PROBLEMS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING MATHEMATICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA
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The study on the problems of teaching and learning of mathematics in senior secondary schools in Nigeria was conducted in Jema’a Local Government Area in Kaduna State. The main objective of this study was to examine some of the problems and possibilities in the teaching and learning of Mathematics in senior secondary schools. In the process of the study, three (5) research questions were formulated and to validate these research questionnaire. Seven secondary schools was randomly selected from the entire population. Research instrument in form of questionnaire was administered to the area involved in the study. On the whole, one hundred and thirty three (133) respondents were collected. Based on the findings of this study, some recommendations were made as follows, government and other stakeholders in education should provide adequate facilities and conducive environment to enable teachers on their part, must assume positive professional attitude, and should employ more qualified teachers and those with qualification lower than (NCE) should be sponsored for in-service training and distance education programme. Conclusively, more effort should be made to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics in senior secondary schools for positive result.
Table of Contents
Table of contents
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Purpose of the Study
1.4 Significance of the Study
1.5 Research Question
2.0 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1 AIMS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
2.2 PROBLEMS AFFECTING MATHEMATICS
2.3 EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS INSTRUCTIONS
3.0 RESEARCH METHOD
3.1 Research Design
3.2 Area of the Study
3.3 Population of the Study
3.4 Sample and Sampling Techniques
3.5 Instrument for Data Collection
3.6 Validation of the Instrument
3.7 Reliability of the Instrument
3.8 Method of Data Analysis
4.0 DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS
5.1 Summary of Findings
5.3 Limitation of the Findings
5.4 Suggestion for Further Studies
1.1 Background of the Study
The place of Mathematics in any nation development cannot be overemphasized. According to Betiku (2001), Sciences, Technology and Mathematics Education (STME) have been widely acclaimed to be the index of measuring any nation’s socio economic and geo-political development. Among science and Technology courses, according to the National Policy on Education Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004), Mathematics is one of the core subjects to be offered by all students till the tertiary levels of education. This compulsory nature of Mathematics carries with it the assumption that the knowledge of the subject is essential for all members of our society. Mathematics competence is a critical determinant of the post-secondary educational and career options available to young people (Ojo,1986). Also, Barrow and Woods (1987) emphasized the need to make mathematics a compulsory subject at the primary and secondary levels of education if scientists, technologists and engineers are to be produced. In our Universities, the teaching and learning of Mathematics should be taken very serious. The quality of mathematics that will pave way for the much needed pursuit in science and technology at the higher level should be a matter of concern to all stakeholders in education. Quality has to do with the attainment of standards and standards ensure accountability. Obodo (2000) lamented the poor state of mathematics instruction in Nigeria and averred that the problem of quality of mathematics instruction and learning are from diverse sources. The teacher has been accused to be responsible for the low quality of student performance in our secondary schools Cooney (1994). Despite the relative importance of mathematics, it is very disappointing to note that the student’s performance in the subject in both internal and external examinations has remained consistently poor Salau (1995) and Amzigo (2000). Mathematics educators have put up noble and spirited efforts aimed at identifying the major problems associated with the teaching and learning of mathematics in the nation’s schools.
Despite all these noble efforts, the problem of poor achievement in mathematics has continued to rear its head in the nation’s public examinations. Therefore, this study seeks to investigate and address the problems that students and teachers encounter during the teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools.
Umionyang (1997), referred to mathematics as the foundation for science without which a nation can never be prosperous and economically independent. He further noted that competence in mathematics provides many of the opportunity for personnel required by industry, science, technology and education. Considering the contributions of mathematics to the contemporary world, one would have expected mounting interest on it as a discipline that is truly the language of science and technology but the reverse seems to be the case.
From a personal study carried out, there is poor performance in mathematics examinations. It is ironical that in our pre-science and technologically-oriented world, the youths who would have taken charge of global affairs in the future; the running of industries and the means of production, research laboratories, space technology and international politics are shying away from the very subject that should have adequately prepare them for such roles. The student’s flight in the secondary school is very alarming. We are cognizant of the historical facts that the old indigenous cultures were pacesetters in mathematics and subsequently, made notable scientific discoveries. In Nigeria and Kaduna State in particular, the students’ performance in mathematics in secondary schools has continuously reflected poor performance over the years and this perhaps, could be attributed to the various problems associated with the teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools,
According to Uwadiae (2009) quoted in punch newspaper, 2009 that seventy seven percent (77%) of the candidates who sat for 2008 West African School Certificate Examination failed to get credit in mathematics. In view of this National challenge, this study sought to find out what could have influenced the problem, since mathematics was introduced into the syllabus with proper study, so many problems have been confronting effective teaching and learning of mathematics like; i. The attitude of students towards the learning of mathematics. ii. Unqualified teachers or using non- mathematics specialists to teach the subject in some Nigeria schools. iii. Lack of learning facilities e.g. mathematics laboratories in school. iv. Lack of appropriate method of teaching mathematics. v. Overcrowding of mathematics syllabus.
The problems associated with teaching and learning of mathematics is seen from the lukewarm attitudes of some mathematics teachers and their ineffectiveness in mathematics education. Lack of student-teacher relationship has also been seen in the environment in which teaching and learning is conducted. Teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools is very essential, no doubt because, it is regarded as a yardstick in the development of any nation.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Research reports over the years have not only vindicated that senior secondary school students perform poorly in mathematics but also indicated that the process errors which students commit while solving mathematics problems have contributed to students poor performance in mathematics. These process errors (weaknesses) committed by students in solving mathematics problems, constituted to their lack of readiness for further mathematics learning. Some recent mathematics literature indicated that mathematics readiness tests were developed and used to determine the readiness levels of pupils advancing from primary six to Junior secondary school one (JSS1) where they intend to resume a new mathematics programme. The literature also suggested that readiness test should be developed and used to determine the readiness levels of JS3 students intending to resume a new mathematics programme in senior secondary school mathematics work. One may therefore ask the following questions. To what extent can readiness test on mathematics be developed and validated for senior secondary school students? Would the instrument be sensitive to such variables like gender, school type and location?
1.3 Objective of the Study
The objective of this study is to examine the problems of teaching and learning mathematics in senior secondary schools in Nigeria. The following sub-objectives will be considered;
- To investigate the problems that students and teachers encounter during the teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools in Kaduna State.
- To examine some of the problems and possibilities in the teaching and learning of Mathematics in senior secondary schools in Jema’a Local Governement Area.
- To examine the strategies that will remedy the difficulty in teaching and learning of Mathematics in senior secondary schools in Jema’a Local Governement Area.
- To ascertain the reasons behind students’ failure of mathematics and lack of interest in the subject in Jema’a Local Governement Area.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The need for this research is to elicit useful information that could be the problems associated with teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools. Not until useful ideas to the problems militating against mathematics education is unraveled, through a research of this kind; we will not be able to suggest useful and workable solutions to the problems.
The research will be of help to policy makers in education, in review of curriculum development and implementation, proper repositioning of teacher training program and also be of help to teachers as it will expose areas where the teachers need to put more efforts in the teaching of mathematics. It will further help teachers in employing better techniques and methods of teaching to the best understanding of the students. In addition, the findings of this research will help students concerned to appreciate the subject mathematics, expose the importance of mathematics, the wonders, fun and happiness it gives thereby encouraging them to put in more effort and to remove every negative sentiments, and fear students have towards the study of mathematics. The study is an eye opener to the general public in making people sees the usefulness of mathematics in day to day activities and the indispensible contribution of mathematics in nation building. It makes the society have a grasp of their action and inaction towards mathematical education.
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study is a quantitative survey that will cover seven secondary schools selected in Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Both sexes of teachers and students shall be used as subjects to get information on the teaching and learning of mathematics through a self-report instrument (questionnaire).
1.7 Research Question
The following research questions are put forth to guide the researcher in this study:
- Do mathematics teachers have the required qualification to teach mathematics effectively?
- Are there enough teaching aids to teach mathematics effectively?
- Is the mathematics syllabus overcrowded?
- To what extent does the environmental influence affect the performance of student in learning mathematics?
- How do students perceive mathematics as a student?
1.8 Definition of Terms
Problems: This can be seen as obstacle that is hindering the effectiveness of a thing.
Teaching: This is the process of imparting knowledge
Learning: This is a process whereby there is a relative permanent change in behaviour due to impartation of knowledge.
Academic Qualification: Is an academic skills quality or attribute that make somebody suitable for a teaching job.
Teacher Experience: This is a kind of skill acquired through being involved in teaching over a period of time.
Teaching Techniques: Is the procedure or skill required to impart mathematics knowledge to the student.
Teaching Aids: Teaching materials that helps teacher in transmitting mathematical knowledge to the students.
Student Motivation: It is a positive reinforcement that stimulates students to show interest in learning mathematics.
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