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Life under lockdown #1: a smiling angel in dark days

When Abongile Mhlola first heard about Covid-19 lockdown, she admits she was scared. The escalating numbers made her worry about her own chronic health condition. But Abongile’s nature is to stay cheerful in hard times, so much so that Mrs Macala, the Head of Department at Tamaho Primary, calls her “my smiling angel”. She wanted to make a difference to the children she could no longer teach face to face because of the lockdown regulations. “The first thing I did was to create a WhatsApp group with the parents of ten learners. The news spread quickly and soon, we had 38 learners on board and another three interns!” Teaching parents to teach via NumberSense Parents learn about teaching the topics in the NumberSense workbook via WhatsApp. They were invited to talk to the tutors privately if something was unclear. “We are all learning how to do this digital thing… I never dreamed of teaching online!” […]

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Teacher Talk: Mrs Macala motivates with JumpStart and hugs

Education with love is a daily happening at Tamaho Primary School in Katlehong. On a mild March morning near the end of the first term, all 43 learners in Mrs Nondumiso Macala’s Grade 2 class wait with excitement. Lined up outside her bright green door, those who have completed their homework are especially happy because they will receive their special “huggy huggy” welcome. All who’ve passed through her classes speak highly of this much loved and vivacious personality. After 14 years on the staff, she was appointed in 2016 as one of two HODs of the foundation phase, which caters to more than 800 learners from Grade R to 3. Her portfolio includes mentoring and supervising ten other educators, so she is very grateful to have two “angels” — JumpStart interns Hloniphile Mkwanazi and Abongile Mhlola. “They are my left and right hand, especially while I attend other school issues.” Inspiring discipline by rewarding behaviour […]

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Keneuwe Lisenyane

Singing and StudyAssist drives Keneuwe’s hope

JumpStart tutor, Keneuwe Lisenyane, sits on a low brightly coloured plastic chair at Buyani Primary, near Lenasia. One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive… As she sings, she holds up her fingers one by one. The semi-circle of grade one learners leans in to her, bright-eyed and hopeful. They hold up their fingers too, joining in, copying her, singing along beside her. Inspiring trust and curiosity “To inspire their trust and curiosity about you, and about numbers, you must get down to their level, both physically and emotionally,” she says, explaining her teaching philosophy. “JumpStart teaches us how to educate young children using different tools and tricks.” A natural educator with a vast thirst for knowledge, Keneuwe remembers a childhood game. “We used to play school-school with my older sister, but in the game she was a cruel teacher who threatened to beat me. I knew I could do better, and […]

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Terrific 20-something mathematics tutors learn and hope

JumpStart’s mathematics tutors kicked off 2020 with a whole lot of hope! These 20-year-olds gained many new skills at the orientation event in January. They also learned about the programme as they met returning tutors. Project Coordinator, Zintle Makumsha, chatted to four tutors about their experience at a workshop in January. How we learn to think Siwaphiwe Mtintsilana (22) who tutors at Tshabalala Primary said, “I learned that mathematics is not only about getting the right answer. It’s equally about the process of getting to the desired destination.” The discussions around learning excited him. Siwaphiwe said, “I am interested in how we learn to think critically and how we find the reasons behind what we do. Of course, I’m fascinated by how we teach this skill to the children in our care. For example, I use public transport to and from school. When fuel prices increase and decrease from time to time, so does the […]

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Bright sparks: from apprentice welder to maths teacher – UPDATED!

  JumpStart maths tutor, Mamollo Kok, is on an interesting career path. She went from being a matriculant with social work ambitions, to a welding apprenticeship, to ensuring that bright sparks fly in the classrooms where she supports maths education. What’s in a name? Mamollo is known to her friends as Mamiki. To two-year-old Zizipho she is Mama. To the 700 foundation phase learners at Nelson Mandela Primary School in Sasolburg where she is a JumpStart tutor, helping out in the maths lessons, she is simply “Maths Teacher”. Soon, however, Mamiki will be a fully qualified Grade R teacher thanks to a StudyAssist Bursary from SASOL. In Southern Sotho “mamollo” means “mother of fire”. It’s a fitting name for a person who protects the embers, blowing gently on them and waiting for the spark of learning to emerge as a flame. Certainly, the prospects are improving for the children who pass through her care. “Mother […]

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