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- 1. SME 6044 CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION SESSION 2011/2012 SEMESTER II ISSUE: MATHEMATICS ANXIETY PROF DR MARZITA BINTI PUTEH GROUP 1CHUNG WAI CHEONG M20102001089 TEH GUAN LEONG M20112001445 WONG WAI LUN M20112001446
- 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS1.0 INTRODUCTION 1 1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT 2 1.2 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 22.0 LITERATURE REVIEW 33.0 METHODOLOGY 6 3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN 6 3.2 POPULATION AND SAMPLE OF THE STUDY 6 3.3 RESEARCH INSTRUMENT 6 3.4 CONSTRUCTION OF THE INSTRUMENT 7 3.5 PROCEDURES 7 3.6 DATA ANALYSIS 74.0 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 85.0 REFLECTION 14 REFERENCES 15 APPENDIX A – QUESTIONNAIRE 17
- 3. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY A STUDY ON IMPACT OF A FRIENDLIER AND CARING TEACHING APPROACH IN HELPING STUDENTS TO REDUCE MATHEMATICS ANXIETY1.0 INTRODUCTION Teachers who care for their students are considered to be essential to a productivelearning environment for students. In the context of the classroom where people are called torelate with each other for up to 30 hours a week, the demonstration of care impacts not only onthe environment but also the long term qualities of the students. Therefore, it is important to havea teacher who genuinely cares about them. Indeed, (Schussler & Collins, 2006) reported thatstudents benefit both academically and personally when they are cared for by their teachers.Having a teacher who genuinely cares about his/her students will help the students to develop apositive self-concept as well as help them to be intrinsically motivated to do well in school. There are many things the mathematics teacher can do that will provoke his students todislike mathematics. The teacher may be perceived as not caring about students because he isunwilling to give extra help to students who need it. Students need to feel that they can confidein their teacher, especially those who come from less than ideal home situations. A teacher whois caring will provide a comfortable and ideal environment for students for learning by allowingstudents to explore the possibilities of learning without being punished when they do not get thecorrect answer. A caring teacher will give positive support to students without beingoverbearing and authoritarian in nature. 1
- 4. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY1.1 PROBLEM STATEMENT We reflected on the current situation of our classrooms. We found out that ourclassrooms were not what we expected it to be. We noticed that students were acting up, shuttingdown, not paying attention or just doing something totally different. They would not follow ourteachings like we would have liked them to. We also noticed that they are not trying to graspwhat we were teaching. Some of them even act interested in the lessons. We related all these tomathematics anxiety. Our students are suffering from mathematics anxiety because of the waywe teach. Issue that arises here is that all this while we were always showing our authority inclass. We tend to say “I’m the boss in the class, listen to what I teach you”. They never had achance to express themselves in class. Without us realizing it, our students were actuallysuffering mathematics anxiety.1.2 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES Our main concern is to study the impact of the friendlier and caring teaching approach inhelping students to reduce mathematics anxiety. 2
- 5. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW Modern behavioural scientists have emphasized the importance of environmentalinfluences in human behaviour. If the basis for behaviour development and change rests withinthe environment, an understanding and use of the methods of control by change agents,especially teachers, can result in improvement of students’ performances. The learning of mathematics depends on the way it is presented to the learner, the waythe learner actively interacts with the learning experiences presented to him/her and theenvironment within which the learning takes place. Teachers’ caring attitude towards the teaching of mathematics plays a significant role inshaping the attitude of students towards the learning of mathematics. Teachers’ caring attitudetowards Mathematics is a significant catalyst in bringing up the student’s achievement as well astheir attitude towards Mathematics and reducing anxiety. From Bandura (1971) observational theory (as cited by Olatunde, 2009), demonstratedthat behaviours are acquired by watching another person (model, teacher, parent, mentor, friend,etc) that performs the behaviour. The model displays it and the learner observes and tries toimitate it. Teachers are, invariably, role models whose behaviours are easily copied by students.What teachers like or dislike, appreciate and how they feel about their learning or studies couldhave a significant effect on their students. Unfortunately, however, many teachers seldom realizethat how they teach, how they behave and how they interact with students can be more 3
- 6. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYparamount than what they teach. In a nutshell, teachers’ attitudes directly affect students’attitudes. Teachers’ attitudes are in turn, influenced by their culture and belief system. Teachers’attitudes towards their students in school must be favourable enough to carry students along. (Ascited by Olatunde, European Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 11, Number 3 (2009) pg 365). Chacko (1981) reported in a study of teacher and student characteristics as correlates oflearning outcomes in mathematics that teachers’ attitude towards teaching significantly predictstudents’ attitude as well as achievement in Mathematics. When teachers portray or exhibit a soft and caring side in teaching, the caring valueattached determines very significantly the effectiveness of the learning processes in any aspect ofeducation in particularly the topic we want to concentrate on which is Mathematics. From ourobservation, teachers teach Mathematics in a way that merely requires the pupils to listen, read,practice by drill and regurgitate. This actually depicts a negative attitude to teaching. Severalresearch findings have confirmed the hypothesis that teachers’ attitude affect students’achievement in and attitudes towards the subjects. Teachers’ caring attitude towards the teaching and learning of Mathematics plays asignificant role in shaping the attitude of students towards learning Mathematics. Ogunniyi(1982) found that students’ positive attitude towards science could be enhanced by the followingteacher-related factors:· Teachers’ enthusiasm,· Teachers’ resourcefulness and helpful behaviour, 4
- 7. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY· Teachers’ thorough knowledge of the subject-matter and their making science quite interesting. From the findings above, we can link the role of the teacher in educating students’achievement is enormous. Students’ positive attitude towards Mathematics could be enhanced byteachers’ enthusiasms, resourcefulness and helpful behaviour, teachers’ thorough knowledge ofthe subject matter and their making Mathematics quite interesting. The caring attitude of the mathematics teacher can mould the attitude of the students towant to learn thus reducing anxiety in learning. Hence the mathematics teacher should bepsychologically prepared to teach the subject with more caring attitude. 5
- 8. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY3.0 METHODOLOGY3.1 RESEARCH DESIGN The research study will examine the impact of a friendlier and caring teaching approachin helping students to reduce mathematics anxiety. This section discusses the method used ingathering necessary information, research instrument, procedure for the data collection andanalysis of the data collected.3.2 POPULATION AND SAMPLE OF THE STUDY For the purpose of this study, the population would be all the Form 4 students of SMKSentosa, Kampar, SMK Methodist (ACS) Kampar and SMK Malim Nawar, Malim Nawar whoenrolled for Additional Mathematics in the year 2012. One class from each school will besampled for this study.3.3 RESEARCH INSTRUMENT A technical self designed 10 items questionnaire will be used for this research work togather necessary information about the study. The questionnaire will be used to gather data onthe impact of a friendlier and caring teaching approach in helping students to reduce mathematicsanxiety. 6
- 9. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY3.4 CONSTRUCTION OF THE INSTRUMENT The questionnaire will consist of background information which is name of school. Thefollowing part consists of questions made up of ten items of information about the differentteachers’ behaviour in class. Responses on the items are either Yes or No.3.5 PROCEDURES First, the students will be informed by the researchers that there will be a change in theteaching approach by the researchers for the following weeks. Students will be given a briefexplanation on the changes in the teaching approach by the researchers. The different approachin teaching will go on for 3 weeks. At the end of the third week, the students will be asked to fillup the questionnaire. The results gained from the questionnaires will be analyzed to study theimpact of a friendlier and caring teaching approach in helping students to reduce mathematicsanxiety. Researchers will also interview certain students to get different feedbacks and opinions.3.6 DATA ANALYSIS In order to fulfil the stated goal of this study, the items were analyzed by showingcomparisons between the three schools in the form of pie charts. Apart from the statisticalanalysis, feedbacks gained from the interview will be included in the analysis as a case study. 7
- 10. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY4.0 RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONSMK SENTOSA Item 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Yes 28 27 1 28 28 26 1 28 24 26 No 2 3 29 2 2 4 29 2 6 4SMK MALIM NAWAR 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Yes 26 26 5 27 26 26 3 27 26 25 No 4 4 25 3 4 4 27 3 4 5SMK METHODIST (ACS) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Yes 27 27 3 29 27 26 5 28 29 25 No 3 3 27 1 3 4 25 2 1 5ITEM 1DiscussionAs shown from the pie charts, majority of the students agreed that the teacher greeted them witha smile before lessons. Usually when students see the teacher smiling, they will feel less anxious.They will feel that the teacher is more approachable. When there is no barrier between theteacher and students, the communication between them will get better. Hence, this helps studentsto reduce mathematics anxiety. 8
- 11. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYITEM 2DiscussionBased on the pie charts, majority of the students agreed that the teacher is positive towards thestudents. Students feel they are valued and treasured when the teacher is positive towards them.These positive qualities that were shown by the teacher can lead the students towards likingmathematics. Thus, this will help to reduce mathematics anxiety among students.ITEM 3DiscussionAs shown from the pie charts, majority of the students agreed that the teacher does not get angryeasily. When a teacher gets angry easily, students are afraid to ask questions when they do notunderstand. It is always important for the teacher to control their temper and show patience.Teachers who are patient are well acceptable by students. Thus, it helps students to reducemathematics anxiety. 9
- 12. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYITEM 4DiscussionBased on the pie charts, majority of the students agreed that the teacher teaches all the studentsequally. Students may feel abandoned when the teacher only focuses on certain students. Somestudents might felt neglected and eventually they gave up on mathematics. When the teacherteaches all students equally, then they might not felt neglected as they know that there is alwayssomeone for them to refer to. Hence, this will reduce mathematics anxiety among students.ITEM 5DiscussionAs shown from the pie charts, majority of the students agreed that the teacher always encouragesand motivates them. Teachers who were always encouraging and motivating students seemed togain the students’ attention. It showed a large positive effect on the students. When the teacheralways encourages or motivates the students, the students will tend to try out more mathematics 10
- 13. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYquestions with their own effort. When they have higher initiative, the level of mathematicsanxiety will reduce.ITEM 6DiscussionBased on the pie charts, majority of the students agreed that the teacher rewards or complimentsthem. The teacher’s habit of rewarding or complimenting students’ achievements can remove thebarrier between the teacher and the student relationship. Students tend to feel more excited whenthey get rewarded or complimented by the teacher. They feel more motivated to answer theteachers’ questions. Hence, this will reduce mathematics anxiety among students.ITEM 7DiscussionBased on the pie charts, majority of the students agreed that the teacher did not use negativecriticism on them. It is undeniable that the teacher plays a very important part in creating thefeelings that students have towards mathematics. When the teacher never uses negative criticism 11
- 14. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYon the students, the students know that even if they are unable to answer the teacher’s questionthey will not be humiliated. Hence, the students will feel less anxious and nervous. This helps toreduce mathematics anxiety among students.ITEM 8DiscussionBased on the pie charts, majority of the students agreed that the teacher gave them help whenthey don’t understand. The students were aware that their teacher is always ready to guide themwhen they encounter problems. This will act as a driving force for these students to pursue anygiven tasks. Hence, this will help the students to reduce mathematics anxiety. This finding is alsoenhanced by the researchers’ observations on students.ITEM 9DiscussionAs shown from the pie charts, majority of the students agreed that the teacher takes a personalinterest in what they do outside the classroom. This helps to create a stronger bond between the 12
- 15. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYteacher and the students. When this stronger bond exists, the interaction between the teacher andthe students improves. This will help the students to reduce mathematics anxiety.ITEM 10DiscussionAs shown from the pie charts, majority of the students agreed that when the teacher teaches themat their ability level, it helps to reduce mathematics anxiety. It is because when the teacherteaches them at their ability level, they will have more confidence in learning the particular topic.When they are more confident, their level of mathematics anxiety will reduce. 13
- 16. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY5.0 REFLECTION Throughout the 3 weeks of observations and findings, we found that from the threeschools located in Kinta Selatan District, (one located outskirt, one located in town, another onelocated in newly developed township) there is not much difference in responses from the threeschools. When teacher implements a friendlier and caring teaching approach, it has an impact onhelping students to reduce mathematics anxiety. Perhaps we hope that other AdditionalMathematics teachers can consider applying this similar approach in their teaching as it helpsstudents to reduce students’ mathematics anxiety. However, we will continue with the approachto find out whether the approach is also able to help students to achieve their desired target.Some students need more time to adapt themselves to the changes brought by the teacher. Moretime is needed to get better feedbacks on the impact of the new approach. We also noticed thatstudents are much closer to the teachers and they are more ready before lesson begins. 14
- 17. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETY REFERENCESBandura, A. (1971). Psychotherapy based upon Modelling Principles in A.E. Benguna and S. Garfield (Eds). Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behaviour Change. An Empirical Analysis.New York Wiley and Sons Inc.Chacko, I. (1981). Learning outcomes in secondary schools mathematics as related to teacher and student characteristics. Unpublished Ph.D Thesis, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.Darrell Fisher & Tony Rickards (1998). Associations Between Teacher-Student Interpersonal Behaviour and Student Attitude to Mathematics. Mathematics Education Research Journal, 1998, Vol. 10, No.1, 3-15Marilyn Curtin – Phillips (2012). The Causes and Prevention of Math Anxiety. Math Goodies – Your Destination for Math Education. Retrieve from http://www.mathgoodies.com/articles/math_anxiety.htmlOgunniyi, M.B. 1982: An analysis of prospective science teachers’ understanding of the nature of science teaching. Journal of Science Teachers’ Association of Nigeria. 19(1) 25-32.Olatunde, P (2009). Relationship between Teachers’ Attitude and Students’Academic Achievement in Mathematics in Some Selected Senior Secondary Schools in Southwstern NigeriaEuropean Journal of Social Sciences – Volume 11, Number 3 (2009) pg 364-369Puteh, M. (2002). Factors Associated with Mathematics Anxiety. Penerbit UPSIRichard M. Miler (2008). The Influence of Teachers’ Caring Behaviours On High School Students’ Behaviour And Grades. 15
- 18. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYSuriza van der Sandt (2007). Research Framework on Mathematics Teacher Behaviour:Koehler and Grouws’ Framework Revisited. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 2007. 3(4), 343-350.Wendy Kay Moran (2008). The Nature of Caring Teachers and The FactorsThat Impact on Their Caring. 16
- 19. CONTEMPORARY ISSUE IN MATHEMATICS EDUCATION MATHEMATICS ANXIETYAPPENDIX AName of School : __________________________________________________In this section, there are two options :: (Agree/Disagree)Now tick appropriately (v) the option that best suit your opinions. No Questionnaires Agree Disagree 1 My teacher greet me with a smile when he enters the class 2 My teacher is positive with me 3 My teacher gets angry easily 4 My teacher teaches all the students equally 5 My teacher always encourages and motivates me 6 My teacher rewards or compliments me 7 My teacher uses negative criticism with me 8 My teacher gives me help when I don’t understand 9 My teacher takes a personal interest in what I do outside the classroom 10 My teacher teaches me at my ability level 17

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