An Investigation into Elementary School Teachers' and High School Mathematics Teachers' Attitudes Towards the Use of Calculators in Mathematics Instruction and Learning: A Study of Selected Schools in Ghana
Ghana's educational reforms have not brought the much needed results in terms of the national objective of preparing its manpower potential to meet the growing demands of the national economy. Ghana's adoption of the new educational system has led to a reduction by five years of pre-university education compared to the old system. Consequently, there is enormous pressure on high school mathematics teachers to cover school syllabi but this has not been too successful.
In 1993, 16% of the first group of 42,105 students who sat for the core mathematics in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations got grades A through E. It appeared there was improvement in mathematics instruction and learning. However, the low standards of mathematics performance became clear on the international scene when Ghana ranked 44 out of 45 countries that participated in the Third International Mathematics and Science and Study (TIMSS).
Calculator use has not been encouraged despite the strong research evidence of the positive impact of calculators in instruction and learning. The successful adoption of instructional tools such as calculators depends to a certain extent on teacher attitudes. Using the AIM-AT 4-point Likert scale, 179 elementary teachers and high school mathematics teachers were studied to determine their attitudes towards the use of calculators. Two supplementary open-ended questions on the benefits and setbacks of the use of calculators were included.
An overall mean of 2.460 indicated that Ghanaian teachers' attitude was somewhat neutral or slightly positive towards calculator use. Most teachers (84%) believed that students should learn how to use a calculator; however 80% of the teachers wanted students to master concepts or procedures before being allowed to use the calculator. Ghanaian teachers declared that they do not teach with calculators currently yet they knew ways they could use calculators effectively in the classroom. High school mathematics teachers' mean attitudes towards the use of calculators were more favorable than elementary teachers' attitudes. There was no gender effect and no interaction effect. The study concluded with the recommendation that public awareness of the importance of calculators should be enhanced.
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:calculator attitiudes elementary teachers high school mathematics attitudes towards calculators
Date of Publication:01/01/2008