Monday, July 24, 2006

Learning of Mathematics Important Even to Teachers

I was not aware that teaching is also a learning process, until I attended the Innovative Teaching Techniques Workshop at Rowa Training Centre in Mutare. The highly qualified teachers proved that they were educated, but still needed to learn some more from those with more experience.

During the past years the primary school teachers who were recruited for training, were trained irrespective of whether they had passed Mathematics or not. Most of the teachers had not passed Mathematics at Ordinary Level. This led to a decrease in the performance of mathematics both in primary schools and secondary schools.

Some important concepts in Mathematics are introduced at grade three level in primary schools. If the teacher is not good in Mathematics he/she will not be able to teach the grade three students these new concepts effectively. At the next level, which is grade four, if the teacher is also not good enough the trend will continue until the student feels that it is better to drop Mathematics at ‘O’-Level.

The Zimbabwean Government has intervened through the MoESC. All teachers training at primary school level now have to have a pass in ‘O’ level Mathematics as a compulsory subject for recruitment.

At the Innovative Teaching Techniques Workshop (ITTW) at Rowa Training Centre teachers were surprised to learn that the teaching of Mathematics could be so inspiring. They learned how to teach addition and subtraction through songs, multiplication using one’s finger and learning direction through dance. This was hilarious but informative.

A lecturer who was invited to facilitate, taught the teachers how to teach difficult subtraction to children using different methods. I realized that most teachers had a problem in this area as they were used to just one method. If students at grade three are introduced to a certain method and when at grade four their new teacher is not familiar with the method taught at grade three, he will teach a new method. If the pupil uses the method taught at grade three they will be marked wrong. This leads to a lot of confusion amongst pupils. Teachers should therefore learn all the concepts used in subtraction.

Through the Bridge the Gap project, teachers are learning how to better educate their students.

- Memory Musabayana
Bridge the Gap Data Capture Clerk

In the News...
How the Developed World is Helping Africa... and How It Can Do Better
The Importance of Jatropha Plants to Zimbabwe, and ASAP Africa's Jatropha Tree Planting Project
Update on the Zimbabwe Economy
How the Currency is Changing to Keep Up

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