‘Thank you, Prof, for the wonderful presentation!’ or ‘Excellent workshop!’ and ‘I am blessed to be in this webinar!’

These were the regular and heartfelt reactions after lectures at the highly successful online Teacher Training Workshop presented on 6 July 2022. It reached 500 teacher attendees under a partnership consisting of NITheCS, the Soweto Science Centre of the University of Johannesburg (UJ-SSC), the UJ Faculty of Education and Africa Teen Geeks. The Teacher Development Programme seeks to promote the professional development of teachers on a broad scale.

The workshop was organized by Dr Cerene Rathilal of the UJ Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics (UJ DMAM) and hosted by Dr Lungile Sitole (UJ-SSC Director). The speakers on the programme were Prof Elizabeth Henning (UJ), Mrs Mafor Penn (UJ), Prof Boitumelo Diale (UJ) and Dr Ina Louw (UP). The focus was on ‘assessing student learning by incorporating different classroom techniques’.


Dr Sitole commented as follows: ‘Constant learning and training assures a high level of expertise and proficiency, and ensures that educators remain up to date with emerging technologies for the classroom and new curriculum-based resources. As such, the mandate of SSC is geared towards the development of teachers to improve the quality of mathematics and science education in South Africa.’

Dr Rathilal agrees: ‘Educators are our nation builders, and ensuring that they are supported and heard is paramount. At UJ and the UJ SSC, we annually host teacher training engagements to tackle relevant issues affecting our educators, such as assessment techniques and hybrid teaching and learning in the classroom. We are pleased that educators have engaged with us and found all programmes beneficial.’

Prof Francesco Petruccione of NITheCS also expressed his satisfaction with the success of the online workshops: ‘This kind of intensive training for our teachers is one of the things that will help to improve educational outcomes in STEM programmes at all levels of education. We at NITheCS are indeed proud to be associated with such a positive programme that helps our support of the Basic Sciences.  With this year being the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, it is of particular importance to us.’

The teacher training workshops are hosted annually at the SSC, where skills and competence development are a key part of the programme. The programme runs in tandem with UJ’s learner enrichment programme— thus providing meaningful learning opportunities for both teachers and learners.

Participants’ reactions

Most importantly, what did the participants think about the workshop? They agreed that they leant much about a range of issues. Here are just a few of the many remarks – remarks that also met with the support of other participants:

Machoene Maureen Ledwaba:  ‘Project based learning: it’s a way to go if we really want to see our learners being ready for the entrepreneurial mindset. It’s really a pleasure to be listening to this informative session that is an eye opener for all in the teaching sector. Thanks again!

Lindiwe Ngubeni: ‘Prof Diale, my challenge is that most careers require Maths and Science. Wish you could visit schools to encourage learners. Thank you so much!’

Kegomoditswe Tsoanhae: ‘Thank you for such an enlightening workshop especially addressing the issues that we deal with in a classroom level, particularly the misconceptions that our learners face daily. I am so impressed with the professor Henning reasoning of thinking out of the box and laying very good foundation and allowing the learners to be creative— and also for teachers to show case their creativity and innovation in teaching.

Susan Jonas: ’Very interesting and helpful presentation. I think it’s a good way to get us into new methods and remember some of the fundamentals as well.’

Amlanani Khupe: ‘Thank you Diale, l believe everyone must rise and say we are not happy about this type of formal education, we do need a jacket fit all education. We were created different!’

Kgabo Moabelo: ‘Thanks for assessment  strategies  in these difficult  times as our learners  are exposed  to  many challenges–not forgetting teachers  as well!’

Janessa Rajeev: ‘Thank you for some new information on assessment tools… Thank you for such a creative take on key education points… Interesting, engaging and stimulating. I can’t wait to share this with my team!