Mathematics: Changing how we perceive this subject in Kenya

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Mathematics is an essential subject or career not only for academic accomplishment but also for the effective functioning of human beings. By learning mathematics, we teach our brains to be disciplined, consistent, and accurate. We also gain important aptitudes we need to effectively solve problems and make informed decisions in our daily lives.

Mathematics is also the foundation of many things in life. It is needed by a farmer, mechanic, shopkeeper, engineer, doctor, scientist, musician among all other people we can name.

The performance of mathematics in Kenyan schools from primary to higher levels of learning is still a puzzle to be solved. Mathematics is one of the most poorly performed subjects in Kenya. Evidence from the national examinations has it that there has been a consistent low performance in mathematics despite its great role in society.

Mother: My son, what happened? Did you get a good mark today?

Son: Yeaah!!! God is really wonderful. Never! I am just happy because our Maths teacher is dead.

Mother: Didn’t know you hated mathematics like me. Your father was even worse, haha. Can’t even count the animals in the field. But don’t tell him I told you that.

Son: Are you serious mum!!! Wow wow wow. I knew it. Nobody likes Maths. It’s such a useless subject. Thank God dad hates it too.

Facts about Mathematics

Mathematics makes people have order and be organized.

Mathematics makes people reason well, boosts creativity, improves critical thinking and problem-solving in a person. This eventually leads to good communication skills, according to Kendriya Vidyalaya, a mathematics teacher.

The teachers’ style of teaching and the learning materials used directly influence student performance in mathematics.

Students’ failure in mathematics is a result of a lack of practice. Mathematics demands consistency.

Many experienced teachers say learning mathematics is easy and enjoyable if a student is willing to do the time.

Opinions about improving mathematics learning in Kenya

  1. Parents should be actively involved in encouraging students to do well in mathematics. Those who understand mathematics should help their children.
  2. Schools should be at the forefront in motivating students in the development of positive mentalities towards the subject. Teachers should learn to relate with their students like good and caring parents. Schools should be home away from home.
  3. Mathematics methods of teaching should be those that will help students understand the concepts in an easy and straight to the point way.
  4. Education stakeholders and the Kenyan government should help in offering financial help to support efforts to improve mathematics learning in Kenya.
  5. Schools and the education system in Kenya should develop clear mathematical concepts in mathematics children, right from the primary level.
  6. The Kenyan education system should expand the curriculum to include mathematical activities and games. Maths riddles and puzzles will help children to be alert and have clear thoughts.
  7. The students should be appreciated for doing well and any mistakes should be corrected immediately in a good way.
  8. Students should be motivated to daily work out at least 5 to10 mathematical problems from different topics so they can grasp the concepts and develop accuracy and work faster.
  9. Multiplication-tables should be taught right from the lower primary.
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