INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the first on-line courses in South Africa to improve teachers’ subject knowledge of Fractions, Decimals and Percentages – designed and created for teachers, by teachers and with teachers, tested in the classroom and configured especially for e-learning.

Before we begin, there are things you must know.

Level

These courses are for all teachers at any level from Grade 1-12 who feel they would like to improve their subject knowledge and teaching of Fractions, Decimals and Percentages. 

Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

These courses have been developed as part of teachers’ Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Each course is worth 5 CPD points.

Remember, every teacher has to accumulate 150 CPD points over a three-year cycle. Points can be carried over from one cycle to the next. 

Time

There is no time limit according to which a course must be completed. However, it is recommended for the best results that each unit within each course should be completed within a week. That is, Fractions (9 units) and Decimals (5 units) should take 14 weeks.

Of course, there may be some of you who can do them in a much shorter time; others may take longer. It will all depend on your circumstances. 

Registration

You will need to register on-line on the website www.trainingteachers.org.za and receive a user-name and password.

What you will find once you have registered

Once you have registered you will discover tabs that will take you to the English or Afrikaans versions of the courses. Choose which course you want to do. 

Each course comprises a number of units followed by a quiz. You must pass each quiz with 80% before you can go on to the next unit. The quiz questions are all taken from examples in the preceding unit. 

After the final quiz at the end of the last unit you will find a test. All the questions have been taken from the preceding quizzes.

An exam pass mark of 80% guarantees you 5 CPD points.

Procedure

Begin at the beginning: Unit 1 Fractions and wholes. Work through the exercises and examples systematically. Whenever you get to the end of a page you will see a Mark as Complete button. It’s very important that you click this button to indicate to the system that you have completed the topic and can go on to the next one. When you’ve marked a topic as complete it will show with a green dot in the navigation in the right-hand pane. 

When you have marked all topics in a unit complete and are satisfied that you have mastered the material, do the quiz. Your results will be immediately available to you. No one can see your score except you. 

You have to get 80% to pass on to the next unit. If you don’t get 80%, look at those questions that have given you trouble and return to the relevant sections in the unit. When you feel confident, re-do the quiz.  And so on, until you do the exam at the end of the course.

A little bit of background

These courses are part of a larger initiative requested by the Director-General of Education in the Western Cape, which aims at assisting teachers to become self-reliant, and to take responsibility for their own professional development.

The courses are intended to help in-service teachers improve their content knowledge and teaching of Fractions, Decimals and Percentages, which are the basis of all mathematical understanding. If teachers have an imperfect understanding of the topics they are teaching, their teaching will not be effective. 

Most courses available on the Internet have been developed by specialists far removed from actual classroom realities and practice. They tend to make unwarranted assumptions about teachers’ needs, capacities and experience. In order to overcome these limitations it was decided to engage with a group of in-service teachers in Barrydale as co-researchers, developers and translators of courses designed specifically for their needs. All the exercises, problems and examples in these courses have been tested in a variety of ways in the classroom.

Dr Michael Rice
PETS Foundation