Staunch Professor Sparks Discussion at Life Orientation Teachers Seminar

| A node for African thought

Staunch Professor Sparks Discussion at Life Orientation Teachers Seminar

Staunch Professor Sparks Discussion at Life Orientation Teachers Seminar

The university of Zululand recently hosted a Life Orientation Educators’ seminar in King Cetshwayo District.

The partnership between the University of Zululand and the Department of Education King Cetshwayo District (KCD) is very special as it concerns molding a future responsible citizen of South and beyond. KCD LO educators have pioneered interventions that are relevant to assist learners in preparation for higher education as well as appropriate placement. These educators have immensely contributed towards building a responsible teenager and young adult. The university takes over and extends the good work they have initiated.

The facilitator of the programme, Professor Jabulani Thwala, the clinical psychologist, addressed the educators. Prof Thwala is known for his unwavering dedication to education, addressed a packed room of Life Orientation educators at a recent seminar. His decades of experience and passionate delivery resonated with the audience, sparking lively discussion and introspection.

He began by acknowledging the unique challenges faced by Life Orientation educators. “You’re not just teaching facts, you’re shaping lives,” he stated. “You’re tasked with equipping young people with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of life, both personally and socially. Life Orientation educators play multiple roles as facilitators and advocates. They are responsible for providing information, guidance, and advice to learners in subject selection. LO educators need to have adequate content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge to effectively implement teaching approaches.” Explained Prof Thwala.

Beyond subject choices, LO educators assist learners in identifying future careers. This is done through the education system. Parents have their own choices based on what they regard as dignified and representative of their family image.

Here are some key takeaways from Professor Thwala’s insightful interaction:

  1. Encourage grade 11 and 12 learners to undergo psychological assessment that cover: 
  2. Interest,
  3. Intellectual ability and
  4. Personality
  5. Identify learners with special needs early on in lower grades and inform the relevant internal stakeholders for early interventions and appropriate referrals.
  6. Seek consent from parents/guardians if a child must be assessed or referred to a health professional.
  7. Be cautious about how they share sensitive and personal information pertaining to the learner’s inabilities.
  8. Always consult if there are grey areas concerning steps to be taken about the learner.
  9. Be aware of schooling facilities available in the province, viz: Utrecht for learners below the age of 12 and Tugela School for learners above the age of 12. Such learners are assessed first before placement.
  10. Spearhead good relationships with immediate communities through SGBs and other relevant stakeholders.

Embrace lifelong learning: Prof Thwala reminded the educators themselves to embrace the role of lifelong education. Staying up to date with current trends, educational pedagogy, and societal issues helps them better understand and address the needs of their students.

He concluded his address by commending the dedication of Life Orientation educators.  “You play a pivotal role in building future generations who are not only academically competent but also well-rounded individuals equipped to face the complexities of an ever-changing world,” he remarked.

The seminar participants left the session feeling inspired and empowered. The discussions that followed Prof Thwala’s address ranged from practical teaching strategies to sharing personal experiences and insights. The common thread was a renewed commitment to fostering positive and empowering learning environments for their students.

Prof Thwala’s enduring message resonated with the audience – Life Orientation teachers are not simply educators, they are life-changers.

Of importance, the culturally based diagnoses of learners and students should always be respected with some caution because there is a fine line between ancestral calling and early onset of mental illnesses. Ruling out peripheral causal factors is a standard process in ensuring that an appropriate intervention is implemented. Skepticisms, for the good course has protected numerous innocent and vulnerable individuals across societal sectors. 

  • Precious Shamase