Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Plan, implement and conquer: Gauteng getting it right

According to Barbara Creecy, Gauteng MEC for education, their seven percent point  improvement to a 78.6% pass rate is the result of a well planned intervention programme, pupil commitment and a range of productive partnerships between the department, teachers, community and business.

Creecy spoke to the Times about how they managed to accomplish what many thought was impossible in such a short space of time. The department identified six subjects that produced the highest failure rates. These were maths, maths literacy, physical science and English first additional language.In their research process, it fast became clear that the majority of pupils who failed did not come from Gauteng's least functional schools but rather functional schools that could succeed if they were given additional support.

In April 2010 a three year programme dubbed the Secondary School Improvement Plan was launched. The programme gave an improvement target to every participating school and set high expectations that stretched pupil ambition. 1200 of the best teachers were recruited as tutors and about 48 000 grade 12s, almost half of those registered to write matric were invited to participate.

Key elements of the programme included supplementary lessons in the identified subjects, study materials for learners and lesson plans for tutors. At the height of the strike 80 of these groups were meeting daily, this teaching the most valuable lesson: the importance of giving learners and parents greater responsibility for learner achievement. Following the strike  different role players got together and ran the "Save our matrics" campaign in which learning camps were established, extra lessons were offered, Cinema screenings of video lessons were given.

Almost 80 percent of the schools involved showed a vast improvement in their results.

Creecy gives most credit to the learners who took responsibility for their own learning . Other role players include district officials, teachers, private sector and community structures.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rules for success- continued

Previously we looked at setting goals for yourself and your students to ensure that you achieve desired results at the end of the year. We looked at the acronym SMARTER to help design powerful successful goals.

Now we look at the meaning of each letter and provide examples  to help you along.

Specific: Many intended goals fail because they're too ambiguous, woolly and vague. A goal needs to be specific and to the point.
Poor example: The school exam results will be improved on next year.
Good example: In 2011 matric exams, every candidate will pass every subject

Measurable: Dream big but be able to measure the dream. Goals should be measurable  An observer should be able to measure whether or not intended goals were achieved.
Poor example: The school will raise funds to build a library.
Good example: Fund raising events in 2011 will raise R75 000 towards the library

Achievable: Set goals that are challenging and just beyond one's grasp. They need to motivate one to excel but also be reachable.
Poor example: The school will be the best in the country.
Good goal: Excellent overall percentage results will be obtained in the grades three and six standardised annual national assessment.

Realistic:Goals need to be realistic and in relation to resources and man-power.
Poor example: Each learner will have a maths percentage of at least 70%
Good example: Each learner's maths mark will improve by 5% over a year.

Time-bound: Before carrying out a goal set deadlines. Decide what will be achieved by certain dates. Dates become milestones on the journey to achieving goals.
Bad example: the school will build two new classrooms
Good example: R180 000 will be raised by December 2012 on the new classrooms project; the classrooms will be built by June 2012.

Ethical: Goals should be in the best interest of the community.
Poor example: Secure car parking available only for senior management.
Good example: Secure car parking available on a first come, first serve basis for all staff and visitors.

Rewarding: A goal should be well worth doing . Upon completion all parties involved should feel it was all well worth it.
Poor example: Expensive recliner armchair for Principal's office.
Good example: Comfortable chairs for everyone in the staffroom.

Be inspired as you plan your personal, professional and school goals. Dream on but be mindful of Diana Hunt's word, "Goals are dreams with deadlines"

Source: theTeacher, November 2010 pg. 7

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Rules for success

Last year we set goal fit for 2010 and have achieved what we could and learnt from mistakes made. 2011 we need to set new goals to ensure that we work smarter towards success.

Last year in an issue of "theTeacher" I came across an article about pre-planning and thought this is definitely something to share with each and everyone of you.
Smarter is an acronym used to help design powerful, successful goals. This acronym makes goal setting easy to formulate and serves as a checklist to determine if the goals are worthwhile. The meaning of each letter is:

S: Specific
M: Measurable
A: Achievable
R: Realistic
T: Time-bound
E: Ethical
R: Rewarding

Tomorrow we'll look at the each letter of the acronym individually and provide examples of how this acronym can be implemented in your planning for the year ahead. In the meanwhile, think your goals for your learners and school this year.