TEACHERS CONCEPTION OF MATHEMATICS
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).
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.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
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
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
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 Mathematic 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