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According to Buddha, “the mind is everything. What you think you become” and therefore in accordance to that statement our mind is responsible for the actions we take. In this case, poor teaching methods have highly affected our mind and our thinking making us feel that we are not good at certain subjects, even making us go as far as hating the subject, whereas all that is required is a different approach. This has in turn affected student’s action thereby making them shy away from such subjects when it comes to subject choices.
According to Aristotle, “The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching”. Ardictionary defines teaching “as the activity of educating or instructing activities that impact knowledge or skill”. Tutors’ handling of teaching is very flimsy in various parts of the world and hence poor teaching methods have really affected students thereby giving them a lifelong phobia at certain subjects. Poor teaching methods is affected by many factors such as,
- Lack of use of modern technology during teaching
- Lack of effective management of classrooms
- Personality of teachers. This factor splits into many other factors for example
- Lack of motivation by teachers
- The absence of effective individual questioning
- Lack of use of practical methods to aid the understanding of various topics
- Absence of standardised testing on each topic
- Lack of use of added learning time for students who lag behind
- Non-Student friendly teachers
LACK OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY
In accordance to David Thornburg It is a well known fact that technology improves everyday and in every aspect. Poor teaching methods are highly influenced by the use of ancient material and beliefs for teaching, for example the use of chalkboards and the writing down of long notes takes students’ time and leaves very little or no time for learning and understanding what is actually been taught. White board should be used instead of chalkboards in schools, also projectors and interactive boards should also be taken into consideration in helping the teachers present their notes in digital form and also to play relevant videos and illustrations to students allowing them to have a clearer view of what is being taught. The writing of notes can now be reduced if copies of notes are collected with the use of a storage device from the teacher and put into personal laptops of students. Once the copy of the note is given to each student, there will be room for more time for the explanation of topics being taught because students take a lot of time copying their notes which makes them tired and even discouraged to read back the lengthy note back because they don’t have a good understanding of what has been written in the note. The use of the Chinese abacus would also help young students during get a clearer view of what arithmetic is like. The use of the internet should also be brought into consideration as a source of help to teachers and students thereby ensuring them not to be limited to knowing just what has been known for a very long period of time and leaving both the students and teachers outdated. Modifications are made to various subjects and the internet can be a source of information for educators and students therefore the internet would allow everyone to improve and gain more knowledge on various topics. (The new basics: education and the future of work in the Telematic Age by David Thornburg)
LACK OF EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF CLASSROOMS
Classrooms are very important when it comes to learning, a standard class would be of great help to both the students and their tutors. A teacher has to have rules and regulations given to the students thereby ensuring that there is a standard policy and a certain order in the classroom. The appraisal of pupils’ work and the provision of sufficient feedback to students will turn out to be more knotty due to the large number of pupils. The overcrowded classrooms also causes shortage of sufficient instructional equipments, high pupil to teacher ratio also reduces possibilities of individual attention to the pupils. Only the students who sit down at the front rows of the classrooms gain from what the teacher is actually trying to pass across to the students. Congested classes are also not conducive for learning because of the stuffy surrounding and make students start sweating which makes them stressed out so easily which is actually very harmful to the health and can actually lead to the easy transfer of airborne diseases between students. A standard classroom has to be well spaced, well aired, and beautified with different academic illustrations such as the multiplication table of numbers, if a multiplication table is part of the illustrations pasted on the walls of a classroom, it will abet learning due to the frequent sighting of it. Hence, the students would remember it well after several memorisations and will not forget easily.(Patricia Williams, Robert D. Alley, Kenneth T. Henson.1999. Managing secondary classrooms: principles and strategies for effective management and instruction Managing secondary classrooms: principles and strategies for effective management and instruction.)
THE USE OF INEXPERIENCED AND UNQUALIFIED TEACHERS
The use of inexperienced and unqualified teachers in teaching various subjects causes great harm to the students and greatly affects students’ subject choices. There are teachers without the appropriate teaching certificates. The academic background of these teachers is feeble, some of the educators teach mathematics and many are untrained, these teachers use poor teaching techniques and they lack assistance in form of constant professional development through seminars, workshops, and refresher courses. These teachers go ahead to teach students at young ages knowing that there are some subjects that require experts in the field for a better understanding of those technical subjects. For example, mathematics, if those teachers without the appropriate knowledge of teaching teach mathematics, there would a high tendency of students having very poor foundation at such a technical subject like mathematics. Such students can end up having a phobia for mathematics and end up dropping the subject after the completion of the secondary education. Therefore, the solution to these is by getting teachers with the appropriate teaching certificates to these subjects and these will improve the general performance of students at Ordinary level examinations particularly on subjects like mathematics and English.
Non-student friendly teachers also cause great harm to some students by putting fear in the students’ mind. Lack of motivation by teachers also falls under examples of poor teaching methods. There are certain teachers who don’t care about the intellectual feelings of students, they just teach reluctantly and leave the class meanwhile there are certain students who already have a phobia for the subject and what is just needed is motivation which they don’t get really from their tutors. Teachers should be of help at motivating students, encouraging and inspiring the students to make them get up and move on. There are also cases whereby students get frustrated at the subjects been taught, instances like that are also resolved by the assistance of these motivational and inspiring teachers. The use of jokes during teaching also aids learning, this makes the students really like the teacher and makes the class lively, and there is this belief that if a student likes a teacher, he will definitely love his subject. (David Kember and Anthony Wong 2000)
According to General Ruben Cubero, the absence of individual questioning is also a factor that affects the overall performance of students. Teachers who do not carry all the students along during lectures tend to be ignorant of students who do not learn easily. Therefore, teachers have to be at the same pace with every student been taught and not leaving any student behind. A suitable solution to these is by the frequent questioning of students when new topics are been taught to know the weakness of students especially the quiet ones and to know the students who have paid total attention throughout the lesson. This also makes the class very lively and encourages the students to do private study at their leisure time. This factor would also help the teacher in knowing some topics he needs to go back and give a different approach when next he is teaching that particular topic. The use of added learning time should also be a necessity to help students who lag behind, or students who need extra lessons for effective understanding of topics. If a teacher uses part of his leisure time to gather some weak students together there would be a general improvement in those students’ performance. These students would therefore put more interest and hence there would be a high tendency of getting better grades in the subject. (General Ruben Cubero, Dean of the Faculty, United States Air Force Academy.)
In addition lack of use of practical has also affected students in understanding what has been taught because they are certain subjects that require the use of practical to have a better understanding of the subject. The use of practical and application of the topics to the everyday day life would give students an idea or a clearer picture of what the teacher is explaining (David Kember and Anthony Wong 2000)
The absence of study groups also affects the attitude of students towards the understanding of several topics. Students will not be able to interact among themselves and share different opinions but if the teachers put the students into study groups mixing both the weak and smart students together. There will be interaction and discussion between students in a group about their different weak points and the ones who understand a particular topic very well will help those that are still weak in those topics. For instance, when the use of study group was introduced in Chrisland college idimu by Principal T.O Malaka, there was a general improvement of every student’s performance that particular when all the students made a minimum of a credit in each subject at the 2009 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE). (www.chrislandschools.org)
All the points that are been listed earlier are the main causes of mathematics phobia and lead to the negative attitude of students towards mathematics. A look at the 2009 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) result of candidates in Nigeria proved that they are more students that fail mathematics than those that actually pass them. The result clearly stated that only 25.99% of all the candidates obtained a minimum of credits in both mathematics and English. (http://thenationonlineng.net)
THE NEGATIVE ATTITUDE OF STUDENTS TOWARDS MATHEMATICS
According to H.J.S Smith, a popular mathematician he stated that “poor teaching leads to the inevitable idea that mathematics is only adapted to peculiar mind, when it is the one universal science, and the one whose ground rules are taught almost in infancy and reappear in the motions of the universe”. Mathematics has a tarnished and flawed reputation among students. It is believed that mathematics is murky, obscure, vague and very difficult to understand and only known by specific people which is very wrong, once there is a change of attitude of student and all those poor teaching methods are corrected, there would be an overall improvement in mathematics result. The teachers have scrawny academic backgrounds on the mathematics content to deliver. Their own manner to mathematics also contributes to their inability to egg on the pupils to study mathematics. The teaching techniques that are used remain principally the traditional ‘talk and chalk’ mode of delivery. These educators are under pressure to facilitate their students pass examinations, and therefore, they are forced to water down the implemented curriculum. This has in turn let to the poor performance of students. If an analyst asks a mathematics professor if he possesses a special brain, he just laughs and it will turn out that he had come across a motivator that was responsible in helping him discover the true beauty of mathematics. Therefore, in conclusion to these saying once a student has a good foundation at a subject he will definitely have a passion for the subject and give his best shot to the subject.
According to Plutarch a Greek biographer and essayist, he stated, “the mind is not a vessel to be filled. It is a fire to be rekindled” the jaundiced attitude of students towards mathematics is highly exacerbated by the method in which it was been taught. These teaching strategies have also relied on the behaviourist model of learning, a paradigm that stresses learning by repetition and memorisation. Teachers should therefore replace the behaviourist paradigms with strategies based on other progressive and improved methods of learning which would be of very great help to student at their ages and which will remove any fear, change the attitude, and bring confidence to students in doing the subject after the completion of secondary education.
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