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Showing posts from October, 2013

Empowering the Girl Child at schools is a necessary practice

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The macho culture is so ingrained in our culture that we often deepen cultural or structural practices that promote gender inequalities without us realizing it. Now that the United Nations marks 11 October as the “International Day of the Girl Child”, we will hopefully see more sustainable awareness campaigns against violence against girls especially at schools and at community level.
This week I attended two school events where the girl child was empowered.
Grade 11 girls host their Speakers’ event at Ocean View High School
 At Ocean View High school, eleven Grade 11 girls participated in a Speakers’ Circle where they presented talks on varied topics such as the critical need for honesty, quality education to help eradicate poverty and the role of technology in our world – powerful stuff! All the speakers were confident, assertive and delivered convincing arguments to support their cause. One of the girls, Hope, invited her mother to attend the function. You could see the joy on the pri…

The power of "How Cool is Your School" brings out the monsters in my teen passengers

All I know is that Heart 104.9's Breakfast show with their "How cool is your school" competition is causing havoc in my car in the morning.

You see, I have three - yes, THREE teenagers - triple the hormonal double-decker rollercoaster moodswings - hitching a ride to school.  And most times, we listen to the Heart 104.9 breakfast show and enjoy the antics happening in the studio somewhere in Green Point. I have long given up on wanting to slaughter  the traffic reporter, for drawling that drivers must be "extra-cautious" because of some calamity on the road. Why extra cautious, why not just 'careful'. But I digress... at least this is better than listening to 5 FM for two beats of a song, or to Good Hope FM for a heartbeat of an announcement as the whims of my daughter, Sasha dictate.

Let's get on with the story then. At the back we have Reagan and Riko, my nephews, who would normally be quite content to make small talk in between playing a soccer game…

Professional learning communities are the best spaces to fast track professional development

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This week ANA test papers were placed under the microscope again by our SMTs. We had set up SMT clusters formed by 3-4 school teams. Our aim, as action researchers, was to analyse why the majority learners responded so poorly to certain questions in the ANA tests that were written at the end of last term. The schools had already graded the papers and all our schools had done their analysis based on their learners’ performance at the various levels of grade, phase and school.
We used the ANA maths test papers as our frame of reference for these sessions.Today our focus was on specific questions. We sought to identify the elements in the question that may have contributed to the learners’ inability to answer those respective questions correctly.


SMTs diagnose questions that posed challenges to the learners
The SMTs were locked in deep discussions and a healthy buzz surrounded us during both cluster sessions thus far.. Each question had to be stripped to the bone: the content, the skills …

Square Hill Primary School ventures where many fear to tread

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Schools serving poor communities need super strong, driven, inspirational leadership and teachers to rise above all the odds stacked against them. Learners in such schools must be immersed in a culture of high expectations, visible in all spheres of school life to help them blossom and succeed. Square Hill Primary school is one of those schools that can be singled out to be such an oasis.

It is said you can test the popularity of a school by the number of applicants wishing to enroll there. In Square Hill Primary School's case, application for placement  especially in the reception class is always a challenge. In February every year, Lavinia Davis, the Head of the school, e-mails me to inform me when applications open for the Gr R/reception class because on that day I will have to deal with many agitated parents. Our office always receives a flood of complaints because of the clamouring for space at the school. On the day of  Grade R registrations, parents queue from about 4h00, ju…

Floreat Primary School Head is setting the platform for 21st century teaching

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I knew Friday 04 October was going to be hectic, but I got more than I bargained for.  I had three key engagements: a visit to Floreat Primary school in Steenberg where I was supposed to conclude the performance appraisal of Noel Isaacs, the Head of school. We had already spent three hours a few weeks ago on the process and agreed that we needed no longer than another two hours to wrap up the appraisal. Then I needed to complete important administrative tasks at our offices in Fish Hoek and later the evening we had our Schools Arts Festival at the Cape Town City Hall where I needed to be.

I had it all worked out and knew I would be able to tick off the boxes at the end of the day.  Well, life happens, you know and then the linear planning goes off the rails. That is exactly what happened to me on Friday morning till just before noon. I did start my day as planned, but that is as far as it went. So, here I give you a fairly diluted sequence of events once I arrived at Floreat Primary sc…

Circuit 1 Schools Arts Festival rocked the Cape Town City Hall on Friday

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Last night, the Cape Town City Hall became an electrifying space when our Circuit 1 Schools Arts Festival erupted on the stage for almost two hours. This historic occasion for the circuit, in collaboration with the Safe Schools unit at our district, was phenomenal.



Why the City Hall became the pivot
The City Hall was chosen as our venue because of its inspirational impact and historic importance. Twenty three years ago, our Madiba, on his release from prison, made his first public reconciliation speech from the balcony of the City Hall.
Then last night, our 400+ strong cast of young creative arts performers made their debutappearance on the City Hall stage. Also, last night was the eve of World Teachers’ Day and the beginning of the last term of this school year. No doubt the conspiring powers of the universe were at work here to participate in the celebration of our young ones' gifts and to affirm the profound role of their teachers!
A peek into the flow of the Arts Festival
For two…