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- Volume 21, Issue 3, 2007
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 21, Issue 3, 2007
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Volume 21, Issue 3, 2007
Teachers' practical rationality of mathematics teaching and policymaker rhetoric about mathematics as reasoning and mathematical relationshipsAuthor M.F. GierdienSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 257 –272 (2007)More Less
This article reports on a comparison between, on the one hand, what is called the 'practical rationality of mathematics teaching' of a small selection of teachers in the Western Cape and, on the other, education policy statements on 'mathematics as reasoning' and 'mathematical relationships' in Mathematical Literacy, Mathematics and Mathematical Sciences - the mathematics component during the mid-1990s of the South African government's Curriculum 2005. The article is a theoretical and practical improvement on an original study, which compared contact points between the ways teachers speak and the ways policymakers write about school mathematics reform. The improvement is centred on a consideration of mathematics teaching as a practice and the way that teachers learn in such a practice. Conversations during interviews with the teachers in the sample indicate that Schon's notion of reflection-in-action is a key to understanding how teachers use their practical rationality as they try to understand nuanced meanings of the 'kind' of mathematics teaching with respect to policy statements on mathematics as reasoning and mathematical relationships. Results of the study have practical and theoretical implications for the education of teachers of mathematics.
Learning about the entrepreneurial university : do we know what it means? Do we know what it takes to succeed? : editorialAuthor B.J. CargillSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 373 –384 (2007)More Less
Many higher education systems in developed and developing countries with market-driven economies are experiencing some degree of turbulence. Governments are choosing to spend less on their higher education systems, whilst also asking more of them. Universities are expected to contribute to the economic development of knowledge economies and to educate significantly greater proportions of populations to take their place in those economies (Slaughter and Leslie 1997, 1-2). Such policy inevitably encourages institutions to seek closer relationships with both government and industry to help generate revenue and to better meet national needs. The complex and intertwined relationships between higher education, business and government have been described by Etzkowitz (2004, 64) as a triple helix, a genomic image interdependence and synergy. The ivory tower of higher education is effectively 'demolished' in such developed economies and the changes we see in these entwined relationships, are structural and are not likely to revert (Slaughter and Leslie 1997, 6; Clark 1998; Marginson and Considine 2000).
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 385 –399 (2007)More Less
Higher Education transformation in South Africa requires a synergy of creative strategies to engage issues of redress. Access to higher education remains one mechanism for achieving this in South African higher education. While there is clearly a need to enable access by improving student success (access with success), as opposed to simply ensuring their participation (access as participation), the adequacy of these initiatives needs to be evaluated in the context of institutional transformation. By introducing a quality assurance framework, institutions can ensure that access initiatives are institutionalised. Conceptions of access, however, need to be situated within appropriate definitions of quality. This would enable institutions to track the responsiveness of measures to achieve national transformational objectives. It is argued that current Academic Development (AD) initiatives as a means of achieving 'access with success' can only deal marginally with the transformation agenda in South Africa. It is proposed that a comprehensive quality assurance framework with embedded commitment to access is likely to respond appropriately to national development prerogatives of higher education access.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 400 –411 (2007)More Less
This article summarises our findings from the investigation of the research question : 'What are the variations in self-representations at universities and technikons, with particular respect to boundary constructions, perceptions of the institution's past, and visions of possible futures?'
The analysis in this article is based on transcripts and summaries of 19 interviews. The interviewees from the technikons describe the ways in which the technikons are unique, often drawing comparisons with universities. The relevance or application aspect of research and the close links to the workplace are described as characteristics of technikons. The discourses of the HWT interviewees exhibited a broader view on this than the discourses of the HBT interviewees, talking about 'social relevance' being more than 'links to industry and commerce'.
Discursively, the technikon interviewees painted a picture of the technikons as lacking in a number of respects in comparison to universities. The university interviewees did not engage in descriptions of the universities' practices, but described the technikons in terms of their particularities and differences from the universities. Together, these findings show that most of the interviewees communicate a view of technikons as the 'other' of South African higher education, indicating that the concept of 'university' has taken on universality in this context.
An evaluation of students' perceptions of the use of case-based teaching and group work in a first-year nursing programmeAuthor R. CassimjeeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 412 –428 (2007)More Less
Students' evaluation of teaching and learning methods is often underplayed and misjudged, yet students are the best assessors as they are the consumers of this service (Cassimjee and Brookes 1998, 1). Also, as students are exposed to different teaching methods on a daily basis, most of them are well equipped to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each. The teaching of clinical programmes, for example nursing, involves different strategies for the teaching of theoretical and practical material. Case-based education (CBE) uses simulated or real-life cases to present a scenario to the students for learning. This was a descriptive study which evaluated students' perceptions of CBE. A semi-structured 19-point self-administered student opinion questionnaire (SOQ) was used to collect the information. The findings show that students viewed CBE in a positive light and felt that it increased their ability to prepare their work for class and to then participate fully. Seventy percent of the students felt that CBE assisted them in acquiring the necessary skills for problem-solving. However, the students felt that some students were lazy and did not contribute or participate in any way. Almost half the students (47.8%) found the course interesting and manageable.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 429 –442 (2007)More Less
This article concentrates on the role that affective learning plays in e-learning. Understandably, personal contact is minimal in online learning so the question arises : How do students cope with the lack of personal contact? The purpose of this study was to explore and interpret the participants' affective experiences in an online learning environment. The basis for the study was a master's course presented entirely online for a period of six weeks. The style of the internationally acclaimed reality television game show, Survivor(C), was used as a guiding format for developing the course. The game was played in cyberspace; and as the learning experiences of participants were based on surfing the Web, the game was called CyberSurfiver. The nature of the interaction between the participants and their feelings throughout the game were monitored and recorded by reading their emails. Once the course was completed, two focus group interviews were held to discuss the feelings participants experienced during the course. The findings were then compared to Krathwohl's taxonomy of the affective domain. Kort and Reilly's model on the integration of affect served as an instrument to measure the affective responses and development of the participants throughout the course.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 443 –456 (2007)More Less
Continuing professional development (CPD) has been studied from various perspectives and within a variety of professional disciplines. Academics in the natural sciences in higher education have, however, not been the focal point in these studies as they practise on the interface of different professions. They are a unique group that practise and develop their occupation within the educational sphere, whilst their expertise lies within the scientific domain. A qualitative study amongst lecturers in the natural sciences at Stellenbosch University was conducted to investigate the conceptualisation of CPD within this professional sector. The article focuses on what it means to be a professional for university lecturers in the natural sciences. The article furthermore reports on the need for, and the purpose of CPD in this sector of higher education.
Author R. MartinSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 473 –484 (2007)More Less
There is much enthusiasm for the use of new information and communications technologies (ICT) and online education and training (OET) in particular, in higher education. ICT is presented as a panacea for all contemporary education and training problems. But using ICT and OET is subject to similar practical and theoretical problems long debated in the extensive literature on open and distance learning (ODL), and to a small but growing critical literature on its use in education. These literatures have largely been ignored by advocates of ICT. The question is why their enthusiasm persists.
It is argued that the answer to this question can only be found by drawing on the literature on ODL, the critical literature on using ICT in education, and placing the issue in the context of state, corporate and higher education relationships, in today's neo-liberal, global capitalist society. It is suggested that the enthusiasm for ICT/OET reflects state-corporate interests rather than well-founded pedagogy.
Author T. ReddySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 485 –502 (2007)More Less
As a result of political changes in South Africa in 1994, the Government of National Unity proposed that the higher education system should be reorganised to address past inequities. Subsequent investigations into restructuring the higher education system resulted in a wave of mergers across the sector. The literature on corporate and education mergers is consistent regarding the pivotal role of 'people issues' during transformation and its contribution to the success of mergers.
Since staff are considered the cornerstone of higher education institutions and essential to their continued existence (Fielden 1998), using a descriptive survey, this study investigated staff perceptions of a recent merger between two regional technikons in South Africa. A survey of various employee issues was conducted at the newly merged institution, to investigate communication and participation; motivation; job satisfaction and loyalty. Within the context of education, staff perceptions on the impact of the merger on quality and standards of education were also investigated. The current study is also documented as a case study, since this was one of the first mergers implemented in the South African higher education landscape. The results in this study demonstrated that poor communication, a lack of participative decision-making, minimal staff involvement and insufficient extrinsic motivation contributed to decreased job satisfaction and employee loyalty. In accordance with the literature, it is likely that these perceptions were reported as a result of perceived poor merger management and conflict between the merging entities. However, significant positive factors identified in the study include intrinsically motivated staff and a consensus in support of merger objectives and educational benefits. These positive factors provide a substantial basis on which the newly merged institution can build a new foundation to ensure that the regional merger under discussion is indeed a successful merger in South African higher education.
Author C. RouxSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 503 –519 (2007)More Less
Changing demands in education and society and the specific roles of teachers in classroom praxis urge lecturers (teacher trainers) from different tertiary institutions to collaborate in an internationally-funded project Understanding human rights through different belief systems : intercultural and interreligious dialogue. The reason for the collaboration of the five tertiary institutions was to conceptualise theories and to identify practical implications applicable to teacher training in a multicultural society and school environment. Different cultural environments at tertiary institutions may cause imbalances in teacher training which cannot enhance or develop all the different aspects of diversity and inclusivity in education.
This article focuses on how the processes and theories of the collaborative research inform theory and praxis in order to understand the dynamics of research in multicultural education in pre-service and in-service training programmes.
The relationship between affective factors and the academic achievement of students at the University of VendaAuthor T.D. SikhwariSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 520 –536 (2007)More Less
The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between affective factors and the academic achievement of students at the University of Venda. To this end, self-concept, motivation and attitude are the affective factors selected for the study. The general aim of the study is to determine the role of self-concept, motivation and attitude in students' academic achievement and ultimately come up with some recommendations for enhancing these factors. The theoretical investigation indicates that there is a relationship between students' self-concepts, motivation, attitude, and academic achievement. Similarly, the empirical investigation has revealed that there is a significant correlation between self-concept, motivation, and academic achievement of students. It was, for example, found that female students are significantly more motivated than their male counterparts. It is therefore essential that educationists should understand the differences in motivational orientations of their students in order to facilitate effective learning.
Author H.M. Van der MerweSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 537 –551 (2007)More Less
The restructuring of higher education in South Africa is being dually steered by an equity and a merit imperative. In the move towards creating a single dedicated distance-education institution, the outcome of the merged incorporation of Vista University Distance Education Campus (Vudec) into the University of South Africa (UNISA) implied the obliteration of the Vudec culture. This has warranted the recording of the Vudec culture based on the valid need to document the existence of an institution of higher education over a period of 21 years. It has also warranted an assessment of gains and losses as a result of the merger. Based on literature and a qualitative study undertaken in Vudec, the Vudec institutional culture has been documented and gains and losses for Vudec students and staff determined. It is argued that although significant gains were made, such as better opportunities for students and staff due to improved resources, a serious loss has been incurred in the disappearance of the under-developed student corps of practising teachers. Apart from not fully accomplishing the equity goal, this loss also jeopardises merit achievements.
Author G.J. Van der WesthuizenSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 21, pp 552 –576 (2007)More Less
This article is an analysis of the transformation evaluations of higher education in South Africa. It offers a review of recent literature on conceptions of evaluation research models and practice, and of reform evaluations in education, specifically pertaining to higher education. From this analysis, a framework for the analysis of reform evaluations is proposed and used to review a selection of nine reports published since 1994 on evaluations of changes in higher education in South Africa. The findings are offered as a critical analysis of evaluation practices exemplified by the selected studies. The article develops an understanding of what competent evaluations of education transformation may involve.
This article is based on research sponsored by a grant for senior researchers from the USA-SA Fulbright Commission. The research included a stay at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst from September 2004 to January 2005.
The opinions expressed in the report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Fulbright Commission.