South African Journal of Education - Volume 32, Issue 1, 2012
Volume 32, Issue 1, 2012
Author F.H. WeeksSource: South African Journal of Education 32, pp 1 –14 (2012)More Less
Within the media and the literature the need is often expressed for the establishment of a culture of learning within South African schools. The contrasting view tends to be one of dysfunctional schools that have come into being, giving rise to significant learner behaviour problems and poor pass rates being encountered in practice. This paper is directed at gaining conceptual clarity as to what is meant by a "culture of learning" and exploring two fundamentally different views as to how such a culture can be nurtured within South African schools. The study is based on a multidisciplinary literature review to gain an understanding of the concept and the theories advocated for bringing about a culture change. A key finding emanating from the study is that the traditional culture management approach advocated in the literature may not be all that effective in practice and that an alternative approach that views "culture of learning" as an emergent phenomenon that has its origins in the social interaction taking place within classrooms, schools and learning communities may be more effective.
Author Patrick GiddySource: South African Journal of Education 32, pp 15 –25 (2012)More Less
Building on Ndofirepi's plea for an approach to teaching philosophy to high-school learners in Africa that is a hybrid of western and African thought, I argue that a critical touchstone is needed if the traditional wisdom is to be sifted, and that this can be found in the idea of the questioning and responsible subject. Traditional proverbs and myths, whether African or not, reveal a growing sense of responsibility but philosophy, I argue, can contribute the principle of non-contradiction and the foundational norm of responsibility. The principle and the norm can be found to be at the heart of the modern scientific enterprise and can in principle ground a dialogue between African traditional and modern European value-systems.
Source: South African Journal of Education 32, pp 26 –39 (2012)More Less
This article reports on a qualitative, interpretivist study that focused on the use of visualisation and analytic strategies by Grade 12 learners when working with problems based on transformation geometry. The research was conducted with 40 learners from a Grade 12 class at one high school in the north Durban area of Kwazulu-Natal. Participants completed a written task and a smaller sample of the participants engaged in investigative semi-structured interviews with the researchers. The framework for the study was based on transformations of semiotic representations as well as the visualiser/analyser model. The findings revealed that most learners performed treatments in the analytic mode when responding to the tasks, and showed limited movement across the two modes which are essential for a deepening of understanding. The study identified one learner, however, who was able to move flexibly between the modes and who displayed a deep understanding of the concepts. The article concludes by recommending that opportunities need to be created for learners to engage in transformation geometry activities which emphasise conversion.
Changing perceptions of teachers regarding the importance and competence of their principals as leadersSource: South African Journal of Education 32, pp 40 –55 (2012)More Less
We examined the perceptions of teachers on the importance and competence of principals as leaders before and after an intervention programme on holistic leadership. The research was quantitative and contextualized in the Secunda region of Mpumalanga province in South Africa. The methodology followed a literature study and an empirical investigation in the form of a pre- and post-test experimental-type design. A structured questionnaire was administered to 400 teachers in 40 randomly selected schools divided into two groups. One group of 20 principals was provided with an intervention programme regarding the dimensions of holistic leadership. The other group of 20 principals was not exposed to the intervention programme. The perceptions of teachers from their schools were probed using a pre-post-test design. The intervention programme and biographic variables served as independent variables whilst the seven factors of holistic leadership formed the dependent variables. Principals who were exposed to the intervention programme were perceived by their teachers to be more competent than their counterparts who were not exposed to the programme.
Educators and the quality of their work environment : an analysis of the organisational climate in primary schoolsSource: South African Journal of Education 32, pp 56 –68 (2012)More Less
The prevalent organisational climate in primary schools in the North West Province was determined in order to formulate management strategies to increase the organisational climate. For this purpose, a quantitative research method, founded in post-positivistic points of departure, was applied. In the process, the Organizational Climate Description Questionnaire - Rutgers Elementary (OCDQ-RE) was applied in order to determine the behaviour of principals and school educators. The investigation indicated that the behaviour of the principals and that of the educators contributed only to an average degree to the establishment of a more effective organisational climate in the primary schools investigated. Furthermore the exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses indicated that certain items in the original climate questionnaire, which were grouped in the directive behaviour of the principal, were viewed by the respondents in South Africa as supportive but, in some instances, also as restrictive.
The influence of school culture and school climate on violence in schools of the Eastern Cape ProvinceSource: South African Journal of Education 32, pp 69 –82 (2012)More Less
This article reports on research undertaken about the influence of school culture and school climate on violence at schools in the Eastern Cape. An adapted California School Climate and Survey - Short Form (CSCSS-SF), which was used as the data-collection instrument, was completed by 900 Grade 10 to 12 learners. With the assistance of Pearson's product moment correlation coefficient, it was found that the better the school culture and school climate are at a school, the lower the levels of school violence. On the other hand, a lack of school safety contributed to learners experiencing higher levels of violence at schools. The results of hierarchy regression analyses indicated that school culture and school climate can be used to explain a significant percentage of variance in school violence. The f 2 values indicate that, with the exception of two aspects of the variance physical and verbal harassment, the results did not have any practical value. The article concludes with a few suggestions on how the results can be used to address school violence.
Author E.M. LemmerSource: South African Journal of Education 32, pp 83 –96 (2012)More Less
The most common form of direct communication between parents and teachers in schools worldwide is the parent-teacher conference. Purposeful parent-teacher conferences afford the teacher and the parent the opportunity to address a particular topic related to the child, such as academic progress and behaviour. However, teachers are seldom trained to interact with parents, and both parents and teachers often find such encounters stressful and ineffective. This paper investigates parent and teacher perspectives on the parent-teacher conference through a qualitative inquiry. This is framed by the contributions of ecological theorists to home-school communication and an overview of extant themes in the literature. In the present qualitative inquiry, teacher, parent and learner participants were selected by purposeful and snowball sampling and data were gathered by individual and focus group interviews, school visits and the perusal of written parent-teacher conference reports. The findings indicate that parent-teacher conferences are ritualised school events in all types of schools; parents and teachers' expectations of conferences are limited; teachers are not trained to conduct parent-teacher conferences; and conferences are overwhelmingly directed at problem solution. Parent-teacher conferences are characterised by a client orientation to parents, rather than a partnership orientation to home-school relations.
Governing bodies and learner discipline : managing rural schools in South Africa through a code of conductSource: South African Journal of Education 32, pp 97 –110 (2012)More Less
The South African Schools Act of 1996 provides that school governing bodies (SGBs) should adopt and assist in the enforcement of a learner code of conduct to maintain discipline effectively. This study focuses on the perceptions and experiences of SGBs in managing discipline in rural secondary schools through the design and enforcement of learner codes of conduct. A generic qualitative research paradigm was used to gain insight into the effectiveness of and factors impeding the enforcement of learner codes of conduct in rural secondary schools. For this purpose, data were collected from six secondary schools in the North West Province by means of focus group interviews and analysed according to Tesch's method of open coding. One of the major findings of the study revealed that many rural school governors still lack the relevant knowledge and skills to design and enforce a learner code of conduct effectively. The literacy levels of the majority of SGB members (parents) make it difficult for them to design and enforce the learner code of conduct, even though the department may have provided training. Furthermore, parent-governors are far removed from the day-to-day operations of the school, and consequently fail to contextualise the seriousness of discipline problems as well as to enforce the learner code of conduct effectively.
Author Minka WoermannSource: South African Journal of Education 32, pp 111 –120 (2012)More Less
The potential strengths and weaknesses of a Foucauldian critique of education are discussed and evaluated. The article focuses specifically on the value of Foucault's work for critiquing social and political ideologies prevalent in education, which is understood as a societal institution, and hence, as a modern regime of institutional power. In terms of strengths, the ability to raise issues of knowledge, power and contestation that are traditionally ignored in educational theory is addressed. In terms of weaknesses, Foucault's problematic use and understanding of power and his apparent rejection of objective truth are investigated. The critique develops at the hand of influential, but competing, interpretations of Foucault's contribution to the field of education in particular, and philosophy in general. It is argued that these influential readings of Foucault gain traction within specific discourses (such as education), and should thus be subjected to critical scrutiny.
Author Jyothi ChabilallSource: South African Journal of Education 32, pp 121 –131 (2012)More Less
This paper reports on part of a study with the aim of exploring how Muslim learners' knowledge and attitudes of HIV / AIDS were influenced by family and school culture. Findings from data collected during individual semi-structured interviews with the principals, Life Orientation educators, and school guidance counsellors are discussed. Reviewed literature supported the assumption that there were collaborative relationships within school culture that permitted children to learn about sexuality and HIV / AIDS. Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory and the Eight Gateways or "entry points" of school culture supported the data collection and reinforced the findings theoretically. A purposive sample was used for the qualitative case study within an interpretivist paradigm. The study indicated that the educators believed that the school should teach adolescents' about HIV / AIDS. The aim of the school was to create awareness about non-risky behaviour in terms of HIV / AIDS among the learners. Educators were aware that this education did not always lead to positive behaviour changes. The school interventions had generally engendered positive values and dependable, safe relationships that helped adolescents to make responsible decisions in the face of HIV and AIDS. Educators did concede that despite the education at school, learners had to sometimes make difficult decisions as they were tempted to behave against the principles and education within the macro-society.
Source: South African Journal of Education 32 (2012)More Less