Education as Change - Volume 9, Issue 1, 2005
Volume 9, Issue 1, 2005
Author Wilhelm Van RensburgSource: Education as Change 9, pp 1 –2 (2005)More Less
Extracted from text ... EDITORIAL Assessing communities of practice One of the dominant themes in this edition of Education as Change is the quest for alternative forms of assessment. Natalie Hyde-Clarke proposes the use of online continuous assessment in her article, while both sets of authors, Linda du Plessis and Imelda Koen and Mary Grosser and Kobus Lombard suggest the use of portfolio assessment. Louise Botha, Neels Fourie and Hester Geyser reflect on the impact large classes have on assessment, as an integral part of the teachingteaching- assessment triad. These four articles aim to investigate the possibilities of "a greater and improved learning experience" ..
Author Nathalie Hyde-ClarkeSource: Education as Change 9, pp 3 –18 (2005)More Less
Existing formative assessment practices in postgraduate courses, such as the exclusive use of essays, may encourage students to adopt undesirable learning habits as they focus on the limited range of knowledge required to complete one or two tasks. In order to create a greater and improved learning experience, it may be necessary to address these practices and alter them so that students submit work on a more regular basis, testing understanding and application across the content of the course. This paper discusses the introduction of continuous assessment at the Honours level, through the use of online material and electronic feedback.
Portfolio assessment of Information Technology students at a University of Technology : a case studySource: Education as Change 9, pp 19 –41 (2005)More Less
The emphasis on quality and better throughput, coupled with the promotion of generic learning outcomes in programmes, necessitated the investigation and piloting of alternative assessment strategies. In developing alternative assessment strategies, students' perceptions on assessment have to be determined, since students are the major role-players and potential beneficiaries of a good assessment strategy. The use of portfolios as an assessment tool was introduced at a University of Technology for Information Technology (IT) students. In this article, both the assessment strategy as well as the students' perception of this approach is discussed. Research findings impact on how portfolio assessment can be conducted to refine the use and implementation of portfolios as an assessment tool.
Source: Education as Change 9, pp 42 –59 (2005)More Less
Educational assessment in South African schools is in a process of transformation. With the implementation of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Act of October 1995, assessment moved away from the traditional examination driven approach to an alternative approach that is seen to have greater educational value in terms of the kind of teaching and learning it encourages. Traditional approaches to assessment such as pen-and-paper tests are seriously questioned and alternative approaches are proposed by the Department of Education (DoE, 2000:8). These include open-ended questions, exhibits, demonstrations, projects, performance assessment, hands-on-experiments, computer simulations and portfolios (Herman, 1992:74; DoE, 2000:8). Experimenting with alternative measures of assessment, in which learning and assessment do no longer exist in separate vacuums, involves serious questioning as to whether new approaches to assessment promote the quality of learning. One important aspect relating to quality refers to the extent to which assessment promotes the motivation and desire to learn and to continue learning (Herman, 1992:75). Educators and educationists therefore need to examine the alluring promise that many of the alternative assessment approaches hold against their potential to rise to the challenge of promoting assessment for learning. The new South African school curriculum, Curriculum 2005, places a strong emphasis on assessing learning progress by means of portfolios. Portfolios represent continuous assessment of learner progress, possibilities for integrating assessment with instruction and learning, the nurturing of higher-order thinking skills and a collaborative approach to assessment that enables teachers and learners to interact in the teaching, learning and assessment process. Through the utilization of portfolios in the assessment process, learners should develop the skills and understanding they need to learn and to continue in the world of further education and training and work. In short, learners need to become expert learners: strategic, self-regulated and reflective.
Source: Education as Change 9, pp 60 –79 (2005)More Less
An important aim of education in general and higher education in particular, is to bring about learning with understanding, i.e. deep learning. The distinction between deep and surface approaches to learning includes references to the role of assessment in learning: where a surface approach focuses on assessment requirements and often results in isolated pieces of information, a deep approach focuses on personal understanding, linking new ideas to previous knowledge and experience and relating evidence to principles. Between a surface and a deep approach to learning, an intervening category called a strategic approach to learning has been identified. This indicates that learning is often a combination of both a deep and a surface approach. The purpose of this research was to explore the possible influence of large classes on: students' approaches to learning and lecturers' approaches to teaching and assessment. This was done in the context of three case studies selected on class size in two faculties. It was concluded that it is an oversimplification to say that large classes are a cause for ineffective approaches to studying. In two of the three case studies, the lecturers adopted different coping strategies, namely an exam-driven approach or a strong teacherfocused strategy. This results in a strong surface approach to learning that varies from passive surface to active surface. Even learners with a deep approach to learning have to adapt by adopting a strategic approach.
Author Callie GrantSource: Education as Change 9, pp 80 –100 (2005)More Less
In-service teacher education in South Africa is offered by universities predominantly through open and distance learning. The role of the tutor at the interface between the university and the student becomes critical in this type of programme. Within the mixed-mode Bachelor of Education (Honours) degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, there is an acknowledgement of the need to empower tutors through staff development initiatives. One such initiative ran parallel with an Education leadership module, which aimed to support tutors in their learning of new education leadership theory. This article explores tutor participation in a community of practice and evaluates Lave and Wenger's concepts of 'communities of practice' and 'legitimate peripheral participation' for in-service distance education in South Africa. It uses data gathered from a six-month self-reflective journaling process, as well as a focus group interview. It argues for the development of communities at a distance to support tutors in their delivery of mixed mode programmes but highlights the limitations of the master/apprentice metaphor imbedded in 'legitimate peripheral participation' and extends this to accommodate the South African context.
Source: Education as Change 9, pp 101 –107 (2005)More Less
Observations in the townships of South Africa lead to the realization that childheaded families or households are becoming commonplace. These families can be large and sometimes begging becomes their way of life. In some instances, the community, especially the neighbours, are forced to look after these children. In cases of the school going children, the teachers are the ones who are left with the responsibility of ensuring their wellbeing. Due to this new family set-up, the rights of the children are being violated as they are in most cases forced, for example, to do cheap labour in order to survive. This happens despite the fact that parental roles in the upbringing of children are highly emphasised in the constitution and in the education literature (SA Constitution, 1996; Kok, 1988:7). Parents have a critical role to play in the well being of their children. Not only are they expected to provide materially, but they are also entrusted with provision of safety, emotional stability, and guidance according to norms and values for their children. Parents are also expected to give support to the children's learning and school education. This paper highlights the very decisive role of teachers (guidance teachers in particular), positive and supportive peers, caring neighbours and extended family, school feeding schemes and inherent learner potential. Without these such achieving respondents would not have had any hope for their future and could have become a loss to society and personal disasters.
Author Charl C. WolhuterSource: Education as Change 9, pp 108 –126 (2005)More Less
The desegregation of schools, which followed the 1954 Brown v Topeka court ruling, was not a reform movement limited to the United States of America, but a worldwide trend. This was also the case in post-1994 South Africa, where it became a cornerstone of governmental education policy and a sine qua non for the provision of equal education opportunities. In an attempt to gather information on a grossly under-researched area of South African education, this paper investigates how principals of schools in KwaZulu-Natal have experienced the course of desegregation in recent years. On the basis of these data, an overall assessment is ventured, problematic areas are identified, and recommendations are made to address these problems. In conclusion, follow-up research is suggested, especially with regard to the problems identified and with regard to deficiencies of the instrument used in this research.
Learners' perceptions of a community service programme within the Therapeutic Massage Therapy QualificationSource: Education as Change 9, pp 127 –150 (2005)More Less
Preparing learners for a health profession in a multicultural society and for a heavily burdened primary health care system requires more than merely transferring propositional knowledge and teaching techniques and procedures. Equally important in negotiating the unpredictable practical and ethical issues in the clinical encounter, is the health worker's personal and professional effectiveness. In an effort to move beyond a vocationalist approach to training for a health service, the Massage Therapy Institute in Fish Hoek employs a curricular framework that combines practicum and a community service programme (CSP) to guide future therapeutic massage therapists (TMTs) into the profession. The aim is to integrate theory and practice while simultaneously providing a service to the community and exposing learners to situations that resemble authentic clinical encounters in the health-care context. This article focuses on a research project aimed at investigating learners' perceptions of the CSP within the TMT qualification.
Karl Popper's views on an open society and their implications for the democratic transformation of South African educationSource: Education as Change 9, pp 151 –167 (2005)More Less
Key questions in this study are (a) whether the philosopher Karl Popper's views of an 'open society' can still, after sixty years, have an impact on school education and (b) whether school education in South Africa can play a meaningful role in establishing a democratic and 'open society' culture. The specific aims of this article are (a) to identify and understand some essential features of Critical Rationalism and an 'open society'; (b) to investigate whether these characteristics are reconcilable with democracy; (c) to identify some implications of these features for school education and (d) to link all of this to the democratic transformation of education in South Africa. Typical Critical Rationalism and 'open society' features include the notion of falsifiability and falsification, freedom of thought and the free exchange of ideas and rationality. This article explores the relationship between these features and democracy and concludes that it is compatible with and supportive of democracy. The Popper school clearly demonstrates that it is possible to apply Popperian principles to school education, but it is our contention that these are also applicable in developing countries. The focus of this research is on democratic education and therefore Popper's views on an 'open society' are linked to the democratic transformation of education in South Africa. The enemies of an 'open society' should be identified, even at school level, and if we are serious about the democratic transformation of education in South Africa the school should play an important role in establishing a more 'open society'.
Source: Education as Change 9, pp 168 –184 (2005)More Less
Human existence at the beginning of the 21<sup>st</sup> Century is characterised by the quest to create meaning. The contemporary functional focus of education on skills training is seriously impeding the human endeavour in its quest to discover what it means to live meaningfully. To make meaning is to be able to explain and understand, to comprehend and appropriate meaning inherent to knowledge.This process leads to the creation of meaning by the individual - the ability to make sense. The contemporary state of affairs in education is due to the failure to acknowledge this process which can only be approached and addressed from a hermeneutical point of view. In this article the focus is placed on a cursory explication of Ricoeur's hermeneutical theory, followed by a brief discussion of issues related to outcomes based education.
Author Lesley Le GrangeSource: Education as Change 9, pp 185 –196 (2005)More Less
South African university academics are faced with many new challenges, one such being how they should respond to the pressure of publishing. At the same time, academics also have to devote time to teaching and service work, all competing responsibilities as universities frequently reward these obligations disparately - research and publication being rewarded more favourably. I argue that tensions between the three competing terrains might be overcome if scholarship is viewed as the essence of the academic enterprise. My view of scholarship is informed by the broader view (research and publication) espoused in the Carnegie Foundation report Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate (Boyer, 1990), that identifies four separate but overlapping functions of scholarship: discovery, integration, application, and teaching. More particularly I reflect on the idea of a scholarship of teaching and raise some implications that this notion could have for teacher educators' role(s) in a contemporary South Africa. In the light of an ongoing struggle over its meaning, I suggest that attention be shifted from a need to define the scholarship of teaching to an exploration of its deconstructive potential.
The Reception Year : Learning through Play. 2nd edition, Reda Davin and Christie Van Staden : book reviewAuthor Jean FourieSource: Education as Change 9, pp 197 –202 (2005)More Less
Extracted from text ... 197 BOOK REVIEW The Reception Year: Learning through Play. 2nd Edition. Reda Davin and Christie van Staden (2005), Heinemann Publishers, Sandown; pp.308. ISBN 0 796209 677 (Previously published as 'The Year Before School') This book was written specifically for educators who will be teaching children in their reception year at school. Since much emphasis has recently been placed on the importance of the early childhood years in the child's development, this book will prove to be a useful and informative handbook for teachers. The year before formal schooling begins has now become compulsory for all children and many schools ..