MAIL & GUARDIAN: Education

A school that fits

By the time Stevens* parents came to Margaret Logan at Rosemeade Private School, they were at their wits end. Their son had been expelled from three schools. He was doing drugs, despised authority and had a criminal record pending. Even Logan, who had been a remedial teacher for 25 years, was intimidated.

No-fee schooling a free-for-all

Its a debacle -- thats the judgement of the countrys largest teachers union on the governments attempt to make schooling more affordable by introducing no-fee schools next year.

Spilling the beans on GM

Most of us are aware of the simmering row around genetically modified (GM) food and crops. But the arguments are leaving general confusion in their wake because of the deeply polarised views put forth by those who promote, and those who are cautious about, these products.

Taking the classics to the country

Tohe Kokstad Concerto might not roll off the tongue quite like the Brandenburg Concerto, but one cant help wondering what Johann Sebastian Bach, the 18th-century composer of the latter, would have come up with had he been commissioned to create the former. Would the rumbling trucks, sentinel-like electricity pylons and dry, dusty plains of the southern interior of KwaZulu-Natal have inspired him to create something critics would immediately praise for its harsh beauty? And would the quasi-Swiss quaintness of the more mountainous inland towns, such as Matatiele, have tempered this with flowing, pastoral romance?

Teen tales

<i>There once was a man with really tough feet. When a car rolled over it he felt nothing. When broken glass cut it, he still felt nothing.

Maestros in the making

Your average youngster who's hip to the beat of R&B and kwaito may not think there is any possibility of forging a relationship with classical music. Classical music, the youth are most likely to believe, is only suitable for rich, ageing Eurocentrics.

When schools step in

In the face of widespread poverty in rural Mpumalanga, some schools serve as the glue in an environment where family units are disintegrating. They provide much-needed comfort and sustenance to orphans and children with poverty-stricken parents.

Opening Windows for the visually impaired

At first glance, the computer room at Optima College looks like any other computer room at schools around the country. Young adult learners sit in front of a row of computers with standard keyboards. Their teacher, Deena Moodley, moves attentively between them, clarifying questions. But something is different -

Science for all contexts

A rural community's definition of relevant science education, and the processes by which the definition was developed, are important statements about human rights, democracy and social justice.

Something to count on

Poorly trained mathematics and science teachers in Sekhukhune district, Limpopo, have something to count on to improve their skills: a mathematics and science project run by St Marks College Trust, an Anglican education facility in Jane Furse.

The evolution of OBE

In my previous two columns in the Teacher, I've traced the evolution of outcomes based education (OBE) thinking and implementation over the past 35 years, from its early emphasis on expanding the conditions of success in schools and classrooms to its transformational emphasis.

Thinking outside the box

The Old Mutual Foundation (OMF) has added an environmental component to its "out of the box" mathematics and science portfolio. The new offering seeks to help learners switch with ease to the revised curriculum that is due next year.

Big business equips teachers with maths and science skills

The National Business Initiative (NBI) and petroleum outfit Engen have joined hands to launch an innovative programme aimed at providing professional development to mathematics and science teachers.

Dealing with grief

The 2004 school year was a tough one for Lerato Mokhele, a Grade 1 teacher at Asteri Primary School, on the border of Hillbrow in Johannesburg. Two young boys in her class always needed special attention.

Education department faces public grilling

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) will consider issuing the national Department of Education (DoE) with a subpoena if it does not present the commission with a written submission in a month.

A career with a calling

"I love teaching and I do not think I can swap it for any profession, however well it pays," says Mavis Shongwe. After a career in teaching spanning 30 years, she is currently deputy principal at Emmangweni Primary School in Tembisa in Gauteng, where she has been teaching since 1979.

A spot of travel adds zing to classroom practice

In the same way field trips transform textbook topics into experiences of true value for learners, international teacher-exchange programmes have the power to add zing to classroom practice.

Easing the burden

A government drive to standardise HIV/Aids policies in schools over the past three years has highlighted the need for schools to formalise their strategies to tackle the epidemic and its effects.

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