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Pandor dispels teaching myths

News24 reports:

Various myths and misrepresentations exist in the South African education system, including that teachers and textbooks “don’t matter”, said Education Minister Naledi Pandor on Tuesday. Speaking at an SA Curriculum and Teacher Support (Sacats) conference in Johannesburg, she told delegates this had caused confusion and dismay at schools.  

“Recent evidence suggests that some of our learning challenges emanate from various myths and misrepresentations… The first myth is that teachers don’t matter,” she said in a speech prepared for delivery at the conference.

“The jargon of the curriculum – self-discovery, knowledge generation and so on – has been presented as excluding teachers. This is an unintended consequence.  

Memorising

“Teachers are the key to successful learning. Facts and knowledge are important and learners need support from competent and knowledgeable learners. We need to devise interventions that restore the confidence of teachers,” Pandor said.  

A second myth was that teachers should not teach or guide, but allow “discovery”.  

This had led to teachers being “compelled” to teach in groups, to avoid the use of the blackboard, and to resist intervening even when pupils could not cope.  

Pandor said the third myth was that pupils shouldn’t be taught to memorise. Teachers were told that memory is antithetical to the new approach.  

Memorising has been confused with regurgitating, and this confusion has caused huge challenges, she said.  

A fourth myth was that textbooks did not matter. This had eroded the importance of textbooks and other curriculum materials. “Curriculum advisers have to take a leading role in reversing these myths,” Pandor said.

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