Chief Education Officer Stevenson Hyacinth on Tuesday called on mathematics educators of secondary schools to review their teaching methods in an effort to improve the performance of students sitting external examinations.
“Every child can learn mathematics. I am operating from that premise. Research has shown that every child can learn. Now, it does not say that every child learns at the same pace or can learn the same thing, but it says that every child can learn.
“And if it says that, what we do in the classroom will be geared at every individual in the classroom,” Hyacinth told mathematics teachers and Heads of Departments at a numeracy workshop at the Public Service Training Centre.
“What we have observed is that students are moving through our system, reaching grade six level and they cannot compute. We have also seen the same happen at secondary schools.
‘What I would like us to do is to see how we can change that picture,” Hyacinth said.
“The question we need to ask ourselves is how do we teach mathematics? Do we teach it as an abstract subject or do we create replicas of real life situations so that our students can experience the journey through learning,” he added.
He said that teachers needed to create “learning ready” classrooms for mathematics and encourage students to think critically.
The numeracy workshop was intended to discuss, with stakeholders, a Draft Numeracy Plan formulated after a review of the learning and teaching methods of mathematics in Dominica and strategies to improve performance.
According to the draft plan, prepared by the Education Planning Unit and Learning Support of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, the teaching and learning of mathematics in Dominican schools continue to cause concern.
The analysis of mathematics performance on the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) exam shows that after five years of instruction, a large proportion of students still experience difficulties.
The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development has initiated several policy responses which include in-service teacher training and improvement of human resource capacity with respect to supervision of schools’ mathematics programmes.
Over ten teachers are pursuing degrees in mathematics under the CDB funded Dominica Education Enhancement Project (DEEP) and the ministry has instituted an early identification and measurement system to monitor learning and performance in numeracy.
Principals of both primary and secondary schools and Education officers have also been charged with improving monitoring and supervision of numeracy in Dominican classrooms.