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Expert Weighs In On How To Make Up For Lost Teaching Time

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In March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa placed the country under a hard lockdown and ordered people to stay home.

Initially the lockdown was supposed to last a few weeks, however this was not the case. The school year was severely disrupted and the loss of time in the classroom will never be recovered.

Professor Mary Metcalfe explained that not only have learners lost the opportunity to learn new work, but have also lost what they have just learned three months into the school year.

While the situation did improve in 2021, the impact of Covid-19 is still being felt. This as learners attended school on a rotational basis. This meant that students attended school during alternate days or alternate weeks. Metcalfe explained this resulted in further losses in teaching time.

She said, “for many of those learners they were not learning at home which meant that they lost half of the year. Now to lose so much time for learning, the complex set of knowledge that we require from learners in this modern age there is definitely an impact on loss of learning”.

Metcalfe says the consequences of this may be dire. This as research suggest children are not getting basic numeracy and literacy at the beginning of their schooling lives which is fundamental to their development.

She believes that teachers need to have discussions with their colleagues to determine what parts of the curriculum must be prioritised.

“There's a mistake that many people make that just says the teacher needs to go faster. No, the purpose of teaching is learning so teachers need to be much more in touch with the learning that's being achieved differentially across the classroom and make adjustments to prioritise foundational concepts, key ideas and in my view it's numeracy and literacy” concluded Metcalfe.

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