PROBLEMS OF TEACHING AND LEARNING CONSTRUCTION IN SECONDARY SCHOOL

PROBLEMS
OF TEACHING AND LEARNING CONSTRUCTION IN SECONDARY SCHOOL
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the study
       The place of Mathematics
in the life of any nation cannot be overemphasized because it is linked with
the place of development in that nation. According to Betiku [2001] science,
Technology and Mathematics Education (STME) has been widely acclaimed to be the
index of measuring any nation’s socio-economic and geo-political development.
Among science and Technology courses, according to the National Policy on
Education 2004, Mathematics is one of the core subjects to be offered by all
students till the tertiary levels of education. This compulsory nature of

mathematics carries with it the assumption that the
knowledge of the subject is essential for all members of our society.
Mathematics competence is a critical determinant of the Post-Secondary
educational and career options available to young people [Ojo, 1986]. Also,
Barrow and Woods [2007] emphasized the need to make mathematics a compulsory
subject at the primary and secondary levels if scientists, technologists and
engineers are to be produced. In our Universities, the teaching and learning of
Mathematics should be taken very serious. The quality of mathematics that will
pave way for the much needed pursuit in science and technology at the higher
level is a matter of concern. Quality has to do with the attainment of
standards and standards ensure accountability. Obodo [2000], lamented the poor
state of mathematics instruction in Nigeria and averred that the problem of
quality of mathematics instruction and learning are from diverse sources. The
teacher has been accused to be responsible for the low quality of student
performance in our secondary schools [Cooney, 1994].
Despite the
relative importance of mathematics, it is very disappointing to note that the
student’s performance in the subject in both internal and external examinations
has remained consistently poor. [Salau, 1995]
Mathematics
educators have put up noble and spirited efforts aimed at identifying the major
problems associated with the teaching and learning of mathematics in the
nation’s schools. Despite all these noble efforts, the problem of poor
achievement in mathematics has continued to rear its head in the nation’s
public examinations.
This
research examines the core topics in geometry where the problems of teaching
and learning occurs most in mathematics. Topics such as plane and solid shapes,
measurement of plans and solid shapes, polygons, Geometrical ratio, geometrical
transformation, latitude and longitude etc are topics that are generally
identified to be difficult by both students and teachers.
Geometry is
an aspect of mathematics which deals with the study of different shapes. These
shapes may be plane or solid. A plane shape is a geometrical form such that the
straight line that joins any two points on it wholly lies on the surface. A
solid shape on the other hand is bounded by surfaces which may not wholly be represented
on a plane surface.
Statistics
have shown difficulty in teaching and learning of mathematics, geometry in
particular, has resulted in mass failure in examinations. The mass failure in
mathematics examinations is real and the trend of student’s performance has
been on the decline [Nigerian Educational
Research and Development Council, 1995]
A cluster
of variables has been implicated as responsible for the dismal performance of
students. These include, government related variables, curriculum-rebated
variables, examination body related, teacher, student, home and text-book
related variables. A part from these variables, Amazigbo [2000] has identified
poor primary school background in mathematics, lack of incentives for teachers,
unqualified teachers in the system, lack of learner’s interest, perception that
mathematics is difficult, large classes and psychological fear of the subject
as factors responsible for the dismal performance of students in the subject.
Osafemnti
[2001] contends that curriculum changes in mathematics have occurred in several
countries for one reason or the other, but more importantly because of the

desire to improve school
mathematics teaching to meet the ever changing needs of society, science and
technology. In Nigeria, curriculum changes have occurred and for a long time,
the tendency has been to transfer unquestionably, syllabus from the advanced
countries based on the universality of the Subject. Such undertakings, looses
sight of some problems usually raised by curriculum change. Osafemnti [2001]
outlined the following problems with curriculum changes in Nigeria.
1.    Failure of the mathematics to relate to the child’s environment
and thus the child cannot see the importance and immediate application of
mathematics, in particular geometry in his day to day living.
2.    Each new curriculum has always taken the teachers unawares because
they had never been involved in the development of the curriculum.
3.    The Nigerian Educational system has been constituted in such a way
that teachers training, curriculum development and classroom practice are three
separate activities. Therefore, curriculum changes have taken place without due
consideration for the training of teachers who will use them both at the
pre-service and in-service operational and training levels.
4.    Non-availability of instructional materials such as text books,
workbooks, slides, film stripes, etc. to meet the pedagogical demands of the
new  curriculum imposed on teachers.
For a topic like geometry which is the bedrock of engineering and
technological development, the issue of adequate physical facilities cannot be
over emphasized. The physical facilities such models will help grasp the idea
of geometry which seems to be abstract. It is the facilities in terms of
infrastructure, equipment and materials that afford the students the
opportunity to acquire the necessary knowledge. As Solarin [2004] observed on a
general note, that secondary schools lack facilities and equipment for
teaching. According to him, such a situation where teachers are forced to
discuss theoretically, practical aspects of the subject is not good enough.
Statement of the Problem
        The poor
performance of students in mathematics and geometry in particular has been a
thing of concern to mathematics educators, parents and government. The chief
examiner’s annual reports in mathematics in the Senior School Certificate
Examinations (SSCE) conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC)
and National Examinations Council (NECO) are good testimonies of those facts.
Mathematics educators have put in effort aimed at identifying the major problems
associated with secondary school mathematics. Despite all these noble efforts,
the problem of poor achievement in mathematics has continued to rear its head.
It is based on this fact that this research identified geometry as a core
difficult area where student’s performance has always been low.
Purpose of Study
This study
is aimed at:
1. Identifying the factors that contribute to the difficulty
in teaching and learning of geometry
2.    Examining the strategies that could remedy the difficulty in the
teaching and learning of geometry.
3.    Identifying student’s attitude towards the teaching and learning
of geometry.
Research Questions
1.    What factors are responsible for the difficulty in the teaching
and learning of geometry in secondary schools?
2.    What strategies could be adapted to enhance better teaching and
learning of geometry in secondary schools?
3.    What are the students attitude toward the learning and
teaching  of geometry?
Significance of the Study
Piaget (1971) and van Hiele (1986) made significant
research work relating to the thought processes and the sequence a person goes
through in learning. Many more studies have also been done by various
researchers in the field of spatial cognition, but very little impact on
classroom has resulted (Ada, 2010).
          Nigeria
students have over the years experienced varieties of difficulties in the
learning of geometry and transformation geometry. If learning difficulties
experienced by students could be investigated and explained by using the van
Hiele’s levels for transformation geometry learning in this study, then the
result of the study and its recommendation will provide useful information for
teachers, society, school administrator and curriculum developers on how to
ease students’ difficulties in the teaching and learning of transformation
geometry in the classroom. This study will make contributions to mathematics
education by way of providing information with regards to the students’ difficulties
in transformation geometry that involved rotation. It will also contribute to
the improvement of policies that addresses the difficulties that students face
in learning transformation geometry. A valuable contribution will be made from
this study as the outcome may suggest better and more improved teaching
strategies that could help the teacher towards a more effective teaching of
transformation geometry in schools.
Definition of Terms
          The
following terms are used throughout the research report and they are defined
here to establish a clearer and concise meaning.
Mathematics: This simply implies the
study of measurement, number and quantities.
Concepts: General idea about
something, this involves understanding the components of a phenomenon.
Creativity: In an attempt to define
creativity we look at personality trait of creative individuals. Such
individual are always thinking, are always prepared to listen to others
opinion, are critical of their work, are analytic and original; have adaptive
flexibility, spontaneous flexibility, word fluency, the capacity to puzzled,
they are motivated, confident, intellectually persistent and moral
communication to work.
Curriculum: Planned experiences
offered to the learner under the guidance of the school.
Syllabus: A document containing
content which learners are expected to know before being examined.
Manipulative: Concrete
material, e.g. Tangrams, Geoboards and Pattern blocks.
Geometry education: Mathematics is
an activity of solving problems concerning shapes, vision and location.
Geometry education concern itself with theories, principles and methodologies
in the teaching of geometry
Shapes: Geometry shapes
embedded in spatial objects and create an opportunity to move from
two-dimensional perception and vice versa.
Problem solving: May include
working and making a drawing, create your own problem, think of a similar
problem that was solved successfully in attempting to solve a problem. Problem
solving is teacher centered in the sense that the teacher can direct students
at the said strategies. 
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