Background of the Study
Mathematics plays a great role in the development of science and technology in Nigeria and beyond. It has been conceptualized as a culture which affords man the opportunity to know, access things and objects within his immediate and remote environment (Harbor-Peters, 2000). It forms the basic ingredients to the understanding of science and technology (Ibraheem & Ogunnusi, 2001). Different schools of thought have different definitions of Mathematics such as Peirce (1881) defined Mathematics as “the science that draws necessary conclusions”. Russell (1903) defined Mathematics “as symbolic logic”. Curry (1951) defined mathematics simply as “the science of formal system”. Maliki, Mgban and Julie (2009), see Mathematics as a subject that affects all aspects of human life at different degrees. The social, economic, political, geographical, scientific and technological aspects of man are centered on numbers. The importance of Mathematics does not only lie in its contributions to scientific and technological development but also in its utility in day-to-day interactions at the market places, transportations, business of all sorts by both literate and illiterate members of the society. The researcher defined Mathematics as a science of measurement which plays a great role in the development of mental activity. Despite the importance placed on Mathematics, researchers (Amazigo, 2000, Agwagah, 2001, Betiku, 2001, Obioma, 2005, Maduabum and Odili, 2006, Okereke, 2006) had observed that students lack interest in the subject and perform poorly in it. The observed poor achievement of students in junior secondary school Mathematics has been a matter for serious concern to all well meaningful scholars (maliki et al, 2009). Students’ poor achievement in Mathematics over the years might have been as a result of many factors such as teacher factor, students’ factor, lack of students’ engagement in the subject, among others. Betiku (2001) observed that Mathematics is one of the subjects that are most poorly taught, widely hated and students, particularly girls, run away from the subject. All these affect the achievement of students, especially in the Basic Education Certificate Examination (see Appendix A, page 120.). It is obvious that the teacher plays a dominant role in establishing the classroom learning environment (Betiku, 2001). According to Betiku, few studies have examined the extent to which the environment is associated with teacher behaviors, background traits or personality characteristics. Betiku asserted that Mathematics teachers should create a learning environment that could promote classroom discourse in which students listen to, respond to and question the teacher and one another. As a result, the teacher plays important roles in creating the constructive learning environments which could help students to achieve best performances and meaningful learning experiences. Many factors inhibit the teaching and learning of Mathematics in schools such as: effective teaching, disruptive behavior, classroom management, lack of students’ engagement in Mathematics activities, among others.
Statement of the Problem
Classroom learning environment plays a vital role in the academic achievement of students. An adequate classroom environment is an environment capable of producing desirable and more predictable students’ behavior. Conducive classroom environment promotes students’ learning outcomes. Students learn better when they perceive their classroom more positively. Enough attention has not been focused on classroom environment as one of the determinants of teaching and learning of Mathematics in schools. However, there is paucity of research information on the instrument for assessing Mathematics classroom learning environment in the junior secondary schools in Nigeria. There is therefore the need to assess the appropriateness of the environment for Mathematics instruction since it influences the effectiveness of teachers and students in the classroom. Therefore, the problem of this study put in question form is: what type of instrument can be developed and validated for assessing junior secondary school Mathematics classroom environment in Enugu State of Nigeria?