Education as Change - Volume 11, Issue 2, 2007
Volume 11, Issue 2, 2007
Author Wilhelm Van RensburgSource: Education as Change 11, pp 1 –2 (2007)More Less
Three interconnected, generic activities define the qualitative research process. They are variously known through such terms as theory, analysis, ontology, epistemology, and methodology. Behind these terms stands the personal and professional biography of the researcher who speaks from particular gender, racial and cultural community perspectives.
Outsider from within : reflections on my fieldwork journey in a native / foreign Eastern Cape school governance research contextAuthor Ntombozuko Stunky DukuSource: Education as Change 11, pp 3 –15 (2007)More Less
This paper is a reflexive account of a number of methodological issues that arose in the field as I was conducting a study of the relationship between identity and participation in school governance in six African, Xhosa speaking communities in the Eastern Cape. I conducted this study periodically in four phases between April 2002 and May 2005. I collected data using 'residence' methodology, and included surveys, in-depth interviews and participant observations. Research sites comprised four rural and two townships. This paper aims to explore the nature of my own researcher identity, which in this context translated into both insider and outsider positions. This shows the fluid nature of my identity as a researcher. This paper intends to make a contribution to the researcher status debate that challenges the simplistic insider-outsider dichotomy evident in popular qualitativeliterature, and suggests, rather, that we begin to imagine the possibility of a continuum in which the researcher is located. In this I suggest that positionings of oneself as 'native' and 'stranger' shift, providing the researcher with a complex challenge of constantly having to 'read' his or her location. Such a reading, I argue, can be utilized to inform and enhance the research experience. Reflections are made on the advantages of being an insider, and the challenges, incompleteness and destabilizations that come with recognition of this status. Recommendations are made for young researchers to be conscious of the complexity of fieldwork politics, which at times require one to adjust to unexpected situations.
Source: Education as Change 11, pp 17 –32 (2007)More Less
This article explores how theoretical frameworks are evident in Master's dissertations and doctoral theses in Educational ICT research. These studies (n = 103) were purposively selected from seven South African universities. We argue that theoretical frameworks are epistemological devices that account for the knowledge that is produced in a study. We furthermore argue that they explicitly / implicitly account for the type of design of an inquiry. The findings of the document analysis conducted reveal that studies that were theoretically developed, yielded data that could be interpreted in more depth, while a substantial number of researchers that employed their theoretical frameworks in a very limited way, presented findings that were no more than descriptive in nature. We argue that the reason for the theoretically impoverished studies is complex; part of it may be due to students' training in methodology, supervision that students received, conditions at the institution and so forth. We argue that theory could lead to epistemological emancipation and express concern about the theoretically impoverished studies in Educational ICT and the impact this might have on the development of scholarship in this area of educational research.
Source: Education as Change 11, pp 33 –43 (2007)More Less
In this paper we offer fieldwork as an opportunity to move away from the more procedural and routine tasks of the teaching practicum to the more desirable focus on teaching as research and an inquiry-oriented practice (Hussein, 2006; Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; Zeichner & Teitelbaum, 1982). Moore (2003:31) points out that fieldwork "holds great potential for ... reflective practice", and we feel that it offers prospective teachers opportunities to think about learning, about how learners learn, and about what is most useful to them. Through empirical research practices of fieldwork, prospective teachers can construct their own understandings about teaching in complex contexts. They can also develop their competencies towards becoming 'scholars, researchers and lifelong learners'. Fieldwork has a long history as a form of social science research. At a very basic level, it involves long-term observations of an area of study, interviews with people involved, and narrative data collection in the form of field notes and interview transcripts. Fieldwork as a qualitative methodology has influenced sociology, anthropology, history, economics, documentary film-making, photography, and many other areas of study. It can also be a powerful research tool for those entering the teaching profession.
Author Carien LubbeSource: Education as Change 11, pp 45 –65 (2007)More Less
In this article I explore the reported experiences of children growing up in same-gendered families, with a specific focus on their experiences in their respective school settings. In this article the focus is on whether or not the children disclose their family structure, therefore focusing on disclosure and silence. I propose certain factors that might increase the possibility of open disclosure with positive outcomes, as well as investigate the factors that might encourage silence. In this article I argue that schools can be either places of tolerance and acceptance or of intolerance and prejudice. Those two standpoints are not, however, fixed but exist simultaneously in any given school. This article is structured by first offering an overview of how the children perceived different school climates / atmospheres, and is organised around the themes of tolerant and less tolerant school environments. Thereafter the focus is on individual narratives, to illuminate the way in which children in same-gendered families disclose and negotiate their lives in a school system. This discourse concludes with recommendations for schools and further research.
Source: Education as Change 11, pp 67 –80 (2007)More Less
Transformation, based on the values of social justice, inclusion and respect for human dignity, is currently a repeated refrain in the corridors of Higher Education and Training Institutions (HETIs) in South Africa. The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is no exception and espouses transformation as a core value. However, there is a danger that transformation and its accompanying values will remain empty rhetoric unless they are incorporated into everyday practice at microlevels. In this article, we pose the question, "How can we ensure that our institutional values (that promote transformation) are incorporated into our teaching practices?" We contend that action research provides an ideal opportunity to realise these values, thereby ensuring that transformation does take place at ground level. We make a case that self-study practitioner enquiry has a vital role to play in the development of new theories of practice which will contribute to the transformation of the epistemology of educational enquiry in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Author Kathy MabinSource: Education as Change 11, pp 81 –96 (2007)More Less
Interaction with peers is central to the social development of student-teachers. Despite the democratic changes in South Africa in 1994, which resulted in integrated education, it is noticeable that many undergraduate student-teachers at the University of the Witwatersrand School of Education find it difficult to establish and maintain interracial and intercultural relationships with their peers. Exploring and discussing themes of race relations, discrimination and social rejection in young adult fiction during lectures and in tutorial groups offers students opportunities to imagine a world larger than their own. These discussions can help them to construct wider friendships and bridge racial and cultural divides. All titles referred to in this article were published after 1990, and include the following: The strollers by Lesley Beake, The red-haired Khumalo by Elana Bregin, Dianne Case's 92 Queens Road, The mending season by Kagiso Lesego Molope and Jenny Robson's Because pula means rain. Students' responses to texts are included.
Author Francine De ClercqSource: Education as Change 11, pp 97 –113 (2007)More Less
This article engages with the challenges of school change, and the conceptual framework and assumptions of using accountability and support as improvement tools. It looks at lessons from various conceptual and empirical analyses and evaluation studies of school change interventions to critically examine the Whole-School Evaluation (WSE) policy introduced in South African education in 2001. It analyses the content, form and underlying assumptions that schools can be improved through monitoring / evaluation and development. This article argues that the WSE policy, in its present form, will not be able to achieve its intended outcomes. A different form of school monitoring and evaluation system, which is more appropriate to the context of South African schools, is needed to achieve the desired outcomes.
Author Lebogang RammaSource: Education as Change 11, pp 115 –130 (2007)More Less
The purpose of this study was to investigate the status of classroom acoustics in primary schools in the Johannesburg area. Grade 1 classrooms from 15 different schools participated in this study. Background noise levels and amount of reverberation (echo and sound reflection) in unoccupied and occupied classrooms were measured in each classroom. The relationship between the number of learners and background noise level in the classroom was also investigated. Background noise levels measured in unoccupied classrooms were then compared to the South African National Standard specification for maximum background noise allowed in an unoccupied classroom. It was found that 14 out of the 15 classrooms had unoccupied background levels that exceeded the maximum classroom background noise limit recommended. 13 of the 15 had acceptable amounts of reverberation. Classrooms with more learners per classroom area generally had higher occupied classroom background noise levels. Overall, the majority of classrooms that participated in this study had unoccupied background noise levels that could potentially interfere with speech understanding in the classroom. Results from this study are discussed in relation to implications for the learner, teacher, class size and future research.
Integrating assessment and recognition of prior learning in South African higher education : a university case studySource: Education as Change 11, pp 131 –155 (2007)More Less
The article reports on the integration of assessment and recognition of prior learning (ARPL) at postgraduate level in one South African university. An analysis of interviews with administrators, lecturers and students who have been involved in the ARPL process provides insight into the implementation practices that accompany the formal introduction of ARPL into the institution. The factors necessary to support ARPL policy implementation, the scope of assessment procedures and the facilitation of ARPL in a learner-centred manner are discussed as focal areas for quality assurance in ARPL integration.
Author Elizabeth HirstSource: Education as Change 11, pp 157 –158 (2007)More Less
Within the current era of globalisation, changing political landscapes and the dangerous aftermath of 9/11, questions of identity, belonging and place have assumed increased significance for teachers. As classrooms become more diverse, identity as a site of conflict and struggle becomes increasingly evident. Perumal's book is timely in foregrounding the issues around identity in the context of English language teaching.
The Education of Henry Adams : An Autobiography ed., Ira Nadel, Introduction by D.W. Brogan. : book reviewAuthor Andrew GrahamSource: Education as Change 11, pp 159 –160 (2007)More Less
"Henry Adams never professed the smallest faith in universities of any kind, either as boy or man, nor had he the faintest admiration for the university graduate, either in Europe or in America", a third-person narrative conclusion which, coming from a grandson and great-grandson of two American presidents respectively, may, in the present global environment, not come as much of a surprise.