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Seminar 1/2011

Teacher Development: Teachers’ proficiency in and knowledge of English and the implications for pre- and in-service training by Universities and NGOs alike

About the topic

A key goal driving research and evaluation is to put research into practice. In the South African context this is pressing, considering that current educational challenges are far from being solved. One of the challenges highlighted by recent research is that of providing adequate training to teachers to teach in English as the medium of instruction in the intermediate and senior phases. Preliminary research findings indicate that for various historical reasons, student- and qualified teachers alike have relatively low levels of English proficiency. This impacts not only on their own learning, but also on their teaching of all subjects they teach through the medium of English. Over the past two years, research by JET and leading universities has begun to unpack this very controversial issue. This seminar will explore some of this research which will hopefully contribute to the development of new, targeted and integrated approaches to teacher development.

About the Speakers
Geordie Brackin
is a Fulbright scholar currently teaching at the University of Pretoria’s School of Education. His courses for first-year education students are designed to improve academic literacy. Geordie is also involved in UP’s community engagement projects for undergraduate student teachers. Before moving to Pretoria, he worked for the NGO Teach with Africa, aimed at empowering students and teachers by bringing experienced educators to South Africa to both teach and learn.

Presentation: University programmes for boosting proficiency in pre-service teachers

Roelien Herholdt holds Honours degrees in Cognitive Psychology, Educational Psychology and Education from the University of South Africa. Roelien has extensive knowledge of and experience in education at both school and district level. She currently manages the Assessment unit in JET’s Education Evaluation and Research Division and has been involved in the development of learner and teacher tests as well as in various project and programme evaluations.

Presentation: Teacher assessments in English proficiency: Results 2010 

Michelle Mathey has extensive experience in teaching English at school level. She was a lecturer in Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, a lead member of a number of education development projects in KZN and the Eastern Cape and co-author of three English First Additional Language textbooks. Michelle has conducted research work on the EFAL curriculum for Umalusi. She is currently the Executive Manager of JET’s School Improvement Division. 

Presentation: Developing teacher competence and performance