ATTITUDE OF PUPILS AND TEACHERS TOWARDS MATHEMATICS IN PUBLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL IN ONNA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF AKWA IBOM STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The government, parents, guardians, teachers and the general public have continued to show concern about the low standard of Mathematics Education and the consequent poor performance in Mathematics of our primary school pupils.
These concerns become very clear when we realize that Mathematics is the language of orderliness and ordered thinking as seen in things like travel time table, identification of pages in a book, houses on streets and other methodical records that make use of numbers, measurement and shapes in everyday life.
Also Mathematics is the tool and language of scientific and technological development of any country. According to Fakuade (1975), the aim of teaching Mathematics in the Primary School should be two fold.
The first is its social and utility value to mankind and the second for laying the proper foundation for future work in Mathematics and the Sciences.
The first goes for those of our pupils for whom primary education will be terminal and a good knowledge of elementary Mathematics is of basic importance for general education upon which much of their future successes will depend.
The second is for those of them who may be proceeding to Secondary Schools to further education. The class of pupils should be challenged with enough Mathematics concepts, ideas and principles in order to give them the necessary background that will facilitate an easy take-off in the subject and in the sciences in the secondary schools.
The two-fold objectives can be subsumed in the national objectives for Mathematical instruction in Primary Schools in Nigeria as spelt out broadly by the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1981) and specifically amplified as follows:
- To provide the child with the necessary basic skills in numeracy.
- To expose the child to ways of applying these skills to his problems.
- To provide the child with basic manipulative skills useful in ordinary life.
- To provide the child with basic skills in logical thinking.
- To introduce the child to basic concept of spatial relationships; and
- To introduce the child to basic record keeping and aspects of accounting.
To achieve these objectives, the need for utilizing the services of competent, effective and sufficient Mathematics teachers cannot be overlooked.
One then is worried on how competent Nigerian Primary School teachers are with regard to their knowledge of the Mathematics content they teach their pupils.
According to Ali (1989), there is considerable concern among parents, teachers, educators and others that many primary school teachers as well as their prospective counterparts are not adequately competent in the Mathematics they teach or will teach primary school pupils.
He argued that many current primary school teachers and prospective ones were not far ahead of those they teach Mathematics. Records also show that Grade II Teachers are not even qualified to teach in the primary schools.
This was supported by Okpala (1991) when he observed that most primary school teachers were incompetent in teaching primary school contents because they passed through secondary schools and Teacher Training Colleges learning how to dodge Mathematics classes.
These were also the views of Ohuche and Obioma (1985) who found that most primary school teachers appeared to be incompetent in handling geometry, mensuration and everyday statistics of the Primary Education Mathematics Curriculum (PEMAC).
Against this backdrop that the study examines some of the basic problems of Mathematics teaching at the Primary School level with a view to solving them.
School curriculum, the teachers, the pupils, attitude of teachers and their pupils, instructional materials and language, etc. Pupils’ attitude towards Mathematics has been found to be generally poor (Okpala, 1991 and Ali and Akubue, 1987). The negative attitude of teachers and their pupils towards Mathematics have been found to adversely affect the teaching and learning of Mathematics.
The pupils’ unhealthy attitude towards Mathematics may be traced to the teachers’ own attitude and interest towards the subject. If a teacher dislikes Mathematics and thinks that it consist largely of rote learning and devoid of understanding, as is usually the case with some primary school teachers, he would transmit same to his pupils. Mathematics, although unique, is not significantly different from other subjects in terms of difficulty level.
The teacher needs to do a little more job erasing the stories of fear built around.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Following the poor performance of primary school pupils in Mathematics nationwide, stakeholders in collaboration with National Policy on Education towards Mathematics aimed at managing attitudinal change amongst stakeholders reverse is the case.
Generally, schools get scared whenever Mathematics is mentioned. Many pupils miss Mathematics lessons, those who take the lessons have varying attitudes towards Mathematics classes. Records revealed that the academic performance of pupils in Mathematics also vary from satisfactory to very unsatisfactory; the teachers of Mathematics have vary attitudes towards teaching of Mathematics. Some teachers have been known to envy teaching Mathematics subject while others are known to be lukewarm.
Nobody knows the causes of the pupils’ poor academic performance in Mathematics and their varying attitudes towards the subject nor can anyone account for teachers’ nonchalant attitude towards the teaching of Mathematics. Teachers apportion blame to the government for failing to supply adequate instructional materials for the teaching of Mathematics to stimulate interest in the pupils; the parents blame the teachers for failing to do excellent jobs to enable their wards inculcate interest in Mathematics; the teachers blame the pupils for indiscipline and failure to study adequately.
No research has been conducted to the knowledge of the researcher in Onna L.G.A. to determine the causes of pupils and teachers attitude on Mathematics in Primary Schools in Onna L. G. A in Akwa Ibom State.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are as follows; and to:
- Find out some possible causes of poor performance in Mathematics at primary level in Onna L. G. A.
- Examine the attitude of pupils and teachers towards primary Mathematics in primary level in Onna L. G. A.
- Determine how Mathematics is rated among other subjects in the primary school curriculum in Onna L. G. A.
- Identify the governmental policies towards Mathematics in Primary level in Onna L. G. A.
- Recommend and suggest ways of encouraging and improving the teaching and learning of Mathematics in primary level in Onna L.G. A.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were formulated for the study:
- What is the attitude of pupils and teachers towards the teaching and learning of Mathematics at the primary level in Onna L. G. A?
- To what extent do pupils attitude relate significantly to pupils achievement in Mathematics in Onna L. G. A?
- Does pupils negative perception of Mathematics subject affect their academic performance in Onna L. G. A?
- Does the rate of teachers’ mastery of Mathematics subject matter influence pupils perception and performance in the subject in Onna L. G. A?
- Does availability and appropriate use of instructional material affect the pupils’ academic performance in Onna L. G. A?
- What teaching methodology is best perceived by teachers as most suitable for the teaching of Mathematics in primary level in Onna L. G. A?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
The following research hypothesis formulated for the study:
- Ho: There is no significant difference between teachers and pupils attitude towards Mathematics in Onna L. G. A.
Hi: There is significance difference between teachers and pupils attitude toward Mathematics in Onna L. G. A.
- Ho: There is no significance difference between male and female pupils’ attitude towards Mathematics in Onna L. G. A
Hi: There is significance difference between male and female pupils’ attitude towards Mathematics in Onna L. G. A.
- Ho: There is no significance difference between male and female teachers’ attitude towards Mathematics in Onna L. G. A.
Hi: There is significance difference between male and female teachers’ attitude towards Mathematics in Onna L. G. A.
- Ho: There is no significance relationship between teachers’ attitude and the use of instructional materials in Primary Mathematics in Onna L. G. A.