SACRAMENTO — After playing in only two summer-league games, Jimmer Fredette left the Warriors’ summer-league team to minimize the chance of injury while weighing various overseas options, league sources told Bay Area News Group.Fredette informed the Warriors about their plans after the team’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. He was not with the team for Wednesday’s game against Miami and will not travel with the Warriors for Las Vegas Summer League from July 5-15. Fredette also …
15 June 2012 The African Research and Educational Puppetry Programme Trust, or arepp:Theatre for Life, is adding some spark to life skills education in South African schools, using humour and music in its interactive performances to demystify taboo subjects and enabling young people to make informed lifestyle choices. There is a great sense of orderliness ahead of arepp’s performance at the Rhodesfield Technical High School on Johannesburg’s West Rand. The familiar sound of the school bell signals the end of each lesson, prompting pupils to walk briskly along the corridors to their next class, and in the reception area there is serious talk of reports, averages, tests and results. But as soon as the play starts, the school hall – with a group of about 300 grade eight pupils neatly seated in rows on the floor – explodes with laughter, whistling and cheering. Even the teachers who are supervising the noisy group of teenagers can’t help but smile. The performance that follows will undoubtedly be the highlight of every pupil’s day. Targeted at grades eight to 12 pupils, the focus of the Look Before You Leap play series is on choices, problem solving and self-image. It explores how ideas of gender and sexuality affect perceptions of self and society. Arepp’s approach to educational theatre is all about making learning fun and, through the different characters, help pupils make an emotional connection with the content of the play. The award-winning educational theatre group takes learning out of the classroom onto the stage, and there is nothing high-brow about these performances. Instead of sidestepping the serious issues affecting young people in South Africa, arepp’s candid approach and innovative use of theatre highlights difficult social and personal issues such as sexuality, relationships, pregnancy, substance use, HIV/Aids, physical and emotional abuse and gender equality.Learning can be fun Brigid Schutz, director at arepp, says the structure and character development of the plays help pupils to identify closely with the situations portrayed. Unlike traditional theatre, the audience are not passive observers, as the play mirrors their personal experiences on stage. One of the actors, Ruan Zed, says that theatre is a powerful medium that helps people to see issues from a different perspective. “Theatre puts your own life story on stage,” he says. This particular play, Look Before You Leap: Oh Yeah! deals with issues that all high school pupils can relate to – peer pressure and temptation, not fitting in and being different. It also examines the uncertainty of early relationships, being true to one’s identity and self-esteem. “The characters in the play go through an emotional process and because it becomes a personal experience for the pupils, they can identify and connect with it,” Schutz explains.Making life orientation relevant The productions, which run for an hour – the first half is the play, which is then followed by a 30-minute problem-solving discussion with the audience – are specifically designed to be performed as a life orientation (LO) lesson within the school’s daily schedule. LO is a compulsory subject in South African schools for all grades. This new area of learning replaced subjects such as career guidance, physical training and religious education. The point of LO is to enable pupils to make wise choices, understand healthy living, get career direction, learn study skills and become aware of environmental, community and society issues. Although it covers non-academic skills needed in life, Rhodesfield’s LO teacher Elliot Faku says there is a perception in schools that LO is not as important as the more academic subjects like maths or science. “The subject is highly relevant as it deals with what life is like after school,” he says. He is a great supporter of using theatre as a learning tool. “It further entrenches the concepts that the pupils learn in class,” Faku says. “Even though the kids see it as a break from their normal school routine, they are still learning.”Problem-solving through discussion After each performance pupils have an opportunity to ask questions, talk about the issues raised in the play, contextualise the content and debate the decisions made by the characters. The discussion time is important because it encourages open communication. “It shows the pupils that their opinions are valued,” Schutz says. Most of them are not scared to ask difficult questions that they might not usually want to discuss with other adults such as their parents or teachers. Throughout the discussion, the group is encouraged to offer answers themselves, which builds confidence and problem-solving skills. Zed notes that in all the discussion sessions they’ve noticed that the questions and opinions of the pupils are closely related to their own lives. By sharing their understanding of the issues, pupils become more confident to talk about them in the classroom, on the playground and at home. “Arepp doesn’t give right or wrong answers,” he says. “What we want to do is develop resilient youth who can deal with any challenge and know what they stand for,” Zed says.Reaching as many kids as possible Arepp’s life skills and self-efficacy development programmes reach all age groups in schools with four series of shows: Look Before you Leap, aimed at groups between 13 and 22; About Us for 10 to 13 year olds; No Monkey Business and the Monkey Tales series for the groups between six and nine and three and five respectively. “There is a need to do more of this type of theatre in South Africa,” Schutz says. “There are many theatre education initiatives that start up, but keeping it going is difficult because it is very costly.” The organisation relies entirely on external funding to continue its work. Currently it receives support from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the STARS Foundation and a foreign donor agency in the Netherlands. Established in 1987, arepp reaches about 120 000 pupils between the ages of five and 18 in 350 schools each year. Feedback from teachers last year showed an increase of 81% in the audience’s knowledge, skills, ability and confidence to deal with issues directly affecting them. The reported percentage of physical and sexual abuse cases in those schools halved from the previous year, to just under 4%, and reported pregnancies declined from 9% to less than 1%. Reported suicides decreased and overall, 80% of audiences indicated changes in their feelings of worth, competency and control with regard to the issues presented in the plays. “This shows that our performances are helping to make a difference,” says Schutz. Last year the company was selected from 976 applicants from 60 countries to receive the 2011 STARS Foundation Impact award in education. The foundation offers awards to charities in the Africa-Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions working with children in the areas of health, education and protection. The award is allowing arepp to fund additional theatre projects and perform about 200 more presentations, which will benefit 30 000 additional pupils. Schutz describes the award as an important accolade as it validates the organisation’s work and recognises arepp’s contribution of 25 years to the promotion of human rights in South Africa. “It highlights the vital importance of assisting young people and children to understand, engage with, and contextualise the notions and practical applications of their rights,” she says. Edited version of photograph by Andrew Aitchison, reproduced with kind permission. Article first published by MediaClubSouthAfrica.com – get free high-resolution photos and professional feature articles from Brand South Africa’s media service.
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The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting that mining and quarrying grew by an estimated 25.5 per cent from January to March 2018, to emerge as the top-performing sector over the quarter, compared to the corresponding period last year. The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) is reporting that mining and quarrying grew by an estimated 25.5 per cent from January to March 2018, to emerge as the top-performing sector over the quarter, compared to the corresponding period last year.Director General, Dr. Wayne Henry, said the sector’s out-turn, to a large extent, spurred the goods producing industry’s estimated three per cent growth over the review period, which also saw the services industry growing by approximately 0.7 per cent.Dr. Henry was speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly media briefing at the agency’s New Kingston head office on Tuesday (May 22).He said the mining and quarrying sector’s out-turn resulted from a 28.7 per cent increase in bauxite production. This, he pointed out, reflected higher alumina and crude bauxite production.“Alumina production was 27.1 per cent higher, reflecting the resumption of productive activity at the JISCO-Alpart alumina refinery since October to December 2017. Crude bauxite production grew by 27.7 per cent due to more conducive weather conditions,” he explained.Other sectors under the goods producing industry recording growth were construction, up 1.5 per cent; manufacturing, up one per cent; and agriculture, forestry and fishing, 0.5 per cent.Dr. Henry said growth in the building construction component was due to an increase in residential and non-residential developments, reflecting a 286.6 per cent increase in housing starts by public institutions to 1,527 units, of which the National Housing Trust (NHT) accounted for 1,512 units.Additionally, he said there was an increase in the volume and value of NHT mortgages by 6.2 per cent and 10.9 per cent, respectively.“The estimated growth in the ‘other component’ (of the construction sector) was facilitated by higher capital expenditure recorded by the National Works Agency, which disbursed $3 billion on the construction and rehabilitation of roads, relative to $2.2 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2017; Jamaica Public Service, which disbursed $1.7 billion, relative to $890 million (last year); and the Port Authority of Jamaica, which disbursed $1.1 billion, up from $624.5 million,” the Director General said.Meanwhile, hotels and restaurants, with an estimated 1.6 per cent out-turn, was the dominant sector under the services industry.This out-turn was spurred by a 6.6 per cent increase in arrivals, to 1,298,674 visitors. This was reflected in stopover arrivals, up 6.8 per cent, and cruise passenger arrivals, up 65 per cent.Dr. Henry also indicated that visitor expenditure is estimated to have grown by 8.5 per cent to US$825.3 million.He pointed out that the out-turn for 2017/18 fiscal year growth was estimated at 0.8 per cent, with the goods producing industry recording 0.3 per cent and services, 0.9 per cent.The industries recording the largest growth were mining and quarrying, up 4.7 per cent; hotels and restaurants, up four per cent; construction, 1.2 per cent; and manufacturing, 1.1 per cent.Dr. Henry said the growth prospects for April to June 2018 quarter are “generally positive” based on the anticipated strengthening of the performance of most industries, relative to the similar quarter of 2017.“Baseline economic growth is expected to be in the range of 1.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent,” he indicated. Story Highlights Dr. Henry said growth in the building construction component was due to an increase in residential and non-residential developments, reflecting a 286.6 per cent increase in housing starts by public institutions to 1,527 units, of which the National Housing Trust (NHT) accounted for 1,512 units. Dr. Henry said the growth prospects for April to June 2018 quarter are “generally positive” based on the anticipated strengthening of the performance of most industries, relative to the similar quarter of 2017.