> \^[q` J9bjbjqPqP .V::$1%BBBBBBBV8V<4V *(")))))))$*h'l)B)BB)%%%BB)%)%%p(BB(@UK[E"~())0 *(,#(B(Rn%TjM))%p *VVV$zVVVzVVVBBBBBBMATHEMATICS CONTENT REQUIREMENT FOR TEACHING IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN UGANDA
Patrick Opyene Eluk
Islamic University in Uganda
HYPERLINK "mailto:opyenee@yahoo.com" opyenee@yahoo.com
This paper presents an overview of the mathematics curriculum for primary schools and Primary Teachers Colleges (PTCs) in Uganda. The major problems associated with the content required in mathematics teaching in primary schools are described. The paper suggests some proposals and recommendation in the direction of all actors concerned with primary education system.
Introduction:
According to the National Curriculum Development Centre ([NCDC], 1999 pp 221) One of the National Goals and broad aims of education is
promoting scientific, technical and cultural knowledge, skills and positive attitudes needed to promote development, selfsufficiency and wealth.
The overall goals of Mathematics Education in the Primary Education (school going age of 6 12 years) cycle are:
To promote problem solving in life situations.
To relate it closely to integrated production skills and other subjects, since it is an essential knowledge base.
To develop and enrich childrens aesthetic and linguistic experiences
Specifically the aim of teaching mathematics (NCDC, 1999 pp 221 222) is to develop in the children a positive attitude towards mathematics and an awareness of its great power to communicate and provide explanations in matters of daily phenomena.
In order to be able to achieve this there is a need to produce mathematically literate citizens through a well structured mathematical instruction programme. Mathematical content of such progammes should be significant, important and coherent.
Mathematics Curriculum for Primary Schools.
Mathematics Curriculum at primary level is designed by specialists at NCDC and experienced mathematics teachers. The mathematics content contain ten topics namely: set concepts, numeration systems and place value; operation on numbers, number patterns and sequences, fractions; graphs and interpretation of information, geometry; integers; measures and algebra. The teaching arrangement is such that each topic is taught at lower primary (P1 P4) and upper primary
(P5 P7).
It is worth noting that electronic gadgets such as calculators, is not allowed in primary schools, and therefore, all activities involved in the teaching of the above topics is performed manually.
Curriculum for Primary School Mathematics Teachers:
The curriculum for primary school teachers consists of Mathematics; English language, Integrated Science, Social Studies, Cultural Studies, Professional Studies and School practice. The curriculum according to Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES, 1997 pp viii) aims at enabling the trainees to perform effectively with confidence as both classroom and polyvalent education mobilisers in communities. Trainees do a two years course leading to grade III certificate and can do a 3year distance education course leading to Grade V Diploma in primary education and then a degree course.
Certificate Programme:
The certificate programme is intended to broaden and enrich the teacher trainees experience in terms of both the content and methodology. Learning of the mathematical content to enhance the understanding of mathematics concepts is emphasized. Practical work as a methodology of teaching utilizing local materials, instructional materials and games is given due emphasis. The mathematics content include topics like set concepts, numeration system and place values, statistics and probability amongst others. The pedagogical component include topics like premathematical activities, learning theories in addition to preparation for school practice.
Diploma in Primary Education Programme:
The curriculum covers work on the content of primary school mathematics. The methodology course covers the purpose of teaching and learning mathematics, teaching methods, learning theories, issues on gender difference in mathematics learning, teaching in mixed ability classrooms, assessment of mathematics learning, variables affecting mathematics education and school practice.
Degree in Primary Education
The Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) for primary methods is a three year programme designed (a) to build competence in teaching of mathematics at primary level and (b) to meet the increasing number of applicants who have grade V diploma in primary education. The content course include courses like calculus, statistics and probability, number theory, mechanics, real analysis, linear algebra etc.
The contents of the curricula outlined above compare favourably with those reported in other African countries like Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi, Kenya, Zambia (Adler, Kazima, Mwakapenda, Nyabanyaba and Xolo, 2007). If effectively covered it should be sufficient for mathematics teaching at primary level.
Problems Associated with Mathematics Content
The mathematics content needed to teach at any school level has direct relation to the mathematics content taught to the teacher trainees. The importance of mathematics content knowledge in training of teachers has been emphasized by many educators (Anderson, 1989; Huang, 2004; Kaino & Lin, 2004; Chakalisa, 1995; Ball, 1988). Adequate content of mathematical knowledge by the teacher is considered essential for helping learners to learn mathematics.
There have been debates amongst mathematicians and mathematics educators in Africa and beyond (Adler, Kazima, Mwakapenda, Nyabanyaba and Xolo, 2007) on what should be the mathematics content taught to teacher trainees, who should determine the content and whether the content knowledge or pedagogical knowledge should occupy a bigger share of the curriculum.
In Uganda it has been observed by National Council of Science and Technology (NCST) that the training of mathematics teachers had relatively little mathematical content but more training in the teaching methodology (Uganda Mathematical Society, 2000 pp 34). A similar situation has been reported in Namibia and Mozambique (Adler, Kazima, Mwakapenda, Nyabanyaba and Xolo 2007) where more weight is devoted to pedagogical knowledge than mathematics content.
In addressing the issue of the balance between content and methodology, Ball, Bass, and Hill (2004) agree that a strong basic content of mathematics is essential but the mathematical content knowledge needed for teaching effectively by far differ from the contents mathematicians need to operate efficiently.
The second problem is the perception that the mathematics content taught in the secondary school is sufficient for teaching in primary school. In Uganda NCST has observed that many students are admitted in PTCs with poor grades. As a result the admission requirements were adjusted to include a credit six in English and Mathematics at Olevel but the students coming out of the PTCs were still found to be deficient in teaching. In Zambia where a pass in Mathematics is not a requirement for admission in the teacher training programmes it is postulated that some teachers would reduce the contact hours when teaching mathematics and concentrate on other subjects where they are more comfortable (Adler, Kazima, Mwakapenda, Nyabanyaba and Xolo pp 125).
The third problem associated with content required for mathematics teaching in primary schools is lack of electronic technologies like calculators and computers. It has been reported that pupils learn more mathematics, engage in significant ways with mathematical ideas through technological tools (Dunham & Dick, 1994).
In Uganda like in many developing countries primary schools and PTCs do not have computers. Even where they are available they are limited in number and the use is restricted for secretarial work. However, what is disappointing is that pupils coming out of primary schools and later from teacher trainees are not exposed to use of calculators which is very essential on the development of problem solving strategies. Use of calculators is not in the curriculum for PTCs.
Issues raised in the previous paragraphs leads to a fundamental question namely:
How should mathematics instruction programmes for teacher training be structured to bring a balance in the methodology and content to ensure that teachers teach effectively and efficiently?
Recommendations:
a) Mathematics content of PTCs should cover the content of the mathematics curriculum for primary schools.
b) To ensure adequate coverage of the content teachers should have mathematical knowledge above the level at which they are teaching. Mastery of at least the content of secondary school mathematics is essential.
c) Decision makers and curriculum developers need to ensure that the content taught are important and useful for the development of other mathematical ideas and for the use by the learners as future citizens of a country.
d) Primary school children should have access to calculators. Research results (Heid, 1997; Hembree and Dessart, 1986) have demonstrated the positive impact calculators have in the development of problem solving. Primary school mathematics curriculum must affirm the appropriate use of calculators in the content delivered to the learners.
The role played by calculators in mathematics learning is a fact no developing country can afford to ignore despite the poor economies.
e) Mathematicians and Mathematics Educators have the challenge of collaborating in determining the content of mathematics needed to teach at primary schools.
Conclusion:
Competence in mathematical knowledge beyond the content in primary school curriculum has been recommended not only in Uganda but in other African countries (see for example Aldler, Kazima, Mwakapenda, Nyabanyaba, Xolo 2007). Mathematics educators recognize that methodology plays a crucial role in classroom teaching but without adequate mathematical knowledge mathematics teaching falls short of expectation.
Mathematics curriculum at primary school in countries where calculators are prohibited should embrace the use of calculators in the content taught to children in primary school.
References:
1. Adler, J.; Kazima, M., Mwakapenda, W.; Nyabanyaba, T., and Xolo, S. (2007) Mathematics Teacher Education: Trends Across Twelve African countires: Marang Center of Mathematics and Science Education.
2. Anderson, C. (1989). The role of education in the academic discipline in teacher education. In A.E Woolfold (ED.), Research perspectives on the graduate preparation of teacher, pp 88107. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
3. Ball, D.L. (1988). Unlearning to teach mathematics. For learning of
mathematics, 8(1),4048.
4. Ball, D.L., Bass, H., & Hill, H.C (2004). Knowing and using mathematical knowledge in teaching: Learning what matters.
Proceeding of the 11th Annual Conference of Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (SAARMSTE), Cape Town, Republic of South Africa, January, 2004.
5. Chakalisa, P. (1995). Mathematics curriculum of the teacher preparation programme for secondary schools in Botwana. Southern African Mathematical Sciences Association(SAMSA) Conference Proceedings, pp1015, Mbabane, Swaziland.
6. Dunham, P.H. & Dick, T.P. (1994). Research on Graphing Calculators. Mathematics Teacher 86 (1994): 440 45.
7. Heid, M.K. (1997). The Technological Revolution and the Reform of School Mathematics. Americal Journal of Education 106, no.1 pp 561.
9. Hambree, R. & Dessart, D.J. (1986). Effects of Hand Held Calculators in Precollege Mathematics Education. A Meta Analysis: Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 17: 8399.
10. Huang; H.E. (2004). Investigation of teachers mathematical conceptions and pedagogical content knowledge in mathematics. HYPERLINK "http://www.nku.edul" www.nku.edu.
11. Kaino, L.M. & Liu, Y. (2004). In service teachers knowledge of mathematical problem solving. In A. Buffler & R.C Laugksch (Eds). Southern African Association for Research in Mathemtics, Science and Technology Education (SAARMSTE), pp 432436, Durban, S.Africa.
12. Ministry of Education and Sports, (1997). Uganda Primary Teachers Syllabus: Mathematics Education. Kampala: Author.
13. National Curriculum Development Centre, (1999).
Uganda Primary School Curriculum: Syllabus for primary schools. Mathematics syllabus pp 219276.
14. Uganda Mathematical Society, (2000). Executive Summary of the Report
of NCST task force. Uganda Mathematical Bulletin Vol.7 No2, June 2000.
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