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Phumi Mtyihane from Alexandra township in South Africa and Luckford Didas Hamsini from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania never imagined they would one day be taking part in a study programme at the University of Warwick. Warwick in Africa’s competitions for talented teachers to come to the UK and boost their subject knowledge and teaching skills changed that.

phumi_mtyihane.pngPhumi Mtyihane
Realogile High School

Since winning a place on the Warwick study programme, Phumi has been even more committed to improving educational standards. Apart from being Head of Maths at her school she now also hosts a weekly radio show inspiring and encouraging learners to increase their education.

I’ve learnt so much through Warwick in Africa. The course at Warwick was really inspirational and made me work hard at developing new talents and in finding ways to inspire others. I knew that the Alex FM weekly radio show which reaches a million listeners would make more, so many more, people understand the importance of education. There are so many ups and downs in the townships. So having an educational focus is really important because it has such tangible results.

Many South African teachers are faced with teaching maths topics which they didn’t learn themselves at school or college. The Warwick students have supported us by sharing their knowledge. They are such an inspiration. They’ve been teaching probability over the past five years and we’ve really been able to see the difference.

The students have helped the teachers by explaining probability. That’s going to be a compulsory part of the syllabus next year so Realogile School will be at an advantage. The biggest impact of Warwick in Africa has still to come when the learners get very good results for their probability!

Luckford Didas HamsiniLuckford Didas Hamsini
Azania School, Dar es Salaam

Luckford was exactly the profile of teacher who could gain most from the two week study programme at Warwick. Instinctively a good teacher and passionate about his job, Luckford was eager to explore new teaching methods, to expand his subject knowledge and also to share his experiences with other teachers from South Africa, Ghana and his home country Tanzania.

Luckford visited different types of comprehensive schools in the UK and worked with Warwick academics in the Maths department and the Institute of Education. He also worked with the Student Careers and Skills Service and had the opportunity to visit Stratford upon Avon and London. Now back in Dar es Salaam teaching maths in the Azania Secondary Boys’ School, Luckford reflects on his experience:

Having watched the Warwick students teach in Tanzania and then seeing those practices in UK schools really gave me an insight into new methods of teaching. It’s not just about putting learning in a global context, involving technology or setting up Maths Clubs. Working on competencies in the classroom rather than setting them for homework can be very effective for learners to grasp concepts more quickly. Punctuality also makes the best use of everyone’s time!

We are already working in some of the new ideas in my school and not just in Maths – like creating wall posters for classrooms or discussion boards where learners and teachers can interact beyond the classroom. I’ve already asked the Ministry of Education if I can work with other schools to share my experience.