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Wits Transition Maths 1 course reaches 100

- Wits University

More than 100 maths teachers have now completed the Transition Maths 1 (TM1) course since its inception in 2012.

This year, 39 teachers from across Gauteng completed the TM1 course which is offered by the Wits Maths Connect Secondary (WMCS) Project. An awards ceremony was held at the Wits Education Campus on 8 November 2017 to celebrate this momentous milestone and their achievements.

The TM1 course was developed to address the transition from Grade 9 to Grade 10 Mathematics, and it is now widely acknowledged that greater attention needs to be placed on Grade 8 and 9 Mathematics. “We are so encouraged that the Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) is giving far more attention to Grades 8 and 9” said Professor Jill Adler, SARChI Chair in Mathematics Education and Director of the WMCS project.

Wits TM1 Course students

Guest speaker and Wits alumna, Lindiwe Tshabalala, shared findings of research conducted by the GDE in which learners said they had lost interest in Maths in Grades 8 and 9. As a result, there are more Grade 10 learners enrolled for Mathematical Literacy than “pure” Mathematics. Tshabalala said that the GDE wants to reverse this trend.   She encouraged teachers to take their learnings from the course and implement them with passion and commitment in the new year.

Echoing this sentiment, Dr Craig Pournara, the TM1 course coordinator and a Wits senior lecturer commented:  “We want more learners to choose Mathematics in Grade 10, and then to succeed at it. This can only happen if they are well-prepared in Grades 8 and 9”.

Eight teachers received the prestigious Progress Awards in recognition of their remarkable progress since the beginning of the course. Course presenter Dr Moneoang Leshota was delighted to share in the celebrations of the teachers.

 “These are the teachers we really seek to reach in this course. They have worked so hard and we celebrate their achievements” she said.

Mishek Semu, from Villa Liza Secondary in Ekurhuleni South district received a special award for his commitment and dedication throughout the course. He said that the TM1 course has given him greater confidence and he will request his principal to assign him a Grade 10 Maths class in 2018.

The teachers thanked the WMCS team for their dedication, guidance and support in helping them become better teachers of mathematics. Many commented that the course had been demanding but was definitely worthwhile.  

Dr Robin Drennan, Director for Research Development at Wits, commented that this exciting event was a perfect example of what is called for in the new Research and Postgraduate Affairs strategy (2018 – 2022). “It’s research with impact! In this case, impactful research means translational research where the development of maths teachers’ content and pedagogy is the outcome of an extended research programme”.

The course has been approved as a Wits short course and was granted SACE endorsement earlier in 2017. This is an important step in encouraging more teachers to sign up for the course in 2018 and in marketing the course in the future.