This study stressed at generating the interest in teaching and learning of mathematics in our various secondary schools in Ebonyi state. It is a fact beyond reasonable doubt and believe that mathematics have totally decline in the study of it, despite the numerous roles and important which it is playing for the modern development and technology in the society at large. The paper also elaborate on some of the challenges and problem encountered during teaching and learning of mathematics which include unqualified teachers, misconception of subject matter, lack of some materials used in teaching mathematics in the classroom and knowledge recalled problem. It is equally noted on how classroom instruction such as Reward the learners, history telling, group formulation should be used to generated interest in the teaching and learning of mathematics. The paper also viewed the problem of teaching and learning of mathematics as in two ways connection between the teacher and the students or learners as well as environment where students are learning. It went on to expressing that it should be seriously one side judgment to always blame the poor performance of students on teacher alone, the students too have their own duty to play and the environment the two parties are steadying in learning and teaching. The paper conclusively recommended some ways of tackling the problem of teaching and learning of mathematics in Ebonyi state school.
Mathematics is an incredibly learning discipline in the whole world. It is not only provide us with the basic knowledge and understanding of the law of nature formulars and ways to solved problem related to calculation in the world and also basis of the most modern reasoning in science and technology. Infact, without mathematics, no progress in science and technology which is very necessary and sufficient condition for man’s survival and usage on earth will automatically be a mirage. No wonder Galileo in his Assayer of 1623 stated when he wrote that the universe is written in the language of mathematics” Galileo was expressing the widely hetonation among practitioners that mathematics, far from being devoid of all subject matter as claimed by its crities, had the entire natural world as its object. But while most agreed that mathematics was closely integrated with the physical world, the precise nature of their relationship remained a matter of intense dispute. So from the greek knowledge, stated that mathematics is the quality, structures, space and change. It resolve the truth or falsity of conjecture by the mathematical proof on the earth started by Giuseppe peano (1857- 1932). Salam (2001) states that for a nation to be wealthy, it must acquire a high degree of elict and expertise in mathematics both pure and applied and education, infact, one cannot trace any field of human endeavour where mathematics is not used, in medicine, politics, commerce, building, engineering, agriculture, industries , football, drivering, carpentry, welding, Readers and computers etc. all these field utilized the existence an d application of mathematics in every day to day life. This then, expressed and view why mathematics its studies has continued to grasp the attention in our educational system .
Beside, it is unfortune and regrettable to note that despite the enormous essential of this subject to human life, it is quietly dying away everyday especially this our modern age. (Nworgu, 2002). No teacher in Nigerian especially Ebonyi state that is concern with the teaching and learning of mathematics at secondary school levels can be boldly say to himself that all is well with the teaching and learning of mathematics subject.
More so, there are many students studying both science and arts at the secondary school level who cannot say 1+1 = 2 in school to high institution in ebonyi state while made most people studying arts courses due to the strong apathy of towards mathematics in the state.
Problems of teaching and learning of mathematics:
- Unqualified teacher: No education can rise up above its teacher and as such teacher education will continue to be allowed a major emphasis on all government educational system (Ebonyi state, 2005, Revised). This assertion is further expressed by manson (1996), where he pointed out that the quality of teachers is an important input in effective teaching and learning, since quality out put demands, quality input in both learning and teaching. According to Ukeje (2004), if the child is center of educational system, the teacher is the pivot of the educational process. He further explained, that in any education process there must always stands the teacher, infront or at the back at the center or at the side. So what he/she knows best and perform it can make difference than what he/she does not know and cannot perform it which becomes and irreparable loss to the child because, to spoiling one child have totally affected the nation. Olaitan (1998) quotes fafunwa as seeing the teacher as the only key in the entire educational programme, for the teacher may make be educational programme in the world. As the teacher occupies such a unique position in educational system his/her behaviour towards the students and the subject must be that of caring and loving of it. The interest of the teacher towards the subject he/she teachers goes along way in addressing and encouraging the students to admire the subject and from administration pick interest in studying the subject. Thus, many science teachers have little or no training in maths because of poor payment of teachers in Ebonyi state, it has jopardise our level of education especially mathematics , which will instead of research in mathematics it will be research in business or farm, so that the family will not die of hunger and as a result, they do not convey fully interest and happiness of mathematics and hence fail to inculcate and inspire young people to embrace the subject and therefore the downward spiral continuous and the zeal of studying mathematics was totally dismay in secondary school. If the teacher cannot explain the concept and principle in mathematics to the students comprehension, then the students will only understand the concepts or principles as an abstract one or not existing. Also if the teacher reads and copies directly from the mathematics textbook, the students will only depend on copy and pest and proceed in copy cat attitude which will simply assume that mathematics is made for copying and reading and not making meaning out of it, because they have been cultivated in them by the teacher.
So, in this case, any maths teachers who cannot make use of educational domain while teaching and showing steps to the students on how to solve mathematics practically is not in any way called maths talk more of mathematics teacher in the field of education, so instead of teacher it will be called a cheater. Since a single mistake of teacher can spoil a nation. It is highly imperative to give teachers incentive and retrained them maths teachers for the subject meaningful and motivate the interest of up coming generation.
(2) Misconception: This is one of the serious problems in teaching and learning of mathematics in ebonyi state secondary school is mainly psychological imbalance.
There is no doubt that many young people regard mathematics as a difficult subject, much harder than almost every other subjects. Very wrongly the look upon it as very boring and abstract that its study required specifically intelligent people who are good in science subject will do good in mathematics which is no at all condition, it depend on seriousness of practicing the subject.
There is also the idea that maths and mathematians are unseen and uncaring, irresponsible and hav- bent on the destruction of the environment and the population. Infacts, this has mislead so many people from being a mathematics and also result poor performance in WAEC and NECO examination from 2008 to date especially some Ezza and ikwo L.G.A. consecustively mostly in public school in Ebonyi state. Misconception is based on ignorance and failure to appreciate and utilized the different type of laws and principle carried out by most mathematics like parthagoras and prof. Chika Obi as well as prof. Annele willams contribution.
(3) INADEQUATE OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS:
Mathematics is very important in practical while teaching the student, so that any thing presented to the students in classroom will be a remainder to them any time they want to forget it. It is regrettable that No secondary school in ebonyi state can boast of mathematical equipment in laboratory science and some school that have but cannot boast of it functionality in uses the materials include; geo- board, metre rules, a pair of protractor, pair compass, calculations, Traingle, probability kit and square etc what a misfortune? How can mathematics stand or take proper effect with out the use of mathematics equipment, yet every year federal, state and local government are lamenting on the mass failure of mathematics and the total lack interest of students in the science subject. This is the reason why one can finished secondary school he/she will not mention one equipment mathematics.
More so, the environment the students stays in learning maths surpose to be equipped with air conditioner, because maths is not good to learn in a hot place so all those things are what is reducing the attention of students in studying maths and also the zeal out of them both secondary school and higher level because the propelling nature of studies in him/her has been demoralized and for the one reason, there is a need to get laboratory equipment of mathematics in all the secondary school in ebonyi state for proper motivating students interest in mathematics.
WHAYS OF GENERATING INTEREST IN MATHS
(1) By Rewarding the learner: Reward is one of the motivation know as extrinsic motivation. According to Vroom in Omebe (2001) in his experience in expectancy theory of motivation states that people out only when they have a reasonable expectation that their action will lead to a specific desire objective. He cited an example, that if an individual worker believes that working vibrantly will lead to earning increase in salary, he will intensify his effort to work harder than before will make the worker always strong and serious at all time in life. Students interest towards the study of mathematics can be attributed through intrinsic type of motivation and reward good performance in the job well done either students or teachers for instance, during the administration of prof. f ogah as the vice chancellor of Ebonyi state university, he granted and extrinsic kind of motivation which he termed “freed Tution Fees to any student wishing to study mathematics or physics in the department of science education. He did this with a view of capturing the interest of student after he has studies the rate of students apathy towards these two courses also extended to TVE.
Principals or head master of various secondary school in ebonyi state can properly generate students towards the study of a particular subject/course through presentation of annual gift to the students that performs best in such a subject/course. This will actually cultivate serious and greatest interest in many students to complete study for the annual gift but unknown to them that they have generated more interest for the study of that particular subject/course.
(2) By history telling: Story telling has been identified as one of the most factors that will motivating students interest towards learning. Therefore, telling students the effort of past and heroes and experts in mathematics may in one way or the other increase in their interest towards the study of mathematics. Recalling the history of prof. Chika Obi whom was very serious in solving mathematics for got that he was taking bath and he was make to a place they were solving mathematics problem until he got the solution before he was aware that he was naked. The story about some who did well in the quiz competition was given a scholarship from their secondary school university of their choice in the world especially the person that score highest in mathematics subject was picked as the best students in ebonyi state and beyond. Another story from pythagoras who said the opposite and adjust are equal to the hypotanus in a right angle triangle. So from all this stories, it can ginger up and may put more effort in studying the course mathematics through the interest the students have in the subject.
(3) By group clubs: Mathematics clubs provide good environment for stimulating students. The programme of the clubs activities are planed to meet students interest such as MAN and STAN. They interaction with each other, asking questions, organize picknic, organize speech day and excursion where the club invite powerful mathematians to come and speak to them. This types of forum or sitting is always very vital because male mathematics could be one of the resources persons. This will motivate more male and female to study mathematics and as well become great hinderance to the female folk. It will also go along way to facilitate the notion that mathematics is a female subject.
(4) By application: This is one of the ways of teacher can stimulate students or learners interest in methematics is by directing the students to the application of mathematics in other fields of work. Students should be made to understand the role mathematics can play to influence opportunity and requirement in different fields. For instance, the application of how to solve the problem of right angle triangle which was propounded by pythagoras (1939) which will be used in the earth rotation day by day. The application of disordered laws, principle and formulars, example Almighty formulae, combination and Area of a circumstance etc.
Infact, the application of mathematics in various field of human life can never be over emphasized in the making the interest of learners in mathematics.
Recommendation: Based on this paper work, the following research and recommendation are to be made:-
(1) In the present world of science and technologies, teachers should endeavor to provide enabling environment that will make the learners apply and know whatever knowledge they have got in the mathematics lessons to real life experience and conditions.
(2) Teachers should lay more of the students on the major terminologies and language used in communicating mathematically concept and principle.
(3) Teacher should constantly attempt to identify those aspects of mathematics curriculum that appear difficult, boring and misconcept as uninteresting to student and serve them to the government or curriculum implementers for renewal, restructure and transforming educational system. The researcher believe that making mathematics concept more simpler and easier, it will pick the interest of all students.
Conclusion: This paper has been prepared to give suggestions on maths teaching and learning. It is equally identified some of the factors that led to students apathy towards mathematics, it include misconception, lack of teaching materials and qualified teachers etc the paper properly and strongly ensured that if the suggestions made were to be met or reached, the story on the decline of teaching and learning of mathematics would become things of the past in the whole secondary school in Ebonyi state.
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