Mr. Mseleku and Mr. Mncube are Subject Advisors who were introduced to the Jika iMfundo Campaign by the District Director. They note that their current involvement is mainly through “interesting” workshops that are conducted and then have to be “cascaded’ to the Department Heads at schools.
Mr. Mseleku mentions the importance of the, “… practices of planning, tracking and reflecting” and hoped that “… schools will continue in their implementation and practicing of them…”
The Subject Advisors also spoke about the importance of integrating the work of change into the KZN Curriculum Management Strategy: “This (strategy) spells out the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders at school and district levels. Our DHs need to understand that they have to be lifelong learners and all they need to know are the basics or the core issues and be more hands on, especially at high school level.”
Mr. Mncube shared his observation of the changes that are taking place in a number of schools: “Although I cannot speak about a specific school, I have seen in my interactions with the educators that they are now more aware of what curriculum coverage is and are reflecting more on it as a school. They now understand it, and Literacy and Numeracy is definitely improving… The biggest change I’ve seen is that learners are not shy anymore to stand up and talk. As a Subject Advisor, I noticed a slight improvement in curriculum coverage, but schools have to be followed up constantly otherwise the fall back into their comfort zones.”
Mr. Mseleku also noted some of the challenges that needed to be addressed. He spoke about the information contained in the workshops: “I sometimes feel that it is too much for our teachers. We need information that is simple for them to grasp and implement.”
He also noted that the quality of the professional conversations in the school can be improved: “Schools are finding the one-on-one conversations difficult to do. When they have them, they are not speaking about the educational issues at the classroom level, and therefore I feel they are superficial. This is due to the fact that the DHs feel they do not have the authority and they are not confident in their work.”
The over-riding goal is to leave the teacher feeling ENCOURAGED and ENABLED to improve.
This is a professional and supportive conversation based on the evidence of the teacher’s documents conducted with an attitude of “How can I help you?”. The documents can include Lesson Plans, Trackers, learner’s work (workbooks and exercise books) and Assessments completed.
The structure/sequence of the conversation has an important logic. First, a discussion of what IS and what IS NOT working (affirming, encouraging and then extending). Then, both the teacher and the DH/other teachers AGREEING on the steps that are necessary to make progress.
Mr. Mncube also noted that for the Jika iMfundo programme to be sustained, there would need to be greater Subject Advisor “buy-in, so that they can get used to it.” He further suggested that the Data Driven Dashboards are a useful tool that the Subject Advisors can use as it provides the data to identify what kinds are support are needed in schools.