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The Oxford English Dictionary is 90 years old

Contributed by the Oxford English Dictionary team.

Be part of our celebrations, starting with a new word appeal: ‘Words Where You Are’

Over the next twelve months, we will be marking the Oxford English Dictionary’s 90th birthday with a host of exciting initiatives.  A wealth of information celebrating the past, present, and future of one of the largest dictionaries in the world can be found at our OED90 website.

Oxford English Dictionary word appeal – Words Where You Are

For state capture, tenderpreneur and expropriation without compensation to pop up in conversation, you probably need to have frequented the South African political landscape of the recent past. South Africa’s rich cultural diversity has, however, birthed a long history of amalgamations and borrowed words from all 11 official languages, and then some.

Where else but in our beloved country would tsotsis who hide out in dongas and smoke dagga make you sommer deurmekaar, would you be served sosaties and boerewors at a braai, or stop at a robot on your way to get your papsak from the local shebeen to help swallow your walkie talkies and slap chips? Lekker, bru.

It’s likely all of us can recall a moment when a word we’ve known and have been using for years at home turns out to be completely baffling to people from another English-speaking region.  While many such words are common in speech, some are rarely written down and therefore can easily escape the attention of dictionary editors.

The OED is trying to create the most comprehensive, accurate, and up to date picture of how and where these words are used, and we need your help.  So, wherever you are, we want to hear about words and expressions that are distinctive to where you live or where you are from.  Send them to our website or join the conversation on Twitter at #wordswhereyouare.

Michael Proffitt, Chief Editor of the OED, says “The OED’s comprehensive record of the English language is also an index of sorts to people’s tireless creativity and diversity over many centuries. Regional words are among the most distinctive, inventive, and evocative in the language. They can create a sense of belonging – of childhood, family, or home – or a sense of difference.  Because many regional words occur in speech more than in writing, they don’t always get the recognition they deserve in dictionaries.

“Tell us about the words you think are specific to your part of the world, and help us improve the dictionary’s description of English where you are.”

Phillip Louw, Dictionary Content Development Manager at OUP South Africa said that through detailed analysis of large text collections, “Oxford’s dictionary-makers have kept an eagle eye on South African English as it’s used in a variety of genres – fiction, non-fiction, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. The OED’s initiative gives us a chance to find those hidden gems that are part of everyday conversations: from braais, to lekgotlas, to after (tears) parties. It’s a chance for South Africans to showcase the wit and linguistic innovation we use to make sense of our shared reality.”

Making the impossible attainable

[This article has been contributed by Minda Marshall of Lectorsa.]

I’m just here to ask you to do what must be done, to do your part … to make the possible attainable.” These are the inspiring words of Mohamed Sidibay.

Mohamed Sidibay was born in Sierra Leone and at age five his country was engulfed in a civil war.  Mohamed was kidnapped by rebels and forced to become a child soldier. One night he fled and an Italian priest gave him shelter and connected him to an NGO that links students and teachers worldwide through technology. “Education has offered me choices, chances and challenges.  I appreciate the gift of education. I believe that even if we give people the whole world, that world could crumble. But if we give them an education, they can rebuild their world,” Mohamed wrote in an article published in Africa Renewal in 2017. Mohamed’s life story is truly inspiring and once again proves that education is the key to a better, brighter future for all.

I have worked in the educational field for the last 30 years and have been in the privileged position to experience that feeling of pure joy when a child realises his/her full potential.  When they start with their first lesson on LAB-on-line (Lectorsa’s flagship solution) they are oftentimes nervous, some even more so after seeing their first report, but as they continue to engage the system and see their own progress, there is not only an increase in their results but also in their confidence.  This is still one of the most satisfying dimensions of the work we do – seeing the change that takes place within a person who realises… “Yes, I can do this!”

Change is clearly visible – we equip future leaders with the right set of skills to excel in the 21st century and beyond, but more importantly, we remind them that they are the authors of their own destiny.  At Lectorsa, we believe that you are born with everything you need to be exceptional.

For this reason, we also applaud Andria Zafirakou, the winner of the Global Teacher Prize award, for being a fellow solutioneer. She has helped change the lives of students in one of the UK’s poorest areas, giving them a high level of confidence and a strong chance at a better future. The responsibility we carry for a better future is clear: You and I must become the change!  Mohamed and Andria are but two examples of what can be achieved through education. The importance of their journey is the message we have to receive… It starts with us.

Our vision at Lectorsa is to have our solutions available for EVERY student in all nations, in order to support, improve and develop their Visual Processing and Cognitive Development Factor. This will increase neuroplasticity and enhance creative thinking patterns to develop new knowledge for better solutions.  These are exciting times…because across the globe people are busy making the possible attainable. We can change the world … together.

F1 in Schools STEM Challenge Reinforces Status as Official Education Initiative

The global educational initiative, F1 in Schools STEM Challenge, has unveiled a new logo for F1 in Schools UK National Finals held at Silverstone Race Circuit last week. Incorporating the new Formula 1 logo launched last year, F1 in Schools’ new look visually reinforces the challenge’s status as Formula 1’s official education initiative.

The logo will be used by the F1 in Schools programmes 45 countries with a phased introduction around the world through 2018.

Bez Sangari, CEO of Sangari Education, explained: “The contest, which supports curriculum learning, reflects F1 in Schools commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects and a desire to recruit the next generation of engineers to design and develop future electric, connected and autonomous vehicles.” The contest is managed and run in South Africa by Sangari Education.

“What makes the F1 in Schools Technology Challenge different is that it entails a comprehensive and inclusive learning approach. Learners engage with subjects that improve literacy, numeracy, sport and sports science, design and technology, art and design, textiles knowledge, STEM learning, computing, and business and enterprise,” added Mr Sangari.

Ellie Norman, director of Marketing & Communications, Formula 1, said, “We’re delighted to continue working so closely with F1 in Schools as we break down barriers and engage the next generation in STEM and the opportunities within Formula 1. With the rebranding of Formula 1 and its new identity it was only fitting to extend it into this education programme that is reaching a global youth audience.”

The F1 in Schools STEM Challenge has forged ever-closer links with Formula 1 over its 19-year history. In 2005 Bernie Ecclestone gave his support to F1 in Schools by granting the Challenge a world-wide protected trademark and a new logo in 2005. Since this time, F1 in Schools has provided the sport with a platform for promotion to the younger generation, taking the sport right into the classroom, educating and inspiring a passion for Formula 1 with one of the most important audiences.

The new Official F1 in Schools product range is spearheaded by the Official F1 in Schools Race Track that brings together an ergonomic design with a lightweight track, high-tech digital display Start/Finish gates, with Wifi data transmission, and an integrated cable management system.

The competition challenges students to create their own Formula 1 team which is commissioned to design and manufacture a miniature Formula 1 car starting with the F1 in Schools model block and CAD software, with the car being powered by a compressed air cylinder. Each team of between three and six students creates a pit display and showcases their work in developing their race car.

The cars race on a 20-metre track, with the cars covering the distance in around one second.   The students compete at regional, national and international level, with the national winners having the potential bonus of travelling internationally. The World Finals have been held in a variety of countries including Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and the USA where the events are held in conjunction with the F1 Grand Prix being held in that country. The World Finals brings together the best students to compete for the coveted World Champions trophy and valuable university scholarships and bursaries.

The Mighty Pen – February 2018 edition

The Februay 2018 edition of The Mighty Pen is available for download here.

You can choose to view or download (5mb) the magazine, which is in the form of a fully interactive PDF.

Principals can click on any email, website or social media link in the magazine to go directly to the school supplier.

To contact the editor, Janos Bozsik, email: editor@themightypen.co.za or themightypen@vodamail.co.za 

Adequate Reading Skills Defined

Every learner needs adequate reading skills to master the subject content of the relevant school year (in other words the school grade) they are in.

Stimulus Maksima! define adequate reading skills as the competency that somebody has to read and understand material graded for his or her specific age or school grade at a prescribed speed.

Reading comprehension and speed at a specific grade does not only strongly correlate with, but actually determines, the learner’s academic achievement.   Learners failing to keep up with the reading skills required for their specific grade often show signs of the following:

  • Low confidence and self-esteem, often expressed in destructive and undisciplined behaviour.
  • Lost of interest in school work resulting in underperformance.
  • Trying to find ways to compensate for their inadequate reading skills.
  • Emotional problems, resulting in socialising problems.
  • Losing hope to pass a school year, finishing their school career and joining a tertiary institution.
  • Losing hope of being employed after school.
  • Losing hope to fulfill their specific passion in life and many more.

An improvement in reading skills can address and rectify the cause of most of the above-mentioned symptoms often within a very short period.

Once learners have experienced the benefits and advantages of achieving adequate reading skills and their required reading age, they usually continue to thrive academically at school and university or professionally in their chosen careers.

The Mighty Pen – ADESSA’s Media Partner

ADESSA has partnered with The Mighty Pen as its media partner.  This partnership will provide us with greater media exposure.   We will inform you regularly about new magazine issues, which will help you to stay in touch with developements in education.  These issues can be viewed online.

The lastest issue (January 2018) can be viewed by clicking here.  Below is an image of the front page, giving you some idea of what you can expect.

To contact the editor, Janos Bozsik, email: editor@themightypen.co.za or themightypen@vodamail.co.za 

 

 

 

2018: The Year for Education par Excellence

The following opinion piece was contibuted by Minda Marshall, co-director and co-owner of Lectorsa, a leading research and development company (based in Mokopane, Limpopo) that supplies solutions internationally to the education and training market.

We are already full speed into 2018 and at Lectorsa we believe that this is the year of bigger, better, more.  2018 is going to be the year where we should see an important change in our education system.

Last year South Africa was presented with hard facts:  A staggering 78% of gr 4’s in the country cannot read for meaning and according to Dr. Nick Spaull, “the ‘real’ gr 12 pass rate for 2017 is around 57% meaning that 43% of the youth in SA still get no qualification whatsoever”.

It is also important to realise that quality education is currently a big challenge, not only in SA but also globally.

At Lectorsa we are up to that challenge. The World Economic Forum recently predicted that robots could replace 800 million jobs by 2030. These facts and predictions can bring us to a rather gloomy view of the future, however, I strongly believe that we should be very excited about the sweeping changes that are ahead of us.

Jack Ma (business magnate, investor, and philanthropist) recently indicated at the recent WEF Conference that as humans we should not try to compete with machines, to clarify, even Usain Bolt won’t be able to outrun a speed train. The changes ahead of us should inspire us to find invigorating new ways of living beneficial and fulfilled lives in the future – and as educators, we should prepare our students for these exciting times.

After attending EduTech Africa in October 2017, I was inspired to see thousands of educators from across the country pursuing the latest in teaching strategies, cutting-edge technology and solutions so that they can shape an educational environment that will be more relevant in the 21st-century and beyond.

This has just proven once again that there are many people that share our passion for improved cutting-edge education – educators who have a heart for children and who want to stay abreast of times.  They want to empower the next generation to look ahead with confidence, knowing they are competent to excel in the workplace.

We were in the midst of drafting our 2017 report when the news of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results broke and made numerous headlines: ‘78% of grade 4 pupils can’t read for meaning.’  “This suggests that the majority of learners cannot read well enough to succeed in subjects across the curriculum in Gr 4 and higher grades,” Prof Sarah Howie, National Research Coordinator (NRC) for PIRLS 2016 South Africa, stated.

We are already busy changing this by bridging this gap and we have the results to prove it: In 2017 alone, we had more than a 1000 gr 4’s from schools across SA enrolled in our on-line solution, LAB-on-line. Their Cognitive Development Factor (measured in % comprehension) improved by 17% and their Visual Processing Factor (measured in words per minute) increased from 83 to 185 words per minute. Their Action-Interpret and Understand skill levels (combined VPF and CDF multiplied leads to an AIU Factor) improved with five years.  This means that when these

Gr 4’s did the placement test, their skill level was below the expected Grade 1 level, but after completing LAB-on-line, their skill level had increased with 5 years – a year above the expected level.

I believe that these results are a powerful testimony to what can be achieved through accurate intervention and development.

Thomas Marshall, Co-Director of Lectorsa, recently said, “There will never be a more powerful and opportune time than NOW.” 2018 truly is the year of bigger, better – MORE!

Let us create a synergy in 2018 and build a bright future NOW through effective education

REFERENCES

[i] http://www.up.ac.za/media/shared/164/ZP_Files/pirls-literacy-2016-hl-report-3.zp136320.pdf

[ii] https://www.timeslive.co.za/sunday-times/opinion-and-analysis/2018-01-13-the-real-matric-rate-and-the-real-site-of-failure-in-education/

[iii] https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6344575666863824896