Mathematics teachers tip abacus to improve pass rate in subject
The need for schools to adopt innovative methods of teaching mathematics in order to erase the phobia students have for it and thereby bolster the pass rate has been stressed.
In fact, mathematics teachers under the aegis of Mathematics Association of Nigeria (MAN), are of the opinion that abacus has the potential to empower students and thus help to improve the pass rate in Mathematics.
Abacus is an educational solution that empowers students and teachers with the ability to race through mathematical problems within the shortest possible time. It has been severally referred to as the enabler of faster thinking process. It helps to eliminate the phobia for mathematics among students, and help them and their teachers to optimise the right brain, thereby dramatically increasing the intelligent quotient of students.
Consisting of beads that can be moved up and down on a series of sticks within a wooden frame, abacus helps students to compute at a very rapid pace mathematical challenges without the aid of an electronic calculator.
The major effect of Abacus learning is improvement of numerical memory; improvement of memory in spatial arrangement; progress in solving general mathematical problems taught in primary schools, including the four fundamental arithmetic calculations and word problems.
With a solid foundation in mathematics, students’ creativity, vigilance, intuition, hands-on-learning ability and ability to see the big picture, as well as spatial relationships, are enhanced.
Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the MAN, Alhaji Jimoh Aare, while speaking at a seminar with the topic, “Tackling Mathematics Phobia in your school,” at the behest of EduSoft Associates, for some schools in the FESTAC Town area of the state said proprietors and head teachers of primary schools in the country would do well by employing the use of abacus in their schools as a way of boosting the foundation for learning mathematics.
Aare stated that empirical evidence suggests that rote understanding of mathematics has not been hugely beneficial to students, a development he said has found expression in the failure rate in general examinations.
“The foundations of mathematics have to be revisited. Abacus is one of the first steps in the process of calculation. Mathematics is a special subject and should be uniquely handled. And mathematics teachers should be given preference and higher pay.”
He added that since schools are judged and ranked based on their general performance in mathematics and English language, priority should be given to these subjects.
According to Director of Training, EduSoft Associates, Varrier Devesh, phobia in mathematics starts at an early age when the subject is taught in a manner that is not very engaging.
“Teachers should know the capacities of their students and how to present learning. From research, students are not afraid of mathematics, but the numbers. The ability to make students think, ask questions as to why, the need, and the use of learning is crucial to laying the foundation for a high aptitude in mathematics,” Devesh stated.
Abacus is an educational solution that empowers students and teachers with the ability to race through mathematical problems within the shortest possible time.
He stressed the fact that once the relevance of the subject matter has been ascertained, the students will be engaged and the journey into the world of mathematics made easy.
Educational Consultant to Heyday School, Lagos, (which was the first school to adopt the abacus solution in Nigeria), Blankson Osim, said that the pass rate in Mathematics could be enhanced by creating value in education using innovative and fun ways of teaching.
“Make sure you are well prepared as a teacher before you step into the class. The technology, concepts and objectives should be well known. Many of us have different ways of processing information. Therefore teachers should understand the learning protocols and profiles of their students. Some are visual learners while others are auditory.”
EduSoft Associates, organisers of the seminar said they embarked on the process in order to engage schools on how to improve their students’ aptitude in the subject.
The seminar will be organised in other regions of the country to showcase the unique role abacus has to play in the education process, and how schools could implement the solution to enhance the pass rate of their students in general examinations.
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