How the teachers are doing!!!

Teachers fail primary school simple fraction test
RETHA GROBBELAAR | 10 October, 2011 23:5920 Comments

Only 53%, on average, of Grade 4 maths teachers answered a simple fraction question based on the Grade 6 curriculum correctly three years ago, a study has found.

Only 72%, on average, of Grade 5 maths teachers got the same question - 1/4 + 3/5 - right in 2009.

The study was done by JET Education Services in 268 schools in eight provinces, excluding Gauteng. Researchers tracked 8383 children over three years from Grade 3 in 2007 to Grade 5 in 2009.

JET senior research fellow Dr Nick Taylor said the poor subject knowledge of teachers “must have a profound effect on children’s learning”.

“Teachers can’t teach what they don’t know,” he said.

The impact of their poor knowledge is exacerbated because many pupils did not have proper access to textbooks and were “almost entirely dependent on their teachers for knowledge”, Taylor said.

The study forms part of the 3Rs project during which several organisations, including the Human Sciences Research Council, researched numeracy and literacy in schools.

The study also found that the “overwhelming majority” of maths teachers avoid challenging topics - on average only 24% of topics in the maths curriculum was covered by Grades 4 and 5 teachers. Teachers cover the “simplest of topics” and most teach in a “mechanical [and] procedural fashion”.

“This practice has the most disastrous effects on the mathematical knowledge to which learners are exposed.”

Researchers found that extended writing exercises were done “very seldom in South African classrooms” which is “one of the biggest shortcomings of the school system”.

Grade 5s in the Eastern Cape only wrote paragraphs or longer writing exercises about twice a year, while Western Cape pupils did it almost eight times a year.

If pupils do not do enough proper writing exercises in earlier grades they will struggle to analyse and interpret information later on, Taylor warned.

Pupils in 44% of Grade 4 and 32% of Grade 5 classes did not write any paragraphs in a year, which is “most disturbing”.

I well believe it, I spend double the amount of monthly school fees per child on extra math and science classes and my kids go to a former model C school with a relatively good reputation, I’d hate to imagine the quality of education the more rural areas offer. My eldest’s IT teacher (programming) doesnt even have an IT qualification - she admitted to doing an A+ course when she got the position, this doesnt qualify you for teaching Delphi to a group of prospective programmers now does it? Fortunately the S/O could help out with that one. (wtf!!)

My recent experience is that some schools are just happy to have a warm body in the room. The principal at my school has been trying to force me to teach Physics - I get the concepts but unfortunately enter a semi- coma when I see equations and my mathematical problem solving leaves much to be desired - hence education, training and experience in geography- I had to categorically threaten resignation to make him understand that not only was I going to be out of my depth but he would be actively disadvantaging students.

It also seems like once teachers are given a permanent position by the government they are invincible in terms of how they behave, attend and perform at school, ironically the very factors which lead to suspension and exclusion of learners!!

It has been my first year teaching in the South African system and it is the most exhausting and least productive system I have so far experienced!

I had a very short interview, nobody followed up my references and nobody seemed interested in watching me teach a lesson! It doesn’t surprise me at all that people end up in classrooms here with no credentials and then the learners miss out :frowning: