Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Effects of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy and Emotional Intelligence on Mathematics Anxiety of In-School Adolescents in Owerri Municipal Nigeria

Academic journal article European Journal of Sustainable Development

Effects of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy and Emotional Intelligence on Mathematics Anxiety of In-School Adolescents in Owerri Municipal Nigeria

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The attainment of basic knowledge and competence in the application of mathematical skills by individuals and students in any nation is germane to the enhancement of national development, scientific and technological advancement. Nigeria is not an exception in this context. However, the expended effort in the teaching of mathematics at the senior secondary school level as a buffer to the attainment of mathematics competence appears to be a mirage as many students experience apprehension and fear when dealing with numerical information (Okoiye & Falaye, 2011). Thus, despite its importance and applications in everyday life, mathematics is often considered a difficult subject.

Research has demonstrated that many students have learning difficulties and show poor performance in mathematics. One of the attributed reasons is the anxiety that an individual may have towards mathematics. In support of this assertion is Okoiye and Falaye (2011) report of the fact that mathematics anxiety seems like a benign problem to some people, but it can be potentially serious when it leads to high levels of distress and academic failure in otherwise capable students. They further posit that mathematics anxiety serves as stress, tension and strain that interfere with the proper functioning of an individual's body and mind considering the fact that it is accompanied by feeling of helplessness because the anxious person feels blocked and unable to find a solution to his problem. This implies that some Nigerian secondary school students due to mathematics anxiety could experience strain and stress that might impair their cognitive and intellectual ability when it comes to seeking solution to mathematical task.

This basically characterize the academic challenges faced by senior secondary school students in the present day Nigeria contemporary society as revealed by their consistent abysmal performance in mathematics subject in WAEC and NECO from 2008-2012, presented as thus; in 2008, only 13.76 per cent of 1,369,142 had credit pass in Mathematics; In 2009 NECO/GCE examinations, only 1.8 per cent of 236, 613 that sat for the examinations across 1,708 centers had credit pass Mathematics. In the same year, candidates who sat for SSCE did not do better. Out of 1,373,009 candidates, only 25.99 per cent had credit pass in Mathematics. Also out of 1,184,907 candidates that sat for May/June 2009 NECO, only 10.68 per cent had credit pass in Mathematics. Also, in June/July 2010 Secondary School Certificate Examination conducted by NECO, 24 per cent failed Mathematics. In NECO June/July 2011 SSCE school-based examination, less than 25 per cent of the 1,160,561 candidates had credit pass in Mathematics across the country. 2011 Nov/Dec (GCE) NECO results recorded a mere 11.3 per cent credit pass in Mathematics. Furthermore, only 38.81 per cent of 1,695,878million candidates that sat for the May/June 2012 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), obtained credit pass in Mathematics (ADESULU, 2012). This trend calls for concern among stakeholders and the need for prompt intervention to remedy the situation, which is the focus of this study.

Mathematics anxiety is a phenomenon that is often considered when examining students' problems in mathematics considering the fact that Mathematics anxiety is clearly an impediment to mathematics achievement (Ashcraft & Ridley, 2005; National Mathematics Advisory Panel, 2008). Many students who suffer from mathematics anxiety have little confidence in their ability to do mathematics and tend to take the minimum numbers of required mathematics task, which has greatly limited their career choice options (Garry 2005). Thus, across a number of studies, individuals high in mathematics anxiety have been shown to perform more poorly than their low mathematics anxious peers on a range of numerical and mathematical tasks, from counting objects and comparing numbers (Maloney, Ansari, & Fugelsang, 2011; Maloney, Risko, Ansari, & Fugelsang, 2010) to more complex arithmetic problems involving carrying. …

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