Bridging the gap in professional teacher development

Bridging the gap in professional teacher development

Prof KC Moloi – Professor in Education

Tebello Theledi

The shortage of qualified mathematics and science teachers remains a big challenge within the South African education system generally. The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) Education Department, implemented its first Teacher Education Training, the B Ed (in Senior Phase and Further Education and Training Teaching), specialisation in Science, Mathematics, Electrical and Mechanical Technology in 2018. Arising from this initiative the Education Department within the Faculty of Human Sciences hosted its first ever Teacher Education Colloquium on 7 April at the Quest Conference Centre to publicise the B Ed (SP & FET Teaching) to the local Education Districts, namely, D7, D8 and the Fezile Dabi district in Sasolburg. The aims amongst others were:

To forge strategic alliances with the surroundings school through School-University partnerships to share best practices that would enhance the teaching and learning of the B Ed Teacher Trainees in Mathematics, Science, Mechanical and Electrical; Technology.

To enhance Teaching Practice (WIL) experiences of the Teacher Trainees so that a seamless coherence is maintained between the lecturers and Mentors at Teaching Practice schools, where the B Ed Teacher Trainees would go observations and practice teaching.

To launch a new Journal:  South African Journal of Interdisciplinary Teaching Practice (SAJIPeP) that will be managed from the Education Department in collaboration with internal and external Editors and Board members.

To come up with Advisory Board Committee from among the Colloquium participants (Dr Jan Smit, Dr Cynthia Malinga, Ms Mapalo Mosia, Mr Abdullah Sujee) and representatives from TVET Colleges.

To provide the B Ed student Leadership a voice on behalf of the B Ed students.

To forge strategic alliances for enhancing the mastery of Mathematics with Mr Mohammed Khota from K-Way, Johannesburg Master Maths.

The Colloquium was directed by Mr Abdullah Sujee, Principal of Roshnee ISLAMIC secondary school. He did an excellent job.

Prof Riana van der Bank (the Executive Dean: Faculty of Human Sciences) opened the Colloquium through a thought provoking speech in which she pointed out that teaching is regarded as a flat profession.

Presenters at the Colloquium were:

1.   Mr M. Phasha – B Ed Student Leadership

2.   Mr A Mosala – B Ed Student Leadership

3.    Dr Jan Smit – Retired Academic: What Industry and the Community expects of Students and its ramifications on Education

4.   Dr Cynthia Malinga – Corporate Affairs, Sasol Inzalo Foundation: Technical and Vocation Education.

5.  Dr John Maluleke – Deputy Director: Initial Teacher Education, Department of Basic Education: Funza Lushaka bursaries.

6. Dr Solly Lebelo –  Education Lecturer: Bridging the Mathematics Gap

7.  Dr Chris Chitumwa – Education Lecturer-  eLearning in higher Education

8.  Mrs Rachel Tadokera- Communication Lecturer: Teaching of English through Technology

9. Prof KC Moloi – Professor in Education:  Teaching Practice, Qualifications to be offered in the Department by 2022, Launch of the Academic Journal

10. Mrs Sally Dzingwa – Deputy Registrar, closed the Colloquium in a very high note.

Professor of Education at VUT, Prof Connie Moloi shared her journey in implementing the education qualification in VUT. “Education is probably the single most important layer towards the upliftment of our people and channelling the poverty situation in the country,” she said.

Presenters at the colloquium highlighted the ways in which their work offers different approaches to the challenges in mathematics and technical education, students struggling in the mainstream, bridging e-learning strategies as well as technology and teacher learning.

Workers and teachers of the future need to possess different skills, however it needs to be known what knowledge and skills employers look for in the 21st century. Delegates, both students and staff, were encouraged to explore these different skills. Leadership in developing new systems for teachers was one of these.

It is envisaged that the colloquium provided valuable information on how to achieve high levels of functionality of Maths and Science amongst students and learners as well as the adoption and implementation of models for professional development that can bring about this necessary impact in the teaching and learning space.

The audience, particularly the teachers suggested that the Colloquium be an annual event and that it be hosted over two days in future.

The Colloquium Organisers were: Mrs Zelda Kotze; Dr Susanna Burger; Ms Chairmaine Cilliers; Mrs Lizelle Fourie, Mr Pardon Baloyi; Mr Murga Sadiki; Mr M Tsatsimpe, Dr Chris Chitumwa, Dr Solly Lebelo & Prof Connie Moloi.

Sponsors: VUT Corporate Affairs and Governance; Mr Haroon Kalla of AMKA, Pretoria and the Education Department.