A study of the problems faced by primary school teachers in teaching mathematics in upper primary classes in Ndia division of Kirinyaga District

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Magoci, Peter Munene
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Kenyatta University
The main purpose of this study was to find out the problems faced by upper primary mathematics teachers. To get this information, the researcher used two types of instruments; a teachers' questionnaire and a checklist of resources. The teachers' questionnaire was divided into two sections. Section I was about general information about the teacher and Section II was an attitude survey. The checklist of resources contained some items commonly found in a mathematics department. The research Sample comprised a senior teacher and mathematics teachers of standard four, five, six, seven and eight of fourteen randomly selected primary schools of Ndia Division. Out of the expected 84 teachers only 80 teachers responded to the questionnaire and checklist. After the data was collected, it was tabulated and analysed using simple descriptive statistics like comparative percentages and means. The study found that: (1) Although inservice courses are organised regularly, not all teachers attend them. (2) The majority of the teachers were not satisfied with the professional assistance they received from the TAC tutors and APSIs. (3) Most teachers were overloaded since they taught between 30 and 40 periods per week. Thus the teachers felt that they had inadequate time to plan lessons and mark pupils' assignments. (4) The number of pupils per class was quite high. In most classes there were over forty-five (45) pupils per class. This affected the seating arrangements since pupils had to share the few desks which were available. (5) All the schools in the study had an acute shortage of textbooks. (6) Most teachers did not use any other reference books apart from the class textbook. (7) There were insufficient teaching aids such as chalkboard instruments, dusters, coloured chalk, and mathematical sets, among others. The researcher gave some suggestions about ways in which some of the above problems could be alleviated. These suggestions were: (1) Every teacher should be given an opportunity to attend an inservice course at least once per year. This will help the teacher to keep abreast with new teaching techniques, new knowledge and be well informed about any changes in the curriculum. (2) TAC tutors in the four zones of Mutira, Inoi, Kiine, and Mwerua should give more regular professional advice to mathematics teachers; especially in the field of making and using teaching aids from the local environment. (3) The teaching load of mathematics teachers should be reduced so as to allow them extra time to plan their lessons, mark pupils' work and assist individual pupils. The teachers should also be allowed to specialise in mathematics instead of being given several subjects to teach. (4) The number of pupils per class should be reduced to a reasonable level, preferably less than forty pupils per class. This can be done by building more classrooms and equipping them with enough desks so as to avoid a situation where a desk is shared among four or more pupils. (5) Teachers, parents and the community at large should work together to make sure that schools have enough textbooks and reference books. Books can be---- (xiv) bought through organised "Harambees" instead of the present system where every parent buys books for his/her child. (6) Teachers should strive to acquire more teaching aids by improvishing what is found in their local environments.
A research project submitted to the faculty of education in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of master of education of Kenyatta University. 1992, QA 8.7 .M32