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Why Some Educational Systems are Better than Others: Comparing Botswana and South Africa. Elspeth Mmatladi Khembo 11 July 2011 Linder Auditorium, Wits School of Education
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The StudyFactors affecting learner achievement Historical and policy contexts Processes of education policy change Mathematics Curriculum Supervision (Accountability) Teacher training (HEI) vs. Teacher supply (Colleges of Education) Teacher pay Teacher unions
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Role of the Grade 6 Mathematics teacher Coverage of all the topics of the curriculum High academic expectation of learners Improving learner achievement Preparing learners for the Senior Phase
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The StudyTeaching (Grade 6 Mathematics) At Grades 4 and 5 level Low level of mathematics pedagogical content knowledge Amount of time teaching mathematics low Focuses on Number, Operations and Relationships Routine mathematics procedures Average of 50 lessons South Africa and an average of 78 lessons in Botswana Slow pace of work within lessons
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The StudyGrade 6 learners Botswana learners scored higher in the pretest and made significantly higher gains over the academic year Learners in both countries had better knowledge of the Grade 6 mathematics curriculum Number Patterns Very poor knowledge of Grade 6 mathematics Measurement Data Handling
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Grade 6 Content knowledge (CAPS) Measurement Length/Mass/Capacity Time/Temperature Perimeter Area Volume Relationship between Perimeter & Area Surface Area & Volume (Rectangular Prisms) Data Handling Collecting Organising Representing Interpreting Double bar graphs Pie Charts Analysing Reporting Probability
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The StudyThe quality of the teachers Knowledge of Mathematics Pedagogic Content Knowledge (PCK) How well the teacher understands common mistakes made by learners and How to correct them Teaching quality Teaching experience Teacher preparation
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The StudyOpportunity to learn (OTL) What mathematics the teacher taught Low exposure to the mathematics curriculum How much mathematics taught school notebooks
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The study RecommendsEmphasizing otl Increased time on mathematics tasks Content coverage Spread and sequencing of topics Cognitive and curricular pacing within and across grades Carefully designed textbooks/workbooks Purposeful use of the textbooks/workbooks Increasing learner academic competence
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Teacher professional development In-service teacher training programme How to ensure take up that results in improved classroom practice ACE programmes vs. Short Courses Who should be trained Support (School Management) Motivation (Incentives)
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Development of the Culture of Mathematics: Focused Intervention Differentiated approach Pockets of Excellence (Connoisseurship) Efficiency vs. More Resources Well written textbooks Regular Assessment (Type of items) Error analysis Misconceptions Collaboration (Teachers and Researchers) Communities of practice (confidence/support) AMESA Monitoring & Implementation
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Conclusion… King Solomon: If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. Ecclesiastes 10:10 Lack of skill should be sharpened through training and practice Recognising where a problem exists Acquiring or honing the skills to do the job better Going out and doing it Not necessarily throwing money at our problems
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