The purpose of this study was to investigate the application of motivational teaching methods in the teaching of mathematics in primary schools in Zimbabwe in the first decade after independence. Motivating students during their learning of mathematics has been viewed in literature as critical to successful learning of mathematics by students. Students find the learning of mathematics too abstract, mechanical and difficult (Mwamwenda, 1996). This problem has been compounded by teachers’ obsession with teacher-centered methods like drill and practice which inhibit students to be creative and to demonstrate problem solving skills. While a great deal of research has been carried out on how to teach mathematics as well as on how to incorporate psychological principles of motivation into the teaching of mathematics, no research appears to have been conducted in the Zimbabwean context, to examine teacher use of motivational teaching methods in the teaching of primary school mathematics. This study therefore was an attempt at investigating how motivational teaching methods are applied during the teaching of primary school mathematics. It has been shown in literature and in this research that there are a number of motivational teaching methods which teachers can use to motivate their students to successfully learn mathematics. Among such teaching methods identified in this study include the learner-centered, group-collaborative, discovery, problem-solving and self-activity methods. The main finding of this study was that primary school teachers in Zimbabwean schools mostly use teacher-centered teaching methods rather than learner-centered teaching methods in their teaching of primary school mathematics and this is negatively impacting their ability to motivate students to effectively learn mathematics. A survey questionnaire was used as the main data collection instrument. Units of data were the primary school mathematics teachers teaching standard three up to standard seven classes.
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