Solar plant bursary programme allows “coach” to study towards his degree while assisting at school.
HANOVER Primary School in De Aar joined six million pupils from 98 countries globally in celebrating World Maths Day for the first time earlier this month.
The event also gave numeracy coach and Bachelor of Education student Chadwin Erasmus an opportunity to instil a love of maths among the pupils
The pupils played games and made posters, and concluded the event with a ‘Maths March’ where they chanted and sang as they walked down the street.
“Our very first World Maths Day event is one of my favourite moments, as it was focused on encouraging a positive attitude towards mathematics. The learners were very participative and as a coach I got to enjoy it just as much,” said Erasmus.
Erasmus, who has been a numeracy coach for three years, is currently studying a Bachelor of Education, Intermediate Phase, as part of De Aar Solar Power’s bursary programme, which is education-focused.
Being based at the school will also allow him to continue working as a numeracy coach while studying towards his degree, which he expects to complete by 2024.
Erasmus described the day’s activities as “priceless” and said that it was a “highlight” for many of the pupils.
“Maths had given them a reason to smile. This was a priceless moment for me,” said Erasmus.
De Aar Solar Power said that this annual event aims to get primary and secondary school pupils excited and enthusiastic about learning maths, while connecting the global learning community and fostering friendships between children of different cultures as they learn to excel in mathematics together.
“Being a numeracy coach has given me the courage to embark on a journey of change. I became more cautious of my choices and aware of how my actions indirectly affect others,” said Erasmus.
“I gained a sense of dignity and tend to value life more, as feelings of hopelessness subsided.
“This opportunity also alleviated most of the social issues I endured, placing me in a position to act on my responsibilities.”
He pointed out that mathematical achievement in the primary years is an important predictor of future academics.
“Numeracy is deemed challenging for learners, as many still lack the basic skills, causing even greater challenges with regards to more complex content.
“Grade 4, in particular, is an important phase as learners focus on multi-digit multiplication and division, learning to use bigger numbers, solving multi-step word problems that involve several operations.
“They start studying fractions and decimals, so it is critical that they don’t get left behind.
“By working with small groups, but mostly individually, coaches have the opportunity to really make a difference and improve the learners’ fundamental understanding of maths and to grow their confidence.”
Erasmus said the programme has the ability to bridge the gap, through means of an inclusive approach.
“Coaches provide learners with the additional help needed as teachers sometimes do not have the capacity to reach out to all the learners that are struggling.
“We do not replace the teacher, but we simply assist in the process of active mathematics assistance,” he concluded.