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    Talking Stories at Education Week

    September 30th, 2010


    While many of you South African teachers are enjoying a well-earned break from school, the Radical Learning team is attending Education Week Expo in Johannesburg.  We’re enjoying conference presentations and workshops on a range of subjects, but particularly focusing on technology in education.  When we head back to Cape Town we will be enthused and inspired and full of great new ideas to share with you in training sessions!

    We have also had the opportunity to share the brilliance of Talking Stories with conference delegates, many of whom are grappling with the requirements of the new (CAPS) curriculum for next year.  First aditional language must be taught from Grade 1, and given almost as much time on the timetable as home language.  Many of you already know that Talking Stories is THE best material available for building a bridge from home language to first additional language.  We’re delighted at the warm response we have received from delegates here.  We were thrilled to have the opportunity for a 45 minute live discussion on national radio on Day 1.  Clearly South Africa is sitting up and taking note of the wonderful success of Talking Stories for primary school literacy teaching!

    Talking Stories at the Cape Town Book Fair

    August 27th, 2010

    What do the experts say about Talking Stories?

    Watch this six-minute video to see why Talking Stories software is the talk of the city!

    Invitation: Talking Stories at Cape Town Book Fair

    July 19th, 2010

    Talking Stories training for Khanya Facilitators

    July 1st, 2010

     Today a group of Khanya facilitators attended training in the use of Talking Stories software in schools.  These facilitators come from different districts and work with large numbers of schools, helping teachers to integrate technology into teaching and learning.  

    If you attended today’s training, please leave a comment outlining your thoughts about the workshop.  Was it beneficial?  How could we improve our training programme?  Do you think this software will be useful for raising literacy standards in your district?

    Technology at the FIFA World Cup (World Cup 2010 resources #11)

    June 30th, 2010

       Did you see that much-spoken-about second goal of the England/Germany game?

    Calls to use technology for big decisions in football are coming thick and fast at the FIFA World Cup…  Engage your children in this debate using the child-friendly online news lesson at BREAKING NEWS ENGLISH.

    You will find a whole series of activities that will get your senior phase class buzzing with discussions, multiple-choice questions, grammar exercises, homework and lots more.  This is an excellent website with up-to-date lesson plans on items that are in the news.

    Mexican Wave in South African education

    June 20th, 2010

    Have you ever wondered how a Mexican Wave starts? 

    Someone, somewhere, needs to take the initiative and persuade people around them to join in.  Apparently 25 people is the critical mass needed to start a Mexican Wave.  Once the wave starts, we all join in… but only a few of us have the courage to stand up and make it start.  Perhaps the rest of us fear exposure or failure or looking silly…

    I wonder if it’s like that with everything in life?  What will it take to turn around our failing education system in South Africa?  How many of us need to stand up and say, “I’m committed to doing my best to serve the needs of our children.”  If a large enough group of teachers was prepared to stand together and produce excellent lessons and share resources and refuse to give up against all odds, could we actually produce a Mexican Wave in education?  Could we produce startlingly good results that would encourage others around us to join in? 

    What would it take for us to get those good results in circumstances that are far from ideal?  Certainly it would require standing up in front of others, at the risk of looking silly or failing.  But imagine how powerful it would be if we could create a revolutionary wave of optimistic learning expectations; a wave that swept around our country and lifted children and teachers from despair to hope for the future!

    At present only half the children who start school make it all the way to matric, and only 60% of those pass their matric exams.  Can you and I make a difference, or is this an unrealistic dream?

    Don’t be boring!

    June 8th, 2010

    Does this picture ring any bells?  It’s easy for teachers to feel under attack from parents, the education department and the media.  But Mathew Needleman reminds us in his blog, Creating Lifelong Learners that we teachers have a responsibility to provide interesting lessons that engage our learners:

    “I can’t stand blaming teachers for all the ills of the world but I do think we can reframe our thinking about student achievement and lack thereof. We can better pinpoint student difficulties and make sure we’re planning activities that engage multiple intelligences and allow all students to be successful at something. We can also ensure that we’re not boring.”

    Five tips for next term:

    1. Class time is for lessons.  Get to school bright and early to do your photocopying.
    2. Be dramatic at least once a week.  Wear something crazy or do something crazy to draw attention to the lesson you are teaching.
    3. Make your children laugh.  Stress and fear are the greatest inhibitors of learning. 
    4. Collaborate with a colleague.  Share your worksheets and halve your workload.
    5. Find a good parent helper to do the little jobs.  Keep your focus on brilliant teaching.