South African Journal of Education - Volume 25, Issue 4, 2005
Volume 25, Issue 4, 2005
Author James GarrawaySource: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 217 –222 (2005)More Less
Globalisation and the related changes in social and economic practices have impacted strongly on teaching and learning in higher education; 'Education is being set up as a critical element in economic well-being and competitiveness'. The particular economic practices examined here are those codified as the so-called new work order practices. However, what happens in the workplace is qualitatively different from what happens in higher education classrooms, and there are inherent difficulties in integrating the two in any productive way. Some of the responses to workplace integration into the academy are examined and I argue for the recontextualisation of work into the academy.
Author Arend CarlSource: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 223 –228 (2005)More Less
Education in South Africa is facing great challenges, especially with regard to curriculum development. Teachers are principal role-players in the process of addressing these challenges. The question is: Are they allowed to participate in the process, and if they do participate, what is the nature of their involvement? Within the context of the current curriculum changes in education in South Africa, stringent demands are being made on teachers. This process of continuous change has not yet stabilised and therefore it is imperative that there should be dialogue about what is expected of teachers when it is suggested that they should be "more involved in curriculum development". An attempt is made to contribute to this discourse by focusing on what is meant by teacher involvement in brief, the possible viewpoints regarding this concept, and the real nature and extent of possible involvement within a specific South African context. Results of the research project indicated that teachers were for the most part excluded from participation in curriculum development at curriculum levels outside the classroom. Their perception was that, although they were the subject and/or learning area specialists, little attention, if any, was given to their "voice" - they were only involved in the implementation of the new curriculum.
Creating a complex learning environment for the mediation of knowledge construction in diverse educational settingsSource: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 229 –238 (2005)More Less
The role of complex learning environments in the mediation of knowledge construction is examined. The research incorporated activity theory and recent trends in complexity theory and chaos theory. Our main aim was to describe how an understanding of cognition as a complex system can facilitate the challenge of addressing diversity by spawning cognitive interventions that can tolerate and address complexity and non-linearity in thinking and problem-solving. A design experiment format was used for data collection as design experiments lend themselves to the study of cognition in natural and complex settings. Results suggested complex learning environments may be particularly well-suited to the mediation of knowledge acquisition skills, metacognitive awareness, and critical thinking skills.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 239 –246 (2005)More Less
We reflect on two cycles of inquiry involving the explicit teaching of thinking skills to learners with learning (dis)abilities and how these skills may be bridged to the learning of science. The purpose of the research was to critically explore to what extent teaching science using selected Instrumental Enrichment (IE) instruments can: contribute to the development of science thinking skills in learners with special needs; contribute to the transfer of thinking skills to other learning areas; and provide the learners with an interactive science programme that is suitable to their particular learning needs? We report improvement in learners' thinking skills due to the intervention programmes but also point out that evidence of transferability of thinking skills from science to other learning areas is inconclusive.
Prospective biology teachers' attitudes toward animal dissection : implications and recommendations for the teaching of biologySource: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 247 –252 (2005)More Less
A sample of 242 prospective biology teachers at a South African university responded to a questionnaire on animal dissection in a science-related context. The students were required to answer questions relating to their experiences and attitudes toward animal dissection. The influence of gender, culture, and religion on their attitudes is discussed. The implications of the findings for teaching biological science are considered and a number of recommendations are made in regard to animal dissection in the biology classroom.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 253 –257 (2005)More Less
We describe how selected adolescent learners experience their current HIV / AIDS programmes in school. The rationale of the instrumental case study was that knowing, appreciating and understanding learners' preferences and experiences should inform future HIV / AIDS curriculum design. Research was conducted at three specifically selected secondary schools (cases). Focus groups and written essays were used as methods for data collection from 90 Grade 11 participants. Whilst learners agreed that HIV / AIDS education is necessary, they suggested that certain changes be incorporated in future HIV / AIDS programmes. They suggested the following innovations: smaller gender-specific groups; outsider presenters; the involvement of parents / caregivers; more variety in the programme format; extended and continuous HIV / AIDS education; acquiring more information about HIV / AIDS care, support and treatment (the current emphasis is on prevention); addressing values and life skills in HIV / AIDS education; utilizing fear-provoking and real-life images and contexts to instil preventive caution. The findings support an integration of HIV / AIDS, life skills and values education into the formal curriculum. This approach is supported in the literature. Further research into learners' preferences and suggestions about the format and content of HIV / AIDS programme development is strongly recommended.
Activity Theory as a framework for understanding teachers' perceptions of computer usage at a primary school level in South AfricaAuthor Joanne HardmanSource: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 258 –265 (2005)More Less
Educational underachievement in gateway subjects such as mathematics and science is a continuing challenge in South African schools. In a bid to develop technologically competent mathematicians and scientists while addressing the shortage of teacher capacity in the country, the government has turned to computer technology to support and strengthen teaching and learning in disadvantaged classrooms. The assumption underlying the use of computers in these schools is that computers will enable students to cover the curriculum more efficiently and effectively, leading to improved performance. However, the extent to which a computer can impact positively on students' achievement depends on how a computer is used as a learning / teaching tool. I seek to illustrate the potential use of Activity Theory as a framework for understanding how teachers use technology to mediate the teaching and learning of mathematics in primary schools. To this end, I argue for an understanding of the notion of an 'object' as a methodological concept capable of tracking shifts within and between activity systems. Drawing on interview data collected from four case studies carried out in the Western Cape, South Africa, an account of teachers' perceptions regarding how pedagogy shifts across the different contexts of the traditional lesson and the computer laboratory is developed. I conclude by arguing that the strength of Activity Theory lies in its ability to enable one to understand learning as the complex result of tool-mediated interactions, rather than as something opaque, which happens in a student's mind.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 266 –272 (2005)More Less
The aim of this research was to use the Job Demands-Resources model as a theoretical framework to test a structural model which included job characteristics, burnout, and ill-health for primary school educators in the North West Province. A cross-sectional survey design was used. Stratified random samples (n = 646) were taken of primary school educators in the North West Province. The Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey, the Job Characteristics Inventory, and the Health sub-scale of an Organisational Stress Screening Evaluation Tool (ASSET) were administered. Structural equation modelling showed that job demands and a lack of job resources contributed to ill-health through burnout, indicating that burnout mediated between job characteristics and ill-health.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 273 –278 (2005)More Less
The development and validation of an instrument for establishing the perceived INSET needs of teachers of Mathematics, Physical Science, and Biology in Limpopo province, South Africa, and their pertinent demographic details are described. The instrument was modified from the Science Teacher Inventory of Needs (STIN-3) developed by previous workers. STIN-3 was adapted for use in the educational context of Limpopo province in collaboration with important stakeholders in Mathematics, Physical Science, and Biology education at the provincial and national level. The stakeholders commented on the appropriateness or otherwise of items, suggested additional items, and assessed the clarity of items and instructions for completing the questionnaire. An English Second Language expert inspected the instrument to make its language demands appropriate for the target audience. The resulting Science Teacher Inventory of Needs for Limpopo Province (STIN-LP) was pilot-tested on 132 teachers in the subjects and modified accordingly. The final STIN-LP has good alignment with the Norms and Standards for Educators and consists of 95 items: 47 items describing INSET needs in 7 different categories, 26 demographic items, 14 items describing teachers' problems, and 8 items assessing the frequency of use of particular teaching strategies.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 279 –286 (2005)More Less
We determined the impact of transformational styles of leadership on human resource management in primary schools. A transformational leadership model was employed to conduct this investigation. The model is underpinned by both theory and practice as well as with the qualitative research conducted for this study. Using semi-structured interviews, ten educators in two primary schools were interviewed. The findings indicated a movement towards an integrated or overarching use of leadership styles in the quest for transformational leadership as is evident in the model. Of note is that the principal still has, as the leader of the school, a vital role to play in changing past autocratic (transactional) structures to a more democratic, transformational type of leadership. The study revealed further that educators, including principals, must realise just how invaluable the human resources at a school are and that the support and commitment of these resources is vital to organisational success.
Source: South African Journal of Education 25, pp 287 –291 (2005)More Less
Minority group interests have resurged since the middle of the 20<sup>th</sup> century. Minorities are re-discovering their identities. In South Africa the question has arisen whether government can provide in the educational needs of minorities in terms of own schools and own languages as media of instruction, especially as there appears to be global recognition of the rights of minorities. The problem of how the educational needs of a minority group could be met was investigated by focusing on the characteristics and the (educational) needs of the Griqua community in South Africa. It was found that, although the members of this group insisted on the preservation of their cultural identity, they did not wish to be isolated from broader South African civil society. Three scenarios are put forward, in terms of which their educational needs could be accommodated and provided for, within the existing constitutional and legislative framework.