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Transition Maths Course 1 continues to breed success

- Wits University

Mathematics teachers improve their teaching skills to inspire and motivate their learners through the Transition Maths Course 1.

The average performance of 40 Mathematics teachers who attended Wits University’s Transition Maths 1 (TM1) course in 2016, has improved by over 12 percentage points.

The TM1 course, which was initiated by the Wits Maths Connect Secondary project and offered to educators who teach Grade 8 to Grade 10 mathematics, has not only been successful in deepening the teachers’ understanding of maths, but also filtered down to their learners.

There is a continuous need for increasing the skills and recognition of high school mathematics teachers, who can effectively teach their subject to their learners in South Africa.

The year-long course was introduced in 2012 to address the transition from Grade 9 to Grade 10 mathematics which is widely recognized as a difficult transition for learners to make.

“The course is built upon the belief that working on your mathematics and working on your teaching is worth doing, because that is going to make us better at teaching and at doing mathematics,” said Dr. Craig Pournara, a Wits senior lecturer and TM1 course coordinator, adding that he believes that this focus will build the skills and professional levels of mathematics teachers in South Africa.

Pournara said research conducted in 2013 showed that learners of teachers who had completed the course performed far better than those whose teachers had not attended the course. Transition Maths 1 Course Participants (2)

“The learners taught by the teachers on the course had made more gains than the learners who were taught by teachers who were not on the course.” 

Godfrey Hanyire, a Maths teacher from Magaliesberg State School and one of the participants of the course says that the course has improved his teaching skills, which he will use to effectively stimulate interest and enthusiasm for maths amongst his learners.

“Lessons must stimulate interest, motivation and enthusiasm. Learners must talk mathematics and do it. Learner participation evokes learning and interest. Sharp communication directs learners towards the desired goals.”

He adds that he, too, has changed his teaching approaches to make mathematics learning more meaningful.

WMCS celebrated the successful culmination of the TM1 course at a closing ceremony on 23 November 2016, held at the Parktown Education Campus.

The function was also attended by a Wits alumnus and representative from the Gauteng Department of Education Lindiwe Tshabalala.

Tshabalala, a former Maths teacher who loves the subject, formed an initiative called, OperationThandiMaths (Operation love Maths), which aims to reignite the passion and love for Mathematics amongst those who teach it.

“Remember, if you do not love it [mathematics], you will not even bothered to know it. If you do not know it, you won’t be able to teach it,”said Tshabalala.