Over the course of the first term of 2015, the Edupeg team has adjusted to the transition of new leadership in the organisation, as well as a more concentrated and targeted approach to our work in schools. We are presently working in 50 primary schools across four provinces in South Africa and 9 schools in Botswana. We are directly impacting upon 262 teachers and indirectly benefitting the 10 361 children that they teach.
In transforming the organisation, we have focused on the following key areas:
We have developed the first draft of a Logic Model to ensure that we can track and effectively monitor the outcomes of our interventions. This will also be used as a tool to keep us on track, to enable us to re-evaluate and course correct, ensuring that we continue to work in the most effective manner in the schools we are supporting.
Strengthening and deepening our interactions with the schools we work with; by supporting a fewer number of schools and working in a concentrated manner with a smaller group of selected and willing teachers.
Ensuring that each of our trainers comes up with key and tangible objectives at the beginning of each term based on the actual needs of each teacher that they support.
Strengthening and building the Edupeg training team through the introduction of “Teach Like a Champion” methodology and becoming more focused on our roles as mentors in the classrooms.
Defining and refining our Vision and Mission to ensure that we deliver the most optimal service in the environments in which we work in a very clear and targeted manner and that the entire team is on board with what the project aims to deliver.
Improving and strengthening our reporting system, by simplifying our reporting documents in order to ensure that there is a clear feedback loop to the schools and teachers we work with as well as our donors.
To best understand what support the schools require, trainers have collaborated with principals in the teacher selection process, to ensure that the teachers we are working with are willing to be mentored. We are aiming to work with teachers closer to the beginnings of their careers so that they can benefit directly from the valuable experience that our trainers bring to their classrooms.
The first term has been a process of building relationships with principals and their school management team, as well as selected teachers, in order to ensure that there is a trusting, open and respectful relationship between the trainers (our mentors) and their teachers (the mentees).
In addition to building trusting relationships with the schools, it has also been of utmost importance that we work in close collaboration with the various education departments in the provinces in which we work. The National Department of Basic Education (DBE) is making a concerted effort to ensure that the CAPS curriculum is effectively implemented. They have been using various methods to ensure effective delivery, by implementing Jika iMfundo in KwaZulu-Natal and by implementing GPLMS in Gauteng. Our trainers are keeping well informed of these supportive measures by DBE and are working closely with our teachers to ensure that we can sensitively use Edupeg materials to complement and support these initiatives by DBE.
In addition to working with the department to ensure we support their initiatives, we have also engaged with both the department and the school principals to ensure that we are supporting grades that need our support the most. For example, there is quite a big transition that learners have to make when they transition from Grade 3 to Grade 4 in that they move from learning in Home Language to having to learn in English. Many teachers and learners struggle at this crucial transition point and we have therefore been asked to work intensively in many of our schools to support Grade 4 learners.
We have provided each of our trainers with a copy of the book “Teach Like a Champion” written by Doug Lemnov. This book has been successfully used by schools to support the professional development of their teachers. The book comprises of 62 teaching techniques used by excellent teachers. We have begun training our trainers to use specific and simple techniques from the book to support the teachers we work with. Our team will focus on the following four deliverables for the remainder of the year:
Classroom culture: organization and systems, discipline, good learner behaviour and physical aspects of the classroom
Planning: CAPS, lesson structure, delivery, pacing and differentiation
Engaging Learners: Active Learning, ratio, building confidence, use of Resources and encouraging critical thinking
Continuous Assessment: Checking for Understanding and gathering Data
We have begun to pilot a reflective journal with teachers, where we provide teachers with feedback on their classes and in turn they are asked to reflect on and implement this feedback over the course of two weeks until they are next visited by the trainer. The trainer will also discuss with the teachers any specific challenges they have experienced and sensitively recommend possible solutions for the teachers to implement. This interactive tool will measure the development of the teacher and track the support provided by our trainers.