THE ROLE OF MATHEMATICAL LANGUAGE IN SOLVING WORD PROBLEM.
Background to the Study
Mathematics is one of the core subjects taught in contemporary human society. It is an indispensable discipline in various field such as science, Engineering, Technology, social sciences, Arts and others disciplines that are related. Many educators have considered it as an indispensable to the educated man or woman. As a result of its importance, it has been considered as a key subject in the school curriculum. Nevertheless, Mathematics is the language of science.
Mathematics by educational policy is made compulsory and it is among the core subjects that have to be passed at O’levelbefore any certificate can be issued or awarded to anyone.
The relevance of Mathematics to the society cannot be over- emphasized. As mathematics is a tool in science, industry and commerce. It will enhance understanding of students who have interest in mathematics. It will help the student to correct certain ills of the society; one very important characteristic of child centered approaches is play away method or activities. Method which they emphasized in mathematics like other subject should be made practical where possible in the classroom.
The Language ofMathematics Word Problems
When one thinks about Mathematics, symbols and numbers usually come to mind. The idea that math is very rich in language may not seem apparent at first. The reality, however, is that Mathematics language is very specialized. In fact, mathematics has its own distinct language register that makes use of specialized vocabulary and syntax (Kang & Pham, 2009). Native speakers of English must learn this special language of Mathematics in order to be successful in mathematics. The language of mathematics is especially challenging to students, who are learning this academic language alongside the social language they need for the purpose of basic communication. The complexity lies primarily in the dense nature of Mathematics text, and also in the learning of the semantics and the syntax of the mathematical register (Kang & Pham, 2009).
Seminars and workshops are being organized by state and federal government every time in order toupdate the teachers’knowledge. In spite of the position occupied by mathematics in our society, it is sadto note that it is a subject that parents, students and teachers complained about. As a result of poorunderstanding of mathematical concepts, incessant failure rate, feeling or frustration, insecurity and a lotof intelligent students have developed a negative attitude towards learning of mathematics. Teachers areanother problem that is causing the poor performance of students in mathematics in our schools andcolleges. Nigeria as a nation needs mathematics in present and future economics, scientific andtechnological progress.
Observation shows that students are still encountering some difficulties with regards to word problems,despite the emphasis placed on the study of mathematics by policy matters.Their difficulties lies mostly onreading and understanding the concept of problems in order to translate it into statement form beforeapplying the appropriate procedures to solve the problem.
This research shall examine the roles of mathematical language in solving word problems encountered by secondary school students, their experiences and the cause of these difficulties. Suggestion was also be made on how students couldimprove themselves in the process.
Statement of the Problem
It has been discovered that the major area of difficulty of the students in the school work is mathematics.This problem starts from understanding the language of Mathematics and weakness of students that find difficultiesin wordproblems.
Also, itsuggests areas in which necessary emphasis should be laid and ways of improving upon their performance. This research work was embarking upon to critically examine the role of mathematical language in solving word problems.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to discover how direct instruction of mathematicslanguage/vocabularywould influence students’ understanding and knowledge in solving word problem in mathematics concepts. Inaddition, the following specific objectives will be achieved:
- To examine what mathematical vocabularies means to the junior secondary school students in Ekiti State.
- To determine the understanding of student in mathematical language and how they can use it to solve world problems.
- To determine the relationship between mathematical language and academic achievement of students in Mathematics in secondary schools in Ekiti State.
- What is the relationship between student’sperformance in mathematical language and word problems in mathematics?
- What is the difference between male and female student’s performance in mathematical language and word problems in mathematics?
- There is no significant relationship between student’s performance in mathematical language and word problems in mathematics.
- There is no significant difference between male and female student’s performance in mathematical language and word problems in mathematics
Significance of the Study
The study will help the school, ministry of education, government, teachers and curriculum planners toprovide solution for effective way of solving word problems in mathematics.
It will enable the government to employ adequate qualified teachers, to enhance effective learning andteaching process. The findings will enable the teachers to make their teaching more interesting byarousing and sustaining the interest of their students.
The study would goa long way to improve students’ ability in solving nautical word problems inMathematics and also reduce teaching problems in a greater measure.
Scope of the Study
This study is restricted to only two schools in Ado-Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti State. In view of the constraints of time, fund, resources and other human limitations, the researcher limited the study to cover 50students randomly selected in J.S.S III.
Definition of Terms.
The following terms are defined as they apply to this study:
Attitude: Interest and reactions of students towards solving word problems in mathematics
Performance: The result of achievement test of students in given test show how they react or howindividual does something-Curriculum: can be defined as all learning of students which is planned by and directed by the school toattain its educational goals.
Comprehension: Ability to give meaning to word problem and to translate it to Mathematical statements.
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