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CT teacher takes top honours

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Gafieza Ismail, an English Teacher at Spine Road High School, Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain, has won the National Teaching Award for Excellence in Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning.

The Department of Basic Education presented the 16th National Teaching Awards at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on Saturday, 27 February 2016.
Debbie Schäfer, Minister of the Education in the Western Cape said Ismail provides an outstanding example of a teacher who is dedicated to ensuring that her learners realise their potential.

“She provides an excellent example of a forward-looking teacher who understands the potential of using technology to enhance and support teaching and learning,” she said.

“She has demonstrated powerfully the important role that teachers have to play in the lives of young people, and the role that technology can play in supporting their education.”

With only four years of teaching English to Grades 11 and 12 learners at Spine Road High School behind her, she has transformed her approach to teaching the subject and has incorporated ICT in all aspects of the curriculum.

She is currently the head of administration at the school, the ICT Co-ordinator and also provides training on e-learning at the school and in the district. She has conducted workshops on ICT for the district office and has also conducted workshops for the Progressive Principals Association focusing on the application of ICT in the classroom.

In her classroom, the “Apple Room”, Mrs Ismail uses the 25 Apple laptops and a Smartboard assigned to her to teach learners research skills and also to make electronic resources available to them.

Learners have been taught the skills to use creative software and to structure documents and presentations. She introduced learners to software that aids their studying and note-taking. She also initiated peer-tutoring programmes for her subject where stronger learners assist the weaker ones. She makes extensive use of video technology to teach in class and uses technology as part of revision and assessment.

Her use of e-resources and technology-enhanced approach to the teaching of English has brought rich rewards to her and the school. In 2013 the school received the award for the Most Improved in English Home Language and in 2014 the school received the highest average in English Home Language in Mitchells Plain and attained the first 100% pass rate in Grade 12 in Mitchells Plain.

She currently has two teaching blogs, projecting her professional and creative development and allowing for greater exposure for the school and education. The blogs also allow learners to access educational and school content in her absence. Learners are therefore never left behind. She also has an Instagram account with her register class.

An excellent innovation is the audio recording of her lessons for her Grade 12 learners. This allows learners to play back the lesson and do an analysis of what was taught. She also provides information on flash disks which allows learners to go back on previous aspects of the subject.

Shafer also congratulated Spine Road High School for providing leadership in this field, by allowing Ismail the freedom to experiment and develop best practice. The Western Cape Government views eLearning as a game changer, and we are therefore investing heavily in providing access to eLearning across the province.

“We will learn from Ms Ismail’s example as we expand access to the future of education in this way.”

The Western Cape Education Department nominated Ismail for the National Teaching Award after she won the top teaching award in this category in the Western Cape last year. VOC

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