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I.

Introduction

Mathematics is an important subject being taught at school. It is one of the core


subjects that are necessary for the students to learn in order to build a strong academic
foundation which they can use in their studies and daily lives.
In more specific terms, understanding mathematics is vital as it helps people develop
critical thinking and analytical skills which can be used not only in studies and career
progression but also in solving real-life math problems and situations. It gives deeper and
more concrete insights about what is happening in the surroundings.
With this fact, a strong foundation about the subject is necessary as it will be a great
factor on how people can use it in the future. This is also the reason why Mathematics, as
a subject, is given emphasis in the implementation of the K to 12 Basic Education
Curriculum in the Philippines, even in the primary level.
According to DepEd Order No. 31, S. 2012, Elementary Mathematics covers basic
concepts and ideas, skills and processes on numbers and number-sense on geometry,
measurement, patterns and algebra, probability and statistics as enlist, using appropriate
technology in critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning, communicating, making
connections, representations, and decisions in real life.
Nonetheless, although the Department of Education is pushing for a more
comprehensive and in-depth teaching and learning of mathematics in the grassroots level,
the implementation and achievement of the learning objectives are the challenging parts.
Generally speaking, many students even in the primary level see math as a difficult
subject. Some students tend to hate numbers while some show no interest on learning

about it at all. Thus, in todays society, learning and being above average in mathematics
seems to be more of an in-born talent rather than a learned and acquired skill.
There are many factors that affect childrens learning habits towards Mathematics as
well as other considerations such as the environment and other forms of distractions.
These form part of the challenge posted for Mathematics teachers who are required to
develop strategies to engage students and make them not only listen about the lessons but
also become capable of applying it in real life.
Hence, the researcher, being an elementary Math teacher who also experiences the
same dilemma, deems it necessary to make an action research that will help determine
strategies that will be useful and effective in making the students enjoy and learn
mathematic easily. The study will focus on the Grade III students of Batangas City South
Elementary School which the researcher currently handles.
The results of this study and the action plan shall be beneficial for the Math teachers
of the school and other Government-run Elementary schools as it will provide a great
insight and understanding about the effective strategies that can be used for the students
to learn Mathematics easier especially on the primary level.
II.

Background

Grade III Ipil of Batangas City South Elementary School is currently composed of
41 pupils. The students ages are between seven- to eight-years old with the exemption of
one student who is aged 16 due to late education. This said pupil is currently taking ALS
while enrolled as a grade 3 student.
The said class is a Star section thus, they are considered to be the second most
intellectual grade 3 section in the Batangas City South Elementary School.

However, despite this status, the students seem to have difficulties in their
Mathematics subject as evident in their last major examination.
The observed difficulties, nonetheless, might root from their study habits. Most of the
students on the section do not have the initiative of solving for the answer and are merely
listening about the lesson. Hence, the students cannot apply the lessons on Math
problems which resulted to the students asking to repeat the discussion.
It has also been observed that the students do not have the motivation to learn because
they look at Mathematics as a difficult subject. This stigma led them to interact and talk
with their classmates instead of focusing in the lesson.
Another factor that might have affected the students interest in learning Mathematics
is the use of technology. Although it is definitely helpful, the students tend to rely on
using calculators in solving problems instead of doing it using their papers and pencil.
Hence, this defeats the purpose of the subject of developing the students number-sense
as well as critical and analytic thinking.
Most of the students are also poor in comprehending the problems presented even
though the medium used is in the mother-tongue as prescribed in the K to 12 curriculum.
The environment also easily distracts them added with the fact that the students do not
understand the importance of important Mathematics in their daily lives.
III.

Related Literature and Studies

Among the many articles reviewed in the conduct of the study, the researcher focused
specifically on articles which discuss the context of mathematics in the Philippines,
factors which affects students learning of mathematics, as well as solutions and strategies
implemented in order to increase the effectiveness of teaching and learning mathematics.

All the articles reviewed also give emphasis on the elementary level which covers the
participants of the study.
Mathematics in the K to 12 Education
The implementation of the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum in the Philippines
has given a more concise and specific description for the key learning areas, including
mathematics.
As stated by the K to 12 Curriculum Guide: Mathematics by the Department of
Education (2013), the goals of mathematics from kinder to grade 10 are critical thinking
and problem solving. Thus, the specific skills and processes to be developed are: knowing
and understanding; estimating, computing and solving; visualizing and modelling;
representing and communicating; conjecturing, reasoning, proving and decision-making;
and applying and connecting.
Moreover, the

Department also mentioned the theories that form the foundation

of learning mathematics such as Experiential and Situated Learning; Reflective Learning;


Constructivism; Cooperative Learning, and; Discovery and Inquiry-based Learning.
In terms of content, the guide indicated that mathematics shall include Numbers and
Number Sense, Measurement, Geometry, Patterns & Algebra and Statistics and
Probability.
For the Grade 3 level, however, the focus is on Numbers and number sense which is
defined as a strand that includes concepts of numbers, properties, operations, estimation,
and their applications.
The same guide emphasized the key stage standard for the level. Hence, at the end of
Grade 3, the learner shall be able to demonstrate understanding and appreciation of key

concepts and skills involving numbers and number sense (whole numbers up to 10,000
and the four fundamental operations including money, ordinal numbers up to 100th, basic
concepts of fractions); measurement (time, length, mass, capacity, area of square and
rectangle); geometry (2-dimensional and 3-dimensional objects, lines, symmetry, and
tessellation); patterns and algebra (continuous and repeating patterns and number
sentences); statistics and probability (data collection and representation in tables,
pictographs and bar graphs and outcomes)as applied -using appropriate technology - in
critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning, communicating, making connections,
representations, and decisions in real life.
Problems in Learning Mathematics
It is commonly accepted that Mathematics is difficult, obscure, and is of little
interest to people. However, there have been studies that show how such idea about the
subject has been generated.
In a study conducted by Phonapichat, Wongwanich, and Sujiva (2014) regarding the
difficulties of elementary students in mathematical problem solving, they found out
several problems students face when it comes to mathematics specifically in problem
solving, such as the inability to understand keywords and interpret the problems in
mathematical sentences; inability to figure out what to assume and what information from
the problem is necessary to solve it; tendency to guess the answer when they do not
understand the problem; impatience which lead to not fully reading or understanding the
mathematical problem, as well as; lack of interest in reading long problems.

Meanwhile, according to Yetkin (2003), the students difficulties in learning


mathematics roots from the difficulty in learning written symbols as well as mathematical
concepts and procedures.
Yetkin explained that standard written symbols play an important role in student
learning of mathematics, but students may experience difficulties in constructing
mathematical meanings of symbols. Students derive meaning for the symbols from either
connecting with other forms of representations (e.g. physical objects, pictures and spoken
language) or establishing connections within the symbol systems.
Moreover, in learning about mathematical concepts and procedures, Yetkin
highlighted that students learn new mathematical concepts and procedures by building on
what they already know. In other words, learning with understanding can be viewed as
making connections or establishing relationships either within existing knowledge or
between existing knowledge and new information. However, students have difficulty
learning elementary mathematics because students are often discouraged from using their
informal knowledge.
The problem in Mathematical learning in the elementary level is also present in the
Philippine education system. The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on May 23, 2010
that in the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, the Philippines
ranked near the bottom, third from the bottom among 25 countries in the fourth grade and
fifth from the bottom among 45 countries in the eighth grade.
Ganal and Guiab (2014) added that there were alarming studies which indicate that
even though Filipino students excel in knowledge acquisition, they perform considerably
low in lessons requiring higher order thinking skills.

Furthermore, from the International Mathematics Olympiad, details showed that the
Philippines ranked 79th out of 82 countries in 2003 and 80th out of 85 countries in 2004.
Based on the possible maximum points of 225, China got the highest score of 220 points,
Vietnam 126, Thailand 9, and the Philippines 16 points. It is disturbing that Filipinos are
found lacking in the ability of basic mathematics (Ganal & Guiab, 2014).
In the study by Pedro, Navales, & Josue (2004) about improving the analyzing skills
of elementary students, they found out that the poor analyzing skills of their participants
are due to the traditional way of teaching which include discussing, demonstrating, and
doing seatwork/boardwork as well as homework which then provides minimal
participation of students thereby limiting the development of the students power of
thinking.
This is followed by few hands-on and minds-on activities that would enable students
to explore, discover, and make conjectures and reason logically.
Mathematical discourse is also nearly absent in the classroom. Most often, the
instruction is focused on finding the correct answer. Hence, the students are not trained to
think. There is also the lack of teaching materials that allow students to pursue
exploration and investigations.
A study by Culaste (2011), on the other hand, found that primary students in
Bukidnon have difficulties in terms of numerical comprehension, simple linguistic
sentences, contextual information, mental visualization, number system knowledge,
relevant information, number sense estimation, and procedural calculation but their
symbol comprehension skill was at the average level.
Strategies in teaching Mathematics effectively

Nonetheless, with the fact that the problem of learning mathematics is common,
there have been a lot of studies concerning the ways on how math can be taught
effectively.
Ediger (2001) proposes that teaching mathematics requires the securing of pupils
attention, having pupils understand what is taught, guiding pupils to perceive reasons for
learning and sequencing learning opportunities in the teaching of mathematics. Wakefield
(2001), meanwhile, gives three principles a teacher should consider when teaching
mathematics. These principles are Encourage children to think, Encourage children to
think about thinking, and Encourage representations of thinking.
Steedly et.al (2008), meanwhile, pointed that there are four methods of instruction in
Mathematics that show the most promise, including systematic and explicit instruction,
self-instruction, peer-tutoring, and visual representation.
Systematic and explicit instruction is a detailed instructional approach in which
teachers guide students through a defined instructional sequence. Within systematic and
explicit instruction students learn to regularly apply strategies that effective learners use
as a fundamental part of mastering concepts.
In self-instruction, students learn to manage their own learning with specific
prompting or solution-oriented questions. Meanwhile, peer tutoring is described as an
approach that involves pairing students together to learn or practice an academic task.
Lastly, visual representation involves the use of manipulatives, pictures, number
lines, and graphs of functions and relationships to teach mathematical concepts. (Steedly,
Dragoo, Arefeh, & Luke, 2008)

However, Schorr and Koellner-Clark (2003) suggest that even though students may
be allowed to engage the tactile mode with the use of manipulatives, elementary math
students do not necessarily make the intuitive leap allowing them to connect the concrete
items with the symbolic meaning of the objective process. Hence, the said authors
propose a multi-tiered program that encourages teachers to reflect upon their own
mathematical concepts and to discuss these with a group of peers before planning a
mathematics lesson. Through this practice, the teacher will be able to engage colleagues,
some of whom are master teachers, in exploring different ways of relating the
mathematics objectives to the students in their school.
Ufuktepe and Ozel (2002) added to the theory of Schorr and Koellner-Clark,
suggesting the integration of music and drama with concrete manipulatives. In their
study, the authors found that the employment of music and drama with traditional
mathematical instruction not only reduced math anxiety but also improved student
performance on unit tests.
An action-research by Bradley et.al (2008) used the aforementioned suggestions on
their study and concluded that use of a variety of instructional strategies and tools for
teaching mathematics in grades K-5 including carefully-planned units that include
manipulatives, explicit instruction, music, narratives, small group, partner learning, peer
tutoring, and parental involvement, from kindergarten through fifth grade, definitely
influence student interest, enjoyment, and ultimately, test scores.
IV.

The Problem

The Grade III-Ipil students of Batangas City South Elementary School has been
observed to perform poorly in their Mathematics class specifically on the area of number

and number sense on the topic of measurement of time and conversion. Hence, this study
was conducted in order to determine strategies that can be used to teaching the topic
effectively.
Specifically, this action-research sought to answer the following questions.
1. What is the current grasp/status of the students towards their Math Subject,
specifically in the measurement and conversion of time?
2. What are the common difficulties experienced by the students when it comes to
the Math subject, specifically in the measurement and conversion of time?
3. What possible teaching methods and strategies can be used in order to help the
students easily learn Mathematics and apply it?
4. What are the notable differences from the performance of the students before and
V.

after the implementation of new teaching methods and strategies?


Scope of the Action-research

The study primarily focuses on the 41 students from the Grade III-Ipil Section of
Batangas City South Elementary School. The study will give emphaisis on the
identification of strategies that can be used in order to make learning Mathematics easier
for the said students.
The study will also highlight a specific topic which is the measurement and
conversion of time which is included in the key stage standard for Grade III students set
by the department of Education in line with the K to 12 Basic education curriculum.
Hence, performance of the student on other topics in the subject shall not be included.

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