The 5-year collaborative programme between MoEYS and VVOB on Strengthening Math Results and Teaching “SMART” (2017-2021) organises capacity development workshops through the mathematic taskforce to math teacher trainers and model teachers with a strong focus on math teaching methodology integrating STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) activities. By promoting innovative and self-exploring STEAM activities, students are encouraged to explore new ways of learning mathematics, embedding meaningful real-life activities and problems, starting from the early grade years.
To ensure the implementation of new integrated approaches in teaching and learning at school level, building competences at teacher training level is considered a core business of VVOB-Education for Development to support Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS), Cambodia. The mathematic taskforce of VVOB’s SMART programme plays a very important role to achieve the results of the program and be a part of sustainable change.
In April 2019, as a part of a follow-up capacity training, 2 lecturers from Luca School of Arts in Belgium, observed a 2-day try-out training on STEAM with the focus on art in geometry delivered by the mathematic taskforce to model teachers in Battambang. After the training, LUCA experts reflected, coached and provided constructive feedback to the taskforce members, as well as gave two-day refresher training to strengthen their skills around integrating art into teaching geometry in primary mathematics.
Use drawing skills to support STEAM
Drawing skills are significantly correlated to teaching and learning geometry. During 2-day try-out of training on art and geometry, we found that the combination of both topics motivated model teachers in teaching geometry to pupils. Participants were carried along with the idea of using drawing skills in geometry lessons because learning how to draw is based on the observation – understanding, imagination and representation – patterns used to design something. For example, in STEAM activities, geometric shapes were used to form the landscape (mapping) of a city from above, in which the participants had explored the way to link math and art into real-world. Afterwards they drew the pictures of the city based on their observation and interpretation by using a combination of different geometric figures. Finally, they got to transfer the map on the paper, so drawing was transformed into 3D models.
From October 2018 till June 2019, math teacher trainers and model teachers have received interactive and innovative trainings around teaching methodology in measurement. During these trainings the math taskforce members took the 13 teacher trainers and 376 model teachers from Phnom Penh and Battambang through different teaching methodologies as well as approaches around STEAM. Finally, participants were exposed to STEAM activities which they could adapt and use in their various teacher guides and ToT guides for student-teachers in Teacher Education College as well as for pupils in primary schools.
A total of 32 lesson plans with innovative teaching skills were tried out in a real classroom setting for all three trainings. This allowed the math taskforce members to observe the implementation of the teaching and learning activities of the measurement manual and provide necessary feedback as well as strengthen the existing math teaching methodology manuals.