South African Journal of Education - Volume 33, Issue 1, 2013
Volumes & issues
Volume 33, Issue 1, 2013
Source: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –12 (2013)More Less
This study employed the descriptive-correlation research design to determine whether secondary school teachers experience work-related stress. Participants included 239 teachers selected from schools in the Hhohho region of Swaziland. A questionnaire was used as the instrument to determine the level of work-related stress experienced by these teachers. Findings showed that teachers were moderately stressed by their work. Contractual problems and the nature of their work were two aspects that were reported to be the main stressors for the sample, while the work environment and work relationships were only mildly stressful. There was a weak relationship between the level of work-related stress and the demographic variables of gender, marital status, and qualifications. Age had a moderate significant relationship with the level of work-related stress for the sample. The study recommends that stress management programmes for teachers are imperative to deal with the consequences of stress.
Author Aneshkumar MaharajSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –19 (2013)More Less
This article reports on a study which used the APOS (action-process-object-schema) theoretical framework to investigate university students' understanding of derivatives and their applications. Research was done at the Westville Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The relevant rules for finding derivatives and their applications were taught to under-graduate science students. This paper reports on the analysis of students' responses to six types of questions on derivatives and their applications. The findings of this study suggest that those students had difficulty in applying the rules for derivatives and this was possibly the result of many students not having appropriate mental structures at the process, object and schema levels.
Source: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –15 (2013)More Less
This paper reports on South African teachers' perceptions of the educational value of new topics in a revised physical sciences high school curriculum, their content knowledge competency of these topics, and their pedagogical content knowledge in teaching them. In view of the historical inequalities of the South African education system, a focus of the study was comparison of these perceptions of teachers based at schools which are diverse in terms of location, student population, and availability of resources. We adopted a mixed methods approach in collecting and analysing data from a large-scale survey of teachers through a structured questionnaire, and followed this with interviews with 10 teachers in seeking more in-depth explanations of the findings. The study revealed that teachers at township and rural schools previously designated for black students, and suburban and city schools previously reserved for white students, have a positive perception of the new topics introduced into the revised curriculum. However, teachers at all these schools expressed uncertainly as to their content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge of the new topics.
Geography teachers' interpretation of a curriculum reform initiative : the case of the Lesotho Environmental Education Support Project (LEESP)Source: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –15 (2013)More Less
This article addresses how teachers in a specific developing world context interpreted a curriculum reform initiative. It is located within a broader interpretive study that investigated the integration of Environmental Education into the formal education system of Lesotho with particular reference to secondary school geography. More specifically the focus was on a Danish donor-funded project, known as the Lesotho Environmental Education Support Project (LEESP). Driven by a sustainable development imperative, the project was intended to assist Lesotho with the implementation of local action for Agenda 21 by introducing environmental education into the formal education system. It is widely accepted that teachers play an important role in implementing curriculum change. Using a previous framework, we generate insights for understanding how teachers' epistemologies interact with contextual factors to impede the process of curriculum sense-making. Furthermore, guided by the notion of curriculum as a contextualised social process, we present the findings on the contextual/structural factors enabling or constraining implementation of the LEESP curriculum policy intentions as perceived by the teachers.
Author Debbie Vigar-EllisSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –15 (2013)More Less
The South African secondary boarding school sector has become more competitive as schools attempt to attract and retain pupils. Management of such schools must not only address the educational and boarding needs of pupils, but also apply appropriate management and marketing principles to compete effectively with boarding schools throughout the country and beyond. Customers base their choices of products and services on their perceptions of various offerings available, evaluated according to selection criteria they deem to be important. Marketing theory uses the term "positioning" to describe the process of constructing the place that a product occupies in the customer's mind relative to competing products. For schools in this sector to position themselves appropriately, they first need to determine the criteria parents use to evaluate one school against another. This study set out to determine these criteria. A sample of 169 parents and old boys, chosen using the database of a particular boys' boarding school in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa, were sent questionnaires. Quantitative analysis was conducted to determine the most important criteria. The top two criteria were found to be a safe environment and competent staff.
Author Gerrit StolsSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –18 (2013)More Less
This study investigated the opportunity to learn (OTL) that is available to Grade 12 mathematics learners. Learner workbooks were analysed in terms of time on task, curriculum coverage, curriculum coherence, and cognitive demand. Based on these elements, experienced mathematics teachers judged the opportunity that the learners have to achieve more than 60% for each topic. According to the workbooks, the average number of active learning days in this sample was 54.1 days per annum. This resulted in limited curriculum coverage in almost all sections in 16 of the 18 under-performing schools. In these schools, learners spent most of their time practising routine procedures. The high correlation of 0.95 (p < 0.001) between the experts' prediction about the opportunity to learn in the different schools (based on the learner workbooks) and learners' actual performance in the Grade 12 exam shows that the number, the coverage, the cognitive level, and the coherence of activities play a major role in understanding learner performance.
The potential use of mobile technology : enhancing accessibility and communication in a blended learning course.Author Tabisa MayiselaSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –18 (2013)More Less
Mobile technology is increasingly being used to support blended learning beyond computer centres. It has been considered as a potential solution to the problem of a shortage of computers for accessing online learning materials (courseware) in a blended learning course. The purpose of the study was to establish how the use of mobile technology could enhance accessibility and communication in a blended learning course. Data were solicited from a purposive convenience sample of 36 students engaged in the blended learning course. The case study utilized a mixed-methods approach. An unstructured interview was conducted with the course lecturer and these data informed the design of the students' semi-structured questionnaire. It was found that students with access to mobile technology had an increased opportunity to access the courseware of the blended learning course. Mobile technology further enhanced student-to-student and student-to-lecturer communication by means of social networks. The study concludes that mobile technology has the potential to increase accessibility and communication in a blended learning course. Recommendations, limitations of the present study, and suggestions for future research were made.
Source: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –21 (2013)More Less
We report the findings of a qualitative study embedded in an interpretive paradigm to determine the perceptions of South African primary school teachers and principals regarding the inclusion of learners considered gifted. Eight principals and 16 classroom teachers in the Foundation Phase (Grades 1-3) in public primary schools situated in communities that were representative of the different socio-economic and language groups in the Western Cape province participated in the study. Qualitative data collection methods included in-depth individual semi-structured interviews with the eight principals and two semi-structured focus group interviews with the 16 classroom teachers. Qualitative content analysis revealed the following themes: inclusive education and the learner who is gifted; curriculum differentiation; obstacles to curriculum differentiation; and possible solutions for more effectively including the gifted learner. Despite their diversity in terms of culture, language and positioning by the previous apartheid regime, the participants acknowledged the marginalisation by default of gifted learners. Gifted learners were most often those who were not receiving appropriate education and support and data suggested that a particular drive for the inclusion of gifted learners was absent in the agenda of education authorities.
Author Hasan AydinSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –19 (2013)More Less
The cohesion of our multicultural societies depends on mutual understanding, engaging proactively in co-operation between different communities and respecting one another. This paper deals with the educational philosophy of a well-known Turkish Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gülen and its application to schools in Nigeria. Gülen-inspired schools in Nigeria are peace islands in the ocean of violence, and promote love, greater empathy, tolerance and peace in a society deeply divided along ethnic, religious, tribal and geographical lines. Following Gülen's example, the schools promote respect for other cultures and the trains of thought of various well-known scholars. Students, throughout their education, learn to appreciate other faiths, ethnicities and cultures, as well as their own. This article reports on a 2010 qualitative field study conducted at the Nigerian Turkish International Colleges (NTICs) in Abuja, Nigeria. In this qualitative inquiry, the researchers used observations, in-depth individual interviews and focus groups to elicit the lived experience of four identified groups of stakeholders (administrators, teachers, students and parents). Participants in this study comprised 22 adults, of which 9 were females and 13 males, aged 16 to 61 ( M = 28.9). The findings indicate that the Gülenian style of education, as it is implemented in Nigeria, and according to the reflections of those participants involved with NTICs, exposes students to people from different parts of Nigeria, as well as people who often are from different ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. The organisation of the school and the school activities allow students to experience those differences in a safe setting, resulting in their learning to appreciate one another.
Author Thokozani MathebulaSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –12 (2013)More Less
The central feature of Athenian citizens' rights, that is, people's participation in government, is also enshrined in the South African Constitution. This article argues for the Athenian style of participatory democracy as a viable model of participation in governing South African schools. The author claims that 'people's education', which had its origins in the principles of the Freedom Charter - was diluted during the negotiations for South Africa's new democratic government. As a result, the political and educational ideal of 'people's education for 'people's power' has given way to democratic elitism in post-apartheid South African schools.