COUNT’s Teacher Development Programme offers mathematics content and pedagogy training to Grade 1-7 mathematics teachers. Teacher development can be implemented as a programme or a project depending on the funding structure. The project element consists of a structured South African Council of Educators (SACE) endorsed training program without on-site further support whereas, the programme element of teacher development is accompanied by school-based support and mentorship. COUNT wants to implement the programmatic Teacher Development model in order to be able to follow through with support post training and also assess impact.

The main objective of Teacher Development is to improve the ‘instructional core’ in Grade 1-7 maths classrooms in order to address and improve learner performance in mathematics thereby, raising the quality of maths education in project schools. This includes:

  1. Actual interactions between teachers, learners, parents
  2. Content delivery in the classrooms

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COUNT’s Family Maths Programme (FMP) offers alternative fun and interactive methods of Grade 1-7 mathematics education and is also endorsed by the South African Council for Educators (SACE). The FMP training and workshops comprise of simple mathematical games and puzzles that can be played by anyone with/without technical mathematics skills. These games can teach mathematics concepts linked to Grade 1-7 mathematics curriculum. The main aim of FMP is to demystify maths and get parents/caregivers involved in the teaching and learning of their children. FMP supports parental involvement and engagement and this results in:

  • Better learner education outcomes,
  • Enhanced learner engagement with school work,
  • More regular learner school attendance,
  • Better learner behaviour, and
  • Increased learner social skills.

The Family Maths Programme compliments teacher development very well as it offers innovative and fun ways to present maths concepts to learners and in turn creates learner willingness to learn which is necessary for real learning to occur. FMP also allows parents to participate in the teaching and learning of their children through playing interactive and relatable maths games.

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The Family Maths (FM) was started in California (University of Berkeley) and is currently part of the mathematics scene across the United States and beyond. Family Science (FS) was initiated in Oregon (University of Portland). These two programmes were designed to specifically address the widespread underperformance of minority groups and girl learners in maths and science at school.

FM and FS programmes were merged into Family Maths Science and Literacy (FMSL) when designed for South Africa in the late 90s to early 2000s. COUNT and Woz’obona (ECD agency) implemented the FMSL pilot over a four-year period, from 2001 to 2004 working together in collaboration with 20 other diverse partner organisations dealing with Orphaned and Vulnerable Children, HIV/Aids, Pre-schools, crèches that work in prisons, community based organisations and ECD centres. In 2002 to 2003, 354 FMSL workshops were run and 1 640 children and adults (parent & child) were reached.

FMSL IN SOUTH AFRICA

In South Africa, approximately 40% of children are in families who can’t afford or access early childhood education. Alternative models such as FMSL can close the affordability and access gap by primarily, providing an early learning home-based and parent oriented approach. FMSL is also implemented in ECD centres and schools to create an interactive and entertaining way to get families involved in mainstream education.

The target age group in homes and ECD centres are 0-5-year-olds. Children being reached at home are the ones that are not able to attend ECD centres due to access, affordability and any other socio-economic dynamics. However, the desired outcome is that the children and parents that we reach through ECD centres and schools also continue with FMSL activities at home in their own time.

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COUNT has a learner support wing, where we work directly with learners to help them unlock their math blockages. This is mainly offered at FET phase in a form of after school and/or Saturday extra lessons/tutoring. Learner support is often a short-term project depending on duration of funding and target group of learners are also funding-driven.

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Several COUNT staff and consultants have been involved in a number of important curriculum development initiatives for more than 10 years. The involvement has included the secondment of staff to curriculum and material development programmes spearheaded by the National Department of Basic Education. These interventions and developments have included the following:

  • Teacher Development and Support Programme to Improve Learning Outcomes (PILO)
  • NECT School intervention in KZN and the Northern Cape where COUNT developed intermediate phase mathematics material (Curriculum Trackers) for Jik’imfundo and John Taole Gaetsewe schools respectively. COUNT also work-shopped subject advisors on how to use the curriculum trackers developed.
  • Guidelines for Foundation Phase educators when C2005 was introduced (Gauteng Institute for Curriculum Development)
  • Illustrative Learning Programmes for Grades 4-5 (NCS)
  • Scripts for the launch of the primary school channel in 2005 and for education programmes for Kenya (MINDSET)
  • Foundation Phase and Intermediate Phase test items (GDE and Joint Education Trust)
  • Foundation Phase Guidelines document to support the implementation of the NCS
  • Reviewed the NCS numeracy curriculum. (Ministerial Project Committee, 2010)
  • Workbooks for Grade 3 Learners (DBE 2010-2011)
  • Grade 1 Vula Bula Maths materials in isiXhosa (Molteno Institute)
  • Writing and reviewing of materials for the Foundation for Learning Campaign
  • Development of Grade 3 and 6 test items for national systemic tests and Gauteng and Western Cape Provincial tests
  • A Training programme for ECD practitioners on how to use Sesame Street as an instructional programme (in collaboration with SAIDE
  • The Little Library Story books suitable for learners aged 3-6

COUNT has developed its own FMP material plus Teacher Development Training material which are both SACE endorsed and continues to develop mathematics teaching and learning support material on commission.

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