Proud to coach a teacher

Invest the value of two top teaching days in the development of young (South) African teacher Talent

Prof Dr David Venter
Prof Dr Herman Van den Broeck

The unique experiences the authors enjoyed during the past years whilst participating in the educational creativity congress, which dr. Kobus Neethling annually organises in Bela Bela, SA, inspired them to embark upon a project to strengthen the sense of pride South African teachers experience.

Their inspiration for such a project derived from the passionate pleas by educators to assist them in developing new ways of optimising their classroom teaching. They saw a project of this nature as a dream come true, which would not only optimise the daily endeavours, but also greatly contribute towards their goal of empowering the African youth to fully realise their latent potential.

Rationale for this project

The authors, being fully convinced that the human potential of African youth is equal to that in any part of the world, are passionate about providing a catalyst that will assist in unlocking this potential. Although they appreciate that this is a multi-faceted task, they are convinced that it will only be possible if youths are exposed to passionate, dedicated and competent teachers who experience great pride in their teaching. Understandably, such an intention immediately raises the question how a daunting challenge such as this could be realised, given that teachers are all too often overwhelmed by the magnitude of challenges they face?

We live in a world where 61 Million children do not even receive primary education. Sadly, 25% of these children are in Africa. Although the majority of children do receive schooling, 33,7% unfortunately derive very little or no benefit from it! This in a world where we often pride ourselves in the advances we have made.

In SA, which today is a member of the BRICS community, and faces a daunting task of keeping abreast of the other BRICS members, they most important key to its future success undoubtedly is education of the highest quality. At primary school level it has the challenge of inspiring 188 000 teachers to teach 6 800 000 children in 14 000 primary schools in such a manner that they startle those in their care to blossom.

Although we fully appreciate that the root causes for educational inefficiencies often relate to structural weaknesses, this we believe should not dampen our resolve to find innovative ways of dealing with the very disturbing consequences. The sad truth is that many state schools in (South) Africa languish under a pronounced shortage of well trained teachers, an unacceptably high pupil to teacher ratio, grossly inadequate facilities and equipment, a very high drop-out rate, low teacher moral and dedication, and … It should therefore come as no surprise that many teachers are demotivated, and see teaching as just another way of earning a living!

This project intends to provide teachers with a compass to guide them in their on-going search for greater teaching excellence. Even if it only results in an increase of 20% in their effectiveness, the impact on (South) African education would be enormous, setting in motion a process that will in future deliver even greater results.

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Our Project

Our objective is to empower teachers, and thereby enhancing the quality of their classroom practices and experiences. Consequently, the project focusses on developing the functional, emotional and social competence of teachers. The authors believe that by assisting them to better master the how (class management), their output (talent development) will greatly increase!

Together we will write a book that will provide teachers with a principled framework that will assist them to bring general pedagogical principles to bear on their daily classroom teaching, thus also inspiring them to employ more creative ways of unlocking the potential of their learners. The book will be well aligned to the specific (South) African situation, providing inspirational experience that will encourage teachers, no matter the situation in which they find themselves, to courageously venture beyond that which may previously have seemed impossible.

Furthermore, the book will also instil an increased sense of meaning in terms of their role as agents of innovation in societies struggling to define themselves in an increasingly globalized world.

Ultimately, the project aspires to contribute to affording all schools, teachers, children an equal opportunity to render and receive outstanding education. Our dream is to ensure that more and more learners will in future have access to equal opportunities when they complete their schooling and venture into the labour market. By contributing to many thousands of children being well educated, the project will assist in laying a strong foundation for a well-integrated society that underpins a flourishing democracy and growing economy.

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The content of the book
  • Universal educational principles translated to their unique (South) African context.
  • Communication principles and techniques to optimise classroom interventions.
  • Adopting a Beyonder style of teaching.
  • Employing optimal modes of teacher and student interaction.
  • Eliciting feedback and inspiring real and internalised learning.
  • Understanding the secrets of positive reward and punishment.
  • Employing the new media in creating and enhanced classroom experience.
  • On becoming a passionate, innovative teacher that transcends obstacles.
  • Celebrating what is right: creating a better future through education.
  • A special chapter on the school leader.

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Point of departure for the book

Together the authors have an array of wide-ranging experience in secondary and tertiary education that encompasses the public and private sectors across Europe, Asia and Africa.

In 2011, the authors cooperated to write a highly acclaimed book on leadership, which moves the leadership frame from a functional to an attitudinal approach (Beyonders. Transcending average leadership). Many of these insights will be infused into the envisaged project.

Furthermore, one of the authors is involved in tertiary teacher education, and has published a widely used book, ‘Educating in the classroom’. The intention is to embark upon a major rework this book, which is currently only available in Dutch. The basic insights in the book will form the foundation on which project will be built.

The intended book will, thanks to the unique cooperation between the authors, one of whom is a well experienced South African educationist, be rooted in the (South) African reality. As passionate and committed supporters of (South) Africa, they are highly motivated to, in whatever way possible, make a meaningful contribution to future (South) African generations. Both have devoted their careers to enhancing education, and are convinced that quality education is a prerequisite if future generations are to enjoy a better quality of life.

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The target group

The authors have no intention to in any way be prescriptive about the (re)design of (South) African educational system. Their focal point is the teacher, as they passionately believe that teachers are the key-variable in successful education. Their dream is to so inspire every teacher reading the book to reinvent their teaching approach, and in so doing adopt innovative new ways of dealing with the daunting classroom challenges they all too often face.

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We need you as partners! Together we can make a telling and sustainable difference!

You as a partner

We aim at having 20 partners around the table, each investing the ‘cost’ of one top training day per year for the next two years, an investment of two times 10.000 euro.

Furthermore, we are looking for a company to sustain this project as a VIP-partner, investing two times three training days.

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What’s in for you as an investor
  1. Participation in a project defined as a ‘giving back project’.
  2. An opportunity to assist us in defining the concept of the book; your feedback on the different chapters providing very valuable insights …
  3. Making your own expertise as trainer available to a teaching community in desperate need thereof.
  4. Having your name and that of your company mentioned in the book.
  5. Having Herman Van den Broeck or David Venter for one free half-day of teaching in your company during the two project years.
  6. Become a partner of the Vlerick Business School.

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Our costs
  1. Research: Discovering data and specific examples, and adapting material to the specific context 
  2. Translating the manuscript
  3. Travel costs to and in South Africa (explore best practice)
  4. Producing appropriate didactical materials (video’s, etc.)
  5. Networking with the local communities and stakeholders


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Prof Dr Herman Van den Broeck

Herman Van den Broeck is a partner and full professor at Vlerick Business School and at the University of Ghent, Belgium. His major fields of interest are leadership, social skills, change management, emotional intelligence and cognitive styles. In addition to his scientific publications, Herman has published several other books. His most recent being “Beyonders. Transcending Average Leadership.” (2011), which he authored together with David Venter. During his career he has worked with large organisations in a variety of sectors. [email protected] 

 Herman Van Den Broeck
Prof Dr David Venter

David Venter is a partner and professor of negotiation, conflict resolution management at Vlerick Business School. His major fields of interest are conflict management, negotiation, people management, leadership, creativity, innovation and persuasion. David spent 10 years in government as Director-General of Communication during the transition from apartheid to democracy. He worked with Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, as well as with Marti Atasari on the Namibian voter education campaign. The lobbying, negotiation and conflict dispute resolution expertise he brings to consulting and training in the public and private sectors is internationally recognised. [email protected]

 David Venter Vlerick Business School

Proud to coach a teacher

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