The Detrimental Effects of Mathematics Morning Mental Teaching Methods in Africa: A Call for Reform

The Educate Africa Institute (EAI) has identified the prevailing “morning mental” teaching method in mathematics education as a significant contributor to poor academic performance and dwindling interest in the subject among students. This approach, which involves rapid questioning and punitive measures for incorrect responses, creates a high-pressure environment that is detrimental to learning.

The morning mental teaching method aims to enhance students’ quick-thinking abilities and reinforce their knowledge. However, its execution is flawed due to the inadequate time allowed for students to process questions and formulate answers. This rushed approach leads to anxiety, confusion, and a superficial grasp of mathematical concepts. Furthermore, the use of physical punishment as a response to incorrect answers exacerbates the problem, fostering a negative association with the subject.

Research conducted by the EAI highlights several key issues with this approach:

  1. Increased anxiety and fear of punishment discourage students from participating actively in lessons.
  2. The high-pressure environment and threat of physical punishment create a climate of fear rather than one conducive to learning.
  3. Without adequate time to understand and internalize mathematical concepts, students develop a shallow understanding that hinders their long-term academic growth.
  4. The negative experiences associated with mathematics lead to a general disinterest in the subject, resulting in fewer students pursuing it at higher levels of education.

To address these issues, the EAI recommends a shift towards more supportive and effective teaching methods, including:

  1. Allowing adequate think time for students to process questions and develop thoughtful answers.
  2. Using positive reinforcement to motivate students and create a supportive learning environment.
  3. Incorporating interactive teaching techniques, such as group discussions, hands-on activities, and real-world problem-solving, to make mathematics more engaging and relevant.
  4. Providing teachers with ongoing training in modern, student-centered teaching practices to help them adopt more effective instructional strategies.

In conclusion, the morning mental teaching method, as currently practiced, is failing African students by creating an environment of fear and superficial learning. The EAI’s findings underscore the urgent need for change. By adopting more supportive and thoughtful teaching methods, educators can foster a love of mathematics, encourage deeper understanding, and ultimately improve academic outcomes.

Source: William Boadi
Executive Director, Educate Africa Institute (EAI), Educationist, Political Analyst, and Social Worker
EAI: Promoting Quality Education

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