Makhaza branch had an opportunity to pilot a project with Education with Borders (EwB) who aims to provide improved educational opportunities and facilities in disadvantaged regions of the world. EwB focussed on our Grade 8s as the program helps lower grade learners understand basic maths principles.
The Education without Boarders (EwB) program highlights the simplicity of mathematics and emphasises the critical importance of foundational skills while acknowledging the complicated challenges and circumstances of life, which many of IkamvaYouth learners are coping with. This is has been fantastic program that promises to make a profound difference not only in learners’ maths results but also in other areas such as boosting their confidence in their existing abilities. This allows learners to approach new learning experiences with a much more confident focus on learning. And that makes them much easier to tutor.
The two dedicated tutors who gave all their tutoring time to the EwB programme, Nicholas Mei and Braam Daniels say from their experience that while they are essentially tutoring maths they noticed a huge improvement in the confidence and attitude of the learners toward their school work. The environment and culture of IkamvaYouth and the EWB programme creates a holistic approach which rather than just “teaching” learners it enables them to become aware of their inner ability to teach and learn for themselves. So while the focus has been on maths, the deeper things the learners have learned have manifested in all academic areas as it provides these learners with everything they need.
To determine the impact of the program, the class average of maths results achieved by the learners during the year was compared to the average maths result achieved by the entire grade of the two dominant local schools (i.e. Chris Hani High and Harry Gwala High). The comparison is shown below in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Comparison of the average EWB Grade 8 learner result to the local schools’ average grade result.
Figure 1 shows that not only did the EwB program learners consistently outperform their local schools but they also showed a greater overall improvement in their maths mark when comparing the 1st and 3rd term results. The EWB class’s school maths average improved by 19.6% while the local school only showed a 4.75% improvement.
The EwB programme has played a huge role in helping learners improve academically, not only in mathematics, but it has also trained the learners to be able to approach any kind of question without them struggling. It has helped them gain confidence in approaching maths questions and most of all it has taught them on how to work as a group.
So while sharpening basic math foundation skills with the EwB content and challenging the learners as cooperative groups with basic algebra problems, in a consequence-free learning. The program has already begun to be implemented with the next group of grade 8s in 2012, as well as implementing an English language component and looking to expand to other branched.
Well done to our learners for these amazing results and to EwB