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1.1 Background to the study
Mathematics being the pivot at which all the sciences are turning and the remarkable role it plays in sciences and technology, especially during this era of computer age, made it necessary to include in mathematics curriculum a wide range of activities that could be applied to solve scientific and other related problems
The vital role played by mathematics in sciences and technology coupled with changes in our modern society called for the reposition of mathematics education so as to keep abreast with these changes in our contemporary society.
Upon all attempts by various governments to popularize the teaching and learning of mathematics, poor results were and are still being recorded in our secondary schools through universities. This is an indication that something has gone wrong in teaching mathematics.
Odili (2006) classified problems of teaching mathematics into three broad categories viz.
i. Mathematics Issues: This comprises of content curriculum, organization and understanding of ideas
ii. Pedagogical issues: This consists of instructional methods, classroom organization, the teacher himself and the government, he further observed problem of classroom organization to include the number of students per class, size of the classroom, availability of spaces and facilities. He opined that in our school no class has fewer than 50 students and managing such
students will be difficult by one teacher.
iii. Psychological Issues: This encompasses individual differences, attitude,
interest and motivation.
Despite that fact that teaching mathematics is faced with multifaceted problems, accusing fingers are always pointed to the teachers and hence were held scapegoat for student's poor academic performance. The truth of the matter is that unless all the problems are squarely addressed, it would be impossible to realise the objective of teaching mathematics
The choice of this topic emanated from the yearning call on the current world trend on the promotion of gender equality, empowerment of women and eliminating of gender inequality, so as to ensure fair role expectation from both sexes towards development of a society.
The success or failure of students in mathematics studies has always been attributed to student and teachers' attitude, commitment and enthusiasm towards mathematics. Mental readiness of student will significantly determine whether he is internally or externally motivated to learn mathematics. Teacher's character, personality and how he portrays himself to his students influence students' altitude towards his subject.
Lack of proper counseling also contributed to the student's poor academic performance in mathematics. Most mathematics teachers just teach mathematics without relating it to a real life situation. Teachers should lead students to come to understand how mathematics education permeates into almost all aspect of human endeavor. This will consequently establish strong bond between mathematics and other disciplines.
Though some aspects of mathematics are abstract in nature, effort should be made by the teacher to teach it in such a way that all students would be carried along in solving problems. That is to say that mathematics should be taught in an explorative approach (discovery method) in which students should be active participant in identifying the source and solutions of their problems.
Discovery method or scientific method as it is alternatively called is a method of teaching that employs the use of audio visual aids which adds a variety to the methods of teaching by giving depth and breadth which make the learning process more pleasant and meaningful.
Frecmont (1989) suggested that by deriving mathematical expressions from a physical experiment and using symbols to describe inherent relationship youngster may be helped to learn the language of mathematics and thus improve their result.
Lecture method on the other hand is usually a talk and chalk method without much participation of student in the teaching and learning process, in lecture method, students are passive receivers of information with minimal participation in solving a problem in the class.
It is not uncommon in our secondary schools to find that many students were and are still running away from mathematics class simply because they have already imbibed the idea that mathematics is a difficult subject and they therefore consider it an object of fear.
This ugly trend coupled with the mystification of the subject by some mathematics teachers call for proper counseling of students by disabusing their minds from erroneous conception of the dreadful nature of mathematics. Igboko
(1980) strongly advocated the discovery method since it has the following advantages over the lecture method.
i. It encourages initiative and imaginal thinking.
ii. It leads learner lo discover rather than to tell him the matter at hand.
iii. It demonstrates same thing in several different ways to heighten the learner's interest and deepen his thoughts.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The birth of computer which led to globalization had totally transformed our ways of living be it social, economic or scientific into modern society. To assimilate these changes mathematics should be dynamic and focused on addressing the pressing needs of our society. To commensurate with these needs, this research was carried out to determine the effect of teaching methods (Discovery, and Lecture), gender, and school location on students' performance in mathematics in Kano State.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
As stated earlier, teaching mathematics is faced with multifaceted problems, it .appears cumbersome to address the entire problems single handedly by one researcher. This research attempts to:
i. Determine the impact of teaching methods (Discovery and lecture method) on students’ performance in mathematics.
ii. Determine whether gender has effect on students’ academic performance in mathematics.
iii. Determine the effect of school location on students' performance in
1.4 Research Questions
Research of any type must always poise to solve a particular problem or proffers solution to some problems under study.
This research attempted to pursue answers to the following research questions:
i. Does method used in teaching mathematics has any significant effect on students performance?
ii. Does gender has any significant effect on learning mathematics?
iii. Does school location (urban-rural) has any significant effect on students’ performance in mathematics?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses are formulated to guide the study, they would be tested at 0.05 level of significance. These hypotheses are used to answer the research questions raised above.
i. There is no significant difference between the average performance of students taught using Discovery method and those taught using lecture method.
ii. There is no significant difference between the mathematics performance of males and those of the females in Secondary Schools.
iii. There is no significant difference between the average performance of urban and those of the rural secondary school students.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The relevance of research in any field of human endeavor cannot be over emphasized. As the contemporary world is filled with range of choices and alternatives, research will help in making rational choice that will conform with principle of optimality.
Curriculum planners in mathematics education may incorporate the varying results generated from similar studies to set up a programme that will address the pressing needs of the society.
The result of the findings may also be used by education planners in deciding where to locate or site a school so as to ensure equitable or even opportunity to education.
1.7 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The enormity of the task of undertaking research of this type coupled with financial constrains and time factor forced the researcher to limit the work to only one state i.e. Kano State.
Even in the state, only public senior secondary schools in Kano central senatorial zone were considered. Moreover the work is narrowed to only four mathematics topics in secondary school mathematics. (Indices and logarithm, Pythagoras' theorem, area of triangles and volumes of cone and cylinder). No aspect of applied mathematics is considered. Moreover the data gathering technique would be teacher made achievement test i.e. Pre-test and Post-test.
Hence the findings and the conclusions generated from this study could be more applicable to the participating students and possibly to the participating schools
and should equally be limited to the four mathematics topics considered.
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