Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education
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|Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education|
27 St. Andrews Road, Parktown
Private Bag 3, Wits 2050
|Director||Craig Pournara |
|Head of school||Ruksana Osman|
School of Education
The Marang Centre for Mathematics and Science Education (Marang Centre) is a division of the Wits School of Education, a school within the Faculty of Humanities of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Marang Centre was inaugurated as an academic centre in October 2005, following substantial sponsorship from the Standard Bank of South Africa, which continues to be the major sponsor of the centre. The centre occupies part of the Education Campus, formerly the campus of the Johannesburg College of Education in the Parktown section of Johannesburg next to the School of Medical and Health Sciences.
Marang means light, sunbeam and illumination in Setswana, one of the official languages of South Africa. The Marang Centre is organised into research and development thrusts as shown below. These thrusts are the driving forces behind Marang's innovative and unique pre-service and in-service mathematics and science teacher education and preparation programmes. In addition to South African undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate future science and mathematics teachers, would-be teachers and teacher educators come from Southern African Development Community (SADC) member nations such as Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi', Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and other African countries.
The Marang Centre was initially established under the directorship of Professor Mamokgethi Setati, an internationally acclaimed and renowned South African mathematics education researcher, now Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town. Subsequent directors are Prof. Jill Adler, Prof. Marissa Rollnick, Prof. Anthony Lelliott and Prof. Craig Pournara (current).
BSc Honours in Mathematics & Science Education
MSc in Mathematics & Science Education
Organization of Research Thrusts
Effective Teaching of Mathematics & Science
The Mathematical Literacy thrust was established in 2005 - just prior to the introduction of Mathematical Literacy as a new subject in the post-compulsory phase in 2006. Mathematical Literacy is focused on developing the skills and competences needed to deal with the mathematical aspects of everyday life - as a citizen and a worker. The thrust focuses on research and teacher development in Mathematical Literacy, alongside building post-graduate research attention in this area. Several research publications have been produced since the thrust's launch and thrust participants have contributed to national policy debates around the new subject, taking a critical advocacy position.
Subject Matters for Teaching Mathematics & Science
This thrust has both research and development aims, and complementary foci across the mathematics and science projects. The research aims are to contribute to scientific knowledge on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of mathematics and science knowledge for teaching through substantive, ongoing research. This thrust focuses on pedagogic content knowledge and aims to carry out investigations into how subject experts, current and future educators, develop their Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), and ways of capturing and portraying their use of PCK through case studies. The idea is to explore a number of issues such as models that are useful for describing and analysing teachers’ PCK, the resources and artifacts that educators employ, and the extent to which disciplinary knowledge is context bound. In the research thrust we will carry out interventions to find out if an awareness of PCK will assist educators in preparing to teach unfamiliar content areas, such as those proposed for the new South African (2005 National Curriculum Statement) curriculum. The development aims are to improve mathematics and science teachers’ competence in teaching science by enhancing their flexibility with their content knowledge.
Teaching Math & Science in Multilingual Classroom
The aim is to deepen the knowledge base of mathematics education research, policy and practice in the area of language and mathematics learning and teaching by developing appropriate/relevant pedagogies for teaching and learning mathematics in multilingual contexts. More specifically the idea is to develop best practices in multilingual classrooms that pay attention to how learners’ language facilities are drawn on and strengthened in mathematics. The thrust focuses on the relationship between language and mathematics. The work of the thrust has implications for mathematics teaching, teacher education and policy.
Science Awareness, Informal Learning & Schools (SAILS)
The main research aim is to provide baseline knowledge about how science informal learning institutions in South Africa can be best utilized to promote science awareness and learning. The development aims are to develop teachers in order for them to use learning opportunities outside the classroom as effectively as possible. In addition, science awareness in the general public will be developed by running events of interest such as ‘Star Parties’, piloting ‘Café Scientifique’ and other activities. Furthermore, the thrust develops teachers’ knowledge in areas that deal with relevant issues of science technology and society such as climate change and biotechnology with the hope that they will impart scientific awareness among their school learners.
Technology in the Teaching & Learning of Mathematics
This thrust promotes the use of technology in the teaching and learning of mathematics. The thrust provides opportunities for in-service teachers to deepen and broaden their knowledge of key mathematical concepts, as well as reflect on and implement applications of technology to their teaching of mathematics. For research, the thrust aims at investigating technology-based tasks that promote mathematical learning among in-service teachers and their students.
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- Venkatakrishnan, H. & Graven, M. (2006) Mathematical Literacy in South Africa and Functional Mathematics in England: A consideration of overlaps and contrasts, Pythagoras, 64, 14-28.
- Venkat, H. (2010) Exploring the nature and coherence of mathematical work in South African Mathematical Literacy classrooms. Research in Mathematics Education, 12(1).
- Graven, M. & Venkat, H. (2009) Mathematical Literacy: Issues for engagement from the South African experience of curriculum implementation. In Paul Ernest, B.Greer & Bharath Sriraman (Eds.) Critical Issues in Mathematics Education. The Mathematics Enthusiast: Monograph Series in Mathematics Education pp 25-31. Charlotte, N.C.: [[Information Age Publishing]].