The Department of Curriculum Studies at Stellenbosch University recently invited several teachers and principals to address final-year pre-service Education students on the topic: “Classroom communication: insights from the profession".
The aim of the session was to share with student teachers real stories of how the speakers, as teachers or principals, facilitate processes of communication at their schools – all aimed at building a healthy environment that supports learning.
“We want the students to hear the voices from the profession so that they can understand the challenges, structures and processes with regards to facilitating communication at all levels at school," said Prof Maureen Robinson, academic coordinator of practical learning in the Faculty of Education.
“We were looking for stories of challenges as well as possibilities; what they do to establish positive communication between learners, professional communication between teachers, and productive communication with the broader environment."
The invited speakers included Ms Wendy Horn from Protea Heights Academy, Mr Gary Skeeles from Rhenish Primary, Mrs Victoria Hani from Kayamandi High School, Mr Deon Wertheim from Bernadino Heights Secondary School, Mr Bennie Aucamp from Eikestad Primary and Mr Jeff King from Northpine Primary.
All the speakers spoke with passion, and showed evidence of their commitment and dedication to their learners, often in difficult circumstances. Some of the advice shared with the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) and fourth-year BEd students was:
- Education is about creating and maintaining connections; never underestimate the value of a face-to-face conversation.
- Be open and honest and communicate when you're struggling; this is not a weakness.
- Be prepared and professional; remember, you are a role model.
- Learners communicate in various ways – formal/informal, verbal/nonverbal; know your learners, understand what makes them tick and notice when they change.