Multi-award-winning teacher tells us how he makes maths fun for his students

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"Multi-award-winning teacher chats to us about how he makes mathematics fun, his achievements and how he helps the community." Photo: Dr Khangelani Wilmoth Sibiya.
"Multi-award-winning teacher chats to us about how he makes mathematics fun, his achievements and how he helps the community." Photo: Dr Khangelani Wilmoth Sibiya.

Even though the minimum required pass rate for mathematics has been reduced to 30%, some students are still unable to meet that requirement, and some of these students struggle to access the careers that they want.

With a little dedication and different techniques, mathematics and science can be made relatable and easier for students especially when we associate it with our everyday life.

News24 talked to a two time global award winner for mathematics and science, Dr Khangelani Wilmoth Sibiya about how he makes mathematics fun for his students as his methods have given him global recognition.

He also chatted to us about the tutoring programme that has helped so many students improve their performance in science and mathematics.

Read: Mathematics with Nqayiya makes top 10 at the Junior Chamber International SA awards 2021

'Making mathematics fun'

Dr Sibiya tells us that he integrates social trends such as sport, dance, music, and modelling to illustrate the subjects that he teaches. 

"This approach creates a classroom environment that is filled with fun and excitement, which makes it easy for learners to grasp these subjects," Dr Sibiya told us.

He explains that "this approach also helps learners easily associate these subjects with their everyday social lives, which helps to dismantle the fear associated with Maths and Science which causes a high rate of failure."

Dr Sibiya says that the feedback he has received from learners and parents when it comes to this teaching approach has been overwhelming.

Do not use

Kwazulu-Natal Educator, Dr Sibiya getting some work done.

Where to star

This Kwazulu-Natal educator is also one of the founding members of a tutoring program called Where To Start Maths and Science (WTS).

"Learners who attend WTS Maths and Science tutoring programs have reported significant improvement in their Maths and Science marks, with many learners earning a university entry pass mark," says Dr Sibiya.

He says that the plan for this coming year is to expand the WTS Program into other provinces and to shorten the in-person distance for learners who still prefer face to face teaching. He says that the facility is up and running. It is home to 70 learners already. 

"We are accepting new registrations, learners who want to be in an education-focused environment with no other distractions in place," he added.

"The new expansion programme is called WTS Global Network. Currently, my team and I have also launched an Upgrading Center for learners who want to improve their marks," says Dr Sibiya.

Also read: Covid-19 continues to exacerbate existing inequalities, hits high-school maths and science marks

'His motivation'

Dr Sibiya puts all his heart into his teaching as he believes that teaching is not just a job to him but a calling.

"It is beyond just a job for me. Even while I was still studying, I used to teach and help my fellow students with Maths and science," he says.

He says that he is motivated by a child, a family, and a society that values education.

"The joy of seeing a parent excited because their child can now enter university, the hope on their faces keeps me in the classroom, hall, or dining room of my home surrounded by learners who are hungry for success," added Dr Sibiya.

'The global awards'

He believes that the two global awards mean that his efforts in education are recognised and appreciated. 

"It is always inspiring to be recognised by your peers on the global stage. I am eternally grateful for such recognition," he added.

Must read: 'I can't continue to live such a stressful life': Our teachers are not okay

His encouraging words to fellow teachers and colleagues:

"Some of us have gone under the radar, and it feels like no one is noticing our dedication. Remember that you are a nation builder, a future/career constructor. Your input in society is similar to that of a woman, which is significant. A woman gives life to humanity, and likewise, we as educators give life to dreams, hope to families," motivated Dr Sibiya.

"We may face criticism or accusations, like a woman in our society who, besides her importance, faces abuse and threat to life yet remains solid as a rock. We (educators) need to take a leaf out of that and stay resilient to the call," he added.

To the Matric class of 2022, Dr Sibiya says:

"You have conquered Grade 11, the most challenging Grade out of the lot, now finish the job. You are almost there. Set the tone early. Your success began in the First Grade. You are in the last Grade now, finish well."

He added, "Pass your matric now, not in November. Limit distractions. Your friends will still be there next year this time. The question is how will your January 2023 look like? Will you be expecting to go to varsity, or you will be regretting not taking the last Grade of your schooling year seriously?"

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