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From the editor

| March 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

Doesn’t it seem to you that the world is in crisis? The news about the coronavirus is spreading faster than the virus itself. In East Africa, billions of desert locusts are swarming in unprecedented numbers and posing a huge threat to the region’s food insecurity. Aggressive fires, flash floods, damning droughts and heatwaves have also made headlines across the world. It all seems a bit apocalyptic, and it’s an appropriate time to ask if your school is ready to meet any possible disaster. It is, however, also a good time to be positive about certain other global happenings. I for one am thrilled about the stories in this edition of Independent Education. Last year, we featured many articles about STEM, STEAM and ESTEAM. Contributing authors also wrote about their understanding of community engagement and transformation. This year, we kick off with a distinctively global flavour of a good kind. On page 9, in the first instalment of a twopart article, Cathy Fry talks about the British Council’s ‘Connecting Classrooms IV’ programme, which is about enhancing school systems to provide all young people with a quality education. Fry asks, ‘What if independent schools in South Africa introduced this programme to one of the smaller low-fee paying independent schools or state schools with which they work?’ On page 13, we feature a story about a new ISASA member group called Nova Pioneer, which will have 10 schools in Nairobi and Johannesburg in 2020. In Nova Pioneer classrooms, ‘[t]here is an unapologetic focus on instructional leadership… which means that the deans spend as much time as possible in the classrooms, collaborating with the teachers,’ says the author. Many readers will know, or know of, educator par excellence, Graeme Crawford, who adds his voice to a conversation about global education on page 15, saying: ‘How we use knowledge to change the world, expand our horizons and shape our global future with confidence… underlines how important education is in preparing young people to face the future and maximise their innate potential wherever they find themselves in the world.’ These days, Crawford is president of Inspired Group, which owns 53 premium schools around the world, from Peru to Vietnam. Says group marketing director for Inspired Africa, Leanne Emery, of the group’s recent decision to join ISASA, ‘For the Inspired Group, ISASA membership reflects our commitment to professional development and best practice sharing within the South African independent schools’ context.’ On page 24, we’re pleased to share with you the UK’s Department for International Development’s (DFID) investigation into the research about low-fee-paying schools across the globe – asking, in 2020, if we know more about the quality of education in these rapidly spreading institutions. I wonder if you’ll agree with the authors, who conclude: ‘…[T]he greatest efforts surely must be invested in improving public schools, where the vast majority of kids are enrolled, to support them to deliver on education’s promise to build a more equal and more prosperous society.’ On page 27, please enjoy an extraordinary story penned by Gina Eva, head of department at Penryn Preschool in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga – who, along with her family, had set off to start anew in Australia. Then, says Eva, ‘The best move we made for our family was to return to the Lowveld. Despite many onlookers criticising our decision, we realised that by depriving our children of growing up in South Africa, we were depriving them the opportunity to learn what it is to persevere.’ We also feature report-backs from teachers at ISASA schools who have taken advantage of overseas visitorships to learn more from schools in foreign climes. Jenny Sim, from Thomas More College in KwaZulu-Natal, headed to the UK to jump on trampolines (page 28), and Billy Teeton, who teaches at Woodridge in the Eastern Cape, spent time at Gordonstoun School in Scotland to see for himself how rugged outdoor education builds character in students at this famous school (page 44). Sailing, anyone? On page 52, Caron Levy, principal at King David Rosabelle Klein Nursery School in Johannesburg, will tell you the story of her participation in the week-long Project Zero Classroom Institute, hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the US. ‘[I] explored ways to deepen student engagement, to encourage [my] learners to think creatively and critically and to make their thinking and learning visible,’ says Levy. While ISASA teachers are going global, there’s plenty of local action happening, too. I am sure that like me, you will be moved by Thatohatsi Makgotlo’s story on page 38. She reflects: ‘I was born and raised in Alexandra Township, in Gauteng, where people don’t see any growth, where people think less of themselves, where crime has become a popular activity and poverty has become part of families.’ Makgotlo is now an intern teacher at United Church School (UCS) in the suburb of Yeoville, Johannesburg. ‘Today,’ she says, ‘I cannot help but glow in the best way possible.’

Category: Autumn 2020

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