Media Release

12 July, 2011

Teachers flock to literacy and numeracy holiday workshops

Statement by Penny Vinjevold, Head of Education in the Western Cape

More than 3 300 teachers are attending workshops organised by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) during the June/July school holiday to hone their literacy and numeracy teaching skills.

The workshops follow two highly successful Reading Conferences organised by the department during the first week of the holiday. More than 1 000 teachers attended the conferences.

The department originally planned to hold one conference, but had to hold two, for Foundation Phase and Intermediate and Senior Phase teachers, to meet strong demand for places. There are 1094 primary schools in the Western Cape.

The conferences and workshops form part of the WCED's literacy and numeracy intervention programme. The huge turnout by teachers demonstrates their commitment to making a difference to learner outcomes in literacy and numeracy.

The department has organised holiday workshops for teachers in both rural and urban areas. The workshops are reviewing best practice and are providing opportunities for teachers to share their experiences and expertise.

Topics covered in the literacy workshops include effective literacy and language development; shared reading; word and sentence work; making a book; shared and independent writing; group reading; and how to create a literacy school.

Topics covered at various levels at the numeracy workshops include numbers, operations and relationships; shapes and spaces; measurement; data handling; number patterns; dimensions; geometric patterns; fractions; and how to make schools more numerate.

Teachers in five education districts attended the workshops during the first two weeks of the holiday. Teachers in the remaining three districts are attending this week at the College of Cape Town's Crawford Campus and the Boland College in Worcester.

The WCED has tested the literacy and numeracy skills of primary school learners every year since 2002, alternating between Grades 3 and 6.

The department has used the results to inform its literacy and numeracy strategy. The strategy includes diagnostic testing, teacher training and support, providing reading books and text books; and community mobilization.

We are investing heavily in the resources we need, including textbooks and reading books. Our most important resource is our teachers. The remarkable turnout at our conferences and workshops this holiday demonstrates that our teachers are rising to the challenge.

Media enquiries: Paddy Attwell

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2011 WCED