Mathematics Teaching And Learning In Ghanaian Junior High Schools Education Essay

The focal point of this present survey is on mathematics learning and larning in Ghanaian junior high schools. In general, the survey seeks to research and characterize mathematics learning and larning in Ghana with peculiar mention to instructors learning patterns and pupils larning experiences. In this introductory chapter, the background of the survey, the generation of the survey, purposes of the survey, statement of the job and the research inquiries will be discussed. In add-on to this, the significance of the survey, the restrictions of the survey every bit good as the construction of the survey will be described in this chapter.

Background of the Study

The greatest hoarded wealth and plus of a state are its educational establishments. They make or impair the fate of that state. Education is considered as one of the most of import tools for national development, “ it is an terminal in itself and a agency for accomplishing other ends of development, such as economic growing, poorness decrease ” ( Glewwe and Ilias, 1996:395 ) . The strength of a state is built on human resources developed by its educational establishments which train the encephalons, provide accomplishments and open a new universe of chances and possibilities to the state for economic growing, societal justness and poorness relief ( Lauder et Al. 2006 ; Adentunde 2007 ) .

Harmonizing to Okuma-Nystrom ( 2003 ) it is impossible to happen a state anyplace in the universe without any signifier of educational system. In all educational systems, pupils are introduced to a assortment of topics in all subjects and programmes for both academic and professional intents. However, mathematics holds a cardinal place in the school course of study and in virtually all states it is a nucleus constituent of the school course of study. It is besides seen as a polar topic, both in its ain right, and besides because of its of import connexions in diverse Fieldss such as the natural scientific disciplines, technology, medical specialty, and the societal scientific disciplines ( Keith, 2000 ) .

It is upon this that, contemplations on the importance of mathematics and the procedure of mathematics learning and acquisition has been a long-standing issue in about every portion of the universe for some clip now ( Torner and Sriraman 2006 ) . Similarly, harmonizing to Blum ( 2002 ) the importance of mathematics in all kingdoms of life and the recent argument on the falling criterions of pupils ‘ accomplishment in mathematics has triggered the turning attending for research workers, parents and instruction governments in their pursuit for the manner frontward over the last two decennaries. For illustration, harmonizing to Blum ( 2002 ) most parents, and pedagogues believe that, a good consequences in mathematics is non merely a good step for come ining into establishment of higher acquisition and acquiring a good programme, but besides a demand for most occupations. Blum ( 2002 ) further argued that, in position of this of import function that mathematics dramas in all kingdoms of lives, college/high school pupils ‘ have been passing 100s of hours in mathematics categories both at school and at place to go through their mathematics scrutinies.

However, harmonizing to, Agudelo-Valderrama ( 1996 ) most pupils are non successful in accomplishing this and a figure of pupils still find it hard come ining establishment of higher acquisition due to hapless classs in mathematics. Agudelo-Valderrama ( 1996 ) further added that, the manner mathematics is conceived, taught and learnt has non merely contributed to many pupils non gaining their full potency but most pupils non gaining the importance of the mathematics they learn at school since they are non able use what they have learnt to their existent life state of affairss. Agudelo-Valderrama ( 1996 ) in reasoning his instance further added that it is non surprising we frequently hear many pupils inquiring inquiries like: where will I utilize this sort of mathematics? What are we larning this for?

In position of this, bettering mathematics learning and acquisition has been an issue of considerable concern in about every portion of the universe, and the instruction and acquisition of mathematics has been undergoing through a figure of reconstituting coupled with the debut of new school course of study and new learning methods. The development of these new school course of study and its accompanied new learning methods is rooted in happening ways of authorising pupils to larn to make mathematics ( Thomasenia, 2000 ) . In add-on to this, Anku ( 2008 ) and Ampiah et Al ( 1998 ) and others, have advocated for the demand for a holistic position of altering the teaching-learning procedure of school topics from a instructor centred with its attach toing rote larning to a transformative method which can assist pupils to bring forth their ain significance and apprehension of mathematical constructs. To accomplish this, the authorities of Ghana and other stakeholders in the instruction sector have taken a figure of enterprises in advancing effectual instruction and acquisition of the topic.

For illustration, in transforming the instruction and acquisition of mathematics and instruction in general in Ghana, the Ministry of Education ( MoE ) in coaction with the Teacher Education Division ( TED ) in 2003 reviewed the instructor instruction course of study and upgraded all Initial Teacher Training Colleges ( ITTC ‘s ) to Diploma presenting establishments with the purpose of bettering instructors ‘ content cognition and pedagogical accomplishments in the assorted capable countries. In add-on to this, the Ministry of Education ( MoE ) in coaction with other international bureaus such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA ) , United States Agency for International Development ( USAID ) and the Department for International Development ( DFID ) have shown tremendous committedness by shiping on mathematics and scientific discipline undertakings to better the instruction and acquisition of mathematics.

In add-on to this, as highlighted, criterions in mathematics learning and larning over the old ages has been an of import end in educational researches aimed at happening scientific grounds for bettering the instruction and acquisition of the topic. Harmonizing to Potari and Georgiadon-Kabouridis ( 2009 ) since independency, a considerable figure of researches have been conducted in this country and the grounds of this is reflected in the theoretical displacements and alterations in the instruction and acquisition schemes adapted in assorted mathematics schoolrooms. For illustration, empirical research grounds have provided educational governments and policy shapers with rich information on the context for the instruction and acquisition of mathematics which is used to place the contextual variables such as learning with multiple representations of mathematical constructs, that can be modified to convey about betterment in the acquisition and instruction ( Anamuah-Mensah and Mereku, 2005 ) .

1.3 The Genesis of This Study/ Gestating the Research

However, despite these considerable parts of research highlighted above, and the demand for farther research into mathematics learning and acquisition, it is believed that “ academic texts that deny the personal voice and make an semblance of neutrality hurt the chase of truth ” ( Bochner 1997: 418 ) . Ideas about look intoing into the position of mathematics learning and larning in Ghanaian junior high schools had been necessitated by my personal experience as a pupil, mathematics pedagogue and research worker. That is, the pick of this research subject for my doctorial thesis was necessitated by my personal experience. For illustration, during my primary school instruction ( 6-12 old ages ) , I developed much involvement in mathematics. This involvement was inspired by my instructor who created larning environments which promoted active engagement and apprehension of mathematical accomplishments and constructs.

However, my involvement in the topic started declining out after my primary instruction because most of the schoolroom interactions were overpoweringly teacher-centred and scrutiny driven. Learning activities were through ‘rote larning ‘ where we had to memorise expressions without understanding them and their pertinence, and the state of affairs was non different at the university. I found the topic as the most hard and abstract topic in the school course of study and this did non merely impact my public presentation, but besides my involvement in the topic. Similar to this, research by Eshun ( 2004 ) and Eshun-Famiyeh ( 2005 ) have besides shown that, despite the importance of mathematics in all kingdoms of life, a good proportion of Ghanese pupils ‘ find mathematics hard and those who profess non to be good in mathematics take pleasance in making so. Harmonizing to Eshun ( 2004 ) and Eshun-Famiyeh ( 2005 ) mathematics as a topic taught in school, generates in many students and pupils a feeling of fright, anxiousness, malaise and insecurity. Responses such as: ‘if you teach mathematics so you must be really superb ‘ , ‘I ne’er liked mathematics at school ‘ , and ‘oh no, non mathematics! I am really hapless at it ‘ , are really common looks of the manner other people particularly pupils, besides feel about and perceive mathematics ( Orton and Frobisher 1996, Eshun-Famiyeh 2005 ) .

In add-on to this, my wonder for research in the country of mathematics learning and acquisition was stimulated at the latter portion of my undergraduate instruction in the twelvemonth 2002, when I was composing my thesis. I began my ain research to analyze the sort of mathematical constructs that junior high school alumnuss who find themselves in assorted careers ( eg. tailoring, dressmaking, woodworking and masonry ) were utilizing at their assorted work topographic points. The intent of this survey was to analyze the positions of these alumnuss, on the relationship between the mathematical constructs they are using at their several work topographic points and the mathematics they have learnt in school. The consequences from the survey were interesting and perplexing in the sense that, the mathematical constructs that the learners presumed to be utilizing at their several work topographic points were similar to what is documented in the national course of study ( eg. measuring, algebra and pattern formation ) .

However, though most of these alumnuss, largely apprentices, knew they were using some mathematical constructs at their several workplaces, but they could non associate these constructs to the mathematics they have learnt in school.

This confirms Anamuah-Mensah and Mereku ( 2005 ) averment that, bulk of the pupils do non hold the chance to larn a significant proportion of the content of the mathematics course of study and that, most pupils lack the conceptual apprehension of the mathematics they have learnt which is needed to do informed opinion and applications to other related context or jobs. That is, in most times pupils are non able to gestate and use the mathematical accomplishments and constructs they have learnt in work outing twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours jobs. This is due to the because of the structured and procedural mode this information is presented where pupils follow a series of processs and use a expression to work out a peculiar job without needfully understanding why that job is solved that manner and its application to other related jobs ( Anamuah-Mensah and Mereku 2005 ) . Hiebert and Carpenter ( 1992:76 ) in a similar vena contends that, if mathematical undertakings are excessively restrictive and structured, pupils ‘ conceptual development of mathematical thought is badly constrained, and the webs they build are bounded by these restraints and the likeliness of reassigning this cognition across different scenes becomes debatable.

These perplexing consequences hence inspired me to research farther to happen out more about mathematics learning and larning. During my old ages as a research helper at the Institute of Education ( IoE ) , University of Cape Coast, Ghana, I had the chance to interact and prosecute in treatments with mathematics pedagogues and pupils to cognize their positions on the province of mathematics learning and larning in Ghana. Though these observations and listening did non supply definite replies to the consequences from my old survey, nevertheless, it did opened a new door and country of research for me, and I have come to gain that mathematics learning and acquisition is influenced by several factors. Furthermore, the information gathered from these interactions have besides shown that in our pursuit for bettering mathematics learning and acquisition, the voices of instructors and pupils are someway neglected and most frequently, what goes on in the existent schoolroom is given small or no attending.

Reflecting on my personal experience and besides analyzing a study of a national survey, Criterion Reference Test ( CRT ) conducted in 1996 and 2000 which established that merely 1.8 % and 4.4 % of primary six pupils ‘ countrywide obtaining a command grade of 55 % severally, have shaped my involvement in analyzing how mathematics is taught and learnt in Ghanese schools ( MoE 2002 ) . Furthermore, the pick of this subject has been inspired by the consequences from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study ( TIMMS ) conducted for junior secondary two ( rate 8 ) pupils ‘ in 2003 which portrayed a by and large hapless public presentation of Ghanese pupils, with a pupils ‘ norm of 276 in mathematics which was significantly lower than the international norm of 467 ( UEW/GES, 2003 ) .

Following these tendencies in mathematics learning and larning in Ghana and associating it to my personal experiences, I consider the timing appropriate to research into the issue through empirical observation to complement to show attempts by supplying input to ongoing argument on happening empirical grounds through research to better the instruction and acquisition of mathematics in our schools.

1.4 The Research Problem

As indicated in subdivision 1.2, mathematics learning and acquisition has been a major concern in assorted states and the past four decennaries have seen several moving ridges of mathematics reforms, each implying serious attempts to better mathematics learning and larning ( Ball et all 2001: 434 ) . Reforming school mathematics has hence been a portion of a broader set of modern-day thoughts about bettering instruction because of the polar function that mathematics dramas in the school course of study ( Ball et al. 2001 ) .

However, these alterations have been really hard and many pupils experience their mathematics otherwise and there is a uninterrupted grounds for the hunt for improved ways of mathematics learning the topic with accompanied intercessions and restructuring of mathematics course of study ( Boaler 2009 ) . For illustration, NCTM ( 2000 ) reported that in the United States, mathematics instruction has undergone and continues to undergo alterations as a manner of bettering pupils ‘ accomplishment, understanding and involvement in mathematics ( NCTM 2000 ) . Harmonizing to the NCTM ( 2000 ) study, one of the most common methods of learning mathematics in the U.S, direct direction or the traditional method of ‘chalk and talk ‘ has been criticized for its restriction of non assisting pupils to develop apprehension of mathematical constructs ( NCTM 2000 ) . In add-on to this, Ball et Al ( 2001: 434 ) have besides argued that the school mathematics experience of most Americans is and has been uninspiring at best, and intellectually and emotionally oppressing at worst and educational governments, schools and instructors are going more involved in happening ways of bettering it.

In the United Kingdom ( UK ) , Orton and Frobisher ( 1996 ) , reported that “ whenever concerns are expressed about attainment of students in England and Wales and comparings, whether legitimate or non, are made with students in other states, mathematics is normally singled out as being a peculiarly badgering job ” ( p. 1 ) . Similarly, Baker ( 2008:1 ) have besides argued that, there is a common apprehension in the United Kingdom and North America that pupils of all ages experience a broad scope of troubles when trying to analyze Mathematics. Harmonizing to Chambers ( 2008 ) pupil ‘s troubles in larning mathematics and the low accomplishment in mathematics among most pupils in England over the old ages led to the debut of the national course of study in the United Kingdom in the 1980 ‘s which aimed at supplying a flat platform for all pupils.

In South Africa, Jita ( 2002 ) reported that, despite the legion enterprises by the authorities to better mathematics and scientific discipline instruction, switching schoolroom patterns from the traditional manner of learning to a more transformative attack has been a major challenge and pupils ‘ accomplishment in mathematics has still non reached the coveted degrees. Similarly, Ottervange ( 2002 ) reported that most schoolrooms in Sub-Saharan Africa are characterised by pupils playing inactive function in the teaching-learning procedure which is characterised by pupils listening and copying notes while the instructor does all the speaking.

In Ghana, research by Eshun ( 2004 ) and Eshun-Famiyeh ( 2005 ) have shown that the topic continues to be the most awful topic in the school course of study. The general perceptual experience of mathematics been the most hard topic in the school course of study is reflected in pupils ‘ public presentation at both the national and international degrees in Ghana over the old ages. For illustration, the 1996 and 2000 National Criterion Reference Test ( CRT ) is clear manifestation of negative perceptual experience that pupils have in mathematics. Besides the by and large hapless public presentation of Ghanese pupils with a pupils ‘ norm of 276 in mathematics which was significantly lower than the international norm of 467 in the 3rd Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study ( TIMSS ) conducted in 2003 is another contemplation of the position of mathematics learning and larning in the state.

It is upon these issues that, how the topic is taught and learnt among other issues has hence become the topic of national examination in Ghana for some clip now. Therefore, the job of how to learn the topic to assist pupils to develop involvement and conceptual apprehension of mathematics have hence been the concern of mathematics pedagogues, instructors, parents and so all those who manage instruction ( Eshun-Famiyeh 2005 ) . In response to this demand, research workers, pedagogues and other stakeholders in the instruction sector have advanced educational statements back uping the demand for scientific grounds into the issue and the manner frontward.

For illustration, Eshun-Famiyeh ( 2005 ) , reported that the socio-economic background of the single pupil plays a important function in his/her mathematical competence. He added that pupils ‘ with educated parents are more competent in mathematics than their co-workers from broken places because parents are able to supply the right acquisition environment which makes them competent in work outing mathematical jobs. However, pupils from comfortable places and those from hapless places have some degree of mathematical competences but those from hapless places usually make more errors as compared with their other co-workers ( Eshun-Famiyeh 2005 ) .

In add-on to this, Asiedu-Addo and Yidana ( 2004 ) besides examined mathematics instructors content cognition and argued that, how knowing the instructors is in his/her capable country is really important as it determines how the instructor Teachs. On the contrary, Agyeman ( 1993 ) reported that, despite the important function that a instructor ‘s academic and professional making dramas in bettering the instruction and acquisition of the topic, a good qualified instructor who works under unfavorable conditions of service would be less productive and that is another factor which need to be given the needful attending.

In add-on to this, Kraft ( 1994 ) and Ampiah et Al ( 2000 ) in their research besides identified the inaccessibility of text-books in most schools particularly as another factor. This inadequacy of text-books does non merely affect pupils larning at schools but besides at place. Harmonizing to Ampiah et Al ( 2000 ) in Ghana, pupils are non allow to take text-books place and this makes it hard for instructors to give pupils adequate place work. In this current context, it can be argued that the job is non merely associated with one peculiar factor but a figure of interconnected factors which calls for a holistic attack of look intoing into the job. However, research by Jansen ( 1995 ) have shown that one of the major reviews of educational research and for that affair research in mathematics learning and acquisition has been the failure to turn up constructs and steps of school quality and effectivity within mundane schoolroom procedures of instruction, larning and appraisal. For illustration Ampiah et Al ( 2000 ) research was conducted outside the schoolroom utilizing questionnaire and interview to garner information on the perceptual experience and attitudes of mathematic instructors and pupils toward mathematics. Besides, Adetunde ( 2007 ) have besides looked at bettering the instruction and acquisition of mathematics in secondary schools in Ghana with peculiar mention to factors that impede the instruction and acquisition of mathematics. He besides made mention to assorted attacks of learning that can be used in the instruction of mathematics.

In add-on to this, Hadman et Al ( 2008 ) argued that, there is turning credence of the significance of the impact of the instruction and acquisition patterns adopted in mathematics schoolrooms on pupils ‘ acquisition and apprehension of the topic. Similarly, McMahon ( 2001:1 ) besides added that, schoolroom ethos has considerable potency for back uping or denying pupils entree to the mathematical constructs that they have learn and use in their day-to-day activities. However, there is comparatively small scientific grounds of surveies that have examined mathematics schoolroom patterns by roll uping a assortment of informations from different beginnings to understand job under consideration ( Wilkins 2008 ) . Besides most of these surveies were limited in range as most of them were strictly qualitative in nature which limits the generalizability of the findings to other similar scenes.

For illustration, Kuwayama et Al ( 2007 ) in their survey affecting three instructors aimed at analyzing the differences in knowledge about instruction and acquisition among instructors, found differences in knowledge about instruction and larning between more experient and less experient instructors. They argued that experienced teacher taught mathematical construct through activities apart from whether or non it could be to the full attained while the inexperient instructor regarded both cognition and accomplishments as the aims of his lesson ( Kuwayama et al 2007:107 ) .

The focal point of this present survey is hence is to, look into into the instruction patterns adopted by instructors and why instructors use these learning patterns every bit good as pupils ‘ experiences of been taught mathematics. In this survey, a assorted method enquiry attack will be used in look intoing into the instruction and acquisition of the topic with accent on instructors learning patterns and pupils larning experiences by using both quantitative and qualitative methods. The quantitative portion of the survey sought to characterize the sensed instruction practises of instructors and pupils perceived experiences of being taught mathematics, whilst the qualitative portion seeks to research instructors ‘ existent schoolroom patterns and why they teach the manner they teach every bit good as pupils experiences of been taught mathematics.

1.5 Purpose of the Study

As highlighted, the general intent of this survey is to look into into the instruction and acquisition of mathematics in Ghanaian Junior High Schools ( JHS ) . In other words, this survey seeks to research and develop a deeper apprehension of how mathematics is taught and learnt in Ghanese Junior High Schools ( JHS ) . Specifically, the survey seeks to look into into what instruction and acquisition schemes are adopted in mathematics schoolrooms and besides, explore the features of instructors learning methods and why they use these methods. The survey besides seeks to analyze pupils ‘ experiences of been taught mathematics and the features of pupils experience in mathematics schoolrooms from both a deductive and inductive position.

1.6 Research Questions

The primary research inquiry is: How is mathematics taught and learnt in Ghanaian Junior High Schools ( JHS ) ? The related research inquiries are:

a ) What learning methods are used by mathematics instructors?

B ) Why do mathematics instructors use these learning methods?

Is there any relationship between instructors ‘ perceptual experience of their schoolroom patterns and what they really do in category?

What are pupils ‘ perceptual experiences of their instructors ‘ instruction patterns?

How do pupils see mathematics in their respective schoolrooms?

The above inquiries are investigated through a three dimensional model which will assist in roll uping informations to reply these inquiries. The three dimensional model incorporates:

A reappraisal of literature ( all research inquiries )

A semi-structured questionnaire ( inquiries one and three )

Classroom observation and single interviews ( all research inquiries ) .

1.7 Significance of the Study

International and national appraisal of Ghanese pupils has illuminated their hapless academic accomplishment in mathematics. It is for this ground that, scientific grounds in the issue of mathematics learning and acquisition has become a major concern for all stakeholders in the state. As highlighted, the demand for scientific grounds on how the topic is taught and the manner forward is long delinquent. However, as highlighted, really few surveies have explored this issue by using multiple methods in roll uping assortment of informations to hold a clearer image of the job under probe. This survey is hence expected to lend to knowledge in the undermentioned ways: First, the findings and the decisions from this survey will lend to the apprehension of how mathematics is taught and learnt in schools which is needed for possible course of study restructuring every bit good as instructor preparation and development. In add-on to this, the inquiries: what learning methods do mathematics instructors use and why instructors use these methods, what are pupils experiences of been taught mathematics are really important in bettering mathematics learning and larning in schools. However, to day of the month, no survey has specifically investigated and answered these of import inquiries in the Ghanese context. It is a survey with this focal point that can supply utile information and information or a conceptual model for educational governments and policy shapers on how to better the quality of instruction and acquisition of mathematics.

Besides the findings and decisions from this survey will supply a new conceptual model which will lend to the realization of the aims of the new mathematics course of study which aims at enabling all immature Ghanaians to get mathematical accomplishments, penetration, attitudes and values that they will necessitate to be successful in their chosen callings and day-to-day lives ( MoESS 2007 ) . Finally, the findings from this survey will put a foundation for farther research and practical deductions. For illustration, cognizing how the topic is taught and learnt, methods could be proposed in researching the relationship between instructors learning patterns and pupils larning experiences.

1.8 Restrictions of the Study

The major drawback of this survey is that the survey is limited to merely 12 schools in one territory that provided the information to reply the research inquiries raised in the survey.

1.9 Structure of the Thesis

The thesis is divided into seven chapters. In the first chapter, the debut, the writer ‘s personal contemplations, background of the survey, statement of the job, intent of the survey, research inquiries and the conceptual model of the survey is presented.

The 2nd chapter examines the educational system in Ghana with peculiar mention to the historical over position of the educational system in Ghana, the construction of Ghana ‘s instruction system every bit good as challenges confronting Ghana ‘s instruction. With counsel from the research job and the research inquiries, the 3rd portion presents the reappraisal of related literature with peculiar mention to instruction and acquisition schemes and research on mathematics schoolrooms and factors impacting mathematics learning and larning. In add-on to this the theoretical footing for the survey is presented in this chapter.

The forth portion presents the methodological considerations for the survey is presented in this chapter. The research design, the general model for the survey, informations aggregation processs, research methods, sample and trying techniques, cogency and dependability issues every bit good as ethical considerations and the quality of the research procedure are discussed in this chapter.

The 5th portion presents the informations analysis of the quantitative information from the questionnaire analyzing the perceived instruction and learning patterns of instructors and pupils. The 6th chapter presents the analysis of qualitative informations from the schoolroom observation, interview and concentrate group treatments. The last portion is devoted for the presentation of the drumhead and decisions of the findings from both the quantitative and qualitative informations analysis.

Chapter Summary

In this first chapter, the background of the survey and personal motive that led to the beginning of this survey every bit good as the purposes of the survey is presented. The job of the statement, significance of the survey every bit good as the research inquiries steering the survey is presented here. The restrictions of the survey are besides acknowledged in this chapter. Last the construction of the whole thesis is besides presented here. The following chapter presents an overview of Ghana ‘s educational system.

July 25, 2017