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Introduction

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Bibliography

Bradley, J. R., Notar, C. E., Herring, D. F., & Eady, C. K. (2008). Teaching

Mathematics to Elementary Using A Variety of Tools. Asian Social

Science, 4(4).

Chua, Q. (2010). Noy aquinos blueprint for education part II. Philippine

Daily Inquirer. Retrieved January 24, 2016, from

http://www.liberalparty.org.ph/LP2010/Welcome/Entries/2010/5/2

4_Noy_Aquino%E2%80%99s_blueprint_for_education__part_II.html

Culaste, I. C. (2011, December). Cognitive Skills of Mathematical

Problem Solving of Grade 6 Children. International Journal of

Innovative Interdisciplinary Research. Retrieved January 24,

2016, from http://www.auamii.com/jiir/Vol-01/issue01/X12.Culaste.pdf

Department of Education. (2012). DepEd Order No. 31, s. 2012. Policy

Guidelines on the implementation of of Grades 1 to 10 of the K to

12 Basi education Curriculum (BEC) Effective School Year 20122013. Pasig City, Philippines.

Department of Education. (2013, December). K to 12 Curriculum Guide

MATHEMATICS. Pasig City, Philippines.

Ediger, M. (2001). Motivating pupils to learn in mathematics. ERIC

Document Reproducible Service No. ED449038.

Ganal, N. N., & Guiab, M. R. (2014, October). Problems and Difficulties

Encountered by Students Towards Mastering Learning

Competencies in Mathematics. Journal of Arts, Science &

Commerce, 5(4). Retrieved January 24, 2016, from

http://www.researchersworld.com/vol5/issue4/Paper_03.pdf

Pedro, L. A., Navales, M. A., & Josue, F. T. (2004). Improving Analyzing

Skills of Primary Students Using A Problem Solving Strategy.

Journal of Science and Mathematics Education in S.E. Asia, 27(1).

Retrieved January 24, 2016, from

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?

q=cache:http://www.recsam.edu.my/R

%26D_Journals/YEAR2004/jour04no.1/33-53.pdf

Phonapichat, P., Wongwanich, S., & Sujiva, S. (2014). An Analysis of

Elementary School Students Difficulties in Mathematical Problem

Solving. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 116.

Retrieved January 24, 2016, from

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S187704281400

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Schorr, R. Y., & Koellner-Clark, K. (2003). Using a modeling approach to

analyze the ways in which teachers consider new ways to teach

mathematics. Mathematical Thinking and Learning, 191-210.

Steedly, K., Dragoo, K., Arefeh, S., & Luke, S. D. (2008). Effective

Mathematics Instruction. Evidence for Education, 3(1). Retrieved

http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/math/

Ufuktepe, U., & Ozel, C. T. (2002). Avoiding mathematics trauma:

Alternative teaching methods. International Conference on the

Teaching of Mathematics. Creete, Greece: ERIC Documents

Reproduction Service No. ED477833.

Wakefield, A. P. (2001). Teaching young children to think about math.

Principal, 26-29.

Yetkin, E. (2003). Student Difficulties in Learning Elementary

Mathematics. ERIC Clearinghouse for Science Mathematics and

Environmental Education. Retrieved January 24, 2016, from

http://www.ericdigests.org/2004-3/learning.html

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