Mathematics, according to Oxford Advanced Leaner’s Dictionary is defined as the science of number quantity and space. The dictionary explains that Arithmetic, Algebra, Trigonometry and Geometry are some of the branches of mathematics. With the above definition, it is important to know that mathematics is applicable, to all human endeavours. One can imagine the place of our growing technology, engineering, telecommunication, banking and administrations without the application of mathematics principle. The National Certificate in Education (1993) stated that mathematics had been tremendously useful in many aspects of human endeavours. Nigeria students should be taught “what mathematics is” and “how it works”. There students are expected to acquire scientific skills and concepts of organizing information, investigation, interpreting and making decisions. Such skills could only be developed through the adequate use of teaching methods in the teaching of mathematics.
Studies in mathematics education show the difficulties students have acquisition of mathematical concepts. Various studies (Akinsola, 1994, 1997), popoola, (2002) have shown that an instructional strategy is crucial to the understanding of mathematical concepts. Effective instruction requires to be outside the realm of personal experience unto the world of the learners (Brown, 1997). It is the learners who must be engaged for learning to occur, the learner is the one who must take the commitment to learn, Newman et al (1995) pointed out that for learning to be meaningful (authentic) it must be individually constructed. Learning takes place as students process, interpret and negotiate the meaning of new information. To Brown (1997), Learning is heavily influenced by the prior knowledge, values, expectations, reward and changes that shape the learning environment.
What then can we use to shape the learning environment?
How do we teach mathematics in a way that students can use it, apply it, in general work with it?
What is the appropriate didactic approach that will permit students to broaden their instrument in solving real life problems?.