31 March 2022

Initially developed by the Science-for-the-Future unit at the University of Free State (UFS), the Family Math programme involves a collaboration with six other South African universities, of which UMP is one. Dr Nokwanda Mbusi, the Family Math Project Champion and Facilitator, and Dr Mphalele Makgaleng, the Family Math Project Facilitator, form the Project team members at UMP.

Dr Mbusi says the programme is especially helpful in the rural areas where schools and parents often don’t have the necessary skills, and teachers are not always equipped with sufficient resources to assist children with their learning.

“It addresses effective mathematics teaching and learning by promoting a collaborative approach where teachers, parents and learners from a particular community are included in a triangular project strategy, where facilitators train Grade 3 teachers on Family Math activities.

The strategy is aligned with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) mathematics subject content, which they are teaching to Grade 3 learners. During the training, the focus is on subject content knowledge and teaching skills, making use of a hands-on, constructivist approach.”

UMPThe Family Math Programme also assist local teachers.

Inclusive training 
Facilitators and teachers conduct parents’ training sessions in the Family Math activities at their respective schools in the local community and this enables parents to become involved in their children’s Mathematics teaching and learning.

Dr Mbusi says: “The implementation phase (first year) of the Family Math programme entails training of teachers at UMP as well as receiving all the relevant classroom and parent activity material.

In the second year of the Family Math, facilitators visit the individual participating teachers at their local schools for mentoring sessions instead of them coming to the campus,” she explains.

In the third year, facilitators support the teachers via group meetings at their local schools whilst activity material is still supplied. This is called an EXIT-SUPPORT initiative. The triangular strategy is embedded in the roll-out-exit- as well as exit-support initiatives. Support beyond the three-year period is referred to as Partner Support initiatives. The goal of the aforementioned is to ensure sustainability.

Dr Mbusi adds that after attending training sessions, teachers integrate the Family Math programme activities into the school curriculum and teach Family Math activities to their learners.

“Teachers conduct training sessions with the parents of their learners, on the Family Math activities, so that parents can assist their children with mathematics when they are at home."

UMPProgramme facilitators have strengthened networks locally.

Exchange of knowledge 

The Family Math project funder, SANRAL, supplies all teacher training material, learners’ material and parent training material. Parents keep the material so that they can use it with their learners at home.”

Dr Mbusi says over and above the fact that this project fulfils the role of UMP in community engagement by providing contextualised, relevant teaching and learning, the empowerment of teachers from local schools has an added benefit for the UMP Faculty of Education.

“For example, UMP BEd students go to these local schools for their Teaching Practice, where teachers are using Family Math material. Therefore, UMP students get to be mentored by the school teachers on how to use the material. This is an opportunity which cannot be provided to them as part of their formal training in the BEd programme, due to time constraints,” she continues.

“UMP facilitators involved in the Family Math project have strengthened their networks with local primary school mathematics teachers, while forming important Communities of Practice.”

@ Story Lisa Thabethe. Pictures Supplied.