South African Journal of Education - Volume 31, Issue 3, 2011
Volume 31, Issue 3, 2011
Learn together and work together for a more reasonable, unbiased, acceptable, and morally righteous nation : editorialSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 295 –297 (2011)More Less
For many in South Africa the goal of education is the creation of workers fit for a rapidly changing labour market. For some it is to encourage the love of knowledge and the creation of a peaceful society of socially well-adjusted individuals. For others it may be the promotion of critical thinking and social practices for communal and national development. What we all seem to yearn for, is a society characterised by choice and social justice, a society where we can work together, learn together and live together for a more reasonable, unbiased, acceptable and morally righteous nation.
Teaching for social justice education : the intersection between identity, critical agency, and social justice educationSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 299 –311 (2011)More Less
In line with national policy requirements, educators are increasingly addressing forms of social justice education by focusing on classroom pedagogies and educational practices to combat different forms of oppression such as racism and sexism. As all educators have a role to play in dismantling oppression and generating a vision for a more socially just future, teacher education has the responsibility to capacitate pre-service teachers to work in areas of social justice education. It is, however, difficult to conceptualise programmes for social justice education without considering the interconnection between various social identities and how such identities can feed into critical agency and education for social justice. Working with the assumption that white women teachers must be part of the solution to bring about social change in South African education, we used in-depth interviewing to explore pre-service teachers' emerging identities as teachers, and how these identities are connected to notions of critical agency and a stance towards social justice.
Author Sechaba M.G. MahlomaholoSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 312 –321 (2011)More Less
The centrality of quality education provisioning for all towards a better and socially just life is acknowledged globally. To date, however, there are still skewed gender differentials unfavourable to girls, thus impeding gender equality. In this paper I report on the reasons for leaving school early cited by out-of-school girls in North-West Province, South Africa. These reasons are juxtaposed against those cited by out-of-school boys to show how powerful gender as 'positioning in discourses' appears to be. Structured focus group interviews using the adapted version of 'Masitsa's inventory' were conducted. Qualitative data were coded and analysed based on frequency tables. The findings reveal that more girls than boys say they leave school early owing to: repeated failure; long distance to and from school; pregnancy; poverty; ill-health; attraction of odd jobs; looking after siblings; lack of motivation; early marriage, and criminal activity. The conclusion, therefore, is that if schools in the context of the community can become sustainable learning environments privileging girls' concerns, they can assist in resolving these problems of skewed gender differentials. This could lead towards achievement of a socially just life for all.
Understanding how we understand girls' voices on cultural and religious practices : toward a curriculum for justiceSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 322 –332 (2011)More Less
It is imperative to take account of the many faces of justice when exploring the elements of a curriculum for justice. Justice is not only about equity, equality and fairness, but about creating spaces where people can learn to prioritise a significant Other and practise doing so. The curriculum needs to provide a space where the legal, restorative face of justice and its ethical face could coincide. Firstly, we argue that a sole focus on justice as reasonableness might reinforce the notion of "separate but equal", and that through a leveling of difference, we might opaquely strengthen difference without an inclination to care deeply for those whose background might differ from ours. Secondly, we argue that the legal and ethical faces of justice are not mono-tonal, but that these faces constitute many complexions based on the body holding it (or the person who attempts to make sense of these faces). In this article we will attempt to understand how we make sense of girls' voices on cultural and religious practices. We imagine that understanding how we understand Others might place us in a better position to provide guidelines to develop curriculum spaces for profound justice; i.e. justice that is based on reasonableness and, more importantly,on care.
Author Linda Van LarenSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 333 –344 (2011)More Less
Since 1999, many South African education policy documents have mandated integration of HIV & AIDS education in learning areas/disciplines. Policy document research has shown that although South African politicians and managers have produced volumes of eloquent and compelling legislation regarding provision for HIV & AIDS education, little of this is translated into action. The impact of HIV & AIDS permeates the social, economic and political arenas in South Africa. Integration of HIV & AIDS education across disciplines can serve as a strategy to further the ideals of social justice. This paper focuses on how integration in the teaching and learning of Mathematics Education provides opportunities to take action for social justice. The inquiry explores the following question: How can the myth that there is 'nothing we can do' about HIV & AIDS, which is linked to social justice issues, be addressed through integration of HIV & AIDS education in Mathematics pre-service teacher education? Drawing on self-study, the work of a Mathematics teacher educator who worked with pre-service teachers to integrate HIV & AIDS education at a higher education institution is described. By considering integration of HIV & AIDS education in Mathematics Education and taking action it is possible to develop strategies which directly relate to social justice.
Source: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 345 –356 (2011)More Less
Self care is one of the options for parents in need of after school care for their children. In certain studies self care is seen as detrimental to development and academic performance, but in other studies children do fairly well notwithstanding their latchkey situation - self care could teach young people a sense of personal responsibility and self reliance. In this article we emphasise the negative influence of self care, especially for primary school children. The after-school hours alone at home can be very risky for children living in low income, dangerous, or disadvantaged environments. Children being left alone for more than three hours often present with low self esteem, low academic efficacy and high levels of depression. They are often not well adjusted and sometimes present with behavioural problems. Educators have expressed concern about the academic adjustment and achievement of self-care children. In this study we looked at the influence of a latchkey situation on children's relationships with parents and educators in connection with educational success. A qualitative research design was used with three cases of latchkey children, where parents, children, and their educators were interviewed.
Source: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 357 –368 (2011)More Less
With the release of Education White Paper 6: Special Needs Education - Building an Inclusive Education and Training System the issue of inclusive schooling has formed a growing part of the education debate in South Africa. There have been inclusive education pilot projects undertaken by the national and provincial education departments and various school-based initiatives that have engaged with inclusive education policy implementation. This study explored one school-based initiative that aimed to include children with disabilities and implement the imperatives of Education White Paper 6. The research participants were five teachers and the school principal. Data collection techniques included in-depth semi-structured interviews, non-participant observations in classrooms and document analysis. The findings in the study emphasize the importance of spatiality to understanding how ideological and structural forces impinge on a school that is grappling with the inclusion of students with disabilities. The study highlights how the everyday individual and cultural practices in the specific school spaces play out to reinforce dominant normalizing discourses of traditional forms of special education.
Author Yolisa NompulaSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 369 –380 (2011)More Less
I explore the role and value of African music in education, by drawing from a study of Grade 5 learners at a school in the Eastern Cape, which was designed to answer the question: Could Xhosa children in South Africa sing Xhosa indigenous songs significantly better than European folk songs? The experimental group received instruction in Xhosa indigenous songs accompanied by indigenous instruments. Instruction included traditional dancing, antiphonal singing technique and improvisation. The control group received instruction in European folk song singing accompanied by Orff instruments. The results of the study suggest that the Xhosa children sang the Xhosa repertoire expressively and significantly better than the European songs. Based on the findings, I argue for the inclusion of African music in education. The purpose of the research was to determine whether there is any significant development in the cognitive, psychomotor and affective skills of learners when taught African music as opposed to western European music. The aim was also to assist educators with meaningful pedagogical approaches and alternative methodologies to enhance an inclusive learning and cultural experience in music education.
Author Johannes L. Van Der WaltSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 381 –393 (2011)More Less
The promulgation of South African policy regarding the place of religion in public education was delayed until 2003, after a lively debate. The National Policy on Religion in Education effectively banned confessional, sectarian religion from public schools, but allowed for the teaching of Religion Studies as an academic subject and for religious observances, on condition that these were offered in a fair and equitable manner. Given the nature of the debate around religion and education in South Africa, it can be asked whether the state has served social justice through this Policy. A discussion of human rights, social justice, morality and the role of the state leads to the conclusion that although the state never actually mentioned the philosophical or moral driving forces behind the Policy, it is most likely that it applied tenets of secularism, value-plurality, pragmatic political expediency and modus Vivendi. This was probably the best route for the state to follow considering how, in the past, education suffered from the over-emphasis of divisive factors. Revised policy could arguably take cognisance of how actors on the ground dealt with this conundrum.
Author Ferdinand J. PotgieterSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 394 –406 (2011)More Less
Moral issues and principles do not only emerge in cases of conflict among, for instance, religious communities or political parties; indeed they form the moral substructure of notions of social justice. During periods of conflict each opponent claims justice for his/her side and bases the claim on certain principles. In this article, reference is made to the differences among South Africans about the extent to which religion and religious differences in the population should be accommodated in public school education. Explorative hermeneutic phenomenology facilitates an investigation into the nexus between social justice and its moral substructure. This is followed by a discussion of the moral dilemma facing education policymakers regarding the accommodation of religion in public education, with the aid of two contrasting metaphors, namely, the Strict Father and the Nurturant Parent.
Author Merridy Wilson-StrydomSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 407 –418 (2011)More Less
The closely related, but often contradictory, issues of increasing access to university and improving students' chances of success in their university studies have been and continue to be an important research focus within higher education studies and policy in South Africa and beyond. More recently, the challenge of underpreparedness of students entering university has gained prominence as universities struggle to increase their throughput rates. It can be argued that increasing access, without increasing chances of success, is becoming a new form of social exclusion within higher education. This paper proposes that approaching issues of access from a capabilities perspective (as developed by Amartya Sen) provides a means of fostering access for social justice and countering access that leads to social exclusion. As such, this is a theoretical paper building on existing work on the capabilities approach within education to argue that the notion of capabilities provides a useful theoretical and conceptual framework for understanding the complexities of meaningful access to university in a deeply divided society like South Africa.
University-school partnerships for social justice in mathematics and science education : the case of the SMILES project at IMSTUSAuthor Mdutshekelwa C. NdlovuSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 419 –433 (2011)More Less
My purpose in this paper is to situate a university-school mathematics and science education partnership within a social justice perspective in education. The focus of the systemic intervention endeavour was school-based teacher professional development in which university-based facilitators embarked on class visits with the aim of identifying teacher needs, co-teaching and offering professional support over a three-year period. This was in contrast to evaluation (inspection visits) often undertaken by the subject advisors under the auspices of the Department of Education which, for historical reasons, tend to be viewed with suspicion by teachers and teacher unions. Five historically disadvantaged secondary schools and their 10 feeder primary schools were involved in this study with a view to providing equal opportunities to learners from marginalized communities in the Cape Winelands district of the Western Cape. Initial results suggest that an intervention programme that is responsive to local needs can go a long way in bringing about collaborative teacher professional development that leads to reflective practice in professional learning communities and can add value to the quality of student achievement in the gateway subjects of mathematics and science.
Literacy journeys : home and family literacy practices in immigrant households and their congruence with schooled literacyAuthor Leila KajeeSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 434 –446 (2011)More Less
Major sociocultural contexts of learning such as families, communities and schools are imbued with power, and power favours some more than others. Given that schools are important sites of social and cultural reproduction, one of their major tasks is to teach learners to be literate. However, literacy is often viewed only as schooled literacy in the dominant language, and the role of the home has been undervalued in the past. In this paper I examine, through a sociocultural lens, the role played by the home and community in literacy learning. Through data elicited from observations of family interactions and conversations, as well as interviews with family members in two immigrant households, I examine their home and community literacy practices and ask how these practices intersect with schooled literacy. I conclude that immigrant children have far greater language and literacy skills than presumed, and that schools need to recognize language and literacy practices that children engage in at home and in the community, and emphasize that social justice for all requires educational shifts.
Empowering first year (post-matric) students in basic research skills : a strategy for education for social justiceAuthor Constance ZuluSource: South African Journal of Education 31, pp 447 –457 (2011)More Less
Post-matric students from under-resourced (historically disadvantaged) black high schools generally encounter difficulties in their academic work at university. The study reported here was intended to empower first year (post-matric) students from these schools with basic research skills in a bid to counteract the effects of their high school under-preparedness. The context of an English and Academic skills module was used to offer a hands-on collaborative research skills experience based on John Dewey's concept of "learning-by-doing". The students were an intact class of Human and Social Sciences first year students involved in a research endeavour based on student-generated topics. The research project was carried out in small groups during the second semester of the year. Qualitative data were collected by means of an open-ended questionnaire and a written report at the end of the year. Students reported that the collaborative research experience had a positive effect on their basic research, reading, writing, and critical thinking skills, and it empowered them to work in groups on a project. They had not been exposed to this experience at high school.