My Maths Buddy comes to St Vincent School for the Deaf

Ingrid Parkin (far left), principal at the St Vincent School for the Deaf with the teaching staff.

 

In an effort to address the serious maths problem facing many South African schools, the My Maths Buddy One Book One Learner Project made a scheduled stop at St Vincent School for the Deaf in Rosebank for a teachers workshop.

The workshop, held at the school on 19 February, was an initiative by the South African Mathematics Foundation – a non-profit company aiming to advance the maths development and education of South African children and young people – to forward excellence in maths understanding and improved results for maths teachers and learners.

According to Paul Sondergaard, facilitator of the My Maths Buddy One Book One Learner Project, the initiative has set out to assist educators in overcoming their teaching hurdles in the maths subject by empowering them to equip their learners to succeed.

Teachers from the maths department at St Vincent School for the Deaf go through the My Maths Buddy dictionary.

Sondergaard said the project has proven – with every school intervention – that understanding of the language of maths is the key to changing the condition of maths in the country. He said results measured after interventions show a consistent average increase of between 8 to 20 per cent.

“We have proven that the maths standards can be raised within weeks with bringing an understanding of maths terminology to learners in the most effective way possible,” explained Sondergaard. “When you understand something really well, you can’t fail at it. So bringing an understanding of the basic language of maths enhances a learner’s ability to succeed at the subject.”

Through the aid of an interpreter principal at the school, Ingrid Parkin said, “I think that maths [education] needs to start at a very young age. What is nice about this workshop is that it actually starts targeting maths from Grade 3 right through to Grade 12.

“I don’t think you can fix maths or the problem that we have with maths in Grade 10 or 11 – you have to start at a really young age. You have to start with basic foundations first and I’m a firm believer that if you understand the fundamentals of something, you will become successful at maths.”

According to Paul Sondergaard, facilitator of the My Maths Buddy One Book One Learner Project, understanding the basic language of maths is key to success.

An educator at the school, Colin Green-Thompson added, “I’ve always subscribed to the fact that failure or a lack of success is due to concepts not understood at all or incorrect understanding of certain concepts. So this [workshop] reinforces my belief that you must dissect, especially in a deaf school, where English is a challenge, every word without taking for granted that everyone understands it.”

 

Related articles:

Occupational therapy room for to St Vincent for the Deaf

Enter St Vincent School’s dance competition

Do you think maths standards at South African schools can be improved in other ways? Tell us by posting on our Facebook page.

  AUTHOR
Tshepiso Mametela

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