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Education Department to press ahead with implementation of teacher improvement plan for mathematics, 02 February 2015


The Department of Basic Education will proceed with the implementation of the teacher development plan aimed at boosting performance in the senior phase.


In recent years the performance of learners in Mathematics and levels of competency of Mathematics teachers in South Africa in Primary Schools has been under scrutiny. The recent Task Team that was appointed by the Minister of Basic Education to investigate challenges that hamper performance in Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST) revealed that “MST educator capacity has been found to be wanting at all levels” and made the following recommendation:


In this regard, it is recommended that the DBE:


·         Plans and implements a rigorous national MST teacher development programme. The programmes should focus on improving mastery of MST curriculum content and instructional management. The programme should make use of appropriate and effective training interventions and techniques.

·         Moves to improve subject advisory services by strengthening district capacity, resources and training. Coaching and mentoring should be made effective by: focussing more on subject support than on administration and prioritising classroom based support, coaching and mentoring. (Ministerial Task Team Draft Report, 2013)


The ‘1+4 Model’ is based on and supports the concept of the Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) which the Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Motshekga, launched on 07 August 2014. The added benefit of the ‘1+4 Model’ is that teachers meet on pre-determined working day. This methodology works on the assumption that teachers need assistance with the entire curriculum and not just certain sections of the curriculum which they presumably have difficulties teaching. We need to be extremely RADICAL and do the out of the normal in our determination to “SAVE OUR CHILDREN”.


The Methodology breaks each week into two parts. One day solely dedicated to thoroughly preparing teachers for the content to be delivered in that particular week. Teachers are presented with CONTENT broken-down into daily doses to be delivered in the other remaining four days of the week. They meet at a nearby school one day per week. This translates into a whopping 23 Days in a year dedicated to intensive training and discussions on mathematics content and methodology.

The training sessions that we have had up to now, which have yielded unsatisfactory results normally run for 10 days in a year. This RADICAL approach will expose teaches to 30 days of Training, Development and Support on a weekly basis.


This METHODOLOGY turns teachers into learners, promoting the principle of a teacher as a lifelong learner. ONE day of Learning and FOUR days of Structured, Effective and Guided Teaching. On Day 1 (e.g. each Monday as illustrated below), on arrival at the venue, teachers are exposed to a pre-test to assess their level of content knowledge of the section of the curriculum to be delivered on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. At the end of the day they are exposed to a post-test to assess how well they have grasped the content they must take to the learners in their respective classes in their schools.


High standards MUST be promoted at all times. It should be expected that teachers will obtain 80% and above in the post-test. Teachers obtaining less than 80% will be identified and support will be provided during the implementation in the week. Subject Advisors will be expected to assist these teachers through Classroom Support Visits to deepen their content knowledge to be provided that week.


These teachers will also be placed in Support Teams made up of Lead Teachers and other teachers who have demonstrated better understanding of the concepts. Heads of Departments, Deputy Principals and Principals in the schools will also have to play a critical role in supporting these teachers.


Removing mathematics teachers from their schools for about 23 Days in a school year to attend the work sessions implies that they will lose approximately 20 hours of teaching time per class per year ( 54 minutes per Day per class). In order to ensure that the 4.5hours instructional time allocated for the Senior Phase is covered and utilised fully, School Management Teams (SMTs) should adapt their time tables to support the model.

One of the possible ways would be to swop the Mathematics periods allocated for a Day on which teachers will be involved in the work session with the period(s) allocated to other subjects, e.g. Social Sciences. Essentially this means that Mathematics will not be taught on that Day and the Mathematics periods in the time table that were initially spread over five days will be spread over 4 days.

In instances where one Mathematics teacher teaches other subjects, e.g. Natural Sciences, the same approach should be adopted, i.e. swopping Natural Sciences periods with the periods allocated to the other subjects taught by another teacher.


Another approach to adapt the time tables is to allocate DOUBLE PERIODS on the remaining week days to compensate for teaching time lost while Mathematics teachers were SCHOOLED during the work session. By adopting this approach contact time will be protected by reallocating to another day. This will not affect the teachers of other subject as their contact time will be moved to the day when Mathematics teachers will be attending the work session. The DBE, after approval by CEM, will issue a circular to communicate the implications of introducing 1+4 Model and requesting SMTs to adapt their time tables accordingly.


Enquiries:              Elijah Mhlanga – 083 580 8275


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Written By: Administrator Account
Date Posted: 1/11/2016
Number of Views: 4016

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