A Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics, Adeyemi College of Education (ACE), Ondo, Dr. Folorunso Ojo Balogun has stated that the apathy shown towards mathematics by some people is not because the subject is not useful to them, but the simple fact that they lack the courage and endurance required for its study.
Dr. Balogun stated this while delivering the 4th inaugural lecture of the College which held on Wednesday 13th July, 2017 in the institution. Speaking on the topic entitled : ‘’ Mathematics: A Dread ‘Enemy’ Yet an Indispensable Friend’’, Dr. Balogun define Mathematics as a Science of numbers and their interrelations, combinations, operations, measurement, quantity, shape, space and generalization.
He spoke on the nature of Mathematics, statingthat the subject, which can be divided into pure and applied, has a peculiar language, which distinguishes it from other subjects.
The 4th ACE Inaugural lecture presenter listed the characteristicsof Mathematicsto include clarity and precision of definitions, usage of words and symbols known and understood only by mathematical literate as well as universality of its language.
Dr. Balogun highlighted the importance of Mathematics and stated that the highest value, which could be gained from its study, is the development of mental power for clear thinking and logical reasoning. ‘’Mathematics enhances the ability to reason correctly. It is a valuable exercise in reasoning that would prepare the learners to take problems in all areas withprecision and rationally’’ he remarked.
On the reason why some people hate Mathematics, the out-going Dean, School of Science ACE, attributedthe root cause of the problem to ‘’ fear which the learners or prospective learners are prone to’’.
He lamented the attitude which some learners display towards Mathematics, stating that despite its importance and usefulness in society, the subject is dreaded by most students, who he said often regard it a very difficult.
His words: "Despite the importance and usefulness of Mathematics, it is a subject that is dreaded by most students. There is a common perception that it is adifficult subject, which only few students who are naturally gifted can study. Research findings have revealed that many students find Mathematics volatile, abstract and uninteresting", he stated.
Dr. Balogun identified anxiety as one of the reasons for hatred for Mathematics adding that the development often leads to panic, tension, fear, nervousness and loss of ability to concentrate.
In addition, he also classified factors responsible for anxiety in the study of Mathematicsto include personal factor, environmental factor and intellectual factor. As panacea, the ACE Mathematics lecturer tasked stakeholders in the education sector especially teachers, learners and the government to play their roles effectively stating that the step would add values to the subject and enhance its acceptability.
While he charged teachers who teach Mathematics to show more commitment in service delivery, he equally appealed to the government to motivate teachers through prompt payment of their salary and emoluments.
He also stressed the need for the provision of good learning environment especially in public schools adding that the move would make the learning centres more comfortable for learners.
Similarly, the 4th ACE Inaugural Lecture presenter also emphasized the need for the government to recruit qualified teachers and embark on thorough supervision stating the step would address the problem of poor performance of learners in Mathematics andpublic examination. He paidglowing tributes to famous Mathematicians which include Pythagoras, Euclid, Blaise Pascal, Daniel Bernoulli as well as the Late Prof. Chike Obi, Prof. Adegoke Olubumo, Prof. Ezeilo, Prof. Reuben Ayeni and Prof. Grace Alele William for their contributions to the study of Mathematics.
Speaking on the requirements that are necessary for the study of Mathematics, Dr. Balogun listed them as including motivation and interest stating that this could be achieved through good teaching at the elementary level.
While expressing the views that the hatred for Mathematics could be surmounted, the Mathematics teacher listed 27 requirements that are needed in order to be able to overcome challenges being faced in the study of Mathematics.
He listed the requirements to include teaching of the subject from simple concept to complex one, exercising of patience by teachers in delivery of lessons, teaching of the subject with amusement, and pleasure as well as exhibiting friendly attitude towards learners.
He equally emphasized the need for learners to be commended at all times by teachers while urging them to shun the use of abusive and uncomplimentary remarks on students.
On how to boost mathematical literacy in Nigeria, Dr. Balogun called for coordinated effort from Researchers and other practitioners from multiple of disciplines including Mathematical Researchers, educators, psychometricians and cognitive psychologists in the promotion of the study of Mathematics. He equally make case for teachers, curriculum planners and designers and researchers in the field of Mathematical Education as well as Education psychologists to explore areas, where learners need to display considerable interest in Mathematics.
In addition, he appealed to government at all levels to give more attention to the development of Mathematics saying the step would help in enhancing the development of science and technology.
The event which took place at the Olusegun Obasanjo Auditorium had in attendance Principal Officers of the College including the Deputy Provost, Dr. Samuel Akintunde; Acting Registrar, Mrs. Olufisayo Fakorede; Bursar, Mr. Ganiyu Abdul; Acting Librarian, Mr. Akinade Awoyemi as well as the Chairman, College Inaugural Lecture Committee, Dr. Gbade Ikuejube. Others present were Deans and Directors, Heads of Departments and Units, Members of the political Class, religious organisations, traditional institutions, families and relatives of the inaugural lecture presenter, staff and students of the College to mention but a few.