A vital part of the Education Changemakers programme was experiential learning visits to various school across Gauteng. The purpose was to interact with innovative teaching and learning models that they could potentially adapt to their context. Gaining a new perspective on teaching and learning was important for the participants because it enabled them ideate new approaches to solving educational challenges.
The first visit was at Streetlight Schools in Jeppestown, in the inner city of Johannesburg. The CEO of Streetlight Schools, David Fu, gave us a tour and demonstrated how how a school in the inner city survives by incorporating community involvement into their sustainability. The school has a student-centred approach which is holistic and ensures that the environment is conducive to learning. A vital quality of Streetlight is that they use upcycled goods to furnish the campus. In fact, they are generally environmentally conscious in their approach to education, which helps learners ‘think green’ as a way of life. David reminded the participants that children could be taught in any space as long as you show them love.
The participants also visited Buhlebuzile Secondary School in Thokoza and Monde Primary school. At Monde, the participants were taken aback by the sheer passion of the principal who uses learner assessment data to identify at-risk learners and then assists them with overcoming those barriers. Monde Primary School is was also an example of how teachers can get results when they look at learners holistically.
Lastly, the participants visited the Givaudan production plant, which is a flavours and fragrance manufacturing company. The visit exposed them to manufacturing practices and aimed to encourage thinking around the efficiencies in production that can translate into a learning environment.
These site visits created the space for thoughts to be challenged, questions to be asked and ideas to spark. As a result, our changemakers gained the inspiration needed to innovate improved approaches to their own teaching or education methods in the future.