Africa Education Review - Volume 2, Issue 2, 2005
Volume 2, Issue 2, 2005
Author Louis S. JeevananthamSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 171 –172 (2005)More Less
The new developments in terms of language policy for schools must surely have an impact on the way we do things at institutions of higher learning. The essence of the new policy is that learners must receive instruction in their mother tongue. The implications of this stipulation are huge for the educational sector in general, but this is particularly so for schools that are going to be required to provide instruction in mother tongue. A few of these implications come to mind, which I will pose as questions. What will schools do where the demand is for instruction.
Author Vuyisile MsilaSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 173 –188 (2005)More Less
The dismantling of apartheid education was applauded when South African schools opened up their doors to learners from different racial backgrounds. There were hopes that the quality of education would improve, since the markets were now going to exercise their power as choosers. There was also the belief that, with apartheid outlawed, all schools would be able to match world standards. Furthermore, the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996) gives more powers to parents to have a say in the education of their children. However, what has been happening since the early 1990s is that the increasing number of black parents is avoiding the historically black schools by enrolling their children in historically white schools. As a result of this, many educators contend that the quality of education offered in historically black schools is deteriorating. This article focuses on the effects of the movement away from historically black schools, the reasons why some parents still send their children to historically black schools despite the quality problem, the benefits of moving away from historically black schools, and the impact of different schools on the future of the learners themselves.
The role of Representative Councils for Learners in South African schools : maximal or minimal participation?Author Thokozani MathebulaSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 189 –204 (2005)More Less
In 1999 the South African Department of Education issued guides for the Representative Councils for Learners established in terms of the South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996). This article examines the usefulness of these guides in promoting democracy and education for citizenship in South African schools. The guides are located in the context of theories of participatory democracy, representation, and education for citizenship, and of the democratic strengths of the People's Education Movement of the 1980s. In this context, it is argued that the main tendency of the guides is to undermine democratic participation, and that their favoured conception of education for citizenship is minimalist. The article emphasises the need for a more maximalist approach to citizenship education, and for more scope for participatory democracy in schools.
Author M.G. MasitsaSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 205 –220 (2005)More Less
The establishment of a learning culture in schools is important for education to take place. The erosion of the learning culture which often culminated in the poor academic performance of Grade 12 learners in township secondary schools has been a cause for concern for many years. The Department of Education's countless efforts to rectify the situation have been to no avail. This article endeavours to establish the contribution that school principals can make towards resolving the problem. As manager and instructional leader of the school, the principal is in a suitable position to address this problem, and it is also his or her primary responsibility to lead and guide the school towards the attainment of good academic performance. The article discusses the principals' role in restoring a learning culture in township secondary schools. It discusses the management strategies or functions that principals can employ to restore a positive school culture. The management strategies were obtained by means of an interview from the principals of effective secondary schools. The literature study and the views of the principals obtained by means of a questionnaire confirm the effectiveness of the strategies in restoring a learning culture.
The needs and perceptions of South African Grade 4 educators, teaching English second-language (ESL) learnersSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 221 –241 (2005)More Less
Although mother tongue education is recommended by policymakers, researchers and language learning authorities, the reality in South Africa is that many parents / caregivers and learners believe that English is the best choice as Language of Learning and Teaching. Many English second-language (ESL) learners experience barriers to learning, because of a limited English proficiency. An empirical study was conducted to identify the needs and perceptions of Grade 4 educators regarding ESL learners with a limited English proficiency. The following factors were targeted in the study: demographic factors; language issues; educators' perception of learners with language barriers; and teaching of ESL learners who have limited English proficiency. The findings suggest that educators teaching ESL learners are in need of support.
An investigation into the early literacy skills of Grade R Second-language (L2) learners in South AfricaSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 242 –257 (2005)More Less
Reading proficiency is currently a great concern for South African educators. According to the literature on reading proficiency, reading difficulties stem from early literacy development and any improvement in these early literacy skills may help improve reading proficiency. It has, however also been found that South African learners who participated in this study do not meet the standards for their age group in terms of early literacy development. <BR>Educators need to know what learners should have accomplished in terms of early literacy to support learners before they can commence with instruction in initial reading. Skills crucial for the development of literacy are underlying cognitive skills (i.e., the ability to learn deliberately), the development of symbolic representation, oral language, knowledge of literacy concepts, and behaviours and attitudes. This article looks at the skills required for early literacy development. An empirical investigation was undertaken to determine to what extent these skills were mastered by Grade R second-language (L2) learners. The empirical investigation related these skills to the sub-skills of the School Readiness Evaluation by Trained Testers (SETT) to determine the extent to which a group of Grade R learners have mastered the different skills of early literacy development. The findings paint a bleak picture, since most of the participants lack adequate proficiency regarding the skills of early literacy development.
Author G.M. SteynSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 258 –278 (2005)More Less
The professional development of educators is seen as an ingredient essential to creating effective schools and raising learners' performance. Since educators have the most direct contact with learners, and considerable control over what is taught and how it is taught, it is reasonably assumed that enhancing educators' knowledge, skills and attitudes is a critical step towards improving learner performance. To 'reculture' schools according to the philosophy of Invitational Education in order to increase learner performance means to develop collaborative work cultures that focus, in a sustained way, on the continuous preparation and development of educators in relation to creating favourable learning conditions for all learners. Moreover, the aim of Invitational Education is to create an entire school environment that intentionally invites success for everyone in the school. This article attempts to explain key factors that may influence the effective implementation of Invitational Education as an example of professional development for educators. The following major categories are described: learning styles of educators; educators' commitment to change; transformational leadership; out of-school conditions; in-school conditions; and requirements of programmes.
Author S.A. CoetzeeSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 279 –298 (2005)More Less
The fact that there is a serious drug problem in South African schools cannot be disputed. The question is: What can be done to save schoolchildren from the stranglehold of drugs? In this article the author investigated drug testing as a possible strategy to curb the availability and use of drugs in our schools. First, the concept of drug testing is defined. Second, education law and policy regulating drug testing in public schools in South Africa, such as the Constitution, the National policy on the management of drug abuse by learners in public and independent schools and further education and training institutions, the Regulations for safety measures at public schools, the National drug master plan, the Guidelines for the consideration of governing bodies in adopting a code of conduct for learners and the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, 1992 (Act 140 of 1992) are discussed. Before guidelines for education managers and governing bodies to be used when adopting a policy on drug testing are formulated, the author investigated American court rulings on drug testing in schools as well as some advantages and disadvantages of drug testing.
Author Tuntufye S. MwamwendaSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 299 –306 (2005)More Less
In view of the postulated relationship between Piaget's theory of formal operations and academic achievement, this article investigates the extent to which university students in possession of proportional and combinatorial reasoning would perform in an educational psychology graduate course at the University of Transkei. The findings show that those who had the concepts of proportional and combinatorial reasoning significantly outperformed those who had not attained formal operations. This is a clear demonstration that pursuit of academic studies at university subsumes the acquisition of formal operations.
Important aspects of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development for Environmental Education programmesAuthor I.A. CoetzerSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 307 –317 (2005)More Less
The discussion in this article is based on the premise that there is a need to include specialised knowledge about the environment and its resources into Environmental Education programmes in South Africa. The investigation is thus focused on the so-called species approach to sustain biodiversity. In this regard the conservation status of a number of threatened plants, mammals, birds and butterflies are surveyed. The aim of the survey is to illustrate which category of species could be considered for inclusion in Environmental Education research and programmes in South Africa. Sustainable development and the benefits of biodiversity conservation are discussed, inter alia, poverty alleviation through job creation, game-ranching and eco-tourism. The research is concluded with recommendations for Environmental Education programmes, educators and learners.
Author Penny FlackSource: Africa Education Review 2, pp 318 –328 (2005)More Less
This article highlights inherent difficulties in defining learning disability, particularly in South Africa. It traces the evolution of the category from 'minimal brain damage' through to the more current 'learners with special educational needs' and 'learners with barriers to learning.' Different definitions or attempts to describe the phenomenon 'learning disability' are reviewed. An overview of the current international research in the field is provided with particular reference to research that attempts to define learning disability. Much of this research is framed within the medical model, which has as its foundation positivism and empiricism. This results in research which is deficit-focused; in other words the focus is on pathology. A second reductionist model fragments the phenomenon of learning disability into discrete units, each of which is researched. It is suggested that, in re-thinking learning disability, the focus shifts away from the deficit, pathology based, reductionist focus currently held across disciplines.
The problem inherent in including the notion of 'discrepancy between potential and performance' in any definition is discussed, with particular reference to the measurement of 'potential in South Africa's multicultural and multilingual learner population. The article ends with a proposal that there be a shift in focus to a panoptic view of the child: a view that takes in his strengths and talents. In so doing, the country may be better able to serve this growing population.
With the national shift towards inclusive education, there is a renewed focus on learners euphemistically called learners with special educational needs or the more 'in vogue' learners with barriers to learning. Yet what we mean when we bandy these terms about, how well we understand these learners, is questionable. The focus of this article is that sub-group of learners that educators and parents think are just not achieving as they should be achieving, despite themselves, that sub-group we identify as having 'potential' but not 'performance'; that sub-group that we just cannot quite explain, we just cannot quite understand; that sub-group for whom support ranges from placement to pills to punishment!
This article critically evaluates the current understanding of the phenomenon of learning disability as it is understood in the South African context. It begins with an overview of the international research, with particular reference to the notion of definition. Thereafter, it makes comments on the term as it is used in South Africa. In conclusion, the article proposes the need for an alternative understanding of this group of learners.