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Chapter 12

PERSONNEL MATTERS

12.13 STUDENT EDUCATORS: TEACHING PRACTICE

12.13.1Legislative and Policy Framework

ACTS

  • The South African Schools Act, No. 84 of 1996 [SASA]
  • The National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act No. 27 of 1996) [NEPA]

 Note: Currently no legislative and policy framework is available for regulating student teaching practice at schools.  Principals and SMT’s should consult and follow the guidelines received from the relevant tertiary institution in handling student teaching matters.

12.13.2Framework for the Development of School Policy on Student Educators: Teaching Practice

  1. General
    Teaching is one of the occupations where the beginner is given full responsibility right from the start.  For this reason it is essential for future teachers to be introduced to their future career through actual practice during their training years.  Teaching practice not only forms an important part of the education programme, but is also offers student teachers an excellent opportunity to identify with their future teaching careers.
    It is important for the principal and members of the teaching staff to have a positive attitude towards student teachings during the course of their teaching practice at schools.  This period should be a pleasant and meaningful learning experience.
  2. The following may be used as guidelines/suggestions in dealing with student teachers
    • The School
      • It is essential that schools give their full co-operation to universities in placing and receiving student teachers and that assistance in the form of suggestions and guidance be given to ensure that students derive maximum benefit from their visits to schools.
      • Students and teachers should make visiting lecturers and tutors feel at home by welcoming them and by inviting them to have tea with the members of staff in the staff room.
    • The Principal or the Student Tutor
      • Students are to be placed under the direct supervision of the principal or a teacher appointed by the principal as tutor over the students for their period of teaching practice.
      • The principal and/or the student tutor is to receive the student teachers and to take care of their orientation on the first morning of their teaching practice.
      • The orientation should, amongst others, include orientation with regard to time schedules, school building, school grounds, the general nature and environment of the community where the school is situated, school routine and the school policy.
      • As far as possible, students are to be placed with teachers from whom they will be able to derive the most benefit.
      • The principal/student tutor is to deal with the problems student teachers may encounter.
      • The student leader is responsible for liaison with the tertiary institution concerned.
      • At the end of the period of teaching practice the staff members who were involved are to meet to evaluate the students.
    • The staff members
      • Students are not to be kept busy with routine tasks, but are to be introduced to all practical facets of their future careers, including the extracurricular programme of the school, in a meaningful way.
      • Students are to be involved in the subject team of phase group as well as in subject meetings and discussions.
      • Teachers should give guidance and offer meaningful suggestions on lesson planning.
      • Student teachers are to be treated as colleagues, but they in turn, will be expected to adapt themselves to the school in the same spirit.
      • As potential professionally qualified teachers, students are to be informed of:
        • The purpose of official documents and the way in which these documents are to be dealt with;
        • Departmental policy; and
        • Professional conduct and etiquette.
      • In their capacity as prospective teachers and secondary educators, student teachers need to be furnished with information on, for example, the following topics:
        • Subject choices and subject courses;
        • Work books, manuals, syllabuses, schemes of work and text books;
        • Organisation of a subject;
        • Class groups (grouping and dealing with);
        • Maintaining discipline;
        • School organisation and administration; and
        • Class organisation and administration.
      • During their period of teaching practice student teachers need to be made aware that, as future educators, they would also have to play the role of:
        • Substitute parent;
        • Person in authority;
        • Example;
        • Inspiring influence; and
        • Career educator.
      • Student teachers
      • The university is to appoint a student leader who will be responsible for all the necessary arrangements concerning the group of student teachers allocated to a school. The student leader liaises between the student teachers and the principal.
      • Students are expected to be punctual and to be at the school for the full school day.
      • Students are to present at least one lesson per day; the lesson is to be written out in a teaching practice journal as prescribed by the university.
      • Dress code and conduct is to conform to that of members of the teaching staff.
      • Student teachers are not to become too familiar with pupils and are not to discipline pupils.
      • Students are to participate in extra-curricular activities as required by the school.
      • The student tutor is to compile a time-table for the student teachers for playground, road patrol, and tuck shop duties, etc., covering the duration of their teaching practice.
      • Student teachers who are absent owing to illness, are to hand medical certificates to the student leader who is to submit such certificates to the principal/student tutor.
  3. Discussions with student teachers
    There are several themes which may be discussed with student teachers as part of their in-service training during the course of their teaching practice.  The following themes may serve as guidelines in this respect:

    • Ways in which the student teacher can participate in extra-curricular activities.
    • The differences between a fourth year student and a beginner teacher.
    • Ways in which student teachers can assist pupils with problems at home.
    • Ways in which student teachers can show their sense of responsibility towards various facets of teaching.
    • Exemplary conduct by student teachers in their capacity as educators, etc.