The OWLAG and Dana Hall S.I.S.T.E.R.S Programme

Mr Eric Goodson with Grade 11 Learners.
Mr Eric Goodson with Grade 11 Learners.

On Saturday 28 July Mr Eric Goodson (Humanities) and Mrs Tara Jennings (Sciences) arrived on the OWLAG campus for two weeks of collaborative interaction with the staff and students. Both colleagues were here, primarily, to work on creating collaboration opportunities with the staff of OWLAG.

Earlier this year 40 students and staff from Dana Hall Girls School in Wellesley just outside Boston MA in the USA, visited our campus on their bi-annual tour of South Africa. Mr Goodson made contact with the English department then and returned in August to work on a reflective personal writing task that could involve his students and our current Grade 11 learners early next year. Mr Goodson also did some revision and extension work on the Civil Rights Movements and its leaders in the 1950s and 1960s with the Grade 11 and 12 History students.

Ndeshi Kaolepe(Grade 12 History student) stated that Mr Goodson “unpacked the true meaning of Civil Rights using interactive methods in which he had the whole class engaged. He had us think critically of the way we view historical figures and not just accept information we receive about them at face value. Instead, he insisted that we delve deeper into these figures to get a sense of who they were and, therefore, truly understand the decision they took in the face of important events. His careful use of analogies and comparisons helped us imagine how tough it must have been to live in the times of the Civil Rights Movement as he gave some insight into what racism could have meant in those times. At the same time he juxtaposed it with what racism means in our time. The conversations were thought-provoking as we challenged the ideas of patriotism, race and identity and discussed breaking social norms in order to fight for the things we believe in. We spoke of equity and equality and their places in history and in the world today. Mr Goodson wanted to make sure that he left us with a wholistic idea of what the Civil Rights Movement meant, but what we have learned from him is worth so much more. His insights have prodded us into a new direction of thinking and it is for this that he shall never be forgotten.”

Mrs Jennings, in conjunction with the Life Sciences Department, explored and identified tasks for collaborative projects between our institutions in an attempt to allow the girls in the two schools to share their challenges, joys and wonders in the Sciences.

We also had the opportunity to show our colleagues places like the Apartheid Museum, the Cradle of Humankind and the De Wildt Cheetah Project. They also enjoyed a river cruise on the Vaal River.

We would like to thank our Dana Hall colleagues for giving up their holidays to help us create more opportunities for our girls.