A study of training programmes for school mathematics teachers in Nigeria
This research set out to examine initial teacher training programmes for school mathematics in institutions in Nigeria with the aim of establishing their characteristics, quality and appropriateness. The focus of the study was the curricula of colleges of education and the understandings and expectations of student teachers at the terminal point of their training in these colleges. The study sought to determine: a) the characteristic features of programmes that exist in Nigeria for the initial training of school mathematics teachers; b) the differences among the training programmes; c) the relationship between the training curricula and the school mathematics curriculum in Nigeria; d) the level of understanding of school mathematics subject matter among trainees who have completed the training programmes. Data were collected and analysed from three sources to allow triangulation of findings. The first sought information from curricular provisions in initial training programmes, in terms of the knowledge components expected to be understood by a mathematics teacher. The second, a school mathematics contents test, was used to identify prospective teachers' level of understanding of school mathematics at the end of their training. The third, a questionnaire, was used to seek mathematics teacher trainers' views about the training programmes in their institutions. The research drew the following conclusions: 1) There are differences between mathematics teachers training programmes in Nigeria. The initial teacher qualifications awarded by different colleges of education cannot, therefore, be said to be of the same quality. 2) Mathematics teachers training programmes in Nigeria are not achieving their intended objectives because there are contradictions between their stated aims and the curricular provisions for training. 3) The level of understanding of subject matter by prospective teachers in Nigeria is low. Over 30% of student teachers cannot be relied upon to teach the school mathematics syllabus with confidence. 4) There is low understanding among teacher trainers of the objectives and philosophy of teacher education in Nigeria. Most teacher trainers believe that the main purpose of training is to help student teachers develop enthusiasm and intellectual ability for further mathematics. In summary, it is suggested that the curricula for training school mathematics teachers at colleges of education in Nigeria are not related to the subject matter of school mathematics nor to the needs of trainees and they need substantial revision.