Educators all ears at Protea Heights Academy
5 March 2020
Learners at Protea Heights Academy (PHA) are consistently empowered and encouraged to have their voices heard.
According the Chantel Theron, PHA’s Transform to Perform (T2P) champion, the school council consists mainly of learners ranging from Representative Council of Learners (RCL) members, matric leaders and class representatives, as well as senior staff who engage once a term on matters that the learners raise. “The council is able to suggest changes to different areas of the school.”
In effect, “the body becomes the learners’ voice and in turn teaches them to take responsibility for their school and their learning. The learners even nominated educators for the district’s National Teaching Awards!” asserts Theron.
It therefore comes as no surprise that the school, after attending an information session on values in August 2019 hosted by the WCED, decided on a reward system that deploys peer nomination to reward learners for embodying values.
“We wanted a reward system to encourage learners to participate in showing these values on a daily basis. Our aim was not to just reach learners already embodying these values but also to motivate others to take part, as well as give them the opportunity to be recognised. We want learners to become global citizens as well as upcoming leaders. We didn’t need to do much to get learners’ buy-in as which learner doesn’t want another badge on their blazer?” chuckles Theron.
Each month a different value is embodied with a slide show presentation, inspiring videos and challenges to all learners to participate. The RCL are also part of the implementation strategy in that they have their own assemblies where they showcase the values. Each value badge has a different colour representing the value of the month. This motivates learners to not only collect all 12 badges, but also drives home the fact any learners, regardless of their past behaviour, is eligible be nominated for a badge.
According to the school, the feedback from parents has been extremely positive as evidenced by them proudly posting their children getting a badge on the PHA’s Facebook page. Learners are excited about the next value - and the colour of the badge. Meanwhile classroom management has greatly improved and learners are generally more aware of the importance of values.