MONTEGO BAY – School administrators are being urged to re-evaluate the methods being employed in the teaching of mathematics in the classroom, in order to improve student achievement in the subject and overall standards in the country.
"Schools and principals need to sit and analyze how the subject is being taught as against how it should be taught," said Director for the Ministry of Education (MoE) Region 1V, Devon Ruddock on Wednesday March 16 at the opening of a two-day mathematics competition and exhibition on the grounds of Cornwall College in Montego Bay, St. James.
The MoE Regional Director, who is a former teacher of mathematics, cited the standard of teaching and the way in which the subject is being taught in schools as the main reasons why students were finding it difficult to readily grasp the subject.
He argued that the current method of instrument “where we go to the chalkboard and we try to demonstrate… makes the subject a theoretical construct and not a practical one."
According to Mr. Ruddock, mathematics is a “lively, practical subject, with things that can be related to everyday life, but is not taught in that way."
He insisted that the teachers of mathematics must capitalise on the experiences around them to impart the subject.
Mr. Ruddock further underscored the importance of mathematics to the development of a knowledge-based society and achieving lasting progress in any developing country.
“If we are to produce the type of scientists, engineers, economists, physicists, who are going to push development, then we have to produce top-class mathematicians within the country,” he stated.
He told the students gathered that having quantitative skills will make them more competitive in the world of work.
The mathematics competition and exhibition was held in collaboration with the MoE's Quality Education Circle 36, which involves some 11 schools in western Jamaica.
CONTACT: BRYAN MILLER