“If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.” ~ Aristotle
Master Maths was founded in 1976 at a time when multimedia meant tapes and slides. We have come a long way since then, but one thing has always remained: a genuine commitment to produce lessons that will truly help learners understand maths. In recent years Master Maths has been expanding rapidly, but our humble beginnings illustrate the care and dedication of our educators towards learners.
Back in the 80’s Master Maths was extremely tutor intensive. The only way to establish what the students underlying problems were, was to employ a hard lined questioning technique. Then we had to make lightning quick decisions on how to best help the learner. Today this process has evolved into the diagnostic test which is done when a new student is enrolled.
One of the big problems in the early days was that the material did not hold the students’ attention or engage with them in the way it does today. We also needed thousands of worksheets and each learner demanded lots of personal attention. Tutors were exhausted, tapes stretched, slides faded and constant repairs had to be made. But because of our passion for mathamatics education we made it work.
The biggest challenge has always been to ensure that the learner uses their own deductive reasoning to find the answers. We always had to make sure that they think independently and the tutor simply guided them to find the answers on their own.
Then came the age of technology and we were able to capitalize on the lessons learned thus far.
The new computer interface has four major impacts:
- The learners work is marked immediately by the system. Tutors can give them instantaneous feedback while the work is still fresh in their minds. It also means that tutors have enough time for all the students because they do not have to spend countless hours marking worksheets.
- Due to the interactive nature the system learner attention is held for longer, encouraging them to have fun while learning maths.
- Any changes in the curriculum and examinable topics can be incorporated into the system immediately via updates.
- The students are further encouraged to think independently because they are interacting with the system. The tutors become facilitators: guiding the learners through the system and helping them to find the solutions independently.
The advancements in technology have however not reduced the importance of the tutors. Learners always need individual personal attention when it comes to identifying and explaining learner specific problems. People remain individuals, and they interpret problems and find solutions differently. During tests and exams the tutor is not in the room to hold the learners’ hand. Master Maths students are thaught to face their problems independently, increasing their confidence in maths and in everyday life.
A state of the art system, a passionate tutor, and the students’ personal needs are integral; remove any of these and you will struggle to get the results Master Maths has been able to achieve throughout its long history.
Written by Greg and Judy Connellan (Master Maths Durban franchisees for 21 years)