After the welcome, we had the first of many discussions about the school
and its challenges, the local situation and the expectations of the Canadian
that went well into the night. It was clear that the teachers needed help
in working toward implementing the Outcomes Based Curriculum 2005. We agreed
that we would work with the juniors for the first week since the principal was
clear that reading and literacy was the prime focus.
Wednesday, August 4
The team made classroom visits to observe the practices in place and to identify
At a team meeting it became evident that many of the teachers teach their subjects
in isolation. We identified some strategies that could be immediately effective
and by the afternoon, we began making suggestions to the teachers. We continued
our discussions with the principal and other staff about the school. It
became clear to us that the teachers
themselves were using English as a second to fifth language. This raised additional
issues and concerns regarding the facility with English and language use in the
Thursday, August 5
We began modeling lessons for the teachers and continued with our observations. We
made suggestions to the teachers about encouraging the students to predict, to
contextualize the lessons, to extend concepts and use of language among many
We were visited by the school inspectors from the Benoni District of the
Department of Education Onica Nhlabathi and Mr. Clough. We also visited one of
the Vice-Principals who was recovering from surgery.
Friday, August 6
We gave the first of two major workshops. This one was for the junior teachers
and was in two parts. The first focussed on planning and infusing oracy,
literacy and reading throughout the junior grades. Shaun Viljoen from the
University of the Witwatersrand visited us and attended the workshop as did Mrs.
Gabashane. In the second part of the workshop, each team member met with all
teachers assigned to her grade for in depth discussion about that grade level.
Monday, August 9
There were no classes this day in commemoration of National Women’s’ Day. We
used the day to confer with Mrs. Gabashane, further sharing and discussing our
observations in the junior classes with suggestions and strategies for implementation.
Mrs. Gabashane’s vision for the school focuses on reading development as
the key to growth and learning. She sees Moshoeshoe Primary School as a
model school in Gauteng and as a resource for the area cluster. We also discussed
plans for week two. It was decided that Rachel would stay with the juniors
to continue support for the implementation process at this level. Monica
and Claudette would begin to work with the Grades 4 to 7 teachers and students.
Tuesday, August 10 to Friday August 13
We began our observation of the senior classes followed by discussions with the
teachers and the principal. A number of teachers attended Ministry workshops
and a school field trip on the Thursday. We observed a model lesson integrating
concepts and suggestions made over the past two-week period.
Monday, August 16
A workshop for senior teachers was delivered focusing on planning, reading and
writing. Meetings were held with each teacher to discuss strategies for
program delivery. Handouts that highlighted the workshop concepts were
prepared for teachers.
Tuesday, August 17 to Thursday, August 19
Our team revisited the primary classes for additional clarfication, progress
checks and discussion. We visited the former principal of the school who
was also Mrs. Gabashane’s
teacher and former principal.
Friday, August 20
A farewell celebration function was held in the adjacent Anglican Church. This
was a very special and emotional event for the school, the community and us as
this was ‘the first time
anything of this kind has ever occurred in our school or community’.(as
one teacher observed). Present were our team, the entire Moshoeshoe
school community, the Gauteng Music Academy, student musicians and performers,
the school’s inspectors from the Department of Education, the former principal
of Moshoeshoe and other guests. It was a showcase of talent, natural warmth
and the loving spirit of the community. The entire staff dressed in their traditional
attire. Students spoke, sang and performed dances in traditional clothing.
There are no words that convey the tenor of the moment. This
celebration and farewell lasted all morning, followed by a staff luncheon.