Nearly 2,000 teachers under the age of 35 have been trained by the Global Teachers Institute to lead schools and institutions.
In the past three years, more than 1,800 young teachers have benefitted from the Global Teachers Institute (GTI), which trains teachers in how to redefine and recreate their roles in schools.
The aim of the GTI is to encourage young teachers to take on the mantle of leadership at a young age by leading schools and institutions.
Part of its work is to reconceptualise, redefine and recreate the role of a teacher, says GTI manager Nigel Richards. “[We] do that with our young generation of teachers, and pull them in, with this new idea of teaching, and to shift this idea of teaching, with people who are already in the profession.
“Educational transformation will happen through collaboration and integration, and that’s the global essence of the work.”
Xolani Majola, GTI advocacy and partnerships manager, is a Play Your Part ambassador. Play Your Part is a national movement of Brand South Africa that aims to encourage people to participate in active citizenship and social cohesion.
Brand South Africa writer Melissa Javan spoke to Majola about his involvement with the GTI.
Melissa Javan: When did you first get involved in community projects and what led to your joining the GTI?
Xolani Majola: I formally started getting involved in community work in 2003 as a teacher in a small private school in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal. I was probably 28 years old. I’ve always been passionate about the development of young people and the GTI’s prime focus is youth development within the teacher development space.
The GTI wants to make the teaching profession attractive to younger generations. With my interest in youth and the GTI’s focus in youth development in education, we became perfect for each other.
MJ: Can you expand on that?
XM: It gave me the opportunity to work directly with young people, sharing thoughts, ideas and perspectives. I have a chance to positively influence young teachers and motivate them for greatness within the teaching profession. It’s a perfect platform through which to interact with a diverse group of young people from all over the country.
MJ: How old is the GTI?
XM: It is three years old
MJ: Who are the target beneficiaries?
XM: Young people from primarily, though not exclusively, underprivileged communities who have a passion for education. Any other young person who would like to choose teaching as their profession is also welcome.
MJ: How do you choose the beneficiaries?
XM: Anyone with a Bachelor pass in matric or with a post-graduate qualification can apply. This may include students currently studying through mainstream university but who choose to pursue teaching through an internship. We run interviews across the various provinces from where the majority of applicants come.
MJ: What have been your highlights so far?
XM: In July this year, as we did in 2016 and the other years, we ran a student conference called Axis Summit. All our students from across the globe came together for a series of specialised workshops.
Usually this conference attracts a minimum of 600 young students from all over the country, continent and internationally.
So far, over the past three years, we’ve had an impact on about 1,800 young students. To organise an event of this magnitude and open it to the public and use it to influence how young people think, plan, innovate and teach, was a huge highlight for me.
MJ: Do you have advice for people who want to play their part in society; what steps should they take to get their communities involved in a project or initiative?
XM: Key to prior involvement is passion. How passionate are you about a certain area of interest – education in my case? Do you know what your passion is? Is it strong enough to allow you and others to act on it? If all the answers to these questions are positive, then joining any cause or community becomes easy. The rest of the people will follow you once they realise your passion and dedication. Passionate people attract passionate people.
MJ: Why should all South Africans play their part in their communities and be brand ambassadors of South Africa?
XM: To change the rest of the country, people need to positively influence and have an impact on areas they occupy provincially, regionally, locally or even within their families.
I have a theory that each person in their professional or social capacity occupies a certain radius of influence and power. Therefore, each person within their sphere of influence and control has the potential and opportunity to do great things.
With reference to Brand South Africa, every person who becomes an ambassador has a chance to do wonders within that space and thus each brand ambassador, no matter where they are, can positively affect people around them wherever they may be in the country. The rest becomes contagious – a ripple effect.
MJ: Do you use technology and/or social media to spread your message?
XM: I’m a constant user of social networks, particularly Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I can send audio-visual material to a wide audience in a single posting. Every day through my Facebook page I share my thoughts, views and ideas with 5,000 people. This is the best way I can positively use my ambassadorship to spread good news across the country.
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