South African Journal of Education - Volume 24, Issue 4, 2004
Volume 24, Issue 4, 2004
Source: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 245 –253 (2004)More Less
The primary focus was to assist South African teachers to become reflective practitioners in their daily mathematics classroom teaching.The study involved a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Quantitative data were collected using the ConstructivistLearning Environment Survey (CLES) to assess learners' perceptions of the emphasis on constructivism in the classroom environment. Inthe first phase of the study, the CLES was administered to 1 864 learners in 43 classes and analysed to determine whether the CLES is validand reliable for use in South Africa. As well, descriptive analysis was used to generate graphical profiles of learners' perceptions of theactual and preferred learning environment for each class. During the second 12-week intervention phase, two teachers used the profiles toassist them to develop strategies aimed at improving the constructivist orientation of their classroom learning environments. The teachersimplemented strategies and maintained a daily journal as a means of reflecting on their teaching practices. At the end of the 12 weeks, theCLES was re-administered to learners to determine whether their learners' perceptions of the constructivist emphasis in their classroomlearning environments had changed.
Author Lena GreenSource: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 254 –259 (2004)More Less
One aspect of the role of educators in preparing learners for citizenship of a democracy, namely, the nurturing of appropriate virtues, isexplored. In previous work I identified educators' priorities in this respect. This article reports on what educators say that they do. Certainvirtues are frequently identified in the literature as important if a democracy is to flourish, and their presence in individuals is taken as anindicator of the values they hold. It is widely asserted that schools and educators have an important role to play in promoting thedevelopment of virtues. For the purposes of this paper, an important aspect of this role is conceived of as the fostering of personaldispositions (consistent tendencies to behave in a particular way), referred to as cognitive and moral virtues. Previous research indicatesthat educators are aware of a responsibility to engage with the moral development of the learners in their care but suggests a number ofconcerns related to their capacity and to their understanding of their role. The study reported here was a quantitative survey of the strategiesemployed by a sample of 350 Western Cape educators to nurture the dispositions (both cognitive and moral) they considered to beimportant. Responses to a checklist of thirteen possible strategies indicated that the two most frequently used strategies were thoseassociated with traditional discipline, suggesting that moral education tends to be perceived as a response to negative behaviour rather thanas the active encouragement of virtues. This was to an extent belied by the fact that almost 70% of educators believed that they had animportant role as models. Less than half of the respondents claimed to encourage reasoned discussion, careful thinking and judgement andeducators generally made surprisingly little use of real life or literary role models. Open ended additional responses suggested that educatorsunderstand the importance of broader factors that influence development and that training in Outcomes-Based Education is filtering throughinto classroom practice. It appears, however, that while educators accept a role that goes beyond the mere provision of information, theytend not to conceptualize what they do in terms of nurturing virtues, or as 'moral education' or as 'education for democracy'. They do notcall upon a wide range of strategies for the active mediation of virtues, and appear not to have reflected on these issues. The articleconcludes with some recommendations that might nurture and support educators in their complex task of nurturing and mediating virtues.
Author David P. NgidiSource: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 260 –263 (2004)More Less
The efficiency of school governing bodies, as perceived by educators, was investigated. The School Governing Body Efficiency Scale(SGBES) was used to determine the extent to which educators perceive the efficiency of their respective governing bodies. The findingsindicated that educators differed significantly in their perceptions of the efficiency of school governing bodies. The results also showed thateducator biographical variables (gender, regional location and teaching phase) had no influence on their perceptions. The findings arediscussed and suggestions are made with regard to measures to improve the efficiency of school governing bodies.
Does higher education expenditure generate higher learner achievement? A study of historically disadvantaged schools in GautengAuthor Brahm FleischSource: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 264 –269 (2004)More Less
There is a growing body of research that examines the relationship between learner achievement and the resource characteristics ofeducators. To help policy-makers and researchers use and build on this body of knowledge, I analyse the relationship between six measuresof educator and educator-related characteristics: learner-educator ratios, per learner personnel costs, average educator costs, educatorqualifications, educator years of experience, and percentage of temporary teachers in a school, using two years of data (1999 and 2002)in the province of Gauteng. The implications of the indeterminate findings in the light of the limitation of the study are detailed anddirections for future research are proposed.
Author Cynthia G. FakudzeSource: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 270 –277 (2004)More Less
The learning of science concepts within a traditional socio-cultural environment were investigated by looking at: 1) the nature of "cognitiveborder crossing" exhibited by the students from the traditional to the scientific worldview, and 2) whether or not three learningtheories / hypotheses: border crossing, collaterality, and contiguity were applicable to their science conceptions. At the end of the instructionalintervention, the discussions of two groups, each consisting of ten subjects from the experimental and control groups, were video recordedto test whether or not their views had changed from alternative to scientifically valid conceptions of selected concepts. The findings of thestudy showed that the students exhibited different forms of cognitive border crossing thus corroborating the three learningtheories / hypotheses. However, the study revealed that each of the three theoretical models did not seem to fully capture the phenomenonof border crossing, and hence the positing of the 'Cognitive Border Crossing Learning Model' (CBCLM), which combined the three modelsto show how, when and in what contexts the various types of border crossings took place in the mind of a learner. The study raised issuesfor further research.
Deliberation and citizenship : closing some of the gaps related to the "Values in Education" initiative in South AfricaAuthor Yusef WaghidSource: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 278 –283 (2004)More Less
I argue that the implementation of the Department of Education's "Values in Education" initiative would be problematic without alsoinvoking procedures of deliberation. Unlike the identified "values" on their own - i.e. equity, tolerance, multilingualism, openness,accountability, and honour, as announced by the Department of Education - deliberative procedures offer the possibility to deepen a senseof citizenship in schools. My contention is that the "Values in Education" initiative has a better chance of cultivating citizenship in schoolsif enacted commensurate with the notion of deliberative democracy.
Source: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 284 –288 (2004)More Less
The disciplinary aspects in labour and education legislation have moved away from a punitive approach to one that can be called progressivediscipline. A corrective approach has been adopted by employers, according to which efforts are made to correct employees' behaviourthrough a system of graduated disciplinary measures, such as counselling and warnings. Based on the Code of Good Practice in the LabourRelations Act 66 of 1995, the Employment of Educators Act 76 of 1998 includes detailed guidelines to principals and departmental officialswho are required to conduct investigations in cases of alleged misconduct. To ensure fairness in the disciplinary procedure, labour legislationdetermines that dismissal should be reserved for cases of serious misconduct or repeated offences. The important question, however,is how much tolerance must the employer of an educator show? The constitutional principle, that the best interests of the child are alwaysparamount, must certainly come into play in all matters regarding labour relations in education. How many warnings must the educatorreceive? How serious must an offence be before the educator can be barred from contact with learners? If continuing acts of misconductby an educator hamper and even endanger the educational process, serious questions arise regarding whether the disciplinary procedureagainst an educator is "lawful, reasonable and ... fair". It may be fair towards the employer, but is it fair to the learner? In this article weattempt to weigh the fundamental rights of learners against certain labour rights of educators.
Source: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 289 –294 (2004)More Less
Increasing numbers of students are arriving at tertiary institutions lacking in the skills needed to cope with the social and academic demandsof higher education. Tertiary institutions are, therefore, faced with the task of equipping students with the skills needed to ensure that theycan perform at an acceptable level. One such attempt to address this problem in a foundation course offered by the University of PortElizabeth (UPE) is outlined. It is argued that student acquisition of the necessary social and academic skills will be more successful if theyfirst believe they are capable of performing well and attaining the goals they set for themselves. The academic and life skills module(UPA111), offered in the foundation programme (UPE Advancement Programme), is designed to increase the self-efficacy of students sothat they can approach their tasks with confidence, a positive attitude, and the belief that they can succeed. It is explained how self-efficacyis developed in students in the foundation programme in order to better prepare them for tertiary studies. Preliminary evaluation of theprogramme indicated that it does increase the self-efficacy of students.
An analysis of the extent to which English Second Language teacher educators are implementing learner-centred teaching and learning : a case studySource: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 295 –300 (2004)More Less
The primary learning environment for undergraduate students, the fairly passive lecture-discussion format where teacher educators talk andmost students listen, is contrary to almost every principle of an optimal student learning setting. The current view in higher education isthat teacher educators need to focus on student learning rather than on teaching. One of the challenges in moving a university, and in thiscase specifically a Faculty of Education Sciences, toward learner-centredness is to help teacher educators understand what learnercentrednessmeans and to help them overcome implementation barriers. The purpose in this article was to a) determine the nature and scopeof English Second Language (ESL) teacher educators' tasks at a tertiary institution, b) determine the extent to which ESL teacher educatorsare implementing a learner-centred approach to teaching and learning, c) identify the factors, if any, that impede the transition to alearner-centred approach to teaching and learning, and d) provide recommendations to facilitate the implementation of a learner-centredapproach to teaching and learning within a faculty of education sciences.
Source: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 301 –307 (2004)More Less
The South African Schools Act of 1996 (SASA) provides formal power in education to parents as well as communities. SASA creates theexpectation for parents to be meaningful partners in school governance. It envisages a system where school-based educators wouldcollaborate with the parents to ensure quality education, including curriculum matters such as outcomes-based education (OBE). Anethnographic study was conducted in historically disadvantaged black secondary schools. The study focused on the effects of black parentalinvolvement on the success of their children. For a period of twelve months spread over two years (2002/2003), 24 parents with learnersin eight different historically disadvantaged secondary schools (HDSS) were investigated. The findings of the study revealed that the blackparents' role is crucial in the enhancement of learner success. Parents who played little or no role in their children's homework and studyprogrammes contributed to the poor performance of their children in the classroom. Also, the extremely limited success thus far in theimplementation of OBE in historically black communities was significantly due to the absence of co-operation between the school and thehome. This study affirms the view that community input is crucial in the development of curriculum in schools. Without proactive blackcommunity involvement, HDSS are less likely to succeed in their efforts to improve education.
Author Jan HeystekSource: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 308 –312 (2004)More Less
In this article I focus on the relationship between principals and school governing bodies in South Africa. Although the school governingbody represents many role players, this article will focus mainly on the role and function of parent representatives in the school governingbody. Parents constitute the majority in the governing bodies and therefore have an important role to play in the effective functioning oftheir children's schools. The uncertainty about the exact functions of the principal and the governing body is the key to the argument. Thelegislated functions of the governing body do not provide enough clarity on its daily functioning and this sometimes makes it difficult forprincipals to manage schools effectively.
Author Mgadla I. XabaSource: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 313 –316 (2004)More Less
The perceptions of educators in school governing bodies (SGBs) about their roles were investigated. The study derived its motivationmainly from a previous study on the subject and the subsequent reflection on own experiences of the situation in South African schoolsas an ex-official in the Department of Education. The study therefore drew largely from this previous research report. Findings revealeda great tendency for educator governors in SGBs to act as "watchdogs" for their teaching colleagues. This study pointed to compositionof SGBs and attainment of membership as reasons why educator-governors perceive their role as that of watchdogs for their colleagues.The study however recognised that educator-governors also profess to have the interests of the school and therefore the learner at heart. Thebalancing act is therefore a challenge to them and makes their task as governors even more exigent.
The role of personal protective factors in anchoring psychological resilience in adolescents with learning difficultiesAuthor L.C. TheronSource: South African Journal of Education 24, pp 317 –321 (2004)More Less
In this article I report on a study that focused on the concept of resilience, in order to determine the nature of personal attributes in adolescentswith learning difficulties, who were able to rebound from life's onslaughts, and to continue determinedly along the path ofself-actualisation. The personal attributes impacting on the ability to surmount life's challenges were delineated by an empirical studyfocusing on 20 adolescents with learning difficulties', half of which had demonstrated resilience, whilst the other half appeared to havereneged on self-actualisation. The aim was to provide an in-depth understanding of the phenomenon of resilience, so that vulnerableadolescents might ultimately be therapeutically assisted to choose a more resilient attitude and behaviour. The results of the study delineatednine key personal attributes which anchored resilience and promoted self-actualisation, despite obstacle-ridden circumstances.