South African Journal of Education - Volume 33, Issue 4, 2013
Volumes & issues
Volume 33, Issue 4, 2013
Safe schools in an emerging economy country : in pursuit of quality education provision : call for papers : special issue of South African Journal of Education Volume 34(4), November 2014Source: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –2 (2013)More Less
For the past ten years South African schools, as in other parts of especially the emerging economy world, have been criticized for not creating educational settings that are safe and provide quality education (Van Jaarsveld, Minnaar & Morrison, 2012). Criticism pertaining to unsafe and unsupportive schools that are not conducive to teaching and learning include: infrastructure issues (lack of water and sanitation, and lack of safety and security (Prinsloo, 2005); rights issues (violation of children's, and especially girl children's, rights (Masitsa, 2011); teaching and learning issues (underprepared teachers, teacher absenteeism, language of teaching and poor conditions for learning (Vogel, Seaberry, Barnes & Kelley, 2003); health and well-being issues (including poor health conditions in schools, disconnects with parents/caregivers, lack of hope and optimism among teachers and children, lack of social and emotional safety and gender based violence in schools, and failure to address unsafe/at-risk health practices that contribute to illness, teenage pregnancy and early drop-out (Vermeer & Tempelman, 2006); school-community issues (a lack of connectedness between schools and the communities in which they function (Fourie, 2003; Palmer, 2005 ); and governance and policy issues.
Author Christa BeyersSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –14 (2013)More Less
Life Orientation teachers play a critical role in the teaching and learning of sexuality education in South African schools. Using an experiential participatory approach with 125 teachers in the Motheo district, Free State, I explored three questions: What messages did the teachers learn about sex and sexuality? How do these messages inform the teachers' values? How do the teachers teach sexuality education? Despite its own problems and limitations, the participatory approach exploits and reinforces the life-space model proposed by Kurt Lewin. I will argue that past and future events have an impact on teachers' present behaviour and how they teach. I conclude with a framework for the teaching of sexuality education using participatory methods, which can help support teachers interested in working with such an approach.
Active facilitation of focus groups : exploring the implementation of inclusive education with research participantsSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –14 (2013)More Less
In this article, we explain how we took an "active" approach to focus group discussions with teachers in three South African schools. The topic of discussion was their views on the implementation of inclusive education. We shall also show how we sought feedback from the participants on their experiences of these discussions. In seeking this feedback, we were interested in seeing if they interpreted the sessions as being learning experiences - that is, as sessions that enabled the participants to learn from each other as well as from facilitators with a view to promoting mutual learning. We indicate how the participants chose to use the feedback opportunity to suggest that further processes should be put in place (by us) in the light of their expressed concerns. Finally, we outline how we took responsibility by creating a further forum for discussion with those who were regarded as having additional "actioning" power.
"You know the homophobic stuff is not in me, like us, it's out there". Using Participatory Theatre to challenge heterosexism and heteronormativity in a South African schoolAuthor Dennis FrancisSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –14 (2013)More Less
Forum Theatre (FT), a participatory improvised theatre form, raises consciousness, enables debate and critical reflection, and encourages a democratic form of knowledge production that engages the audience in their own learning and unlearning. I used FT as a platform to understand how 15- to 18-year-old learners, in a co-educational school in the Free State, experience and respond to heterosexism and heteronormativity. In this article, I explore whether FT sessions, based on the sociodramatic theories of Boal, are a sufficient enough construct to challenge heterosexism. Data collected for this article included videotapes of the performances, discussions, and field notes. The FT scenes and subsequent discussions suggest that young people bemoan heterosexism and heteronormativity in their school and demonstrate a commitment to challenge extreme examples of prejudice and behaviour by their teachers and peers, yet ignore or shy away from everyday examples of heterosexist exclusions and privilege. I argue that a participatory process, such as FT, can be a useful construct to challenge heterosexism, but it is not in itself liberatory, as the issues of socialisation, privilege, and context cannot be bypassed simply through 'participation'.
What can a teacher do with a cellphone? Using participatory visual research to speak back in addressing HIV&AIDSSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –13 (2013)More Less
The ubiquity of cellphones in South Africa, a country ravaged by HIV and AIDS, makes cellphones an easily accessible tool to use in participatory approaches to addressing HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) issues, particularly in school contexts. In this article we explore a participatory visual approach undertaken with a group of rural teachers, to uncover and address HIV and AIDS related issues. Drawing on our experience in using participatory video, we used cellphones to produce cellphilms about youth and risk in the context of HIV and AIDS. Noting that the teachers brought highly didactic and moralistic tones into the cellphilms, we devised a "speaking back" approach to encourage reflection and an adjustment to their approaches when addressing HIV and AIDS issues with learners. We draw on the example of condom use in one cellphilm to demonstrate how a "speaking back" pedagogy can encourage reflection and participatory analysis, and contribute to deepening an understanding of how teachers might work with youth and risk in the context of HIV and AIDS.
Parents as partners : building collaborations to support the development of school readiness skills in under-resourced communitiesSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –14 (2013)More Less
The purpose of this paper is to present a preliminary, qualitative review of a therapeutic programme for preschool children and their parents in severely under-resourced contexts to aid the development of the underlying skills required to be ready for formal school. A team of two pairs, each comprising an occupational therapist and a community worker, responded to teachers' requests to assist struggling children in their classes. This led to the development of a programme focusing on Grade R classes, by firstly helping teachers to develop their capability and confidence in assessing and assisting children to develop the abilities underlying vital school-readiness skills during whole-class, therapeutic group sessions. Secondly, parent group sessions were added to empower parents to understand and support their children's development needs at home and so to complement the work done by teachers in the classroom. This second aspect, of working with the parents, developed owing to observations of the children's irregular school attendance, scant parent-school contact, and teachers' reports indicating that parents were not aware of, nor equipped to deal with, the challenges faced by their children. Implications for practice, for planning and for further research are discussed.
Source: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –17 (2013)More Less
In this article we report on the manner in which participatory action research (PAR) was utilised by teachers in developing a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) school plan, in collaboration with university researchers. The need for a structured HIV and Aids school plan emerged during the course of a broader research project (of which this study formed part) during which a school principal and teachers expressed a need to support infected and affected children more effectively. The study involved three phases, used interpretivism as meta-theoretical lens, and relied on PAR principles. Following the first phase of data generation, findings indicated that teachers were keen to transfer their knowledge and skills to neighbouring schools in support of the community; they were of the view that the transfer of knowledge and skills was needed to support infected and affected children more effectively in the classroom; and they experienced the need to document knowledge and skills in the form of an HIV and Aids school plan. In addition to determining expectations regarding an HIV and Aids school plan, fundamental principles and implementation of such a plan were identified in collaboration with the participating teachers. In this manner, the content of an HIV and Aids school plan was identified, resulting in a documented plan.
Masihambisane, lessons learnt using participatory indigenous knowledge research approaches in a school-based collaborative project of the Eastern CapeSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –15 (2013)More Less
Masihambisane is an Nguni word, loosely meaning "let us walk the path together". The symbolic act of walking together is conceptually at the heart of a funded research project conducted in rural schools of Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape. The project focuses on promoting the direct participation of teachers in planning, researching, and developing learning and teaching materials (LTSMs), with a view to aligning these materials with indigenous and local knowledge. In this paper we make explicit our learning, and the manner in which we carried out the collaborated research activities, using the Reflect process.
Preparing pre-service teachers as emancipatory and participatory action researchers in a teacher education programmeAuthor Omar EsauSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –10 (2013)More Less
In this paper I analyse the potential that participatory action research holds for educating pre-service teachers to become more critically reflective and socially conscious. I also describe the rationale for and process of engaging pre-service teachers in their teacher education programme. Involving these candidate teachers in participatory action research (PAR) projects may provide opportunities for aspiring teachers to develop pedagogical content knowledge, examine their beliefs about teaching, and gain confidence in addressing social justice issues. More than merely exposing them to applying the technique of action research, the PAR project encouraged them to become more socially conscious, critical, imaginative, and argumentative as teacher-researchers. In the project I used a participatory approach in action research to prepare the pre-service teachers to become emancipatory action researchers. Supporting and fostering inquiring practices is a strategy to help pre-service teachers move beyond just receiving hand-outs in a teacher education programme and beginning to focus on their work with learners and challenges in the real school environment.
Social transformation starts with the self : an autobiographical perspective on the thinking style preferences of an educatorAuthor Pieter H. Du ToitSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –12 (2013)More Less
As an educator I am responsible for my professional development and the professional development of all educators with whom I have scholarly encounters. These encounters involve making a difference in the professional lives of other members of society, for example, in an educational setting with a view to transforming such a society, and transforming the society beyond the boundaries of educational settings. Educators in educational settings, such as schools, universities, and Further Education Colleges should serve their institutions as agents of transformation. As a specialist in educator professional development, specifically in the context of higher education, I look into my contribution to empowering these educators who operate within a micro-education society and to empowering myself. Therefore the point of departure for my research projects in general and the one reported in this article is the self - my preferences in terms of how I approach facilitating the professional development of different groups of educators and monitoring mine. An array of attributes, values, virtues, constructed meaning, competencies, etc. constitutes the self. Data obtained by means of a thinking style questionnaire, the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI), serves as part of the baseline data for exploring my teaching practice that revolves around educator professional development. Only some baseline data concerning the self are reported in this article. Some baseline data relate to other individuals - all involved in transforming themselves, their practices and society in some way as an individual self. This, however, is not reported in this article. The focus here is an autobiographical perspective on my thinking style preferences that inform my involvement in educator professional development. The outcome of the analysis of the baseline data pertaining to me includes a mixed-methods approach that complements the continuous action research on the professional development of the self over a period of more than ten years. The data reported present a small-scale collection of quantitative and qualitative data. This small-scale view of who I am as education specialist provides evidence that I have specific thinking preferences and avoidances in my teaching practice in general and facilitating professional development interventions in particular.
Author Linda C. TheronSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –19 (2013)More Less
The Pathways to Resilience Project is an ongoing, community-based participatory research (CBPR) project. Its express focus is the exploration of how at-risk youths use formal services and/or informal, naturally occurring resources to beat the odds that have been stacked against them, with the intent of partnering with communities to promote youth resilience. As part of this exploration, project researchers partnered with representatives of participating communities, or advisory panels (AP). However, in literature documenting the worth of participatory methodologies in knowledge generation and social change, there is little mention of how partnerships with AP support communities build on existing knowledge to effect meaningful change. Therefore, the aim of this article is to report the instrumental case study of the AP to the South African Pathways to Resilience Project, between 2008 and the present, in order to foreground the research-informing, knowledge-generating, and practice-shaping value of collaboration with an AP. Simultaneously, this case showcases the complexity of AP-researcher partnerships in order to sensitise CBPR researchers to the need for reflexive, flexible co-operations if communities are to cogenerate and implement local knowledge in enabling ways.
Source: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –15 (2013)More Less
Community engagement (CE) is a core function of the university in South Africa. In the field of education, the imperative to pursue and promote CE provides an exciting opportunity for researchers to work with school communities to address the many challenges that threaten the quality of teaching and learning. Yet, relatively few researchers in education faculties have expertise in this emerging area of scholarship. There is therefore a need to develop among academics a capacity for community-based research and deep knowledge of how to approach it effectively. This conceptual article positions participatory action learning and action research (PALAR) as a creative, innovative, collaborative and self-developed way to achieve this purpose. Findings from various PALAR projects, in which the authors have participated, provide evidence of PALAR's utility for disrupting traditional notions of partnership, power relations and knowledge creation. However, they also highlight the challenges this form of enquiry poses within academic environments geared for research that follows a more predetermined, researcher-controlled trajectory. These findings are helpful for stimulating thinking about how such challenges can be addressed to ensure that the research, action, and knowledge we create through this process actually translate into practical community improvement.
Starting with ourselves in deepening our understanding of generativity in participatory educational researchSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –16 (2013)More Less
Participatory educational research is generally characterised by a commitment to making a difference in the lives of those who participate in the research and more broadly, to promoting social transformation. This suggests a potentially fruitful synergy between participatory educational research and the multidisciplinary body of academic work on generativity as a human capacity that has at its core a desire to contribute to the well-being of others. As a research team of teacher educators from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, we seek to add an alternative dimension to current debates on participatory educational research by focusing on understanding the 'how' and 'what' of generativity in a participatory research process. The research question we address is: How does/can engagement in participatory educational research facilitate generativity? While participatory research literature often concentrates on collaboration between researchers and 'researched' communities, we are taking a reflexive stance by exploring our own participation in our dual roles as university community members and as researchers studying our colleagues' experiences in relation to integration of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) & Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)-related issues in university curricula. We describe how our use of the visual method of storyboarding facilitated insight into generativity in participatory educational research. Building on an earlier concept of generativity, we identify and discuss significant generative features of participation, playfulness, passion, and perspicacity in our research process.
Author Ronel FerreiraSource: South African Journal of Education 33, pp 1 –4 (2013)More Less
Current challenges faced by individuals, families and communities increasingly require communities to seek amongst themselves for solutions to problems and support to overcome adverse circumstances. Schools, faith-based organisations, community institutions, health centres and other community-based facilities typically take the lead in finding solutions to the problems communities face. This tendency in turn requires that the findings of research be applied to practical problems to facilitate social transformation. As such, this asks for participatory research, where community members or stakeholders in communities collaborate with researchers in addressing needs and enhancing resilience and well-being in societies. This idea is emphasised by Currie, Kinga, Rosenbaumb, Lawb, Kertoyc and Spechtd (2005), who state that researcher-community partnerships should generate knowledge that informs communities and results in improved service delivery, better interventions, and community development.