My PICPMB Blog
Earlier I wrote that until South Africa mastered the three P's it should not bother with the three R's, as it would simply be a waste of time. The three R's should be mastered by all the citizens of South Africa. I now have to admit that if I had read the South African Constitution, II would have known what the constitution has to say about the three P's and the three R's. I would like to know exactly what the South African Constitution guarantees its citizens in this regard.
I have always been quite good at one of the R's namely, aRithmetic. I have also not been a bad reader, well not until recently,when I retired. I worked as a teacher / lecturer and reading was essentialto my work. I still read, most of The Witness and The Times on a daily basis. I also do a fair amount of reading whilst sitting in front of my computer.
Writing about reading reminds me of the end of my lecturing career. During these closing years I became very aware of how little the students I taught, read. Occasionally, I would pop across to the library to collect a couple of books that they might consider reading. After I had shown the books to te class, I would return them to the library. Sadly, once there, they would once again adopt a "laid-back attitude", propping up the shelves.
The languishing Library situation even prompted me to write that the library would be better utilized if it was converted into a gym. It has multiple floors with windows overlooking the "Library Lawns". Walkers, joggers and cyclist could then peer through the windows to admire the pool that had been installed on the Library Lawns. Oh and we all know that a healthy body promotes a healthy mind. Maybe this improvement would be significant enough to actually stimulate the brain to the point that it results in the body not only reaching for a book, but then reading it.
But I digress, as I am known to do. Possibly, this is because I now have to admit that I was never very good at wRiting. When I was a school boarder, my mother would diligently correct the spelling mistakes I made in the letters I wrote home, and then return them to me. Over the years I did learn to spell some difficult words like calculus and parallel, but only because my continuous mis-spelling of these words resulted in embarrassment, sometimes acute embarrassment. Computers and word processors have helped of late, and there (There, I got it wright!) may have been some improvement.
Now after my rather lengthy and digressionary (own word) introduction, let me get to the points I would like to make.
These are my thoughts and opinions on the subject of teacher training and I believe them to be sound. While I am always prepared to defend them, I am also not averse to be shown to be misguided or plain wrong. In fact I would welcome it.
Ten years ago I was lecturing at UKZN. At that time the numbers of non-white students in my classes started to grow markedly. I used to say to all these students that I welcomed the change that had come about. Now all South Africans could compete on an equal footing, and what is more, help to grow the economy. I would then add that such a development was always going to serve me well, as I would be retiring in 10 years time, just about the time when these positive developments would start to deliver dividends. Sadly, none us quite appreciated the extent to which we would be affected by AIDS. I also never dreamed that education, something I had been involved in for my whole working life, would let young South Africans down so badly.