# Problems Of Teaching Mathematics In Secondary Schools

## Chapter One

### Introduction

#### 1.1 Background of the Study

Mathematics is the study of amount, structure, space, relation, change, and numerous patterns, forms, and entities (Wikibooks, 2011). It encourages mental training. It is a necessary subject and the Queen of Sciences (Guass, 1856). Borel (2014) argued that Mathematics is the Queen of Sciences and a servant of Science disciplines, but Life (2014) considered Mathematics to be the King of Arts and Queen of Science.

According to Betiku (2001), Sciences, Technology, and Mathematics Education (STME) are commonly acknowledged as the barometer for gauging a country’s social, economic, and geopolitical growth. Mathematics is more than just the science of numbers taught by teachers in schools and either loved or despised by many students. It had a significant impact on people’s lives, the world, and society as a whole. Mathematics is an important field that is recognized globally, and it must be improved in education to provide students with the skills needed to complete future education or job desires, as well as to attain personal fulfillment. Because mathematics encompasses all aspects of human life, it is undeniably important in education to assist students and all people from all walks of life in performing daily tasks efficiently and becoming productive, well-informed, functional, independent individuals and members of a society in which mathematics is the fundamental component.

It is also a number and shape science (Carl, 1984). Everyone uses mathematics every day, especially in today’s scientific and technological society. In Nigeria nowadays, the emphasis is on technological development, and mathematics is required for this technological development. According to Harbor Peters (2001), mathematics remains the pivot on which any true science can rest, and no true science can succeed without going through mathematical demonstration; that any nation that wants to develop technologically begins by developing her mathematical arts right from the classroom. In other words, mathematics and science play a significant role in our everyday life. This centrality of mathematics has prompted Ukeje in Onah (2004) to emphasize that without mathematics, there is no science; without science, there is no modern technology; and without modern technology, there is no life. There is no modern society without modern technology. Mathematics, according to Lutfuzzaman (2014), is the key to all sciences. This is due to the fact that today’s world is heavily reliant on science, and science, in turn, is reliant on mathematics. Although many regard it as a theoretical topic, the fact is that mathematical areas were formed to meet the needs of day-to-day practical life.

Many adjustments and series of attempts have been made to the teaching, learning, and content of school certificate mathematics during the last two and a half decades. According to Batiku (1997), the majority of these improvements were designed to make mathematics more motivating, interesting, broad-based, and relevant to the requirements of a technologically advanced world. For many years, mathematics educators in Nigeria have been concerned about students’ performance in the West African School Certificate Examination (Abakporo,2005). Fear of maths is one of the issues in mathematics. This could be due to issues such as educational methods or difficult syllables (Lassa,2012). Certain mathematical topics are difficult for students to grasp.

#### 1.2 Statement of the Problem

Students’ achievement in mathematics at both the Junior and Senior School levels deteriorates over time. Many studies show that students score poorly in mathematics on both the qualifying examination (SSCE) and placement exams such as the University Matriculation Examination – UME (Odili and Vincent, 2011; Odili and Vincent, 2011). According to Adeoye and Aiyedun (2003), the tendency of low academic performance in mathematics has resulted in a shortage of suitable students needed to fill the quota for mathematics and mathematics oriented courses in our institutions. This has a direct impact on pupils’ arithmetic skills as well as their achievement in other science areas. Wang (2019) explained that in order to maximize opportunities to learn, teachers’ attention should not be given to broad coverage of the syllabi, but there should also be conscious efforts to teach content and skill involved deeply, despite the fact that students who offer mathematics have a better opportunity to learn more mathematical concepts than their counterparts who do not.

As the poor level of mathematics success has become a major source of concern, the need to investigate alternative explanations has become more pressing. These factors include student and instructor attitudes, topic complexity, instructional methodologies, and the number and quality of teachers. Obodo (2000) decried the poor state of mathematics education in Nigeria, claiming that the problem of quality mathematics instruction and learning stems from a variety of sources.

#### 1.3 Objectives of the Study

The primary objective of this study is to evaluate the problems of teaching mathematics in secondary schools. Other specific aims of this topic are:

- To determine the importance of mathematics in secondary schools
- To determine the objectives of mathematics in secondary schools
- To determine the factors that affects the teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools
- To determine possible ways that can minimize the problems of teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools.

#### 1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions will guide this study:

- How important is mathematics in secondary schools?
- What are the objectives of mathematics in secondary schools?
- What are the factors that affects the teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools?
- What are possible ways that can minimize the problems of teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools?

#### 1.5 Significance of the Study

The study’s findings will give a framework for the government, curriculum planners, and education stakeholders to develop methods for improving mathematics instruction. The study will be beneficial to teachers because it emphasizes the importance of improving teaching methods and implementing instructional strategies to ensure effective teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools. Empirically, the study will add to the general body of knowledge and serve as a resource for both scholars and students interested in furthering their studies in a related field.

#### 1.6 Scope of the Study

This study will be focused on evaluating problems of teaching mathematics in secondary schools. Specifically, the study will focus on determining the importance of mathematics in secondary schools, determining the objectives of mathematics in secondary schools, determining the factors that affects the teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools and possible ways that can minimize the problems of teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools.

The study will be using teachers and students of two secondary schools in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area, Imo State as enrolled participants of this study.

#### 1.7 Limitations to the Study

This study will be limited to evaluating problems of teaching mathematics in secondary schools. Specifically, the study will be limited to determining the importance of mathematics in secondary schools, determining the objectives of mathematics in secondary schools, determining the factors that affects the teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools and possible ways that can minimize the problems of teaching and learning of mathematics in secondary schools.

The study will be limited to teachers and students of two secondary schools in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area, Imo State as enrolled participants of this study, thus further studies is needed before this results can be used in other parts of the country.

#### 1.8 Definition of Terms

##### Mathematics:

Mathematics includes the study of such topics as numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. There is no general consensus about its exact scope or epistemological status.

##### Teaching:

A teacher, also called a schoolteacher or formally an educator, is a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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