Making learners fall in love with mathematics

Saturday April 20 2019

Stella Basemera

Stella Basemera 

By Charlotte Ninsiima

How she started
My love for mathematics was triggered by annual reports which progressively registered the worst performance at Primary Leaving Examinations, Uganda Certificate of Education and Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education.

Basemera’s gig came after she posted on Mama Tendo Facebook page telling parents that she helps children struggling to understand and excel in mathematics. “This was my entry point into this business up to date.

She started by volunteering but the demand is overwhelming. Due to recommendations, today, the number of children she meets daily have tremendously increased. She registered her business in 2017 under ‘Creative Learning Africa’.

“I offer learning support to fill in the gaps of children between four to 20 years. I follow the child’s curriculum whether Indian, British and Ugandan to the letter. I understand their learning style, assess them and combine all their work into a module that they can understand, Basemera observes.

After two years research, she published a book titled ‘Critical thinking and Creative trigger- Fun Math Activities’ to trigger learners to be creative, think logically without cramming formulae and concepts taught in class. According to her, this has yielded into better and improved results.

Why children fail mathematics
“Some learners hardly bond with their teachers. Learners essentially fear their teachers. Whether they have understood or not, they will not ask questions. And once a learner has issues with a teacher, they will have an issue with the subject”, she clarifies. Basemera says unlike other subjects which one can read and understand, Maths require regular practice.

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She further explains that learners in upper classes also psychologically affect those in lower classes by making them believe that the subject is impassable.

It’s only when teachers aren’t open and receptive to new ideas that conflicts with the learning aids which bring about confusion amongst children.
Unique techniques used
Basemera uses learner styles like visual aids, auditory and kinesthetic interests or hobbies like football and the available resources to teach which makes maths tutorials fun.

Working with a team of eight professional teachers, Basemera says they identify unique challenges for each learner before delving into the subject matter. During weekdays, homework is used as a tool to counter their mistakes and learners are prompted to work out solutions. Basemera discourages the giving out of saying they promote cram work. She also tracks the progress of her learners before and after her training services as well as obtain feedback from parents through reflective practice.

“As a teacher, enrich the learning experience by making use of the surroundings. Artificial intelligence and technology are all aided by mathematics. The syllabus instructs you to teach fractions, but it doesn’t dictate how should teach.”, Basemera advises.I also offer occasional trainings to fellow colleagues,” Basemera notes. She however insists that her way of teaching doesn’t in anyway diverge from the national curriculum.
Appeal
Basemera calls for active participation of learners, teachers and parents. She advises parents to ensure children learn and understand the concepts as opposed to the obsession of first grades. “Those who attain first grades through cram work, fail to maintain that excellent performance in upper classes”, she discloses. “Do not wait for National Curriculum Development to modify a national curriculum”, Basemera explains.

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