A discussion around the various teaching methodologies and pedagogies with which to teach pure and conceptual mathematics and how the Cambridge curriculum teaches critical thinking skills which contribute to higher levels of success in students

By Samara Cloete

The number of South African school students succeeding in maths at a school level is in steady decline. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed even more strain on learners wanting to improve and further their maths skills.

Summarising the Department of Basic Education’s school report of 2019, the department claims that since 2015 there has been a steady decline each year in the number of students who sit and write exams for subjects vital to the growth of the economy such as maths and science. Therefore, there is a dire need for educators to step in and find innovative ways with which to teach mathematics and help students use strong analytic thinking capabilities such as critical thinking skills to understand the concepts being taught and the reasoning behind them.

In an upcoming webinar discussion around the importance of critical thinking skills in the 4IR, Andrew Hofmeyer, a mathematician who specializes in conceptual mathematics as well as finding various innovative ways to teach mathematics, will be sharing his discovery around an existing train of thought known as the theory of self-determination, which in layman’s terms, could refer to someone who learns by ‘figuring out’ things for oneself. This theory describes what it means to learn with autonomy, including learning with understanding and sense-making. This interesting train of thought ties in with the importance of critical thinking skills and is in fact, what Mr. Hofmeyer believes, forms the foundation of what the 4IR will require from a learner. Andrew will also be sharing his expertise and knowledge around various pedagogies and teaching methodologies that educators can use to maximise student understanding of mathematics and in particular conceptual mathematics.

Mr. Hofmeyer agrees that critical thinking skills are instilled within the Cambridge International curriculum offered at Boston City Campus High, who understands the importance of establishing strong analytic thinking capabilities in the minds of learners from a young age. Therefore, embedding critical thinking skills as part of the school curriculum lays a solid foundation for our youth and prepares them to maximise the full potential of the 4IR. Students with a Cambridge matric will not only have a world-class and globally recognized matric, but also highly sought-after critical thinking skills which allow learners to compete in the global stage. The Cambridge curriculum therefore prepares students to embrace and take on the expectations of the 4IR workforce which will significantly narrow the existing skills gap.

This topic will be discussed in greater depth during the upcoming webinar with Boston City Campus High and guest speaker Andrew Hofmeyer. If you would like more details about the webinars and wish to tune in to this informative and insightful discussion, then feel free to send an email or contact Boston City Campus High School.