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- Volume 24, Issue 4, 2010
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 24, Issue 4, 2010
Volumes & issues
Volume 24, Issue 4, 2010
Re-imagining higher education in South Africa : on critical democratic education : initiating debateAuthor Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 491 –494 (2010)More Less
At the 2010 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA, 30 April to 4 May), the theme of re-imagining public education arose once again with the most compelling presentation from leading scholars in the field concerned with counter-hegemonic politics and democratic change. The session entitled 'Re-imaging public education: Critical politics and democracy' reminded me of the important contribution made by South Africans working in higher education in consolidating and enhancing the country's 16-year old democracy. Their efforts must especially be seen in the light of serious challenges posed by some political groups and their leaders to the democratic agenda of South Africa, which many people have worked very hard to maintain. This essay highlights some of the most salient thoughts that constitute critical and democratic education and what university academics need to focus on to help build our evolving democracy.
Author A. ArcherSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 495 –510 (2010)More Less
There are many challenges involved in developing and running Writing Centres in tertiary contexts in South Africa. These challenges include recognizing the role Writing Centres need to play in the redress of basic academic literacies. They also involve emphasizing writing as a mode of learning where higher cognitive functions such as analysis and synthesis are developed through spoken and written language. Academic discourse takes a distinct written form, comprising often unspoken conventions which dictate appropriate uses of lexicogrammatical structures. Each discipline also has its own particular 'dialect'. Acquiring these 'foreign' methods of communication poses a challenge to many students, not only English Additional Language students. One of the main challenges for Writing Centres is to provide access to academic and disciplinary discourses through making explicit how texts work in a critical manner, whilst at the same time inducting students into these discourses. This article examines some key tensions in Writing Centre practices in the South African context, including debates about decontextualization, skills versus practices, process versus genre approaches to writing, the challenges and opportunities of the one-to-one. It explores how the Writing Centre at the University of Cape Town tries to address some of these challenges, and looks at the potentials for Writing Centres in tertiary institutions.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 511 –524 (2010)More Less
The study investigated the perceptions of student teachers towards teaching practice assessment. Participants N=180:90 males, 90 females were randomly drawn from three primary school teachers' colleges in Masvingo Educational Region of Zimbabwe. A questionnaire was used to gather data from the respondents. A chi-square test was used to analyse the data. The results revealed that there were no significant differences between male and female student teachers from all the colleges on the perception of the teaching practice mark as a true reflection of the student's performance. The results also revealed that students believed that assessment by both college lecturers and mentors was helpful. The students also wanted external assessment to target all students on teaching practice to avoid favouritism. The student teachers indicated that teaching practice can be improved by having more visits, warning students of pending visits and not basing assessment on previous marks. The students did not want bias and harassment during teaching practice assessment but fairness, advice and encouragement. The study recommended a broad based approach to improve the fairness of teaching practice assessment.
Author I.B. IkpeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 525 –537 (2010)More Less
The influence of positivism in education has been on the increase in the recent past, with academic departments increasingly being asked to justify the money spent on them and show some level of cost effectiveness. There is no other cluster of academic disciplines that is adversely affected by new wave of positivism as the Humanities which is increasingly being pressured to prove its worth in a society that is increasingly materialistic and where education serves a mere instrumental goal. The pressure has been on the Humanities to diversify, to reinvent itself and become more relevant to a new and increasingly technological era. In this article, I attempt a redefinition of disciplinary relevance beyond the obvious instrumental use promoted by this new wave of positivism. In a move reminiscent of Bertrand Russell, I argue for the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge sake and also point to the contributions, which hitherto supposedly useless knowledge can make to human society and the furtherance of human knowledge.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 538 –554 (2010)More Less
Changes in the higher education landscape have led to many higher education institutions reassessing their recruitment and marketing strategies. A proper understanding of the relative importance of the choice factors that prospective students consider when selecting a higher education institution will enable higher education administrators and planners to allocate funds, time and resources more efficiently and effectively. The research aimed at identifying the choice factors that discriminate between different ethnic student groups within South Africa when they go through the process of selecting an education institution. A convenience sample of 1 241 respondents was drawn, representing six public South African universities. The findings indicated that the multi-cultural nature of an institution and the opportunities for a social life on campus were the two most powerful discriminators between the two ethnic groups. The results can aid university administrators and planners in developing effective marketing and recruitment strategies to attract students from different ethnic groups.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 555 –567 (2010)More Less
Service learning as a strategy for raising awareness amongst university students of their responsibilities to the community is rapidly gaining currency in higher education institutions in South Africa. High levels of unemployment and striking economic inequality have been an unfortunate feature of South African society for several decades. Since the dawn of democracy this scenario has not changed to any extent. The introduction of new education curriculum policy has made the teaching of entrepreneurship education mandatory in all South African schools in an attempt to engender an entrepreneurial ethos amongst South Africans from a young age. To advance this agenda, the country requires teachers who have the competence to deliver on this policy imperative. This article reports on a qualitative research study that examined the experiences of pre-service teachers as they engaged in an entrepreneurship education programme that was specially enhanced to create an awareness of social responsibility through service-learning. It entailed close collaboration with a community-based organization working with disadvantaged children at an orphanage in South Africa. It examines the complexities that are likely to emerge in a service-learning programme. The article argues that while service learning has potential for sensitizing students to the issue of social responsibility, it is important for programme developers to be aware of the tensions that may emerge in a service learning programme, namely, the tension between service and learning, between service learning as charity and service learning as a means for empowerment and, between student autonomy and the extent of faculty supervision. Drawing on the work of Le Grange (2007), this article explores the notion of rhizomatic theorizing in service-learning.
The unheard voices of educators : perceptions of educators about the state of education in South AfricaAuthor S.N. MatotiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 568 –584 (2010)More Less
The article examined the perceptions of educators regarding their concerns and fears about the current state of education in South Africa. The target population for the study comprised of all the educators enrolled for the B.Ed. (Hons.) programme in Educational Management at the Central University of Technology, Free State in 2008. This group of post-graduate students comprised of educators who teach in schools in and around Bloemfontein. A questionnaire comprising of both closed and open-ended questions was used to collect data from all the students in the B.Ed. (Hons.) programme. A quantitative analysis of the results indicated that the majority of educators were uncertain about their own future as well as the future of education in South Africa. Some of their fears and concerns included the political and economic climate in the country, changes in policies and the curriculum, high rates of teacher attrition, unsafe school environments, unsatisfactory working conditions, declining quality of education, role conflict, poor teacher morale, unprofessional conduct of educators, lack of co-ordinated Outcomes Based Education (OBE) workshops, poor management and leadership in schools and a lack of accountability. The following were suggested as strategies that could be used in order to turn the situation around: management training for principals, effective professional development of educators, proper consultation and involvement of educators in planning teacher development programmes, improving working conditions and school environments, efficient and effective communication between the department of education and the schools, teacher support, employing the right people for the right positions and improving the status of the teaching profession. On the basis of these findings, a case is made for the creation and nurturing of learning communities or communities of practice.
Causal attribution : actor-observer bias in academic achievement among students at an institution of higher learningSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 585 –601 (2010)More Less
The study explores the attribution styles of in-group and out-group members. Eighty-four (42 female and 42 male) undergraduate students were randomly selected from the Faculty of Education at an institution of higher learning in Zimbabwe. A questionnaire was used to capture the opinions of the participants. The data was analysed using the chi-square. The results showed that students attribute the success of in-group members to internal factors and failure to external factors. The success and failure of out-group members were attributed to external and internal factors respectively. Gender and age differences moderate in-group and out-group reasons for both success and failure. The study recommends further research to establish the role of culture in attribution among students at institutions of higher learning.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 602 –615 (2010)More Less
This article depicts the state of Humanities in post-apartheid South Africa by examining HEMIS enrolment and graduation data from 1999 to 2007. It demonstrates that although the decline in student enrolment and graduation in Humanities has not been severe; read in the context of substantial growth of all other disciplines, Humanities is in a crisis. The crisis is also more notable at undergraduate level. An interdisciplinary analysis of four traditional Humanities disciplines demonstrates that history, languages, linguistics and literature are the hardest hit. On the other hand, there is an evident increase in Arts (visual and performing) a discipline often associated with the potential for fame and wealth. Communication, journalism and related studies, a professional arm of the traditional Humanities discipline of Language, is also thriving. We are of the view that this trend may confirm the perception that the rising tide of consumerism underpins the overall decline in the popularity of the study of Humanities.
Foundation phase educators' perceptions of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder at a mainstream primary schoolAuthor J. SeabiSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 616 –629 (2010)More Less
Although Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most diagnosed conditions in children, it is also one of the misunderstood and misdiagnosed syndromes. The aim of this study was to investigate the perceptions of foundation phase educators about ADHD, specifically their views on its causes, appropriate interventions and incidence rate. A sample of five educators at a mainstream private school participated in the study. The results revealed that the educators had a limited understanding of ADHD, in terms of what it is as well as its causes. In addition, it emerged that the educators preferred medication as the intervention method despite being aware of additional intervention methods. The educators' understanding of ADHD appear to be limited to the behaviours that are displayed by learners and do not take other factors into account. Implications of the findings are discussed and recommendations for future research are made.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 630 –645 (2010)More Less
There is a growing concern among academics regarding the poor class attendance patterns of undergraduate students. The reasons why students choose to attend or not attend classes have been investigated from numerous perspectives. Many have sought to explore the relationship between class attendance and academic performance. While there is much coherence in the findings of these studies, it is also apparent that contextual influences play an important role. Thus, this article describes a study undertaken at Stellenbosch University under the auspices of its First-year Academy. While the study demonstrated much agreement with earlier research, it also highlighted interesting trends among the different programmes and faculties, and among different groups of first-year students. Ultimately, the article points to a way forward in which students are made more directly aware of the potential value of attending class. Implicit, however, is the caveat that such classes offer meaningful learning opportunities.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 646 –660 (2010)More Less
Aim: This article presents preliminary results of a cross cultural study of gender and management in universities.
Methodology: Qualitative interviews with senior managers in each country were analysed in relation to key concepts of career paths, support, gate keeping, management skills, disciplinary factors, gendered leadership styles and organisational cultures, and structural and cultural barriers.
Findings: The study found that career paths into senior management are still based on the traditional male model; men tend to receive more support in moving into senior roles; women experience gate keeping on the way up and while in senior management; the skills required to be an effective university manager are not necessarily gendered; disciplinary factor sometimes are played out in senior management teams, women bring a different leadership style and thus strengthen university management; and organisational cultures have not shifted significantly in relation to gender inclusiveness.
Conclusion: The study concluded that universities need to pay more attention to policies and practices that either directly or indirectly continue to discriminate against academic women and in turn discourage women from applying for senior management positions in universities.
Author J. WrightSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 24, pp 661 –673 (2010)More Less
During a content and language project at a University of Technology (UoT) in Cape Town, South Africa, pairs of language and content lecturers, whose broad definition of integration was 'the provision of linguistic access to content knowledge', co-authored ten integrated textbooks. Their intention was to assist first year learners with their academic work. I previously reported on a study during which I identified - and pondered reasons for three types of content and language integration that were evident in these textbooks (Wright 2004). Now, in this article, I draw on findings from subsequent interviews with two pairs of the co-authors who focus on factors that impacted on their attempts to integrate content and language in the textbooks.
The article concludes that, in preparation for collaborative partnerships between content and language specialists, attention should be paid to factors that have the potential to affect collaborative efforts to integrate content and language, namely access to the disciplinary discourse, roles and responsibilities, and the manner in which conflict is managed.