Subscribe Us

नमस्ते, यादव चन्द्र विष्टको व्यक्तिगत वेवसाइटमा तपाईंलाई हृदय देखि नै हार्दिक स्वागत छ ।

Seminar on Teaching and Learning Issues in Mathematics In the Context of Nepal



Teaching and Learning Issues in Mathematics

In the Context of Nepal





A maste's Seminar paper presented to

The Faculty of education

Department of Mathematics Education

Tirbhuvan University

In partial fulfillment

Of the requirement of the Degree of

Mathematics Education


Report submitted to: Sarala Luitel



(Yadav Chandra Bista)

Roll No. 379

Feb 2019


Seminar paper

Teaching and Learning Issues in Mathematics

In the Context of Nepal

 Classrooms in Nepal are multicultural and multilingual in general because students come to the school from different cultural and linguistic background. This context resonates with what Gates (2006) expressed, "in many parts of the world, mathematics teachers are facing the challenges of teaching in multi-ethnic and multi-lingual classrooms containing-- immigrant, indigenous, migrant, and refugee children, and if research is to be useful it has to address and help us understand such challenges" (p. 391).  We agree with Gates' opinion that mathematics classroom situation in Nepal is the same as stated above because multi-lingual and different ethnic groups have their own problems in a classroom context.  Also, we have the classroom issues related to internal refugees and migrants due to the ten-year conflict in the country and post-conflict political instability. These issues are creating challenges for us in teaching and learning mathematics. The mathematics curricula designed by experts and implemented by the government to all grade levels do not fit our culture. We teach foreign mathematics. It has been imposed upon the teachers and students. We feel that it is western mathematics that we are teaching and learning without considering the needs of students, diversity and values of our society, and norms of the eastern culture. In a similar way, Anastasiadou (2008) writes: The de facto multiculturalism (…) which now describes the Greek society, [which] continues to function with the logic of assimilation (…). In the field of education, the adoption of the policy of assimilation means that it continues to have a monolingual and monoculture approach in order that every pupil is helped to acquire competence in the dominant language and the dominant culture. (Anastasiadou 2008, p. 2) We are blindfolded to accept the imposed theories and practices without considering the richness of social and cultural diversity, geopolitical complexity, and local knowledge system.
Teaching and learning mathematics in our country (Nepal). In this paper, I discuss major issues of mathematics teaching and learning in Nepal. I have discussed theoretical issues of mathematics teaching and learning based on radical and social constructivism. The issues related to social aspects are gender issues, language issues, social justice issues, and issues related to the achievement gap. The cultural issues are related to the diversity of language and ethnicity.                              
Theoritical Issue
There are many theories and philosophies in mathematics education. Radical and social constructivisms are the two philosophies and theories that have been widely debated and discussed in the literature of mathematics education (Belbase 2014). The views of mathematics such as mathematics as a foreign subject, mathematics as a collection of symbols, mathematics as a meaningless subject, mathematics as a body of pure knowledge, and mathematics as an objective knowledge (Luitel 2009) have dominated the worldview of most of the math teachers and curriculum experts in Nepal. I would like to present some theoretical issues of radical and social constructivism of mathematics education in this section. The choice of these two dominant theories are based on contemporary debate on whether learning mathematics is an individual or social phenomenon and the nature of Nepalese social and cultural value system.  

Radical Constructivism
Theory of radical constructivism accepts that students build their concepts of what they learn through active cognitive and adaptive process. Students may give their reflection and argument about the content, process, and product in teaching and learning and they construct the knowledge of mathematics (Leo 1990). However, these phenomena are related to social and cultural adaptation of knowledge and knowing. The role of language and interactions among peers or community of practice has not been well conceived in this paradigm and the excessive focus on the individual process of knowing and constructing knowledge has created a ground for dilemma (Belbase 2014). While adopting radical constructivism, teachers try to give them adequate support in learning mathematics. However, the poor language background of the students, traditional curriculum with content focus, passive students, diversity of ethnic groups, traditional teaching method (focus on rote memorization), and assessment without focus on creation, our diverse socio-cultural context, and lack of inquiry-based teaching and learning practices are some of the major issues for implementing radical constructivism in Nepalese context.
Social Constructivism
Mathematics knowledge is constructed through social interaction. The mediation plays a significant role in learning mathematics. It focuses that child learn from other or society through active interactions and participation in activities in groups or peers. Scaffolding and guidance are necessary for learners. Vygotsky described Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) as a distance between child's ability in independent problem solving and potential ability of problem-solving with guidance (Burton 1999)
The issues from the theory of social constructivism in our context are-- our traditional curriculum, conventional assessment system, and classroom size. The objective of our curriculum does not focus on the construction of new knowledge by students or it does not encourage teachers to engage active construction of knowledge by students.
Social Issues
   In our understanding, the major social issues of teaching mathematics are issues of language, issues of gender, ethnicity, and social justice in the context of Nepal. We reflect on each of them in brief. The low educational and social background is directly and strictly related to low results (MOE 2013). 
Language Issues
  The language is not merely a means of communication, but it is also a vehicle of understanding. Students make sense or create meaning in their language. The most efficient way to Teaching and Learning Issues in Mathematics
Gender Issues
 There is an issue of differential attainment between genders. The female students may have less interest in studying mathematics beyond schools in our context. There are so many causes behind girls not liking to continue mathematics at the higher level. The parents might give less priority to the daughters, and their daughters are not getting equal opportunities as their sons
Ethnic Issues
 Another issue in Nepalese context is ethnicity. There are the different ethnic background of the students and teachers. In our context, they represent the various social classes in our mathematics classroom. But, our mathematics curricula have been designed with a preference to certain social groups over others. Therefore, mathematics education tends to favor one dominant social class over others.
Social Justice Issues
The next issue is social justice. It is necessary for educating the mathematics learners and teachers about social justice. In my opinion, when the teachers deliberate their knowledge to the students, there is a hierarchical position of the teacher and students. There is a power relation between the students and teachers. The teachers may observe the social status of students (or their families) and treat them accordingly by discriminating based on social class. The students have a different position in the classroom based on which social group do they belong to and how they present themselves in the class depends on where they come from. These are ongoing unfair practices in teaching and learning mathematics in Nepal, and these practices are the primary causes of social injustice in the classrooms (Panthi 2016).

Achievement Issues
 There is a huge gap of student achievement in mathematics across the geographical region, ethnicity, and gender (MOE 2015). The report of NASA stated that: In mathematics, the average achievement score is 57% in the private schools whereas it is 26% in the community (or public) schools. However, it is not clear whether it is due to the effectiveness of instructional processes in the institutional schools or manifestation of the disparity of socio-economic status of students in these two different school systems. (MOE 2015, p. vii)
In conclusion we already discussed different issues of teaching and learning mathematics in relation to theoretical, social, cultural, political, and technological aspects. Pointing to the problems and challenges could be an easy task whereas providing a feasible solution is a challenge for us. We would like to discuss some practical, pedagogical and curricular measures to resolve these issues in the context of Nepal. We realized that th­­ere should be more research studies to understand the nature and gravity of these issues and their impacts in teaching and learning mathematics and their consequences in general in Nepal. The discussion above might give us a glimpse of these issues and it provides some feedback to the teachers, parents, curriculum planners and policy makers about the issues related to mathematics curriculum, emergent practices and pedagogy in the teaching and learning mathematics in the context of Nepal. 

Anastasiadou, S. (2008). The effects of on the learning of statistics between Greek primary school students and immigrants. 
Panthi, R. K., & Belbase, S. (2017). Learning issues in mathematics in the context of Nepal. European Journal of Educational and Social Sciences, xx (x), xx-xx.  [Preprint]
Subedi, D. (2010). Multicultural classroom issues in the Nepalese context. Journal of Education and Research, 2, 17-25
Stacey, K., Kendal, M., & Pierce, R. (2002). Teaching with CAS in a time of transition. The International Journal of Computer Algebra in Mathematics Education, 9, 113-127.
Shrestha, K. N. (2008). Teacher development and management at secondary education in Nepal. Journal of Education and Research, 1(1), 41-50.
Powell, A., Farrar, E., & Cohen, D. (1985). The shopping mall high school: Winners and losers in the educational marketplace. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
Luitel, B. C. (2009). Culture, worldview and transformative philosophy of mathematics education in Nepal: A cultural-philosophical inquiry. Doctoral dissertation, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia. 
Curriculum Development Center (CDC). (2007). National curriculum framework for school education in Nepal. Sanothimi, Bhaktapur, Nepal: CDC.
Curriculum Development Center (CDC). (2011). Primary education curriculum. Sanothimi, Bhaktapur, Nepal: CDC.

Post a Comment