Breaking the Deadlock

Tom Stokes, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Education

The deficiencies in our schooling system are well documented, and details of the extent to which the teaching of reading is below standard as presented by Dr Nick Taylor of the National Education Support Unit (NASU), is just another piece of evidence pointing at the urgent need for reform.

The existing equation is quite simple.  Many teachers are not teaching well; they don’t understand to what extent they are deficient; it is not their fault that they are deficient and they are defensive about any inadequacies they have.  They are therefore reluctant to be assessed and are protected by their unions from being compelled to do so.  Consequently their inadequacies are not rectified and teaching continues along the wrong paths.

Dr Taylor makes the convincing point that another approach is needed to accommodate these realities, and that is by using in-house training, where proficient colleagues help those less capable.

The success of this approach will obviously be determined by the proficiency of the “expert” teachers, but the success of this model used in the old White education departments, augmented by guidance from subject specialists and subject associations gives weight to Dr Taylor’s suggestions.

The adoption of this initiative should not preclude a parallel systemic reorganization of teacher training models.  Yet it is a positive start to encouraging teachers to take a lead in improving their own qualifications and skill levels, and enhancing the spirit of collegiality so necessary within the teaching profession.