Teacher to test his methods at Hyacinth Primary School

Kurt Minnaar. Picture: Lindsay Appolis

The hip-hop dancing maths teacher who shot to fame four years ago when he used rap to teach maths, will be joining the Hyacinth Primary School community.

Kurt Minnaar, 36, originally from Bellville South but who now lives in Milnerton, has been a teacher for 11 years and has a special way of teaching pupils.

It was around 2012, he said, that he started thinking of new ways to teach mathematics and how to combine it with his passions, which are hip-hop dance and music, as his pupils were struggling with the basics.

In 2016, when his Grade 8 pupils were struggling with their timetables, he created his first maths-inspired hip hop track.

“I could pick up that the learners enjoyed the lesson. They could relate to it, they looked comfortable in the class, more learners participated and they learned their multiples. This inspired me to create more tracks and new ways of engaging the learners in maths.”

However, he realised that to create fresh ways of teaching, it would be best for him to leave teaching for a while so he could focus on creating fresh material. “My previous principal was very supportive of what I was doing,” he said.

Three months before lockdown, he said, he met with education experts, an experience which gave him the direction he needed to get back in to the classroom.

“I am excited to take on the role of the teacher as researcher – the teacher practitioner. I’ve never done it before. I have a lot to learn and I feel I am going to take things to the next level. And don’t forget, I am a teacher at heart and I am amped to do what I do,” he said.

Mr Minnaar started Dreamer Education in 2016 to engage pupils using music, dance and design to help them better understand and apply the principles of mathematics. He has also taught at Eben Donges High School in Kraaifontein, Goeie Hoop Primary School in Bellville South, Silikamva High School in Hout Bay and at schools in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.

And Hyacinth Primary will become Dreamer Education’s pilot site where they will create, implement, test and do research around their practices, he said.

Principal Cedric Anyster said he and the staff had accepted Dream Education’s way of teaching at their school. “I am happy. At heart and qualified – you are a teacher – another angle and methodology to complete the same curriculum as other colleagues, makes no difference,” he said.

“He is an enthusiastic, energetic well-skilled educationist that’s passionate about people and what they’re doing with their lives. A different perspective can make a difference to the understanding of mathematics amongst our pupils. What a coup for the Hyacinth Primary School team.”

Said Mr Minnaar: “Pupils, the country is a mess, so do what you can and put in the work to show how a country should be run. Parents, keep supporting your children and dreamers, never quit, ‘kap aan’, until your dreams become reality,”