This paper analyzed how Mathematics teachers in secondary schools in Enugu State improvise materials for functional teaching and learning of Mathematics in Enugu North Local Government Area (LGA). The design of the study was survey design. Five (5) out of nine (9) secondary schools in the Local Government Area were randomly sampled for the study. Seventy trained Mathematics Education teachers in the schools selected formed the sample for the study, which comprised 49 female and 21 male Mathematics teachers. This study was guided by five research questions and one null hypothesis. Mean and standard deviations were used to answer research questions while chi square (X2) test statistics was used to test the research hypothesis. The study revealed that teachers of Mathematics are not well exposed in the use of improvised materials in the teaching and learning of Mathematics.
The selection of Mathematics as one of the core subjects offered in primary and post primary institutions in Nigeria, as well as its status as part of mandatory requirement for admission into post-secondary institutions in the country (i.e., attainment of pass or credit level) are clear indications of the relevance of the subject in Nigerian education. Mathematics is regarded as a discipline which is the communication system of the concepts of shapes, quantity, size and order used to describe diverse phenomenon, in Physics, Biology and economic situation. Usman (2002) regarded Mathematics as a subject that encroaches into all aspects of human endeavors and further described mathematics as the life wire in the studies of various disciplines. Ezeugo and Agwagah (2000) stated that Mathematics is a scientific tool in realizing the nation’s scientific and technological aspirations. The relevance of Mathematics is, therefore, multi-dimensional, global and undisputable.
Yet in Nigeria Mathematics has become the students’ worst nightmare, to the extent that, according to the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Chief Examiners’ Annual Reports of 2012 to 2015 only, 38.81% in 2012, 36.57% in 2013, 31.28% in 2014 and 38.68% in 2015 of the total enrolment were able to make up to credit passes in the Senior School Certificate Examination Mathematics for those years stated (WAEC 2012 – 2015).
The statistics of students’ poor performances in Mathematics is a bad omen and will be an impediment to Nigeria’s development especially in the teaching and learning of Mathematics. The observed poor achievement in Mathematics at West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) is a good pointer to the failure of the teachers of Mathematics to use appropriate methods of teaching (Alio, 1997; Onoh, 2000; Ogbu, 2006; Adebayo, 2010; Ali, 2010; Nwankwo, 2012). According to these scholars, the teachers of Mathematics predominantly make use of expository methods. The teacher dominates the class session, does all the talking; thereby leaving the students to do all the passive listening. The teacher becomes the repertoire of all knowledge. The teacher may ask little standardized questions or none.
Smith (2005) stated that the method used by a teacher can either motivationally force a student who has made up his mind not to learn mathematics to begin to learn Mathematics or can even distance him further from learning Mathematics. Ade (2005) stated that one of the means of imparting and motivationally forcing the students to learn is to use the instrument which the students like to manipulate most. Ogundu (2012) discovered that one of such instruments is the improvisation of the instructional material during teaching and learning of Mathematics.
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