Issued by: Marcus Brewster Publicity
On behalf of: Maths Centre Incorporating Sciences
Year-end is always a time of sadness for me, as I review the matric results with disappointment. I pray that this year will be different, that I will have something to celebrate on the 31st of December 2010.
I constantly hope to see improvements in the maths, science and technology results, and every year my hopes are shattered. I’ve often asked myself whether the problem is that the learners are unwilling to learn, or that the teachers are unable to teach.
Do the students not realise that they have the power to direct their lives, or do they simply lack the skills and ambition to do so? The brilliance in the design and purpose of the new curriculum makes maths, science and technology interesting and exciting, and yet teachers and students alike are not familiar with even the basics of these subjects.
A mass of research has been conducted; phenomenal international research exists on how children learn and how children fail; inspiring strategy documents have come from the department of education. This research concludes that the learning competency in children is highly underestimated. They all have the ability to understand the subject content if it is explained to them effectively. After studying this research, I feel I have found the key to the problem: the classroom.
I have come to the shocking conclusion that teachers do not understand the power they possess; the power within themselves, and the power of their subjects. They may not be able to alter their learners’ living conditions, but they can change their futures, through education.
I challenge each and every teacher to harvest their power, and take responsibility in the classroom. The goal of each teacher should be to create an inspiring and creative classroom in 2011. This can be done by starting with the basics: well-established classroom routines, minimal task disruption, and comfortable seating. You may ask where you will get this furniture from. Well, speak to me; let us make a plan together!
Once you have the basics, you can begin to build onto that foundation, and create a classroom that is conducive to the optimal learning experience. To do so, there are four crucial organisational tasks that must be completed daily:
Organise the content into a lesson plan that clearly aims to achieve the objectives that have been set.
Create a task sheet in which learners take responsibility for the resources available: handing out textbooks, collecting of worksheets, distributing pencils. Make them responsible for the cleanliness of the classroom. In this way, you can ensure that every student is learning during every minute of every lesson. This makes it easier to engage students, as their minds are not given the opportunity to wander.
Ensure that YOU are always learning. Expand on your current skills base, and develop new ones. Often teachers themselves lack the basic skills required to teach their subjects. The better you know your subject, the more your students will listen to you. Use innovative methods of teaching: let the students use their phones to achieve lesson objectives, for example.
Every school should have regular and structured staff meetings to plan for the management of teaching, learning and assessment of the MST (maths, science and technology) curriculum as a priority.
When it comes to maths and science, learners need to have fun. Traditionally, maths and science have been known as subjects to be feared. Content should be arranged in such a way that by the end of 2011, learners will know maths and science as friendly but essential tools that can be used to improve their opportunities for a rich and successful future.
It is a language of the mind which develops thinking skills, providing an advantage in life. The only way this attitude can be developed is if each and every lesson is vibrant, with a clear demonstration of the specific standard and quality of work that is expected.
How Maths Centre can help you
Maths Centre can supply all the materials that you need to create a classroom environment conducive to learning. We are affiliated with fantastic suppliers and world class material developers. We want our learners to receive the same standard of materials and education that can be found in maths and science classrooms globally.
We strive to create materials of excellent quality that will engage learners in a range of exciting experiences. With the help of Maths Centre, you can reach new heights within all facets of the curriculum so that you can move towards unparalleled competence and confidence.
Our textbooks, resource kits, ICT support, charts, posters and pocket books are all designed to assist and support excellence in teaching and learning.
We have staff in all provinces who are eager to assist you; they are only an e-mail or phone call away. We have combined some of the best material from around the world to provide you with the optimum facilities to engage your learners. Contact us. We are waiting for your call.
Maths Centre kits can be used by 10 – 15 children, enabling them to transfer a concept they have been taught on paper into real life, so that they can truly enjoy, understand and use maths and science as a tool.
I also want to invite parents to be equal partners in their children’s education. You have the ability to stretch that focus into a determination to break free of poverty, and education is the only tool. I’m simply asking you to create an environment conducive to doing homework. It is for the good of your children. Help them to be all that they can be, and help them to achieve a brighter future.
Notes to Editors
As the National Executive Director for the Maths Centre since 1995, Sharanjeet Shan is responsible for the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of Maths and Science projects throughout the nine provinces in South Africa. Funded by 29 donors, Maths Centre runs 28 projects in conjunction with previously disadvantaged schools, teachers and learners.
Born and raised in India, Shan spent her adult life in England, studying, working and writing. She taught Maths and Science for 19 years at various levels before moving into management positions over the next 30 years. This included an Office for Standards in Education inspector. In 1995, Shan was invited to come to South Africa to lead developments within the new South African curriculum.
Shan has published several works, including an autobiography, ‘In My Own Name’, in 1985, which subsequently became a school text in England. Her second book, ‘Multiple Factors, Classroom Mathematics for Equality and Justice’, with co-author Peter Bailey, was widely used in universities as a recommended text for studying the impact of mathematics on people’s life choices.
Shan has travelled to many countries, championing the cause of children’s education and learning, particularly in Maths and Science.