STUDENTS TEACHERS CONCEPTION OF MATHEMATICS Education Project Topics
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Odili, (2006) defines mathematics as a body of knowledge, a collection of techniques and methods, and the product of human activity for solving problems. Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary (2001) defines mathematics as the science of size and numbers (which arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry and geometry are branches). New Encyclopedia Britannica defines it as the science of structure, order and relation that has evolved from elementary practices of counting, measuring and describing the shapes of objects. It deals with logical reasoning and quantitative? Mathematics is a major aspect of our educational system since its application cuts across all areas of human endeavor. For instance from social or economics perspective mathematics is a key element in our day-to-day living that every human being practices in one form or the other.
Teaching as seen by Kalu (1999) is an activity which enables pupils or learners to learn and acquire the described knowledge, skills and disposition necessary for becoming functional members of the society Bidwell (1993) viewed teaching as a series of interaction between the teacher and the learners with the explicit goal of changing one or more of the learner’s cognitive or effective states. Therefore, mathematics teaching can be seen as the interaction between the teacher and the learners to acquire the described mathematical knowledge, skills, and ideas necessary for becoming functional members of the society. Teachers’ attitude plays a significant role in the teaching and learning of Mathematics in the secondary schools. Mathematics is conceived as the most difficult subjects by both students and teachers due to the way it was handled and presented. There are many factors that are responsible to this general conception.
The learning of Mathematics depends greatly on the way it is presented to the student. Teachers’ attitude towards teaching and learning of Mathematics has a significant impact in shaping the attitude of students towards learning of Mathematics. Students’ positive attitude can be enhanced by the teacher positive attitude towards teaching of Mathematics and this can be done through teachers’ helpful behavior, resourcefulness, enthusiasms, good method of presentation, concern for students and teacher knowledge of the subject matter. It is recommended that teachers should regularly develop positive attitude towards the teaching of Mathematics since they are the role model. The responsibility of the Mathematics teacher ends when he has taught his students to understand the concepts and how to apply these them in a variety of ways in solve daily mathematical problems.
Finally, seminars/workshops on positive teachers’ disposition while teaching should be addressed by all education stakeholders as important and urgent. Teacher expectations. Teachers hold varied conceptions pertaining to stu-dents, including students ‘potential for success, cultural backgrounds, strengths and weaknesses, and future placement in society. High expectations are lauded as a key to successful teaching of students often underserved by schooling (Lipman, 1998; Zeichner, 1996). Zeichner (1996) argued that high expectations are a necessary attribute of classrooms that have the potential to narrow the achievement gap in urban schools. The research literature contains a growing consensus about what teachers need to be like, to know, and to be able to do in order to teach all students to high academic standards. This vision rests on teachers believing that all students can learn and taking the responsibility for this task regardless of students‘economic circumstance or skin color. The belief that all children can learn‖ and advocacy for high expectations has become part of mainstream educational rhetoric.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Mathematics has been one of the subjects which Nigerian students especially at secondary schools level develop dislike for and likewise perform poorly (Odili, 2006). However, students and people frequently ask these questions; How can the teaching and learning of mathematics be improved in our secondary schools as a tool for self-reliance? It is an indisputable fact that individuals are differently endowed. As a result the way and manner they perceive issues are of course different. Teachers’ attitude plays a significant role in the teaching and learning of Mathematics in the secondary schools. Mathematics is conceived as the most difficult subjects by both students and teachers due to the way it was handled and presented. There are many factors that are responsible to this general conception.
The learning of Mathematics depends greatly on the way it is presented to the student. Teachers’ attitude towards teaching and learning of Mathematics has a significant impact in shaping the attitude of students towards learning of Mathematics. Students’ positive attitude can be enhanced by the teacher positive attitude towards teaching of Mathematics and this can be done through teachers’ helpful behavior, resourcefulness, enthusiasms, good method of presentation, concern for students and teacher knowledge of the subject matter. Perceptions are subjective and idiosyncratic but they can provide teachers useful information that may affect planning of lessons and decision making in the classroom. Therefore the problem confronting this research is to investigate students and teachers conception of mathematics.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
1. To determine the nature of mathematics Education.
2. To determine Students and Teachers conception OF Mathematics.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the nature of Mathematics Education?
2. What is the nature of Students and Teachers conception of Mathematics?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study shall provide a framework of consideration for the need to re-address issues affecting both poor desirability and teaching of mathematics by Students and Teachers. It shall also serve as a good source of information to Teachers, students, and Education experts.
1.6 STATEMENT OF HYPOTHESIS
1. Ho: Mathematics Education is low.
Hi: Mathematics Education is high.
2. Ho: Student conception of Mathematics is negative.
Hi: Student conception of Mathematics is positive.
3. Ho: Teachers conception of mathematics is negative.
Hi: Teachers conception of mathematics is positive.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study focuses on the appraisal of students and teachers conception of mathematics.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Ezenweani (2006) described Mathematics as “the branch of knowledge that seeks to improve on human perception of himself and his immediate environment by using clear, logical precise and exact thinking processes”. He also stated that Mathematics is autonomous science that springs up on define basis and develop in any direction based on the unfolding of knowledge.
Learning can be defined as acquiring a repertoire of cognitive, Meta cognitive structure. It is also linking new information to prior knowledge and it is goal oriented.
Attitude is defined within the framework of social psychology as a subjective or mental preparation for action. According to Souza Barros and Marcos (2010), attitude defines outward and visible postures of human beliefs. Attitude determines what each individual will see, hear, think and do. According to them, attitude means individuals prevailing tendency to respond either favorably or unfavorably to an object.