Education students head to schools in South Africa

Mark Wickens and Sharon AbbeyThis is the third time Sharon Abbey has packed her bags and taken a group of eager student teachers to schools in South Africa.In an annual program the professor of Education started in 2008, 10 future teachers will spend three weeks in a poverty-stricken suburb of Cape Town. They will teach in two elementary schools, learning to craft lessons without the usual amenities like computers, videos or photocopiers.The group – led by Abbey and Brock cohort advisor Mark Wickens – will also take more than 500 pounds of school supplies and necessities for the community they’ll visit. The load includes glasses, shoes, 100 soccer balls, beads, books and two laptop computers.The trip will count as a portion of the in-classroom experience required for Ontario teaching certification. The group will also visit an orphanage and a group called Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS, as well as experiencing an overnight safari and the Cape of Good Hope.The popular program has inspired some of its past participants to pursue international education, teaching in countries like Australia, Switzerland and Kenya, Abbey said.“They get this in their blood and they just keep going.”Teaching in the South African schools will challenge the students to be creative with fewer resources than usual, Wickens said.“This will help push their ability to be creative and use what I call high-yield strategies,” he said.The group leaves on the month-long trip on April 14.Quick links:– Faculty of Education | Brock University– Faculty page – Dr. Sharon Abbey read more