The current innovation of the Philippine Basic Education Curriculum is a great demand to the teachers and education institution to produce quality education and quality students who are equipped with appropriate knowledge and ideas that will lead them to a brighter tomorrow. “No Child Left Behind” is the aim of the reform of basic education and set as the vision of the teacher to be prepared and professionally ready for the development, and to be trained in order to see different facets of students’ ability and can handle classroom management.
Furthermore, as a whole, the K to 12 science curriculum is learner-centered and inquiry-based emphasizing the use of evidence in constructing explanation. It is believed that teaching Mathematics is a complex process and needs an endeavor to make students understand the concepts and gain the body of knowledge systematically by involving and exposing one’s self to different activities. The Mathematics curriculum aims to develop students’ literacy in the application of Mathematical knowledge in their everyday life. That is why teachers must be versatile in Mathematical content and understand the nature of Mathematics and how learners gain from it.
In line with above statements, as cited by Gilakjani (2011), students learn best by seeing the value and importance of the information presented in the classroom. If the students are not interested in the material presented, they will not learn it. In order to achieve the ultimate goal of student learning it is important to use a combination of teaching methods and to make the classroom environment as stimulating and interactive as possible. Students learn in many different ways. Some students are visual learners, while others are auditory or kinaesthetic learners. Visual learners learn visually by means of charts, graphs, and pictures. Auditory learners learn by listening to lectures and reading. Kinaesthetic learners learn by doing. Students can prefer one, two, or three learning styles. Because of these different learning styles, it is important for teachers to incorporate in their curriculum activities related to each of these learning styles so that all students are able to succeed in their classes.
It is known that most teachers tend to teach in the way they were taught or in the way they preferred to learn. Sometimes conflicts might arise because of a mismatch between the teacher’s teaching style and learner’s learning styles which might have negative consequences both on the part of the learner and teacher. For this reason, as cited by Jhaish, (2010), Stebbins (1995) asserts teachers should know the general learning style profiles of the whole class, which will enable them to organize and employ instructional materials accordingly. Raising students’ awareness regarding their learning styles and strategies might make them not only more prepared for learning but also more analytic about their learning styles and the strategies they make use of Reid (1995) states that developing an understanding of learning environments and styles “will enable students to take control of their learning and to maximize their potential for learning”.
Hence, De Dios (2012) stated that the United States has a historical affinity for organizing mathematics content using a spiral curriculum, in which students revisit topics each year, allegedly extending in each grade what they have learned in the grade before. Tan (2012) as inspired by Bruner’s model of the spiral curriculum, students continually return to basic ideas as new subjects and concepts are added over the course of a curriculum, and it is done in order to solidify understanding over periodic intervals for students to learn, rather than simply memorizing equations to pass a test. She added, spiral curriculum also revolves around understanding that human cognition evolved in step-by-step process learning, which relied on environmental interaction and experience to form intuition and knowledge.
The main idea why students should learn mathematics is to develop their analytical and logical skills. Furthermore, it enhances students’ active thinking and reasoning especially in solving mathematical problems where Senior High School Mathematics is bounded. Students always find mathematics as a difficult subject but this idea can be change if a certain student has the will to learn and ready to accept challenges in mathematics and to correct misconceptions.
For instance, Wright (2014) stated that the solution of an algebra word problem (AWP) requires the creation and solution of an equation based on the problem context. Common Core State Standards in both English Language Arts and Mathematics emphasize student learning and proficiency in algebra word problem contexts. Eight factors of student mathematical ability were proposed, and three of those eight factors were studied in depth to determine their significance. Similar research supported the theory that the translation phase of the solution process presented the student with the most significant difficulty, as the natural language of the problem statement was changed into mathematical symbolism and equations. The findings of the current research suggested that additional cognitive tasks and abilities were required to obtain successful solutions to AWP, in addition to mere translation.
Investigating the knowledge of teachers as ‘learning specialists’ involves understanding how this knowledge functions in the teaching-learning process; more specifically, how teachers apply their knowledge in making decisions, for example, about lesson design or making on-the-spot judgements in the classroom. As matter of fact, the new curriculum is imbedded with the policy imperative for the teaching and learning of 21st century skills, such as problem-solving, collaboration, communication, and creativity, might entail a re-skilling of the current teacher workforce and upgrading of the knowledge base of the teaching profession. Teacher quality itself is an important factor in determining gains in student achievement. In fact, the main motive for investigating teacher knowledge is to improve student outcomes, Baumert et al. (2010). On the other hand, to improve teacher quality, it is crucial to understand what teacher professionalism involves especially in teaching Mathematics.
In the current situation, the many challenges that mathematics teachers and educators face today make mathematics teaching especially difficult. Foremost among these challenges is the amount and depth of mathematics content that teachers ought to master.
As cited by SEI-DOST & MATHTED (2011) that Mathematics teachers also find it daunting to implement some general learning strategies such as the use of cooperative learning and also to manage their students that are engaged in such learning activities. the amount and depth of content in mathematics that is available for them to learn so that they could teach good and correct mathematics to students; the varied cognitive backgrounds of students requiring a wide range of pedagogical approaches to learning mathematics; the unpredictability of students’ contexts and behavior these days that require teachers to be armed with multiple ideas for managing students, class behavior and resources; the existence of various types of technologies and their rapid advancements; the perceived disconnect between school mathematics and everyday life; their role as models of positive values and attitudes, which would carry students far in their lives and careers, and; the need to continuously develop themselves in the teaching profession.
Another situation according to Banez (2016), Senior high school core courses with their respective competencies had been crafted to attain these goals. However, the curriculum guide released by Department of Education for teaching the said course seems to be redundant as indicated in the competencies which are already taken by the students during their junior high school. Like for example, literary pedagogy calls for revisiting its contents and competencies to acknowledge relevance of the literary texts rather than their recency to comply with the standards and set of principles in the implementation of rules and regulations of the enhanced basic education act which prescribes the curriculum to be relevant, responsive, contextualized, and global, just like Mathematics too.
Significantly, according to Ballb ; Bass (2004), as cited by the Department of Science and Technology (2011), in a progressivist view, an effective curriculum is one that is relevant to students’ lives. Lessons taught in classrooms must be relevant to the students in order for them to learn. The curriculum is built around the personal experiences, interests, and needs of the students. Thus, teaching mathematics does not only mean knowing how to explain or to show how a problem is worked out. Teaching mathematics requires a deep understanding of principles and theories behind every single mathematics problem that is solved. However, more than knowing their mathematics, teachers ought to know how to lay out school mathematics content and break them down into manageable chunks of material to learn. In order to do this, mathematics teachers must know the why and how of mathematics in addition to the what of it. Mathematics teachers have the responsibility to know and understand the standards for maintaining good quality education in mathematics.
On the other side, Limjap (2010) school mathematics of the twenty first century is viewed by educators to be that which should engage a learner in problem solving and reasoning. It should also foster deep understanding and develop the learner’s critical and analytical thinking. Instruction should not be limited to plain mastery of algorithms or the development of certain mathematical skills. As modern civilization requires relentless quantification and critical evaluation of information in daily transactions, it becomes necessary to develop newer ways of thinking and reasoning that can be used to learn and do mathematical activities. Through problem solving for instance, we acquire a functional understanding of mathematics needed to cope with the demands of society.