The work of the organisation is accountable to the children and communities of rural South Africa.
Poor and working class schools face different conditions than more well-resourced schools serving middle class children. Classrooms are large, instructional resources are few, basic services are minimal, teachers have fewer experiences of success, and households carry the burdens of poverty and unemployment. The ideas, practices, methods and tools developed by the organisation are held accountable to work, even thrive, in this context.
Children in poor and working class rural schools speak (an) African language(s) at home and in their communities. The most important resource children bring with them as they enter school is their home language resources. The ideas, practices, methods and tools developed by the organisation are designed to build upon children and teachers’ African language resources and extend English language skills.
2. DEMONSTRATION AS METHOD
All too often, development work brings ideas into communities, without deeply understanding what works over time in the complex conditions facing rural classrooms and communities. When ideas and programmes fail, again all too often, teachers and rural communities themselves are blamed.
The method of the work of the NMI emphasises demonstration. This distinguishes the work of the organisation. The goal is to work with communities and schools to build ideas, and demonstrate the ideas working in practice over time. Ideas are not shared with wider networks of schools and communities until they are demonstrated to be workable and generative over time in the conditions facing rural classrooms and communities.