The Ukuqonda approach to providing support is based on an acknowledgement that educators are working under extreme conditions including large student numbers per class, lack of resources, and time constraints due to the volume of work that must be covered within an academic year.
We believe that an approach should be experienced by educators (and learners) as guidance being provided in critical learning areas, and direct support offered where and when requested, whilst their independence and autonomy is respected.
Intervention with a teacher focus will be engaging with their ideas of challenges and providing support in the form of:
- Workshops – with a strong content focus, and secondly ways of understanding and ways of learning
- Teacher/classroom and learner materials – aligned with what teachers are ‘required’ to do/to use, but with a clear aim and focus on developing understanding.
- Classroom support – during workshops teacher will be given space to invite Ukuqonda to their school/classroom, not to monitor implementation of ‘workshop’ ideas/materials, but rather to support: discussion, teach or co-teach.
Our approach in primary schools are… Read More
Focus of INTERVENTIONS in Primary schools:
- A programme of training workshops for teachers, focusing on content knowledge, providing teachers with own experiences of active learning and conceptual understanding.
- Mentoring visits, on their request, to teachers at schools.
- Learning materials for specific areas, coupled with teacher training and on-site demonstration lessons, possibly on Saturdays, on request by schools.
- Saturday and vacation classes for groups of learners with identified potential and specific problems.
Priorities for primary school interventions:
- Low level of quantity awareness in Grades R and 1
- Learners attempting to reproduce a supposedly required format of representation instead of engaging with the given task
- Need for appreciation of the importance and value of learners engaging with tasks and representing their own thinking prior to being shown methods and standardized formats of representation.
- Poor sense of number.
- Poor understanding of multi-digit numbers.
- Flawed replication of taught methods (systematic errors). Poor knowledge of basic number facts (fact fluency).
Our approach in secondary schools are… Read More
Focus of INTERVENTIONS in secondary schools:
Our 15 years long experience of working with secondary and post-secondary learners has shown that many students lose their confidence and spontaneous engagement with learning material in the later years of high school due to the realities of the classrooms where learning is to take place in their schools. Many learners end up writing their final Grade 12 examinations without the needed skills that are vital in order to identify, gain access to and be successful in pursuing the opportunities that are present in the economies in the country.
The elements we believe to be critical in terms of allowing learners to be able to apply acquired knowledge and develop problem solving skills include:
- To raise the level of learners’ active engagement with and sense making of subject matter. Stated differently: to improve performance substantially, the culture of teaching and learning needs to be transformed from being dominantly procedural to being conceptual.
- Specifically, learners need to be led to pursue Mathematics/Science (including real-life problems and questions) with a view to produce solutions and answers that make sense to them. This means that learners need to be weaned from the predominant current learning culture of simply trying to establish what actions the teacher wants them to perform, without any real attempt to make sense of questions and problems or the logic and purpose of the actions, as well as the thoughtless practicing of demonstrated processes while remaining dependent on the teacher to inform them whether their working and end-results are correct (“rote learning”).
The number of learners who take Mathematics and Physical Science from Grade 10 to 12 is on a steady decline in South Africa. Even more worrying, is the quality of the passes achieved. A Saturday and/or vacation school programme could focus on high potential learners by providing an out-of-school supplementary education programme with a focus on Mathematics, Physical Science and English proficiency. The programme include aspects of drawing, art and craft and socio-economic awareness.