30 teachers from Gauteng attend a training on Inquiry Based Scientific Education
On 7 November 2015, 30 teachers from the Gauteng province gathered at the University of Pretoria Faculty of Education to follow the last training of the LAMAP pilot project. The success of the the tens trainings held since 2012 is stunning: teachers devoted their personal time to engage with enthusiasm in the workshops, and excellent results are observed on children of trained teacher’s classes.
LAMAP project in South Africa
LAMAP is a French model of Inquiry-Based Science Education which promotes hands-on and minds-on activities. This approach aims at improving the quality of science teaching by encouraging children to investigate the subject by asking questions, thinking on their own and being innovative and creative.
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) in partnership with the French Academy of Sciences, and with the support of the national and provincial Departments of Education, launched a 3-year pilot phase of LAMAP in South Africa in 2012. The programme adresses grade 4, 5 and 6 level pupils of selected primary schools in Gauteng and representative of the national diversity.
French volunteers from LAMAP supported the South African trainers through several visits in South Africa, the last being in October 2014 when a project celebration was organised by the French Ambassador H.E. Elisabeth Barbier (http://www.ambafrance-rsa.org/La-Main-a-la-Pate-2014-Event). Since 2015, the project is fully managed by ASSAf and Gauteng Department of Education.
A vivid teacher training
On 7 November 2015, the 8th training of IBSE in South Africa was organised at the Faculty of Education in University of Pretoria (UP) Groenkloof Campus. Dr Monde Kazeni, Doctor of Philosophy, was mentoring the session together with her colleagues from University of Pretoria.
As recalled during the training, the typical Inquiry Based Scientific Education framework (IBSE) follows four main steps:
engage: observing, questioning, debating, hypothesizing
design and conduct scientific investigations: plan and design, implement, organize and analyse data, draw conclustions, formulate new questions
communicate with other audiences
draw final conclusions.
To teach science through this process, and as reminded by Dr Kazeni, “teachers have to place themselves in learner’s shoes”. A work on the structure of plants was thus proposed to participants, who all engaged in the proposed activity in a fun and friendly atmosphere. They will propose this Grade 4 activity in their own class during the 2016 first term.
The training was the last event of the 3-years LAMAP pilot project, which is currently going through an evaluation process. To help measuring the impact of the programme, teachers were invited to answer a comprehensive survey on benefits and difficulties in applying IBSE in their classes.
After this focus groups interviews, certificates were awarded to all participants in the project - teachers, trainers, program managers, schools and university- by Zuki Mpiyakhe, Programme Officer at ASSAf and Aude Zuliani, Scientific project manager at the French Embassy in Pretoria.
The results of the project appraisal will determine the future of LAMAP project in South Africa. Provincial and national government involvement will be essential to empower teachers in their IBSE actions.
Zuki Mpiyakhe, Programme Officer at ASSAf