Education as Change - Volume 12, Issue 2, 2008
Volume 12, Issue 2, 2008
Source: Education as Change 12, pp 1 –3 (2008)More Less
This special issue is devoted to research about the professional development of practising teachers. Some of the articles report on a research project of the Centre for Education Practice Research at the University of Johannesburg. Other articles were originally presented as papers at a recent conference on teacher development at UJ. Together these articles examine the challenges of research on this complex topic.
Author Elizabeth HenningSource: Education as Change 12, pp 5 –24 (2008)More Less
This article presents an acount of the struggle for theoretical depth in research projects. The author writes a meta-analytical narrative of how groups of researchers engage with cultural historical and activity theory (CHAT) as framework for their collaborative work on teacher learning. At this meta-level she introduces the character of Trouble (borrowed from Jerome Bruner) - the problem space of learning conceptually. In narrative episodes that mirror some of the themes in Vygotsky's oeuvre she narrates the chronologue of the researchers' theoretical learning by using the very theory under study as a lens and as a reflective device - thus depicting theoretical / conceptual learning by way of a theory of such learning. She also reflects on her own assumptions as project leader and teacher of ideas in this framework and comes to question her subject position, especially as it relates to "the zone of proximal development" of researcher learning. The data, or the fabula, or story facts, for this narrative were extracted from interviews with other project leaders in the current research programme on teacher development, discussions with authors in these projects, research reports, and minutes of meetings over a period of four and a half years. She concludes that the story reveals the pitfalls of popularised theory and the challenges of learning theory theoretically in an empiricist context that has not nurtured such learning, admitting that she, also, has delayed theoretical enrichment to favour fieldwork in much of her career.
Source: Education as Change 12, pp 25 –40 (2008)More Less
This article gives a glimpse of the lifeworld of newly qualified teachers as they are introduced to the workplace. The inquiry that is reported was conducted on the premise that new teachers are especially vulnerable to attrition pressures. A case study research design was used to study a group of ten new teachers in a single school environment. Components of cultural-historical and activity theory (CHAT) were employed as theoretical framework for this research, focusing on the tensions between the teachers and their new practitioner 'community', which was found to be a "pseudocommunity". The analysis of the data showed that novice teachers felt that they were not readily accepted in the professional 'community' of the school. The nature of micro socio-political relations within the school as institution and the positioning of novices within hierarchical structures inhibited their interaction with other teachers and contributed to their isolation. The authors conclude that new teachers are disempowered in the face of the lack of professional community values.
Source: Education as Change 12, pp 41 –57 (2008)More Less
In this article we report on the findings of a pilot study conducted with a multi-cultural group of 40 practising teachers who are currently enrolled for an Honours B.Ed.-degree at a South African university to determine their understanding of a mediational approach to teaching. The results, based on the findings of a quantitative survey, revealed deficiencies with regard to the group of teachers' understanding of the meaning of the concept mediation and its related processes and competences. The significance of the article lies in the exploration of both the understanding of the concept mediation that focuses on nurturing and advancing a culture of human rights in teaching and learning, and the possible translation of this understanding into teaching practice in South African classrooms. The data were analysed by the Statistical Consultation Services of the North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, making use of descriptive statistics such as frequencies, means and percentages were calculated.
Author Jonathan D. JansenSource: Education as Change 12, pp 59 –75 (2008)More Less
This paper focuses on the trauma of loss and transformation for white South Africans in the wake of the demise of apartheid. It draws on seven years experience of working with white students, staff and senior managers of a university as the first black Dean of Education. Using post-conflict pedagogy, the paper illustrate that the lines between victim and perpetrator begin to blur, as part of a process of making sense of how to live together in the shadow of a shared history and with the prospects of a common future. Teachers in this pedagogy not only bring-in their own identities, they also carry their own knowledge of the past. It is proposed that in a post-conflict pedagogy, teacher's intervention has to go beyond acknowledgement and embracing the victims of racism, thus empowering them to confront such behavior from a position of strength. This paper contends that the post-conflict pedagogy would dissuade / obviate the apocalyptic understandings of the young Afrikaner males from catastrophic events.
Participative intervention research : the development of professional programmes for in-service teachersSource: Education as Change 12, pp 77 –90 (2008)More Less
The Report of the Ministerial Committee on Teacher Education, A National Framework for Teacher Education in South Africa (2005), underlines the need for more attention to be given to the professional development of in-service teachers in South Africa. Many programme-related initiatives for the professional development of teachers have resulted from this report. However, it seems that some teachers view these attempts at professional development in a very negative light. Research done by Du Preez (2008) indicates that the methodology and / or approaches used may be one of the underlying reasons. This enquiry aims to contribute to the methodological discourse regarding intervention research and conceptual processes that support professional development of in-service teachers. The article begins by exploring the intervention research proposed by Rothman and Thomas (1994) that seems to be situated in an idealist interpretivist paradigm. After identifying some of its shortcomings, it highlights the merits of using an approach to intervention research that is embedded in a critical emancipatory research paradigm. Reflections on the experience of applying some of these methodological insights to a particular case study are presented to corroborate some of the theoretical and philosophical notions. It seems that participative intervention research can recentre the teacher, making professional development something done with teachers and not to teachers.
Source: Education as Change 12, pp 91 –108 (2008)More Less
This article presents the findings of an interpretive study on how exemplary teachers navigate their learning journeys when developing inclusive learning communities. We chose socio-cultural theory as a framework for understanding how the participating teachers learn from difference and diversity in their everyday classroom practice. The main source of data was individual semi-structured interviews with five primary school teachers. The participants compared their learning process to that of an apprenticeship, and highlighted two themes: firstly, they identified their learning in the school context as intentional, self-directed and incremental; and secondly, they increasingly accessed and generated sources and opportunities themselves to support their learning process. They added insight into the interdependence of both individual sense-making and social collaborative learning. We argue that there is a close relationship between these teachers' personal and professional identities and that learning and caring have always been part of their teacher identity. Teachers themselves need to be cared for and supported in a caring and inclusive learning community.
Source: Education as Change 12, pp 109 –122 (2008)More Less
In this paper we explore how visual participatory methodologies, such as participatory video documentary, can be used by researchers to engage educators to take action concerning social issues that impact on their teaching. Educators from township schools in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth, voluntarily participated in a two day video documentary workshop. From the wide range of challenges identified, the vulnerability of learners affected by HIV & AIDS was selected by the teachers as the most pressing issue. This research therefore brought together two important current issues in South African society, viz the teaching profession and educators (often viewed as unwilling and / or unable to intervene in the lives of learners or in the broader community) and HIV & AIDS, creating opportunity for change in both. Participatory visual methodologies offer teachers the opportunity to play a leading role in researching and developing ways to increase awareness around the social and educational injustices deriving from the HIV & AIDS pandemic. Participatory video documentary work thus has the potential to move teachers into action that facilitates social change. The paper explores just whom the research is for, and how participatory research can be utilised to promote social justice in school and in the community.
Source: Education as Change 12, pp 123 –135 (2008)More Less
This article describes and presents the communal story of three lecturers involved in the genesis and development of a multi-tiered service and support system instituted by the Faculty of Education in Johannesburg in conjunction with eight partner schools and a community organisation. The multi-tiered system comprises of pre-service teacher education students, B Ed (Hons) school counselors and M Ed Educational Psychology students. We describe the genesis of the system by first providing a contextual overview against the backdrop of a framework of social justice and care in the Faculty of Education and argue that as an academic enterprise the community engagement initiative contributes to a greater integration of theory and practice. We also posit that this integration, partly based on Bernstein's notion of an integrated curriculum, which is framed in a particular manner, leads to curriculum innovation in all the modules and also includes a revision of roles and power relationships generally assigned to lectures and students in a higher education context. Such an integrated curriculum brings enriching and rewarding experiences as well as numerous challenges. We acknowledge the role of institutional support in this process but conclude that by working collaboratively with students and community members in critically reflecting on the challenges and ways of addressing them, we are encouraged to envisage new pathways for bridging the distance between the 'academic world' and the 'world of the people'. In this way we attempt to address both structural and discursive aspects of curriculum development and in the process generate a new discourse of engagement (Palmer, Cooper & Bresler, 2001: 160).
Source: Education as Change 12, pp 137 –153 (2008)More Less
This paper describes the factors which characterise the design, management and resultant curricula experience of student teachers engaging in a Professional Practicum as part of their initial education. The goal of the paper is to highlight the use of the theoretical framing of narrative research, its analysis and representation, which emphasises the link between the way data is generated from the field, and what is understood from the analysis and representation of the data. The field texts are assembled in a narrative form from various data sources gathered from interviews with tutors, school managers, school-based tutors and students. These reconstructed narratives show how students make sense of their journey of professional development. They also signal how school managers and mentors understand and act out their roles and responsibilities during the Professional Practicum. The narratives reveal that the ideals of the policy resonate with students' professional growth but that they also conflict with the ethos of the school culture which is driven by its own internal standards, especially around matters of diversity. The narratives highlight the need for a multi-leveled understanding and interventions in order to enhance the quality of teacher education policy and practice.
Source: Education as Change 12, pp 155 –169 (2008)More Less
Teachers in South Africa are confronted on a daily basis with messages of inefficiency, ineffectiveness and misconduct with little or no credit to those who are on the opposite side of the spectrum of professionalism. The issue that is explored in this article is not the typical one of why teachers are not performing, but rather what enables teachers to teach with apparent joy, passion and enthusiasm in spite of public scrutiny and bad publicity. We present two ethnographic narratives in which two teachers, a white female and a black male, share their common drives. We explore their perseverance within the theoretical context of critical community psychology and positive psychology. We show how the experiences give rise to what Michael Csikszentmihalyi has referred to as flow and how this relates to autotelic activities. The findings reveal how the teachers' perception of self as 'doer', their sense of school as family, their home family as support of their professional lives and their religion / spiritual belief system contributed to their ability to persevere. This suggests that teachers who can attach meaning to their profession and can identify what drives and sustains them in the face of adversity are more capable of accessing their inner resources in order to nurture their personal and professional self as motivated, positive and driven teachers. This article is written with consideration to educational psychology and the role it has to play in the educational landscape.