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- Volume 26, Issue 6, 2012
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 26, Issue 6, 2012
Volumes & issues
Volume 26, Issue 6, 2012
Author L. Le GrangeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1131 –1138 (2012)More Less
Knowledge production in the twenty-first century is changing rapidly as both universities and societies transform in a world that is increasingly interconnected in so many different ways. Challenges associated with these transformations include: globalisation; the compression of time and space; the ascendancy of neoliberalism; a pendulum swing from basic to applied research; the emergence of transdisciplinary research; the internationalisation of indigenous knowledges; and complex societal issues (e.g., environmental destruction, poverty, unemployment, disease). This special issue of the South African Journal of Higher Education (SAJHE) focuses on how knowledge production has occurred in transnational and local spaces in view of these challenges.
The African-Norwegian case of supporting women towards knowledge production through doctoral studiesAuthor A. HattinghSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1139 –1151 (2012)More Less
This article pays attention to knowledge produced about a 'networked' support pathway towards obtaining a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD). The network constituted an international collaboration through a project called Productive Learning Cultures (PLC) (2002-2011) between Norway and seven countries, either developing or in transition, in sub-Saharan Africa which had both male and female students. However, this exploratory qualitative study describes how donor initiatives can be used to develop intellectual, emotional and funding support structures that take cognisance of the challenges women face during their PhD journeys. The article foregrounds the voices of women and accounts of the obstacles, reversals, breakdowns and yet, progression, of their journeys. In the findings the women describe the project design elements where they could benefit from international mindsets and supervision frameworks, while not having to leave their home countries for four years to pursue studies abroad. They also felt relieved and grateful that the project created a nurturing guilt-free space where motherhood and PhD work could co-exist. This in turn contributed towards their emotional equilibrium which resulted in more effective PhD work.
It takes two to tango : the use of social network theory in explaining knowledge production through research networksSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1152 –1158 (2012)More Less
Contemporary society presents researchers with complex problems that often demand collaborative inquiry to extend the existing knowledge boundaries. Research networks give researchers access to a wider pool of expertise in solving such complex problems. This article uses social network theory to explore the different ways in which such networks are formed. Network formation is based on ties that are belonging, bonding or binding, which may influence how resources become accessible and distributed. We argue that research networks can be formed in all three these ways, and that universities exist amidst such multiple networks. An ecological understanding of the multiplicity of network formation may enable universities and academics to foster a variety of approaches to establishing and supporting knowledge production through research networks - implying a functional relationship akin to the delicate balance between tango dancers and the music.
Author M.W. MailaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1159 –1169 (2012)More Less
Turbulent economic, political, social and cultural environments, coupled with the unpredictable natural environment, are currently the most prominent features of the state of the world. While in the past these phenomena were more simple, straightforward and certain, of late they have become complex, unpredictable and often contradictory to the previous 'norm', thus presenting challenges that are more difficult to understand and resolve. Consequently, the realisation has emerged that contemporary education systems, largely based on present disciplinary grounded knowledge, are no longer adequate. In the light of the need for scholars in all fields of knowledge to rethink how broader, open-ended inquiries of knowledge production can be pursued in higher education, in this article I argue that the 'knowledge' that is perceived as inadequate because of its complexity, uncertainty and contradictory nature, should be revisited through multi-dimensional knowledge production processes underscored by sociocultural perspectives.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1170 –1181 (2012)More Less
Duderstadt (2000) links transformation at universities to cultural change; extending the link between transformation and cultural change, this article introduces institutional culture as an important focus for knowledge production. We contend that a change of institutional culture to a more research-oriented culture can be effected by establishing a new knowledge culture which is contingent on the cultural changes that establish the necessary conditions for a research or intellectual culture to develop in the knowledge-driven economy. An analysis of institutional documents of two universities indicates that they think that a change of their institutional cultures is important in the quest for knowledge, and we explore their attempts to attain this objective. Following Naidoo (2008), we contend that the shift from the idea of higher education as a social institution to higher education as an industry may not enhance students' existing capabilities or induct students into complex intellectual work. The article, therefore, argues for an institutional culture that is conducive to the development of a community of scholars in a common pursuit of learning, teaching and research, which may ultimately lead to an increase in the production of new knowledge and a strengthening of the institutional culture or cultural assets rather than producing economic/political assets.
Author E.M. BitzerSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1182 –1199 (2012)More Less
The contribution of research doctoral degrees to knowledge production in processes of national and international economic and social advancement seems substantial. As candidates and their supervisors carry huge responsibilities in conducting and supervising doctoral research, the quality and success of these studies are associated with an array of factors or challenges. This article explores some of these challenges and proposes that a set of universal standards in the form of guidelines for 'best practices' may possibly contribute to doctoral research of quality associated with success. It also suggests that doctoral studies might contribute even more substantially to the quality of knowledge production if quality measures are taken into account by institutions that award doctoral degrees and research-intensive universities in particular.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1200 –1215 (2012)More Less
This study investigated the levels of misconceptions of entrepreneurship education among students; ascertained the extent to which students who were offered entrepreneurship education have entrepreneurial mindsets; identified the teaching strategies mostly used for teaching entrepreneurship education; and analysed the contents of the entrepreneurship curriculum. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 150 randomly sampled students from two faculties at the University of Port Harcourt, in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Frequencies, percentages, mean scores and z-tests were the statistical tools used to analyse the data. The findings identified six major misconceptions about entrepreneurship education among students; it further established that the strategies used for teaching/learning entrepreneurship education were not experiential and activity oriented enough to enhance active participation of students; and that the focus of the curriculum content was basically on entrepreneurship learning skills only, although the students have entrepreneurship mindsets. The following recommendations were made: University authorities should collaborate with entrepreneurial experts, curriculum experts, educational technologists, policy-makers and politicians, in order to form a forum and re-design the entrepreneurship education curriculum, paying attention to contents, activities, delivering strategies, and personality development, inter alia.
Using action research as process for sustaining knowledge production : a case study of a higher education qualification for academicsAuthor P.H. Du ToitSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1216 –1233 (2012)More Less
This article reports on an action research project being conducted at the University of Pretoria. The study focuses on the idea that I, as an academic specialising in higher education, monitor and gather data about my practice, alongside colleagues enrolled for a formal professional qualification in higher education, with a view to sustaining scholarly and professional development. I am doing this in order to improve my practice in an innovative and accountable way, which includes constructing new meaning and contributing to the production of knowledge in the fields of facilitating learning in higher education and academic staff development. The illustrative case study is the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCHE). Cultivating scholarly higher education practitioners is viewed as an important aim of the programme. The focus is on constructing one's own understanding of one's higher education practice in a scholarly way. Learning theories, including self-regulated professional learning and constructivist learning, as are found in the principles of action research, form an integral theoretical underpinning for scholarly development. Action research is used as a means of sustained professional learning for all participants. This study investigates how professional learning can be encouraged and sustained through the development and assessment of professional portfolios. The portfolios came to represent the living theories (McNiff 2002) of practice of all participants, substantiating educational values and claims of improved practice in a scholarly way. The process of compiling the portfolios, called professional portfolios, is based on the principles of action research. This process is in stark contrast with the notion that a portfolio is 'a file of evidence';rather, these professional portfolios represent evidence of new knowledge produced/constructed. A mix of research methods is used to obtain quantitative and qualitative data - gathered, inter alia, by means of a learning style questionnaire, text analysis and photo evidence. Other methods such as observation, student feedback questionnaires and interviews are not reported on in this article.
Author O. EsauSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1234 –1248 (2012)More Less
In this article I set out to describe an HIV/AIDS project that I did with a Grade 6 class. This action research project, although conducted in a primary school classroom, has important implications for future teachers who are aware of and critical enough to take up social issues and other challenges in their quest to shape the twenty-first century into a knowledge society. My education project entailed the role of the teacher as a researcher and critical change agent in an HIV/AIDS-challenged society. My investigation embodied a variety of concepts drawn from theorists such as Gramsci (1971), Habermas (1972), Freire (1982), Giroux (1988), McLaren (2006) and McNiff (2007a). This action research project must, however, not be seen as a blueprint or a recipe for changing a teacher's classroom practice, but should rather be viewed as an attempt by a teacher to give a 'voice' to, and 'empower', his learners to make meaning of their existence, including himself.
Action research-driven professional development : developing transformational health care managers and creating learning organisationsSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1249 –1264 (2012)More Less
The Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) offers, inter alia, an advanced management development programme for health care managers in the public and private sector, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and co-certified by Yale University in the United States (US). The focus is on professional development and transformational leadership. Authentic learning opportunities are created that focus on deep learning in the work context. Portfolio assessment is used. A developmental portfolio is compiled by the health care managers enrolled in the programme. The developmental process is underpinned by the principles of action research. Managers are self-empowered to take responsibility for investigating the transformation of their management practice as a measure of self-driven quality assurance. In most cases the action research process becomes educational to both the manager and his/her colleagues participating in the project. In this way a culture of professional organisational learning is created and maintained. This article reports on a number of case studies of health care managers who conducted action research in an array of health-related contexts, covering health science fields such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and capacity building programmes to create learning organisations and community engagement projects. The lessons learned by the managers regarding the innovative ideas they experimented with in their specific contexts can be transferred to other managers and action research scholars. All these case studies provide evidence of knowledge being created in authentic contexts. These case studies are reported as scholarly endeavour to showcase the empowering and emancipating nature of action research and the contribution it makes to the existing body of knowledge in different fields in which health care managers have to operate.
Author M.L. BothaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1265 –1279 (2012)More Less
'Science has assumed an important role in the contemporary economy', especially in the 21st century (Watters and Watters 2007). It also is a well-known fact that the quality of teaching and science teachers has a significant impact on the quality of learning. Science is a challenging subject; therefore the work of the teachers involved in science education can also be very challenging, taking into account the varieties of knowledge required for teaching complex and abstract science concepts. Science education and teaching rely upon more than just science content as a school subject and topic-specific knowledge, instructional strategies and assessments (Lankford 2010). Teachers of science need to understand science as a discipline, and this includes understanding the nature of science and the integration of the various knowledge domains. The argument for mutualistic possibilities among these knowledge domains for 'better' science education in the twenty-first century is investigated. This article reports on a theoretical study in which a pool of concepts and principles were examined to provide an overview of the potential mutualism of a variety of knowledges that a successful and effective science teacher should acquire/have.
Author A. ChaumaSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1280 –1295 (2012)More Less
In Malawi, primary school teachers for standards 1 to 4 are trained to teach all subjects except English in Chichewa. However, when they go into the schools they have to teach in other local languages as well. This article reports on a study which investigated how primary school teachers for standards 1 to 4 contend with teaching primary mathematical concepts in Chitumbuka. A sample of 12 professionally qualified standards 1 to 4 Chitumbuka speaking primary school teachers from three schools in Rumphi district was used. The study employed a qualitative study approach using a case study design. Data was collected through lesson observations, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The data was analysed by reading through the transcripts to identify patterns that emerged from the data which were developed into categories. The categories were developed into themes which were interpreted for meaning. The findings revealed that the teachers faced linguistic and pedagogical challenges. However, the teachers devised strategies to cope with the challenges. This study was significant for it revealed the teachers' lack of mathematical language competence. At present, primary school teachers experience challenges as a result of teaching in a mother tongue in which they were not trained to teach; and a language which differs considerably from the one used in the learners' textbooks.
Author L.J. NyaumweSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 26, pp 1296 –1310 (2012)More Less
The purpose of this article is to show how aesthetic e-mails can be used in the mathematics classroom. Kilpatrick's (2001) five strands of mathematical proficiency, namely: conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, strategic competence, adaptive reasoning, and productive disposition, are used as a theoretical framework to show how e-mails can be used to develop learners' mathematical proficiency. For example, an e-mail text on the primitive Hindu-Arabic numerals is used to illustrate how the current numerals got their shapes; the Chinese multiplication style is used to show how learners can verify products obtained using the conventional method; a calendar problem is used to show how adaptive reasoning can be developed; and a problem on borrowing is used to show how learners can develop strategic competency. Based on the utility and motivational potential of these aesthetic e-mails, teacher education is challenged to produce millennium-compliant, socially responsible teachers who can utilise the technology available to learners to develop their understanding of mathematical concepts.