INTRODUCTION

Mathematics is described by researchers as a subject that “affects all aspects of human life at different degrees” According to The National Mathematics Advisory Panel (2008), Mathematics is used throughout our daily lives. Math is a language of science, it supports the development of critical and logical thinking, empowering skilled mathematicians with effective power to analyze, describe and change things. It also increases the skill of intuition. (www.statsanalytica.com)  In Nigeria, Mathematics is a compulsory subject offered in Nigerian primary and secondary schools and is taught daily in all the schools or at least four times in a week.

 

 

THE SAD REALITY!

Despite the indispensable impact Math has on our daily lives, and being a core subjects, research has shown that it is the least preferred and most dreaded among most students or pupils in Nigerian schools. Many of these learners consider it to be difficult, complex, and abstract and worse still “many of them do not immediately see the use or applicability of the subject to their lives and the world of work” and therefore keeps they are compelled to study the subject. This has hugely affected their performance.

On the part of the teachers, there seems to be a huge competency gap among them also. Okafor and Anaduaka (2013) reported that some Math teachers are either not convinced that Math is useful or do not consider it very important to disabuse the minds of the learners and make them see the subject beyond a core requirement for admissions into higher institution.

POSSIBLE CAUSE

Numerous factors were identified by some researchers for the poor performance by students, some of which included: shortage of qualified mathematics teachers, poor facilities, equipment, and instructional materials for effective teaching. Veteran Mathematics trainer, Ayopeju Ndijeaka (2019), also noted that failure in Mathematics is because of poor understanding of Mathematics concept, poor lesson resourcing skills, inability to teach concepts using practical methods and failure to provide support to struggling pupils among several others.  Meanwhile, research has shown that among the school related factors, pupils’ performances are largely dependent on the quality of the Math teachers and the methodology of lesson delivery. Having recognized teachers as a major player in the improving students performance, it is essential to equip Math them with relevant skills to deliver effective lessons as it is impossible to sack all of them.

THE BAF -SUBJECT ENHANCEMENT PROGRAMME IN MATHEMATICS

The Subject Enhancement Programme in Mathematics (SEP-M) is one of the many Education Intervention initiatives of Bunmi Adedayo Foundation, sponsored through the Google Impact Challenge Grants. The project is being implemented in collaboration with Nurture House Consultingas the technical partner) The Programme aims at addressing the worrisome subject competency gaps that exist among Mathematics teachers in Nigeria. This, as established through baseline studies and existing academic literature has been hugely responsible for the mass fear and failure of Mathematics by pupils at different levels of education, especially at the basic and secondary levels.So, what makes this solution unique?

1. It’s based on needs-assessment and subject specific: Although there are general aspects of pedagogy that every teacher should be trained on, SEP-M is an outcome of detailed research and baseline analysis. We went into some schools for math lesson observation and conducted a math reasoning inventory assessment for a sample population. The findings from the study feed into the training curriculum to address specific needs of our beneficiaries.  

2. Its Completely Free of Charge: Unlike other training programmes, participation in the SEP-M Project is FOC. It is funded by Google.Org and supported by Impact-Base Consulting, Nurture House Limited, Rite Foods Limited, Tastee Fried Chicken and Home Science Association School. 

3. Our theory of change model is tested and valid.  

Our Technical Partner, Nurture House Consulting has deployed this training across many states involving thousands of teachers with track record of improved performance in teachers that pass through their trainings. Through the use of the Math Reasoning Inventory Tool, Nurture House has helped teachers improve on their practice while eliminating all fears and disbeliefs that lead to poor performance in pupils. 

4. It focuses on teachers as the most important resource in any classroom 

Teachers are the most important school-based determinant of effective learning outcome and students’ performance. Qualified teachers in the classroom will bring about efficient lesson delivery and better pupil performance and overall improvement in learning outcomes. By empowering 300 teachers, we are impacting at least 1,5o0 pupils annually, using UN’s teacher to pupil ratio of 1:50.  

5. It addresses myths and mindset issues among teachers.  

SEP-M is tactically and professionally addressing the popular myth among teachers and learners that math is difficult and therefore require special skills for teaching, understanding, or performing well in the subject. It exposes them to relevant theories, principles and underpinning philosophies to buttress the simple truth that Math is teachable and learnable irrespective of one’s background, provided the mindset is worked upon.  

Other important focus areas of the project include Math proficiency strands, the psychology of Math, strategies, tools and methodologies in Math, building blocks fir effective math lesson planning, delivery and assessment among others.  

6.It is hands-on and practical with real life applications 

SEP-M involves very practical sessions including Team works, personal reflecti0ns, presentations, constructive contributions and criticisms, classroom demo, question, and answer sessions. All the trainers do is facilitate the sessions and allow the beneficiaries do the discovery and learning.  

7. 5 Powerful Contact Sessions 

The beneficiaries were exposed to practical and 21st century Math methodologies through a detailed and in-depth workshops. There was 3 in class workshops and 2 online courses to be completed by each beneficiaries before they get their certificates.  

Talking of certificates, each of the beneficiaries that complete the online modules shall earn additional two certificates in Math Proficiency Strands and Building Blocks for Effective Math lessons.  

 8. SEP-M Integrates educational technology to promote e-learning among beneficiaries 

Through the BAF Learning Management System, SEP-M makes all the beneficiaries to enroll and complete at least two courses online. For most of these beneficiaries, it is their first time interacting with online platforms. This further empowers them with internet and e-learning skills for continuous personal and professional development.  Over 250 of the beneficiaries are now conversant with how to go about taking and completing courses online.  

9. Provides post-training support, monitoring and evaluation.  

Upon the completion of the project, the training beneficiaries will continue to receive professional support from the BAF Faculty while we keep a tab on them to track how they have translated the knowledge and applied the skills they have learnt in their day-to-day teaching practice. The beneficiaries become a member of the BAF Training Groups where they can benefit from future opportunities.  

10. It supports and motivates the training beneficiaries with data and transport stipends 

Beneficiaries of the SEP-M project receive financial and non-financial support from the Foundation. Each beneficiary will receive transportation allowance and data allowance twice in the course of the training. This is to keep their spirit high and encourage easy uptake of the development courses available at the BAF LMS.  

11. It is raising teachers with sharp minds and critical thinking skills.  

Through mental math, meditation, case study analysis and team collaboration, the SEP-M initiative is enhancing the cognitive skills of the teachers who will in turn impact the learners in their classrooms.  

12. Freebies:  Beneficiary got a Training Pack containing the Training Manual, a notepad, pen in additional to branded SEP-M T-Shirt Free of Charge.  

13. Impact and Testimonials.  are yet to measure the full impact, but the testimonial awesome. Read the facilitators remarks here and some beneficiary feedback here.  

 

Conclusion  

In conclusion, the BAF approach to solving the math problem is strategic and apt, although the project does not have a direct work with the learners. SEP-M is innovative, scalable and have direct impact on classroom teachers and indirectly impact thousands of teachers who pass through each school involved.  Passing through this programme will significantly impact on the quality of Math delivery, eliminate misconceptions that math is difficult among pupils and consequently improve the pupil’s interest and performance in Mathematics 

 

To know more about Bunmi Adedayo Foundation, visit www.bunmiadedayofoundation.org and  for more information about the SEP-M, visit www.bunmiadedayofoundation.org/sepm or contact the team on 080754981389 or 08075491289.