Opinion - Can you see any notable patterns in the following list of KZN schools that have impressively achieved a 100% matric pass rate over the last five years?

Here they are in alphabetical order: Al-Falaah College, Danville Park Girls' High, Durban Girls' High, Eden College Durban, Ihsaan Girls’ College, Inkamana High, Islamic College Newcastle, Kwathintwa School for the Deaf, Maritzburg Muslim School for Girls, Menzi High, Mount Edgecombe Private, Racing and Equestrian Academy, Siraatul Haq Islamic School, Star College, St Catherine's High (for girls), Westville Girls' High and Ukhahlamba High.

These are schools that wrote the Department of Basic…

Read more: Probing Patterns of Matric Excellence

Arabic Language

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…

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Top Ten Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started Teaching

The following tips are from the series Empowering the Beginning Teacher in Mathematics, by Cynthia Thomas.

10. Not every student will be interested every minute. No matter how much experience you haveor how great you are at teaching, you will encountertimes in the classroom when no student is interested!The solution is to change your tone of voice, movearound the room, or switch from lecturing to someother activity. Maybe you can even use a manipulativeto increase the students’ understanding and,possibly, their level of interest.

9. If a lesson is going…

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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 Coefrom Durham University, says this is a “starter kit” for thinking about what makes good…

Read more: Effective teaching: 10 tips on what works and what doesn’t

How much? How often? How relevant?

  • Only assign what’s necessary to augment instruction. If you can get sufficient information by assigning only five problems, then don’t assign fifty.
  • Focus on practice and review. Give students a chance to try new material, further practice skills they have recently learned, and review something they already know.
  • Take students’ age into consideration when determining the amount of homework to assign. Recommendations from “Helping Your Students With Homework: A Guide for Teachers,” published by the U.S. Department of Education, lists the following:
    • Grades 1-3: up to 20 minutes a night
    • Grades 4-6: 20-40 minutes a night…

Read more: Homework