Institute provides teacher development in the following areas:
- Mathematics/Numeracy – (primary from 2008) and secondary school (from 2005)
- Physical Science (physical & chemistry) – primary schools physical science (from July 2010) and both in secondary schools.
- Literacy – primary grade 1 – 3 (from 2009 October)
Mathematics & Physical Science
The teacher development takes the form of workshops that may either be cluster or school based.
The cluster based workshops are presented within project schools from the same and/or nearby geographical area. A school based workshop is one workshop (with teachers from that school only) held at a school usually after in-school support or at times negotiated with the concerned participants and the school management team.
In either of the above workshops, the focus may be:
Teachers attend a workshop on a concept identified by Ukuqonda staff (critical concepts) or teacher(s) or negotiated between both parties. For example, the experience of Ukuqonda staff in other projects enable him/her to identify the concepts that are often neglected such as fractions in the primary school or rate of change in secondary school and establish with the teachers level the concept can be presented, this may for example be done by interviewing teacher about their teaching.
A workshop in which teachers analyse learners' work to identify possible weaknesses or misinterpretations of a concept. It envisaged that that by engaging teachers in this kind of discussions, they will improve their ability to identify this misinterpretations and weaknesses during lesson presentations and find ways of addressing them. This may also lead into changes in their teaching methodologies.
Workshops that ensure shared understanding of curriculum documents such Foundations for Learning Lesson plans or national curriculum statements (subjects and learning area) are conducted. It is hoped that this will help teachers to teach appropriate topics as expected by the DoE curriculum documents.
Target audiences for this include:
- Teachers in primary and secondary project schools
- Subject Advisors (picture on the right)
- Sister Organisations e.g. COUNT, Royal Bafokeng Institute, etc
We also use external “subject experts” from out to augment our programme delivery.
2010 is the first year of an enthusiastic focus on literacy. This intervention follows on from the classroom-based support, in mathematics, that has been offered over the 2008 and 2009 period which the schools continue to enjoy in 2010.
In 2009 ten primary schools in the Rustenburg area were invited to actively participate in a literacy program, which will run for three to four years. Instead of all teachers participating from 2010, it was decided to focus on two grades per year, starting with the grade 1 & 2’s in 2010. A 2nd year will be utilised for consolidating with each grades’ teachers. The hope is that the methodology that is being introduced to the teachers, will start to filter through to the other grades in a naturally spontaneous way. It will be interesting to see whether any Grade 3 teachers begin, spontaneously, to experiment during 2010, with what is introduced to the Grades 1 & 2.
The form and focus of work:
- The primary focus of the workshops are to introduce and demonstrate Shared Writing, a powerful methodology that can be used to develop children’s reading and writing.
- A day’s visit to each school, where each teacher is observed teaching a lesson, using the new approach. The observer aims to support the teacher, and to offer praise and encouragement, to both teachers and their children.
- A workshop is set up to allow for reflection on the lessons observed and a further discussion on how teachers can continue to use the Shared Writing approach.
- At this workshop one teacher from each school volunteered to become a Literacy contact person. These teachers have been asked to become the literacy spokesperson for their schools. They will provide us with a sounding board for our planning, and will be a channel of communication between the teachers and ourselves.
The continuation of our literacy work will be led by a committee of teachers. It is important for our work to have the support of the North West Education Department. We intend giving regular updates, on our progress, to the NW Education Department officials and we will also listen to the Departmental advice. We know that when we work together, the children will benefit.