About us

E3 is a programme in the Department of Basic Education. Our mandate is to develop a bespoke South African Teaching-for-Learning approach that will cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset and prepare learners with skills and competencies for a changing world.

At E3 our vision is of a South African schooling system that creates a psychologically safe environment where learners feel confident, have autonomy and the agency to be innovative, creative, curious, take risks, and learn from mistakes.

We believe that happy teachers – who role-model an entrepreneurial mindset and behaviours, equipped and prepared with the new teaching-for-learning approach – will inspire learners to flourish in Education, Entrepreneurship, and Employability.

We know that all young people are born with an innate drive to learn through play which stimulates an entrepreneurial mindset. The drive to play and the entrepreneurial mindset need to be sustained, perpetuated and catalysed through schooling.

We propose that a contextually relevant, playful S.P.E.C.I.A.L. learning environment activated through authentic meaningful projects, will nurture and sustain the solution-seeking entrepreneurial mindsets we are all born with.

Our goals in the Research, Innovation and Development team are to

  • Provide tools and resources for teachers to create playful learning environments conducive for learners to practice and catalyse their innate entrepreneurial mindsets. (Resources include integrated playful project-based learning projects and tools to scaffold teachers’ abilities to create their own projects.)
  • Support the Implementation team in the training and development of teachers

You can find out more on our website: www.ecubed-dbe.org

About our approach

Since 2018 E3 has been working closely with the DBE to pilot creative learning environments that enable learners to develop the skills they need to succeed in a changing world. We are initially piloting the medium of Playful Project-based Learning by infusing a competency-based approach in the mandatory term three projects from grade R-11. The goal is to ultimately infuse this approach in all subjects and grades.

Our approach is deeply rooted in the Science of Learning. The Science of Learning uses science to explain HOW children learn best, (through guided play), which then informs HOW teaching and learning should happen in the classroom. We know that children learn best when classrooms are Socially Interactive, Purposeful, Enjoyable, Inspire Curiosity, Iterative, Actively Engaging and enable Learner Autonomy (S.P.E.C.I.A.L.). These are imperative to create a sustained playful environment in every classroom in order to cultivate the entrepreneurial mindset.

The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. learning environment is activated through the tool of Project-based Learning (PBL). PBL learning provides the opportunity for learners to participate in authentic real life projects where they seek opportunities to find value for others by solving real world problems. In doing so learners develop their entrepreneurial mindsets.

In participating in a playful Project-based Learning project that activates the seven S.P.E.C.I.A.L. imperatives, learners have the opportunity to practice and catalyse the competencies, mindsets and knowledge that make up the entrepreneurial mindset. The competencies that are fundamental to catalyse an entrepreneurial mindset are Collaboration, Communication, Content, Critical Thinking, Creative Innovation and Confidence.

And finally, what ensues is a learner who is optimally engaged, because their interests, abilities and concerns for adding value to others have been positively activated through a meaningful, real-life authentic project, resulting in the catalyzation of a generation of ‘entrepreneurials’. Entrepreneurials are are young people of the search and discovery generation who have an opportunity-seeking mindset ready to succeed in education, employment and entrepreneurship. All young people need an entrepreneurial mindset to flourish in life after school.

Finally, we also believe that in this approach, no matter how well the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. environment is prepared, it will fail if the system does not create psychologically safe environments for children to make mistakes and learn through iteration and reflection.

Access to quality education for all young people drives this approach which depends on resources of mind rather than expensive physical resources, which may be exclusionary.

Our context

Since 2018 E3 has been working with teachers and the DBE to create Project-based Learning projects for term three, across all grades. These projects are aimed at all quintile schools (so require flexibility and adaptability), driven by the content needs of the CAPS curriculum and the assumption that teachers have had limited experience with project-based learning. As such E3 has taken a scaffolded approach to developing teachers’ capacity to successfully implement these playful project-based learning projects.

This is a journey that has started with:

  • Teachers implementing prepared term three projects (2021/22)
  • With the next step of teachers adapting a project for their context (2022/23)
  • Followed by the intention for teachers to create their own projects (2023/24).

COVID-19 has hampered our ability to provide in-person training for teachers and as such their experience in our Teaching-for-Learning approach is limited and the project design needs to reflect and accommodate for the reality on the ground in schools.

We are now in the process of recreating our Term Three Playful Project-based Learning to:

  • Integrate the Lego Foundation Tinkering processes
  • Integrate skills and competencies more intentionally
  • Integrate the seven S.P.EC.I.A.L. elements in teaching practices
  • Improve assessment of competencies and skills for a changing world.

What needs to be produced?

Together with our E3 Foundation Phase Expert create the following CAPS aligned Playful Project- based Learning projects, for Grade 4-6, that include:

  • A teacher instructional guide
  • Learner workbook/resources
  • Additional resources (if necessary)
  • Assessments for CAPS and competencies

Please see examples of what we currently provide to teachers here, but note that these need a radical overhaul.

Our Foundation Phase Consultant will be working on projects from Grade R-3. However, there needs to be very close connection and sharing between the foundation and intermediate phases.

Additional considerations

  • Projects include content from terms 2 and 3 and meet the assessment criteria for these two terms.
  • These projects need to be peer-reviewed by teachers and coaches from schools in all quintiles but particularly 1-3.
  • Projects must be ready to share with the DBE by February 2022.
  • We will be establishing a working group that includes teachers, DBE staff, and E3 team members that meets bi-monthly to discuss aspects of the projects and/or the process of Playful Project-based Learning.

What can you bring to this piece of work

  • Experience in creating innovative and engaging teaching resources
  • Experience of project-based learning and playful learning
  • Experience creating teaching materials for low resource schools
  • Experience creating and applying assessment tools for skills and competencies as well as the CAPS requirement
  • Knowledge of how the South African education sector and its ecosystem works
  • The ability to work in a small dynamic team and with the Department of Basic Education and HEIs.

Expression of interest

Please submit an expression of interest along with a budget for this piece of work to susannah@ecubed-dbe.org by 5th November 2021.