Liberating Learning: The Axis Summit 2017

Education author, Kelly J. Baker – writing in Chronicle Vitae – asks, “Do we as educators practice education as a way to free students or control them?” The third annual Axis Summit, which took place at the Wits School of Education from the 17 to 20 July, explored this topic under the theme: Liberating Learning.

The Axis Summit is a four day convergence of teacher interns, teachers and school leaders from South Africa and around the world. The gathering comprised a series of concurrent events, each tailored to a particular audience (e.g. pre-service teachers and in-service teachers). The summit allowed teachers at any stage in their career an opportunity to develop and collaborate with like-minded individuals who share the vision of liberating learning in South Africa.

If we want learners to learn we need to ensure that teachers have effective skills to teach. Teacher training institutes focus on teaching content, overlooking the importance of developing teachers in terms of their instructional practice and their personal skills.

The idea of the Axis Summit is to strengthen teacher capacity in South Africa. The way we train teachers needs to change. More time needs to be spent in the classroom, actually learning how to teach, identifying our weaknesses and working towards strengthening ourselves to deal with the ever changing classroom environment. The Axis Summit focused on helping teachers and those aspiring to the profession develop these skills. Presenters from BRIDGE’s South African Extraordinary Schools Coalition (, along with international educationists from Teach with Africa, shared their best practices with summit attendees.

The summit is a stellar example of the kind of collaboration that sets BRIDGE apart from other organisations. Presenters and participants are all peers, teaching and sharing ideas and resources with each other. BRIDGE members from our four focus areas attended, each with the aim to encourage each other and learn from one another.

All the information shared at the Summit will be made available as Open Education Resources (OERs) on the BRIDGE Knowledge Hub.

BRIDGE will also be producing knowledge products that emerged from the summit, so keep your eyes posted to the BRIDGE Knowledge Hub to access these useful resources.

To access a video of the Axis Summit, click here.