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    Radical Learning in top 5 nationwide!

    September 6th, 2010

    Today we heard the wonderful news that Radical Learning is one of the five finalists for the Most Innovative Award of the 2010 South African SMME Awards (Small, Micro and Medium-sized Enterprises). 

    It takes a team effort for an achievement like this.  Our Radical Learning team is the ABSOLUTE BEST!  Thanks to all our staff members, partners, clients and friends.  Without you this wouldn’t be possible!  Read more about the awards below.


    Africagrowth Institute, in partnership with Central and Provincial governments, Municipal Administrations, private sector institutions and other SMME Support Agencies, is pleased to introduce the 2010 South Africa SMME Awards.  The idea behind the Awards is to identify and recognise the best performing SMMEs in the country. The Award ceremony showcases the country’s best SMMEs in the trade, services and industrial sectors. The overall winner will receive the South African SMME of Year Award.  The Awards ceremony will take place on the 21st of October 2010.

    The Awards are the highest honours that can be bestowed to SMME owners in the country. Winners of the Awards will, therefore, feature prominently in local and international media as champions in business innovation and master-drivers of South Africa’s development. The main goal of the Award program is, therefore, to help the South Africa SMME business sector grow and prosper, and to market South Africa as an investment destination for the rest of the world.

    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.

    “Jaime didn’t just teach math. Like all great teachers, he changed lives.”

    March 31st, 2010

    Jaime Escalante, the charismatic former East Los Angeles high school teacher who taught the nation that inner-city students could master subjects as demanding as calculus, died on Tuesday. He was 79.

    In 1963 Escalante arrived in the U.S. as a Bolivian immigrant, and got a job washing floors in a coffee shop. He enrolled in English classes and eventually won a scholarship to study to become a teacher.

    After qualifying as a teacher he took up a post at Garfield High in Los Angeles – a school made up primarily of lower-income Mexican Americans. Standards were low and the pupils lacked motivation.

    Within a few years Escalante’s pupils were performing advanced calculus on a par with a handful of the best schools in the U.S. This passionate teacher managed to transform a school with a history of underachievement.

    “His passionate belief [was] that all students, when properly prepared and motivated, can succeed at academically demanding course work, no matter what their racial, social or economic background. Because of him, educators everywhere have been forced to revise long-held notions of who can succeed.”

    This man’s life is an inspiration to those of us working within the South African education system. Poverty should not be an excuse for underachievement. Every child matters.

    Click here to read more in the Los Angeles Times.