What enables teachers to teach mathematics effectively in diverse or multilingual classrooms?
This is the question that seems to have inspired the staging of a teachers' symposium at the Marang Centre, the University of the Witwatersrand's specialised maths and science teacher education centre. The event will held on April 13 and 14.
The symposium will try to establish what changes are required in maths and science education and training. Its theme is Teaching and Learning Mathematics in Multilingual Classrooms.
The symposium will also try to establish what changes are necessary to increase the potential of pupils studying maths and science.
Or what teacher education and training methods can be used in multilingual classrooms to enhance the comprehension of pupils taking the subjects in languages that are not their mother tongue.
Marang Centre's director and associate professor of mathematics education at Wits, Mamokgethi Setati, said mathematics teachers, teacher trainers, researchers, policy-makers and publishers of maths and science student support materials, are expected to gain immensely from the symposium.
Setati will speak on the topic, Towards a Pedagogy for Teaching Mathematics in Multilingual Classrooms.
Speakers from outside South Africa are Frank Monaghan of the Open University of London; Uenuku Fairhall of the Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Koutu School in Rotorua, New Zealand; and Baralabe Jushau, a mathematics education lecturer at Saudi Arabia's King Fahd University.
Local speakers are Sophie Mparutsa, a mathematics teacher at St John's College in Johannesburg; Lynne Manson, a mathematics lecturer from the South African division of Monash, an international higher education institution; and Pumla Gqola, an associate professor in languages and literature at Wits.
Monaghan's presentation is titled Corpus to Curriculum: Mapping the Mathematical Landscape.
Fairhall will present a paper titled, Grab That Kite! - Issues and Solutions: Teaching in reo Maori.
l Meanwhile the Marang Centre will train more than 18 provincial winners of the Aggrey Klaaste Mathematics, Science and Technology Educator of the Year Awards for 2006-07. The winners of the awards, which are part of the Sowetan Nation Building initiative, will be trained in the use of computers as a learning and teaching tool in mathematics, physical science and technology.