Devlin, K.J (1998) defines mathematics as the science of patterns .It is the study of
number, shape, motion, change, and space. This is a way of describing relationships between
numbers and other measurable quantities. Mathematics teaching and learning has now become a
problem almost all over the world. This article investigates the reasons why the most students
dislike mathematics subject and states the possible ways to overcome the challenge.
First ,Mathematics at ordinary secondary schools is supposed to be taught by diploma
and graduate teachers ,the diploma being a minimum qualification.As cited in Kita S.(2004) a
considerable number of the diploma teachers lack substantial knowledge and teaching skills.
Skemp(1986) felt that the way in which mathematics is taught contributes to the
development of anxiety towards the subject. He suggests that the role of learning of the science
of numbers ,causes the children to loathe the subject; children are often successful in learning
just elementary work.
Classroom learning environment refers to space or place learners and teachers interact
with each other (David ,2010).A teacher who teaches the science of numbers divorced from
consideration of the students’ environment will leave a permanent impression of abstractions of
the subject (Alego ,1988).In some places where learning environment is not friendly make
students end by hating the subject.
Mathematics self-concept refers to a persons’ image with respect to how he or she is
perceived and valued in learning context(Sichizye,2010).It is a fact that despite its utility and
importance mathematics is perceived by most students as difficult ,boring ,not very practical and
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Alego. O (1988) was of the view that by the time students began their secondary school
education, their attitudes towards mathematics has usual openness to learn the subject contrary
to when they progress .Amato A.S(2004) said that even some schools teachers develop negative
attitude towards the subject.
Finally, mathematics concepts are abstract and difficult to understand (Allan
,2010).Without its algebraic symbols ,large parts of the subject simply would not exist.Indeed
the issues is having to do with human cognitive abilities (Devlin ,1998).
To overcome the challenges ,there is need to create situations that help teachers to
distance themselves from their own experience of learning the science of numbers as school
students (Deblios & Squalli ,2002).In addition, curriculum beliefs of mathematical knowledge
(Proulx & Bednarz,2008) and social activities must be discussed in order to manage needs of the
students with difficulties.
Overall ,mathematics competence is a critical determinant of the post –secondary
educational and career options available to young people(Ojo,1986) .The quality of the subject of
science of numbers will have way for the much needed pursuit in science once and technology
at the higher level should be a matter of concern.Quality has to do with the attainment of
standards and standards ensure accountability.
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(PDF) Why most students dislike mathematics subject/Edwin Magoti
– https://www.academia edu >Why…
Assistance of students with mathematical learning Difficulties –How can research
support practice P-A summary
(PDF) An investigation into the problem facing the teaching and learning of
mathematics in Secondary…
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Use of Poetry inTeaching English
The world of teaching English as a foreign or second language has come up with
numerous approaches ,methods and techniques to make teaching and learning effective and
enjoyable as possible(Bushman&Bushman ,1994).However, poetry and poems have not been
favored much in language classroom and teachers have not considered the benefits of using
poetry in teaching language.According to Denman (1988),poetry is the most neglected
component curriculum, which was confirmed by Duff&Maley(2007) noting that literature in a
broader sense was ignored in the world of language teaching.This article exproles what poetry is
and how it can be used in teaching of English.
Several views have been expressed about the reason why poetry is seen distant to English
Second Language(ESL) contexts. According to Brindley(1980),the greatest barrier is the
elliptical ,metaphorical and highly allusive language of poetry .From this perspective it has little
to offer to the English Foreign Learners (EFL) classroom ,especially at the middle school and
high school levels.Zelenkova(2004) highlighted the conviction that learners might have
difficulties in understanding literature due to cultural vagueness.
The other factor is seen to be the absence of concrete methodological instruction
regarding the use of poetry in language learning classrooms (Stulajterova, 2010).This neglect
emerging from lack of knowledge and/or consideration had its consequences on teachers and
learners .Lockward (1994) maintained that “poetry is the genre most English teachers seem least
comfortable with”(p.65) as they neither enjoy nor read the poetry on their own.As for students
,Denman(1988) concluded that some are “turned off to all forms of poetry thinking that all
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poetry has to be heavy with some sort of deep hidden meaning that they ,for the life of them
There have also been positive remarks by scholars,who consider poetry an effective tool
for multi-skill development in language learning.According to Hess(2003), through its drama
and emotional context, a good poem is suitable for a close “reading” with much good language
practice.Hedge(2000) also believed poems as authentic materials can be used to develop,
especially the receptive skill of reading.
Reproduction of poetry — memorizing,rewriting ,reporting and translating– can exercise
the reproductive skill of “writing” which is not an easy task to teach( Morgan Sheilla;Hessler &
Konrad ,2007).When considered in terms of “speaking” a the themes of poetry; such as, love,
death,nature,beliefs ,despair etc.,are universal among all human beings (Maley &Duff ,1989) and
because each persons’ perception is different, poems can initiate a fund of interactive discussion
and create the atmosphere for genuine exchange of ideas.
Poetry can be also a very good way to help children understand the “phonic of English,”
and work with rhyming words(Collins, 2008) .Along with the skills development ,the
memorability feature of a poem can support the natural ability to unconsciously absorb
language, which enables the learner to retrieve grammatical and lexical information when
needed (Ainy, 2008).
Bearing all this in mind, it seems that the issue is the appropriate choice of literacy text
for use in teaching language.Riverol (1991) ,pointed out that such examples of many features of
the language –the structure of sentences the variety of form and the different ways of
connecting ideas when a teacher comes to select the poems he or she will need to consider
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which language and maturity levels. According to McKay (1986), conceptual difficulty of
literacy is also a variable to be considered carefully. The difficulty level of a poem should
approximate the level of competence of the learner(Bex,1994);therefore, teachers need to ensure
the students are given as much help as possible in understanding the language of the poem
William Carlos Williams’s “This is just to say”(1951), can be given as an example for
the ideas put forward so far in that it is a poem with simple language appropriate for use in
language teaching; it is also highly interesting with its words and content about an experience so
“human” so “us” so “everybody,” which can make an English class a victory.
THIS I S JUST TO SAY
I have eaten,
that were in
you are probably
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they were delicious
and so cold (Williams ,1951,p.354).
Ainy (2008) indicated that this poem could well be used to invite learners to make
use of their experience and knowledge of the world.A fruitful speaking session can be
stimulated with questions like “Have you ever felt tempted about eating or doing something?
What did you do? Do you think it is okay to behave this way? Have you done something
similar? What was the reaction to the incident? Do you think you should replace the fruit next
time you turn up? Why or why not? How would you have felt if someone had done the same to
you? Why would you have to apologize if you eat the fruit without permission, when the host is
your friend or someone very close to you? Inviting students to be “in the poem,” and internalize
it like that ;teachers can also find the chance to investigate their backgrounds,experience,and
On the other hand ,it is a fact that poems ,as selected authentic texts ,were not originally
intended for teaching language(Nasr,2001).Teachers may often need to “supplement,adapt,and
develop” their own materials to suit the levels and teaching purposes (Brinton,Snow &
Binghams,1989,p.89).In this respect ,some techniques have been developed to involve and
interest(Brindley,1980) learners “at all levels,” and help them express themselves in the target
language through poetry(Finch,2003,Moulton & Holmes,1997).
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Overall, many those techniques to mention can be haiku(Lida,2008),picture poems
cinquain poems,diamante poems, wish poems, hero poems,biopoems,alphabet poems,acrostic
poems, catalog poems,adverb poems,”I” poems, and blotz
poems(Ainy,2008,Finch,2003,Moulton & Holmes,1997).Most of them can be cited within the
category of pattern poems which give learners a sense of support ,and allow them to complete a
poem fairly fast (Kazemek &Rigg,1995).According to some predefined rules ,students write
poems to describe and contrast things while at the same time practicing some particular
constructions; such as, participles adjectives,adverbs and so on .What is more ,they give teachers
to delve into their students inner words represented by their hopes ,desires and aspirations in the
poems they write.
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Making Use of Poems to teach English.
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Factors Contributing To Poor Performance of Examination In Kenya
Education in Kenya considered by various stakeholders not only as a basic need
but also a basic right. In evaluating whether pupils has acquired education, performance ranks
high on the national agenda with policy makers focusing on testing, accountability, curriculum
reform and teachers quality, school choice and other related concerns (Reche , Riungu,and
Mbugua ,2012).This essay defines education and investigates factors contributing to poor
performance of examinations in Kenya.
First are socio-economic factors.Studies have identified the home environment as being
a big impediment to academic performance. Factors within the home environment such as the
role of parents in the academic endeavors of their children,impact negatively on
performance(Ferguson ,1991;Hammer, 2003;Philips,1996).
Second are leadership and administration factors .Leadership is defined as the ability to
get things done with the assistance of other people in the institution(Adesina,1980).The active
leadership of the headteacher is seen as important for school improvement in general and the
essential ingredients of educational reform(Purkey & Smith ,1983).
Finally are policy and management factors .In Kenya, it is the role of ministry of
Eduction to formulate policy and oversee its implementation on matters of education .Matters
dealing with staffing,transfer and posting of new staff to schools are handled by the Teacher
Service Commision(TSC) on behalf of the ministry .Askose(2007) has correctly pointed out
instructional supervision is critical for effective teaching and learning processes.It influences
pupils’ performance in academic exercises.(Pansiri & Dambe ,2005).
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In conclusion,learning is a product not only of formal schooling ,but also of families
communities and peers.Various forces affect learning and thus school achievement
(Rothstein,2000).We should try all means to uplift the academic standards in each of our schools
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(PDF) Poor Performance in National Examinations by Public Schools in
Factors contributing to poor academic performance in certificateof secondary
examination for community secondary schools in Urambo district