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JIS News

National Mathematics Co-ordinator, Tamika Benjamin, is issuing a strong appeal to parents of poor performing mathematics students, to support the 63 specialists who will be deployed in October.
Mrs. Benjamin made the appeal during a recent interview with JIS News.
“I want to say to parents that we will always meet challenges; our children will be exposed to things we were never exposed to. We will always find our children learning things that we never learnt or mastered, but the reality is that the way our world is moving now, mathematical skills are actually becoming more important,” she explained, while noting that the subject becomes even more crucial in this global environment.
“We are in a technological age. The world is a global environment and we are finding that to access information and education at higher levels, mathematical skills are continually being required,” she pointed out, “so I want to encourage those parents who are not able to assist [their children] to find the support elsewhere.”
She urged the parents to work closely with the teachers and the schools.
Mrs. Benjamin noted that the focus has been on literacy and rightfully so, “but the reality is that literacy and numeracy are the basic skills anybody needs to access information in life.” It is therefore important, she said, that children are not just literate, but that they are numerate and are able to use the mathematical concepts in their everyday life experiences.
“They should know when something is wrong with a bank account, and how to read a light or water bill and understand it,” she explained.
The Co-ordinator said that the National Mathematics Programme, would work closely with schools, to build the much needed parental support.
“We are hoping to work with schools to build parental support in this area. There are different approaches we are seeing with parents; there are those who will say they weren’t good at Math, so in a sense they don’t expect it from their children, but they need to be encouraging. If they are not able to provide assistance and support, they need to try and find somebody who can assist,” she said.
Giving pointers to parents, Mrs. Benjamin cited practical activities as one method of promoting a love for the subject. “If parents detect that their child has a fear for the subject, try to incorporate activities or games that are fun. They are doing Math, but it’s not the drill and practice way, it’s done in a way that is more interactive and children can find fun in it. Math is in everything, so if they are doing measurements and estimations, they can participate in baking – a practical Math activity,” she pointed out.
She emphasised that parents should show their children where the Math relates to their everyday life.
Mrs. Benjamin is also encouraging parents to work closely with schools through the Mathematics Specialists and other teachers.