South African Journal of Education - Volume 25, Issue 3, 2005
Volume 25, Issue 3, 2005
Author Elmene BraySource: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 133 –138 (2005)More Less
The governing body of a public school must adopt a code of conduct for the learners of the school. This document contains disciplinary rules which are crucial to school discipline, yet its legal nature and consequences are often overlooked by schools. The adoption of a code of conduct is a specific "rule-making" function which vests in the democratically elected governing body representing the main stakeholders of the school. Particular legal requirements are set for the adoption of these legal rules because they have to be obeyed by all the learners. Similarly, the enforcement of these rules constitutes an important administrative action which must be performed with due regard for the rights and interests of the learner and the school community. The law prescribes that these actions must be conducted lawfully, reasonably, and procedurally fair.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 139 –147 (2005)More Less
Findings from a two-year project, which investigated the entry-level English reading skills of Grade 8 non-primary speakers of English, are presented. The article raises some theoretical and methodological issues related to reading development and assessment in schools. The generally poor reading skills of many learners entering high school raise questions about current classroom practices and disparities in literacy accomplishment in primary schools. By making our findings available to scholarly scrutiny, we wish to stimulate discussion on reading instruction and assessment in schools, and educational accountability, and so hope to encourage further research and discussion in this field.
Author Maretha VisserSource: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 148 –155 (2005)More Less
The implementation of a peer support programme in 13 secondary schools from a community with rising rates of high-risk behaviour is discussed. The programme was aimed at establishing support for learners with psychosocial problems in order to prevent and reduce high-risk behaviour related to HIV / AIDS, substance abuse, and various forms of crime. Peer supporters were identified, trained and supported to implement the programme in their schools with the assistance of a teacher and student facilitators. Peer supporters identified learners with problems, supported them or referred them to helping agencies. They also started awareness and information activities to prevent and reduce high-risk behaviour. Through the evaluation of the implementation process, crucial challenges were identified that need to be addressed for the programme to function optimally and to enhance its sustainability. The lessons learnt from this research can be applied to other schools in the implementation of similar programmes.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 156 –163 (2005)More Less
According to Section 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa everyone has the right to education. It specifies further that everyone has the right to equal education. Prior to 1994 education was segregated. Every group had its own educational system, administration and schools. Very little school choice existed and learners had to attend the school closest to their residence and the one designated to their racial group.New directions have been considered in white papers concerning education, which have resulted in various new laws. These include the South African Schools Act , which has heralded a new era in the management and control of schools. Parents and learners now have a choice to attend any school they wish. Affordability is a minor concern because the South African Schools Act ensures that learners cannot be rejected if parents are not in a position to pay the school fees. Learners from Sharpeville have left their schools for ex- Model C schools in the towns of Vereeniging and Vanderbijlpark. The numbers in Sharpeville primary schools have dropped drastically. Some schools have had to merge in order to cover the required enrolment by the Department of Education. Principals of Sharpeville primary schools are faced with the challenge of turning their schools into learning organisations that produce quality education.
The effects of educational context on the understanding of linguistic concepts in English and isiZulu by Grade 7 learnersSource: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 164 –169 (2005)More Less
The effects were assessed of English instruction on home language (isiZulu) competence in Grade 7 learners from three different contexts (rural, urban, and township), where the exposure to and instruction in English and isiZulu vary considerably. Eight schools including 181 learners participated in the study. The assessment tool, constructed in English and translated into isiZulu, was based on the frequency of occurrence of key concepts in a published curriculum package. The learners showed specific patterns of performance dependent on context. Johannesburg learners performed significantly better in English than in isiZulu, demonstrating the highest level of competence in English but the lowest in isiZulu. Soweto learners showed similar proficiency in both languages, demonstrating the same level of competence in isiZulu but significantly higher English scores than the Kwa-Zulu Natal learners, who did much better in isiZulu than in English. All learners had difficulty on the tasks involving conjunctions, temporal concepts, conditionals and intensifiers, which were assessed using sentence construction or sentence completion tasks, and required higher levels of language processing. The results highlighted the important role of language in learning and academic success. The significant influence of language exposure and context was also illustrated.
Addressing problems in integrated schools : student teachers' perceptions regarding viable solutions for learners' academic problemsAuthor Corinne MeierSource: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 170 –177 (2005)More Less
Classroom teaching is influenced by teachers' perceptions of learner diversity. The current integration of South African schools calls for teachers to actively take stock of their perceptions of learners from diverse backgrounds and develop the attitudes, knowledge, and skills that will equip them to teach effectively in culturally diverse classrooms. Such development should be an important objective of teacher training programmes. Against this background the School of Education, University of South Africa, joined a ten-nation international research project, organised by the International Bureau of Education (IBE) of UNESCO, with a view to acquiring information about student teachers' perceptions of learners from diverse backgrounds. A section of the research done in South Africa is outlined, where the focus was particularly on the solutions student teachers envisage for dealing with learners' educational difficulties in a multicultural classroom. Implications for the design of teacher training programmes is addressed.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 178 –184 (2005)More Less
Changing societal needs and philosophies of education constantly require academics to rethink teaching and learning. Currently, globalisation and the reconstruction of society have radically changed the profile of the student body. Assessment is without doubt one of the major 'drivers' of the teaching-learning process that steers the quality of learning. Research has established that portfolios can be used as a flexible and versatile tool to support student-centred learning, as well as assessment. Coupled with the fact, that the student's perception of the assessment procedure is the single most important influence on learning, this led to the introduction of portfolios as part of the teaching methodology for Information Technology (IT) students at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) in 2000. In 2002 a research project was launched to determine the effect of the portfolio intervention. All the IT students enrolled in 2002 at the VUT were included in the research project. The outcome of the portfolio implementation project is reported on. The following three objectives were used as a basis for discussion and reflection: firstly, the description of the portfolio development process; secondly, an evaluation of the outcomes that include changes in knowledge and attitude that resulted from this project as well as the effect on the pass rate; and thirdly, impact objectives that focus on changes in the long-term performance of students that resulted from the research project.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 185 –189 (2005)More Less
Assessing the abilities of learners with barriers to learning (BtL) is particularly difficult in the case of learners with severe physical difficulties or those who have little or no functional speech. We focus on the use of different types of assessment concessions as a basis for the development of more reliable assessments for those learners who are unable to participate in general assessment procedures. As the term assessment generally refers to a broad concept, including different types of evaluation procedures and strategies, we use the term assessment task in order to focus on a specific assessment tool as part of the process of providing access for learners with impairment to general assessment procedures. The requirements for different types of assessment concessions are contrasted, i.e. accommodations, adaptations, and modifications. A classification system for assessment concessions is critically discussed and strategies for further research are indicated.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 190 –197 (2005)More Less
As has happened in many western democracies over the past few decades, post-apartheid South Africa is undergoing educational reform resulting from, among other things, the specification of assessment standards within the school sector. The soon-to-be-replaced syllabi provided some description of what could be taught in a specific subject (the content) as well as broad intentions regarding the aims and objectives of teaching and learning. However, what these syllabi lack(ed) are subject specific assessment standards on which curriculum planning and teaching practice could be based, and from which learner progress might be monitored. The newly formulated National Curriculum Statement (NCS) for Geography in the Further Education and Training (FET) band concerned with Grades 10, 11, and 12, provides the learning outcomes for the band, the assessment standards for each grade as well as broad outlines of content to be covered. Whether these assessment standards will in fact enhance Geography teaching in each of the relevant grades and lead to improved learner achievement will depend on a number of factors. Continuity and progression are two important factors. Recent developments in the area of subject specific assessment standards are described and reflected on and an analysis of the FET Geography assessment standards and their implications for assessment are provided.
Application possibilities of the Mesulam Continuous Performance Test as a diagnostic screening device for Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 198 –202 (2005)More Less
Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been researched for many years from many diverse perspectives. This multidisciplinary interest in the disorder has resulted in diverse and often contrasting theories regarding its aetiology, diagnosis, and treatment. Unfortunately this has led often to inadequate diagnostic and intervention practices. The aim of this research was to determine whether the Mesulam Continuous Performance Test could be applied as a user-friendly, but reliable, diagnostic screening device in the process of identifying children with ADHD. A sample consisting of a diagnosed group of ADHD learners and a control group of non-diagnosed learners was drawn from the 6-10 year old learner population of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Area. Both groups were subjected to the Mesulam Continuous Performance Test. Statistical analysis of the results yielded the following conclusions: the test discriminated effectively between ADHD and non-ADHD learners and the test can be used as a reliable diagnostic screening device during the process of identifying ADHD learners.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 203 –209 (2005)More Less
The research process that was used in a study conducted to capture teachers' understanding of their assessment strategies is reflected on. In particular, the focus is on how the adaptation and reshaping of a method made them aware of the nature and scope of a lesson objective that they were assessing. The purpose is to highlight the challenges of research that has a time frame attached to it, whilst aiming at not only revealing insights about a situation but also intending to promote development.
Accountability and school obligation : a case study of society's expectations of the schools curriculum in ZimbabweSource: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 210 –215 (2005)More Less
The expectations of society on the contribution of the school, through its curriculum, to social development and the justification for such expectations vis-a-vis the availability of the prerequisites for the proper implementation of the curriculum are examined. Professional expertise, financial and material resources and decision-making power are argued to be fundamental prerequisites for accountability. The article reports on the findings of a mini-study carried out in Harare, Zimbabwe, on the expectations of the parents and teachers on the role of the school and its accountability to various stakeholders. It was concluded that there are serious constraints which make it difficult for schools to carry out their operations as intended. It is argued that these constraints have to be taken into consideration when schools are criticised for failing to meet their expected goals. The authors' observations on the Zimbabwe school curriculum are discussed and suggestions on how it could be made more relevant to the needs of the society are presented.