Pekapekarau School Students Put Pilot Programme to the Test

Pekapekarau School Students Put Pilot Programme to the Test11 Oct 2022

A group of Year 6-8 Pekapekarau School students gave the thumbs up to a trial online mathematics tutoring programme when the parties involved got together at the school last week.

The Level 2 pilot programme was developed by Impact Tutoring founder Jean McKenzie and Hamish McAlley and delivered by Mathematics for a Lifetime Trust through the sponsorship of Harcourts Foundation and Harcourts Blue Reality Te Awamutu/ Ōtorohanga.

At the event, Jean said she had developed a small idea that she thought would help students grow confident with mathematics.

The idea grew bigger when Impact Tutoring developed the course and again when Mathematics for a Lifetime Trust took it on board.

It became huge when the Harcourts team agreed to sponsor the course, and it grew enormous when teachers at Pekapekarau School agreed up to 50 of their students could be part of the pilot programme, with help from their teachers.

Jean said the main aim was to be proactive and not reactive, especially when there is so much publicity about how New Zealand children are achieving poor results in mathematics.

As part of the presentation, students recorded their thoughts on video about why the programme made mathematics more fun, and how it helped them learn better and grow more confident.

They also produced artworks that showed how participating in the programme made them feel good about themselves and their learning.

The aim of the programme is to create confident pupils, who have the key skills they need in numeracy and are then more motivated and better able to keep up with their peers at high school.

Jean and her team developed tools that provided teachers with up-to-date and relevant resources for their maths programme, offered pupils a different way to learn, allowed the teachers to meet individual student needs, allowed parents to access the course to develop their knowledge and understanding of techniques, and offered teachers a tool that can be used in a variety of ways; such as a demonstration on the class data-projector screen; group instruction; samples of a range of algorithms; partner activity; homework quiz, a quiz as a simple assessment tool; Individual/ independent activities; revisiting to build a deeper understanding of the importance of practice.

Deputy principal Kylie McKay it was amazing what can be achieved when the community comes together.

"The staff at Pekapekarau are extremely passionate about providing learners with opportunities," she said.

"Coming together with Jean and her army of people has enabled our students to have success through classroom teaching and the tool that is like their right hand ... technology.

"You can see through their artwork that when they experience success they see themselves as smart, with a pumped up, can-do attitude that they then apply to other areas of their life."

Kylie said her team looked forward to providing feedback to improve the programme and to building on the new knowledge and teaching and learning opportunities the platform has provided them.

She also thanked the teaching team of Ginny Mitchell, Renee Lyon and Israel Hepius, who have been learners themselves, engaging a new tool and continuing to provide opportunities for Pekapekarau students.

Ginny, as leader of learning and on behalf of the tuakana team, thanked Jean and the other visitors for coming to celebrate with the students that were part of the Impact Tutoring pilot.

"We would like to acknowledge Jean for considering and selecting Pekapekarau to be part of this online maths course," she said.

"Also a huge thank you to Harcourts for giving your support to Impact Tutoring and our students."

Ginny said the course provided this group of students with an opportunity to work online in the classroom and from home.

"The tutorials provided our tauira with clear instructions on how to solve addition and subtraction problems using algorithms.

"The strategies they have learnt really focused on understanding and solidifying number knowledge.

"We have noticed students' confidence has grown, their attitudes to solving large numbers of problems have improved and the conversations with their peers have increased."

She added students said they liked how easy the tutorials were to follow and when they transferred the problems into their books it was easy to follow the process.

"From the pre and post-data that my class did there was a definite improvement in their maths understanding."

Jean said it was an exciting time for Mathematics for a Lifetime.

She said she was looking forward to meeting with Pekapekarau staff next term and hearing their feedback, then contacting other schools whose students could benefit from this new resource.