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EFFECTS OF TEACHING STRATEGIES ON THE LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN UYO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF AKWA IBOM STATE
1.1Background of the study
The educational system consists of many elements, including teachers, students, curriculum and administrators. However, teachers are the essential and most vital elements, since the quality of education to be achieved depends extensively on the quality and competence of teachers. Teachers have many roles, from planning classroom activities to instructing, disciplining, motivating and guiding students. Teachers are also expected to use teaching strategies/techniques effectively in order to establish learning that can be defined as permanent changes in behaviour.
Mathematics is one of the subjects taken very seriously in the school system, irrespective of level of education. It has been described as a model of thinking (lji, 2008), which encourages learners to observe, reflect and reason logically about a problem and in communicating ideas, making it the central intellectual discipline and a vital tool in science and technology. Despite the recognition accorded to mathematics due to its relevance, Elekwa (2010) remarked that student’s exhibit non-chalant attitude towards mathematics, even when they know they’ll need it to forge ahead in their studies and other life endeavours. Such students who have already conditioned their minds that mathematics is a difficult subject are usually not serious in learning mathematics and therefore perform poorly in mathematics tests and examinations. According to Olunloye (2010), the high failure rate in mathematics is a national disaster therefore; feasible ways of improving the performance has remained an area of great concern for researchers.
Teaching and learning of mathematics is at the heart of education. The interest in the learning of mathematics can be attributed to a number of factors such as; attitudes of students (Uhurmuavbin and Umoren, 2008), lack of instructional resources/materials (yara and Otieno, 2010), instruction techniques/strategies (Olulonye, 2010). Among these factors which affect of mathematics, the most predominant factor is instructional strategy or method adopted by the teacher, which can either bring about a positive or negative attitude of students towards learning mathematics. Several studies have shown that good instructional techniques are capable of improving students’ attitude and achievement in mathematics (Ihendinihu, 2008).
According to Aguele and Usman (2007), different methods of teaching mathematics have been proposed by different educators and the knowledge of these methods may help in working out a better teaching strategy. It is not appropriate for a teacher to commit to one particular method of teaching. A teacher should adopt a teaching approach after considering the nature of the topic and the learners, their interests and maturity and the instructional materials available. The teacher after knowing about all the methods, their merits and demerits should be able to make his/her own method by imbibing the good qualities of all the methods.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Mathematics is typically not the most preferred subject among students across the state and even in the country as a whole, whether it is at the elementary, intermediate or secondary level. This may be due to the following reasons;
(1) The teaching strategy or method employed by mathematics teachers which seem to have veiled the simplicity and interesting nature of mathematics as a subject.
(2) The gender of a learner sometimes, affects their learning of mathematics.
(3) Negative attitude of students as a result of wrong perception of the nature of the subject (i.e some students think that mathematics is complex and difficult in nature).
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to explore the effect of teaching strategies or methods on the learning of mathematics. Specifically, the study is designed to:
(1) Investigate the various teaching strategies or methods adopted by teachers in teaching mathematics
(2) Examine the attitude and interest of students towards the study of mathematics.
(3) Find out more innovate and modern teaching strategies or methods teachers can adopt that can enhance positive attitude of students towards the subject, mathematics.
1.4 Significance of the study
Mathematics is one of the important and interesting subjects in the curriculum of education, which finds its use and importance across all the facet of human endeavour, yet, majority of students lack interest and develop negative attitude towards studying it, either as a subject or as a discipline. This disparity between the simplicity of the subject matter and the attitudes of students towards it is where this study finds its relevance.
This study will be useful to students who have negative perception towards mathematics, as it hinges on the various teaching strategies that will reflect the simple nature of the subject, which can arouse students’ interest to prefer it as a subject or a course of study amongst other courses.
Teachers also stand to benefit greatly from this study as it investigates the various teaching strategies that can be employed in teaching mathematics to regain students’ interest, and also to enhance their performance in both mathematics and other related subjects.
This research can also enable the ministry of education to enact policies that incorporate modern teaching methods into the curriculum to facilitate the teaching and learning process in mathematics.
The immediate community will also benefit immensely from this study, as its effect will produce and prepare citizens who are logically and analytically well equipped, who will contribute positively to the growth and development of the larger society