Teacher chalks up experience abroad

Courtney Edwards, from Tafelsig, is teaching Foundation Phase pupils at Nada International School, in Al Ahsa Saudi Arabia.

A Tafelsig teacher has gone to Saudi Arabia to learn how best he can teach South African pupils.

Teacher Courtney Edwards, 26, from Cedar High School of the Arts, in Rocklands, left to teach Foundation Phase pupils at Nada International School in Al Ahsa Saudi Arabia on Monday July 29.

Mr Edwards said he had seen the challenges high school pupils faced, among which was being unable to read.

“Pupils come to Grade 10 and 11 and they can’t read and that was a concern for me,” he said.

Mr Edwards said parents were under the incorrect impression that technology alone would help pupils to achieve better results.

“Parents are welcome to buy their children the best technological advanced equipment. This will not have an effect on achievement in school, but rather it is their involvement and what teachers do in the classrooms, which will bring change,” he said.

During a telephone conversation with the Plainsman on Friday August 2 he said he would like to compare the South African National Curriculum, called Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), with the Cambridge Assessment International Education, taught at the school close to Dammam.

“I want to look at what is being taught and how we can improve pupil achievement in South Africa.

“I want to see how in our public schools we can improve and best use our limited resources,” he said.

Mr Edwards said with his knowledge of CAPS he can share his South African teaching experience and best practices.

“I believe we have amazing teaching skills but that the education system needs to work from the classroom to outside.

“We need to do things differently and see what can be done inside the classroom to build leaders and good communities, which should be people-centred,” he said.

He said he wanted to learn how the Cambridge system could help implement the best learning experience.

Last year, in response to teachers’ complaints that the curriculum was more about assessment than teaching and learning, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga sought comment on possibly amending the curriculum.

Mr Edwards said it was because of this that he could learn how best to help the younger pupils do better in high school.

Earlier this year he reminded President Cyril Ramaphosa after the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate during a sitting of the two houses of Parliament on Thursday February 14 – about the National Development Plan (NDP) youth dialogue in 2012 (“Tafelsig teacher meets president”, Plainsman, February 2019) .

The plan aimed to ensure that all South Africans attained a decent standard of living through the elimination of poverty and reduction of inequality by 2030.

Trevor Manuel, Mitchell’s Plain Role Model and Bursary Trust founder and former minister in the presidency, on Saturday July 27, paid tribute to Mr Edwards for his continued involvement with pupils in Mitchell’s Plain, his leadership and being a role model.

Mr Edwards was also a past beneficiary of the trust and was recently elected as a board member.