Thandulwazi Intern-teacher’s exchange to the USA

May 24, 2018 | Campus

Earning her place as one of 16 student teachers going to the USA on a one-month teaching exchange, Avela is flying the education flag for South Africa’s future.

Great opportunities abound for intern teachers like Ade Avela Nanti at Thandulwazi Maths & Science Academy, where MySchool funds are helping train budding teachers for the future. The mentored teacher training programme is focused on building capacity across different educational phases, and subjects facing critical shortages. One of 16 student teachers chosen for a one-month teaching exchange in the USA, Avela is making the most of this exciting professional development opportunity.

‘Avela is over the moon as she has never travelled outside of South Africa before,’ says Thandulwazi Intern Director, Thobeka Mngambi. From Johannesburg south (Lawley Ext 2), Avela matriculated from South View High School in Lenasia South. In 2016, she joined the Thandulwazi Intern-Teacher Training Programme and is set to graduate as a teacher in December 2018.

Organised by Teach with Africa in partnership with the Global Teachers Institute, Avela had to apply for the exchange programme in 2017, and submit a video about an unusual teaching project that she had initiated. 

‘Given the fierce competition for places on this programme, we are thrilled that Avela’s application was successful,’ says Bev Johnson, Deputy Head of Advancement at St Stithians College. ‘This exchange programme will give Avela the opportunity to teach Grade 6 students at the Hamlin School in San Francisco. The experience will expose her to a variety of different teaching methods, allow her to engage with educators in the USA, visit partner schools and universities, as well as participate in Teach with Africa activities and events, where she’ll represent the Thandulwazi Intern-Teacher Training Programme, St Stithians College and her country.’ 

While in California, Avela will be required to conduct action-based research on a topic of her choice and interest. With her fellow Interns, Avela will present her research findings to her host school in the USA, and when she returns, she’ll report back to the Thandulwazi Maths & Science Academy and at the Axis Education Summit in July 2018.

Here is an update on Avela’s experience so far, 'My visit to San Francisco has given me a different way to look at education. From my observations and active involvement in class, I have learnt that interdisciplinary learning provides learners with ample opportunities to face their reality as well as realistically use the acquired skills from the different array of school subjects without isolating one from another, which in a sense is how the real world operates.  From a simple daily task of preparing a meal which might require some accurate measuring and adequate reading skills to a much more complex situation like deciding which policy to put in place .These are some of the decisions that our learners are most likely to be faced with sooner and for some later in life. This makes our role vital as today’s teachers. We need to equip our future leaders so that they make good if not better decisions than we did.'

Teach with Africa generously covers the full costs of this exchange including: visas, travel insurance, air fares, a cell-phone allowance in the USA, a weekly stipend while in the US, placement at a high performing school, placement at a host family, and all meals during her stay.

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