Over thirty primary school mathematics teachers completed a two-day training workshop aimed at building their capacity to teach students how best they can develop critical skills needed to solve real-life problems in a ‘Math Camp’.
The Camp, which took place from 9-10 April in Karongi, Western Province, was organised and hosted by the Rwanda Education Board and Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) as part of the USAID-funded Literacy, Language, and Learning (L3) Initiative.
“These maths skills help us in business, science, engineering and it all starts in primary school,” said Terry Ward, VSO Mathematics specialist. He added that solving real-life problems require logical thinking, planning, experimentation and evaluation. Such skills are developed during mathematics lessons.
Participants said that the Camp emphasised these skills and modelled how primary teachers could support students in acquiring them. They also said that they learned quality lessons, from warm-up activities to assessment, as well as how to make low-to-no-cost teaching aids, such as puzzles, from local materials.
“Investigation will help the students discover the different methods to find the solution for difficult things,” said Noel Murekeyeyezu, one of the teachers who attended the training.
At the end of the training, each teacher committed to incorporating aspects of the training into their teaching next term. Following the introduction of this initiative, an education specialist is expected to visit each teacher to support the new effort.
Many teachers agreed to begin lessons with a starter, a fun and fast-paced game to motivate students, review previous learning and prepare students for the day’s lesson. By doing starters, children also practice quickly doing mental calculations, which will help them in the future with more complex equations.
“In investigations, students should be able to explain how they figured out their answer,” said Anathalie Nyirandagijimana, a pedagogical norms specialist at Rwanda Education Board. “This helps them to develop key skills such as choosing appropriate strategies, making predictions, thinking critically, and making logical arguments,” he said.