Guiding tomorrow

SMATE UNIT (Science, Mathematics &Technology Education)

The project aims to introduce the practice of exploratory talk to Grade 7 Maths teachers so that they can use it to enhance the understanding of mathematics concepts in their classes.



This project was introduced in 2007 in three schools in the Missionvale area and surrounds in Port Elizabeth. Six classes of grade 7 learners were tested in Numeracy, English Skills and Raven’s Progressive Matrices (which tests reasoning skills). Three classes were identified as experimental and three as control classes, the teachers were trained at workshops to introduce Exploratory Talk into the mathematics classrooms in order to increase learner participation in class and interaction in their home languages, and regular class visits were made to the schools to track progress.

During 2008 Emafini Primary School was selected for more in-depth study. Four classes, two experimental and two control, have been identified and pre-tests have been conducted. A researcher visits the school each week to provide support and to video record classroom activities. The mathematics teacher of the experimental classes registered for a master’s degree based on the project and is a committed member of the team.

During the second semester of 2008 the emphasis of the Exploratory Talk in Mathematics project was on reading towards exploratory talk. The participating school introduced an hour of reading for every child in the school on a Friday and the project provided two children’s books designed to promote discussion and examples of exploratory talk among the learners. In this way the project extends the tenets of exploratory talk in co-curricular activities

Contact information
Dr Lyn Webb
Senior Lecturer: Math and ML Ed
Tel: 27 41 504 4016