Monday, August 8, 2016

"Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world."

I've been teaching weather to grade 5 at Emafini Primary. When I first walked into the classroom, I noticed that there were no maps or globes. Students were learning about the world through a textbook that was read aloud as they followed along. 

A major problem in South Africa is the education system. There is a clear difference between predominately white schools and schools in the townships. To start, the teachers in the townships started teaching during apartheid, and therefore, did not have a chance to participate in a competitive teaching program, and black teachers were not allowed to be evaluated. Leaders during apartheid wanted to create an inferior black culture. 

Today in South Africa, all schools are funded by the government, but schools have the option to charge an additional fee. The most prestigious schools are considered public, but only the high middle class can afford to send their children there. Schools like Emafini do not have additional fees and open their doors to all students. Teachers are teaching 45 students at a time, so classroom management is the main focus.

To teach the students about climate, I brought in 9 laminated world maps for students to get into groups. I noticed that they needed a few uninterrupted minutes to explore. We began discussing the equator, the hemispheres and the water cycle. We looked at the smaller maps that showed precipitation and population. I saw more of an eagerness to answer questions and share what they noticed. They were responsible for their own learning, and the kids took it seriously.

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