Investigation of teachers' problem solving approach competences in teaching mathematics at the ordinary of secondary schools in Tanzania: a Survey of Selected Secondary Schools in Tabora Region

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Date
2006
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
University of Dar es Salaam
Abstract
Problem solving approach to teaching and learning of mathematics has been an emphasis in secondary school mathematics education in Tanzania for nearly a decade now (URT, 1997). Teachers have been urged to give due emphasis to problem solving approach in their planning and teaching of mathematics. The purpose of this study was to investigate the teachers' competences in the use of problem solving skills to the teaching and learning of ordinary level mathematics in Tanzanian schools. Three hundred thirty two subjects were sampled for this study. These included twenty-four mathematics teachers and three hundred and eight ordinary secondary school students. Interviews, questionnaires, and personal observation were the techniques that enabled the researcher to gather data, which answered the addressed research questions of this study. The findings of this study show that all the interviewed teachers were aware of the pedagogy policy that urged them to shy away from teacher-students transmission approach of teaching mathematics to student-centred problem solving approach of teaching the subject. Moreover, the findings of this study show that majority of the teachers (more than sixty percent) had an understanding of the meaning and importance of problem solving approach to teaching and learning of mathematics. However, the findings show that all teachers who participated in this study were not implementing the approach in classroom practices. They gave several grounds of not applying the approach, the major one being incompetence in using the approach due to lack of in-service training bearing in mind that the pedagogy had been advocated recently when majority of teachers had already undergone teachers' training long using traditional approaches. Teachers in this study explained that they used their own experiences in teaching mathematics in classrooms, rather than adapting to problem solving approach in teaching the subject. Evidence that teachers were using traditional approaches to teaching mathematics also came from students who participated in this study when 82.5% of Form one students and 72.7% of Form three students mentioned that they felt the best approach of learning mathematics was through memorizing facts, rules and steps. From these findings it is vivid that if instruction is to be transformed, the policy makers and educators need to arrange sustainable in-service programmes that will support mathematics teachers in using the pedagogy to teach the subject. The pedagogy should as well be stressed in the teachers' colleges so as to produce competent problem solving graduates who will in turn produce competent problem solving ex-secondary school students.
Description
Available in print form, Eat Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library,(THS EAF LB2365.M3.T34M78)
Keywords
Problem solving, Mathematics, Education, Secondary, Study and teaching (Secondary), Tabora region
Citation
Mtandika, M. J. B. (2006) Investigation of teachers' problem solving approach competences in teaching mathematics at the ordinary of secondary schools in Tanzania: a Survey of Selected Secondary Schools in Tabora Region. Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.