RURAL SCHOOLS

AN INTERVIEW WITH LINFORD MOLAODI
BY DUMI MBONA

Rural Schools are still behind in development especially with ever changing world of technology; while it is clear that the Department of Education is caught up between ignorance and being overwhelmed, there are individuals such as Mr. Linford the founder of TeaSterl NPO who goes an extra mile with limited resource to bring change in forgotten communities.

TeaSterl is a teacher and rural learner oriented NPO specializing in teacher professional development and rural learner support programs. The rural learners program aims at inspiring geographically isolated learners by creating in-depth career exhibitions in annual camps. 

These camps entail:

  • exposing rural learners to unconventional multiple career fields
  •  introduction and orientation to university and urban settings
  •  facilitating authentic shoe-string science experiments
  • and motivation

Due to lack of funds, 2018 Camp for the first time took an untypical turn. Instead of taking the learners out of their rural context to Johannesburg, we took our services to them. The camp was conducted for 22 Grade 12 Science and Math learners of Mahlare Senior Secondary School, based in Serithing, Ga-Rakgoadi, Limpopo. This is one of the two schools we have adopted in Rakgoadi Circuit. Learners were engaged in a 3 days camp from 03rd -5th July 2018 in their school. 

Guests Present:

Linford Molaodi. TeaSterl founder and executive director. An educator and Master’s Degree (ICT in Education) student at University of Johannesburg
 Xolisa Nomtshibe. TeaSterl ICT and Shoe-string science content developer and facilitator. A third year Education student at UJ. 

  • Bruce Chidi. An Educator and Career and Education Avenue (CEA) event organiser.
  • 4. Tilly Rikhotso. Mahlare Secondary School former learner. TeaSterl 2015 and 2016 Alumni. Second year education student (Mathematics and Science), University of Free State
  •  Mr Ray James. Main Presenter of the 2018 Camp 
    � Director of Extended Learning at KIPP Rise Academy, Newark NJ, USA
    � Higher Education Practitioner 
    � Secondary Education Engagement Specialist
    � ELA Common Core Content Expert
    � 7th Grade Language Arts Teacher
  • Dr Julie Washington. Professor and Program Director, Communication Services and Disorders. Georgia State University, Georgia State
  • Dr Jennifer Topple. Director of Language, Literacy and Assistive Technology at Howard School, United States
  • Dr Ryan Lee James. Professor and Speech-Language Pathologist, Adelphi University, New York
See also  Young people talk vaccine and violent protests
Due to the rural nature of the learners which significantly contribute to their low self-esteem and inferiority complex, the fundamental topics facilitated throughout the 3 days camp entailed:
  • Advocacy of Africanness and Black Pride. Mr Ray James addressed this topic by firstly unfolding history and experience of African Americans in the United States. 
  • Self-worth, self-esteem and self-efficacy
  • Diverse career fields in science
  • Importance of reading, writing and speaking

Learners were engaged in different activities including shoe-string science and writing letters to their future selves. It was surprisingly discovered that the school contained a pool of great writers. In addition, through their letters personal problems that may be contributing to the rural learners’ inferiority complexes were disclosed. These letters were submitted to the program directors for record purposes.

Future plans
We are planning for 2019 Camp and are aiming to accommodate two of our adopted rural schools’ Grade 10 and 11 learners. We aim at hosting 3 days camp at their schools and two days exposure in Johannesburg.