Mathematics teachers in King’s College, Lagos have urged the Federal Government to provide a well equipped Mathematics laboratory for effective teaching and learning of the subjects.
Senior teachers in the department made the appeal while speaking with newsmen on the sideline of a two-day Mathematics exhibition week put together by the department in Lagos.
They said that such laboratory would enhance performance of students in major examinations.
Mr Christopher Acho, a senior Mathematics teacher, said that generally, students across secondary schools in the country do not like the subject due to what they perceive as its tough and complex nature.
“That is one of the reasons why the department has chosen to organize this exhibition on the subject.
“We want to showcase the importance of Mathematics as being the bedrock of all the subjects, precisely, the bedrock of science.
“This is because without Mathematics, other subjects will not have bearing, and as you know, without mathematics, one cannot gain placements into tertiary school, irrespective of the course of study.
“So, we believe that by the end of this exhibition, we will be able to enlighten our students and make them appreciate the subject better, rather than being frightened by it.
“The students will also discover that there is a practical aspect of the subject which makes life easy and thereby change their attitude towards the subject,” he said.
The teacher said provision of such laboratory by the government would accelerate understanding as well as enhance performance of candidates on the subject.
”Practicability is very necessary, because with the laboratory, they will see and do things themselves and thereby discover that the subject is not abstract after all, ,’’ Acho said.
According to him, the laboratory will also make the learning of Mathematics lively, interesting and interactive.
He said that over time, it had been discovered that most students do not show interest in the subject, which incidentally is fundamental in the attainment of one’s life career.
Acho, who is also a Further Mathematics teacher, said the teaching methodology had also been another challenge to the students’ understanding of the subject.
He said that getting the methodology right as well as the availability of instructional materials to facilitate teaching and learning could go a long way in changing the attitude of students toward the subject.
“Government should also step up efforts in the area of provision of instructional materials as well as create an enabling environment for the teaching of the subject.
“The issue of scanty staffing is also a challenge. There is also the need for an urgent recruitment of professional and qualified teachers of the subject as well as constant training and retraining.
“Using the King’s College as a case study, I feel there are very senior teachers, who at their level should be supervising teaching, but still go into the classrooms to teach because of insufficient teachers, not just in Mathematics, but other subjects cut across.
“My expectation at the end of this exhibition is that we would be able to change the orientation of our boys about the subject and therefore go a long way in boosting their performance in both internal and external examinations.
“With a few weeks to the commencement of the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates, this exhibition will come handy in preparing the boys too on the subject.
“We will use it to teach them a few tricks in problem solving, expose them to project formation as well as prepare them effectively for the examination,’’ he said.
Acho also urged parents to encourage their children and wards on the need to take the subject seriously, as it remained key to their career progression.
Mr Emmanuel Ummanah, another Mathematics teacher of the college said that students generally across the country see the subject as being an abstract concept, whereas it was concrete.
“We want to show them at this exhibition that we can actually apply mathematics in our everyday life, and that is why we intend to show them how to go about it.
“Mathematics is one of the easiest subjects to understand; it only requires constant practice, determination and being focused,’ ’Ummanah said.
The Vice-Principal of the College in charge of Administration (Main campus), Mr Amos Akinpelu, said the exhibition was timely and a step in the right direction.
He noted that with the institution holding a prime position among top colleges in the country, it was the duty of its management to propel its image as well as project learning of the subject in the college.
“Coincidentally, before I became a vice principal, I was a Mathematics teacher, so, it falls on my area of career progression. I feel we owe it a duty to help in guiding and helping these younger ones.
“What we discover in recent times in many cases is the unwillingness on the part of the students in the study of the subject and the dearth of professional and qualified teachers of the subject.
“A regular training and retraining of teachers would not be out of place, as I personally benefited a lot from that when I was growing up in service, but that is not the same today,’’ Akinpelu said.