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Problems of Mathematics Teachers in Teaching Mathematical Content Online in Nepal

Authors:
  • Mahendra Ratna Campus Tahachal Tribhuvan University Nepal

Abstract

The study aimed to explore the problems of teachers in teaching mathematical contents through the online mode during COVID-19 in Nepal. A cross-sectional survey study was carried out among 415 mathematics teachers from basic school to the university level. A self-constructed questionnaire was administered online, and the data were analyzed using the t-test, ANOVA, and the hierarchical multiple regression. The result shows that Algebra, Statistics, Vectors, Geometry, and Analysis are problematic areas for teachers teaching mathematics online. The institution types, ICT training status, and years of using the laptop by teachers at the secondary level were found to be the key factors determining the problem of mathematical content teaching during online instruction although the level of problems varied with respect to the teachers' age and experience at the university level.
DOI: 10.4018/IJVPLE.312845

Volume 12 • Issue 1
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*Corresponding Author
1



Bishnu Khanal, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3304-7695
Dirgha Raj Joshi, Tribhuvan University, Nepal*
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1437-6661
Krishna Prasad Adhikari, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4530-2147
Jeevan Khanal, Nepal Open University, Nepal
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2430-4239

The study aimed to explore the problems of teachers in teaching mathematical contents through the
online mode during COVID-19 in Nepal. A cross-sectional survey study was carried out among 415
mathematics teachers from basic school to the university level. A self-constructed questionnaire was
administered online, and the data were analyzed using the t-test, ANOVA, and the hierarchical multiple
regression. The result shows that Algebra, Statistics, Vectors, Geometry, and Analysis are problematic
areas for teachers teaching mathematics online. The institution types, ICT training status, and years of
using the laptop by teachers at the secondary level were found to be the key factors determining the
problem of mathematical content teaching during online instruction although the level of problems
varied with respect to the teachers’ age and experience at the university level.

Mathematical Content, Mathematics, Nepal, Online Instruction, Problems

To address the institutional closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic educational institutions in
Nepal instantly transferred their instructional activities in the virtual mode without enough planning
and preparation. As a result, teachers faced various problems in working in the online environment
instead of the face-to-face mode of instruction. In the online environment, the teacher needs the skills
of online pedagogy and use of digital resources. Particularly, the mathematics teacher requires some
additional skills to digitalize mathematical contents because of the complicated symbols, figures, and
graphs in mathematics. In this context, this study provides new knowledge regarding the problems
faced by mathematics teachers teaching diverse contents of mathematics online. Additionally, this
study shows the status of problems of mathematics teachers in teaching mathematical content online

Volume 12 • Issue 1
2
which supports policy makers, trainers, and other stakeholders in identifying the problems and
designing new programs to enhance digital pedagogical skills of teachers. This study is limited to
the COVID-19 pandemic situation. However, it is equally applicable to a similar crisis in the future.
Furthermore, many countries have practice of the blended mode of instruction hence the findings
will also be applicable to the normal situation. Besides this, the content of mathematics is almost
similar in other countries, hence this study is significant globally.
A few studies focus on the delivery of mathematical content via the online teaching such as
mathematical tools (Khirwadkar et al., 2020), synchronous and asynchronous modes of instruction,
particularly during pandemics (Barton, 2020), teaching-learning issues in mathematics (Panthi et al.,
2021; Iwuanyanwu, 2021) and the challenges faced by the learners (Dhakal, 2022; Ghimire & Khanal,
2021). A few recent studies emphasize the ‘remote learning’ (Treceñe, 2022) or ‘distance learning’
(Khusanov et al., 2022) on ‘promoting equity’ (Iyer et al., 2022) in virtual classes and ‘inclusive
assessment’ as a formative evaluation at school and university education during the COVID-19
pandemic. The literature focuses on comprehensive topics regarding the virtual mode of instruction
at a particular teaching level and largely ignores the difficulties in teaching mathematical content
online. There is lack of literature on teachers’ experiences from schools to universities in teaching
mathematical content through online particularly during COVID-19 pandemic in the context of the
developing countries. The aim of this study, therefore, was to capture the experiences of problems
arising from teaching mathematical content and factors influencing teaching mathematics online,
which is a novel practice. Scholars around the world should be thoughtful, sensitive and careful for
the settlement of such issues because some content in mathematics could not properly fit teaching
online. Thus, this study is guided by the following research questions.
1. What is the mathematical content that teachers feel problematic during online instruction?
2. What are the factors that influence mathematics teachers on mathematical content instruction online?
We consider the challenges in pedagogical shift during COVID-19, mathematic content in Nepal,
teaching mathematics contents online followed by methodological approach including study setting,
sample and sampling techniques, instrument, variable information, and data analysis. Then we have
presented the results, discussion, and conclusion of the study.

As a result of the pandemic, schools and universities were compelled to shift from the face-to-face to the
online delivery (Dayagbil et al., 2021). All the universities in Nepal started online teaching learning during
the lockdown (Dawadi et al., 2020). The online teaching involves replacing the face-to-face interaction
with a virtual platform (Rajab et al., 2020). This was also true about mathematics. The technology could
be supportive and effective for tutoring mathematical modeling, formulae, figures, and algorithms (Miao
et al., 2014), but teachers require to have skills of using digital resources for the instructional design and
the delivery of lessons (UNESCO, 2016). Thus, the transformation in teaching and learning activities
cannot be expected without competent teachers to integrate technologies in teaching-learning activities
(Zabolotska et al., 2021). Lifestyle, availability of digital tools and personal competency of teachers
of using digital tools are contributing largely to the optimal online teaching of mathematics (Cortez,
2020) and blended e-learning (Umoh & Akpan, 2014), indicating that teachers should be resourceful
and skillful in technological contexts (Long et al., 2021; Sánchez-Cruzado et al., 2021) and in using
such resources (Hoyos, 2012). Technological resources, digital awareness, and pedagogy for teaching
mathematics online might be different in distance learning (Kamsurya, 2020) and poor integration of
digital resources and pedagogy can create a negative attitude towards mathematical problem solving
(Boruah, 2018; Di Pietro et al., 2020). Three themes related to the instructional design, barriers and
challenges, and equity in the study transitioning mathematics teacher practices to broadcast pedagogy
are goal-focused planning and delivery, centrality of discourse, and time (Hunt et al. 2022).
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