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Report of the Teachers Interactive Session (Friday 29th August 2014)

General Introduction was done and session commenced with the reason why we are here which was given by Prof. Stella Williams.
•    Prof. Nkechi Agwu gave illustrations on how we can use culture to teach mathematics and science using things like sequence in beads, clothes and other things around us that we relate to everyday. She used the traditional chief of Lagos(Oba Rilwan Akinlolu) pointing out nature and sequence in his beads and the throne he sits on. She explained that plants we see every day can be used to teach maths.  She also used genealogy (descendants) to explain numbers.
•    The Chairman, Mathematical Association of Nigeria (Mr.  Razaq Jimoh) gave several tips on how to make maths easy by using music and culture to memorize some key formulas. He also shared his experience with multiplication table and how we can teach it to students using our fingers. He shared several poems/songs. He also advised that we should stop pushing the students and allow them to take their time and learn and repeat a class if they have not performed well enough to go to the next class. This he emphasized will not kill them, but make them better skilled in the subject.  He advised teachers to also join Associations and groups they can learn from and update their skills from time to time.
•    Mr. Jimoh expressed that he was not surprised by the mass failure in mathematics as he is aware that the students are not well taught but her pushed from one class to the next without them getting the full grasp of the subject. He advised that all hands should be on deck and we should try and do more for the students especially in the area of teaching methodology.
•    Prof. Stella Williams admonished teachers to wear cheerful looks as this can impact and affect the responses of students in the class. She also encouraged teachers to do more research to update themselves.
•    Prof. Agwu also explained how she uses dolls to teach maths (Vertex Edge Graphs). Her use of dolls was ascribed to the Ndebele people who use dolls for several things in their culture; i.e even marriage proposals.
•    Teachers in attendance shared their challenges in teaching this core subject which ranged from general lack of interest, permission to use the rest room repeatedly/ disruptive class, lack of attention, failure to carry out instructions to total tune out during classes.
•    Tips were shared on how to make the students more attentive and participatory. This involves more hands on experience which will get the students more engaged. The teachers were also made to make creative things to teach various topics with various materials provided by Prof. Agwu. Teacher came out to illustrate what they made and how they can use it to teach their students maths.
•    In conclusion, the teachers shared what they had gained from attending this session and how they intend to use it for the benefits of their students.

A.S Bello
Sept 2014.

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