I work in an institution that trains some of South Africa’s very best teachers.
In fact, in a recent survey, 88% of those interviewed revealed that the institution continues to be considered the independent higher education benchmark in the teacher training space*.
Looking deeper into the data, though, it would seem that three key reasons power this belief.
Firstly, the institution focuses on a single discipline, teacher education. The singular focus means that all energy, efforts and resources are directed exactly where they’re needed, i.e. to drive the mission: to help build this amazing country of ours by capacitating and training some of the very best teachers.
Secondly, we are able to do what we do because we are part of a larger higher education organisation,Stadio Multiversity. This means that we have access to capital to appoint only the best teacher educators,and to resource our lecture rooms with the latest, world-class teaching and learning technologies. Further,our academic and administrative teams are continuously trained to champion the most recent developments in both the curriculum and pedagogical spaces and, most importantly, we have the capacity and resources to shape a unique student success experience.
We take student success seriously and, to this end, we close the loop.
Our final year students, for example, are currently preparing for the world of work and will undergo a unique on-campus experience this October. Both public and private sector recruiters seeking quality teaching graduates will be interacting with our students at a teacher placement exhibition at the institution’s Durban Musgrave campus.
Whereas our singular sector focus fuels our overall mission, our link to Stadio Multiversity, i.e. our being part of something bigger than ourselves, provides the perfect vehicle to help us get there.
Thirdly, and most importantly, any mission’s success comes down to its people being the best at what they do.
Higher education, in most disciplines, is delivered by academics, not professionals. My marketing lecturer,for instance, held a doctorate in business administration and never actually ever worked in “marketing”.
Further, I’d be truly surprised if I ever found out that my old communications lecturer had in fact actually
wrote a real press release during her career as a “media and communications specialist”.
Education is unlike most disciplines in that it is professionals who train would-be professionals, not academics.
The Academic Head of Embury, Professor Patrick Bean, for example, taught in a school for many years before becoming an academic. Much like most of his colleagues at Embury, Bean represents a generation of teachers who specialise in training teachers. This means that the teaching-learning experience on his campuses is not just contextualised during every interaction, it is in a sense, reality-based.
As we all take a moment this month earmarked internationally to celebrate teachers, I salute the teachers who helped shape who I am today and, in doing that, pay tribute to my colleagues: teachers who train teachers.