The importance of theoretical underpinning for a school mathematics curriculum: The Ghanaian experience

2014 IJRSE – Volume 3 Issue 3


Ampadu, Ernest*
Richmond University, UK (

Adofo, Stephen
Buduburam Basic School, Ghana (


The teaching and learning methods used in mathematics classrooms are increasingly being questioned for their effectiveness. In view of this, the mathematics curriculum in Ghana like in most other countries has undergone a number of restructuring with the aim of improving the teaching and learning of the subject. This paper aims to discuss issues related to mathematics education in Ghana. The paper begins with a historical overview of the Ghanaian Junior High School (JHS) mathematics curriculum. It provides an analysis of the restructuring JHS curriculum under the two broad theoretical backgrounds in mathematics education: behaviourism and constructivism. Analysis of the JHS curriculum and other research work suggest that the role of the teacher in mathematics classroom goes beyond acting as a facilitator in the teaching and learning process and students still rely on the teacher as their main source of knowledge acquisition. The authors take the position that mathematics education at the JHS level and in Ghana as a whole must redefine its goals and theoretical background; where the teacher and the student play an active role in the teaching and learning process. In view of this, the authors propose the enactivist theory, which advocates for partnership between teachers and students in the classroom, as the new paradigm for teaching and learning that must be considered within the Ghanaian context.

Keywords: curriculum; behaviourism, constructivism; enactivism; mathematics education



*Corresponding Author