Redi Direko had an interview with the Minister of Basic Education on her show yesterday. You can download the podcast but do it in the next week or so if you are interested, because the 702 podcasts are taken off after a month.
The South African Council of Educators is proposing a number of ways in which to “ensure” the professional development of teachers. Have a look at the content of the IQMS Professional Development Workshop available as a pdf from their site.
The idea seems to be that each teacher accumulate a certain number of “PD points” through a variety of ways mentioned in the above document. Not so clear is exactly how these activities are to be weighted, what range of activities will be required (one can seemingly get points for reading a subject-related article) and what kind of consultation process has been followed to ensure that teachers buy into this concept.
I tentatively support such a requirement, because we all know teachers who are quite happy never to go beyond that which they already know, but unless it is implemented without the imperatives that generally emanate from official sources, I suspect that teachers will treat it with disdain and the whole exercise will become one of pushing papers for the benefit of officials “from the Department”. And it will die a quiet death!
Now why do I mention this on the HyLL blog? Because most of you are educators and SACE is the professional body to which you are affiliated. And this course puts you way up there, not only in being professionally developed, but also as potential developers yourselves. You are acquiring sought-after skills that can benefit not only your own learners but your colleagues too.
If you are interested, one of the second year HyLL students has created a support site for Grade 12 literature in Moodle as part of her thesis. The site is called “Read for Fun Clubhouse” and you are invited to visit it. Marinda will tell you more about her research at the seminar, but in the meantime why not have a look at what can be done in Moodle?
If you are a teacher, then Kobus van Wyk has asked an intersting question especially in the light of the recent announcement by our Minister of Basic Education that The Approach That Shall Not Be Named has failed. His question is: Amidst this scrambling for solutions, what is the potential contribution of technology? We need to reflect continuously on whether our passion for technology can be translated into useful practice. One of the comments to this post points to a number of ways in which to “shape technological rocky areas in the rapid ICT river” — but is it not somewhat simplistic to suggest that a training session on the use of, for example, the EIWB will lead to its creative implementation in a specific subject?
I ask these questions because there has to be clarity on what is being promoted when it is stated that “Interactive action between the educator, learners and the EIAWB should be the MAIN AIM” (see comment on above post). Why should there be a technological tool (in this case the EIWB) to mediate interaction between the educator and the learner? As an educator, I would object to being told (yet again) that someone outside my subject field considers me an inefficient teacher because I don’t use ICTs. What we need are teachers who lead by example. Teachers whose excellent ideas can inspire others to try something new. One suggestion here would be active comminities of practice in which teachers support and inspire each other. Let me know if you are aware of any.