Group Learning, Gender, Mathematical Ability and Students' Mapwork Skills

By Amosun, Peter A. | Ife Psychologia, March 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Group Learning, Gender, Mathematical Ability and Students' Mapwork Skills


Amosun, Peter A., Ife Psychologia


Geography is a science that homes all other sciences and all other occurrences on the earth. Actually, the jurisdiction of geography could be located as physical and cultural or human features that are positioned on earth and the whole universe. The interesting part, and what actually makes geography unique is that it describes, explains and analyses with maps. Geography even at all levels of education makes use of maps to convey important points, to elicit information and many more. It is this map that has come to form part of the sections that is compulsory for students to attempt in their final examination in Geography at the senior secondary school in Nigeria. However, literature is replete with the fact that students have been not doing well in mapwork. Studies have shown that students fail geography as a subject because of mapwork. And it was revealed that students do not like mapwork because their contents are mathematical in nature. Students therefore avoid attempting the questions, or when they do they answered them incorrectly(Amosun, 2012;M ansaaray and Ajiboye,1994;Amosun,1994) The chief examiners reports of West African Examinations Council(WAEC)over the years have reported all around the same problem which students face while trying to attempt mapwork questions in geography. The recent common comments reflect that students are not able to draw map outlines, performed poorly in practical geography, incorrect interpretation of the scale of the map, avoidance of questions involving calculations (WAEC, 2011, 2012 and 2013).

From the above, it shows there is a problem to be addressed. However, literature has not left us without seeming solution to this problem. Studies have shown that teaching and learning of mapwork need to be approached using some other methods different from what we have in our classrooms in Nigeria. It has been said that our teachers are busy using teacher-centered methods while prescribed methods and strategies psychologists and researchers are not known to them. One of such strategies that has been suggested to better help students learn mapwork and mapwork skills is group learning.(Amosun,2002 and 2012)Group learning is now popular. This may not be unconnected with the fact that democracy, which has the principle of unity in diversity, cooperation, interdependence and some other key attributes intrinsically embedded in it, is spreading very fast the world over. This, therefore, seems to have led to a serious revolution in our classroom teaching and learning at all levels of education not only in the advanced countries but also in the developing countries of the world. However, while it is fashionable in the advanced countries to use a variant of group learning strategies, it is scarcely and sparsely used in our classrooms in Africa nations, especially in Nigeria.

Group learning strategies (cooperative, mastery learning, team learning, collaborative learning and other forms of group learning) are not new; they are as old as the history of man on earth and research on cooperative, competitive and individualistic learning itself. Eve in the Holy Bible was probably created for purpose of interdependence, and the biblical rebellion of Tower of Babel is a practical example of cooperation(Amosun,2002, 2012)It becomes more necessary in our classrooms because of the prevalence of democracy and all forms of emerging issues, with some of them being controversial, which demands that teachers,who by their call, as nation builders, must of necessity seek out better ways of teaching and learning so that learners are fully prepared to face the challenges of emerging and controversial issues and situations in our world . Johnson and Johnson (1989) in their review of group learning, reveal that the first research study came about in 1898, and since that time nearly 600 experimental studies and over 100 correlational studies have been conducted, and that results have shown over time that these studies have always been positive. …

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