Koop LubbingeMilla Theron
Founder & CEO
I was born in the Netherlands on the second day of March 1937. The third child (oldest son) of a family of ten children: Five girls and five boys.
My parents immigrated to South Africa in November 1952.
January 1953 I started my apprenticeship as an Instrument Mechanic at the then ISCOR Steelworks in Pretoria West.
Since then I have been an artisan (ISCOR), technician (SABC), scientist (CSIR), engineer (ISCOR), manager (ISCOR, Sulzer Bros), business man (Continuous Improvement International) and Lecturer and Associate professor (MBA-Business School of Netherlands).
My latest project is Towermaths: A unique way of introducing mathematics in a fun way to (hopefully millions of) foundation phase learners.
It is a well known fact that most people confess to a fear of mathematics. A friend, Dr. Callie Theron, is an Educational Psychologist at the DoE. He told me that in his experience this fear is the single greatest contributor to learner stress. Dr. Judy Willis, a Neurologist specialising in Brain Based learning, explains the impact of this fear on learning. This raises the question: What are the causes of this fear for mathematics? There is no simple answer to this. There are however strong indications that this fear is instilled in many learners as early as the Foundation Phase (grades R to 3)
At my retirement in 2001 I decided to research the way mathematics is taught in the foundation phase. The research is guided by Dr. Judy Willis’s Brain Based theory of learning that uses brain scans to measure the behaviour of the brain during a learning experience.
What was meant to be a two year project became a fifteen year journey of discovery into the unbelievable capacity of normal foundation phase learners to understand the basic principles of mathematics and apply these to practical real life situations.
An example is the following grade R sum that is solved by grade R learners after 9 months of Towermaths learning within 1-2 minutes:
12 + 65 – 72 + 94 -48 + 33 – 14 – 60 + 22 – 32 = ?
More important: They enjoy learning mathematics!!!!
In 2017 the SANTO project was started. This is a three year project funded jointly by SANLAM and African Rainbow Capital in partnership with Towermaths.
In 2017 SANTO implements Towermaths in 33 grades R and 1 at 4 schools involving 1100 learners. This will be rolled out to grades 2 and 3 in 2018-19.