SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTION MAKING INROADS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTION MAKING INROADS IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

Six Supplemental Instruction (SI) student leaders are currently contributing to improved academic performance and increased student throughput rates in Environmental Science (specifically Geography and Geology) at Howard College and Westville campuses.

SI leaders Ms Charity Cele, Ms Vyasha Harilai, Ms Megan Mountjoy, Ms Simphiwe Ngwenya, Mr Zayd Hoosen, Ms Lauren Pretorius and Ms Shannon Dixon acknowledge that the programme has enhanced their own critical thinking skills and approaches to learning.

The internationally successful peer-assisted academic support programme originated at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in the USA and is offered in 27 countries around the world.  SI targets historically difficult modules and SI leaders are selected on the basis of excellent performance in these modules. The SI Leaders are trained by SI co-ordinators to facilitate learning and understanding through skilful questioning techniques and a range of activities which focus on peer collaboration. They are subsequently awarded certificates recognised by international institutions which means they are qualified to facilitate SI programmes just about anywhere in the English-speaking world. 

Mrs Fran Saunders the Co-ordinator for Environmental Science at UKZN in the School of Agriculture, Earth, and Environmental Sciences explains: ‘The programme benefits good and underperforming students; both groups report deepened understanding and improved marks. This of course only applies where there is regular attendance and skilful facilitation. Regarding the latter, I could not be happier with the performance and dedication of the SI leaders in the programme.’

The programme is in its second semester and the intention is to gradually expand it in the School of Agriculture, Earth, and Environmental Sciences.


author email : Saundersf@ukzn.ac.za