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INVESTIGATION INTO THE APPLICATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS FOR TEACHING OF MATHEMATICS IN SOME SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS
This study investigated whether instructional materials are applied for teaching Mathematics among secondary school teachers in Lagos Metropolis. The simple random sampling technique was employed in the selecting the schools under the study from the total population. In carrying out this study, a self developed , structured and validated Questionnaire on Application of Instructional Materials in Teaching of Mathematics in Public Secondary Schools (QAIMTMPSS) was administered while inferential Statistics of Chi-Square was used to test hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The results of the study show that instructional materials are not available for the teaching of Mathematics in secondary schools; the use of instructional materials influence learning; the application of instructional material influences the teaching of Mathematics; teachers are knowledgeable in the application instructional materials but the cost of instructional materials used for teaching Mathematics is high.
The implication for policy and practice respectively drawn from the study are that government should provide for schools the instructional materials or subsidize the price so that the objective on the EKO Project and Millennium development goal (MDGs) can be achieved.
Background to the Study
Mathematics can simply be defined as those aspects of human experience and knowledge that involve the concept of number, quantity and space. Over the years mathematicians in formal educational setting have been able to construct abstract concepts into logical, systematic and symbolic terms that involve pattern and precision. Physical observations are often better expressed in mathematical expressions thereby enhancing understanding. There is no doubt that mathematics has come to stay in the educational plan of nations in the world.
Mathematics is as old as man. It is a subject that has grown with civilization. Odili (2000) defines mathematics as a science with precise in method and faultless in logic that if a person is exposed to it systematically for a sufficient long time usually through a course of study the individual is bound to be influenced by its contents, method, logic and procedure. Smith (2001) on the other hand defines mathematics as a ‘filter’ because failure to enroll in mathematics course and/or to perform well bars one from a variety of careers and life styles associated with them. A strong background in mathematics is critical for many careers and job opportunity in today’s increasing technological society. Professionals like Engineers, Architects and Pilots use mathematics, likewise the married women, tailors, vulcanizers, and mechanics.
The importance of mathematics to everyday life justifies the inclusion in the curricula at all the levels of education. There is hardly any human being whether literate or non-literate who does not apply mathematical concepts in everyday life, even though he may not be aware of it.
Ezenweani, (2002), further added that mathematics is the queen of all science subjects and the gateway to technological breakthrough and improvement. Hence the saying that “No mathematics, no science and technology”.
Okereke, (2006) asserted that mathematics is the foundation of science and technology and it’s functional role to science and technology is multifaceted that no area of science, technology and business enterprise escapes its application. Ukeje (1986) described mathematics as the mirror of civilization in all the centuries of painstaking calculation. The author observed that mathematics is the most basic discipline for any person that would be truly educated in any science and other endeavours. Despite the importance placed on mathematics, some scholars observed that students lack interest in the subject and perform poorly in it.
Ukeje (1986) observed that mathematics is one of the most poorly taught, widely hated and abysmally under-stood subject in secondary school, students particularly girls run away from the subject. The Examination Council (WAEC) Chief Examiners [2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006] consistently reported candidates’ lack of skill in answering almost all the questions asked in general mathematics. WAEC Chief Examiners [2003, 2005] further observed that candidates were weak in Geometry of circles and 3- dimensional problems. According to their reports, most candidates avoided questions on 3-dimensional problem, when they attempt geometry questions; only few of the candidates showed a clear understanding of the problem in their working. WAEC  also reported candidates’ weakness in Algebraic expression and word problems among others.
Students’ poor performance and lack of interest in mathematics could be attributed to many factors among which teachers’ strategy itself was considered as an important factor. Mathematics is abstract in nature and students must be made to see the usefulness of every aspect of it in real life. This implies that the mastery of the concept might not be fully achieved without the application of instructional materials. The teaching of mathematics without instructional materials may certainly result in students not being interested in the subject and performing poorly in it.
According to Nnaka and Anaekwe (2006), instructional materials or resources are equipments and materials, which the teacher can use to enhance the realization of the instructional objectives. Instructional materials’ applications in teaching can make instruction to be much more interesting and enjoyable. The changing images and use of special effects among others, can reduce boredom on the part of learners. Furthermore classroom interaction can be more interactive. Materials also save teaching time as they require short-time to present large information. They can be used to reveal needs and stimulate students’ curiosity. Thus learners’ interest can be aroused maintained, and stimulated to promote their imaginative power.
No matter how well trained and professional a mathematics teacher is, he would be unable to be efficient in the teaching of mathematics if he does not make use of sufficient instructional materials in the teaching of the subject.
Statement of problem
The ability of school authorities to provide instructional materials in spite of their numerous advantages in teaching of mathematics, is witnessing serious neglect by both the teachers and educational administrators. Also, it has been observed that both state and federal government has provided instructional material yet the teachers have not been seen to utilise them as expected. The ability of a trained teacher to improvise teaching materials for classroom teaching is getting more difficult. This cumulative problem has increased difficulty experienced in teaching learning environment.
Also, it has been observed that claims of the government that instructional materials has been supplied to schools yet they are not been utilized by teachers. Even the functional ones are not put into proper use by the teachers in the classroom. It has been observed that there is only display of such materials by various schools by the officials of the Ministry of Education.
The effect of this neglect mismanagement, poor maintenance and inadequate supply of these instructional materials has created the following problems: Students’ poor performance in mathematics, what is learnt is not easily recalled and lack of interest in the subject mathematics.
The identified problems gave rise to the investigation into the application of instructional materials in the teaching of mathematics in some selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis.
Purpose of the Study
The study intends to:
The following research questions were raised in this study:
The following research hypotheses were formulated in this study:
The Significance of the Study
The findings of this study will educate the operational administrators in both public and private schools on the need to ensure adequate supply and utilization of instructional materials in the teaching process of mathematics.
It will sensitize the teachers over the benefits of the use of instructional materials in teaching mathematics and this is expected to cause a change of attitude towards the use of instructional materials.
Students of education will learn to use instructional materials for classroom teaching and other learning situations
The society will also benefit from the findings of this study, as it will help them to have an insight into the use of teaching aids in teaching and learning of mathematics in the school.
Delimitation of the Study
The study is delimitated to 25 selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis and a total of fifty (50) teachers were selected for this study. A modified version of the instrument used by earlier researcher (Esan, 2009) is used for data collection.
Definition of Terms
Application of instructional materials: This means the act of the teachers making use of the materials that will enable them teach well
Instructional Materials: Anything that assists teachers to teach well in the classroom. Also, those things that help students to learn well in the classrooms.
Availability of Instructional Materials: this addresses the provision of instructional materials for teachers’ use.
Teaching: this has to do with imparting knowledge, skills, values and norms to students.
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