed of emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components. Attitudes serve as functions including social expressions, value expressive, utilitarian, and defensive functions, for the people who hold them (Newbill, 2005). To change attitudes, the new attitudes must serve the same function as the old one.
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The responsibility for preparing teachers is assumed to begin with teacher education programs at higher education institutions. However, by the time undergraduate students enroll in an Introduction to Teaching course they have already experienced and survived many teachers and at least fourteen years of schooling. Since these students have achieved this wealth of educational opportunities; they can serve as credible resources in identifying the attitudes and actions that were implemented in prior classrooms by their effective teachers. When preservice teachers or teacher candidates are asked, “Why do you want to be a teacher?” The response is commonly, “I want to be able to make a positive difference in the lives of my students.” Many teacher candidates continue to say they also want to be an effective teacher who will be remembered fondly by their former students. Some want to have a chance to be a better teacher than the teachers they personally experienced. However, many researchers (i.e., Frank, 1990; Fulton, 1989; Goodlad, 1990; Handler, 1993) state the axiom that teachers usually teach in the way they were taught. This compelling statement highlights the importance of reviewing and analyzing students’ prior educational experiences for insight into the effective and ineffective attitudes and actions of teachers.
Several studies in the area of mathematics have shown that instruction, especially at the secondary school level remains overwhelmingly teacher-centered, with greater emphasis being placed on lecturing and textbook than on helping students to think critical across subject area and applying their knowledge to read-worlds situation (Butty, 2001). There is a need to adopt some of the recent reform-based instructional strategies, along with some traditional practices that have been overlooked and underutilized in secondary mathematics (National Council of Teachers’ of Mathematics, 2000). Such practices include individual exploration, peer interaction, and small group work each of which emphasizes the use of multiple approaches to problem solving, active student inquiry, and the importance of linking mathematics to students’ daily life (Butty, 2001). A key component in reform is the movement from traditional to reform instructional practices in mathematics is the importance of examining the effects and relationship among types of instructional practices that student receives their resulting achieving and attitudes towards mathematics. Studies related to instructional practices and academic achievement have suggested that the quality of teachers’ instructional messages affects children’s task involvement and subsequent learning in mathematics (Cornel, 1999, Butty, 2001). The National Council of Teachers
Teachers have the opportunity to leave an indelible impression on their students’ lives. School experiences mold, shape, and, can influence how children view themselves inside and outside of school. These school memories have the potential to last a lifetime in students’ minds and can play a consequential role with present and future decisions. It does not take long for students to realize that teachers make the difference between a long and boring school year and an exciting and challenging year. The effective attitudes and actions employed by teachers ultimately can make a positive difference on the lives of their students, and this belief will serve as the central focus of this paper. By examining past educational experiences, preservice teachers can discuss what they should or should not do with a class of students. In conclusion, there is potential in every student, and a teacher’s attitude and actions can leave lasting impressions. Teachers need to be risk takers by being themselves and by trusting their students. They also need to create independent individuals so learning is more likely to take place. Effective teachers genuinely care, like, accept, and value their students. These teachers will demonstrate kindness, share responsibility, accept diversity, foster individual instruction, and encourage creativity. With the knowledge of these five attitudes and actions, they will have the potential to be an effective teacher who will be remembered fondly by former students.
One should also not lose sight of some other strategies for enhancing and increasing students interest in the study of mathematics such as educational tours and concretize employment of highly qualified mathematics teachers and guidance and counselors proper use of instructional materials on teaching the subject are ways of enhancing students interest in the study of mathematics.
My interest in this study is examine the strategies to employ in enhancing students interest in the study of the subject mathematics so as to bring above attitudinal change, capacity and willingness in student contribute to the development of the society.
Through inquiry or action research, teachers examine their teaching and students’ learning by engaging in a research project in their classrooms (Loucks-Horsley et al., 1998; Guskey, 2000). Inquiry involves the identification of a problem, data collection (from the research literature and classroom data), data analysis, and changes in practice followed by the collection of additional data. Sparks and Loucks-Horsley (1998) claim that the model is built on the belief that the mark of a professional teacher is the ability to take ‘reflective action’. According to Sparks and Loucks-Horsley (1998), involvement in a development/improvement process refers to systemic school improvement processes. This involves assessing current practices and solving problems whose solution will improve student outcomes. The solution might include developing new curricula, designing programmes, or changing classroom practices. In this case, new skills or knowledge may be required and can be attained through reading, discussion, observation, training and experimentation (Kwakman, 2003; Sparks & Loucks-Horsley, 1989). Consequently, involvement in the improvement process can result in many skills, attitudes, and behaviours. The advantage of this model is that participants not only increase their specific knowledge and skills, they also enhance their ability to work collaboratively and share in decision making (Guskey, 2000).
The National Mathematical Centre Abuja was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria on January 1, 1988 although the decree (Decree No. 40) giving it a legal backing as a corporate body with perpetual succession and a common seal, was not promulgated until December 12, 1989.
The Centre was created to develop appropriate initiatives and resources of international standing for reawakening and sustaining interest in the mathematical sciences at all levels in Nigeria, and also as an adequate response to the dramatic decline in the production of teachers and specialists in the mathematical sciences at all levels.
The annual postgraduate output of mathematical scientists in Nigeria is steadily declining. Furthermore, the number of qualified senior secondary school graduates who apply for admission to read mathematical sciences in universities has drastically diminished. At all levels, the dearth of qualified teachers is a long standing problem which has now become more and more acute especially in the wake of the recent upsurge in student numbers and in the number of educational institutions.
The Centre has the onerous responsibility to contribute to the development of technological awareness at both national and international levels, and also to accelerate the pace of technological advancement by stimulating interest in the study of the mathematical sciences.
Mathematics has since been greatly extended, and there has been a fruitful interaction between mathematics and science, to the benefit of both. Mathematical discoveries continue to be made today. According to Mikhail B. Sevryuk, in January 2006 issue of the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, “The number of papers and books included in the Mathematical Reviews database since 1940 (the first year of operation of MR) is now more than 1.9 million, and more than 75 thousand items are added to the database each year. The overwhelming majority of works in this ocean contain new mathematical theorems and their proofs.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
It has been discovered that the attitude of students affects students interest in studying mathematics, it has also been discovered that there are less interest on the part of the students in the study of mathematics.
Factors that relates the problem are:
Poor and lack of use of instructional material
Lack of proper guidance and counseling of students on what the subject, mathematics is all about affects the students interest in studying mathematics.
Teacher’s qualification is yet another factor that relates to the problem.
PURPOSE OF STUDY
The major purpose of this study is to create awareness on those factors that will enhance studies interest in the study of mathematics. To examine why objectives of mathematics have not been achieved. Also to examine the availability and use of instructional material for teaching mathematics, identification of qualification of mathematics teachers, and proffer solutions.
who maintains that educational change is more successful when teachers work collaboratively. The acceptance of new ideas is encouraged through what he terms ‘the primacy of personal contact’ amongst teachers. Taking the argument further, the educational outcome of students can also be improved by the successful adoption of this new teaching practice. In order to stimulate more effective implementation and bring outside knowledge into the collaboration process, teachers need to be provided with curriculum materials that address topics not adequately covered in the regular textbooks and that fit into the teachers’ schemes of work. To stimulate and promote the use of materials, school-based settings are said to be more appropriate because teachers can get on-the-spot support, provided that there is supportive leadership.
The following research questions were formulated to guide the researcher in her investigation.
Does the use of relevant instructional material affect the student interest in the study of mathematics in post primary school
Do the government /employers employ qualify teachers to teach mathematics in post primary school in AMAC to achieve the desired result.
How does lack of proper guidance and counseling of the students in the subject affect their interest in the study of mathematics?
How does the inclusion of mathematics as a course of study in university curriculum enhance study interest in the study of mathematics
SIGNIFICANT OF STUDY
The study will help to bring above positive change in the attitude of students in the study of the subject this positive change is motivating the students in the study of mathematics which will enhance performance in the post primary school and bring about ;positive change in the growth and development of the society. Literature shows that the continuing growth and professional development of teachers may be substantially enhanced by opportunities to collaborate with others (Fullan, 2001; Joyce & Showers,1995; Nias, 1998; Showers & Joyce, 1996). The opportunity to take advantage of the expertise of others, and be recognized for their own, can provide teachers with important reinforcement and incentives for continuing growth and development. Fullan (2001) contend, breaks up the isolation of the classroom and allows teachers a rewarding career with daily satisfaction. Instead of grasping for a single dramatic event or the special achievements of a few children, as their main source of pride, teachers are more able to detect and celebrate a pattern of accomplishments within and across classrooms Another perceived benefit of collegial practice in schools has been introduced by Fullan (2001), who maintains that educational change is more successful when teachers work collaboratively. The acceptance of new ideas is encouraged through what he terms ‘the primacy of personal contact’ amongst teachers. Taking the argument further, the educational outcome of students can also be improved by the successful adoption of this new teaching practice.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY
This study will be limited to strategies for enhancing student’s interest in the study of mathematics in post primary school in some selected school in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC)
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Definitions of attitude towards mathematics are numerous as researchers’ and thinkers’ conceptions, ideas and perspectives vary. According to a point of view, the attitude towards mathematics is just a positive or negative emotional disposition towards mathematics (Zan & Martino, 2007 Hart (1989), considering attitudes towards mathematics from a multidimensional point define an individual’s attitude towards mathematics as a more complex way by the emotions that he/she associates with mathematics, his/her beliefs towards mathematics, which could be either positive or negative and how he/she behaves towards mathematics. Research on attitude in mathematics education has been motivated by the belief that ‘something’ called “attitude” plays a crucial role in learning mathematics but the goal of highlighting a connection between positive attitude and mathematics achievement has not been reached conclusively(Zan & Martino, 2007).It is therefore imperative to continue to search for linkages between instructional methods that could facilitate the development of more positive attitude towards the learning of mathematics. Hence this research.
Mathematics curriculum in planners with benefit from the findings of the study as it will give them the opportunity to plan the curriculum in such a way that the syllabus will contents capable of stimulating the interest of the students stakeholders in education parents and teachers in general, policy makers in education etc. will benefit from the finding of this study if put in to practice will tend improve the standard of education generally.
Mathematics: (Functioning as singular) a group of related sciences, including algebra, geometry and calculus, concerned with the study of numbers, quantity, shape and space and there interrelationship by using a specialized notation.
Enhancing: Increasing the qualities of somebody or to make something to look better.
Strategies: Plans or policies designed for the purpose of increasing student’s interest in the study of mathematics
Interest: State of wanting to learn
Values: Model or professional stranded of behavior
Attitude: Ways of thinking or behaving.
Develop: critical thinking skills and inquiring attitudes
Evaluate: Students preparation and check on home work
Achievement: To assess achievement of instructional goals and objectives
Stimulate: To stimulate students to pursue knowledge on their own.
Motivate: To motivate student to become actively involved in lessons.
Asking Question: Helps teachers keep student actively involved in lesson.
Knowledge: For teaching and how it relates to student achievement
Ability: To understand and use subject – matter knowledge to carry out the tasks of teaching.
Skills: For example, teachers of mathematics not only need to calculate correctly but also need to know how to use pictures and diagrams to represent mathematics concepts.
Measure: As a predictor of student achievement
Teaching: Contributes to gains in students mathematics achievement
Standards: Tests from the resources possessed by students, Teachers, Schools and other.
Quality: Measuring quality of teachers through performance on test of basic verbal or mathematics ability.
Assessment: Of Teachers knowledge
Curriculum: Knowledge involves awareness of how topics are arranged both within a school year and overtime and ways of always using curriculum resources.
Instructional: Improvement initiative.
Survey: Student achievement data from students and teachers.
Time: Devoted on mathematics instruction on a given period of time
Content: Covered on the day, the instructional practices used to teach that content.
It is therefore imperative for teachers to appreciate and inculcate in students positive attitude towards mathematics by using improved and appropriate instructional strategy. It is believed that the lack of specific directives has one way or the other hindered learning achievement among students. Teachers often state behavioral objectives in their lesson notes when preparing to teach and give students questions to practice after teaching. They however, fail to realize that behavioral objective and study question could better be utilized to stimulate the learners for possible better learning outcomes.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter reviewed literature under the following subheading.
Historical back ground objective of mathematics in national policy
Misconceptions about mathematics
Teachers qualification for teaching in enhancing students merest and performance in school subject and teaching method.
The use of instructional materials in enhancing students interest and performance in school subjects and teaching methods.
Problems associated with the study of mathematics in school
Appraisal of literature review.
CONCEPTUAL FRAME WORK OF MATHEMATICS
There is no generally accepted definition of mathematics. This is because of the larger content of the subject.
Literally mathematics is a group related sciences including algebra geometry and calculus concerned with the study of numbers quantify shape and space and their interrelationships by using specialized nation.
Algebra is a branch of mathematics that uses mathematics statement to describe relationships between things that vary over time.
Geometry is the attempts to understand and classify spaces in various mathematics contexts.
Calculus is a branch of mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives integral and infinities.
In everyday life, we frequently reach conclusion based on anecdotal evidence. This habit also guides our work in the more abstract realm of mathematic, but mathematics requires us to adopt a greater level of skepticism e.g. no matter how many are never a proof of a claim that covers an infinite numbers of instances.
The Role of Guidance and Counseling in Enhancing Students’ performance in Mathematics
Guidance and Counseling was introduced into the Nigerian Educational system in the 1950s when a group Reverend sisters from St. Theresa College Oke-Edo in Ibadan felt the need to guide sixty girls that were leaving school in 1956, their action led to the creation of the Ibadan careers Council as more and more schools becomes interested in the programme, this council culminated into the formation of the Nigerian careers council and more schools in the country, joined. It was as a result of these initiative that made the then Federal to government to create a unit within the Federal University Education and appointed an officer to be in charge of Guidance and Counseling to cater for all schools throughout the federation.
Oladele (2000), observed that the aim of the careers council then was among other things:-
Training of teachers to serve as vocational counselors.
Aiding the students in choosing a vocation wisely and in the placement process; and
Making smooth transition from school to suitable work.
He further asserted that, the central purpose of the council was to establish and maintain a sound vocationally guidance services in our secondary schools, hereby school learners educational ambitions could be properly channeled to suit their ability, aptitude and interest to the choice of careers.
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It should however be noted that with all these efforts no concrete arrangement was made for Teacher Education policy in the of the country then, to introduce Guidance and Counseling as a course in study for the would be teachers for as Oladele (2000) asserted, that the major activity of the council was the annual workshop on vocational Guidance, which was usually hold at the university of Ibadan under the auspices of the institute of education. All members schools sent as least a representatives, usually the careers master or mistress to participate. Some educationist were invited to conduct the workshop. Training was given in the use of psychologist and test, compiling cumulative records and techniques of interviewing in guidance and counseling.
It is therefore imperative for teachers to appreciate and inculcate in students positive attitude towards mathematics by using improved and appropriate instructional strategy. It is believed that the lack of specific directives has one way or the other hindered learning achievement among students. A teacher is the initiation, the maintenance or the promotion for student’s study behavior (Zhong Cui & Zhang 2001)
Guidance and Counseling as seen by Nayak (2004), in the systematic professional process of helping the individual through education and interpretative procedures to gain a better understanding of his own characteristics and potentialities and to relate himself more satisfactorily to social requirements and opportunities in accord with social and moral values. Since Guidance and Counseling is process through education of helping the individual, then that education must make provision to equip the teacher with the necessary tools of achieving the desired objectives. Our schools are now faced with myriad of problems ranging from drug addiction, truancy, cultism, examination malpractice due to poor study habits, inadequate knowledge about proper subject combination, problems of course combination which tallies with one intellectual abilities etc, such issues can only be handled when there is a qualified and full time counselor who received a special training in dealing with human behaviour.
However, behavioral objective when properly formulated and communicated to students could function to remedy the problem of effective teaching and learning of Mathematics. Since behavioral objective or related study question projects specific learning outcome, the knowledge of behavioral objective or a study question related to it can be useful in indicating to the learner what is actually required of them instead of wondering over the learning materials and as a result relevant learning achievement and attitude are promoted. He argued that behavioral objectives and inserted questions are very much similar in that both show students what they should be able to do as a result of learning process.
Guidance services in schools have, for a very long time, been left in the hands of school teachers who are already over-loaded, and without training in the area of guidance and counseling. Recent developments in African education, especially the opportunity for free and universal education, have resulted in a new scale of problems in schools and the nations at large. Many children go to school without knowing what they are supposed to do, and leave school without any idea of what type of jobs or careers they should follow. In addition, they have little understanding of themselves and their socio-economic and political environment.
Guidance and Counseling courses need to be introduced in our educational system whereby the would be teacher is introduced to the subject from year 1 to his study up to the end and various areas of the subjects exposed to him, so that in the end all qualified teachers can comfortably perform in the areas of helping individual students resolve their personal social and academic problems. The course should also cease to be and elective course. It should be made compulsory for all education students.
The intensive guidance and counseling programmme to be introduced in our educational system should aim at the following;-
To help in the total development of the student
to help in the proper choice of course
To help in the choice of careers
To help the students in vocational development
To develop readiness for choices and changes to face new challenges
To minimize the mismatching between education and employment and help in the efficient use of manpower
To motivate the youth for self employment
To help teachers establish proper identity
To identify and motivate the students from weaker sections of society
To help the students in their period of turmoil and confusion
To identify and help students in need of special help
to ensure the proper utilization of time spent outside the classroom
To help in tackling problems arising out of students explosion
To make up for the deference of home
To minimize the incidence of indiscipline
The above aims cannot be handled by a teacher who has no specialized training in guidance and counseling thus the need to entrench it intensively in the teacher education programme and introduce a degree specially on the subject of the undergraduate levels in most of our universities.
Guidance counselors, therefore, need to be equipped with skills required to design comprehensive guidance programmes, provide counseling service, and use assessment procedures with a gender perspective. Emphasis should be on the gender sensitization of trainers of guidance counselors, as well as provide them with the knowledge and skills which they can use in training their trainees on how to address gender stereotypes, that may influence the decisions that young people may make with respect to careers and other roles in society. Due to a lack of training in gender analysis, many providers of guidance services have continued to provide services, and/or organize activities, that continue to maintain and reinforce the existing gender stereotypes. In Africa, the guidance movement is relatively new in the education system. In many countries, guidance services are still on a trial-and-error basis. The place of such services in African education systems is not yet well established. However, there is now a greater awareness of the need for guidance services in schools
TEACHERS QUALIFICATION AND STUDENTS PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS
The inclusion of mathematics in the curriculum of Nigeria primary and Secondary School and even the Tertiary Institutions is a welcome development of educating the citizens of our country having pointed out some factors responsible for the problem that led to this research, solutions has also been suggested such as holding guidance talk fir students in school to remove all negative attitude that hinders their interest in the study of mathematics. Employment of well qualified teachers and continuous upgrading of their knowledge through seminars workshop and other in service training. The use of relevant instructional materials and appropriate teaching method for the particular topic they are familiar with, the curriculum should be such that will use the societies resources in teaching will be eliminated and move concretize learning should be encouraged to promote retention, assimilation and love for the subject. Zan, R., & Martino,P.D.(2007).
It is a common knowledge that there is a positive correlation between teachers qualification and students performance in school subjects. In order words the higher a teacher the higher he will be performing in teaching. In the area of mathematics most teachers that teach the subject are graduates of statistics. Again many conservative teachers due to lack of opportunities to attend staff development conference and seminars find it difficult to adopt and adapt the new changes in the teaching of the subject. Teachers ask questions for several reasons (from Morgan and Saxton, 1991):
1. The act of asking questions helps teachers keep students actively involved in lessons;
2. while answering questions, students have the opportunity to openly express their ideas and thoughts;
3. questioning students enables other students to hear different explanations of the material by their peers;
4. asking questions helps teachers to pace their lessons and moderate student behavior; and 5 questioning students helps teachers to evaluate student learning and revise their lessons as necessary.
Classroom questioning is an extensively researched topic. The high incidence of questioning as a teaching strategy, and its consequent potential for influencing student learning, have led many investigators to examine relationships between questioning methods and student achievement and behavior (Cotton, 2001)
Cotton (2001) suggested a variety of purposes for classroom questioning that include:
â€¢ To develop interest and motivate students to become actively involved in lessons
â€¢ To evaluate students’ preparation and check on homework or seatwork completion
â€¢ To develop critical thinking skills and inquiring attitudes
â€¢ To review and summarize previous lessons
â€¢ To nurture insights by exposing new relationships Akinsola & Olowojaiye
THE USE OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERI
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