Attitudes, gender and socio-economic status as correlates of mathematical creativity of secondary students in Uganda
Sholy, Joseph Johny
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the correlation of attitude towards mathematics, gender and socio-economic status with the mathematical creativity of the secondary students in Central Uganda. It also aims at exploring what students have to say about their learning, mathematical creativity and attitude towards mathematics in the Ugandan secondary schools. We must try to develop mathematical creativity in all children so that they may excel in their fields of interest and can lead the nations in progress. Excellence in mathematical creativity requires equity, high expectations and strong support for all students. Mathematics educators hold the view that mathematical creativity is something that all students can develop if stimulated and assisted in the right kinds of learning environments. This study dealt with secondary school students of Uganda. Three districts namely Kampala, Wakiso and Mpigi were selected for the study. Among the secondary students nine hundred and eighty one S-3 students participated in the study. Fluency, flexibility and originality are the selected components of mathematical creativity. The three selected components for attitude towards mathematics are confidence in mathematics, motivation in mathematics and anxiety in mathematics. This study used four instruments namely mathematical creativity test, socioeconomic status scale, interview schedule and students attitude towards mathematics inventory. The quantitative analysis of the study revealed that components of mathematical creativity like fluency, flexibility and originality are significantly different for high and low attitude towards mathematics students. The study also found that there are significant gender differences in mathematical creativity. Male students scored more on mathematical creativity than female students. Mathematical creativity differs significantly for high and low socio economic status students, high socio economic status students scoring higher for mathematical creativity. The interviews with the students revealed that students from different SES have different classroom environment, learning methods and home conditions. Teaching methods and teacher inspirations also were different. This contributed to wide differences in mathematical creativity among the secondary students in Uganda. Teachers should give practices to children so that their divergent thinking abilities can be developed. Projects, challenging questions and open-ended questions are some effective techniques to enhance divergent thinking. Irrespective of the socio economic background of the students, they should be given rich experiences in the class-room. Teachers should adopt appropriate teaching methods and strategies that actively involve learners. They should communicate and effectively interact with students to build confidence in the subject and thereby develop proper attitude towards the subject.