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Report March Conference 2012 Ver C

Report March Conference 2012 Ver C

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Published by Erin
The inspired teachers conference held in Jhb South Africa on 1st of March.
The inspired teachers conference held in Jhb South Africa on 1st of March.

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Published by: Erin on Mar 12, 2012
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11/21/2013

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The Inspired Teachers Conference 1 March 2012
Thanks for all those interesting points on theconference. I just jotted
far too many 
of myown thoughts. Could not think so ended justwriting endlessly, from my notes. You willneed to excuse the poor grammar, spelling etc. All the speakers offered up models to showwhat an ideal teacher ought to be. Nuni spokeof a teacher that made Shakespeare real. JohnBallam said teachers should becomeexplorers. The ideal: being like the fictionaladventurer Indiana Jones in the temple of doom. Professor Jansen used his own parentsas an example. This demonstrated theimportance of having strong values.Some valuable points were indicated. I amsure that there are many points that I have notpicked up on. I have highlighted my mostimportant points in brown. The links below willsave you having to read through endlessnotes.
Innovation in Education
The morning session kicked off with aninteresting topic i.e., Innovation in Education.The first discussion comprised a panel of threespeakers. Each of the speakers came into thediscussion from different perspectives. Their points were grounded in their specialist areasand interests. Nuni initiated discussion on role-playing and drama. Shakespeare and Englishliterature became the basis of elaborating her position.
The
basis
of her position was that content needs to be
contextualized
and 
relevant
tothe current generation.
 Nuni spoke from her own personalexperience... relating how she had come totake a part in a Shakespearian production.She compared current issues in SA politics tothe underlying themes in What Ado aboutNothing. In this Shakespearian production thecontext was a contemporary South Africansetting. This context allowed the learners toplay and experiment with the content and thereading. This pointed out that learning must be
meaningful 
. The significance of her experience reinforced the fact that literaturehas a relevance across time and place.She pointed out that an analysis of literaryworks involved drawing comparisons withcontemporary politics. This allowed thelearners to see relevance and universality.Such an excited learning experience made thework come alive to the learners. The literarywork also became an interesting medium;allowing learners to observe the world aroundthem
 –
from a new perspective.
Nuni’s speech underlined the fact that learning 
must be contextual, relevant and meaningful.
 John Bellam from Varsity college then went onto explain the technological revolution ineducation. He called this eclectic approach
blended learning 
.
Blended learning 
is the use of a complex system of diverse resources. These come into play in a learning experience. He listed lots of valuable tools that could be used in blended learning.These tools are used extensively tocollaborate. Some tools that have started to beused are: YouTube, Twitter, Face book, Chat rooms, Blogs, Google translate, Googledocuments, brains, cell phones, pencil etc.These technological tools are being blended and creatively incorporated and integrated intoeducation.
Our society evolves and education will not beable to hold back its subjects into an ancientmould. So teachers need to embrace andincorporate the digital age. John mentionedthat some teachers used cell phones inlessons. There use in schools needs to beexplored.
He indicated that learners use technology to
capture knowledge, manage and compilerelevant content
. Often this is done with
 
The Inspired Teachers Conference 1 March 2012
learners
collaborating in teams
. Suchcollaborative teams encouraged learners tocontribute with some form of skill. Teamcollaboration means learners are expected tobring some type of value into the process. Thisis very exciting for educators: learners areable to
direct and make relevant andvaluable content
.
Therefore the new educational paradigm hasshifts towards creative work. In some casescontent involves acting parts
 –
as was
mentioned in Nuni’
s presentation. Thecollaborative tools allow learners to create anddirect content. They also are conducive todeveloping personal learning networks. Suchsocial networks allow children to explore topicsof interest.The principal of Sacred heart college (ColinNorthmore) spoke fondly of his learners. Heindicated that technology was valuable but didnot solve all problems. He cited that technologysometimes does not work. An example was thenetwork being down. A further problem in acountry like SA is the divide between thosewith tools (resources) and those without (thedigital divide). A further reality is the vastpoverty in our population. [1][1.] Poverty: What is poverty? This is thequality of being poor and in want. Most of South Africa are without enough money to livecomfortably. This has a direct relation to theresources that are incorporated into education.Tools are the implements used to carry outmechanical functions. The function behindeducation being the acquisition of skills,knowledge, values &c. This can be done byhand or by machine. Thus we are talking aboutthe production of knowledge and skills.In many schools basic needs like food andshelter are the more fundamental problemsneeding to be addressed.
Motivation
But he offered up an archetype for theaudience. John said that the ideal teacher should be like Indiana Jones. This filmcharacter could be used to represent theprototypical teacher. Therefore this newteacher should have an adventurous character.This film character is the typical adventurousexplorer searching for hidden treasures andmagical artefacts.
Colin Northmore pointed out the importance of connecting with learners.
 Teachers needed to be caring and engaged. A
suitable teacher’s personality would allow
learners to explore the exciting world of learning. We ought to make learners explorethe classroom (life) and enrich themselves indifferent and relevant ways.Too many people assume that technology willmake children work.
Colin mentioned that to use technology in acreative way 
 –
though it needed educators todirect, plan, explore and learn about its possibilities. Such an approach opened a new creative aspect into education.
 The Sacred Heart college focuses strongly ondeveloping creativity in its students. Hementioned that a visitor to his college will findlearners constructing fairly sophisticatedapplications. He indicated that some of theseapplications had been built as early as Grade7. The school places great importance onbecoming creators. Therefore all forms of creation form an important aspect of educational practice at the Sacred HeartCollege. One must realize: with such a focuscollaboration becomes very important. On topof this the overall projects with this type of focus involve five times more work. Theseapplications are then utilized (reinvested) intolearning and teaching. This stage of educationis the most exciting, particularly for theeducator. There is nothing more satisfying thanseeing a built product (result) becoming thelearning tool. He described how marvellouseducation is becoming. Such joy it is... seeinglearners mastering learning i.e., by developingproducts or applications
 –
designed to aidlearning and teaching.
 
The Inspired Teachers Conference 1 March 2012
He mentioned that we have experienced four years of changes and bungling in education.He pointed out that educational change needsto be given more time.
WHY POOR SCHOOLS DO WELL (Professor J Jansen)
Prof Jansen is a renowned educationalist. Heholds the position as rector of the University of the Orange Free State. It is in this position thathe has come to be known. His name wasspoken of extensively in the media. Most of allbecause he was involved in settling the racialtensions that surrounded the University of theOrange Free State. (See particularly the Reitzissue).Professor Jansen claims that the problem ineducation stems from two areas. These are the
lack of decency 
 
and academic excellence.
He went on telling us about shocking
levels of teenage pregnancies
in some schools Headded to this point that many schools areexperiencing intolerable levels of 
violence
. Heclaims that these are symptoms of a level of degeneration in SA institutions of learning.The Professor now gave us a shortautobiographical sketch of his upbringing. Hisyouth in the back streets of Retreat was usedas content to make his next point. The pointbeing: economical deprivation leaves noexcuse for lack of decency; nor an excuse toneglect academic excellence.Our Prof indicated that Retreat falls into therough and tough suburbs of the Cape Flats.His upbringing was
desirable
in
undesirable
 
surroundings
. The Cape flats
 –
he described-is abounding in social poverty and socialdeterioration.Professor Jansen let us in on his parents. Theaudience were astonished and struck by his
parent’s names. His mother is named Sara. His
father holds the name of the patriarch, Abraham. Both these characters are prominentin the good book i.e., bound up neatly in thepages of Genesis chapter.3. The righteousSara and Abraham
 –of Cape Town’s Retreat
-brought up Jonathan in the right way.Professor Jansen reiterated the point: thisupbringing was in spite of the surroundings andsocial ills of Retreat.He described his parents as strong
 –
almostfundamental- Christians. They wereuncompromising towards anything thatencroached on
strong family values
.On top of this set of values: his parents laidtremendous value on learning. Our professor spoke of the beautiful Afrikaans word
“geleerentheid”. And so thus it came: our 
learned professor carries with him a core set of values. As we understand: these will be carriedthroughout his life.He now came to another point. The time in hisspeech was right. So let me tell you of his nextpertinent question: What do SA schools need?He indicated that this was
leadership
. Childrenneed adults that
set an example
.Educators need to develop standards
 –
as
standards of excellence
are expected. Hepointed out the poor example that was set bypolitical leaders in our country. He mentionedthat poor, ineffective leaders are not takenseriously.
The way children see you will answer thefollowing question: How much of a leader areyou?Educators are
giving and receiving
overt and hidden messages.
What type of message
doyou give the learners? How does your message impact on the way learners feel about themselves? If you expect bad behaviour, youwill get just that. If you are expecting poor academic results it will be forthcoming too.Poor teachers have low expectations. He cited that often these expectations are tainted withthe typical prejudices, ingrained within our own particular social setting.

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