Make Mathematics Interesting-Early Career Researchers Urged

A one-day capacity building workshop for early career researchers in Mathematics education has been been held for educational instructors with a call on them to make the subject interesting to students, especially females.    Prof. Markku S. Hannula, from the University of Helsinki, Finland, who made the call, said students of Finland, according to his independent research, saw the subject as very difficult and had developed hatred for it.   The workshop, on the theme “ Mathematics- related affect: From making sense to making an impact”, was organized by the Department of Basic Education and Mathematics and Information and Communication Technology Education in collaboration with the Psychology of Mathematics Education (IGPME).  He, as a result, called for the use of stories to teach mathematics to whip up the interest of girls to engage and choose mathematics.   Using qualitative analysis of  data from from his research, he cited several cases to support the argument in Finland where girls strongly dislike mathematics. “ Case of Rita: …now mathematics is quite nice, sort of . In elementary school, I didn’t like it all. (ESM 2002). Case of Helena: “ Mathematics makes me at least so anxious and agonized and distressed” (FLM 2003)”, he pointed out in his research.”   Prof. Hannula advised teachers to demystify the minds of students as regards the difficult nature of mathematics and help them understand the concept of the subject.He called on early reseachers to identify relevant issues in their society and research on them to turn the fortunes of their communities.    The Pro-Vice-Chancellor, who chaired the function, said mathematics is key to national development, adding that “Maths is one of the most dislike subjects in schools, especially basic schools”. He urged students to do away with the fear of mathematics and constantly practice the subject.   Opening the ceremony, the Provost of the College of Education, Prof. Magnus Wilmot, said the theme for the workshop was apt and offered opportunity for participants to learn from one another. He was of the hope that those in the early stages of research could bring fresh ideas to bear on current issues that would inform research agenda.