Teach­ers’ sac­ri­fices yield re­wards

Cape Times - - NEWS - Own Cor­re­spon­dent

DED­I­CATED teach­ers in Dis­trict Six who sac­ri­ficed their fam­ily time on count­less Satur­days – with­out com­pen­sa­tion – to pro­vide ex­tra maths lessons have reaped the re­wards of their ef­forts.

Cou­pled with the ad­di­tion of a new school li­brary, and lit­er­acy and coun­selling sup­port, the school was able to make a dra­matic turn­around in its maths and lit­er­acy re­sults over the past year.

Zon­nebloem Boys’ Pri­mary prin­ci­pal Deon May scooped top hon­ours for his school at the Lan­guage and Math­e­mat­ics Awards Cer­e­mony of the Western Cape Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment (WCED) at Groote Schuur High last night as a re­sult of th­ese and var­i­ous other re­cent aca­demic in­ter­ven­tions.

The school, sit­u­ated on the Zon­nebloem Col­lege Es­tate in the heart of Dis­trict Six, showed an “ex­cel­lent im­prove­ment” in both its Grade 3 and Grade 6 math­e­mat­ics and English sys­temic re­sults, ac­cord­ing to the WCED.

The Zon­nebloem Boys’ Pri­mary School’s re­sults im­proved, from a 63% Grade 6 maths pass rate in 2016, which was on par for the av­er­age achieved by com­pa­ra­ble schools, to 84.2% at the end of 2017, far higher than the pro­vin­cial av­er­age.

A score of 50% or higher counts as a pass in the WCED sys­temic tests.

Zon­nebloem Boys’ Grade 6 lan­guage re­sults also im­proved dra­mat­i­cally over the same pe­riod. In 2016 only 44% of its Grade 6 con­tin­gent passed the WCED’s sys­temic lan­guage pro­fi­ciency test, but a year later that num­ber nearly dou­bled, with a whop­ping 78.9% of the Grade 6 boys pass­ing the test.

At Grade 3 level, the im­prove­ment in re­sults was also sig­nif­i­cant. In 2016, only 39.4% of Grade 3 pupils passed both the WCED’s sys­temic maths and lan­guage tests.

But in 2017, the pass per­cent­age rate shot up to 90.2% and 73.2% re­spec­tively for maths and lan­guages.

This was th anks to the ef­forts of teach­ers Caroline Mat­eveka and Xolelwa Dyan­tyi, said May.

He said one of the school’s great­est chal­lenges was that the ma­jor­ity of pupils started Grade R or 1 with a min­i­mal or non-ex­is­tent com­mand of the English lan­guage. This also im­pacted on maths com­pre­hen­sion.

“We be­lieve our re­sults im­proved dra­mat­i­cally due to se­ri­ous maths and lan­guage in­ter­ven­tions, in­clud­ing the open­ing of our new li­brary, The Sun­flower Learn­ing Cen­tre, as well as through a win­ning part­ner­ship with Shine Lit­er­acy, psy­cho-so­cial NGO Com­mu­nity Keep­ers, the Otto Foun­da­tion and other stake­hold­ers. And, of course, ded­i­cated teach­ing was piv­otal,” said May.

They were not paid, and even bought treats with their own money

Over the past year, May and his Grade 6 teacher Lu­lama Mnyango came to school vir­tu­ally ev­ery Satur­day, sac­ri­fic­ing their free time to pro­vide their boys with ex­tra maths tu­ition. They were not paid, and even bought treats with their own money.

“I be­lieve schools can turn around their re­sults with the help of good, en­gag­ing, pas­sion­ate teach­ers who ig­nite a joy for learn­ing, that set at­tain­able short-term goals with the learn­ers, that cre­ate invit­ing safe spa­ces, that seek out ap­pro­pri­ate re­sources and cre­ate the time to con­sol­i­date their learn­ing – be­cause the cur­ricu­lum is very jam-packed.

“On top of this, schools can­not suc­ceed with­out good col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween SGBs, teach­ing staff and par­ents, as well as sup­port­ive ex­ter­nal part­ners – this is some­thing we worked hard on im­prov­ing over the past year. All of th­ese things add up to get the ba­sics of read­ing, read­ing com­pre­hen­sion, writ­ing and ba­sic arith­metic right,” said May.

May said em­brac­ing change is never easy, but when part­ner­ships are es­tab­lished and share a com­mon vi­sion, goals and strate­gic plans, good re­sults can be achieved.

Zon­nebloem Boys’ Pri­mary, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with its sis­ter school Zon­nebloem Girls’ and var­i­ous other part­ners, is stag­ing the in­au­gu­ral Zon­nebloem Schools Fes­ti­val this Satur­day on the Zon­nebloem Col­lege Es­tate.

It in­vites the com­mu­nity for a day of cel­e­bra­tion and fund-rais­ing to over­come his­toric un­der-re­sourc­ing.

• Find more in­for­ma­tion on Face­book: https://www. face­book.com/Zon­nebloe­bloem. FestCT2018/

NUR­TUR­ING YOUNG MINDS: Zon­nebloem Boys’ Pri­mary prin­ci­pal Deon May scooped top hon­ours for his school at the Lan­guage and Math­e­mat­ics Awards Cer­e­mony of the Western Cape Ed­u­ca­tion De­part­ment.

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