“Maths teachers need to learn new methodologies”

School learners
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Mathematics teachers need to learn new methodologies in order to improve academic performance. This emerged from a week-long Maths Congress in Bloemfontein.

Organisers say maths teachers are bound to practice rights skills to shape the learners.

The congress was united under an umbrella of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa (AMESA).

AMESA is of the view that Maths can be fun as long as educators enjoy teaching it. It says teachers often battle to impart Maths knowledge.

AMESA congress director, Sello Motsoane says: “We want to establish very confident teachers. Because once you have a confident teacher, then the teacher will approach the class with confidence and will be able to have good better interaction with the learners.”

Some believe Maths networks and mental exercises can bridge the knowledge gap. South Africa has a significant skills shortage in the engineering and IT space.

Maths and Natural Sciences are two key subjects for any engineering or IT-related degree. Maths is compulsory in both fields.

A minimum 80% pass is needed to study engineering courses and 70% for computer science degrees. But it’s not always easy for pupils.

A Maths Professor at Unisa, David Mogari says: “I want to believe that it is important that learners go out to their real lives and apply what they’ve learnt. It is the sort of thing that has been missing where our learners are subjected to these lessons; and at the end they don’t see the relevance, they don’t see the importance of what they have been taught.”

This has prompted those in the know to join forces, and come up with improving Maths performance.

According to the subject report on the 2017 National Senior Certificate, more than 245 000 learners wrote the mathematics papers.  Nearly 7 000 passed with 80% needed to guarantee entry into most engineering degrees.

More than 16 000 learners passed with more than 70%.

 “As mathematics has been difficult subject I have learnt those methods. They are much easier so as for me teach learners,” says a learner.

“We must use technology like the laptops and have mathematical network that will help the learners to,” adds another learner.

“Technology is the thing that we can use to make children to love mathematics,” says a learner.

The aim of the Congress was to come up with strategies to make Maths enjoyable to learn and help increase the number of those with so-called scarce skills.