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Johannesburg - Foreign children attending school in South Africa have been affected by the recent xenophobic attacks, the National Professional Teachers Organisation of SA (Naptosa) said on Monday.
"Learners have also been unsettled by the violence and some foreign nationals learners have been intimidated," said Naptosa president Basil Manuel.
Teaching was also disrupted in some schools, as some foreign nationals teaching in South Africa were afraid to report for duty amid the violent attacks which have claimed the lives of at least six people.
Manuel said it was mostly schools in Pietermaritzburg and Durban that were affected.
"We understandably saw several absentees from foreign teachers who are mostly from Zimbabwe on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday," said Manuel.
He said the organisation was shocked by the attacks and called on teachers to condemn the violence and law enforcement officials to take action.
He called on schools to protect foreign national teachers.
"[We] appeal to all teachers to use the power of education to fulfil their role as national-builders and inculcate a culture of tolerance, acceptance and respect for all people irrespective of nationality, race, colour, culture or religious faith," Manuel said.
He appealed to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to ensure that security was intensified in schools in areas of conflict.
Naptosa would support schools and teachers affected by the attacks, Manuel said.
Arabic language is one of the core courses offered in almost every private full time Islamic schools in S.Africa. It is the language in which the Qur'an is written, and, therefore, a certain familiarity with Arabic is necessary for all students in Islamic schools.
Islamic schools form a permanent reservoir of Arabic language instruction in S.Africa. Long after current grants and financial support for Arabic language have dried up and disappeared, Islamic schools will continue to teach it. It is also the heritage language of many students. Right from its very inception, an Islamic school must grapple with a difficult but fundamental question - why are we teaching Arabic?
This decision might seem fairly straightforward for some communities, especially if they intend to replicate the "traditional" immigrant overseas experience, i.e., "My kids can learn to recite the Qur'an the way I did." But a school needs to take a much deeper look at the real situation their children will face here in S.Africa. For example, universities prefer students who have taken a language in high school. It makes good sense, therefore, for the school to offer Arabic as a course that will fulfill the language requirement. However, the "traditional" way of teaching Arabic is deeply inadequate to meet the standards of a language course. So what should a school do?
That can be answered only by each school, but the information below can help a school make an informed decision.
Click here to go to the National Capital Language Resource Center website:http://www.arabick12.org/index.html
The Gauteng education department has defended the rights of eight girls suspended from an East Rand school for refusing to wear skirts, the Saturday Star reported. The girls wanted to wear slacks, but were allegedly suspended from Tholulwazi Secondary School in Tsakane as the principal told them not to return to classes until they "knew whether they were boys or girls". The mother of one of the girls said the school demanded to see her child's birth certificate to verify whether she was female. She told the newspaper she believed that the real reason behind the girls' suspension was that they were lesbians. On Wednesday, the girls returned to school after around two weeks following the department's intervention in the matter. Spokesperson Phumla Sekhonyane said the department viewed the allegations in a serious light. "No discrimination of any form - including [that based on] religion, sexuality or creed - is allowed in schools."
What commercial and cultural propaganda presents as beautiful is rooted in ugly paganism but most blind followers do not know.
By Khalid Baig
There is a group of practices that we can consider as the twin sister of bid'ah. Like bid'ah they flourish on the twin foundations of ignorance and outside influence. Like bid'ah they entail rituals. But unlike bid'ah the rituals have not been given an Islamic face. They are followed because they are considered an acceptable cultural practice or the hottest imported "in" thing.
Most of those who indulge in them do not know what they are doing. They are just blind followers of their equally blind cultural leaders. Little do they realize that what they consider as innocent fun may in fact be rooted in paganism. That the symbols they embrace may be symbols of unbelief. That the ideas they borrow may be products of superstition. That all of these may be a negation of what Islam stands for.
Christianity tried to stop the evil celebration of Lupercalia. Its only success was in changing the name from Lupercalia to St. Valentine's Day
Consider Valentine's Day, a day that after dying out a well deserved death in most of Europe (but surviving in Britain and United States) has suddenly started to emerge across a good swath of Muslim countries. Who was Valentine? Why is this day observed? Legends abound, as they do in all such cases, but this much is clear: Valentine's Day began as a pagan ritual started by Romans in the 4th century BCE to honor the god Lupercus. The main attraction of this ritual was a lottery held to distribute young women to young men for "entertainment and pleasure"--until the next year's lottery. Among other equally despicable practices associated with this day was the lashing of young women by two young men, clad only in a bit of goatskin and wielding goatskin thongs, who had been smeared with blood of sacrificial goats and dogs. A lash of the "sacred" thongs by these "holy men" was believed to make them better able to bear children.
As usual, Christianity tried, without success, to stop the evil celebration of Lupercalia. It first replaced the lottery of the names of women with a lottery of the names of the saints. The idea was that during the following year the young men would emulate the life of the saint whose name they had drawn. (The idea that you can preserve the appearance of a popular evil and yet somehow turn it to serve the purpose of virtue, has survived. Look at all those people who are still trying, helplessly, to use the formats of popular television entertainments to promote good. They might learn something from this bit of history. It failed miserably) Christianity ended up doing in Rome, and elsewhere, as the Romans did.
How can anyone in his right mind think that Islam would be indifferent to practices seeped in anti-Islamic ideas and beliefs?
The only success it had was in changing the name from Lupercalia to St. Valentine's Day. It was done in CE 496 by Pope Gelasius, in honor of some Saint Valentine. There are as many as 50 different Valentines in Christian legends. Two of them are more famous, although their lives and characters are also shrouded in mystery. According to one legend, and the one more in line with the true nature of this celebration, St. Valentine was a "lovers'" saint, who had himself fallen in love with his jailer's daughter.
Due to serious troubles that accompanied such lottery, French government banned the practice in 1776. In Italy, Austria, Hungry, and Germany also the ritual vanished over the years. Earlier, it had been banned in England during the 17th century when the Puritans were strong. However in 1660 Charles II revived it. From there it also reached the New World, where enterprising Yankees spotted a good means of making money. Esther A. Howland, who produced one of the first commercial American Valentine's Day cards called--- what else--- valentines, in the 1840s, sold $5,000 worth--when $5,000 was a lot of money--the first year. The valentine industry has been booming ever since.
It is the same story with Halloween, which has otherwise normal human beings dressing like ghosts and goblins in a reenactment of an ancient pagan ritual of demon worship. Five star hotels in Muslim countries arrange Halloween parties so the rich can celebrate the superstitions of a distant period of ignorance that at one time even included the shameful practice of human sacrifice. The pagan name for that event was Samhain (pronounced sow-en). Just as in case of Valentine's Day, Christianity changed its name, but not the pagan moorings.
Christmas is another story. Today Muslim shopkeepers sell and shoppers buy Christmas symbols in Islamabad or Dubai or Cairo. To engage in a known religious celebration of another religion is bad enough. What is worse is the fact that here is another pagan celebration (Saturnalia) that has been changed in name ---and in little else--- by Christianity.
During joys and sorrows, during celebrations and sufferings, we must follow the one straight path --- not many divergent paths.
Even the celebration considered most innocent might have pagan foundations. According to one account, in pagan cultures, people feared evil spirits - especially on their birthdays. It was a common belief that evil spirits were more dangerous to a person when he or she experienced a change in their daily life, such as turning a year older. So family and friends surrounded the person with laughter and joy on their birthdays in order to protect them from evil.
How can anyone in his right mind think that Islam would be indifferent to practices seeped in anti-Islamic ideas and beliefs? Islam came to destroy paganism in all its forms and it cannot tolerate any trace of it in the lives of its followers.
Further, Islam is very sensitive about maintaining its purity and the unique identity of its followers. Islamic laws and teachings go to extra lengths to ensure it. Salat is forbidden at the precise times of sunrise, transition, and sunset to eliminate the possibility of confusion with the practice of sun worship. To the voluntary recommended fast on the tenth of Muharram, Muslims are required to add another day (9th or 11th) to differentiate it from the then prevalent Jewish practice. Muslims are forbidden to emulate the appearance of non-Muslims.
A Muslim is a Muslim for life. During joys and sorrows, during celebrations and sufferings, we must follow the one straight path --- not many divergent paths. It is a great tragedy that under the constant barrage of commercial and cultural propaganda from the forces of globalization and the relentless media machine, Muslims have begun to embrace the Valentines, the Halloween ghost, and even the Santa Claus. Given our terrible and increasing surrender to paganism the only day we should be observing is a day of mourning. Better yet it should be a day of repentance that could liberate us from all these days. And all this daze.
Source: albalagh.net by Khalid Baig
The question of what makes a great teacher has been around for a long time. It’s an enquiry that poses many problems because there’s simply no set recipe for success, and different approaches work for different professionals and students.
The Sutton Trust has published a report that reviews the research into effective teaching, finding that popular practices, such as lavishing praise on students or allowing them to discover key things for themselves, actually have no grounding in research.
The author of the report, professor Robert Coe from Durham University, says this is a “starter kit” for thinking about what makes good teaching. So, what does the report recommend? Here are 10 salient points to take away:
The report, which looked at more than 200 pieces of research, found that there were six main elements to great teaching and one of the most important ones was subject knowledge. It may seem obvious, but the report found that the best teachers have a deep knowledge of their subject, and if that falls below a certain point it has a “significant impact” on students’ learning. Targeted help for teachers, giving them an understanding of particular areas where their knowledge is weak, could be effective.
The wrong kind of praise can be harmful for students, the report found. A number of studies conducted by education experts, including Carol Dweck professor of psychology at Stanford University and Auckland University professors John Hattie and Helen Timperley, have observed this.
Deborah Stipek, the dean of the Stanford Graduate School of Education, said that praise is meant to be encouraging but it can actually “convey a teacher’s low expectations”. Stipek said that if a pupil’s failure was met with sympathy rather than anger then they were more likely to think they had done badly due to a lack of ability.
The report adds the caveat that the findings are open to interpretation, however, as teachers can do things well or badly, and some methods are not appropriate in all circumstances.
The quality of teaching has a big impact on the achievement of students’ from poorer backgrounds, and effective questioning and assessment are at the heart of great teaching. This involves giving enough time for children to practise new skills and introducing learning progressively. Defining effective teaching isn’t easy, the report conceded, but research always returns to the fact that student progress is the yardstick by which teacher quality should be assessed.
The reasons why teachers do certain things in the classroom and what they hope to achieve has an effect on student progress. Mike Askew, the author of Effective Teachers of Numeracy, found that beliefs about the nature of maths and what it means to understand it, along with teachers’ ideas about how children learn and their role in that process, was an important factor in how effective they were.
Evidence to support this is not conclusive, however. A study by professor Steve Higgins of Durham University and the University of Newcastle upon Tyne’s David Moseley about teacher beliefs in ICT did not find a convincing relationships between beliefs and pupil progress.
This may also seem obvious, but the interactions teachers have with students has a big impact on learning – as well as the “classroom climate”. The report said that it was important to create a classroom environment that was “constantly demanding more” while affirming students’ self-worth. A student’s success should be atributed to effort rather than ability.
Interestingly, this wasn’t as significant as subject knowledge and classroom instruction as a factor contributing to teacher success. But classroom management – including how well a teacher makes use of lesson time, coordinates classroom resources and manages the behaviour of students – was noted as important.
Putting students in groups depending on their ability makes little difference to their learning. Although setting can in theory let teachers work at a pace that suits all pupils and tailor content, it can also create an exaggerated sense of all pupils being alike in the teacher’s mind. This can result in teachers not accomodating to the various different needs within one group and in some instances going too fast with high-ability groups and too slow with low ones.
A survey showed that more than 90% of teachers think individuals learn better when they get information in their preferred learning style. But despite the popularity of this approach psychological evidence shows that there is no evidence this actually works. You can read more about the evidence on learning styles here.
One finding that may surprise you is that approaches that appear to make learning harder in the short term can actually lead to students retaining more information in the long term. Elizabeth Ligon Bjork, professor at the University of Michigan and Robert Bjork, professor at the University of California, said that varying the type of tasks you ask pupils to do improves retention even though it makes learning harder initially.
A teacher’s professional behaviour, including supporting colleagues and talking with parents, also had a moderate impact on students’ learning. The report said that there may not be a direct link with these practices and student achievement, but to capture a broad definition of good teaching they should be included.
Source: theguradian.com by Sarah Marsh
How much? How often? How relevant?
Remember, this is a cumulative amount. If you are only one of five teachers assigning homework, you should adjust accordingly.