TEACHER DEVELOPMENT GETS BOOST
The SA Council of Educators has introduced its new Teacher Development system and thousands of Principals and Vice Principals have already registered with SACE.
In the early stages of discussions about a Continuous Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) system for all South African teachers there was concern that the system might be as controversial as the eTag Tolling System in Gauteng. However this has not been the case and Adv. Don Leffler, Director of Eazi Study, a Teacher Development provider, attributes this to the consultative process followed by SACE. “The CPTD system was carefully researched and planned” says Don Leffler “and SACE adopted a very reasonable and phased-in approach to introducing CPTD”.
South Africa has some 300 000 teachers employed in some 26 000 schools across all Provinces. The task of introducing the CPTD system was, therefore, a daunting one indeed. Teacher trade unions, principals and teachers were all consulted as part of the introduction of the new system.
Training Providers responded positively to the CPTD system and have responded to SACE’s invitation to register activities and training programs with SACE. Says Eazi Study’s Don Leffler “we have been involved in educator development for many years and, therefore, welcomed the education sector’s decision to formalize a CPTD system”. Eazi Study, Don says “has adopted a strategic approach to meeting the SACE requirements whilst also addressing the needs of teachers. Eazi Study offers teachers, schools and teacher unions an effective and easy-to-use on-line system for compliance with SACE’s CPTD requirements. It also offers specialized options for schools or teachers which do not have access to computers or the internet”.
Whilst many training providers have concentrated on registering short course training programs for teachers, the Eazi Study system has focused on each of the different activities which attract CPTD points for teachers. The Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre includes a toolkit of 20 different training courses. However, it also guides teachers on how best to obtain CPTD points through teacher initiated and school initiated activities.
Says Cathy Foden, Director at Eazi Study “teachers can choose which training courses they wish to register for and can complete courses in their own time. They can also use the Eazi Study system to record other activities which allow CPTD points with SACE”.
“Teachers” says Cathy Foden “can also choose to either attend live Training Workshops or to study in their own time. The courses are available on-line or in hard copy to suit the needs of the Teacher. The Centre’s self-study option works well for Teachers who have limited time to attend live Training Workshops”.
Some 500 NAPTOSA Member Teachers in KwaZulu-Natal have already attended the live Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre Training Workshops which were facilitated by Eazi Study in 2013. These Workshops are now available in an eLearning format as part of the Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre toolkit and are being rolled-out nationally for all teachers.
The skills needs of Teachers have been researched by NAPTOSA and the content of the Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre’s Training Workshops were designed specifically to meet these needs. Topics range from Managing Discipline in the Classroom and Understanding Government’s Education Policies to Sport Administration and First Aid. The intention is to grow the database of SACE registered Training Programmes to assist schools and teachers in meeting the needs of South Africa’s education strategy.
Says Cathy Foden of Eazi Study “Government has identified Education as a key priority. Teacher Development through Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Teacher Training Programmes is a key strategy. Every school is encouraged to run an internal Staff Development Programme. The Programmes included in the Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre toolkit provides schools with a complete, practical and ‘tried and tested’ Staff Development Programme which can be implemented immediately by schools. The Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre complies with the objectives and intentions of the Government’s Education strategy and the SACE Teacher CPD requirements”.
A pilot of the Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre was successfully implemented by Eazi Study at 3 different schools in KZN last year. NAPTOSA, which is committed to ensuring the quality of the Programme and its effectiveness, also conducted a second pilot at schools in Pietermaritzburg and in Kokstad. The outcome of these pilots guided Eazi Study on revisions to the Programme before it was made available nationally to all schools and teachers.
Don Leffler says “the Eazi Study approach was designed because of a growing understanding amongst educators that a school may have the best facilities and equipment, the top Maths, Science and English specialists but without the best teacher skills sustainable achievement would be limited. The Programme was developed on the understanding that a better teacher develops better learners leading to improved results”.
A Teacher says Cathy Foden “must have access to, understand and implement Government Policies. A Teacher must also have access to, understand and implement the revised Curriculum & Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS). These are included in the Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre toolkit”.
A Teacher must be more than a subject matter expert. A Teacher must also lead, manage, coach, mentor, identify barriers to learning, manage discipline in the classroom, provide an inclusive approach to teaching, work within a diverse environment, be digitally literate, work with multi-media systems, understand and comply with DBET policies and work with a revised curriculum. The Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre provides the teacher with the resources they need to develop skills and gain knowledge to fulfill their function within each of these roles.
The objective of the Eazi StudyTeacher Development Centre is to provide access to quality, current and valid Teacher Development material and resources for school teachers which in turn will improve learning. The Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre will equip teachers, particularly at ordinary, special needs and under performing schools in needy communities with teaching methodology skills.
In providing access to quality, current and valid Teacher Professional Development (CPD) courses, material and activities for school teachers, the Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre effectively contributes to the outcome of the Integrated Strategic Planning Framework for Teacher Education and Development in South Africa 2011 – 2025, namely, to improve the quality of teacher education and development in order to improve the quality of teaching and learning.
The Eazi StudyTeacher Development Centre is supported by the Eazi Study ‘Conversations with Teachers’ programme which is a support resource to schools. ‘Conversations with Teachers’ has been designed for the teacher. The programme aims to provide a forum where teachers can discuss challenges they face in their classroom and share solutions; share teaching and assessment methodologies, lessons and disseminate critical information received from the National, Provincial and/or District Education offices.
The Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre addresses the challenges impeding Teacher Development in needy communities, such as a lack of sufficient and accessible funding, insufficient resources, time constraints and work overload preventing time for personal Professional Development.
As many schools are under resourced an alternative approach to facilitating Teacher Development programmes must be made available. Eazi Study says Don Leffler “is hopeful that corporates will find value in supporting the drive to equip every school with an Eazi Study Teacher Development Centre and will sponsor needy schools through their Corporate Social Investment (CSI) budgets.