Aveng hosts training for school educators in disadvantaged communities

Tuesday 21st June, 2016

Aveng hosts training for school educators in disadvantaged communities

The Aveng Community Investment Trust is working in partnership with the Kutlwanong Maths and Science Centres and the Department of Education to boost the maths and science skills of 60 educators from the Aveng-sponsored LEAP school based in Diepsloot, schools in and around the area, educators from schools within the Johannesburg North District, as well as teachers from LEAP centres across Gauteng and Limpopo

The two-day workshop, which took place in June, is an initiative which brings together the Trust’s two flagship education projects to better equip maths and science educators through training based on the Kutlwanong methodology. During the workshop, educators were equipped with relevant skills to explain difficult concepts in both maths and science in a way that is easier to understand, using analogies, illustrations and demonstrations. The training aims to improve educator competence levels in subject knowledge and teaching skills, ultimately resulting in enhanced learner performance.

The choice of the topic for both subjects was informed by the feedback from the 2015 NSC examination. In maths, the focus was on probability and Euclid’s geometry, while in science the focus was on work-energy-power, reaction kinetics and chemical equilibrium.

Solly Letsoalo, Chairperson of the Aveng Community Trust said: “As the Aveng Community Investment Trust, we are exceptionally proud of the work we are doing to facilitate excellence in maths and science at secondary school level, both at our LEAP school in Diesploot, Gauteng and the Kutlwanong Centre in Glencowie, Limpopo. Both centres are top performers in their respective areas. We are happy that today we were able to bring teachers from local Diepsloot schools to this important teacher training workshop. We thank the Department of Education for their support and enthusiasm for this initiative.”

The need for the training was based on research conducted by the Department of Education which raised concerns about the quality of the knowledge of educators, and the declining number of learners who pass maths and science on an annual basis.

Angela Phukwane, the Department of Education Subject Advisor for the Johannesburg North District, played an important role in identifying the schools and educators who participated in the workshop. She received positive feedback from educators who are keen to continue with the programme and, over the long term, she would like to extend the programme to the lower grades as she believes that it is equally important for learners to understand the fundamentals before they can grasp more difficult concepts.

“The challenges with understanding maths and science stem from the fact that learners lose focus in the lower grades and then they find it difficult to catch up,” she explained.

The headmaster of the Diepsloot LEAP School, Paul Mumba, who has been actively involved in setting up the project, reports that there will be an increase in the number of learners taking maths and science in grades 10, 11 and 12 in the schools around the community of Diepsloot and he is positive about the impact this initiative will have on their results in general.

“Educators will see a significant improvement, not only in the confidence of learners to tackle difficult concepts but also in the number of learners passing this subject,” explains Mumba. He further explained that teachers will be able to clear all potential elements that may confuse learners when being introduced to a new concept.

Pat Tshikane, Head of Curriculum for the Kutlwanong Math and Science Centres, adds: “Through this programme, we aim to retain as many maths and science educators in the educational system, and ensure that they are properly equipped to make these subjects interesting and understandable for our learners.”

The educators who attended the workshop found it beneficial and expressed excitement in being able to take the learnings from the workshop into their own classrooms to provide quality education to eager young minds.

John Letupu, a maths educator at Diepsloot West Secondary School found the workshops informative. “The workshop has given me the skills to explain concepts in a simpler manner. It has also taught me that thorough preparation before a class is important in order to find innovative ways to express the course content and to avoid confusing learners,” he adds.

Dudu Masinga, a physical science educator at Lofentse Girls High School in Soweto, found the programme beneficial and used the opportunity to learn from her peers who have may different approaches to teaching.

The Kutlwanong training programme has received several accolades from the Department of Education and is set to significantly enhance the capacity of the educators who are tasked with teaching these important subjects. The workshop will be followed by a series of afternoon sessions with teachers in Diepsloot.

Photos: Phillipe Photography