Restoring the dignity of mathematics learners through quality teaching and learning

Mathematics is an important school subject in South Africa and other countries. Success in school mathematics is likely to result in school learners choosing careers in the sciences, health sciences, engineering, commerce or other key professions.

For learners to attain success in mathematics, it is imperative that our mathematics teachers are qualified in the subject and are able to deliver quality lessons to learners. These quality lessons would probably make learning more meaningful, relevant and appropriate. In so doing we hope to restore the dignity of our mathematics learners across all grades, by making mathematics more accessible, coupled with improved learner performances.

For far too long in South Africa, Mathematics (as a school subject) has been a filter rather than an enabler. It filters learners out of the scarce careers mentioned in the first paragraph. The introduction of Mathematical Literacy in the FET phase has, unwittingly, exacerbated this problem. Mathematical Literacy was introduced to give learners, who would not normally take up Mathematics in grade 10, the opportunity of leaving grade 12 with some basic or elementary mathematical knowledge to enable the learner to function effectively as a citizen in the 21st century. Unfortunately, this noble ideal of Mathematical Literacy has been overtaken by the focus on schools to improve their overall pass rates, rather than having quality passes.

The 2017 Congress theme calls on all AMESA members and mathematics teachers to refocus efforts in classrooms with quality teaching and learning, thereby, restoring the dignity of our learners.