Professor Labby Ramrathan, an academic from the School of Education, recently presented his inaugural lecture on teachers, teaching and transforming education.
Apart from dedicating the lecture- held at the Edgewood campus- to his mother Mrs K Ramrathan, he also linked his current research on teacher education and teaching to his academic journey.
‘Teachers are continuously making instantaneous decisions in class as they spontaneously respond to learners’ needs, questions, diversions and incidental disruptions to the lessons during curriculum delivery; all of which require decisive decisions by the teacher; but we do not focus our teacher development activities on how teachers can harness their decision making capabilities and build trust in these decisions so that appropriate classroom engagement can happen with intended and relevant learning for the learner,’ he said.
Through Ramrathan’s research, it is evident that teachers are not able to teach the curriculum as planned, some barely going through 50 percent of the intended curriculum. ‘It does not mean that teaching and learning is not taking place. Quite the opposite. Relevant teaching and learning is taking place, it may not necessarily be in terms of the formal curriculum, but nonetheless, the learning is relevant to the situation, the learners and the education of the child,’ he said.
Ramrathan looked at how homework has become a normalised discourse within the schooling system and the purpose it serves saying, ‘The formal school curriculum is extensive with so many subjects and so much content that homework is a necessity to supplement school education. Yet, we know that homework will not be done as expected. Let us blame the learners and parents, not the formal school curriculum,’ added Ramrathan.
He also discussed transforming education, stating, ‘A shift from Education for All to Education for Relevance would provide opportunities for learners to co-exist in both worlds that exists within South Africa. An impoverished world that requires an education that will enable them to have a healthy life in their respective communities and a post-modern world with the literacies needed to sustain a global presence,’ he said.
Ramrathan is currently co-ordinating the College of Humanities Curriculum Transformation project and will focus on higher education teachers, teaching and transforming higher education.