Pretoria – The Department of Basic Education (DBE) says the implementation of the 1+4 teacher development plan, aimed at boosting performance in the senior phase, will go ahead.
The department on Tuesday said consultations at the Education Labour Relations Council (ELRC) — a body consisting of all teacher unions — have been completed and teacher unions have expressed support for the initiative.
“The ELRC has agreed to a decision on the implementation of the 1+4 training programme for maths teachers. ELRC noted that Mpumalanga, North West and Eastern Cape have begun with the training and that these provinces cannot be made to stop.
“The council further decided that 1+4 be promoted as the best model to implement the project and monitoring sessions to be held every three months, and that the 1+5 is not a recommended model,” the department said.
The DBE said implementation of the project can go ahead from 1 April 2015.
The 1+4 teacher development plan came about following scrutiny of the performance of learners in mathematics and levels of competency of mathematics teachers in South Africa in primary schools in recent years.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga has recently appointed a task team to investigate challenges that hamper performance in mathematics and science and technology (MST), which revealed that MST educator capacity is wanting at all levels.
The DBE said the 1+4 model is based on and supports the concept of the professional learning communities (PLCs), which Minister Motshekga launched in August last year.
“The added benefit of the 1+4 model is that teachers meet on a predetermined working day. This methodology works on the assumption that teachers need assistance with the entire curriculum and not just certain sections of the curriculum, which they presumably have difficulties teaching.
“We need to be extremely radical and do the ‘out of the normal’ in our determination to save our children,” the department said.
The department said the model will be implemented through breaking each week into two parts, with one day solely dedicated to thoroughly preparing teachers for the content to be delivered in that particular week.
It said teachers are presented with content broken down into daily doses to be delivered in the other remaining four days of the week.
Teachers are expected to obtain 80% and above in the post-test. Teachers obtaining less than 80% will be identified and support will be provided during implementation in the week by subject advisors through classroom support visits to deepen their content knowledge to be provided that week.
The department said these teachers will also be placed in support teams made up of lead teachers and other teachers who have demonstrated better understanding of the concepts.
“Heads of departments, deputy principals and principals in the schools will also have to play a critical role in supporting these teachers,” said the department.
“[Teachers] meet at a nearby school one day per week. This translates into 23 days in a year dedicated to intensive training and discussions on mathematics content and methodology.
“The training sessions that we have had up to now, which have yielded unsatisfactory results normally run for 10 days in a year. This radical approach will expose teachers to 30 days of training, development and support on a weekly basis. It turns teachers into learners, promoting the principle of a teacher as a lifelong learner,” the department said.
The department said removing mathematics teachers from their schools for about 23 days in a school year to attend the work sessions implies that they will lose approximately 20 hours of teaching time per class per year (54 minutes per day per class).
The department said school management teams (SMTs) should adapt their timetables to support the model in order to ensure that the 4.5 hours instructional time allocated for the senior phase is covered and utilised fully.
“One of the possible ways would be to swop the mathematics periods allocated for a day on which teachers will be involved in the work session with the period(s) allocated to other subjects, e.g. social sciences.
“Essentially this means that mathematics will not be taught on that day and the mathematics periods in the time table that were initially spread over five days will be spread over four days,” said the department.
It said in instances where one mathematics teacher teaches other subjects like natural sciences, the same approach should be adopted.
“Another approach to adapt the time tables is to allocate double periods on the remaining weekdays to compensate for teaching time lost while mathematics teachers are schooled during the work session.
“By adopting this approach, contact time will be protected by reallocating to another day. This will not affect the teachers of other subject as their contact time will be moved to the day when mathematics teachers will be attending the work session,” the department said. – SAnews.gov.za