Education as Change - Volume 11, Issue 1, 2007
Volume 11, Issue 1, 2007
Author Michele StearsSource: Education as Change 11, pp 3 –20 (2007)More Less
The research described in this paper is aimed at exploring the knowledge teachers have of their learners, using a particular approach to data analysis and presentation. The participants of the study were three classes of learners from townships in the Western Cape. The first step in data collection was to find out more about the participants in the study, from three teachers and the learners themselves. In the analysis I presented the first level as a story, using Polkinghorne's (1995) approach. Instead of presenting the data as a number of narratives, it was presented as a story of a fictitious teacher. This narrative shows the nature of the knowledge these teachers have of their learners and how they use this knowledge in the design and delivery of their lessons. This produced a storied account of who these learners were, what they were interested in and what they regarded as useful knowledge. A number of themes which provide a useful guide for teachers in this context emerged from this account.
Is there a bright side? The positive emotional responses of mothers of children with learning difficultiesSource: Education as Change 11, pp 21 –41 (2007)More Less
The focus of this article is on the positive emotional responses of mothers to children with learning difficulties. Initially, a narrative research design, within a constructivist and interpretivist paradigm, was used to capture a chapter in the life stories of eleven mothers whose children were attending a school specialising in 'remedial' education, relating their experiences and emotional responses regarding their child's learning difficulties. A subsequent theme analysis focused on the positive emotional responses of these mothers to their children. The study found substantial evidence of positive emotional responses towards the children as well as the school where support was provided. Results indicate strong responses of love, happiness, understanding, relief, acceptance and hopefulness in the majority of the participants.
Reasons why educator-parents based at township schools transfer their own children from township schools to former Model C schoolsAuthor B.J.J. (Kobus) LombardSource: Education as Change 11, pp 43 –57 (2007)More Less
The aim of this article is to report on a phenomenological study intended to explore the possible reasons why educator-parents based at township schools transfer their own children to former Model C schools. By making use of focus group interviews and written responses, sixty-one primary and secondary educator-parents from township schools in two districts of the Gauteng province, South Africa, participated in the research. From the research responses, ten themes emerged. When these themes are compared with a review of available literature on school choice, a remarkable correspondence is evident. Following this correspondence, it is evident that educator-parents' school choice relies heavily on reasons associated with quality education. If the latter is regarded as being the central reason for learner migration from township schools to former Model C schools, radical and committed intervention strategies are required to improve the quality of township schools.
Free State educators' perceptions and observations of learner-on-learner, learner-on-educator and educator-on-learner school violenceAuthor Corene De WetSource: Education as Change 11, pp 59 –85 (2007)More Less
This paper examines the experiences and observations of a group of Free State educators of learner-on-learner, learner-on-educator and educator-on-learner violence and violence-related behaviour against the background of a literature study. The research instrument was an adapted version of Joshi and Kaschak's violence and trauma questionnaire. The data revealed that Free State learners and educators are mostly exposed to verbal and physical violence. Furthermore, it was found that school size, age, as well as location, have a statistically significant influence on most forms of violence and violence-related behaviour. Secondary schools, schools with 500 or more learners, as well as schools located in rural areas, were identified as the groups with the highest incidence of most forms of learner and educator violence and violence-related behaviour. Based on the results of this study, a few short-, as well as long-term strategies to prevent school violence are made.
Source: Education as Change 11, pp 87 –110 (2007)More Less
There are strong calls for the use of the first language and for a multilingual approach to language in higher education in South Africa. There are a variety of reasons why it is a highly complex exercise to devise and implement a language policy at an institutional level, especially if it is based on unitary notions of language and groups of people. A policy emphasizing the value of multilingualism and endorsing the value of Afrikaans as default language of learning and teaching was implemented at Stellenbosch University in 2004. This article reports on a formative evaluation study of the experience of its first-year. The research design was multileveled, focusing on responses of lecturers, administrative staff, first year students and faculty learning and teaching committee members. The study made use mainly of the survey approach. The analysis of the results showed a varied response to the policy, with strong endorsement for the use of Afrikaans, especially amongst the first-year students. The various responses were shown to vary strongly according to biographical indicators for respondents. The case study questions the dominance of linguistic rights and the human right of participation in educational processes. The research considers whether it is reasonable to expect one policy to be able to deliver to a wide spectrum of interest groups, with a widely varying set of priorities. It presents a principled approach to multilingualism as a useful approach for the future.
Source: Education as Change 11, pp 111 –123 (2007)More Less
In this essay we argue for an African discourse on lifelong learning in South Africa, in so doing exploring its impact on education policy statements, and how it plays itself out in issues related to the nature of learning, equity and redress, and access to higher education. Our exploration is located within the context of the African Renaissance and educational discourse. We prefer to speak of 'resourceful human beings', which we believe is a more humane metaphor, emphasising the social imperative of such a discourse. This essay posits learning as central to both economic and social cohesion, which suggests that lifelong learning cannot simply be driven by a need to secure economic prosperity but has to focus on the 'capacity of citizens to exercise and enforce democratic rights and participate effectively in decision making', as the National Plan for Higher Education (Ministry of Education 2001:7) indicates. We discuss endeavours towards equity and redress in terms of the creation of a more humane society. We contend that particular groups, such as Afrikaners, women, non-traditional learners, students from working-class and rural backgrounds, people with certain disabilities and adults are not equitably represented in the higher education system.
Author Vuyisile MsilaSource: Education as Change 11, pp 125 –142 (2007)More Less
It is a critical commonplace that many schools in developing countries are failing for a number of reasons. Lack of physical and human resources are some of the cited problems in historically disadvantaged schools in South Africa. Social scientists such as Coleman, Dasguta and Bourdieu have investigated the concept of social capital and its propinquity to efficiency and progress of various societal institutions. Among other things, social capital in education refers to the building of social networks and the involvement of communities in educational institutions. When we talk of social capital in schools, we are more interested in the manner in which communities can influence schools. The article looks at whether social capital is a public good and how other societal factors shape it. Studies by Fukuyama (1995) and Putnam (1993) have argued that trust or social capital determines the performance of institutions in the society. Many studies have also shown that community involvement in education is crucial in determining the quality and performance of schools. Many schools fail because their governing bodies do not receive sufficient support from the communities that comprise their parent bodies. The outcomes based education (OBE) system introduced in South Africa in 1998 supports education where there is much community involvement, as this has a potential of ensuring that the curriculum is relevant to the needs of the community. In this study, I looked at the effects of social capital on schools. This was explored as the effects of community involvement were investigated. It was found that while social and financial capital cannot guarantee a school's success, those schools with the highest levels of social capital enjoy the support needed by teachers in schools. This leads to more commitment from the learners and the teaching personnel. Those schools which lacked social and financial capital are more likely to report frequent learner misbehaviour and lower levels of quality than schools with high levels of social capital. Furthermore, the study also found that while financial support helps to raise the quality of education in schools, finances are not the only determinants of high performance and quality.
Author Juliet PerumalSource: Education as Change 11, pp 143 –160 (2007)More Less
According to Gore (1993:68-69), authority in the construction of feminist pedagogy is addressed in at least three ways, namely : authority versus nurturance; authority as authorship; and authority as power. While authority as authorship suggests considering teaching as an enactment of a narrative in which authority refers to the power to represent and challenge versions of reality; authority as power interrogates the ideal of not replicating traditional conceptions of teacher as single-authority figure that mainstream patriarchal education has been critiqued for. In this paper I explore the theme 'authority versus nurturance', as it emerged from my study, "Enacting Feminisms in Academia", which was conducted with educators teaching English from a feminist perspective at five universities in Southern Africa. Women dominate the teaching profession. However, despite the existence of various egalitarian policy transformation documents and legislation (especially within the South African context), that make provision for women to assume research and senior management positions, their roles and status continue to be tied largely to teaching and administrative duties. These roles inevitably activate and perpetuate patriarchally mandated scripts of women/female teacher as loving nurturer; emanating from the associative and traditional functions of woman as caregiver, and bounteous mother. The expectation for female educators to enact maternal roles becomes more pronounced within institutions of higher education, where massification of education, and substandard pre-tertiary education have seen an increase in the intake of students who arrive for university education with stymied literacy and conceptual skills. Thus, the discourse on nurturance versus authority emerges from attempts to interrogate and reconceptualise the feminisation of education. This paper explores the participants' unanimous efforts to unhinge the female teacher from association with caregiver and intellectualised mammy, while simultaneously ensuring that she is not read as disconnected mother. It also presents the participants' views about the need to recontextualise teacher-student interpersonal relations, to render them more appropriate for relating to university-age students.
Source: Education as Change 11, pp 161 –179 (2007)More Less
Life Orientation has become a compulsory learning area for all Grade 10-12 learners in South Africa, and is aimed at developing effective, productive and responsible citizens who will meet both the economic and interpersonal requirements of society. However, the teaching of this subject is a daunting task for most educators, since they do not believe themselves equipped to be effective instructors and modelers of life-skills. Using a theory-generating research design, a model was consequently developed to facilitate an increase of self-efficacy beliefs in educators, to render them more confident in the teaching of this learning area. This article will describe the qualitative evaluation of the model to develop self-efficacy in teachers. The model was implemented via the inclusion of a module in the Advanced Certificate in Education (Life Orientation : FET). The evaluation revealed that the educators did experience an increase in their self-efficacy beliefs about the teaching of Life Orientation after having completed the module.