2014

Rules of Engagement

Meet Mrs. Rudo Mazenge, a lecturer at False Bay College’s Mitchell’s Plain Campus. Her forte is Accounting. Born and educated in Zimbabwe, she regards herself as one of the lucky ones to have influenced and shaped young minds from Harare to the Cape.

 

rules-of-engagement-Mitchells-PlainFor Mrs. Mazenge the traditional role of the teacher is no longer applicable.  She believes today’s educator cannot be a distant and aloof dispenser of knowledge,but should rather act as a facilitator/bridge between the learner and the study material.

Mrs.Mazenge has taken an ordinary way of communicating, via WhatsApp Messenger, and has used it to encourage discourse and help clarify study material on academic issues.  She has also created chat groups and an enabling platform for students to grow in knowledge and confidence through ongoing support and knowledge-sharing.

For Rudo (which means Love in English) it is not so much the communication on academic issues that is of paramount importance;  what she values are the links that she forges with her students. She maintains that the relationship she creates with them fosters a productive environment for learning and teaching.

One of her N4 students, Elvina Nicholas, describesMrs Mazenge as ‘magnificent’. The learner said that she last did accounting 12 years ago and managed to score 92% for her semester’s internal exam.  She attributes these results to the input and encouragement of Mrs.Mazenge.

This illustrates what a difference is made when an educator sincerely cares about their students.  Students will want to impress and strive to perform according to expectations. The educator ceases to be just an authoritarian figure dispensing knowledge, rewards and punishment and instead becomes an approachable partner in the journey to awareness, enlightenment and success.

False Bay College’s Mitchells Plain Campus is a small campus. It has a population of approximately 800 students.  Under the able leadership of Mrs. Souchan Gasant-Jackson, the campus is thriving.

Mrs.Gasant-Jackson runs a tight ship. Her strengths are planning, paying attention to deadlines and facilitating discussions on work related matters.  This means meetings, meetings and meetings. It does foster a strong sense of the collective;  the team is involved in decision-making and implementation. The group, collectively, charts a common destiny. It is not surprising that Mrs. Mazenge is encouraging the same discourse amongst her students.

The Campus has a small Open Learning Centre. It has 16 computers with Internet access. There are printing facilities and equipment for visually impaired students.

The limited number of physical books available is belied by the countless number of resources that can be accessed online. The E-learning Department, under Mrs. Marian Theron, is vigorously promoting the use of online platforms that will transform the teaching and learning process. In her classroom Mrs. Mazenge has access to the resources through her lecturer PC and she can beam audio visual images through the data projector to enhance the learning experience.

Educators need to adapt and embrace the technologies that the students of today use. Mrs.Mazenge is breaking boundaries and this is having a positive impact on herstudents.  By showing them that she is prepared to learn their ‘language’ she is conveying an attitude of caring.  The students, in turn, are more engaged with their learning material, achievingbetter results and a brighter future as a consequence.