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Mentor Support Leads to Spelling Success

January 18, 2016


Meet Mrs Phumla Scritch, an Intermediate Phase teacher at one of Edupeg’s supported schools, Hombakazi Primary, in KwaNobuhle, near Uitenhage, Eastern Cape.


Mrs Scritch is supported by Edupeg mentor, Prof. Bill Holderness. He has been guiding her for two years now, once a fortnight, with a focus on classroom routine and management, and literacy.


In 2014 Prof. Holderness carried out a successful Spelling Competition at the Edupeg-supported schools in which he mentors. All teachers were equipped with the resources and knowledge of how to run a spelling competition. To further support these schools and their efforts, English Sentence Dictionaries were donated to each school. (Read here for that blog.)


Towards the end of 2015, the Department of Education (DoE) held a cluster Spelling B Competition. The Competition is organised annually at Grade 5 level by the DoE's Uitenhage District. There were 34 competitors in the final round (from about 20 schools). Hombakazi won 3 places in the top 5, including 2nd and 3rd place. 




The effort Edupeg put into organising the Spelling Competition has been paying off. Mrs Scritch attributes the success of her school’s outcomes in the DoE Spelling B to the challenging fun Edupeg started by presenting their learners with lists of words and sentences to master in preparation for the Edupeg spelling quizzes! “It helped to make our achievements possible”, she explained.


Prof. Holderness has been impressed with Mrs Scritch’s improvements over the course of 2015 and, after a particular lesson, reported:  “This was a most pleasing lesson and the gradual transformation of Mrs Scritch has been impressive. For example, having previously needed shouting to discipline, she has become an organised and inspiring teacher who can hold the attention of her class through thoughtful planning and implementation of the recommendations that have been made”.


Mrs Scritch asked her mentor to help her improve the learners’ reading and writing of English, using the set of dictionaries donated by Edupeg. Together, they arranged the learners in mixed-ability pairs and allocated monitors to distribute and collect the books each time. After teaching the learners about correct book-handling and page-turning, Mrs Scritch was equppied to use the Edupeg donated sentence dictionaries to run an ongoing literacy development programme, improving reading, vocabulary, listening, comprehension and writing. She also introduced a small reading corner and promoted the use of personal dictionaries, as recommended by CAPS.



In November 2015, she reported:  “I thank professor for the support and techniques he has shown me. They have made my teaching more effective. The learners are always very excited when they know that professor is coming. They always remind me of the days as they enjoy his visits…. I have gained a lot and now I need to practise that knowledge in my future teaching.  I am also able to pass it on to my colleagues”.


It seems that, with Mrs Scritch’s drive to improve her teaching practices and techniques, 2016 will be a year of further growth and learning for her and her learners.

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