Ms. Nontando Makhanya is an educator at Kranskop Primary School in the uMzinyathi school district. She was part of the SMT team from her school who participated in the training sessions for the Jika iMfundo Campaign.
Ms. Makhanya found the trackers and lessons plans the most helpful in her teaching. She noted that: “The trackers and lesson plans are well structured and has been an amazing guide in understanding how to read CAPS and what curriculum coverage requires.”
The SMT workshops also highlighted the importance of monitoring: “It is a critical element of curriculum management, and checking and tracking the teaching and learning processes for the realization of the stated (curriculum) objectives. Formalized monitoring is also important as it allows corrective measures to be put in place, and increases the sense of accountability among teachers and the management. The programme also has a strong focus on feedback, class visits, keeping records and teamwork.”
Ms. Makhanya mentions another effect of the programme on the school: “The Jika iMfundo programme has rendered a positive response because although the CAPS document gives you what needs to be done, with Jika iMfundo the approach was systematic – you know exactly what and when to teach, and how to teach it. There is no longer a rushing through the lessons to finish the curriculum, but instead a systematic approach to curriculum coverage. The lesson duration and time frames are no longer vague, but offers guidance on which aspects are stepping stones to further concepts. The introduction of trackers, lesson plans, and checklists was a blessing in disguise.”
According to Ms. Makhanya, one of the ways in which the Jika iMfundo Campaign has assisted the teachers in their work is through the use of the monitoring and tracking tools. She points out that: “The monitoring process is now evidence-based and easy, as the work is spaced out step by step. Our daily programmes meet the requirements of CAPS without causing stress. It is no longer time consuming as the lesson layout is clear.”
While the Jika iMfundo Campaign has provided a systematic approach to curriculum implementation and management that assists the school in carrying out its core functions of teaching and learning, Ms. Makhanya is still concerned about the volume of the work that has to be covered in the curriculum as prescribed by CAPS. She points out that the work is often too much for the learners to cope with, and notes the difficulties of giving learners homework that consolidate some of the concepts taught in school. She believes that learning at home is made more difficult by the social circumstances of parents and families. This makes curriculum coverage as prescribed by CAPS even more challenging.
Think carefully about what you will teach in class and what you will ask learners to do at home.
In general, plan to use class time to teach key concepts and skills, and work that learners generally find difficult. Think about how they can prepare for and practice and reinforce this learning in between lessons, at home.
Organise and prepare sufficient copies of resoueces for learners to use at home.
These include worksheets, textbook activities, readers, online material (where it can be accessed) and instructions for any practical work that learners should do at home. The packaging of materials for a weekly rotation needs to be very thotough so that learners have everything they need for the extended time they are away from school.
Try to stay in touch with learners when they are not at school.
If learners have more that one- or two-days’ break between face-to-face lessons, try to check in with them and their caregivers while they are working from home.If you teach several classes and/or have many learners, it might not be possible to contact all of them during every break from school but try to reach as many as possible. Some learners will lack confidence and not get sufficient support at home. The interest in them will help them remain motivated to do their work at home. Also, if they are ‘stuck’ or doing something incorrectly, it provides an opportunity for you to support them so that they can proceed with meaningful learning. Each context is different – so try to find the best way for you to contact your learners or their caregivers. Each context is different – so try to find the best way for you to contact your learners or their caregivers. Also make sure they know how to contact you if they need support.
Keep parents/caregivers informed and encourage their support
Strategies for connecting with parents and caregivers are essential at this time and beyond this year for curriculum recovery. Inform parents/caregivers of the work to be done at home, and how they could assist learners with it. The need for home-based support is important throughout the system, but especially so in the Foundation and Intermediate phases. Suggest that parents provide a space for learners to work at home, and help them to establish and stick to a home-time routine that includes doing school work. Ask them to let you know of any challenges to learning at home their learner might experience so that you can bear this in mind when planning their work and giving feedback.