More Mathematics in 2015 please
Here is a media release article about some of the project work we undertook this year.
More Mathematics in 2015 please
C. Moore – December 2014
After making approximately 670 classroom visits, issuing 3 700 Number Sense workbooks and working with 1700 children, the Brombacher & Associates project workers assisting teachers with Mathematics education in several schools in Cape Town have wrapped up their projects for 2014.
Brombacher & Associates have been providing in-class training for Mathematics teachers in South African schools for many years. For the most part of 2014, there have been two teams of project workers assisting schools in the South Peninsula (Harmony, Prince George and Steenberg primary schools) and in Cape Town Central (Good Hope, Prestwich Street, St Agnes’s primary schools ). The projects are sponsored by the Enlighten and Sikhaya Trusts respectively and are endorsed by the Western Cape Department of Education (WCED).
Both projects work with grade one to three (Foundation Phase) teachers in their classes on a weekly basis assisting them to implement a regular Mathematics small group, mat routine which aims to develop children’s early number concept. The project workers also help teachers maximise the benefits of working with the Number Sense workbooks which are provided to each Foundation Phase learner in their schools.
Says Kholeka Manga, project worker in the South Peninsula: “The participating schools face many challenges due to the socio-economic conditions of the communities which they serve. Therefore teachers have a very difficult job in motivating children to learn while also maintaining their enthusiasm. Learning and implementing sound teaching methodologies and innovative ideas is important in ensuring good education, and particularly firm foundations for gaining Mathematics proficiency.”
The projects focus on building Foundation Phase teachers’ capacities to develop their learners’ number concept and numeracy skills through differentiated learning activities within small groups. Project workers work alongside teachers in their classrooms modelling the activities which in turn should become common practice in the teachers’ daily Mathematics teaching routines. “Enabling children to truly understand, reason and apply mathematical concepts in the early years is important for them to become mathematically proficient and perform competently in the higher grades,” says Aarnout Brombacher, founder of Brombacher & Associates. “Our challenge through these projects is to refocus teaching efforts in the early years away from memorisation of facts and idiosyncratic methods, and rather towards teaching methodologies which foster conceptual understanding, reasoning and application of Mathematics.”
The positive benefits of the projects are being felt by teachers and learners in all six schools. “Teachers have embraced the project enthusiastically and have reported on seeing substantial improvements in learners’ Mathematics performances,” says Caryn Eigner, project worker in the Cape Town Central schools. “Working alongside teachers on a regular basis cultivates good working relationships with learners and with each other which allows us to share expertise and approaches which in turn enthuse and grow learners. It is exciting to see children and teachers learn to enjoy Mathematics lessons, and for our assistance to be so welcomed and appreciated.”
The projects will continue in 2015 with the possibility of new schools coming on board. “We look forward to contributing to the development of Mathematics education in the new academic year. It is a privilege to be able to make a meaningful impact in the careers and future careers of teachers and children,” says Brombacher.