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Mathematics for Everyone (Mimate)


Implementing institution: Instituto Apoyo

Country: Perú

Source: IPA

Execution period: 2008 – en curso

Plataforma de Prácticas Efectivas:
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Challenges

To promote the taste for mathematics, strengthen logical reasoning, improve the performance of schoolchildren in this area and achieve lasting learning.

Solution

Extracurricular program focused on numerical literacy and comprehension of shapes, providing support to teachers.

Results

The training of teachers has created a favourable classroom environment, increasing pedagogical activities based on play and improving children's expression.

Mímate Inicial is a mathematics education program designed and implemented by Instituto Apoyo in coordination with the Peruvian Ministry of Education and with financing from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Mimate began in 2008 for students from first to third grade of primary level from 8 public schools located in Talara. In 2009, an agreement with the organization Fe y Alegría allowed us to undertake a process of improvement in the teaching of mathematics through meetings and training with teachers from the 48 schools of Fe y Alegría.

From this experience Mimate was developed into Initial, Primary, Secondary, Reinforcements and Festivals. Mimate Initial targets children between 3 and 5 years from kindergarten schools. It consists of 3 weekly sessions in 45-minute classes. Teachers divide students into small groups to create micro exchange spaces. Learning goals relate to the different uses of numbers and the recognition of geometric shapes. Children work with geometric transformations and symmetry, manipulate objects, identify spatial relationships and become familiar with the numerical sequence from 1 to 12.

The pedagogical model seeks to reverse the traditional vertical learning model in order to encourage children to learn in a playful way and at their own pace. They are given a book that contains the main axes of arithmetic and texts that tell stories and situations in which schoolchildren must calculate. The disseminated knowledge corresponds to everyday situations, which make it possible to organize the environment of schoolchildren through “mathematical glasses”. This makes mathematics stimulating, interesting and useful.

Teachers receive a manual with orientations and practical exercises to carry out in the classroom, as well as work plans to structure time and follow the progress of the activities. They are trained in the use of the methodology and materials specific to Mimate. Teachers also participate every two months in interlearning meetings in more local groups so that they can share their experiences.

According to the 2012 PISA test, Peruvian students achieved the lowest scores in mathematics, reading and science, despite having an enrolment rate in primary and secondary school of over 90% and 75%, respectively. The participation rate in pre-school education, for children between 3 and 5 years of age, has increased from 53% to 75% between 2001 and 2012. The challenge in this context is to improve math and reading skills for Peruvian students.

Between 2012 and 2014, Innovation for Poverty Action (IPA) conducted an experimental study with a control group to measure the impact of Minimate Initial on children’s motor skills, mathematical knowledge and socio-emotional development. Some 2,400 students participated in the initial and short-term tests, while 2,416 children participated in the baseline and medium-term tests.

Comparison of the results observed in the two groups has shown positive effects of teacher training in creating a favourable classroom environment. Teachers tend to increase pedagogical activities based on play, which improves children’s expression.

While the proposed curriculum has very moderate effects on increasing children’s math and reading skills relative to other related programs, the implementation of Mimate implies a progressive advance over the implementation of shape-centered sessions. These results suggest a statistically significant impact after one year of implementation and some persistent effects thereafter.

Considering the relatively low cost of the Mimate program (US$150/child) the innovation represents a timely solution to improve the teacher-child relationship, creating a playful environment in the classroom.

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