AIMSSEC identified the need to narrow the gap between opportunities for previously disadvantaged rural South African teachers with respect to transition rates into mathematics and science careers for their learners. The primary gap was identified in schools where there was a need for teachers to increase their content knowledge and their pedagogical approaches in order to raise the quality of teaching and learning mathematics.
AIMSSEC’s programmes are designed to address this gap through the use of continuous professional development.
Goals of AIMSSEC:
• Up-skilling mathematics teachers through professional development courses;
• Establishing a network of teachers across the country for support, sharing of ideas and resources;
• Distributing teaching and learning resources
• Create an interactive school mathematics community; and
• Encourage further study of mathematics and mathematics education.
AIMSSEC is working to achieve these goals through the combination of:
- The seven-course sequence to train teachers to be mathematics subject leaders;
- The 3-month AIMSSEC Mathematical Thinking (MT) course, endorsed with 20 professional development points by the South African Council for Educators (SACE);
- The 2-year Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT, NQF level 6) course, which provides in-service training for mathematics teachers from intermediate, senior and FET phases; this is accredited by North West University following previous accreditation of the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) through Stellenbosch University and the University of Fort Hare.
- The 2-year Advanced Diploma in Education (ADE, NQF level 7) course which provides in-service training for mathematics teachers also accredited by North West University.
- The Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGE, NQF Level 8) is planned as follow-on course from the ADE in the future, so that AIMSSEC will be offering a professional development programme for mathematics educators.
These courses are designed for the majority of mathematics teachers who are mathematically under-qualified, preparing them to be more effective teachers, heads of departments and subject advisers. To develop expert teachers from the continuous professional development programme in South Africa, AIMSSEC follows a blended learning approach which includes: residential modules, distance learning, online forums, end of year examinations and interactive whiteboard sessions. AIMSSEC’s first book, Mathematical Thinking in the lower secondary classroom, was published by Cambridge University Press (CUP) in 2016, giving hundreds of educators access to resources for professional development and classroom practice. This book is the first in a series.
The Aiming High website (aiminghigh.aimssec.ac.za) provides a range of innovative mathematical classroom activities aligned to Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) topics. Our Community of Practice (CoP), the Aiming High Teacher Network, supports lifelong learning, offers resources for teaching mathematics and enables teachers to share ideas, to support each and to receive help and advice from experts. AIMSSEC provides intensive ICT training on all residential courses, covering key ICT skills including email, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, GeoGebra and use of the internet.
This ICT course is currently offered as part of the ACT and ADE in partnership with NWU. The accredited ICT module will form part of the new ACT in 2016. AIMSSEC is currently exploring the future prospect of a Master’s in Mathematics Education. To date, AIMSSEC has trained 1 707 teachers on the MT short course, while 215 teachers graduated from the two year ACE course. We thank all our sponsors for making this amazing opportunity to invest in South Africa possible.
Since our inception in 2003, we have:
- completed 31 three month Mathematical Thinking Professional Development Courses (CFPS), training 2039 primary and secondary teachers from all parts of South Africa,
- taught eight years of the Advanced Certificate in Education programme to train Subject Leaders (ACE)
- established close partnerships working with Fort Hare University and SUNCEP
- set up the AIMING HIGH Teacher Support Network with a new Interactive Telematic Education Centre in Mthatha,
- organized 20 Motivate videoconferences for learners,
- organized public lectures and talks at schools,
- formed partnerships with DrMath and Nokia Momaths to support learnerning using cellphones,
- taught enrichment classes for learners from local schools with help from AIMS students
- supported primary schools in Imizano Yethu and Gugulethu running workshops for teachers
- produced learning resources tailored to the South African Mathematics Curriculum,
- distributed information on use of free resources,
- organised a tour and 30 performances of Bubblz the Maths Clown in Johannesburg and W. Cape with workshops for teachers and free follow up-learning materials.
Going forward, we aim to:
- train 276 subject leaders in the Eastern Cape, 4 intermediate, 4 senior and 4 FET in each school district,
- run Mathematical Thinking and Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT) course to train over 1000 teachers in a decade and continue to support the teachers through the AIMING HIGH Teacher Network,
- run additional short courses for teachers e.g. Statistics and Probability, Geometry, Number and Algebra, Using I.T effectively in the classroom,
- publish the first 4 books in the AIMING HIGH series to provide material for teachers to run their own workshops
- develop open online courses specifically designed for students in Africa,
- organize Motivate videoconferences for learners twice a year,
- develop new interactive online learning resources, including publication of learners’ work,
- distributed resources in other South African or African languages,
- establish a Maths Roadshow visiting schools,
- formalise and grow our curriculum development and research activities.