María Marta Camacho Alvarez
This profile was prepared when María Marta Camacho Alvarez was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
María Marta Camacho will not rest until she revitalizes methods of teaching and learning mathematics in Costa Rica and beyond. María's Program for Active and Creative Mathematics tries to make math fun and to build students' confidence by helping them find their own best study habits. Her teaching methods allow students to develop a capacity for logical reasoning and for thinking in the abstract at an early age. María is thus changing the belief that mathematics is boring, difficult, and can be mastered by only a select few. Her math program is cheap enough to be within reach of any family or school, because it relies on whatever materials are available. In the long term, María hopes to reform mathematics teaching techniques across Latin America. The Ministry of Education and the University of Costa Rica are already using María's texts, videos, and music cassettes for teacher training and ongoing professional development.