Each year, the teacher exchange programme is a highlight on the Sparrow Schools calendar, and this is not for naught. This annual event resulted from a partnership between the Sparrow Schools Educational Trust in South Africa and the Sparrow UK Trust.
Each year, one or two educators from Sparrow Foundation School or Sparrow Combined School are selected to participate in this programme, which takes educators into the classrooms of partner schools, in order to ultimately gain insight into the different teaching and learning contexts of teachers, in the hope of exposing educators to the different ways in which teaching and learning can be managed and structured.
This year, Sparrow founder Jackie Gallagher took educator Ms Patience Kabudza, a grade 6 educator at Sparrow Foundation School, to the UK for a trip that is bound to have had a profound effect on Ms Kabudza’s teaching in the future.
The trip kicked off with a stop at Tudor Hall in Banbury on 14 May, where Patience and Jackie met up with the other teachers at the school, with a visit to William Morris Primary School following on 15 May. The Early Development Department at William Morris was a treasure trove of valuable experiences about teaching, with the amount of resources at the public school, together with a clever combination of set themes of the week and the different learning areas and subjects, standing out in particular.
A visit to Sibford School was on the cards for 16 May, where Patience and Jackie observed a consistency of values and a well-executed use of the inquiry method, whereby educators utilise questions throughout a lesson, in order to make sure that learners are always following the lessons, and struggling learners don’t get left behind. Even more formidable was the way in which the space outside the classroom is very much used as an environment for learning. The cookery centre at Sibford School impressed Jackie and Patience to no avail, as did 4-year-old learners mastering the use of tools like hammers, saws and shovels.
On 18 May, Patience and Jackie were lucky enough to attend the Richard Bernard Charity Golf Day – an event specifically organised by a Sparrow trustee, Richard Bernard, in an effort to raise funds for the Sparrow Schools’ Foundation. Initiated 17 years ago, the event was well attended and successful, as well as a great way to continue fostering the wonderful relationship between the two Sparrow Trusts.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and of course Ms Kabudza couldn’t leave the UK without seeing some of the sights in the UK capital, London. Accompanying her were Sparrow Foundation UK trustees, Judy and Robert Davis, whom we extend our heartfelt thanks to for a lovely day.
Ms Kabudza’s last week in the UK was spent at the Alleyns School in London, where she was able to observe a truly excellent educational offering. Although the Alleyns School has been a loyal Sparrow Foundation supporter for three years, this was the first time that a Sparrow educator paid a visit to learn more about the teaching methods utilised at the school, which were, in a word, superb – we thank Janet Carlsson in this regard.
After a productive and fruitful trip to the UK, Mss Patience Kabudza and Jackie Gallagher arrived back on our sunny shores on 24 May. As always, this trip has been an eye-opener – both to the wide variety of teaching methods and materials available in the UK, and to the ways in which the lessons that were learnt can be practically implemented at Sparrow Foundation School and Sparrow Combined School.
We extend our sincere gratitude to the Sparrow UK Trust, the Sparrow Schools Educational Trust SA and to Ms Patience Kabudza, for a trip that has broadened our horizons in a great many ways.