A New Initiative
Towards the end of last year I sat with a group of people (an education consultant, a teacher, a foundation leader – to name a few) to evaluate the skills development program we had facilitated during 2014 for a group of Grade 2 teachers. At that meeting the group highlighted how much progress the children had made in reading and writing due to the skills the teachers had developed. The education consultant and the teacher from the community recognised that Grade R (Reception) and Grade 1 teachers would benefit from similar training; training on how to teach language skills by using a multi-sensory approach.
So I spent a considerable amount of time researching the skills young children need to develop so they are ready for phonics instruction, i.e. the teaching of letter-sound relationships and how this relates to isiZulu. Well – this week we began a pilot with two schools (14 teachers) of workshops and classroom visits to support the teachers to facilitate multi-sensory activities so the children develop phonological skills in their home language. We believe that this will provide the foundations to build on for the teaching of English in Grades 2 and 3.
The initial workshop was an introduction to the program exploring:
- Phonological awareness and the skills children need to develop
- Learning and teaching styles
- Activities to develop general sound discrimination skills
After exploring the theory the teachers were introduced to three learning styles; visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. This helped them to understand that their classes are made up of children who learn in different ways, and so when thinking about activities they need to cater for all learning styles.
We specifically gave time to consider multi-sensory activities the teachers could facilitate to help develop general sound discrimination skills.
They worked in groups and thought of activities they could do with children to support them in:
- recognising sounds in the environment
- recognising differences between sounds percussion instruments make using body percussion
The teachers were able to share their ideas. In addition six appropriate activities were demonstrated to the teachers. They really enjoyed learning how to facilitate these activities with their classes.
We are looking forward to working with these teachers this year and exploring how best we can support them.