Abstract: The research on teachers’ characteristics and students’ attitude towards learning of mathematics in secondary schools was conducted in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. Two research hypotheses were employed; the target population of 1320 SS1 students in all the secondary schools in the study Area. A total of one hundred and twenty (120) mathematics students were randomly selected from four (4) secondary schools used in the study. Teachers’ Characteristics and Students’ Attitude towards learning of Mathematics Questionnaire (TCSATLMQ) containing ten (10) items was used for the data collection. The data generated from the instrument were analyzed using Pearson Product Moment Correlation (r). The result in hypothesis I revealed that teachers’ qualification has a significant relationship with students’ attitude towards learning of mathematics. The result in hypothesis II revealed that teachers’ classroom management skills have a significant relationship with the attitude of students towards learning of mathematics. It was therefore recommended among others that government should employ and post adequate and well trained professional mathematics teachers to all the secondary schools in the state.
Background to the Study
The importance of mathematics in various factors of human development is recognized worldwide. Mathematics is the branch of knowledge, which deals with the understanding of numbers and space and which is one of the ways of gaining some measure of control over our environment. In the development of science and technology, the importance of mathematics is unique. To this end emphasis is placed on mathematics as a core subject both primary and secondary school level of education. Despite the relationship between mathematics on one hand and science and technology on the other hand, the performance of students in mathematics certificate examination and in the number of application wishing to study mathematics or pursue science related courses in tertiary level of education in Nigeria is not encouraging.
The key to the success of any educational programme lies on the ability of the teacher whose hand the programme is entrusted. The more qualify and experience a teacher is the greater the rate of success in achieving the educational goal and objectives spelt out for the programme. The importance of teachers’ characteristics in realizing educational goals and objectives in any education system cannot be over emphasized. Teachers’ characteristics are the instrumental behaviour exhibited by the teacher towards goals attainment. Those characteristics are the combination of peculiar qualities, traits, mental or moral nature/strength and status that makes one person or group different from another.
According to Offorma (1994), Successful teachers’ characteristics are those that have been found by empirical researchers to be related to improve achievement by students in the cognitive, affective or psychomotor outcomes of education. A more qualified teacher seeks to know his learners’ behaviour during the teaching/learning process and he must perceive the individual learner in a holistic way since gender neutral has affective, cognitive and psychomotor talents. Also, students participation in the instrumental process is critical and their perception of methodological challenges whenever they are under – prepared. The teacher’s awareness and perception of the way his/her students thinks can help improve and also adjust the teaching strategies to enhance student’s understanding and productivity.
National Policy on Education (2004),conceptualizes teacher’s effectiveness as the managerial skills essential for enhanced classroom control and discipline. It is the teacher’s competence, qualification, ability, experience, resourcefulness that brings out the best from learners in terms of attitude towards learning hence nothing is taught until it has been learnt and this happens when the teacher succeeds in causing a change in the behaviour of the learner especially in mathematics
Attitude is the central part of human identity. It is also seen as “a predisposition to respond in a certain way to a person situation, events or idea”. In mathematics most people love, like dislike, favour, oppose, hate, agree and disagree, argue, persuade etc. All these are evaluative responses to an object. Hence attitude can be defined as “a summary evaluation of an object of thought”. According to Boher and Wanke (2002), “attitude refers to predisposition to classify objects and event to react with evaluate consistency. A person who shows a certain attitude towards something is reacting to his conception of that thing rather than to its actual state.
Attitude can also be defined as an internal belief that influences personal action which is learned through one’s experience which has to do with a disposition to act or react in a particular way as the individual responds to a situation. Teachers experience has to do with the teacher’s teaching effectiveness, because something that is done over and over again is likely to be a higher degree of mastery of the subject contents. According to Uya (2011), a teacher who has a deep understanding of the concept to be taught due to experiences over time is more likely to use unambiguous language and their presentation is likely to be more coherent and they would offer cleaver explanation than those with a lower experience.
Considering the Secondary School teachers who had their training in the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, the contents of mathematics to which they have been exposed to, seems adequate for secondary schools teaching and general methodology of modern techniques. A skilled or an experience teacher summaries and link ideas together at the end of his lesson. Teachers’ characteristics in instructional delivery are therefore a measure of the teacher’s ability to apply professional qualification and classroom management skills in a teaching/learning situation. Hence the question of this study, to what extend do teachers’ characteristics influence students’ attitude towards learning of mathematics?
Statement of the Problem
Despite the functions and roles played by mathematics in the world of science and technology, mathematics is the subject that is most feared by students in primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education. Students’ impression is that mathematics is difficult by its very nature and that mathematics is highly structured and so abstract that it requires special intellectual talents. Thus, students see the subject as something esoteric that is to be feared (Nworgu, 1990). The consequences of students’ negative attitude towards mathematics could be the persistent poor performance in mathematics in the West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations, the National Examination Council (NECO) examinations and the General Certificate in Education (GCE) examinations in recent years in Nigeria and students reluctance in studying mathematics related courses. The negative attitude and poor performance of students produced has continued to subject teachers to criticism such as lack of necessary professional qualification. This study sought to investigate the teachers’ characteristics with respect to their qualification and classroom management skills as they influence students’ attitude towards learning of mathematics.
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of Teachers’ characteristics on the attitude of students towards learning of mathematics in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. This is thus specifically stated as:
To examine the relationship between teachers’ qualification and students’ attitude towards learning of mathematics.
To determine the relationship between the teachers’ classroom management skills and students’ attitude towards learning of mathematics.
Significance of the Study
Government, Educational policy makers, proprietors of schools and parents will find this work useful because it will make them become aware of the staffing situation of schools. If the state education board and the ministry of education are aware of the fact that qualified mathematics teachers are still lacking in most schools, it will help them to consider the training and posting of qualified mathematics teachers to the different schools in urban and rural areas.
It will help students improve their academic performance in mathematics; it will help teachers adopt teaching methods that will require a positive feedback from the students; it will help the parents to know and have a clear picture of their wards academics performance and progress.