Growing up from a family in which both my father and mother were educators was a challenge! My father was, at the time, an outstanding mathematics and science teacher. However, I was struggling with my maths but my father would always help me and demand to see my books. He used to get so cross with me when I failed in maths and gave me extra maths activity to do after school but it never fully improved my competency in maths. I decided not to pursue maths in my future studies because I felt maths was difficult. Joining Class Act as a Foundation Phase coach has helped me so much with maths, I gained so much experience to the extent that I feel that I could now have studied maths.
The beginning of 2012 mathematics was added in the Gauteng Province Language Strategy (GPLS) forming the Gauteng Province Language and Mathematics Strategy (GPLMS). The inclusion of mathematics became a serious challenge in the early stages because the lesson plans stressed a pace and coverage which teachers were not used to. Since then the structure has been refined and teachers are gradually getting used to the higher expectations of every learner. All our issues were patiently forwarded to superior levels and a breakthrough was made! We started receiving better and better lesson plans towards the end of 2012 and this was followed by series of train-the-trainer workshops that equipped us coaches with more understanding of mathematics. These workshops emphasised the use of concrete objects when teaching mathematics in the Foundation Phase. More excitingly, our teachers and learners have started to show more interest in maths lessons.
The resource pack from the lesson plan has helped so much into creating print rich classrooms in maths as well as language. I have seen learners improving as correct mathematics terminology is emphasised during lessons. Learners are also gaining confidence in their number skills through their practice of mental maths. We aim to give all learners the opportunity to be actively involved in the lesson and, more importantly, the lesson plans allow the teacher time to do remediation with weak learners using concrete objects while the other learners complete the class work. It is evident that the GPLMS is committed to improving mathematics competency because all concerns that we forward receive positive attention. A recent example is the request for translations of the lesson plans into the 9 languages which Class Act works with and we have recently received versioned assessment tasks and class work activities in response.
The successes are plentiful: improved understanding of the lesson plans, better teaching of maths, print-rich maths displays in classes and ensuring that learners do not fall behind. Moreover, as we head towards the ANA, I am confident that we will see better improvements in our learners performance.