UFS LUE collab
Students and lecturers from the Faculty of Education, with Assistant Dean Dr Cias Tsotetsi.

In the midst of extraordinary challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, a silver lining in the crisis has been the opportunities for new global partnerships and learning from others to achieve collectively what would not be possible individually. 

Effective virtual collaboration is a valuable model to enhance the teaching practice approach for Education students. In a move towards building high-quality relationships crucial to supporting future educators, the Faculty of Education on the UFS Qwaqwa Campus has collaborated with the Ludwigsburg University of Education (LUE) to facilitate teaching practice conversations between students from the two institutions. 

The collaboration culminated in a reflexive virtual seminar  in July between students from the UFS and LUE, which was held on campus for UFS students from the foundation, intermediate, and the senior and FET phases, and for students pursuing different phases of teaching at LUE.

A translocal approach to sharing preservice teachers’ experiences 

During the session, the teaching practice approaches of the two institutions were discussed, which then led to students sharing, reflecting, and comparing their experiences as pre-service teachers. Together, they unpacked the similarities and differences of their practical experiences in local schools, including the relationships with experienced teachers as mentors, and the psychological readiness for the world of teaching. Joining virtually, Prof Goetz Schwab, Head of the Institute of English at LUE, said it was interesting to learn that Education students share similar experiences that can make or break their passion and desire for teaching practice, regardless of their locality.

This was certainly the case with Ayanda Maseko, one of the students who participated in the seminar. Maseko is in the final year of his BEd Senior Phase and FET majoring in Business Studies and English. He said he was fascinated to learn about the similarities and huge contrasts in the world of teaching in Germany. “It came as a surprise to see that teaching is one and the same thing around the world, and it needs people who are consistent, and most importantly, who love the profession.”

Dr Robert Mukuna, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Educational Foundations and main collaborator at the UFS, said after various meetings with LUE, it felt good to celebrate the first implementation of the collaboration. “I am very proud of how our students engaged, and we were also able to learn from the experiences of our German counterparts. I am looking forward to a face-to-face exchange between the UFS and LUE, where students may visit schools in South Africa or Germany. This will allow us to better understand teaching practices in schools,” he said.

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