Interactive learning experience in a smart way

19 March 2014 | Tsepo Senoamali | Opinion

St Mary’s Interactive Learning Experience (S.M.I.L.E) was founded in 1991 with the key objective of improving the quality of teaching and learning in English (first additional language) as the core foundation for improved proficiency in all subjects in the GET and FET phases (Grades 4 to 12).

Teachers work in clusters to learn new skills

Since 2011, the Anglo American Chairman’s Fund has provided a pivotal role in funding the organisation’s English Language Teacher Training and Classroom Support to more than 100 schools, that is 3 723 Grade 8 and 9 learners and 33 English teachers.

The key outcome is to improve the foundation of learners’ English language skills in Grades 8 and 9 for high achievement in the FET Phase. S.M.I.L.E has a two-year period model to build capacity and sustainability of skills.

To achieve this, S.M.I.L.E provides practical and “hands-on” teacher training and support in community primary and high schools, to enable teachers and learners to meet the standards and goals of the National Curriculum Statements (NCS) and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS).

A Mthethomusha Primary School learner presents with confidence

Four skills-training workshops and eight classroom demonstration and observation lessons take place with each teacher over a nine-month period. Leadership skills and development of teachers’ own English language skills form part of the training.

S.M.I.L.E also publishes and distributes English first additional language learning and teaching support materials for daily lessons from Grades 4 to 12. Such support has helped teachers competently teach English as a first additional language, and in line with CAPS.