Strategies to improve the teaching and learning of building mathematics at Cape Coast Polytechnic

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Building Mathematics was being taught by only the traditional lecture method. By this method the lecturer only gives out note with a little explanation and then gives the students some references. The problem with this method alone is that, students find it very difficult to ask questions in the lecture room due to the tension in class. In this action research, the researcher tried to solve this problem (i.e. the inability of students to asking questions), or at least find a partial solution, by introducing the Tutorial method, the Field trip method and the Dalton Plan as part of his teaching strategies. The researcher used the first year building technology class for his research. A pre-test was conducted, based on the pre-requisite topics for Building Mathematics. The results showed that most of the students lacked knowledge in the pre-requisite topics for the Building Mathematics. These results were then used to group the class into the ‘Weaker’ group and the ‘Stronger’ group. It was also realised that due to the tension during Building Mathematics classes, most students did not concentrate or contribute in class. With the introduction of the Tutorial and the Dalton Plan, the tension that existed initially was reduced since the students were the main contributors to the whole session. After the class had been divided into the two groups comprising ‘weaker’ students and ‘stronger’ students, initial results from the tutorial exercises, mid-semester and end of semester examinations showed a wide gap between these two groups. After introducing, the new teaching and learning strategies like the Dalton Plan, the Tutorial method and the Field trip method, their results improved to show that the weaker students had improved. The researcher therefore used the combination of the Lecture, the Dalton Plan, the Tutorial and the Field trip methods to solve the problem. He also recommends the above teaching methods to anybody facing the same problem stated above. For further research based on this problem, the researcher advises that the syllabus should be revised to incorporate the pre-requisite topics like Trigonometry, Simultaneous equations, Surds, Indices, and Logarithms, into the syllabus.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts degree, 2001