South African Journal of Education - Volume 28, Issue 4, 2008
Volumes & issues
Volume 28, Issue 4, 2008
Source: South African Journal of Education 28, pp 451 –468 (2008)More Less
Educational effectiveness research focuses not only on cognitive output but also on affective student outcomes. Student wellbeing has to be addressed as an important output variable of the educational process. The focus in this study is on student wellbeing at the end of Grade 10 and its relationship to current achievement, and pre-measurements of student wellbeing and achievement. Student characteristics and motives for attending school are taken into account. Moreover, within classroom environment research, student perceptions of psychosocial characteristics within the classroom are considered as an important factor in the explanation of student wellbeing. Data from 429 students at 13 different secondary technical and vocational training schools in Flanders (Belgium) are used. The results indicated that pre-measurements of student wellbeing and achievement are positively related to student wellbeing at the end of Grade 10. No relationship was found between student wellbeing and achievement when both are measured at the end of Grade 10. Furthermore, students feel better when they perceive their teacher's interpersonal behaviour in the classroom as tolerant / authoritative and not as authoritarian.
Conceptions on modelling processes in Italian high-school prospective mathematics and physics teachersSource: South African Journal of Education 28, pp 469 –487 (2008)More Less
We present a study on the conceptions of Italian prospective mathematics and physics teachers with respect to modelling activities. Common ground for both the mathematician and the physicist, these activities are a relevant aspect of the Graduate School for Mathematics and Physics Teacher Education curriculum at University of Palermo, Italy. The answers to a questionnaire on the processes of modelling are analysed, according to an a-priori analysis built by taking into account a general scheme of reference on the philosophy of mathematics and physics. The study was performed by using methods of quantitative data analysis: factorial analysis of the correspondences and Gras implicative analysis. The results showed that prospective teachers appear to use mostly a constructivist approach in the modelling processes.
Source: South African Journal of Education 28, pp 489 –504 (2008)More Less
Teachers and psychologists need an instrument to assess learners' language proficiency in mathematics to enable them to plan and evaluate interventions and to facilitate best practice in mathematics classrooms. We describe the development of a mathematics vocabulary questionnaire to measure learners' language proficiency in mathematics in the intermediate phase. It covers all the steps from designing the preliminary questionnaire to standardising the final instrument. A sample of 1 103 Grades 4 to 7 Afrikaans-, English- and Tswana-speaking learners in North West Province completed the Mathematics Vocabulary questionnaire (Primary) (MV(P)), consisting of 12 items. We analysed the data by calculating discrimination values, performing a factor analysis, determining reliability coefficients, and investigating item bias by language, gender, and grade. We concluded that there was strong evidence of validity and reliability for the MV(P).
Author Jeanette De Klerk-LuttigSource: South African Journal of Education 28, pp 505 –517 (2008)More Less
In this article I identify the concept spirituality as an often neglected dimension of the lives of teachers in South Africa. The concept spirit is elucidated and, from the various definitions, criteria of spirituality are distilled. The spirituality of teachers in South Africa is viewed in the light of these criteria. Thereafter I speculate on the various reasons why a condition of spiritual stuntedness seems to be prevalent among many teachers in South Africa and conclude with suggestions on how to counteract the spiritual stuntedness of teachers, so that their spiritual dimension is acknowledged and developed in the workplace.
Author Alta EngelbrechtSource: South African Journal of Education 28, pp 519 –541 (2008)More Less
History became a mere sub-section in the broad category of social sciences in the (then) new Curriculum 2005, significantly diluting it as a school subject. Yet the rewriting of South African history textbooks after the seminal democratic elections in South Africa during 1994 became a tool to counter the Apartheid stereotypes, previously loaded with strong cultural and political content. The focus during the past 10-12 years in South African historiography, on the reversal of the colonial portrayal of Africans, has resulted in the de-mystification of Eurocentrism in textbooks. New myths and new silences were re-instated and ensured that again only one voice is dominant - the voice of black South Africans. Multi-perspectivity, one of the non-negotiable pillars of post-modern historiography, is being disregarded in a country attempting to write a sound report of its past. In this article I address the extent to which white and black role reversal is reflected in representational practices in current South African historiography perspectives. A research group of six academics examined the illustrative material of nine series Grades 4-6 primary school history textbooks to identify the extent of racial representation. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted. Of all the illustrations in the textbooks, 15% depicted whites, 50% blacks, and 35% blacks and whites together. The qualitative findings suggest that so-called 'white history' is marginalized in the exemplars. White role models are downplayed and portrayed only as peripheral figures, making their race indistinct. The "butterscotch-effect" (the light colouring of faces) contributes to the fact that there are no racially marked identities. Learners will therefore have difficulty in identifying with the characters and narrators, especially since attempts to portray multi-perspectivity were found in only two textbooks. The data suggest that Afrikaner nationalist views are being replaced by African nationalist views and that history is again serving an ideological objective by striving to establish a single, simplistic perspective on the past.
Contextualising learning in Advanced Certificate in Education (Environmental Education) courses : synthesising contexts and experiencesSource: South African Journal of Education 28, pp 543 –559 (2008)More Less
We report on experiences in the Advanced Certificate in Education (Environmental Education) courses of two South African universities, namely, Rhodes University and the University of South Africa. We focus specifically on the whole school approaches which were influenced by a project between these two universities and Manchester Metropolitan University. We illustrate how contextual profiling influenced the perspective or entry point from which the whole school message was approached in the ACE (EE) courses. Through illustrative examples from these two courses, we report on two different approaches to contextual profiling, starting by problematising an approach that relies solely on a priori contextual profiling. We then illustrate how this approach can be complemented by contextual profiling within courses and within context through situated learning processes.
Source: South African Journal of Education 28, pp 561 –579 (2008)More Less
One of the cornerstones of the Outcomes-based approach adopted by the South African education and training sector is the so-called Critical Outcomes. Included as one of these outcomes is the ability of learners to identify and solve problems, using creative and critical thinking. Underpinned by the Critical Outcomes, Outcomes-based Education (OBE) was introduced in South African schools in 1997. It can therefore be argued that the critical thinking abilities of the cohort of first-year students who entered higher education institutions in 2006 were challenged somewhere in their school careers. Based on this assumption, a group of first-year education students were required to complete the Watson Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA) to gauge their critical thinking abilities. The results obtained by this means are discussed and some suggestions made to address the way forward with regard to development of learners' critical thinking abilities.
Source: South African Journal of Education 28, pp 581 –593 (2008)More Less
Very little information is available on the impact of leadership practices, in South African primary schools, on the development of preadolescent learners. Leadership in primary schools focuses mainly on the roles, tasks, features, identification and development of "leadership". Leadership practices, as currently applied in most primary schools in South Africa, challenge preadolescent development, with serious consequences. Our purpose in this study was to reflect critically on the appropriateness of existing leadership models for the preadolescent from a well-being perspective. A qualitative research method, which follows an inductive, exploratory approach, was selected because this method acknowledges the complexity of the phenomenon. Data were collected by means of focus groups and written assignments. The six components of psychological well-being, namely: self-acceptance, personal growth, purpose in life, positive relations with others, environmental mastery, and autonomy are used in discussion of the findings. The findings confirmed that the current social phenomenon of preadolescent leadership contributes to negative evaluations of the self and personal experiences, early identity foreclosure, disrupted peer group interactions, distorted relationships with adults, and a limited environment for the development of self-determination.
Source: South African Journal of Education 28, pp 595 –607 (2008)More Less
We present findings of a study carried out to determine the effect of streaming by gender on secondary school students' achievement in mathematics. In the study we analysed achievement scores on national examinations results for the years 1999 to 2001 of a sample of 1 489 candidates in four secondary schools in Nakuru District, Kenya. Raw data were analysed statistically and the hypotheses tested. Generally, the results indicated that streaming based on gender improved overall student achievement in mathematics and especially that of girls. Although further studies are needed to incorporate this result into official policy, there are strong indications that streaming by gender may be a useful class environment as an intervention towards improving the performance of girls in mathematics in co-educational schools.
The development of an enabling self-administered questionnaire for enhancing reading teachers' professional pedagogical insightsAuthor Janet CondySource: South African Journal of Education 28, pp 609 –624 (2008)More Less
I explore the development and refinement, validation and implementation of a questionnaire to define teachers' perceived professional competencies in teaching reading skills and strategies in Grades 1-7 classes in developing countries. Using the Concentrated Language Encounter (CLE) programme, implemented and expanded annually between 2001 and 2005 in 4 900 new classrooms in schools in South Africa, I gathered and analysed theoretically coherent feedback data from more than 1 000 qualified, active reading teachers to establish a set of competencies describing teachers' professional understandings of their pedagogical reading tasks. The study was grounded in the social constructivist, sociolinguistic and psycholinguistic theories originating from the works of Piaget, Vygotsky, Cambourne, and Goodman. Their foundational principles, together with the South African Revised National Curriculum Statement were defined and applied to the derivation of all items in the questionnaire. The questionnaire evolved through three phases of validation. Throughout phases two and three, several cautious varimax normalized factor analyses and scree plots were engaged to refine and develop the questionnaire, within the context of teaching reading in South African schools. The emerging teaching reading themes can be fed back to teachers to improve aspects of their teaching reading.