Learning Difficulties Faced By Math Students At Primary Level: Literature Review
The perspectives of a variety of disciplines I will discussed from an historical view point to current thinking on this topic. There is a great deal of literature that I provided substantial evidence that teachers need to employ a wide variety of strategies to develop understanding of math concepts and encourage positive attitudesю
Theories on the Teaching of Mathematics
Copeland (1982) linked Piagetian stages of development with mathematics learning. At the proportional level the student uses sensory impressions when confronted with the question, “Are there more objects in one set than in the other, or are the sets the same? At the concrete operation stage child recognize that the number is conserved or invariant and the arrangement of the set does not affect the number of objects. However, Copeland cautioned materials to understand many mathematical ideas. As a result, Lemlech, (1984) described that the concepts of reversibility and transitivity are useful to understand how children learn mathematics concepts. Transitivity term means that the individuals can coordinate a series of relation using physical objects. For example, if students have several sticks of varying length, they can respond that which stick is longer, shortest, longer than, and shorter than. At the proportional level students do not realize that the ordering process does not affect number. When students are six to seven years of age, at the concrete operational level of thought, they will understand the logic of reversibility. Through studies I have experienced that with logic thinking should begin with concrete activities. Children will not learn only through observation; they must have the opportunity to order objects from large too small or tall to short.
Varied experiences are necessary for logical thought development. That also, Lamb (1977) suggests that experiences with geometry in elementary classrooms should focus on exploration. Students should be encouraged to construct their own objects and figures using a variety of materials. Measurement idea should be developed through activity of sorting and comparing lengths. Children should be encouraged to verbalize about what they perceive (“This stick is shorter than or longer than”) opportunities need to be provided for students to develop concepts of conservation and transitivity of length.
Observation of students as they work with physical objects should reveal whether or not they can compare and classify objects and whether they understand symmetry and balance. The primary child should be encouraged to verbalize about experiences involving numbers and to ask questions about activities.
Reviews on Identification of Mathematics Difficulties in Children
Studies have shown that early identification of children who experience difficulties to learning is of critical importance in enabling such youngsters not only to make greater progress but to become participating members of society. The current research base focuses broadly on, when teaching the whole class at the same time, children do not learn in the same way. I observed that Children who learn fast may benefit, whereas children who do not catch on quickly will be disadvantaged. Ebermeier (1983), and Brophy and Good (1986) argue that in individual cases, particularly poor performance in mathematics has also been associated with whole class teaching. For example, when the teacher uses the whole class teaching method he/she may not be able to interact with all the children at the same time. In such cases, problems experienced by some children are not promptly detected and remedied.
Review on Teaching Methods used in Mathematics Class at primary level
Very few of the teachers use learner-centered teaching methods during their teaching of mathematics. This is confirmed by results that showed that less than 30% of the teachers use learner-centered teaching methods in their teaching of mathematics. This could either be that the teachers do not have adequate knowledge of the methods or have problems applying the methods during their teaching of mathematics and confirms the assertion by Isaacs (1996) who posited that teachers seem to have a propensity to use teacher-centered as opposed to learner-centered methods. Scott (1994) also supports the use of learner-centered teaching methods by arguing that these methods close the gap between the learning needs of the learner and the teacher’s teaching, and also that such methods challenge and extend learners. The study also showed that very few teachers apply the group collaborative teaching methods during their teaching of mathematics in primary schools. According to results of the study, less than 40% apply these methods during their teaching of mathematics. Again the reason could be that the methods are unfamiliar to the teachers. Group collaborative methods include brainstorming, roundtable, horse-shoe, and fish-bowl and task methods.
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