PROBLEMS MILITATING AGAINST THE EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF MATHEMATICS IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background of the study
Mathematics is a pure science that requires intellectual activity in calculation designed to discover information about the world. It is one of the core subject recommended in the national policy on education at both primary and post primary education. This suggests the importance attached to mathematics whose knowledge is required by every member of the society in view of it’s usefulness in day-to-day activities. The general aims of mathematics based on mathematics conference held in Kaduna in 1998, identified the following aims:- (1) To help students develop a belief in the value of mathematics and it’s usefulness to them. (2) To nurture confidence in their own mathematical ability. (3) To foster a sense of personal achievement, and to encourage a continuity and creative interest in mathematics. (4) To develop in student’s skills, concepts, understanding and attitude, which will enable them to cope confidentially with mathematics of everyday life. (5) To develop a variety of approaches to solving problems involving mathematics and to develop the ability to think and reason logically. (6) To assist students to achieve the mathematical and statistical literacy needed in the society, which is technologically oriented and information rich. (7) To provide a foundation for those students who may wish to continue studies in mathematics or other learning areas where mathematical concepts are central. (8) To help to foster and develop mathematical talent in students and finally; (9) To induce or build into students the ability to think creatively, critically, strategically and logically. The achievement of these objectives at the junior secondary school would serve as foundation or preparatory knowledge, especially for those wishing to study engineering, medicine, agriculture, science and technology at institutes of higher learning and in dealing with other science subjects like physic and chemistry in senior secondary school that is why mathematics is made compulsory for every student in junior secondary in Nigeria, this made it an inevitable subject. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2000), Mathematics is a science of number and shape, which includes as its main division, geometry, arithmetic, algebra and trigonometry. Mathematics is a science of structures, order and relations that has evolved from elemental practice of counting, measuring and describing the shapes of objects. Encyclopeadia Britannia (1994). Mathematics is the study of measurement, properties and relationship of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols. American Heritage Dictionary (2000). According to Walfram math world (1995), Mathematics is a board ranging field of study in, which the properties and interaction of idealized objects are examined. Mathematics is the language of the universe Smith (1996). Because our universe is mathematically designed, Umar (1995), conceptualized mathematics as a language, which provides an indispensible means of investigating the nature of things particularly those, which are dealt with in the field of science. He pointed out that every field of science and technology has some substantial mathematical content though of different degrees. In support of the above, Ezeilo (1981), noted that there can be no real technological development without a corresponding development in mathematics both as conceived and at practiced. The teaching of mathematics in junior secondary school exposes students to a mathematical world, and it wonders, thus laying a solid foundation for them. Umoinyang (1997), referred to mathematics as the foundation for science without, which a nation can never be prosperous and economically independent. He further noted that competence in mathematics provides many of the opportunity for career choice and production of highly defined personnel required by industry, technology, science and education. For more than two thousand years, mathematics has been a part of human search for understanding. Mathematical discoveries have come both from the attempt to describe the natural world and from the desire to arrive at a form of inescapable truth from careful reasoning. These remains fruitful and important motivation for mathematical thinking, but in the last century mathematics has been successfully applied to many other aspects of the human policies, the analysis of automobile, traffic pattern and long term strategies for sustainable harvest of decidious forest. Today mathematics as a mode of thought and expression is more valuable than ever before. Learning to think mathematically is an essential part of becoming a liberally educated person. There is more to mathematics than just proof. Indeed the vast majority of people who earn their living doing mathematics are not engage in finding proof at all, their goal is to solve problem to whatever degree of accuracy or certainty is required. While proof remains the ultimate goal standard for mathematical truth, conclusion reached on two basis of assessing the available evidence have always been a valid part of the mathematics enterprise Keith Devlin (2009).