Factors Influencing Students’ Attitudes Towards Mathematics And Its Effects On Performance Of Mathematics Among Secondary School Level Students In Nigeria

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Chapter One/Introduction

Perception is the way people judge others with whom they are in contact. A person’s attitude to an idea or object determines what the person thinks, feels and how the person would like to behave towards that idea or object. Therefore, the students’ perception of their teachers qualification could influence their attitude towards learning mathematics or any other school subject. Students more often than not, judge their teachers in such areas as the teachers knowledge of the subject matter, communication, ability and the choice of appropriate teaching method.

 

A teacher who is rated high on these indices in the perception of the students is likely to enjoy the confidence, respect and admiration of his/her students and vice versa. The way students perceive a subject determines their success or failure in that subject. Some students perceive mathematics as no go area because of the negative impression passed down to them by the past generations who had bad experience with unqualified mathematics teachers; that mathematics is the most difficult subject in the school, it is not meant for every body, not everybody passes it, it is meant for those with special talent, some were born to do mathematics while others were not (Audu, 1995). On hearing all these negative expressions before school age or getting admission into school, the child psychologically develops fear for the subject and comes to the lesson with these bad notions which dis-associate learning patterns which are impossible to build upon. It has done a lot of harm to the teaching and learning of mathematics. Ale (1989) coined the term “ math phobia” for the condition that these bad notions lead to.

 

That is, fear followed by low productivity and consequently leads to low achievement in mathematics. For this reason, this paper which is based on a study, examined the extent to which students perceived factors like teachers qualification, method of teaching, instructional materials and students’ attitude towards mathematics as factors that influence the teaching and learning of mathematics . The aim is to educate the new incoming generations on the likely variables perceived to be affecting teaching and learning of mathematics resulting to the persistent rate of failure in the subject.

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