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Institute for Science and Technology Education

Short courses offered

Teachers of grade 10, 11 or 12 Mathematics, Physical Science or Computer Studies

  • Would you like to feel more confident about the subject matter you teach?
  • Are there some topics in the syllabus that you find hard to understand?
  • Would you like to find ways to teach so that your learners learn more?

ISTE at Unisa offers modules for:

  • Chemistry Teachers 
  • Mathematics Teachers 
  • Physics Teachers
  • Computing Teachers
  • Biology Teachers                 

The modules in each subject are at the same level, but cover different topics.  You can register for both modules if you wish.  You can also register for module 2 without doing module 1.  Each module is designed to help you as a teacher:

  • deepen your conceptual understanding
  • strengthen your problem-solving skills
  • increase your knowledge of how to teach particular topics effectively

By the end of a course you should be able to explain important concepts and phenomena and apply your improved knowledge of concepts and your improved reasoning skills to solving everyday and textbook problems.  The courses also provide an opportunity for you to improve the effectiveness of your teaching. You can gain knowledge about the conceptual and reasoning problems your learners experience in trying to understand certain topics. You can learn teaching strategies to help your learners overcome these problems. By the end of a course you should know what conceptual and reasoning difficulties learners usually experience with certain topics and what strategies you can use to help learners overcome these difficulties.

The courses are distance education courses so that you can make use of this opportunity to develop yourself professionally while continuing with your teaching duties. In this way any grade, 10, 11 or 12 Biology, Physical Science, Computer Studies or Mathematics teacher in South Africa can participate. 

The only entrance requirement is that you teach grade 10, 11 or 12 in the subject of the module you do (note: the entrance requirements for the Computing modules are different and are explained below).  Each module is worth 12 SAQA credits at level 5 on the NQF.  The modules form part of Unisa's certificate programme.

Biology for Teachers I (BIOT01 – 8/ BIOT51-J)

Background and need for the Short Course

Teachers do not have the necessary Content Knowledge in Biology to teach Grade 10 – 12. The module includes different strategies to teach Biology effectively.

Purpose of the short course

To enable practicing to upgrade their knowledge and deepen their understanding of animal and plant anatomy, nutrition and reproduction, while simultaneously deepening their pedagogical content knowledge (i.e knowledge of difficulties students are likely to have with particular topics and strategies that are likely to promote to promote students understanding of different topics)

Admission requirements

Familiarity with (but not necessarily proficiency in) the content of the school Biology curriculum Grade 10-12, particularly relating to animal and plant anatomy and physiology.

Syllabus/Topics

  • What the Module is all about
  • Teaching Skills in Biology
  • Classification in Biology
  • The Diversity of Animals
  • Teaching about Classification

Biology for Teachers II (BIOT21 – C/ BIOT52-K)

Background and need for the Short Course

Teachers do not have the necessary Content Knowledge in Biology to teach Grade 10 – 12. The module includes different strategies to teach Biology effectively.

Purpose of the short course

To enable practicing to upgrade their knowledge and deepen their understanding of animal and plant anatomy, nutrition and reproduction, while simultaneously deepening their pedagogical content knowledge (i.e. knowledge of difficulties students are likely to have with particular topics and strategies that are likely to promote to promote students understanding of different topics)

Admission requirements

Familiarity with (but not necessarily proficiency in) the content of the school Biology curriculum Grade 10-12, particularly relating to animal and plant anatomy and physiology.

Syllabus/Topics

  • Biological compounds and nutrients
  • Water: Importance in nutrition
  • Macro and micro nutrients
  • Biologically important organic compounds
  • Carbohydrates
  • How to test for presence of carbohydrates
  • Lipids
  • Proteins
  • Vitamins
  • Some aspects of anatomy and physiology of humans and their relation to homeostasis
  • Digestion and Nutrition
  • Skills needed in order to make accurate observation and drawings
  • Effective approaches for teaching digestion and nutrition
  • Comparing digestive tract
  • Human digestive tract
  • Nutrition effects on health
  • Angiosperm anatomy
  • Angiosperm physiology
  • Water relations in plants
  • Growth and Development
  • Photosynthesis
  • Demonstration of the process emphasizing the role of storage of energy and factors affecting the process
  • The light phase
  • Structural suitability of leaves for the process
  • Reproduction in animals
  • Asexual and sexual reproduction
  • Reproductive organs
  • Relation to present scientific principles e.g. cloning of mammals
  • Hormonal regulation in male and female
  • Ovaries
  • Fertilization
  • Health: Sexually transmitted diseases
  • HIV/AIDS pandemic
  • Strategies of teaching students affected by HIV/AIDS
  • Teachers as counsellors and teachers of Scientific facts

Chemistry for Teachers I (CHET01-T/CHET51-8)

Background and need for the Short Course

Teachers do not have the necessary Content Knowledge in Chemistry to teach Grade 10 – 12.  The modules include experiments, worked out examples as well as include different strategies to teach chemistry effectively.

Purpose of the short course

To enable practising teachers to deepen their understanding of chemistry content that is relevant to the teaching of School chemistry at Grades 10-12 while simultaneously deepening their pedagogical content knowledge (i.e. knowledge of difficulties learners are likely to have with particular topics and strategies that are likely to promote learners’ understanding of particular topics).

Admission requirements

Familiarity (but not necessarily proficiency) with the content of Grade 10-12 Chemistry

Syllabus/Topics

Introductory Unit

  • What does Learning Chemistry Involve
  • Effective Learning depends on
  • Learning how to Learn
  • Concept Mapping
  • Guide to the Whole Module
  • The Structure of the Module “Chemistry for Teachers”

Particle Model of Matter

  • We believe that matter is made of particles
  • What doe we want our students to know?
  • The particle model of matter
  • Using the model to classify substances
  • Students understandings of particulate nature of matter
  • Activities to help with sense making
  • Final Words

Periodic Table

  • What do we want our students to know about the elements?
  • Probing your understanding
  • Where do elements come from
  • Symbols for elements
  • Names of elements, compounds and ions
  • The model concept
  • What we want students to know
  • Summary: The mole
  • Mole Calculations
  • Summarizing framework
  • References

Chemical Reaction

  • What we ant students to know 
  • What Research had highlighted
  • Types of Reaction
  • Basic types of Chemical Reaction
  • Language, Symbols and Diagrams

Stoichiometry

  • What is it and Why Learn it
  • Some Research Findings
  • Fundamental Concepts
  • Getting qualitative Information from the equation
  • Solving stoichiometry tasks
  • Strategies leading to problem solving with understanding
  • Detailed Solutions
  • Limiting  reagents 

Chemistry for Teachers II (CHET21-X/CHET52-9)

Background and need for the Short Course

Teachers do not have the necessary Content Knowledge in Chemistry to teach Grade 10 – 12.  The modules include experiments, worked out examples as well as include different strategies to teach chemistry effectively.

Purpose of the short course

To enable practising teachers to deepen their understanding of chemistry content that is relevant to the teaching of School chemistry at Grades 10-12 while simultaneously deepening their pedagogical content knowledge (i.e. knowledge of difficulties learners are likely to have with particular topics and strategies that are likely to promote learners’ understanding of particular topics).

Admission requirements

Familiarity (but not necessarily proficiency) with the content of Grade 10-12 Chemistry

Syllabus/Topics

  • Bonding, Intermolecular Forces, Solutions
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic chemistry, Sulphur, nitrogen and chlorine
  • Rates of reaction, chemical equilibrium, acids and bases
  • Electrochemistry
  • Common conceptual and reasoning difficulties and effective teaching strategies for remediation.

Computing for Teachers I a (Delphi) (COAT01 – H/COAT51-T)

Background and need for the Short Course

According to the grant given to UNISA by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, According to the grant given to UNISA by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, ISTE is obliged to offer the modules Computing for Teachers I and II.  This Certificate is one of two parallel modules which meet our contractual obligation to Carnegie.  With the new curriculum for schools being introduced in the near future, there is an urgent need for Computing Teachers to be retrained in appropriate programming languages. This Certificate course will address this need.

Purpose of the short course

To enable practising teachers to deepen their understanding of programming and Software development that is relevant to the Teaching of Computer Studies at Grades 10 – 12 while simultaneously deepening their pedagogical content knowledge(i.e. knowledge of difficulties students are likely to have with particular topics and strategies that are likely to promote students understanding of particular topics)

Admission requirements

Ability to use level 4 algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

Familiarity (but not necessarily proficiency) with the content of Grades 10-12 Computing.

Syllabus/Topics

  • Algorithmic design
  • Simple data structures
  • Problem formulation and solution (projects)
  • Programming (using Delphi)
  • Common conceptual and reasoning difficulties and effective teaching strategies for remediation.

Computing for Teachers Ib (Java) (COBT01 – M/COBT51-X)

Background and need for the Short Course

According to the grant given to UNISA by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, ISTE is obliged to offer the modules Computing for Teachers I and II.  This Certificate is one of two parallel modules which meet our contractual obligation to Carnegie.  With the new curriculum for schools being introduced in the near future, there is an urgent need for Computing Teachers to be retrained in appropriate programming languages.  This Certificate course will address this need.

Purpose of the short course

To enable practising teachers to deepen their understanding of programming and Software development that is relevant to the Teaching of Computer Studies at Grades 10 – 12 while simultaneously deepening their pedagogical content knowledge(i.e. knowledge of difficulties learners are likely to have with particular topics and strategies that are likely to promote learners understanding of particular topics)

Admission requirements

Ability to use level 4 algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

Familiarity (but not necessarily proficiency) with the content of Grades 10-12 Computing.

Syllabus/Topics

  • Algorithmic Design
  • Simple Data Structures
  • Problem Formulation and Solution (projects)
  • Programming ( using Java)
  • Common Conceptual and Reasoning difficulties and effective teaching strategies for remediation.

Mathematics for Teachers I (MATT01-B/MATT51-5)

Background and need for the Short Course

Teachers do not have the necessary Content Knowledge in Mathematics to teach Grade 10 – 12.  The modules include experiments, worked out examples as well as include different strategies to teach chemistry effectively.

Purpose of the short course

To enable practising teachers to deepen their understanding of Algebra content and problem solving processes that are relevant to the teaching of school algebra, while simultaneously deepening their pedagogical content knowledge (i.e. knowledge of possible obstacles to the learning of algebra  and strategies that are likely to promote students’ understanding of algebra).

Admission requirements

Ability to use level 4 algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

Familiarity (but not necessarily proficiency) with the content of Grades 10-12 Mathematics.

Syllabus/Topics

  • Specialising and generalising
  • Inductive and deductive reasoning
  • The pitfalls of induction
  • More induction and deduction

Proof: analytical and synthetic reasoning

  • Logic
  • About the nature of mathematics
  • Equivalence
  • Equivalence equations
  • Identities
  • Pupils generalising
  • Applied problem solving
  • A bit of calculus

Mathematics for Teachers II (MATT21-V/MATT52-6)

Background and need for the Short Course

Teachers do not have the necessary Content Knowledge in Mathematics to teach Grade 10 – 12.  The modules include experiments, worked out examples as well as include different strategies to teach chemistry effectively.

Purpose of the short course

To enable practising teachers to deepen their understanding of geometry and trigonometry content and problem solving processes that are relevant to the teaching of school trigonometry and geometry, while simultaneously deepening their pedagogical content knowledge (i.e. knowledge of possible obstacles to the learning of geometry and trigonometry and strategies that are likely to promote students’ understanding of geometry and trigonometry).

Admission requirements

Ability to use level 4 algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

Familiarity (but not necessarily proficiency) with the content of Grades 10-12 Mathematics.

Syllabus/Topics

  • Different perspectives on the nature of geometry
  • History of the development of Geometry and trigonometry
  • Euclidian geometry
  • Trigonometric functions, formulae (sine and cosine rules) and equations
  • Geometric and trigonometric thinking processes including discovery, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning and proof
  • Geometrical constructions
  • Analytical geometry: The link between algebra and geometry
  • Applied problem solving
  • Identification of obstacles to the learning and understanding of geometry and the development of geometric reasoning and effective approaches for teaching geometric and trigonometric concepts and reasoning

Physics for Teachers I (PHYT01-B/PHYT51-M)

Background and need for the Short Course

Teachers do not have the necessary Content Knowledge in Physics to teach Grade 10 – 12.  The module includes experiments, worked out examples as well as includes different strategies to teach physics effectively.

Purpose of the short course

To enable practising teachers to deepen their understanding of physics content that is relevant to the teaching of physics at Grades 10-12 while simultaneously deepening their pedagogical content knowledge (i.e. knowledge of difficulties students are likely to have with particular topics and strategies that are likely to promote students’ understanding of particular topics).

Admission requirements

Ability to use level 4 algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

Familiarity (but not necessarily proficiency) with the content of Grades 10-12 physics.

Syllabus/Topics

  • Kinematics
  • Statics
  • Dynamics
  • Heat and temperature
  • Proportional reasoning
  • Translating between equations, graphs, words, diagrams and physical phenomena
  • Qualitative descriptions of central concepts
  • Applications of central concepts to problem-solving from both everyday and standard textbook contexts
  • Common conceptual and reasoning difficulties and effective teaching strategies for remediation.

Physics for Teachers II (PHYT21 – F/PHYT52-N)

Background and need for the Short Course

Teachers do not have the necessary Content Knowledge in Physics to teach Grade 10 – 12.  The module includes experiments, worked out examples as well as includes different strategies to teach physics effectively.

Purpose of the short course

To enable practising teachers to deepen their understanding of physics content that is relevant to the teaching of physics at Grades 10-12 while simultaneously deepening their pedagogical content knowledge (i.e. knowledge of difficulties students are likely to have with particular topics and strategies that are likely to promote students’ understanding of particular topics).

Admission requirements

Ability to use level 4 algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

Familiarity (but not necessarily proficiency) with the content of Grades 10-12 physics.

No articulation to a formal Course

Syllabus/Topics

  • Electrostatics
  • Electric circuits
  • Magnetism
  • Waves
  • Sound
  • Light
  • Proportional reasoning
  • Translating between equations, graphs, words, diagrams and physical phenomena
  • Qualitative descriptions of central concepts
  • Applications of central concepts to problem solving from both everyday and standard textbook contexts
  • Common conceptual and reasoning difficulties and effective teaching strategies for remediation.