Australian-sponsored mathematics program in Bedouin school

December 27, 2017 by Asher Gold
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The computerised mathematics initiative co-sponsored by the Triguboff Institute and Australian businessman Leon Kamenev has recently expanded into ten new schools and kindergartens in the Bedouin community of Segev Shalom in southern Israel.

Kineret Bar-Gil and Shalom Norman visit ithe training centre

The program was launched this past June to encourage math studies in a fun, experiential way through a popular computer software called Matific.

The program, a JNF NSW project, attained new success and popularity in Israel after the Ministry of Education approved Matific as a formal math learning program fit for Israeli preschool and elementary school education. This approval engendered higher demand for the program among Bedouin schools and led the Triguboff Institute and Segev Shalom Community Center to implement a major change into their systems, upgrading the program from its afternoon enrichment hours at the Community Center into a standard educational program implemented as part of basic math learning in schools.

The expansion was made possible with the training of 25 new female instructors from the Bedouin sector who were taught to teach math using Matific software. Simultaneously, 10 math teachers who work in schools that adopted the program were trained to use and teach with it, as well. During the month-long training course, the instructors were taught to teach regular math, general pedagogy, how to use the program, and teach math with Matific, and more.  Course graduates then interned in the 4 local elementary schools in Segev Shalom and 6 of its 32 preschool classes. Segev Shalom has only 4 schools, and while the program, to date, was implemented in 6 preschools, the goal is to eventually reach all local preschools in the town.

The course trains volunteer teachers who work in the schools and preschools 4 days a week and return for in-depth training and discussion on the fifth day of the week. In the meanwhile, they also gain the added benefit of stronger Hebrew language skills.  The course and instruction hours count for compulsory National Service, after which the instructors receive professional teaching certificates that are recognized by the Ministry of Education and help them integrate successfully into the workforce.

Aside from its applications in schools and preschools, Matific software is also used in the Technological Center of the Segev Shalom Community Center which was recently renovated by Kamenev. Every week, the Center hosts math reinforcement classes using Matific. The tutoring program in the Community Center is geared to kids in first and second grades, while in the higher classes, the volunteers work with them in school. On Friday, volunteers come to help third grade students. Over 1000 children have benefited from the program since it was implemented.

Shalom Norman, CEO of Triguboff Institute says: “At present, the Bedouin sector represents 30% of the total population of the South. The development of the South is contingent upon the development and advancement of its Bedouin population. In the past years, the Bedouin sector has undergone significant changes in this respect, with local leaders identifying the need to advance their communities. We are glad to be taking an active role in facilitating these changes and stimulating them.” Norman likewise thanked project director Ms. Kineret Bar-Gil who runs the Segev Shalom Community Center.

Kineret Bar-Gil responds: “I’m amazed by the results and the children’s excitement with the program. I’m enchanted by the fact that these kids who attend schools where experiential learning is limited are really enjoying learning math, which is a subject that many children find challenging and frustrating. But here, they’re begging to learn more and more!”.

 

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