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Showing posts from June, 2012
end of term musings...

After a difficult term with one of my classes (Grade 10s), we had a leadership camp in Greyton. The camp ended with a hike to Genadendal where the kids visited a museum where the first German missionary settled. While reflecting about the complexities about the idea of a “leadership camp”, a friend pointed out that leadership camps are like rites of passages in all middle class schools; “don’t question it too much, that’s just what we have to go through”.


What often appears as a series of “lame” activities to teenagers (like building a tower from recycled material) some of the learners realised the importance of planning and listening to one another when under pressure and learning to let other voices join a discussion even when there are time limitations in an activity. There were many questions and conversations amongst the kids about who they are, their personal development and what hiking to a small impoverished dorpie has to do with leadership. While hiking…

a is for apple,b is for banana...e is for EXAMS

For the past two weeks my learners and I have been subjected to the examination process. This is a form of assessment that is firmly established in our schools. It wasn’t until my honours year that I started questioning the foreboding period of exams. My annoyance set in when I realised that exams were useless for the courses I was doing at the time as I had been handing in papers and essays throughout the year. What does a controlled setting and controlled time tell us about the knowledge students (in my case high school learners) have acquired over time?

Because exams are a given in our schools, learners only engage with exams because they have to. Before exams I asked my learners what they do when they study. Many told me they rewrite their notes, others use a highlighter and pen to make note of the important facts on the class notes they have been given, while others are just not interested.

During exams everyone takes on a different rhythm. School starts later than usual and end…