Browsing by Author "Mfeka, Hlengiwe"
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- ItemOpen Access‘My Work Got Lost in the Computer’: Establishing a Teacher Professional Learning Community Through Digital Skills Training(2019-09) Mfeka, Hlengiwe; Thomson, JanetImproving learning outcomes for students is central to most education initiatives in developing countries. In South Africa, many national education policies related to teacher education are designed to improve the quality of teaching as well as create an en vironment that enables peer and lifelong learning among teachers. The Department of Higher Education’s Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development (ISPFTD) i , for instance, provides for the establishment of Professional Lea rning Communities. This is closely aligned with the concept of communities of practice in the ‘Teacher Futures’ programme ii , an initiative supported by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). COL’s ‘Teacher Futures’ is inspired by United Nations SDG 4 and suppo rts institutions and governments to develop teacher professional development programmes that assure quality teaching and encourage collaborative learning among teachers. The national Department of Basic Education (DBE) and COL are implementing this program me in the Eastern Cape in partnership with the University of Fort Hare and ten high schools within the same district. The main objective is to develop and offer a two - tier training programme in digital learning for teacher educators and education leaders o n one hand, and school teachers on the other. Programme activities so far have included entry - level digital learning for approximately 100 teachers as well as the initiation of online and on - site communities of practice. Teachers have been able to embark on a more pedagogically focused course around using digital resources in teaching. The paper discusses the challenges in establishing communities of practice to supp ort in - school teacher learning. These challenges include unstable, yet prohibitively expen sive, connectivity, coupled with low levels of acc ess and technophobia . This paper intends to document these early South African experiences of what has worked and what has not , in the Eastern Cape Province that might prove valuable for programmes in other countries. // Paper ID 193
- ItemOpen AccessUsing Game-based Learning to Improve Second Language English Skills in South Africa(2019-09) Mfeka, Hlengiwe; Thomson, JanetOne of the most challenging issues facing teachers is the use of English as the language of teaching and learning (LoLT) in South Africa, a country with eleven official languages where low levels of English language competence characterise many rural primary schools. In the schools making up this study, instruction was in mother tongue throughout Foundation Phase (Grades 1 – 3) but with a switch to English in Grade 4. The Learning Gains through Play Project was designed to test the hypothesis that foundational literacies of primary school learners could improve through the effective use of game-based learning using innovative technologies. Two cohorts of Foundation Phase learners in ten schools were tracked over a four year period. Each school received an Xbox Kinect and a bank of Intel tablets for use in Grade R and Grade 1 classrooms. Teachers used carefullyselected tablet apps and Xbox games to create teachable moments and stealth learning opportunities that targeted specific literacies. The added benefit was that learners acquired oral English skills, almost subliminally, because the apps and games used the medium of English. The findings were that Grade 4 students in the project achieved at a far higher level than the control school students, not only in English, but across all Grade 4 subjects of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology, Social Sciences and Life Skills. The Learning Gains through Play study supports the theory that successful language acquisition occurs through understanding messages and that oral English skills can be improved simply by engaging with English tablet apps and video games. This research project provided a perfect opportunity to prepare non-English-speaking, early grade learners in South Africa to make the difficult transition to Grade 4. // Paper ID 201