An introduction to Dr Petro Erasmus and her Maths Programme ‘Whartels’
Dr Petro Erasmus, a visiting specialist from South Africa, recently delivered a maths workshop at Loughborough University. This was organised by one of our Dyscalculia Network Advisory Board members, Kinga Morsanyi, senior lecturer in Mathematical Cognition at the Mathematics Education Centre.
Marijke Walters, one of our Network tutors was able to attend this workshop which allowed her to ‘play maths’ all afternoon!
The programme ‘Whartels’ designed by Dr. Erasmus is one of the very few where the (often negative) emotions surrounding maths are addressed and where all learners can be supported, not just those learners who struggle with the basic concepts of maths but also children who crave an extension of their ‘age appropriate’ maths knowledge.
Some of the strategies used are to talk about what it feels like when your brain is worried about maths and how to help your worried brain yourself. You could even talk to Dr. Erasmus’ very lovable puppets; they play a big part in vocalising what the learner is worried about and what to do about it.
The morning was dedicated to explaining the theoretical basis, research, and rationale behind the creation of the programme and it was wonderful to see Dr. Erasmus’ drive and commitment to bringing this programme to her local South African communities, educating not only the children but also parents and educators about the different ways a child with an ASC or AD(H)D learn.
It was brilliant to see many of the strategies we use with our dyscalculic learners used in this programme and to pick up some extra little tips as well.
We looked at the possible culture-specific aspects of the program, but we all agreed that it would suit our learners perfectly.
Marijke felt really inspired after the workshop, not only because of Dr. Erasmus’ work but hearing about some of the projects currently underway at the MEC – lots of exciting things are happening which will no doubt filter through to the network and us, the dyscalculia specialist teachers.
You can find out more about Dr Petro’s work here –
and contact our specialist maths tutor Marijke here –