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Tribute to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at Stellenbosch University http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5593Tribute to Winnie Madikizela-Mandela at Stellenbosch University Asiphe Nombewu/ Corporate Communication<p>​​<br></p><p>Staff and students of Stellenbosch University (SU) this week (12 April) gathered on the Red Square on campus to pay their respects to freedom fighter and “mother of the nation" Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, who died on 2 April at the age of 81.</p><p>Madikizela-Mandela, who struggled with a long illness, will be laid to rest at Fourways Memorial Park in Johannesburg on Saturday 14 April.<br></p><p></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0mJXUpgMZU4" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p>Click <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mJXUpgMZU4&feature=youtu.be"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-4" style=""><strong>here </strong></span></a>to go to the link to the video<br></p><p>Prof Ronelle Carolissen, Vice-Dean: Teaching and Learning of SU's Faculty of Education, delivered a tribute at the on-campus memorial service, speaking about her experience working with victims of sexual violence as a volunteer psychologist during the apartheid years. An extract from her speech follows below:</p><p><em>“As a Psychology student volunteer working with victims of violence and torture during the 1980s, I saw many Ma Winnies who were tortured, humiliated and degraded, both on the streets and in prison. I saw their families, and the fragmentation inflicted by an apartheid government propping up white privilege. Security police did not like opponents, their families or service providers like me.</em></p><p><em>I specifically remember one patient – a female MK soldier who had been raped by four police officers while imprisoned. As a clinical psychologist during the early 1990s, I listened to her story. And in the period following 1994, I saw many policemen, white and black, who were tortured by the gruesome memories of killings … of children buried in unknown and forgotten sites, and of families still looking for their children. I wish I was making all of this up.</em></p><p><em>How does one simply carry on living like an ordinary human being after all these horrendous and inhuman experiences?</em></p><p><em>During her lifetime, Ma Winnie did not have a chance to integrate with everyday life. She not only experienced the brunt of oppression herself, but also witnessed and shared the pain of other women and men. She was banished to Brandfort for nine years, kept in solitary confinement for 18 months, and was the only ANC member summoned to appear in front of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, despite all the rapes that had taken place in MK camps.</em></p><p><em>Over the past few days, I have heard so many white and black South Africans expressing outrage at all the lies and persecutory tales told about Ma Winnie. So, what do we do? Fake news is not restricted to a Trump world. Fake news exists everywhere, including South Africa. Fake news serves the interests of the ruling elite. As university students and academics, we have access to resources, platforms for debate and opportunities to educate ourselves about our country and the world. This is a privilege that few people have. We have to read and share stories from our communities. We have a duty to add more narratives when a single destructive narrative dominates. There were no perfect saints and no perfect sinners in South Africa.</em></p><p><em>Ma Winnie will forever remain a symbol of the disproportionate burdens that black women have had to endure. We recognise her immense and sacrificial contribution to South Africa. In this spirit, we extend our heartfelt, sincere condolences to her daughters and family. After all, Ma Winnie was not only the mother of the nation, but Zindzi and Zenani's mother too. </em></p><p><em>Rest in peace, Ma Winnie. Perhaps you will be better understood in death than in life. Perhaps you had to die for the truth to be told."</em></p><p>Several students at the memorial service also spoke to SU's Corporate Communication Division about what Madikizela-Mandela's legacy meant to them:</p><p><strong>Bantubonke Louw: </strong>“When I hear the name 'Nomzamo', it reminds me of my mother, as it does every other African child. When they call her the “mother of the nation", it speaks to her motherly nature. It speaks to that spirit of care for anybody that she came across, which is clear to see in pictures and videos of all her interactions. While resolute about politics, she was a mother to everybody. She was a unifier and a nurturer."</p><p><strong>Nomzamo Ntombela: </strong>“When we speak of Ma Winnie and her contribution to the liberation of the country, it brings into question the role SU has played in empowering its women, and women of colour in particular, to operate in leadership spaces, be holistically supported, and contribute to the liberation of other young women on campus. We don't have many women of colour standing for leadership positions on this campus due to years of historical erasure, and when I think of Ma Winnie, I think of how difficult it must have been for her to exist in such a male-dominated space."</p><p><strong>Lonwabo</strong> <span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;color:#1f497d;">Nkonzo</span> <strong>: </strong>“The name Winnie Madikizela reminds me of when I decided to be part of #FeesMustFall. The struggle and what Ma Winnie stood for encouraged us to be vocal in the movement. Seeing women come to the fore, only for men to claim all the credit – that was something I found to be equally relevant today."</p><p><strong>Simthembile Xeketwana: </strong>“When we talk about Ma Winnie, I think of a hero and a very brave woman. A mother who is proud and will do anything and everything to protect her children. I think of someone who puts the needs of others before her own. In some of the videos, we see Ma Winnie fighting apartheid police. In one video, she is seen telling the police that a boy they were trying to arrest was under-aged. She was a mother and a hero."</p><ul><li>Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was born as Nomzamo Winifred Zanyiwe Madikizela on 26 September 1936. She was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician, and the ex-wife of Nelson Mandela. A loyal member of the African National Congress (ANC), she served as a member of Parliament from 1994 to 2003, and again from 2009 until her death.</li></ul><p> <br></p><p><br></p>
Maths teachers struggling with English http://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5565Maths teachers struggling with English Corporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>Grade 4 to Grade 7 (Intermediate Phase) Maths teachers in under-resourced schools in the Eastern Cape are not proficient in English, the language they are supposed to teach in, and their knowledge of mathematic content is not up to scratch. <br></p><p>This is one of the findings of a recent study at Stellenbosch University (SU).<br></p><p>“Maths teachers in the Intermediate Phase (IP) struggle to master English and this lack of competency compromises the quality of mathematics instruction," says Dr Lindiwe Tshuma a Research Fellow at SU and a Specialist in Primary Mathematics at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences Schools Enrichment Centre (AIMSSEC) in Muizenberg. <br></p><p>“The data suggest that while some teachers make an effort to teach in English and promote learner discourse in the prescribed language of instruction, the practice was not consistent," she adds.<br></p><p>Tshuma, who recently obtained her doctorate in Curriculum Studies from SU, endeavoured to analyse the existing relationships between IP teachers' language competencies and mathematics instruction at primary schools in the Eastern Cape. She says her study was motivated by her work with IP mathematics teachers from under-resourced schools in the Eastern Cape.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“These teachers are often non-specialists and have to teach mathematics due to the shortage of specialist mathematics teachers at primary school level, more so in under-resourced school that cannot attract and retain better qualified teachers."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">As part of her study, Tshuma used English Language Competency Assessments, Mathematics Word Problem Assessments, questionnaires, interviews and classroom observations. Both IP mathematics teachers and IP mathematics teacher educators from different universities in the country participated in the study.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Tshuma1.png" alt="Tshuma1.png" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:453px;height:306px;" /><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She assessed the teachers' competency in English through the administration of standardised English Language Competency Assessments, piloted in five different universities in South Africa. These assessments checked teachers' comprehension of the language while the mathematics word problem assessment checked their application of the English language in solving mathematics word problems.<br></p><p>Tshuma says the study showed that a teacher's competency in English does indeed relate to the delivery of IP mathematics content to learners. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Teachers with a better mastery of the language of instruction are in a better position to explain new terms to their learners and to create language learning opportunities within mathematics content delivery."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“On the other hand, teachers with a poor mastery of the language of instruction are unable to effectively assist learners to perform basic reading and writing skills or to guide learners to explain mathematical concepts in their own words; skills through which the mathematical content is often assessed."</p><p>“The study highlights teacher competency in the language of instruction as one of the most significant predictors of mathematics performance; this is particularly significant since the country's indigenous languages are yet to be fully developed to support mathematics instruction."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Linguistically underprepared</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tshuma says teacher education institutions are not doing enough to linguistically prepare IP mathematics teachers well enough to use English meaningfully as a language of instruction. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It is the duty of all university education departments as well as other teacher education institutions to develop and improve IP mathematics teachers' English language competence."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“One of the ways of improving the quality of IP mathematics education should include investing in  teachers' linguistic infrastructure right from initial teacher education curriculum through to  Continuing Professional Teacher Development programmes. Teachers alone cannot plug this gap in mathematics education; they need the support of teacher education institutions and other stakeholders in education."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Teachers need to be equipped with the necessary skills on how to learn new content through language."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Competence in English is necessary for teachers to engage in high quality mathematics instruction in English. However, it may not be sufficient. They also need content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and specific knowledge of how to teach mathematics to English learners."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tshuma points out that only 1 out of the 10 sampled teacher educator institutions provided modules that focus on the use of English as language of instruction, but unfortunately the modules are provided at Master's level which the majority of teachers in under-resourced schools would not have attained by the time they are deployed to schools.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She adds that although English is a foreign language to the majority of the teachers who use it as language of instruction, the mere fact that our current Language in Education Policy requires them to use English in the classroom calls for high levels of proficiency in that language. The Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications requires IP teachers to at least have Additional Language proficiency in English. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“However, the answers provided by the teachers in the English language proficiency assessment as well as in the Mathematics word problems revealed grammatical and idiomatic errors and this study consequently infers that Additional Language proficiency in the medium of instruction is not good enough for an IP mathematics teacher."<br></p><p>Tshuma worries that if the status quo remains, poor teacher language competency and grasp of the mathematical content knowledge is likely to be passed on from the teachers to the learners. <br></p><p>“We may want to ask who is failing the nation: are the teachers failing the learners or<strong><em> </em></strong>are the teacher educators failing the teachers who in turn fail the learners?"</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Without enshrining English at the expense of other official languages there is a need to cater for the English learners who are in the education system today and are supposed to be taught and assessed in English, as stipulated by the current education policy." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tshuma says she hopes her study will contribute significantly to the current debate on language use in education and stimulate awareness among developers of teacher education curriculum, so that teachers' mastery of the language of instruction is prioritised for the delivery of meaningful content in under-resourced classrooms. <br></p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><strong>Main photo</strong>: Pixabay<br></li><li><strong>Photo 1</strong>: Dr Lindiwe Tshuma in her office.<br></li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Lindiwe Tshuma<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Specialist in Primary Mathematics </p><p style="text-align:justify;">AIMSSEC, Muizenberg</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tel: 0217879265</p><p style="text-align:justify;">E-mail: <a href="mailto:lindiwe@aimssec.ac.za">lindiwe@aimssec.ac.za</a> </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>          ISSUED BY </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Martin Viljoen<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Manager: Media</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Corporate Communication</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p style="text-align:justify;">E-mail: <a href="mailto:viljoenm@sun.ac.za">viljoenm@sun.ac.za</a> <br></p><p><br></p>
SU, KU Leuven confer first joint doctoratehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5553SU, KU Leuven confer first joint doctorateCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​The Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University (SU) on Thursday (22 March 2018) conferred its first-ever joint doctorate. <br></p><p>Dr Kurt Schütte received a joint doctorate in Sport Science from SU and one of its oldest partners, the Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) in Belgium at the fifth ceremony of SU's March graduation. This was also the first doctorate to be awarded jointly by the two institutions. Schütte's supervisors were Prof Ranel Venter from SU's Department of Sport Science and Dr Benedicte Vanwanseele from KU Leuven's Department of Movement Sciences.<br></p><p>“I feel incredibly lucky to have had this unique opportunity to blend inspiration and leverage knowledge from two outstanding universities. Of course, it wasn't always plain sailing, since being the first joint doctoral candidate meant that at times there wasn't any real template or anyone's 'footsteps' to follow," says Schütte who hails from Somerset West in the Western Cape.  <br></p><p>Currently a postdoctoral researcher at KU Leuven, Schütte's thesis focused on how useful wearables are in detecting fatigue, energy and injury in runners on the track or trail routes.<br></p><p>He says he is grateful for Prof Venter's mentorship, the camaraderie during the research experiments and data collection, as well as the fantastic funding opportunities that SU provided. <br></p><p>“Studying abroad has been an extremely exciting opportunity to learn new European cultures and travel abroad. For me it has been a huge privilege and I really encourage all students to go for it if they get the chance."<br></p><p>Schütte says students should explore different scholarship opportunities, attend international conferences if possible, and also embrace diversity. <br></p><p>“I personally believe that being exposed to different perspectives from different universities has expanded my vision for research and creativity for new experiments." <br></p><p><strong>Other joint doctorates</strong></p><p>Schütte's joint doctorate wasn't the only one to be conferred at SU's March graduation. Joint degrees were also awarded to <span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="font-size:11pt;line-height:107%;font-family:calibri, sans-serif;text-decoration:underline;"><a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5541"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;">Dr Alanna Rebelo</strong></a></span><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="text-decoration:underline;">​</span><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </span>and Dr Simon Couzinié. Rebello, a postdoctoral researcher in SU's Faculty of AgriSciences, received hers in Conservation Ecology from SU and the University of Antwerp in Belgium, while Dr Simon Couzinié, a lecturer at the <em>École Normale Supérieure</em> de <em>Lyon,</em> was awarded his in Geology by SU and Jean Monnet University in France. Rebello's doctorate was also the first in the Faculty of AgriSciences to be conferred by SU and the University of Antwerp. With joint PhD partnership agreements with 21 partner institutions, SU has awarded 23 joint doctorates to date. <img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Rebelo.JPG" alt="Rebelo.JPG" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:385px;height:258px;" /><br></p><p>Supervised by Prof Karen Esler from SU's Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology and Prof Patrick Meire from the Ecosystem Management Group at the University of Antwerp, Rebelo looked at, among others, the benefits palmiet wetlands hold for ecosystems such as slowing the force of floods, cleaning water and providing habitat for biodiversity and sediment retention.<br></p><p>Reflecting on her doctoral journey, Rebelo says she thoroughly enjoyed her PhD and learning the ropes at a new international institution. <br></p><p>“Most of all I loved my research group. I got to attend courses abroad, conferences, and research trips. I was fortunate to meet exciting researchers from all around the world as well as see many very interesting wetland systems."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Simon Couzinié says he is very honoured and proud to receive the joint degree from SU and Jean Monnet University. His supervisors were Prof Gary Stevens from SU's Department of Earth Sciences and Jean-François Moyen from Jean Monnet University.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Simon.JPG" alt="Simon.JPG" style="margin:5px;width:300px;height:344px;" />“During the past three years, I have benefited from the high level research facilities and academic resources available at both institutions and I am grateful to my supervisors and the Science Faculties for having given me such a great opportunity." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In South Africa, I also had the chance to collaborate and build-up friendships with local students and colleagues while getting to know more about this beautiful country. I clearly regard this joint PhD experience as a personal and professional achievement."<br></p><p>Commenting on the three joint doctorates, Mr Robert Kotze, Senior Director of Stellenbosch University (SU) International,  says “international academic collaborations normally forms the basis for developing joint degrees and awarding a joint PhD can be seen as the culmination of the collaboration of the two supervisors." <br></p><p>“Not only does it bring together different academic traditions, but it recognises academic complementarity and confirms the candidate's ability to conduct research in an international context."<br></p><p>It is quite fitting that the three joint doctorates were awarded in the same year that SU is commemorating its centenary and also celebrating 25<sup> </sup>years of internationalisation. Leading international activities at the university, SU International, which first opened its doors in 1993 as the then Office for International Relations, plays an influential role in positioning SU as rooted in Africa and global in reach. </p><ul><li><strong>Main photo</strong>: Dr Kurt Schütte with Prof Ranel Venter at the graduation ceremony. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Anton Jordaan<br></li><li><strong>Photo 1</strong>: Dr Alanna Rebelo at her graduation ceremony. <strong>Photographer</strong>: Hennie Rudman<br></li><li><strong>Photo 2</strong>: Dr Simon Couzinié<br></li></ul><p> </p><p><br></p>
Fifth graduation ceremony: Students from Science, Education, Law and Military Science graduatehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5536Fifth graduation ceremony: Students from Science, Education, Law and Military Science graduateCorporate Communications Division<p>​Almost 400 students in the faculties of Science, Education, Law and Military Science at Stellenbosch University (SU) received their degrees at the fifth March graduation ceremony on Thursday (22 March 2018).<br></p><p>At the ceremony, honorary doctorates were also bestowed on two highly regarded thought leaders – Baroness Christine van den Wyngaert, “an esteemed international academic and International Criminal Court judge", and Prof Brian O'Connell, “a formidable and visionary leader at all levels of South African education". SU's Centenary commemorations include the awarding of 13 honorary doctorates during the March graduation week. Both Van den Wyngaert and O'Connell delivered short speeches after receiving their degrees. <br></p><p>In his welcoming address at the event, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers said the graduation was a truly historic occasion, as it formed part of the University's Centenary year.<br></p><p>“Against the backdrop of valuable lessons from our complex history, our Centenary signifies a new beginning for Stellenbosch University. We strive to be a relevant institution that plays a key role in the development of our nation and our continent," he said.<br></p><p>Prof De Villiers reminded the audience that the Faculty of Science started out in a 1 m x 1 m space –  the size of the wall cabinet in which its first scientific instruments were stored. Today, the Faculty has 170 laboratories in eight academic departments spread across 13 buildings on campus and empowers nearly 900 graduates per year with globally competitive qualifications.</p><p>“The Faculty of Education, in turn, is one of the four original faculties with which the University started out. Today, we are proud of its contribution to the improvement of education in the country. And, of course, the Faculty of Law occupies the beautiful Old Main Building, which dates back to the University's prehistory as Victoria College."<br></p><p>“In addition, our Faculty of Military Science is the only one of its kind in Africa, providing professional military education for the South African National Defence Force in accordance with an agreement with the Department of Defence, which has recently been renewed."<br></p><p><br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/zY9xUWUwNLY" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p><br></p><div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-embedcode ms-rte-embedil ms-rtestate-notify"><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lb6vYSz1thQ" frameborder="0"></iframe> </div><p><br></p><p>O'Connell's message to graduates was as follows: “If knowledge is electricity, you are the power source. You are the ones who will save the world. Hope must be followed by action." O'Connell also advised students to try and understand the past and keep their eye on the future, and to live by the slogan “Hope, action and knowledge".  </p><p>Van den Wyngaert said she was “extremely grateful to be honoured with this award. Stellenbosch University is one of the best in South Africa, Africa and the world". She also said it was encouraging to see South Africa's achievements in the pursuit of human rights, and urged the country to remain active in the international justice realm. <br></p><p><br></p>
Mom and daughter graduate together at SUhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5540Mom and daughter graduate together at SURozanne Engel/Corporate Communication Division<p>​​​Growing and moving forward together is not only the Centenary theme of Stellenbosch University (SU) but also the theme that has run through the lives of the Van Zyl family for years. In illustration of this, mother and daughter Benita and Tinneke van Zyl will be receiving their degrees at this year's series of graduation ceremonies in March.<br></p><p>Benita will be awarded her MEd (Curriculum Studies) degree cum laude during the fifth graduation ceremony on Thursday, 22 March, and her daughter, Tinneke,  received her BScHons (AgriSciences) degree during the third graduation ceremony on Tuesday, 20 March.</p><p>“I would never have thought that mom and daughter would graduate together in the same year during the same graduation week. Words cannot describe the emotions I'm feeling. It's exciting and something we'll cherish throughout our lives," says Benita.</p><p>The Van Zyls are a proud Maties family. Benita met her husband at SU while studying towards their undergraduate degrees. Their children Tiaan, who is studying Industrial Engineering, and Tinneke decided to follow their parents' example by studying at the same university.</p><p>While Benita was completing her postgraduate degree, she also had to juggle her day job as Res-Ed Manager at the Centre for Student Communities at SU.</p><p>“I'm extremely proud of my mom for finishing her master's while being a mom and a wife and working full time. What a superhero. It was also a comfort having three students in the same household. We were able to support each other throughout our years of study. Graduating with my mom at the same time makes it even more sentimental and special," says Tinneke.</p><p>Tinneke moved to Ceres at the beginning of January this year to work at Tru-Cape, where her role entails quality assurance at Ceres Fruit Growers and ensuring that all the different specifications are met for the company's local and its export markets.</p><p>“I miss my daughter very much. Our relationship has always been more than a mother-and-daughter one – we've always been best friends, too. I'm proud of Tinneke for wanting to achieve her goals, though, and starting her career in Ceres," says Benita.</p><p>Besides graduating together this year, Benita and Tinneke also share a passion for netball. Benita served as captain of the Protea netball team between 1996 and 1997, and she also served as the Maties netball captain in 1988. Tinneke played netball as a teenager and was part of the Western Province netball team when she was in Grade 8.</p><p>According to Benita, playing netball had to take a backseat while she raised her children and worked on her career in education. “Unfortunately, I don't have the time to focus on netball anymore. My focus is now on my students, whom I love very much, and on helping to make their experience at SU even better," says Benita.</p><p>Benita's MEd research focused on commuter students and on how the cluster communities at SU have helped these students have a better Matie experience. “This is ground-breaking research, as no one else in the country has looked at this topic. I've always been able to relate to and understand the circumstances of commuter students and the experiences they go through, as I was one during my high-school years."</p><p>Benita had to travel from her home in Kuils River to Bellville High School during her secondary education. She also participated in sports and other extra-curricular activities while doing her best to excel academically.</p><p>Tinneke says that it is this hard work and determination that she always saw in her mother that has motivated her to work harder, too. “My family have always been very supporting and loving. They have always told me to do what I want to do as long as I enjoy it. Being able to see my mom do the same is even more encouraging."</p><p>For more information on the March graduation ceremonies, visit <a href="/">www.sun.ac.za</a>. <br></p><p><br></p>
Professor reflects on journey from Hawston to inaugural lecturehttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5512Professor reflects on journey from Hawston to inaugural lecturePia Nänny<p>​​One of the challenges for a person who comes from Hawston is transcending the perceptions that people have formed about people born and raised in this coastal town. <br></p><p>These perceptions often concern teenage pregnancies, overcrowding, poverty-ridden homes and of course, abalone poaching and gang warfare.<br></p><p>“We need to hang on to the good things that come from Hawston too," says Prof Ronelle Carolissen, Vice-dean of the Faculty of Education at Stellenbosch University and the first professor to be produced by Hawston Primary.</p><p>Carolissen recently delivered her inaugural lecture to a crowd that included family, friends, colleagues and people from her home town, including Mr Julius Swart, current headmaster of Hawston Primary, and several other teachers. Carolissen's Grade 5 teacher, Mrs Alma Bucchianeri, as well as her Grade 11 and 12 Biology teacher from Harold Cressy High School, Mr Lionel Adriaan, also attended the event.</p><p>“It was a very special occasion. Professionally, because it is the culmination of many years of hard work. Given the statistics on the number of black, female professors in South Africa, I've achieved a remarkable thing. But also personally, if I think of where I come from and about everyone who played a role in my life."</p><p>In the late seventies, when Carolissen completed her primary school education, there was no high school in Hawston. Learners' options were to drop out of school, risk taking the often non-functional bus to Caledon to attend Swartberg Secondary School or to move in with friends or family closer to the city to complete their education in Cape Town.</p><p>As the children of two teachers who attached significant value to education, Carolissen and her three siblings all matriculated from Harold Cressy High School in Cape Town.</p><p>“My parents were very involved in the Teachers' League of South Africa and their motto was: 'Let us live for our children'."</p><p>After school, Carolissen obtained a BA degree with English and Psychology as majors as well as an honours degree in Psychology from the University of Natal, now the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She followed these degrees with a Higher Education Diploma and master's degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Cape Town. She obtained her doctoral degree from Stellenbosch University (SU) where she has worked since 2002, first in the Department of Psychology and later in the Department of Educational Psychology in the Faculty of Education.</p><p>As a lecturer, Carolissen aims to create an enabling environment in the classroom, so that any student – no matter who they are and where they come from – can participate. </p><p>“My aim is to teach in a socially just and inclusive way," she emphasises.</p><p>As she prepared to deliver her inaugural lecture, Carolissen reflected on the importance of supportive parents, family and friends and the context of the community you come from.</p><p>She is hesitant to call herself a role model as she acknowledges the support and encouragement she received. Not only did her maternal grandmother act as a role model by being one of the first teachers produced by Wesley College in Salt River, but her parents – both teachers at Hawston Primary – also actively encouraged their children to pursue tertiary training. </p><p>Her father, Hennie Carolissen, who was headmaster of Hawston Primary until his death in 1982, used to say that the fish in the sea will disappear one day and that people should qualify themselves for other jobs too.</p><p>“It is important to surround yourself with people who have your best interests at heart. That person does not necessarily have to be a family member. It might be a teacher or a sport coach or someone else in the community," says Carolissen.<br></p><p>Her message to the young people of Hawston is to dream big and to find ways to make those dreams a reality.</p><p>“You will have setbacks but with support you will be able to overcome them. Spread your wings and see what the world has to offer, even if you would like to settle in Hawston eventually."</p><p>Carolissen's mother, Katherine, now 89, as well as several other family members still live in Hawston and she tries to visit the town at least once a month.<br></p><p><strong>Photo:</strong> Prof Ronelle Carolissen with Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, and Prof Yusef Waghid, acting Dean of the Faculty of Education.<br></p>
Education students teach Woordfees visitors Xhosahttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5502Education students teach Woordfees visitors XhosaPia Nänny<p><em>​Molo, unjani?</em> Hallo, how are you? <em>Ngubani igama lakho?</em> What is your name? <em>Yimalini?</em> How much does it cost? <em>Iphi indlu yangasese?</em> Where is the bathroom? </p><p>These are only a few of the Xhosa phrases that visitors to the Woordfees can learn as part of the #Amagama project.</p><p>This project is being presented by students of the Faculty of Education for the first time this year. A group of 13 education students with Xhosa as major are on duty in the festival hub each day to teach festival-goers 10 new words per day. </p><p>“The theme of the Woordfees for 2018 is '100%', and it worked out that festival-goers who learn 10 new Xhosa words every day would have learned a total of 100 words during the course of the festival. From there the #Amagama project – Amagama means 'vocabulary' in Xhosa," explains Jana Nel, part-time lecturer at the Faculty of Education and organiser of the project.</p><p>“The aim of the project is to cross language as well as cultural barriers so that people can show each other mutual understanding and respect. When one person reaches out to another by greeting them in their mother tongue, asking them how they are and saying goodbye, it already makes a big difference. I am privileged to speak Xhosa myself and have often enjoyed the positive advantages of communicating with Xhosa speakers in their mother tongue," she continues.</p><p>According to the students they don't only talk to festival goers about the words of the day, but also about the words that they know already. They also have conversations about language in general and the value of mastering a few words or phrases in another of South Africa's official languages.</p><p>As former president Nelson Mandela said: “When you talk to a man in a language ​he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart."</p><p>Find the students at the following places: Bloekomhoek, Plataan Cafe, HB Thom theater, Erfurthuis, Endler's foyer and the meeting point of the commuter service in Ryneveld Street.​​</p>
Tribute to an outstanding lecturer in mathematicshttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5474Tribute to an outstanding lecturer in mathematicsCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie<p><span lang="en"><span>Stellenbosch University (SU),</span></span> the Faculty of Education and the Department of Curriculum Studies are deeply saddened by the death of an exceptional lecturer in mathematics, Dr Helena Wessels. At the time of her passing, Dr Wessels was senior lecturer in Mathematics Education for the Foundation Phase in the BEd programme. She was responsible for modules in the BEd Foundation Phase Honours programme and the BEd fourth years. She was passionate about music and also presented two modules in music within the BEd programme.</p><p>Dr Wessels made a particular mark in the integration of technology and e-learning in her classes and teaching programmes and authored various publications, including the book <em>International perspectives on the teaching and learning of mathematical modelling and sense making </em>(2017). She also built up strong research collaboration ties with colleagues in Washington and New York in the US and in Germany, heading the committee responsible for arranging the International Conference on the Teaching and Modelling of Mathematics and Applications, held here in 2017.</p><p>She received numerous awards and was selected to represent SU for the South African Teaching Advancement at University (TAU) Fellowship<a href="/english/Lists/dualnews/Edit.aspx?ID=4755&Source=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Esun%2Eac%2Eza%2Fenglish%2FLists%2Fdualnews%2FMy%20Items%20View%2Easpx#_msocom_1"> </a>in 2018. She was requested several times by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) to present workshops for teachers countrywide.</p><p>Dr Wessels's service to her community was extensive and she made a difference at various levels. She served on the executive board of the International Council of Teachers for Mathematical Modelling and Applications, the board of the Centre for Creative Education in Cape Town (CCE) and the standing committee for Mathematics and Science Teaching of the Human Resources Development Council. She was a member of various committees within the Department, the Faculty and the University.</p><p>The Department of Curriculum Studies and the Faculty of Education honour Dr Wessels as an exceptional human being and her passing is a great loss to the Department and the University. Her husband, Prof Dirk Wessels, is also an extraordinary professor in Mathematics in the same department at Stellenbosch University.</p>
Prospective students visit Faculty of Educationhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5472Prospective students visit Faculty of EducationPia Nänny<p>Hundreds of prospective students visited the Faculty of Education on Saturday, 24 February, as part of Stellenbosch University's annual Open Day.<br></p><p>They had the chance to receive information about the degrees and opportunities available to them.</p><p>“You are on the verge of making one of the most important decisions of your life," said Prof Ronelle Carolissen, Vice-dean: Learning and Teaching at one of the information sessions.</p><p>“There are many opportunities available to young people who become teachers. It opens up the world to you, both locally and abroad.</p><p>“Becoming a teacher is one of the most important things you could do. Any other profession starts with a committed teacher," she concluded.</p><p>Visit the Faculty's website for more information: <a href="/english/faculty/education">www.sun.ac.za/english/faculty/education</a> <br></p>
'Why do so few postgraduate students rise to the top?' - Prof Jonathan Jansenhttp://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5463'Why do so few postgraduate students rise to the top?' - Prof Jonathan JansenFlorence de Vries<p> “Anyone can get a degree. But not everyone can get to the top."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Addressing postgraduate students and staff at Stellenbosch University's (SU) Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (Tygerberg Campus), Prof Jonathan Jansen, who holds the position of distinguished professor in the SU's Faculty of Education and also serves as a mentor to postgraduate students, posed a pertinent question: '<em>Why do so few postgraduate students rise to the top</em>?'</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The talk meandered between a lecture and a conversation, giving rise to some food for thought about what constitutes proper and persistent critical thinking in a time when South Africa's decolonisation project had gained what some would say constitutes 'considerable' momentum.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Jansen ventured that often, postgraduate students don't rise to the top of their fields because they haven't learned how to employ the tools necessary to engage critically with literature or thought leadership of the day. “Take for example, the notion of decolonisation. People seem to be going along with this – recognising that its origins go way back to the anti-colonial movement – but trying to bring it over into the context of a democratic state."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While his talk did not specifically address aspects of existing pedagogical limitations around teaching strategies, Jansen did argue that many a postgraduate student tends to engage in 'tribal thinking' because they are 'so dependent on and respectful of authority'. This, he said, leads to an inability to develop own (critical) thoughts.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Jansen further emphasised that successful postgraduate students are those who can project their thinking beyond their native country: “I hope you're ambitious. In my books, you have to leave a place in order to really achieve things and be at the top of your game."  He said that studying abroad allows one to stretch your imagination beyond where you are at any given moment, as it involves getting used to a different way of being taught and studying.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">He further emphasised the importance of developing the capacity to doubt. “Don't just go with the flow.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Jansen said critical thinking and empathy is often hampered by the fear of engaging in difficult discourse, especially in the medical arena. “Graduate students who have the capacity to think empathetically … especially in the medical and health sciences fields, will be especially successful because they recognise a type of commitment to a patient that does not care whether that person is rich or poor or from their 'tribe' or not," he said.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">He challenged postgraduate medical and health sciences students to think past set perimeters. “South Africa is a country of 'now'. We are obsessed with learning the rules of the assessment game … that distorts the purpose of what a university is about. Instead we should be thinking: How do I break through it? How will what I do now, make a big difference in a few years' time?"<br><br></p>