Teaching Life and Living
During October, teachers from across the Midlands – Colenso to Howick – spent a fascinating few days with Janet Snow of Environmental Learning and Teaching at Treverton Schools.
It has been shown through a national research study that over 80% of current teachers were educated in a system where environmental education did not feature. Three large scale national studies on the skills development issues associated with South Africa’s sustainable development point to the need to improve South African teachers’ knowledge and capacity to teach environmental and sustainable development content, values and skills.
South Africa’s new Curriculum and Assessment Policy of South Africa (CAPS) integrates environmental content into almost every subject and level of the schooling system, from Grade R to Grade 12. An evaluation of the CAPS content has shown that environmental topics occupy up to 52% of the curriculum in specific subjects and grades.
Teachers have expressed concern that they find it difficult to address the requirements within the curriculum, due to the lack of appropriate training in the past. One of the initiatives to address the skills development shortage for educators (and in particular in the rural areas) is the Educators’ Skills Development in Environmental Learning project, supported by N3 Toll Concession. This project assists teachers from the KZN Midlands region to become confident and competent to teach the environmental components of their specific grades and subjects.
The introductory session of the Teaching Life and Living, Grade 4 – 5, Natural Science course (developed by a national project – Fundisa for Change), exposed the teachers to: Introduction to Pedagogical Methods, Life and Living in the CAPS, Overview of the Progression within CAPs, Key concepts for teaching Life and Living and learnt about conducting a Water Quality Monitoring activity.
Antonia Mkhabela, Life Sciences Teacher at Shea O’Connor Combined School completed the course a few years ago. “The course developed my confidence and this in turn made learners develop interest in the subject. One of my major insights was to get to know learners better. By analyzing their first term results, I was able to understand the knowledge and skills they gained in previous grades as well as understand what they are struggling with. This enabled me to plan my lessons according to their capabilities and learning styles. All the teachers felt that the programme had a positive impact on our teaching and learning practices.”
Learn more about this project at: facebook.com/Envirolearn