Mathematics teacher Greiton de Azevedo from IF-Goiano public school, Ipameri, Goiás, Brazil, wanted to be a maths teacher from the age of 13, and was ridiculed by his school friends for wanting to take up a low paid, low prestige job in Brazil, where the country scores poorly in international tests like PISA for the subject. But Greiton was on a one-man mission to change this, contribute to maths education and the students facing it in the classroom, as he considers it essential for the exercise of global citizenship.
To make a difference in the lives of students first he invested in his training then his research on creatively combining scientific and technological disciplines to create student mathematics fit for the 21st century. He has used his 11-year teaching experience to impact broader and more responsible math learning in thousands of students, going beyond the school walls. For instance, in 2014 he entered a needy municipal public school, marginalized and in an area of violence, where he conceived his Mattics project with students. Combing knowledge of mathematics, robotics and digital games, the classes are tasked with coming up with applications that benefit society, such as low-cost products aimed at treating symptoms of diseases including Parkinson's, so giving more meaning and context to the study of mathematics. As a result of the evolution of this work, which expanded to other schools in 2017, and its increased popularity, he now sees many classes motivated by mathematics, with students wanting to go to school to conduct scientific research and develop technologies for the benefit of society. In 2017, the work was recognized as one of the main innovation and creativity projects in mathematics in the Creative Learning challenge by MIT in the United States.
His classroom teaching technique designed to get students thinking mathematically, creatively and scientifically, involves debating ideas, research and mathematical augmentation, active learning methodologies in which a student assumes the role of researcher and inventor, rather just being the recipient of information which they then have to simply reproduce. The results at school have been impressive with student absenteeism reduced from 25% to 0.8% in 2014/15; 85% of students passing national standardized tests (vestibular and ENEM) in 2019/20; and over the years, more than 50 students achieving high results at the National Mathematical Olympiads (like OBMEP), and also in robotics tournaments.
As well as additionally investing his spare time and holidays to contribute to the intellectual and social formation of his students, he has also travelled around Brazil giving lectures and courses (mostly at the invitation of organizations, companies, universities, television networks, NGOs and magazines) about the way he teaches mathematics to thousands in Brazil, publishes scientific articles in prestigious journals, attends national and international events such as representing Brazil at the South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, in addition to having written books paradidactic materials and pedagogical-technological materials.
Greiton is the result of public school and public universities. He graduated, specialized, masters and is studying for a doctorate in prestigious public universities (Ufg, Unesp). His biggest dream is to provide quality education to all Brazilian students.