MASICORP has committed volunteers and resources to improving the quality of education at Masiphumelele’s Ukhanyo Primary School, but one of the biggest hurdles that the school faces is the low level of English literacy and fluency among teachers and students.
To help address this problem, MASICORP opened the ‘English Lab’ at Ukhanyo Primary School in January 2012. The project is led by an American volunteer Jan O’Connor and her able assistant, Zimkhita Kapaayi. Modeled after our successful ‘Science Lab’, the English Lab focuses on providing teachers at Ukhanyo with the skills and resources that they need in order to teach English effectively.
In its initial phase, the project has concentrated on teachers from grades 1-3. The level of participation has been overwhelming. Teachers are embracing the easy-to-implement lesson plans and the opportunity to practice effective teaching strategies in a supportive environment.
Jan had initially hoped to “recruit” a group of 10 teachers willing to put in the time and effort to work on improving their English teaching skills, but within six weeks of the opening, 22 Grade 1-4 teachers were using the English Lab on a weekly basis and teachers of the intermediate grades were clamouring for an opportunity to use the facility.
Set up with generous support from MASICORP donors in the UK, the English Lab provides the resources and materials that teachers need to teach competently in the classroom. In addition, the Lab serves as a place where Ukhanyo educators can share effective teaching strategies and techniques across the curriculum.