IMPACTS OF USING ETHNOMATHEMATICS IN TEACHING ON PERFORMANCE AND RETENTION IN MATHEMATICS AMONG PRIMARY III PUPILS IN NIGERIA
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This study investigated the impacts of using ethnomathematics in teaching on performance and retention in mathematics among primary III pupils in Lere education district, Kaduna State, Nigeria. The study was conducted based on four specific objectives. Four research questions were constructed and four null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. A pre-test, post-test and post-posttest quasi experimental design was adopted. From a target population of two hundreds and ninety five 295 public primary Schools with 11,289 pupils (5,862 males and 5,427 females) simple random sampling techniques were used to select the schools and the class of the pupils respectively. 207 pupils were selected for the study in accordance with Central Limit Theorem that regarded a minimum of 30 sample size appropriate for experimental research. Mathematics Performance Test 1 (MPT1), Mathematics Performance Test 2 (MPT2) and Mathematics Retention Test (MRT) were the instruments used in collecting data as Pretest, Posttest and Post-posttest respectively. A Spearman-Brown coefficient of r = 0.89 was found. The data were analyzed using mean, standard deviation and t-test Analysis at 0.05 level of significance using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS),version 2016.Results of the study indicated that primary III pupils taught using ethnomathematics teaching performed and retained mathematical concepts better than those taught with conventional teaching method. The result also revealed no significant difference between the performance and retention of male and female primary III pupils taught mathematical concepts using ethnomathematics teaching strategy. The study revealed among others that ethnomathematics teaching strategy was gender friendly. The study recommended among others that mathematics teachers should endeavor to use ethnomathematics in teaching primary III pupils for better performance and retention of mathematical concepts in our primary schools. The results of the findings of the study suggests for further studies in different location of the country(Southern Nigeria). The findings of the study will benefit the mathematics educators, mathematics students , curriculum planners, government and non-governmental organizations among others.
For a long time many researchers in mathematics education have focused their attention on student learning difficulties in school mathematics mostly confined to the formal classroom environment highlighting that there also exist outside of the formal classroom other educationally significant factors having the potential to either enhance or retard effective learning of formal school mathematics ( Matang & Owens , 2004) .
According to D’Ambrosio in 2001, ethnomathematics is “the study of different forms of mathematics that arise from different modes of thought.” This definition is so broad that it can be used to describe the math that is practiced by the indigenous tribes in Africa as well as the math practiced by engineers that specifically relates to their field of interest
Retention is measured in collaboration with achievement. This means that closely related to achievement is retention. Hornby (2000) defines retention as the ability to remember experiences and things learnt. Similarly, kundu and Tutoo (2002) posited that retention is the preservation of mind.
Gender is also among the variables to be tested in this study. Nowadays, gender issues has assumed an important dimension in recent times as a result of increasing awareness of the moral implications of the dangers inherent in the marginalization of women in the science subjects including mathematics who form more than half of the world population
Mathematics constitutes a basic part of the National Curriculum for Primary schools as well as Secondary Education. The federal Government of Nigeria has for long been aware of the pivotal position of mathematics to individual fulfillment and national developmental goals with particular reference to scientific and technological emancipation and break through. This understanding has consequently led educational policy makers to position mathematics as a compulsory and one of the core subjects in primary and secondary level of education (FME,2004).
The power structure that exists in Nigeria today originated in the colonial period, in the 19th century. This led to the imposition of a dominating Eurocentric cultural system on the country (Abbas, 2000) .Teachers in the country have increasingly been finding it difficult to get examples that are not Eurocentric. Consequently low achievement in school mathematics has been increasing and shows no sign of reversal (Abbas 2000, D’Ambrosio, 2001).
The Nigeria National curriculum included Hausa among the compulsory subjects in Primary and Secondary school (Waziri, 2010).This may be connected to the organized nature of the tribe, in terms of traditional administration (Sarki, Dagachi and MaiUnguwa), Scholarship and Commercial excellence of the language. In view of this development Hausa culture is rich with mathematical stuffs such as riddles, games, crafts, events, folklores, customs, objects and other traditional festivals. To this backdrop there is a need to multi-culturalise the mathematics curriculum in order to improve its quality, to upgrade the cultural confidence of all learners and arrest any racial and cultural bias and stigma. Hence, the researcher investigated the impact of using ethnomathematics in teaching on performance and retention in mathematics among primary III pupils in Lere educational district, Kaduna, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There are more than 250 ethnic groups in the 21st century Nigeria. The largest and most politically dominant ones are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. Other minor ethnic groups are the Fulani, Kanuri, Ibibio, Ijaw, Babur, Tiv, Idoma, Karekare and many others. Geographically, the three major ethnic groups are Hausa in the North, the Yoruba in the south-west and the Igbo in the south-east and our diversity is our strength due to our various cultural practices. The low performance and retention rate in mathematics of students particularly among sex was attributed to instructional modality adopted by teachers. Some the researchers, recommended blended instructional techniques towards enhancing better retention and achievement. In view of the above situation there is need to develop or adopt teaching methods which are capable of improving the reasoning and logical ability of the learners to enable them retains concepts. The mathematics taught in schools is foreign, Eurocentric in origin and built on western cultural background, making students to learn by rote memorization in which the attendant result is consistent mass failure of students. Hence students no longer have interest towards the study of the subject. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to investigate the impact of using ethnomathematics could have on performance and retention in mathematics among primary III pupils in Lere educational district, Kaduna-Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The main of objective of this study is to investigate the impact of using ethnomathematics in teaching mathematics on performance and retention among primary III pupils in Lere education district, Kaduna-Nigeria. The specific objectives are to:
- determine the impact of using ethnomathematics in teaching on performance in mathematics among primary school pupils.
- investigate the impact of using ethnomathematics in teaching on retention in mathematics among primary school pupils.
- find out gender differences on the impact of using ethnomathematics in teaching on performance in mathematics among primary school pupils.
- determine gender differences on the impact of using ethnomathematics in teaching on retention in mathematics among primary school pupils.
1.4 Research Questions
Specifically, the study seeks to answer the following research questions.
- What is the difference in the performance of pupils in the experimental group and control group in mathematics?
- What is the difference in the retention ability of pupils in the experimental group and control group in mathematics?
- What is the difference in the performance of male and female pupils taught mathematics using ethnomathematics and those taught using conventional lecture method?
- What is the difference in the retention level of male and female pupils taught mathematics using ethnomathematics and those taught using conventional lecture method?
1.5 Null Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses will be formulated for testing at; p 0.05 level of significance.
H01: There is no significant difference between the performance of pupils taught mathematics using ethnomathematics and those taught using conventional method.
H02: There is no significant difference between the retention level of pupils taught mathematics using ethnomathematics and those taught using conventional method.
H03: There is no significant difference between the performance of male and female pupils taught mathematics using ethnomathematics and those taught using conventional lecture method?
H04: There is no significant difference between the retention level of male and female pupils taught mathematics using ethnomathematics and those taught using conventional lecture method?.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings of the study benefitted the standard of mathematics education in the following ways:
The study would benefit the mathematics teachers to teach in line with the rationale for one of the most fundamental principles of education ,that is ,teaching from known to unknown. The study would benefit them to express the relationship between culture and mathematics and it would benefit them to understand how culture relates to students and their learning. It benefitted mathematics educators to reaffirmed, and in some instances to restored, the cultural dignity of the students.The research, also benefitted them in understanding the role that culture had played and continues to play in shaping mathematical development.
The study benefitted the students to learned mathematical concepts and appreciated the works of others in diverse cultures and reasonable despised them, making violence and hatred less likely to happen in schools. For instance, considering that voluminous information/data in a succinct manner, one cannot help it but admired the minds of those who first created them. Also, it would benefitted the students in discovering that mathematical knowledge is a value-laden, and thus refuting the traditional approach of teaching and learning of mathematics as observed by D’Ambrosio(2001). The research, make the students to simply realize that they are mathematically capable and that they do in fact possess a long and rich mathematical heritage.
The study, would benefit the curriculum planners by compliment their efforts to considered multicultural mathematical activities that will reflect the knowledge and behaviors of people from diverse cultural environments. To acquire these skills while maintaining dignity and to be prepared for full participation in society the system require more than what is offered in a traditional curriculum. Much of today’s curriculum is so disconnected from the child’s reality, which is impossible for the child to be a full participant in it. The mathematics in many classrooms has practically nothing to do with the world that the students are experiencing .Just as literacy has come to mean much more than reading and writing , mathematics must also be thought of as more than , and indeed different from counting, calculating, or comparing . The study will help curriculum planners to understand and acknowledge mathematics as a compilation of progressive discoveries and inventions from cultures around the world during the course of history.
The study would benefitted the government and non- governmental organizations by complementing their efforts in the learning of formal school mathematics by providing the relevant contextual meaning to many abstract mathematical ideas which otherwise would be difficult for students to learn and understand.
The Professional bodies such as mathematics association of Nigeria (MAN), Science teachers association of Nigeria (STAN), Nigerian research development council (NERDC), would benefit from the study by training the prospective members on the effective use of ethnomathematics.
The study would guide the text book publishers to reframe text books on Mathematics to reflect the learner’s cultural diversity and publish the identified mathematical practices in Hausa culture.
The research instruments used by the researcher in this study can be adapted or adopted by other researchers when investigating the effect of teaching methods in teaching primary III pupils.
The result of this study would also help the school administrators and policy makers to encourage mathematics teachers to adopt ethnomathematics teaching strategies when solving mathematical concepts. Researchers in mathematics education can benefit from the study, because it adds new information to the existing literature; hence researchers can use the findings of this study for further studies.
1.7 Scope/Delimitation of the Study
The study comprised of twenty two (22) primary schools in Lere education district, of Lere education authority of Kaduna state Nigeria.Two schools were sampled one as experimental group and the other school as the control group . Primary pupils are more appropriate for the study, because the use of mother tongue (Lm) and second language (L2) were allowed during teaching and learning processes. Therefore, the experimental group were taught using ethnomathematics and the control group were taught using conventional lecture method. The instruments used for data collection were mathematics performance test 1 (MPT1), mathematics performance test 2 (MPT2 )and mathematics retention test (MRT), the test item comprised of 20 objective test questions. The topics covered for the study were based on statistics, algebra, geometry and measurement. The researcher did not include any other cultural practices other than that of Hausa culture and the research was restricted to primary school pupils in Lere education district of Kaduna state, Nigeria.
1.8 Basic Assumptions
The study was carried out based on the following assumptions:
- The pupils involved in this research are familiar with the Hausa culture such as language, cultural artifacts etc.
- The teachers are using Eurocentric teaching approach to teach the primary schools’ pupils the concepts of mathematics.