Yogyakarta State University
Understanding the nature and characteristics of young adolescent development can focus effort in meeting the needs of these students.
The National Middle School Association (USA, 1995) identified the nature of students in term of their intellectual, social, physical, emotional and psychological, and moral. Young adolescent learners are curious, motivated to achieve when challenged and capable of problem-solving and complex thinking. There is an intense need to belong and be accepted by their peers while finding their own place in the world. They are engaged in forming and questioning their own identities on many levels. The students may mature at different rates and experience rapid and irregular growth, with bodily changes causing awkward and uncoordinated movements. In term of emotional and psychological aspect, they are vulnerable and self-conscious, and often experience unpredictable mood swings. While in the case of moral, they are idealistic and want to have an impact on making the world a better place.
Most of the teachers always pay much attention to the nature of student’s ability. We also need to have an answer how to facilitate poor and low-ability children in understanding, learning and schooling. Intellectual is really important to realize mental ability; while, their work depend on motivation. It seems that motivation is the crucial factor for the students to perform their ability. In general, some teachers are also aware that the character of teaching learning process is a strong factor influencing student’s ability. We need to regard the pupils as central to our concerns if our provision for all the pupils is to be appropriate and effective; some aspects of teaching for appropriateness for students might be: matching their state of knowledge, identifying and responding to their particular difficulties, extending them to develop their potential in mathematics, providing some continuity of teaching with a demonstrated interest in progress, developing an awareness of themselves as learners using the teacher as a resource, and providing regular feedback on progress (Ashley, 1988). Those who teach mathematics must take into account the great variations which exist between pupils both in their rate of learning and also in their level of attainment at any given age (Cockroft Report, 1982, para. 801).
Ernest (1995) highlighted that the nature of students learn mathematics are their efforts to construct their objective knowledge of mathematics through their interaction with others in such away that they are able to reconstruct their subjective knowledge by reflection activities. Reflection activities consists of represent their new knowledge of mathematics, publish them and examine. While Ebbutt and Straker (1995) emphasizes that the nature of students learn mathematics consists of students' motivation to learn mathematics, students' self effort or uniqueness in learning mathematics, students' capabilities in doing collaboration with their mates and learning mathematics through its various different context.
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