Re-Shape: Video & Editing for Teachers with Kurt Minnaar
16 May 2017
Re-Shape: Video & Editing for Teachers with Kurt Minnaar
SAE Cape Town has launched a new short course in partnership with Kurt Minnaar, of Dreamer Education, a Kraaifontein school teacher who has developed a visually interactive method to engage students of Generation Z.
Called Re-Shape: Video & Editing for Teachers, Kurt will take teachers through the preparation process for these interactive lessons and empower them with the skills required to present these lessons.
The course will run twice a week for one month, starting 3 July.
We chatted to Kurt Minnaar to find out more about this enigmatic teacher who is ruffling the tail feathers of conventional teaching methods and having great success doing so…
Tell us a bit about how you arrived at the point where you decided to try a different approach to teach your students. Was it a ‘light bulb’ moment that suddenly came to you or was the idea nurtured over time?
I decided to try a different approach because as a teacher, in my experience, I could see the kids were struggling, the kids were failing and the kids weren’t doing well so it was also a matter of urgency, you know.
The sooner we try something new and the sooner we found something that works, the better it is for our country, for all our kids and just to help our education system… and I think that was the root of it.
What helped me create something new was that I was very involved in the creative space from dance, hip hop, urban culture, video editing, film, being around designers etc and then having studied my teaching degree I was deeply invested in both those areas so I could mix academics with the creative side. In fact the Guerilla Film Production short course I did at SAE helped a lot in giving me structure and opening my mind up to the possibilities.
It [lessons] definitely evolved over time to the point where I feel I have perfected it.
Most people’s perception of education is one of a stayed tried and tested ‘steady-as-you-go’ approach; what you refer to as ‘chalk and talk.’ Convincing a profession that is quite conservative by nature that this would be a good idea must have had its challenges…
Ja definitely. There are still people who feel we don’t need to change anything. People that are stuck in processes that do not work yet they protect this way of doing things. I still have people who question what I’m doing and why I’m doing it and they still don’t get it but I’ve seen the successes and obviously the whole education system is a rigid, static system which makes it difficult to move.
There are also contracts with everything; there are certain people who manage rules and regulations, certain people manage where you buy clothes for schools etc and there are contracts in place for everything so if you come from outside with a different approach it is not easy.
But the media platform I received definitely helped give me a voice and I’ve just been chipping away at this mountain once piece at a time and because it works and because what I’m doing is backed up by research it has made it easier.
I know that it works because I use it and the results speak for themselves. At the end of the day it is just another method to aid learners.
You use your method specifically for maths, but no doubt it could be used for any subject…
It can definitely be used for other subjects.
I struggled with mathematics at school and I know that maths is a big deal; for example a kid can fail life orientation and maths at school and a parent will be more upset about the maths.
But it can definitely be scaled to certain areas of all subjects. Definitely in years to come we will branch out with others subjects too.
When music may not work, what other mechanisms do you find work well?
Visuals work very well. I think music along with all the other creative elements help; so great visuals (we use Photoshop) definitely help because while your text books look so boring our visuals don’t.
Aside from music we also use dance, create visuals, we use clothes and basically various parts of the creative industry to tackle these issues. I’ve actually just found a way to teach certain maths concepts using clothing which helps to change the learning process because the process is important.
When you change the process you liberate the kid, you liberate the child’s mind.
In a nutshell your lessons are all about engaging with your pupils and making them feel invested in the lesson. It seems simple enough but in fact your methods do require some technical know-how, hence your Re-Shape: Video & Editing for Teachers course. Tell us a bit about the course structure.
Teaching and learning is very important and there is a big gap at the moment between the teachers and the learners… a huge gap in terms of relevance and the truth is kids are watching great videos all the time; they’re watching music videos, opening their phones and checking out great videos, pics etc and that engages them; it’s kind of part of what generation Z is all about.
Teaching for me and the colleges, they need to move with the times as well; what they’re doing is fine but it’s not adequate, it’s not enough right now.
So if a teacher can create their own media content to teach the same lesson, by creating the video themselves it’s definitely going to help.
The thing about this course is to give the teacher the skill set to take more control of the lesson by teaching them the skills of film editing and visuals to liven up their lessons. It will change the whole atmosphere in the classroom and liven up the lesson.
[EXAMPLE] Instead of talking about speed, distance and time for example take your camera, go to a race track like Killarney and film a car driving at a certain speed and then when you show them this in the context of the subject, that’s when the questions pop up and it’s these things that get the whole class excited because now they can see the practical application via a medium (video) that they’re all very familiar with.
Everything in the classroom will change. Discipline improves, learners engage in the conversation and even as a teacher one starts to feel so much better about oneself.
It’s also important as a teacher to upskill one’s skill set in terms of one’s own growth and confidence and it improves one’s own CV too.
What are you hoping course attendees will walk away with on completion?
Definitely a fresh skill set; one that is going to change the classroom and change the school.
They will work away knowing the basics of videography, the basic of editing using the equipment they already have such as their Smartphone etc. If they invest in a SLR camera then they will also learn the basics of how to shoot.
Course attendees can then go back and train others, start their own video teams with students at the school. We will also tackle social media and how to create better content to share.
“Be the difference. If you see that something is wrong, fix it. If the leadership isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do, step in. Own the problem.”