Anche Louw, ALSA’s Co-Investigator and Communicator, has completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education in Further Education and Training Teaching (PGCE), at Stellenbosch University in 2021, which will be incorporated in the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa’s (ALSA) activities.
This 1-year certificate requires students to do a two-week observation, at a school of their choice, before registering for PGCE. Anche had the opportunity to observe at Newberry House, a private school in Somerset West. During this time, she gave Antarctic awareness talks to all classes within the Elementary Plane (ages 6 – 12), as well as to all learners in high school (ages 15 – 18).
Anche also had to complete a practical period and was placed at Stellenbosch High School (Stellies). Here she spent 5 weeks, giving classes to Grade 8 – Grade 11 learners, obtaining an average lesson evaluation mark of 90% in her two specialisation subjects, Life Sciences and Mathematical Literacy. She was able to deliver all her lessons with the incorporation of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic related knowledge.
Anche has been part of the South African National Antarctic Programme for 10 years – from Honours student to Co-Investigator.
“During my lessons I was able to show learners the relevance of the content by connecting it to my practical knowledge and experiences as a field scientist in the sub-Antarctic. This gave me the opportunity to connect content to real-life examples. As an example, in the Grade 10 Mathematical Literacy class, I presented lessons on Packaging, which is part of the National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS – the current school curriculum-in-use in South Africa), part of the unit: Models and Plans. In this section of the work learners learn how to calculate the number of smaller containers to be packed in a bigger container. I showed learners images of the shipping containers used to pack equipment for expeditions to the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic (see images below) and how smaller containers (tote bins) are packed in these containers. I showed videos of expeditions and how these containers are slinged to the stations with helicopters. I explained how I had to pack my own containers, making packaging relevant. The attention of learners grew as practical real-life connections could be made. Learners were intrigued by these lessons I presented. They mastered packaging by learning how to calculate the number of tote bins that can be packed in one container”.
In the last week of her time at Stellies, she displayed videos taken on the cruises, Antarctica and Marion Island in the school’s foyer, where learners could watch it (these videos can be downloaded from the ALSA Archive). She also gave Antarctic awareness talks to all the Grade 8 Biology classes, Grade 11 Mathematical Literacy classes, Grade 10 Geography classes, and to all Grade 10 and 12 Life Sciences classes. ALSA would like to thank Stellies for creating these opportunities where South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic, sub-Antarctic and Southern Ocean could be promoted.
Anche’s mentor teacher at Stellies, Mr Retief, mentioned in his report that:
“Anche had a great contribution to the unlocking of learners’ potential to dream big, through her Antarctic related lessons and ALSA presentations”.
Anche mentions that the job of a teacher is a complicated one, especially in South Africa, where we have children from diverse backgrounds.
“It is very important to be able to get to know your learners on such a level, that you will be able to connect the work as prescribed by the curriculum to their realities and interests. You should also be able to inspire them, to think beyond what they could have ever dreamed or imagined”.
2021 gave Anche the opportunity to learn more about the education system in South Africa and how to bring knowledge into the classroom in a fascinating way, through the lens of Antarctica, the Southern Ocean, and her specialty, Marion Island.
The Antarctic Legacy of South Africa project will benefit from the experience and knowledge Anche gained during this PGCE, by incorporating what she learned in promoting South Africa’s involvement in the Antarctic region. We look forward to furthering our involvement in South African schools.
“The project appreciates the time and effort that Anche put in, to achieve this certificate. Congratulations on this achievement, Anche!” – Ria Olivier, Principal Investigator of ALSA.