10 Feb. 2017 - On the 2nd and 8th February 2017, over 100 Maths/Science coordinators and teachers of Mathematics in Primary Schools attended video-linked sessions on the 'Cracking Maths' text book series, transmitted, free of charge, from the publishers (Gill & Co) in Dublin, Ireland to the SITE Auditorium, Mont Fleuri.
These video-linked sessions are a carefully planned follow-up to Workshop on 'Cracking Maths' held in October 2014, following which the text book series in 'Cracking Maths' was introduced to all Primary Schools during 2015 and 2016, providing for all classes, from P1 to P6, a new text book for each pupil, and a Teacher's Workbook for each teacher.
Coordinated by Dr John Nolan, education consultant, in collaboration with Mr Selby Dora, Consultant, Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, and Ms Ruth Gill, CEO of Gill & Co, the overall purpose of the two video-linked sessions, one for Creche 1 to Primary 2, and the other for Primary 3 to Primary 6 was (i) to link with the 2014 Workshop on 'Cracking Maths' presented by Mr Brian O'Doherty BEd. MEd, an expert in Mathematics teaching at Primary level, and author of the P5 and P6 text books in the series, and (ii) to familiarise teachers of mathematics in Seychelles primary schools with the comprehensive range of digital resources readily accessible to teachers on the publisher's website ('Gillexplore'), which can enrich classroom teaching in the key core curriculum subject of 'Mathematics'.
The technical and administrative organisation of the video-linked sessions was facilitated by the MoE's staff (Rosalind Denys, Director of ICT Support Services Section, and personnel from the Education and Student Support Services Division, Yanick Alphonse and Mohamed Khalifa), by CCATS (Elva Gedeon, and Ina Felix), by SITE (Joel Tambara, senior ICT system support), and by the IT staff at Gill & Co.
In part one of the video-linked sessions Mr Brian O'Doherty reinforced the key aspects of his 2014 Workshop, which included: the underlying principles of the 'Cracking Maths' series; the core components of Mathematics curriculum content; developing mathematical skills; the instructional framework (i.e. eliciting, supporting and extending mathematical thinking); key features of the text book series; Assessment in all its forms; Teacher Handbooks; and, linking the digital resources to the text books. The text book series also includes School/Home Workbooks, which will enable parents to be aware of what their children are learning in school, and how parents can support their children's learning at home.
Part two of the video-linked sessions, presented by Mr David O'Dwyer of Gill &Co, illustrated and explained the comprehensive range of digital material available online, some of which can be downloaded to PCs, and the remainder accessed via the internet.
Using this virtual 'Aladdin's Cave' of carefully prepared resource material, teachers will have abundant scope to enrich their classroom teaching of Mathematics. The colourful and attractive text books and resource materials, which include videos to highlight various mathematical concepts, and complements the progressively arranged curriculum material in the text books, from Primary 1 to Primary 6, has the potential to capture and sustain the pupils' interest in the subject 'Mathematics', and help them to make significant progress in raising their level of attainment in numeracy at all levels in Primary School.
This 'treasure trove' of 'Cracking Maths' digital resources encompasses, on average, for each class from P1 to P6, over 100 Enrichment Books; an Inter-active Tool Kit with 200 mathematical games; dozens of Support Sheets; and, 50 Teacher's Notes.
In effect, the total 'Cracking Maths' portfolio of text books, Teacher's Handbook, and digital resources constitutes a comprehensive Mathematics Curriculum for Primary School, assisting the teacher with lesson planning, in a gradual progression through each stage of the pupils' learning, from Primary 1 to Primary 6, and providing assessment at the conclusion of each stage of the learning process.
The important recent announcement by Mr Joel Morgan, Minister for Education and Human Resource Development that, 'starting from the second term of 2017, English will be used as a medium of instruction for mathematics as of P1', has been welcomed by the teachers of Mathematics in Primary Schools.
The recently published Primary 6 examination results for all primary schools underline the urgent need to further raise the level of student attainment in the key core curriculum subject 'Mathematics'.
It is the Minister's expectation – based on the assurance of the requisite Curriculum and Information Communication Technology (ICT) support being provided by the Department of Education, together with a resolute commitment from Mathematics teachers in primary schools, and their innovative and imaginative use of the 'Cracking Maths' text books and the accompanying digital resources - that significant progress will be achieved over the next five years in raising the level of pupils' attainment in Mathematics.