Innovative aid and support solutions for learners struggling with Maths!

Innovative aid and support solutions for learners struggling with Maths!

Mathematics Teacher Chihwehwete using interactive smartboard during mathematics lesson

In celebration of International Day of Mathematics, which took place on 14 March, we took a deeper look at the barriers to this subject that The Love Trust and Nokuphila are overcoming and the extended support we offer for our alumni students.

Maths is vital for making sense of the world

Mathematics is vital for the learners because it allows them to make sense of their world and build a solid foundation for success not only during their school years but at later stages in their lives. It is an important tool that helps them to develop their logical reasoning skills while dealing with practical challenges.

Why do South African learners on average underperform in Maths?

Even pre-pandemic, learners in South Africa were underperforming in Maths with many researchers trying to understand why. Although there are a whole host of factors involved such as social and economic, public and learner perception of the subject, government reform, and so on, one of the biggest factors identified was access to good quality teaching of the subject.

According to Zingiswa Jojo, a full professor in the department of Mathematics Education in the College of Education at UNISA, “The teaching of mathematics in South African schools has been pronounced to be among the worst in the world. Unacknowledged poor teaching of mathematics in a majority of public schools deprive many learners access to both higher education and modern, knowledge-intensive work skills.”

The Love Trust provides best quality education and support

The Love Trust provides the best quality education and support for learners, both past and present, in mathematics. The welfare of graduates is of great concern especially for learners who leave Nokuphila School at the end of their primary education. Therefore, to help provide alumni the added support and aid, voluntary extra tuition is offered for those in need and The Love Trust has a vision for further expansions to include grades 8 and 9 in 2023.

A recent survey undertaken by The Love Trust, to better understand the Nokuphila School alumni students and how they are faring when they leave the high standard of education and care of Nokuphila, sadly showed that many young people have dropped out of school. That’s really worrying, considering their early schooling years and their potential. Nokuphila teachers, of their own accord, stepped up the voluntary offer to alumni for extra tuition, especially in core subjects such as English home language, natural sciences, mathematics, and economic and management sciences.

Teachers from grade four and up volunteer to “adopt” a learner who they help tutor beyond their term at Nokuphila and provide them with pastoral care and guidance. This is offered to all the learners successfully tracked.

Thanks to the strong ties the school has with the parents and the fact that learners often still have younger siblings attending Nokuphila, the school is able to still keep in touch and are up to date on alumni’s performance.

Support networks help to inoculate vulnerable learners against the sense of isolation and abandonment

The Love Trust believes that other schools could adopt similar initiatives as it will help the learners from disadvantaged backgrounds when they leave the safety of primary school to inoculate them against that sense of isolation, loneliness, and abandonment: It fosters strong social bonds between the learners, the school, and the community.

The development of self-confidence in learners struggling with maths is actively encouraged, also not to shy away from asking for assistance, to keep a positive attitude towards mathematics and continue to put in the effort is all that matters. Effort is more important than ability, as effort builds into ability.