NEWS
20/11/2016 16:48 SAST | Updated 21/11/2016 12:51 SAST

Teacher Uses Clever Method To Help Kraaifontein Students With Maths

How hip-hop helps him reach his grade eight students.

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You may think you've heard this story before. A class of underprivileged children are surly and unresponsive when they meet their new, most likely white, teacher. Think Dangerous Minds, The Ron Clark Story and Freedom Writers. The do-gooder starts off being hated and disrespected but experiences a breakthrough when they teach their streetwise, black pupil in an unconventional way, and suddenly earn their respect. Thankfully South Africa has a more believable and less condescending version of that narrative: a teacher from Kraaifontein is using hip-hop beats and rhymes to teach his class times tables.

The Daily Voice reports that Kurt Minnaar (33) uses "gevaarlike [dangerous] dance moves" and music to teach his Grade 8 class at Eben Dönges High School.

According to the newspaper, Minaar is working on six tracks to add to the two he already has, and will be releasing an album of the times tables in raps.

His work is a welcome relief.

Eben Dönges High School has made headlines previously, but not for the best reasons. Named after an apartheid-era minister, the school in 2013 was at the receiving end of fierce backlash after it sent two Muslim pupils home over their fez and hijab. The siblings did not attend school for five days as they were not permitted back with the traditional garb. The Western Cape government eventually intervened and returned the children to their school.

In 2014, the school was in the news again, this time because a teacher was being investigated for hitting a grade nine pupil on the head with a stick in front of classmates.

Minnaar's work hopefully signals the start of far better times for pupils at the school.

Pupil Jabulani Dyantyi, 15, says he enjoys coming to math classes, because of the raps. "I get inspired by Mr Minnaar's raps and it has helped improve my maths marks," he told the newspaper.

The teacher said he's seen a reduction in the amount of disruptions in class. "I have seen some good results in my classes, but to see an even greater result I need to create more learning material and lesson plans. I have so many other ideas that I still want to implement, but it's all going to take some time."

Watch his inspiring work in the classroom here.