How NOT To Teach Critical Thinking (And What To Do Instead)


I ran head first into this piece of nonsense the other day:

What is critical thinking? It’s the ability to:

    • solve problems
    • make products that are valued in a particular culture
    • be flexible, creative, and original
    • think about thinking
    • locate the appropriate route to a goal
    • capture and transmit knowledge
    • express views and feelings appropriately

    Um. No. That isn't it at all. Critical thinking isn't really any of these things.

    Fortunately, you don't have to look too far to find a much better definition of critical thinking. But it is a struggle to find ideas on how to actually teach it. And although most sites work off a better conception of what the skill of critical thinking involves, the learning activities they suggest are, unfortunately, mostly not about critical thinking at all.

    The ideas below are my thoughts on better ways to teach critical thinking.

     

    Continue reading

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    Lock, Stock & 200 Smoking Barrels: My Favorite Movies


    The are my favorite movies.

    Click on the link below or the picture to be taken to my IMDB list:

    http://www.imdb.com/list/ls031254587/

    Did I miss any of your favorites?

     

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    The Best Way to Teach Empathy (and How it Can Revolutionize Schools)


    I blog because I feel strange compulsion to gather my wild thoughts together and to sort them into relatively neat little arrangements. Mostly, I order my ideas together beforehand and then offer snapshots of them as blog posts. They aren't always pretty, but I always feel better after I've sent them out into the world. Even after all this time, I am still surprised (and humbled) that so many of you seem to enjoy my various little thought-bunches.

    But sometimes, my thoughts surprise me. Somehow, in the gathering and finessing, something totally new blooms to prominence, something I didn't even know was there.

    Most recently this happened in a post I wrote on the things I think need to be added to school curricula. In it, I discussed the value of philosophy and chess and learning about the brain and a few other things. And then I added these thoughts on teaching empathy:


    Empathy, tolerance and understanding difference is sorely lacking in the world. I will not rant too long, but I will say this: we cannot call ourselves civilized, and we cannot consider ourselves moral beings so long as we are in any way racist, homophobic and tolerant of the suffering of others. And we cannot call what we do in classrooms 'education' unless we are prepared to chip away at the bigoted, self-centred and small-minded notions many of our students have had embedded into their young minds.

    But how to teach empathy?

    What if I told you that the answer to this question touches on the very foundations of our education systems? And to better teach it, we need to reimagine schools?

    Here's why:

    For young people to best learn and understand empathy, they need to see it modeled in their teachers and parents. At schools, this means that educators need to be empathetic towards their students. Now take this a step further and you realize that empathy is not just saying “there there” when something bad happens to one of them, it is a heartfelt concern for the wellbeing of our students. And if this is a genuine concern, schools need to begin changing how they function in order to do away with hurtful practices like arbitrary, non-negotiable deadlines, standardized tests, pointless homework and syllabus-centred education.

    In short: The best way to teach empathy by considering things from our students' point of view. And if we do this, we must be prepared to make significant changes to the way we do education.


    The question then: Why aren't more schools taking this approach towards teaching kids to empathize. In my darker moments, I think I know the answer: We don't really want things to change in our schools (or in the world). And the reason for this? Inertia? Apathy? Selfishness? Tradition? Perhaps it's all of these. But at the heart of it, I think it's this: When we were young, we were educated out of a sense of agency. We were educated to be led and to be passive.

    Surely it's time that changed?


    Peace

    Sean


    (Photo by author)



     

     

     

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    10 Things All Kids Should Be Taught in School


     

    A typical mix of subjects at a school would include the STEM subjects, the Humanities / Social Sciences and perhaps a spattering of Business related subjects, some IT, and the Arts. It hasn't really changed for decades. Now imagine throwing in logical fallacies, some ontology, endgame studies and basic neuroscience. Yes, I know some schools teach some of these things to some of their students. What I am saying is that I think these and a few other things need to be explicitly and comprehensively taught to all students.

     

    The Scientific Method

    The scientific method is not just for 'doing' science, it's a template for understanding the world and for thinking more clearly. It is a rich methodology which, I think, needs to be explored in much greater depth at schools, and it must form part of every research project in every subject. In fact, I think it should form the backbone of how we teach almost every lesson.

    Continue reading

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    We Need to Take the ‘Grind’ Out of Education (Thoughts on Thomas Gradgrind)


     

    We all hijack quotes for our own purposes. The following are among my favorites. They come from the mouth of Thomas Gradgrind, the utilitarian school board superintendent in Charles Dickens's Hard Times. For me, the quotes below speak to the modern obsession with the so-called STEM subjects and the emphasis on cold, dry facts. Not that I think education can do without a greater emphasis on logic and clear-thinking, or that I am advocating a more fluffy, 'spiritual' approach to education. But I do think there is an ever increasing need to de-Gradgrind education (or to 'de-grind' it, if you'll allow the license). We need to include the emotional, the artistic and the philosophical, not to mention all those lovely 'soft' skills so many people are talking about these days. And it isn't enough to just chuck a token 'A for Arts' into STEM to make it STEAM. These things need equal weight, not token representation – as indeed Mr Gradgrind himself discovers later in the book.

    Another issue which Gradgrind throws to light, and one which is still so prevalent today, is the view that children's minds are like gardens, which need to be carefully planted and trimmed and tended and formed (and ruthlessly weeded). We now know, of course, that their minds are more like a rainforest: teeming with life and growth, filled with verdant mysteries, potential discoveries and unique richness, and we need to take care that we don't kill off more than we allow to flourish.

     

    Here are the quotes:

     

    “Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!”

    “You are to be in all things regulated and governed,” said the gentleman, “by fact. We hope to have, before long, a board of fact, composed of commissioners of fact, who will force the people to be a people of fact, and of nothing but fact. You must discard the word Fancy altogether. You have nothing to do with it. You are not to have, in any object of use or ornament, what would be a contradiction in fact. You don't walk upon flowers in fact; you cannot be allowed to walk upon flowers in carpets. You don't find that foreign birds and butterflies come and perch upon your crockery; you cannot be permitted to paint foreign birds and butterflies upon your crockery. You never meet with quadrupeds going up and down walls; you must not have quadrupeds represented upon walls. You must use,” said the gentleman, “for all these purposes, combinations and modifications (in primary colours) of mathematical figures which are susceptible of proof and demonstration. This is the new discovery. This is fact. This is taste.”

     

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    Mr H’s Edtech Resources


    A collection of resources for integrating technology into teaching and learning.

    Source: Mr H’s Edtech Resources – Edtech resources

    Posted in EDUCATION | 1 Comment

    Giving Teachers Independence from the Interference of Bureaucrats & Bigots


     

    This is one of my favorite quotes. It speaks to the importance of giving teachers more freedom to determine what is best for their own students. (I have added a few extra paragraphs to make the reading slightly easier.)

     

    [Teachers] are not free to teach as they would wish. It is they who know most intimately the needs of the young. It is they who through daily contact have come to care for them. But it is not they who decide what shall be taught or what the methods of instruction are to be.

    There ought to be a great deal more freedom than there is for the scholastic profession. It ought to have more opportunities of self-determination, more independence from the interference of bureaucrats and bigots.

    No one would consent in our day to subject the medical men to the control of non-medical authorities as to how they should treat their patients, except of course where they depart criminally from the purpose of medicine, which is to cure the patient. The teacher is a kind of medical man whose purpose is to cure the patient of childishness, but he is not allowed to decide for himself on the basis of experience what methods are most suitable to this end.

    A few great historic universities, by the weight of their prestige, have secured virtual self determination, but the immense majority of educational institutions are hampered and controlled by men who do not understand the work with which they are interfering. The only way to prevent totalitarianism in our highly organized world is to secure a certain degree of independence for bodies performing useful public work, and among such bodies teachers deserve a foremost place.

    The teacher, like the artist, the philosopher, and the man of letters, can only perform his work adequately if he feels himself to be an individual directed by an inner creative impulse, not dominated and fettered by an outside authority.

    (Bertrand Russell)

     

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    Beyond Marks and Standardized Assessments (Part 1: How High-Stakes Assessments Hurt Kids)


     

    Here's the reality: summarizing a student's performance by means of marks and symbols isn't going away any time soon. The reason is simple: they're convenient and easy. The overwhelming majority of universities use them to benchmark students and award places, most parents demand them, education authorities use them to judge the performance of teachers and schools – and (quite possibly as a result of all of this) kids themselves are addicted to them.

    Marks and symbols themselves are not really the core problem. The fact that they are handcuffed to standardized assessments is the real issue. The reasoning is this: you get all students of a particular grade to write the same test so that you can see where they all fall on the spectrum (ideally, a nice neat bell curve). You assign a mark which is mostly based on these batch assessments and report it to the various stakeholders. Sounds logical enough. Except it isn't.

    Standardized assessments are not the best way to assess – and may actually be causing more harm than good. Here's why:

    Continue reading

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    What is Stupidity? (A Quick Guide for Young People.)


     

    What is stupidity?



    Making silly mistakes doesn't make people stupid.

    Absent-mindedness and forgetfulness also don't make people stupid.

    Not knowing things doesn't make them stupid either.

    And doing things the wrong way now and then definitely doesn't make any of us stupid.



    Here's what does make people stupid:


    When they choose to believe a lie, even when they know the truth (because the lie suits them better).

    When they don't learn from their mistakes.

    When they assume they know all there is to know.

    When they believe they don't make mistakes.

    When they stop being curious and stop asking questions.

    When they believe things they see or hear too easily.

    When they make up their minds too quickly.

    When they don't realize that everyone changes and grows, and that our opinions and beliefs can too.


    What do you think?

     

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    20 More Top Educational iPad Apps Teachers Can Actually Use By a Teacher Who Actually Uses Them


    It's been about three years since I posted my original list of iPad apps teachers can actually use.

    Since then I have compiled a few other app lists:

    But I do think it's time I update my original post. Or at least added to it. Most of the apps and tools on the original list are still around, but there are a whole lot more that are useful.

     

    Tap on the name of the app or on the picture to be taken to the App Store.

     

    Continue reading

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    20 More iPad Apps for Teaching and Learning Geography & Earth Science


    This is a follow up post to one I wrote almost two years ago titled 48 iPad Apps For Teaching & Learning Geography and Earth Science.
    All of the apps on the previous list are still around and still working, but what follows are a few I have come across since then.
    Touch on the image or app name for each one you're interested in to be taken to the App Store…
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    20 Not So Nice Life Lessons You Can Learn From Professional Sport


    (From the Tongue-in-Cheek Department)

     

    • True talent is actually incredibly rare. Most often, it is mistaken for above average skill.
    • No matter how ridiculous something might seem, if enough people take it seriously, it isn't ridiculous.
    • No game is ever truly a team game: If you want to do well, and earn good money you have to be selfish.
    • The fact that there is always an umpire or a referee means that, left to their own devices, people are inclined to cheat and lie.

    • Human beings are still fundamentally tribal at their very core.
    • The bottom line: it's always about the bottom line. Nobody really wants your support. They want your money.
    • Better equipment does make a better player.
    • Without careful focus, coaching and reflection, practice does not make perfect.

    • If you're mediocre for a really long time, you can become great.
    • Results tend towards the mean. Hence, very few interventions and innovations actually matter. Losers will eventually win, and winners will eventually lose.
    • Cheaters prosper more often than not.
    • If you have enough money, you can buy success.

    • The long term doesn't matter. What's important is this season and this game.
    • Bigger might not always be better, but it usually is.
    • A draw is worse than a loss.
    • When the chips are down, most people revert to the safest option.
    • Spoiling an opponent's game works as well as hitting your own.

    • One moment's sportsmanship can erase a game's worth of unsportsmanlike behavior.
    • If you're caught cheating, the best thing to do is to deny that you have for as long as you can.
    • Self-aggrandizement will get you incredibly far.

     

     

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    Use the Doohickey on the Gizmo: Point & Click Games to Level-Up Your Creativity


     

    SO WHAT IS THIS 'CREATIVITY' THING ANYWAY?

    Here's my definition of creativity:

     

    Creativity is the act of generating unique and useful solutions by combining divergent objects or ideas.

     

    Thus, for me, true creativity always has the following elements:

     

    • Creativity is closely related to solving problems.
    • Creative endeavors must produce a product or an idea which can be used, and / or which has some other kind of value.
    • The way to find a new, creative solution is to combine vastly different ideas. No innovative idea or product is ever entirely new – instead, they take elements from existing thoughts and things and frankenstein them into something new.
    • Creativity is almost always fun, but it is also always hard work.

     

    SO HOW DO POINT AND CLICK ADVENTURES MAKE YOU MORE CREATIVE?

    Point and click adventures are characterized by rich stories, frequent puzzles, linear quests (usually divided into several episodes, days or chapters) and weird and wonderful objects to collect along the way.

    The great fun comes in trying to figure out what to do with what you've collected. The best point and click adventures allow you to combine the objects in strange and interesting ways before using them on either another object or person.

    As such, these point and click adventures require a great deal of creative thought. A recurring theme in these games is getting stuck and trying all sorts of outlandish combinations until you figure out what is required. With most of these games, you do not die (at least not permanently), so you're free to experiment and try different things.

    I've created a little list of recommended point and click adventures on Steam. I chose Steam first because it's where I download my games, but also because most of the games on steam are fairly cheap. If you prefer playing games on your tablet, there are quite a few point and click adventures available – just stay away from the 'hidden object' games as these tend to be dull and not much of a challenge to your creativity.

    Steam doesn't have all the games I wanted to recommend, but it is a great jumping off point.

    Just a word of warning: some of these can be quite graphic and even disturbing (I'm talking to you Edna and Harvey!), so please check out the age restrictions before allowing the younger members of your household to immerse themselves in a particular adventure.

     

    (Click the link below or on the picture to be taken to the list)

    Curated List of Creativity Enhancing Point and Click Games

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    This Teacher Wants To Be An Arsonist


     

    Hey there

     

    A thought:

    If this is true:

     

    Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

    —William Butler Yeats


    Then why am I not drenching my students in combustible challenges and flicking matches at them?

     

    Mostly, it's pouring in stagnant syllabi and heavy assessments.

     

    I want fire. I want energy. I want kids to burn with the excitement of learning.

     

    ———————

    And just so you know:

     

    Yeats did not say this. The closest actual quote is from Plutarch:

     

    …the mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting – no more – and then it motivates one towards originality and instills the desire for truth.

    For the mind does not require filling like a bottle, but rather, like wood, it only requires kindling to create in it an impulse to think independently and an ardent desire for the truth.

    (With thanks to Quote Investigator.)

     

    Those little bits about truth and originality which are left out of the modern conception are actually quite important. And it is telling that they are missing. The quest for truth takes the student beyond school syllabi and into the realms of evidence, reasoning and meaning. And unlocking the ability to think independently encourages meaningful, innovative problem-solving.

    Igniting the flame of learning must thus be aimed at smelting out something valuable from the raw ore of knowledge. Otherwise it's just a flame with no purpose.

     

     

    Image: Velvety Sparks by Anyzamarah on DeviantArt

     

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    Why EduPunks Are the Future of Education


     

    Deny the game they play

    Just take a look at the world they've made

    It gives the game away

    Boredom is normal

    (Sex Pistols: Revolution in the Classroom)


     

    As schools look towards the future, with a view towards offering the best, most relevant, most progressive education, the focus is going to narrow, not on having the right facilities or the right technologies, but on having the right teachers.

    Forward-thinking schools already know that it isn't what they have that drives change, but who they have. More than robust wifi, tablets and computers, makerspaces, student-centred learning spaces and the rest, schools need vibrant teachers. They need high-functioning individuals who are adaptable, self-motivated and willing to drive change. They need teachers who think, who question, who challenge and who are prepared to be creative, to experiment, to innovate and to make things better.

    And of course, schools need teachers who will inspire students to do these very same things.

     

    Enter the edupunk.

     

    If you look online, you'll find a tangle of messy definitions for the term edupunk, and very few of them that are neat and polished (and this may well be deliberate). In keeping with the spirit of edupunk, I'd like to offer my own conception of what edupunks are:

    Edupunks have a rebellious approach to education which emphasizes independently driven, hands-on learning, and which is suspicious of 'cookie cutter' approaches, technologies and methodologies. Edupunks embrace messy, experiential, experimental and highly individualized learning, and they prefer an interest-driven, ad hoc approach to learning over more formal, structured approaches.

     

    Characteristics of Edupunks:

    Edupunks…

    • …embrace informal opportunities for learning. (You'll often find them doing nano-courses and MOOCs, or just learning something on their own. You'll seldom find an edupunk doing something like a Master's degree… that's just too mainstream.)
    • …have a wide range of interests and aren't afraid to learn new things.
    • …believe that education is never finished and will never be 'off'. Knowledge is fluid, and learning is a dynamic process for Edupunks.
    • …are resourceful, and will find ways to figure things out if they don't know.
    • …love to experiment and tinker in order to find out what works best.
    • …like to connect, to debate, to collaborate and to exchange ideas.
    • …are adaptable and relish a new challenge.
    • …are suspicious of the latest edufads and corporate edtech solutions.
    • …recognize that learning is messy and that there are seldom nice, neat little boundaries and progressions when it comes to knowledge and skills.
    • …speak out about what's wrong, and try to offer a better way.
    • …are allergic to 'traditions' and established systems, preferring to redesign outmoded ways of doing things.
    • …have a strong social conscience.
    • …believe that learning should be real, relevant and personalized.

     

    Now imagine a teacher with this attitude towards education in the classroom. Imagine classes of students who begin to become edupunks in their own right. You may well find yourself in a much more challenging and disruptive school environment, but you can be certain that the learning that happens will be fun, meaningful and rich.

    More on edupunk:

    Meet the Edupunks

    DIY Learning

    Edupunks Transforming Higher Education

    Nevermind the Pedagogues

    School Yourself!

    Edupunks Revisited

    Edupunk Rocks the House

    Ragamuffin Barefoot Irreverence

     

     

     

     

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    How Innovative is My School? (Updated)


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    How Innovative is My School?

     

    Update: This questionnaire is now less than 30 actual questions in place of over 70.

     

    This should provoke some interesting debates! Give it a try and let me know what you think. It isn’t perfect, but it will give you some idea of where your school lies on the spectrum of innovation.

    Note: You can probably guess what the right answer should be, but what would be the point of that? If you answer honestly, you’re more likely to get an accurate score, and with a more accurate score, you’ll be able to make the changes you need to make in order to call yourself a truly progressive school.

    (Please brew a cup of tea before you start – the questionnaire does take a while to complete.)

    Continue reading

    Posted in Critical Thinking, EDUCATION, Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

    Top Schools: The Most Innovative High Schools in South Africa (2017)


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    Top Schools in South Africa

    (The Most Innovative High Schools in the Country)

     

    Update: I have now created a survey which you can take to see how innovative your school is. It is also accompanied by a reading list to help you to improve your score. Here’s the link:

    http://shamptoncole.polldaddy.com/s/schoolinnovation

    I’ve wanted a list like this for a few years now. I couldn’t find one, so I compiled my own. This list represents the top 1% of the most innovative, child-centered, forward-looking high schools in the country. Many of South Africa’s ‘elite’ traditional schools did not make the list. If the foregoing is more your cup of tea, you may prefer this list.

    ***

    Criteria for being listed as an innovative high school:

    Any meaningful combination of…

    • A sincere child-centered approach which puts students needs above the curriculum.
    • Innovative approaches to pedagogy.
    • An emphasis on personalized / individualized learning.
    • The building of independent reasoning and critical thinking skills.
    • The nurturing of creativity (in a meaningful sense), as well as a focus on discovery based learning and problem-solving.
    • A different take on learning spaces.
    • A rethinking of timetables.
    • Questioning and debating the role of standardized testing, assignments and homework.
    • Rethinking the role of parents, teachers and students.
    • The meaningful use of technology.
    • How happy the students are.
    • The emphasis on life-long learning.
    • Structures which allow staff to try new things.
    • Social upliftment and environmental awareness initiatives.
    • A real and clear inclusion of students’ ideas, opinions and concerns.

    But of course, a truly innovative school creates its own contextualized mixture of these criteria and more.

    ***

    A few things:

    First: This is a subjective list based on my own research into and visits to some of these schools. (Please see the criteria I use to decide on whether a school qualifies for this list below.)

    Second: This is an open list and I will be modifying it over time. If you know of a high school that meets the criteria listed below, please contact me with the details and a short justification. If you have an objection or correction, please also let me know. I have included a link to a Google Form for this purpose here:

    SUBMIT A SUGGESTION / CORRECTION / OBJECTION

    (Note: Please provide as much detail and as many examples as possible. Short, acerbic suggestions are dismissed as spam.)

    Third: I am very much Johannesburg biased – simply because this is where I live. I am looking for more schools (especially in the Western Cape). If you know of any truly innovative schools in Gauteng, the Western Cape, or any other province, please let me know.

    Fourth: The list is very ‘private school heavy’. I would love to add more innovative state schools. Give me a shout if you know of any.

    Last: I will not add your school purely on the basis of your ‘traditions’, ‘long history’, ‘outstanding sports results’, or your ‘excellent results’. I will also not debate the ‘importance of traditional methodologies and values’ with you… if your school does not look to future as much as it dwells in the past, there is no room on this list for you.

     

     

    (In no particular order)

    Redhill High School

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

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    Redhill is home to one of the highest rated independent co-educational high schools in Johannesburg, providing an enlightening and stimulating environment where students are encouraged to discover and develop their talents as they progress from Grade 8 through to their final matric year.

    Westerford High School

    (Co-Ed | State | NSC | Cape Town | Western Cape)

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    Westerford is a co-educational, secular, public high school located in Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa.

    Westerford is a pupil-centered school that prides itself on a strong academic curriculum, compulsory sport programme and an enthusiastically embraced cultural life.

    Westerford has a gender neutral uniform policy.

    Oakhill School

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Knysna | Western Cape)

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    Oakhill is an exciting, vibrant, energetic space and the status quo is challenged here at every turn. Thinking independently, a love of learning and the joy of life are celebrated…

    Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy

    (Girls | Private | International Baccalaureate | Meyerton | Gauteng | Special Admission)

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    The students who are invited to attend the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls have shown that they have the ability to excel, and to move beyond challenging circumstances. Through exemplary service to their communities, they have demonstrated their potential to effect positive and enduring change. The Academy will nurture this potential, and raise the next generation of transformative South African leaders.

    Sacred Heart College

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

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    The High School is a vibrant and dynamic microcosm of our society. It has a strong tradition of high-quality, value-based education in which learners have an opportunity to embrace the democratic values that underpin our curriculum. Through our innovative and explorative curriculum, our learners have an opportunity to become critical thinkers who go on to make a difference in our young and developing country and in the world.

    National School of the Arts

    (Co-Ed | State | NSC | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

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    The Department of Education has recognised The National School of the Arts as a School of Excellence in Design, Visual Arts and Performing Arts Education.

    Lebone II (College of the Royal Bafokeng)

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Phokeng | North-West Province)

    Capture

    This is an extraordinary school; one that provides both teachers and learners the opportunity to realise their enormous potential. We admit children who demonstrate excellence and, through a holistic education that stresses the importance of both the individual and the community, we develop leaders and agents of change.

    Cedar House

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Cape Town | Western Cape)

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    A small, co-educational school that is proudly child-centered, proudly independent and proudly progressive… A school that has a track record of being successfully focused on developing that which cannot necessarily be seen…attributes and dispositions to confront the future with confidence.

    Deutsche Internationale Schule Johannesburg and Cape Town

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB & Specialised | Johannesburg | Gauteng / Cape Town | Western Cape)

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    The DSJ strengthens learners in their development towards self-assured and independent individuals. The School encourages young people to think critically and promotes their subject-specific, methodological and social competencies. As an international school, it also fosters intercultural skills amongst its learners.

    Crawford College Lonehill / Sandton / Pretoria / La Lucia / North Coast

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Gauteng & KZN)

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    At CrawfordSchools™ we believe in education without fear, where good citizenship, leadership and sportsmanship are developed by placing emphasis on the needs of every child.

    Reddam House Atlantic Seaboard / Bedfordview / Constantia / Durbanville / Helderfontein / Waterfall Estate / Umhlanga / Somerset West / UK / Australia

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

    Waterfall-Estate.jpg

    Reddam House offers a fresh and contemporary approach to education. The Reddam House model is dynamic, relevant and powerful. We nurture the unique individuality, talent and self-assurance of each student, equipping them to take on the world with skills and self-confidence that will contribute to self-actualization.

    American International School of Johannesburg

    (Co-Ed | Private | International Baccalaureate | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

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    In a relatively short time, we have moved from small and humble beginnings to a vibrant American International School that prides itself on maintaining a low student/teacher ratio to effectively run a student-centered program culminating in the International Baccalaureate Diploma.

    Brescia House School

    (Girls | Private | IEB | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

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    Experts in the educational field have commented that the 21st century learners need to be global citizens; they must be able to use the web 2.0 technology and the social networking opportunities it opens; their physical classroom should move beyond the walls of the traditional classroom and their learning must promote interdisciplinary activities which are project and research based.

    Bridge House

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Franschhoek | Western Cape)

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    Many things about Bridge House, (like excellent teachers and facilities) can be found in numerous good schools. However, our combination of an amazing setting in the most beautiful Cape valley; the fact that we’re young (20 this year) and engaged in the invigorating challenge of writing our own, extraordinary history; Round Square membership; international exchanges; a strong President’s Award programme; being co-educational from Grade 000 to Grade 12; boarding, and warm relationships, makes us unique. Add our emphasis on future-thinking and relevance (as opposed to adherence to past practices) and you have a distinctive, vibrant school that is proudly different.

    African Leadership Academy

    (Co-Ed | Private | Cambridge | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

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    African Leadership Academy seeks to transform Africa by identifying, developing, and connecting the next generation of African leaders.

    Parklands

    (Co-Ed | Private | NSC | Cape Town | Western Cape)

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    The Secondary Faculty provides a distinctive academic experience for our learners. The academic programme gives each learner a firm grasp of fundamental skills, the ability to think critically, innovatively, and independently, and fosters a love of learning. Educators create learning activities that are motivational, technology-rich, and aligned to the needs of modern learners.

    Leap Schools

    (Co-Ed | Private / Sponsored | NSC | Various: Gauteng, Limpopo & Western Cape)

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    We call our LEAP learning programme unique and self-liberating because we purposefully lead our children on a journey of learning through which they discover the capacity to take charge of their own lives.

    Sunward Park High School

    (Co-Ed | State | NSC | Boksburg | Gauteng)

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    Sunward Park has embraced the PSSP programme with enthusiasm and has taken on an ‘entrepreneurial ethos and can-do attitude’ as reflected by its adoption of the Diambars Soccer Academy. The school has embraced ICT as evidenced by the immersion of its learners into the ‘macbook press teams’ and the utilisation of the fixed labs.

    Saheti School

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

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    Whilst the High School remains committed to producing top academic results, each individual is encouraged to aspire to excellence in his or her particular field. Independent thought and entrepreneurial spirit are valued and supported. An extensive selection of subjects is offered to meet the academic demands of senior students, while innovative education practice by the motivated teaching staff challenges students’ potential and the development of higher order thinking.

    Transoranje School for the Deaf

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Special Needs | Pretoria | Gauteng)

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    Transoranje School for the Deaf provides specialized education to pupils from the age of 3 years up to Grade 12, who have severe hearing disabilities. Established in Pretoria West in August 1954 the school caters for the complete education and well-being of about 200 learners with deafness from a diverse cross-section of personal, social and economical backgrounds.

     

    Roedean School

    (Girls | Private | GDE | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

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    Although we follow the national curriculum, we do add extra value to it, striving to equip our pupils with the special skills that will be required in the 21st Century. With the present explosion in knowledge, pupils must be equipped to access, analyse and evaluate information; they require excellent cognitive and social skills. There is extensive use, throughout the curriculum, of Information Technology, and a special Cognitive Education Programme, which began in earnest in 2011, focuses on developing critical and creative thinking skills, and encourages self-directed learning.

    St Cyprian’s School

    (Girls | Private | IEB | Cape Town | Western Cape)

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    St Cyprian’s School has been at the forefront of promoting a 21st Century approach to teaching and learning for a number of years. This is the result of the identification and intentional development of a 21st Century skill set to underpin and expand the delivery of a core curriculum.

    Eduplex

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Pretoria | Gauteng)

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    Eduplex High School is a dynamic academic environment that provides quality education to all pupils within the parameters of a sound value system. Academic success is achieved through a research-based process of continuous and collaborative planning, implementation, evaluation and expanding of the curriculum.

    Hout Bay International School

    (Co-Ed | Private | International Baccalaureate | Cape Town | Western Cape)

    Our School is as diverse as the location in which it finds itself, our commitment to highlighting social injustice, the celebration of differences and the fostering of international mindedness goes beyond the classroom. Students are encouraged to ‘think outside the box’, ‘have a voice’ and engage on pertinent topics daily.

    St George’s College

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Port Elizabeth | Eastern Cape)

    At St George’s we are dynamic and outward looking and believe that our pupils need to engage with the world in a manner that pushes them out of their comfort zones and teaches them to face the challenges of life. Throughout this, we give our pupils the necessary support and guidance in a manner that promotes self-confidence and responsibility.

    St Alban’s

    (Boys | Private | IEB | Pretoria | Gauteng)

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    St Alban’s College is a learning community of boys, staff and parents. We are forward looking, committed to quality and service, and we pursue innovative strategies and encourage personal responsibility in the interest of all-round development of the boy as he journeys towards manhood.

    Mountain Cambridge School

    (Co-Ed | Private | Cambridge | Hartebeespoort | North-West Province)

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    Our students will state proudly that they went after their dreams, sought out and nourished robust, life-giving relationships and fulfilled their purpose in their own unique way.

    Silvermine Academy

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB | Cape Town | Western Cape)

    Once a student feels safe and worthy, the learning must be meaningful and relevant. Gone are the days of teach, test and hope for the best. The 21st century requires critical thinking, problem-solving, staying cool under pressure, collaborating with others, and facilitating change.

    Graeme College

    (Boys | State | NSC | Grahamstown | Eastern Cape)

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    Boys are encouraged to read broadly, assimilate information, think creatively and develop problem-solving skills. A stimulating curriculum enables investigation and self-study, guided by well-qualified and enthusiastic teachers.

    Victoria Park High School

    (Co-Ed | State | NSC | Port Elizabeth | Eastern Cape)

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    * Winner of the best mission statement! *

    At Victoria Park, we believe in the power of individuality. We break the mould and question the status quo. We believe that everybody can be somebody. We believe in exploring and amplifying the various talents that make each of our pupils unique. We believe that where you are going is more important than where you have come from. We believe in the pursuit of excellence and the enjoyment of the journey along the way. We believe in giving our pupils every opportunity to find themselves by providing them with a variety of activities and facilities. We believe in fostering a pioneering spirit to tackle life’s challenges head-on. We believe that everything you have is everything you need. We believe in bravery and self-belief. We believe in the power of encouragement, and in building confident and empowered young hearts and minds. We believe in dreaming big and working hard. We believe that talent can get you far but persistence can get you further. A Victoria Park education is an education in life. It is a five-year window of equipping the next generation with the maturity, dedication and open-mindedness required to readily embrace their uniqueness and leave their mark on the world. At Victoria Park, we believe that preparation for life turns opportunities into success.

    Southern African Virtual School

    (Co-Ed | Private | American College Prep Diploma | On-line)

    We are an online school offering education via the internet. We do not have “brick and mortar” school buildings but have the ‘cloud’ as our base. Our motto “Eruditio pro Vita” meaning Learning for Life encapsulates our philosophy of providing our students with a 21st century online educational experience that produces academically advanced and well-rounded graduates.

    Centre of Science and Technology

    (Co-Ed | State | NSC | Khayelitsha | Western Cape)

    We at COSAT strive for excellence. We aim to create a learning environment that is current, creative and proactive where students are encouraged to engage critically in the areas of Mathematics, Science and Technology with the aim of becoming productive participants within local and global communities.

    Summit House High Schools

    (Co-Ed | Private | NSC | Cape Town & Hout Bay | Western Cape)

    Our motto: “towards tomorrow” describes our mission to prepare our pupils for a world not necessarily like the one today. This is both extrinsic as well as intrinsic i.e. being able to adapt and strive in a modern world that is constantly changing, and also meeting the challenges and preparation required as each pupil progresses to each next step in their schooling life.

    Camps Bay High School

    (Co-Ed | State | NSC | Cape Town | Western Cape)

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    Camps Bay High is the school that embraces the diversity of South Africa and blazes the trail in academia, service, sport and culture. Enabling our students to take their place in the world!

    Ponelopele Secondary School

    (Co-Ed | State | NSC | Tembisa | Gauteng)

    Oracle South Africa in conjunction with the Gauteng Education Department announces the establishment of the Ponelopele Oracle Secondary School in Midrand. Equipped with the latest in e-schools technology and enjoying the active involvement of Oracle staff members in its running, the Ponelopele school is designed to uplift and provide a sustainable education institute to the local community.

    Ridgeway College

    (Co-Ed | Private | Cambridge and IEB | Louis Trichardt | Limpopo)

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    We believe that the constantly changing nature of today’s world makes adaptability as important as tradition and we actively seek to find and develop new ways of teaching and learning, new ways of experiencing and knowing and coping with and contributing to the world we live in.

    Pioneer Academies

    (Co-Ed | Private | NSC | Johannesburg and Midrand | Gauteng)

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    At Pioneer Academies we develop each child’s unique talents and capabilities through holistic education in partnership with parents. Pioneer students are engaged and active in their own learning and that of their peers. They are future-equipped, having developed strong problem-solving, collaborative leadership, and character capabilities at Pioneer.

    Cedarwood School

    (Co-Ed | Private | NSC | Johannesburg | Gauteng | Special Needs)

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    Cedarwood School is equipped to provide a supportive, non-competitive environment where pupils can regain lost confidence and work to the best of their abilities and potential.

    Classes are small, allowing the necessary time for individual attention and monitoring by the educators so that children advance steadily, build self-esteem and start to believe in themselves and their abilities. A full range of therapists ensures that all areas of development are supported and barriers of learning removed.

    Elkanah House

    (Co-Ed | Private | IEB| Cape Town | Western Cape)

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    In our school, we aim to challenge the young minds of our pupils so that they have to think for themselves. Once they learn to think for themselves, they start to respect themselves and begin to recognise the part they have to play in their community: be it a class, team or family unit. They then start to see the possibilities that exist around them.

    The International School of South Africa

    (Co-Ed | Private | Cambridge| Mafikeng| North-West Province)

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    The Senior School offers an international curriculum, taught by professional South African and international staff, leading to examinations set by the world-renowned examining authority, the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate in the United Kingdom. Great emphasis is placed on the acquisition of skills, the application of knowledge and the development of a broad range of subjects.

    Herschel Girls’ School

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    (Girls | Private | NSC | Cape Town | Western Cape)

    Our students are not sheltered from real life but are daily challenged to expand their intellectual, spiritual, social and emotional boundaries and skills in a safe and nurturing all-girls environment that encourages them to be themselves, be curious and be risk-takers. The school’s character and learning environment are built by its people and there is a close-knit atmosphere with on-going interaction between the girls, staff, parents, our local community and the alumni. We work tirelessly to create a learning environment in which every girl and staff member have the opportunity to thrive and in which they is encouraged to cultivate a passion for life and stay true to our credo of  “learning to make a difference“.

    Radford House

    (Co-ed | Private | NSC | Johannesburg | Gauteng | Special Needs)

    Our dream was to build a school which brought the fun back into the learning process. To nurture the brightest of minds in an environment where there are fewer limits imposed on the children, and where knowledge and thought are embraced as a wonderful opportunity, rather than a chore imposed by parents or legislation. We employ a system where the primary goal of every lesson is the internalisation of a thinking skill, rather than a mere absorption of fact. Each pupil must be seen and treated as an individual – with unique needs, capacities and interests, and this feat can only truly be accomplished by fostering a close working relationship with the parents and other caregivers.

    Eunice High School

    (Girls | State | NSC | Bloemfontein | Free State)

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    Eunice’s High School’s long standing tradition of excellence is the result of our unique staff, learners and parents collectively supporting, upholding and contributing to the myriad of activities and opportunities offered at our multi-faceted school.

    “Happiness is not pleasure – it is victory” – Zig Ziglar. We are committed to the realisation of every learner’s potential – be it in the classroom, on the sports fields or on the stage – as it ensures that Eunice, true to her name, is the place of “happy victory” for her proud learners.

    Kingsmead College

    (Girls | Private | IEB | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

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    Kingsmead is a truly happy school, through the involvement of leadership, staff, parents and students. Kingsmead is founded on consideration and care for others, a self-controlled and ordered life and a sincere and continual search for truth.

    At Kingsmead we strive to enable our girls to live lives of happiness, responsibility and purpose with courage and service. Kingsmead offers a well-balanced, individual experience aimed at recognising and enhancing the potential of each girl in a nurturing and inspiring environment.

    Jeppe Boys’ High School

    (Boys | State | NSC | Johannesburg | Gauteng)

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    Although it has an illustrious history, Jeppe has never been an elitist school. It has always enjoyed representation from a diverse cross-section of the community. It has continued to turn ordinary boys into outstanding young men who have gone on to make a major contribution to the development of the city and the country whether it be through education, law, medicine, commerce and industry, politics, the arts or sport. Boys at Jeppe get a real education for the real world.

    Union High School

    (Co-ed | State | NSC | Graff-Reinet | Eastern Cape)

    Union offers blue skies and big horizons. As an English medium, co-ed public school, Union provides a truly unique schooling journey surrounded by lifelong friends and mentors. Small classes ensure full participation and personal attention to nurture young minds; providing an environment in which children can focus and flourish. A child can expect success here, experiencing the best of country living coupled with modern day schooling.

    Claremont High School

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    (Co-ed | State | NSC | Claremont | Western Cape)

    Claremont High School is a new and innovative Western Cape Educational Department (WCED) school which strives to create an enabling and challenging environment focused on producing outstanding academic performance among pupils from backgrounds which do not typically allow access to the best quality education.

    The primary outcome of this exciting institution is an educational experience that gives young people the best chance through education to become engaging and responsible South African citizens.

    Mandela School of Science and Technology

    (Co-ed | State | NSC | Mvezo | Eastern Cape)

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    Values:

    Courage: Students act bravely and ethically for the greater good of society. The courage to stand for what is right.
    Curiosity: Students must have inquiring minds. To be open to knowledge and new ideas from the world around them, in order to change it for the better. They must demonstrate a positive attitude towards learning, respect their teachers and have discipline at school.
    Compassion: Students must show compassion towards all people from different cultural and social backgrounds. They must have respect for humanity and the environment.
    Service: Students must have a passion to serve the community and develop a lifelong commitment to make the world around them a better place.

    Hoërskool DF Malan

    (Co-ed | State | NSC | Bellville | Western Cape)

    Alles wat ons doen, word getoets aan ons visie van ‘n hoërskool vir jong volwassenes. As personeel probeer ons aan ons studente vlerke gee waarmee hulle kan vlieg, maar ook standvastigheid om vasgeanker te bly aan die waardes en beginsels wat universeel van die goeie en regte is.

    Pinelands High School

    (Co-ed | State | NSC | Cape Town | Western Cape)

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    Our aim is to offer a broad educational experience that educates the whole child. Our educational offering includes a wide subject choice in the formal curriculum, as well as sport, music, drama and other extra-mural curricular activities. This means that there is a place for every pupil in our school to make a contribution and to shine. It also makes high school a busy and fun place to be! We believe passionately in the development of the children in our care. Our primary focus is always on the child, and the need to assist the child to grow to his or her own potential. The young men and women who leave us at the end of Grade 12 are, in our opinion, confident young adults who can easily take up a place in South Africa, whether in a tertiary institution or in the world of work.

    Keep innovating!

    POSTSCRIPT:

    1. Thank you to the many who offered suggestions. I will be making updates about twice a year (probably in Februrary and August). Please continue to submit your suggestions and watch this space. And be patient!
    2. I will not publish comments which are disparaging towards other schools. Part of innovation should include building partnerships with other schools. If you have an issue with a particular school being on this list, please take the time to send through a carefully considered response on the Google Form.
    3. I have had to remove some schools following some remarks made by their own teachers and / or students about the ‘innovation’ at these schools being purely superficial. My general methodology: If one or two people complain, I do nothing, if three or four are unhappy, I notice, if more than five people have the same or similar issues, I remove.
    4. I am sorry, but I cannot add any Waldorf (Steiner) schools until a clear and unambiguous statement is received regarding vaccination. As much as there is to like about Waldorf education, I cannot endorse a school system that might endanger children’s physical well-being.

     

    Posted in EDUCATION, South Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , | 55 Comments

    Why I Teach (Part 4)


    (Click on image for full page view)

    So this happened to me today and left me feeling quite emotional.

    Just thought I share it.

     

    (With thanks to the effervescent Mrs Perry!)

     

     

     

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    The Future of Education: More of the Same?


    Look at these two pictures:

     

    Now look again closely.

    Besides the technology, the two scenarios are basically the same (down to the little 'hands-on' display in the front of the class).

     

    Now a question:

    Is this truly what we want for the future of education?

     

    Image credits:

    Image 1

    Image 2

     

    (With thanks to Professor Ethan Danahy of Tufts U for the idea!)

     

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    2 Questions to Help You Figure Out Why You Teach.



    Imagine every student in every class you teach gets an 'A' for everything.

    How do you spend your teaching day?

    What does this tell you about your priorities as a teacher?


     

    Image: Any Questions? (Flickr)

     

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