Stellenbosch High School boasts probably the most modern science classrooms in the Western Cape. Two classrooms, for the use of science demonstrations, were recently refurbished with another three to be completed later this year.
Mr Niel Retief, Head of Department and Head of Life Sciences, said that the refurbished classrooms are not only visually stimulating, but are designed in such a way that learners will be able to do experiments by themselves.
“My dream is to convey the study of life with as much enthusiasm as possible. It is so much easier with the right tools, technology and infrastructure. As Life Sciences staff we asked ourselves how we would like to teach. Some out of the box thinking lead to the three old classrooms being transformed into 5 new venues – each with its own theme. We also wanted to ensure that teachers can move around in class to get to each learner. Technology is important we have everything in here – Wi-Fi, TV screens and modern computer equipment – but on its own they to not necessarily enhance learning. You still need enthusiasm and a love for what you do. Now it is just so much easier,” Retief said at a launch event held on 15 August 2018.
He earlier said that learners must be exposed to the smells, sounds and effects associated with science. The new classrooms therefore place special emphasis on experimental learning, enriched by media and electronic support. The old laboratories and classrooms were nearly 40 years old and had to be refurbished.
“What we have now is a space in which learners want to learn and where demonstrations and practicals can be done with ease. The feedback from learners and staff is extremely positive and they are extremely excited.
Even former learners have contacted me to say that they want to take Biology and Life Sciences again!” According to Retief, each of the classrooms is themed. “Lab 1 is named ‘LIFE’ and Lab 2 is called ‘DNA’.
These classes are designed for Life Sciences, while two more classes will focus on Physics and Chemistry, with the practical laboratory theme a combination of Life Sciences and Physical Sciences.
Mr Theo Pellissier, principal of Stellenbosch High School, said that in addition to the refurbished classrooms, the school is finalising the plans for building an astro hockey which will commence in September. “This is all taking place in the year of the school’s 50th birthday celebration. In keeping with our vision, we always try to prepare our learners for life after school, including tertiary education. We try to equip learners with practical skills and not just book knowledge. The refurbished classrooms lend themselves well to this because the subjects presented here, are practical in nature.”