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Saheti High School English teacher
My classroom, overlooking the chapel, the N3 and the slope of Linksfield Road, brims with enthusiastic young South Africans, (representing some 30 different nationalities), epic ideas and innovative learning experiences.
A love affair with Ancient Greek mythology, its dynamic characters, power struggles and inescapable, universal human truths, drives me as an English teacher at Saheti High School, particularly now during the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Nine Muses who stimulate creativity have a meaningful space in my classroom.
Their inspiration is in line with my belief in a liberal arts education for all and key in promoting the diversity and inclusion needed in South African society.
Even though the Ancient Greeks invented theatre, learning is not a spectator sport.
In my classroom, students are encouraged to talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate their learning to their experiences, apply it in their daily lives and make what they learn part of themselves.
In 2018, the potential for even greater action is possible with the advantages presented by technology.
Discussions on learning take place beyond the classroom walls on online platforms and among diverse and authentic audiences.
No subject is off-limits.
It must be critically interrogated, much in the way the ancient Greeks tried to make sense of Zeus’ decision-making.
Writing about learning may take the form of presentations, digital stories and poems.
Our writing practices are linked with the solid fundamentals of conventional composition processes.
The new cannot exist without the old.
Relating learning to diverse and challenging experiences happens through a variety of global teaching texts.
Deeper understanding and empathy are developed through creating our own social awareness campaigns.
It is blissful to work in the Saheti environment which promotes this kind of teaching and learning.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that young people are highly skilled in their use of technology, yet they need to be guided in using their skills responsibly and ethically. This approach helps my students create and collaborate on producing sophisticated projects, and gives them greater accountability for their engagement.
Navigating the complexities of the past, the present, the future, as well as the online world is exciting but certainly chaotic.
But out of chaos, Mount Olympus rose.
Jennifer Aldridge won the Wits University Faculty Prize for Best Masters of Education Student in 2017 and for the past six years has worked as an English teacher at Saheti High School.
Movement is part of the very foundation of learning.
Angela Andrews, school director at Jacaranda Academy, said that from birth onwards, children use movement to explore and discover their new environment.
“For this reason, the importance of movement in the education of children, especially those in the ECCD and foundation phases should not be underestimated.”
Maligay Naidoo, HOD for the Foundation Phase at Jacaranda Academy, is passionate about movement in the curriculum.
“During training of Early Childhood and Foundation Phase educators, lecturers and facilitators place greater emphasis on the importance of movement for children in the pre-primary and foundation phases. My experience in the field over the years has led me to believe that movement is the foundation of all learning.”
Jacaranda provided the following ideas that parents can use to link movement to activities children can do at home:
Mathematics gives an opportunity for children to measure objects with a shoelace as the child must stretch to reach all places.
When learning spelling words, the child can clap the syllables with the hands, sounds can be stamped with the feet and the length of the word can become outstretched arms.
Children can be asked to show how an aeroplane flies, a horse gallops and a train runs on tracks.
When the child plays in sand or water, there is an opportunity to learn about measurement and mass – weight of sand and leaves, volume of water in a cup or bucket, etc.
Draw a hopscotch in the sand or with chalk. Children must hop from one number to the other.
When outdoors the child must employ the whole body to climb, swing, hold on, step over and experience distance, angles and balance.