Very welcome to my blog! [blogging since Nov 2007] This blog was started to ‘inform’ an American chess friend [Dan] about South Africa…and it all turned out – well what you see now… a complete mix of everything and chess.
I’m a Primary Teacher from South Africa, also British qualified and I’m teaching primary [age 9-10] in a UK school. Education has always taken an important place in our family – with a husband as a teacher, our own children also ‘suffered’ [quite a bit with teachers at home too...hehe] Having a granddad -from Holland- who left his own country of origin to teach in South Africa and a whole extended teacher-family – I couldn’t make a better choice in becoming a teacher as well. My granddad started a school and it’s a government school today. Read all about the school here on this link. The original school was in his own house. I have pictures of the children in his house – learning. My uncle -on my mum’s side- was the Secretary of Education, Arts and Science [J. J. Op't Hof] in the 1970′s and you can imagine if our family have a gathering…it’s just mainly teacher-talk.
I’m a poetry lover. See the Gedigte/Poetry-page for some of my own – and when you read it, please know that it is my own thoughts and I’m not trying think myself a poet! - Some in English and some in Afrikaans. I’m proud to say that I have a poem, written by the well-known Eugene Marais, published in English. I’ve completed the translation and on THIS LINK you can see the conversation between Hanna and myself. The poem has been published in a reading series, Level 6.
I have a ‘special’ connection to the British/South African War [Anglo Boer War] via my Great Granddad ,who was the Acting President of the ZAR during the sign of the Peace Treaty, when Paul Kruger was abroad. I’m proud to say he signed the Peace Treaty on behalf of Paul Kruger. On the given link you can read more about him.
I’m busy with my Masters in SEN, which I started in September 2012. – something I wanted to do three years ago, but time was tight. I am now about to start my research project.
Nikita is my blog-nickname and it originates from my chess-nickname on a chess site – and the song by Elton John.
My teaching experience in SA is in the age groups 9-13, but more with Gr3′s – 9 year old children. I also hold a second qualification – from SA - a 2 year-MBD-qualification[SEN/Dyslexia including the child with ADHD] - to support students with all sorts of learning disabilities - in particular Dyslexia, but I have worked with students with Autism/Down Syndrome students and also students with visual problems – partially sighted students (including blind students). At the moment I’m having an autistic boy in my class, who makes the days even more exciting and interesting! I’m also a qualified Teacher-librarian. Yes, for some teachers in the UK it is VERY hard to understand how it is possible that South African teachers can be so flexible and versatile - it’s all to do with our type of training – we had in the past! We were lucky – I think, with the quality of training we had. Visit Prof Yonge’s site – he is busy translating Prof W A Landman’s works- and other South African Educational Academics – like Prof Landman. You will know what exactly we had to study and what the lesson structure was all about. ‘Plenary’ is no ‘new’ word to us. We called it ‘evaluation’. Questioning was the start of our lesson plans…also nothing ‘new’ – in particular Blooms Taxonomy.
You will find on my blog an entry on Dyslexia and also an entry on Irlen Syndrome. Dyslexia and children with any ‘learning problem’ are topics very close to my heart. I’ve always had a soft spot for any child with any ‘problem’. They always attract me! On the entry about Irlen Syndrome, you will find a book: ‘Reading by the colours’ – which will help you understanding reading problems of children. It is definitely a book I can recommend for reading, if that is your interest! Oh, did I mention: I hate it if people [in general] are dishonest. Wonderful how our society is made up of such a rich variety of nations and people, but so sad to know that you get people who don’t have the same values you believe in. Honesty and Integrity – two very important principles you can NOT divide, which is SO important in our lives to make up a GOOD [brilliant] society. I hope you share the same values. Langenhoven, a brilliant writer of South Africa said: Good books and music enrich the soul. If you are in GOOD company, you enrich yourself, hoping you get enriched by what you find on my blog.
Here are a few links – for you to follow up. They are some of the popular links on my blog. Enjoy!
The following links are from my blog and will open in a new window.
Click HERE to read my 2008 entry about Irlen Syndrome, including the book: Reading by the colours.
Click HERE to read about hyperactivity and dyslexia.
On THIS LINK you can read about trees and their personalities! What kind of tree are you?
On this link you can read about ADHD, exercise and learning.
On this link you can read my 2009 entry about playing chess and how it may help the child diagnosed with ADHD.
On this link, you can see translations of what we as trainee teachers had to study – and it’s not even all of it. You will get a glimpse of what South African teachers had to ‘go through’ during our training – before 1994. What is not on the link, is like Yonge says at the bottom of the page: Historical and Comparative Pedagogics. It’s just mind-blowing what we had to study.
On the next link you can see how we as student teachers [trainee teachers] had to structure our lessons. In your first year of teaching it was expected that EVERY LESSON you taught, to be written out according to these steps! They are cemented in your brain forever, ask me.[hehe]
I have experience of being a Teacher-librarian for 14 years -whilst teaching too. Library studies was ONE of my subjects [skills subject] during my training as a teacher. Remedial Studies was another subject – academic subject – one of many other subjects. Remedial Studies was my 2 year-academic subject and Northern Sotho [one of the indigenous languages in South Africa] my 4 year academic subject. All other Educational subjects were compulsory, e.g. Child Psychology, Pedagogy, Orto-pedagogy, Social Pedagogy, Didactic Method, etc etc [including Maths/Science/History/...etc etc - the normal school-based subjects] We sat exams and tests all year round! You had to get 50% [at least] for a ‘pass’ in each subject. Practical teaching was always in August – for a whole month – all of your 4 years of study.
We used to live for 5 years in West London, now a bit more to the South East. My blog name [not my real name- please take note] originates from the words…Chess+ SA + Lee…Chessa is the South African Chess Association…but I’m not the official Chessa blogger! only Chess+SA give you Chessa….South Africa – my country of origin, which I love, and the game CHESS I love! and Lee Mead. He was my favourite in a competition to play the leading role in “Joseph….” that was held in 2007 in the UK. I looooooove South Africa, – the best place in the world to be – that’s why you will find lots of postings about South Africa, songs, poetry, poems about our best poets and national poets that’s in the same class as Poe/Wordsworth etc. You will find works of Eugene Marais/Ingrid Jonker/Totius/NP van Wyk-Louw etc…all outstanding writers/poets…also artists…as I love art myself. You will find Bettie-Cilliers Barnard, Pierneef, Walter Battis [creater of Fook Island]…..they are only a few of our famous artists, but you will find many others on my blog too, even from other countries too…
I do blog about things in life I enjoy/love/like/believe in/find interesting/find fascinating/find stimulating and to express my views and don’t blog to satisfy/impress other people, but more to inform/enrich other people…although I know some topics like music, poetry and chess aren’t everybody’s piece of cake. – but at least it’s mine. [hehe]
I like the following quote – apart of Hamlet’s quotes! Hamlet was my Shakespeare book we studied when I was in Grade 11. ‘Something is rotten in the State of Denmark’ is my favourite Shakespeare quote. I think the quote speaks for itself in many situations!
“He who knows not and knows not he knows not: he is a fool – shun him. He who knows not and knows he knows not: he is simple – teach him. He who knows and knows not he knows: he is asleep – wake him. He who knows and knows he knows: he is wise and a leader- follow him.”
I’m a book lover and in particular a lover of children’s books! (believe it or not!) and therefore, you will find posts about great books I’ve come across or used in my teaching….Afrikaans as well as English…you will find books/writers on my blog…also entries about South African writers…e.g. Dalene Matthee and a few others…I do try to write poems too, in both languages, so you can read the page about “poems/gedigte” and I hope you enjoy what you find! You will find a very extensive entry about the British/Boer War as I have a strong connection via my great grandad to the war – he was acting president during the time Paul Kruger was in Switzerland and signed the Peace Treaty with the English. On my blog you will find lots of South African recipes, some entries with photos showing you step-by-step…if you go to the “movies” page you will find “movies” about places in SA…one in particular about our holiday at Swadini…in the Eastern part of the country…called Mpumalanga…where the greenest canyon in the world is and the third longest tufa waterfal,(the weeping tufa). If you don’t know what a tufa waterfal is, make sure you watch the Swadini-video.
I’m not a professional chess player at all – as someone asked me once, but do play for the fun of it online. As I’m a teacher too, you will find links to educational sites or find educational-posts from time to time. I have lots of posts about chess….some of my own games. I’ve blogged about research that was done in the past on chess/education…big tournaments which the world’s chess grandmasters take part in. You will find Carlsen/Anand/Kramnik’s games here and many other Chess Grandmasters….also the Africa Juniors of 2008/2009 and major South African chess tournaments up to almost the end of 2009…I love classical music and you will find a couple of entries on classical music too…I always try to find other resources and link it to my posts…enjoy whatever you find here and if you love travelling, then make sure South Africa is your next stop!
You want to know about the history of food in South Africa? This link here, is an Afrikaans Thesis about South African food 1652-1800′s. The link will open in a new window.
44 Places to go in 2009…on this link South Africa is nr 34…click on the South African-image and see why you have to go there in 2009!http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/01/11/travel/20090111_DESTINATIONS.html?hp
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