The Thandulwazi-Rokunda Teacher Development program provides professional development and skills training to teachers working in disadvantaged areas. The series of eleven workshops occur on Saturday mornings, led by experienced teachers who are experts in their fields. The program is facilitated by teachers working daily with the curriculum and students, those who can pass on techniques or strategies that work and provide tips that can be utilized in a typical classroom. The first two sessions focus on learning strategies and teaching skills. Workshop learning areas include Numeracy and Literacy in the Foundation Phase, as well as Mathematics, Science and Technology in Intermediate and Senior Phase. The teachers participating in the workshops are given teaching materials, registration and log-in details for Mathletics and flash-drives loaded with educational resources.
In additions to teachers, headmasters and principals are also invited to attend workshops that provide them with leadership skills training and focus on topics such as: budgeting; strategic planning; how to deal with bullying; "Investing in Excellence" and more. Importantly, transportation to workshops is provided.
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CEI approaches in action
Workshops are focused on up-skilling teachers from disadvantaged areas and are presented at no cost to participants. Free transport from key areas is also provided for participants.
In 2006, the program launched in partnership with the Gauteng Department of Education, who identified 80 teachers to participate. In 2013, about 1,079 teachers from more than 450 Gauteng schools enrolled in the program. In February 2014, about 1,350 teachers and school leaders registered for the program (workshops) in Gauteng.
In 2011, the use of Mathletics was incorporated and teachers are trained and given access to this internet-based Mathematics programme.
To test whether replication was possible, Thandulwazi ran a three-year pilot in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Four workshops were held in 2013 and 2014, and six Saturday sessions of workshops are planned in Limpopo for 2015. Thereafter, the pilot will be evaluated, and a decision will be made on whether or not to continue the project in Limpopo.
The number of beneficiaries who could be accommodated by replication of Thandulwazi in other areas would be determined by capacity (such as venues or facilities available at the host school, funding available, and number of presenters available).
Monitoring & Evaluation
- Weekly monitoring by program coordinator, who sits in on sessions and speaks to participants to gauge perceived impact on teachers.
- The program coordinator also visits participating schools and talks to principals, teachers, and students to ascertain the efficacy of the workshops.
- An annual survey of participants and a bi-annual external evaluation are also conducted.