HOD: Commerce Department & Grade Head – and Best Teacher Ever!

HOD: Commerce Department & Grade Head – and Best Teacher Ever!

Florance Vermeulen is a Boston City Campus Somerset West Graduate! We requested to interview this successful grad, and being the consummate educator that he is, he sent us a word perfect interview! So , in his own words – meet Florance, Boston BCom Grad and award winning teacher!!

“I am a consummate teacher with a passion and vibrant gift to allow learners to grow in their learning experiences and competencies. During these past 5 years in teaching, my approach is to focus, inside and outside the classroom, on the learner whole, using education and my subject as the basis for growing learners into holistic responsible people with a meaningful place in their communities as explained below. 
My professional development and interest in teaching and learning stem from my involvement and participation in projects in communities outside the classroom. Since 2015, I volunteered to be the president of an internationally funded holistic educational initiative programme called, Give a Child a Future USA – Cape Scholars Foundation, for scholars in the Cape Winelands district. I developed a programe that aims to bolster better overall education by implementing mentorship and an academic program focusing on an elite group of learners from the public schools in Stellenbosch.  The selection is based on assessments conducted by me and other qualified educators. The mission, therefore, is to create opportunities for the learners, from grades 10 -12 to attain skills that will facilitate personal, social, educational, and economic development. I strongly believe that no learner should and must be left behind due to a lack of resources, support, and guidance.  The program consists of three separate but integrated components of learning and teaching. Firstly, it provides professional tutoring in Mathematics and English, conducted by qualified educators and specialists. Furthermore, the learners have access to career guidance counseling, psychometric assessments, and work readiness workshops performed by qualified individuals. Finally, we provide four-weekend mentorship camps; one per term, over a period of three years which contributes to identifying their strengths, developmental areas, interests, skills and dreams, and aspirations as future leaders. Part of measuring the success or impact of this program is evident in those who have gone on to furthering their education and revert to share their experience of the program with the new cohort.”

So Florance, where does all the music come from?

“ I see Art as my form of liberator, my inspiration and passion that empowers me to motivate my learners to deal with difficult circumstances. I give expression especially through dance to enable and empower disadvantaged learners with confidence, self-expression, and discipline. I recognise creativity as somewhat second nature to children in that they can develop fundamental critical thinking and problem-solving skills that they can incorporate into all other learning areas of education and life. I implement innovative alternatives to teaching and learning in the classroom- those that keep bringing material to life for my learners. This artistic approach creates a special connection between me as an educator and all the learners beyond the classroom. My personal history drives part of my teaching philosophy, that everybody given the right motivation can become a positive and powerful change in education

I am a living example of Albert Einstein’s philosophy, “I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn”. This, therefore, builds on my passion, patience, and nurturing nature outside of the classroom too. I have always approached the art forms in a very holistic manner to enable a behavioral change model in teaching and learning. Moving away from the traditional form of teaching and learning, generating a learner-centered approach. Keep in mind that learners always have challenges understanding content and applying it which generates a barrier to learning within a particular subject. I, therefore, use three elements within my teaching and learning approaches namely, music, movements, and technology.”

Why music?
“The music and movement I use have the ability to develop fundamental creative cognitive skills that learners can incorporate in a subject that is content-rich. It also becomes a behavioural module for both personal and learning abilities. It is fun and upbeat which generates teacher and learner engagement and improves their concentration when dealing with a particular subject. Learners have the ability to participate and gain cooperative teaching and learning approaches, and it also allows me as a teacher to develop trusting relationships with the content and convinces the learner that within learning we can have fun with a beat. Knowing that I am working with learners who are the generation Z and usually influenced by music itself; hip hop/ afro-beats is one of the genres that most learners gravitate toward or connect with. I use it to bridge the gap between a content-rich subject and barriers to learning. Learners are always amazed, connected, and join in at the drop of the first beat”.  

Boston has always used technology based learning methodologies, we see that you are also in favour of this form of learning?

“Knowing that technology is an integrated tool for teaching and learning, I utilize the digital hub and resources at our school twice a week. I use the space and resources to introduce technology to them in a fun and exciting way, they are able to use technology, and find, and critically evaluate information.  They are also equipped with basic Microsoft Word and PowerPoint presentation skills. This allows my learners to navigate confidently and acquire skills that are needed for the 4th industrial revolution (4IR) slowly but surely. 

In light of the above, it allows me to become very innovative and holistic and to think outside the box within my teaching and learning methodologies and pedagogical approaches. It empowers me to learn from learners and with them, fostering subjective teaching and learning culture. It constantly allows me to rediscover my passion for teaching and learning and simultaneously become resilient to seize the change within the challenges of barriers to learning. Learners become more enthusiastic about the subject. It instills a yearning for having fun whilst learning and challenges their cognitive skills, bridging the gap of barriers to learning. They became eager to acquire the necessary knowledge which allows them to actively participate and apply their knowledge to the content.  Evidently, it does not only show a marked difference in learner academic results but also behavioural challenges have tremendously decreased. They generated positive vibrations, influencing their behaviour and cognitive skills to a positive and enjoyable outcome. 
In conclusion, I am elated as to how I can inspire and instill values, dreams, and aspirations in the leaders of tomorrow. I am moved by the endless possibilities I can provide for my learners by exploring the potential each and every one of them possess. The sky is not the limit, and I am surely moving universes with everything I can achieve with the young fruitful individuals of South Africa”. 

Florance’s qualifications:

Formal training: 

Advanced Diploma in Professional Acting for Camera: City Varsity (Cape Town)

BCom in Management Marketing: Boston City Campus (Somerset West)

PGCE: STADIO HigherEducation