Excellence in Technology–Enhanced, Teaching and Learning Award

MEC Schäfer congratulates South Africa’s top eLearning teacher


Minister of Education

The Department of Basic Education presented the 16th National Teaching Awards at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand on Saturday, 27 February 2016.

Debbie Schäfer, Minister of the Education in the Western Cape, comments as follows:

We are delighted at Ms Ismail’s success. Ms Ismail provides an outstanding example of a teacher who is dedicated to ensuring that her learners realise their potential.

She provides an excellent example of a forward-looking teacher who understands the potential of using technology to enhance and support teaching and learning.

She has demonstrated powerfully the important role that teachers have to play in the lives of young people, and the role that technology can play in supporting their education.

We also congratulate Spine Road High School for providing leadership in this field, by allowing Ms Ismail the freedom to experiment and develop best practice.

The Western Cape Government views eLearning as a game changer, and we are therefore investing heavily in providing access to eLearning across the province.

We will learn from Ms Ismail’s example as we expand access to the future of education in this way.

The Western Cape Education Department nominated Ismail for the National Teaching Award after she won the top teaching award in this category in the Western Cape last year.

Ismail’s citation for the Western Cape award reads as follows:

Excellence in Technology–Enhanced, Teaching and Learning Award

NTA: SA Top e_Learning Teacher

Gafieza IsmailMs Gafieza Ismail

Spine Road High School, Rocklands, Mitchells Plain

This young, very energetic and extremely dedicated English subject teacher, with eight years of experience in teaching, has embraced the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the enhancement of teaching in its totality.

With only four years of teaching English to Grades 11 and 12 learners at Spine Road High School behind her, she has transformed her approach to teaching the subject and has incorporated ICT in all aspects of the curriculum.

She is currently the head of administration at the school, the ICT Co-ordinator and also provides training on e-learning at the school and in the district. She has conducted workshops on ICT for the district office and has also conducted workshops for the Progressive Principals Association focusing on the application of ICT in the classroom.

In her classroom, the "Apple Room", Mrs Ismail uses the 25 Apple laptops and a Smartboard assigned to her to teach learners research skills and also to make electronic resources available to them.

Learners have been taught the skills to use creative software and to structure documents and presentations. She introduced learners to software that aids their studying and note-taking. She also initiated peer-tutoring programmes for her subject where stronger learners assist the weaker ones. She makes extensive use of video technology to teach in class and uses technology as part of revision and assessment.

Her use of e-resources and technology-enhanced approach to the teaching of English has brought rich rewards to her and the school. In 2013 the school received the award for the Most Improved in English Home Language and in 2014 the school received the highest average in English Home Language in Mitchells Plain and attained the first 100% pass rate in Grade 12 in Mitchells Plain.

She currently has two teaching blogs, projecting her professional and creative development and allowing for greater exposure for the school and education. The blogs also allow learners to access educational and school content in her absence. Learners are therefore never left behind. She also has an Instagram account with her register class.

An excellent innovation is the audio recording of her lessons for her Grade 12 learners. This allows learners to play back the lesson and do an analysis of what was taught. She also provides information on flash disks which allows learners to go back on previous aspects of the subject.

Colours play a major role in the development of learning materials. In that way slower learners are assisted. This ties in with her philosophy of the holistic development of the child by incorporating all the senses of learning. She creates her own electronic resources for her subject.

The resources are individualised and structured for the specific use of teaching. She shares these resources with the teachers in the subject department and in doing so, becomes the champion of the integrated approach to teaching and learning, especially focusing on the integration of technology.

Outside the classroom, she started a motivational club, called Ins.P.I.R.E. (Inside People Is Real Education). Through the club, she equips learners with the skills to articulate their emotions through the art of poetry and song. She also started a blog for learners where they post their own poetry.

This blog has become a platform for expression and communication. She always encourages her learners to expect the best from themselves in spite of the many negative social-economic conditions that they are faced with daily.

She is an inspirational role model to teachers, learners, parents and the community. She is a pioneer of the digital classroom at her school and her district; she strives to ensure the equitable roll-out of technology whilst supporting and equipping educators with the skills to use technology effectively.

Mrs Ismail is a worthy recipient of this award.

Note: Charles Marthinussen, Principal of Atlantis Secondary, took Third Place in the award for Excellence in School Leadership.

Issued by:

Paddy Attwell

Director of Communication

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