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- Volume 29, Issue 3, 2015
South African Journal of Higher Education - Volume 29, Issue 3, 2015
Volumes & issues
Volume 29, Issue 3, 2015
Author R. J. SinghSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 1 –7 (2015)More Less
Over the past five years, higher education teaching and learning in South Africa has experienced a significant shift as the focus has turned inwards to teaching, learning and research practice of individual institutions. A specific area of interest has been on teacher education as South Africa struggles to train enough teachers to meet its high demand. A need for increased postgraduate through forced higher education institutions (HEIs) to focus on research capacity building in the areas of supervision, publications and staff qualifications. Amidst these are the challenges of large classes, re-curriculation, and development and use of local African languages. Reflecting on these issues is the focus of this introductory article.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 8 –22 (2015)More Less
This article examines the acceptability of using Xitsonga as a medium of instruction for teaching and learning (MoIL) at the University of Limpopo (UL) (Turfloop Campus), Sovenga, South Africa. Currently, English dominates the higher education environment because almost all the universities in South Africa utilise it as an MoIL. In addition, English is extremely popular in higher education because it is viewed as the language of the corporate world as well as the language of science. In such a context, the article sets out to determine whether the introduction of Xitsonga as an MoIL would be tenable and desirable at the aforementioned university. The data collected indicated that the majority of Xitsonga speakers at UL believe that Xitsonga should not be used as an MoIL in higher education. It is concluded, however, that mother tongue education enhances, rather than diminishes learning, including the learning of additional languages.
Students' perceptions of teaching methods used at South African Higher Education Institutions : part 1Author S. GovenderSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 23 –41 (2015)More Less
The purpose of this study was to ascertain students' perceptions of selected methods used for teaching undergraduate students. A total of 200 Level 3undergraduates in the Faculty of Education at the University of Zululand, Kwa-Dlangezwa, South Africa, completed a questionnaire about the frequency of various teaching methods used by lecturers; their perceptions of the most effective ones; and their reasons for their preferences. The findings revealed that the lecture method was the one most often used. Students felt that they were less frequently exposed to alternative teaching methods that require them to participate actively. Although lectures are useful when teaching large groups and enable lecturers to present factual material logically, the communication is one-way and students often feel passive. Two important recommendations that emerged from the study are for lecturers to expose students to multiple teaching methods, thereby maintaining a balance, and to consider using innovative educational technology to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 42 –55 (2015)More Less
The rationale behind this article was to explore the importance for academics to reflect constantly and consistently on what they teach; why they teach what they teach; how they teach and assess, keeping in mind who they teach (calibre of their students); and the circumstances under which they teach. The authors posed the question : How is reflective practice used in fostering or creating a humane higher education? Using a desktop approach, the article delves into classroom practices, challenges and the influence of what happens 'beyond the classroom' on both the lecturer and students' performance. The article is fundamentally are flection of what the authors witness themselves in their daily encounters, to a large extent, with lecturers sharing their challenges, and to a lesser extent, with students seeking development and support in their endeavours to succeed in their studies. Reflective practice is offered as a plausible approach that can be used systematically to gain a deeper understanding of the teaching and learning process in a higher education context.
Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 56 –68 (2015)More Less
The aim of this article is to report on a qualitative study that investigated teacher educators' conceptions of teaching and learning. The study was undertaken to inform the development of the new Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree in the Early Childhood and Foundation Phase (ECFP) at the University of the Free State (UFS), Bloemfontein, South Africa. The data for the study was produced by six teacher educators participating in blogs and group meetings. The findings showed that teacher educators' conceptions of teaching and learning are drawn from a variety of frames of reference and theoretical ideas. Although this is the case, their conceptions all point towards process-oriented and constructivist views of teaching and learning. The study draws attention to actions required for enabling teacher educators to function in more argentic ways.
Industry real-life management accounting practice: a differential effect on accounting students' performance : part 1Author C.C. NgwakweSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 69 –86 (2015)More Less
This article presents an evaluation of the potential differential effect of video presentations of industry real-life practice of management accounting on the academic performance of accounting students. The methodological approach used was a study of final year Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) accounting students at a South African university. An accounting video of industry real-life application of management accounting systems was shown to students (in an alternating manner) after completing the lectures in two modules. This was followed by four concept tests, using an alternating approach. Using a statisticalt-test of difference in means, the findings showed a significant difference between the two scenario concept tests. The article offers an agenda for further research using other accounting courses and the application of this at different levels of accountancy study and using other universities in South Africa.
Improving postgraduate supervision in an open and distance learning environment : a case study at the college of education, University of South Africa : part 1Author P.J.H. HeeralalSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 87 –100 (2015)More Less
In an open and distance learning (ODL) environment, postgraduate students, in the main, study part time and are often far removed geographically from the university and their supervisors. There is thus very little face-to-face contact between the students and their supervisors and supervision takes place from a distance. Postgraduate students are unable to complete their qualifications in the minimum time required. The purpose of this article was to examine how supervision of postgraduate students can be improved in an ODL context so that students may complete their qualifications in the minimum time required. A qualitative approach was used to collect data from postgraduate ODL students. The results indicated that students are generally satisfied with the supervision that they receive; however, the following areas need to be considered in order to improve postgraduate supervision : proposal writing, research methodologies, data analysis, and the appropriate allocation of supervisors. The author makes the following recommendations : supervisors need to have more face-to-face contact with students; supervisors should be allocated to students on registration; and regional workshops conducted by the university should specifically address the issues of proposal writing, research methodologies and data analysis.
'As a person you need help every now and then' : accessing students' support needs in a higher education environment : part 1Author S. ManikSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 101 –117 (2015)More Less
Student departure from higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa has recently garnered renewed enthusiasm with attempts by researchers to understand and address its impact on university statistics. Whilst studies initially focused on the aetiology of student departure, the pendulum has now started to swing in the direction of the elements and environments for students achieving success in higher education. A key perspective involves gaining insight into what students think they need to ensure they achieve success. This article reports on undergraduate students' conceptions of what their support needs are at a university in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. The data draws from a questionnaire administered as part of a mixed methods study on student departure. The findings indicated a myriad support needs articulated by the students across all years of study that serves to affirm Benjamin's theory on the complex nature of students' lives that impacts on them. An interesting finding was students' request for physiological support, that is, a basic need for food. Another key finding was that of the students' on-going need for psychological support given the stressful nature of their academic and personal challenges.
Author M.M. MohlakeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 118 –130 (2015)More Less
In the words of Martin Luther King Jnr, because of the type of education offered, now 'we have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers ... We have guided missiles and misguided man'. However, when such skills are treated only as concepts rather than skills, their efficacy cannot translate into progressive development. This article reports on a small-scale study conducted at the University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa, that sought extended curriculum students' opinions on a morality-based revamped curriculum that factored in a life skills foundational provision. The majority of participants' responses indicated resistance towards a morality-based module. They regarded the module as being below higher education and only fit for non-academic activities. Intimations shall be made vis-à-vis the inclusion of pro-development morals within higher education curricula.
Author P.W. SaungwemeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 131 –149 (2015)More Less
The subject project management is relatively new and has increased in stature over the years as its use has expanded across disciplines from construction based projects to initiatives that have scope, time and cost constraints. Developing effective pedagogical approaches is key to the development of the subject. This article highlights some significant factors and suggests examples of best practice based on qualitative data collected from teaching and learning experiences gained at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), Bellville, South Africa. The article follows a reflective approach and uses multiple project cases to propose areas of focus for teaching project management using the project-based learning (PBL) approach.
Author P. MoodleySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 150 –167 (2015)More Less
The tireless efforts of lecturers to deal with the challenges of large classes at universities continue as they persevere to provide quality education to the masses of students. Many issues plague lecturers and students alike, which inadvertently impact on the teaching and learning experience. This article reports on a study that examined the challenges faced by lecturers with large classes at higher education institutions (HEIs) and the different approaches that are used to overcome these challenges. The contribution of this study is that it documents strategies that can be used within the current technological environment to enhance student participation in large classes. The study was conducted at two universities through the use of questionnaires and found that lecturers at both HEIs were faced with similar challenges in teaching/lecturing large classes. The current feasible solution to support the traditional form of lecturing is an integrative approach that incorporates the use of information communication technologies (ICTs) as well as various other teaching approaches, in reaching all students in large classes.
Using student-teachers' reflections in the improvement of a teaching practice programme at the University of Limpopo : part 1Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 168 –182 (2015)More Less
Reflections in teacher education and teaching practice in particular are considered to be a crucial aspect of the development of teachers and student-teachers. As a result, many teacher training programmes require student-teachers to undertake self-reflections. However, there is a complaint that teacher training programmes do not use reflections as they are supposed to be used. It is within this context that the study on which this article reports was undertaken looking at the manner in which the School of Education at the University of Limpopo (UL), Sovenga, South Africa, uses reflections to improve its teaching practice programme. Data was generated from a questionnaire, focus group interviews and documents. The study found that the student-teachers do reflect on their teaching practice even though their reflections are not always incorporated in improving the programme. The authors argue that reflection should be considered as an enabling condition to improve teaching practice along the lines of engaged, democratic action.
Author R.J. SinghSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 183 –200 (2015)More Less
In the South African context, rural universities are labelled 'historically disadvantaged' and are faced with numerous challenges regarding research capacity development. It is against this background that this article examines the challenges faced at the University of Limpopo (UL), Sovenga, South Africa, in the area of research capacity building. UL adopted a multi-pronged approach to build research capacity. This approach involved increasing the number of accredited publications by staff; training supervisors; increasing the number of staff who have doctorates; providing support for female researchers;increasing awareness around funding opportunities; providing research support for postgraduate students and incentives for staff who publish and supervise postgraduate students. Data was obtained from research statistics compiled by the university, approved policy and incentive documents of the university, and evaluative and reflective feedback from participants in different support programmes. The data was analysed both quantitatively and qualitatively. The findings revealed that there has been an increase in UL's capacity building initiatives over the past four years, which is reflected in an increase in research output. The article recommends that institutional research capacity building be approached from a context-specific perspective.
Thinking at the interface : theory and practice in the South African university/community relationship : part 2Author C. SoudienSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 201 –207 (2015)More Less
The South African university has been the focus of a great deal of global interest in recent years. In bringing together this collection of articles, towards placing this upsurge of interest in clearer perspective, the intention is to make the argument that the South African university presents itself as a particularly important case study for understanding how the challenge of thinking - the development of conceptual frameworks, the generation of new theoretical and political positions and, ultimately, the making of new knowledge - in the boundary zone occupied by academics and community members can be undertaken. The articles are critical assessments of work taking place at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in the interface between the university and the community.
Author C. VolksSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 208 –221 (2015)More Less
Just as HIV/AIDS, Inclusivity and Change Unit (HAICU) was reflecting on making changes to the programme on working with teachers, changes at the Department of Education (DoE) made it difficult for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and universities to work within schools in the way they had previously done. The changes to the National Policy (DoE 1999) indicated that HAICU would need a new method of working with schools which would be limited to working with teachers only, connecting teachers to knowledge around HIV/AIDS, gender and stigma and supporting teachers in their multiple roles of addressing HIV prevention and education. A number of HIV/AIDS prevention projects were then aimed at after school sites such as youth centres where education could be combined with testing, and service provision at schools was limited to nurse visits (but no HIV testing in schools). In 2013, HAICU developed and implemented a programme working with educators who teach Life Orientation (LO) and who could implement the learnings in the schools. An initial needs assessment with the teachers showed that stigma continued to prevail in school contexts; gendered roles were still practiced; and educators played support roles for HIV-positive students. Based on this assessment, HAICU developed a four session intervention and the topics included : HIV school policy and implementation; rape; HIV treatment; and HIV social behaviour change communication. The topics chosen addressed the primary needs identified by the educators in the programme. By engaging with the topics, the educators identified that they would need to continue learning about these topics beyond the initial four sessions. After the training, the HAICU conducted a focus group with the educators to ascertain what kinds of progress, if any, the educators had made in implementing the learning. This article details the discussion in the focus group.
Author J. McMillanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 222 –242 (2015)More Less
Drawing on qualitative case study research of two service learning courses, this article uses the framework of activity theory to present service learning as an activity system and a form of 'boundary work' in higher education. To view service learning as an activity system, it is necessary to locate the analysis in the 'boundary zone' at the nexus of the university and community, and to explore the roles of various actors in the system. In particular, the author argues that the role of the service learning educator needs to be explored and made visible. Using activity theory, the experiences of two educators' playing the role of 'boundary worker' are explored. What activity theory makes clear is that this role is intimately tied up with issues of identity, authority and knowledge. Going forward it would be useful to explore activity theory as a framework in the service learning curriculum and the professional development of educators.
Author S. GredleySource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 243 –261 (2015)More Less
Service learning is often heralded as an important way of providing potentially transformative learning opportunities for students to develop empathy and an ethic of care, thereby contributing to students' 'being' and engagement in the world. However, many scholars have noted that service learning does not inherently and by itself offer students the space to explore their personal responses to the challenges of service work. This can result in service that embeds and perpetuates hierarchy and difference. The author's research paid more explicit attention to students' 'being' in order to explore learnings about self, knowledge and practice. Through data that included interviews, reflective writing and online blogs, the author tracked the learning journeys of four students through a service learning course that aims to foreground values and 'being'. She asked how this focus on 'being' affected the students' learning, and found that through 'learning service' (Boyle-Baise et al. 2006) 'being' was transformed for each student, which resulted in changed 'knowing' and practice.
'In schools, in community' - implementing a university-school partnership at the University of Cape Town : part 2Source: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 262 –280 (2015)More Less
The purpose of this article is twofold : the first is to describe the Schools Improvement Initiative (SII) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) - a university-school partnership implemented in six schools in the Western Cape township of Khayelitsha. The second purpose is to report on the methodology of the case study as used during the initial stage of the intervention. Working in collaboration with faculties and groupings within UCT; with education-related organisations in the community; and with the Metropole East Education District (MEED), the SII aims to bring about systemic school improvement in its partner schools. Through purposeful collaboration, the SII focuses its interventions on both the professional development of teachers and the organisational development of the school. Underpinning the SII's work is a context specific approach, and it is through the methodology of the case study that this is achieved. The case study is used as an initiator of dialogue and a preliminary 'step to action' (Adelman, Jenkins and Kemmis 1980 in Cohen, Manion and Morrison 2009, 256). Accurately generated data from the case study, that is shared openly with the participants, can be a powerful way to generate trust and collaboration, and engage all stakeholders in school improvement initiatives.
Author R. GalvaanSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 281 –293 (2015)More Less
Traditionally, occupational therapy (OT) practice in schools has been dominated by clinical interventions with children with disabilities or barriers to learning. These practices do not confront many of the challenges facing learners in the dual economy of schooling. This article advocates that critical OT, through an occupation-based community development (Ob-CD) approach to practice, is better positioned to address schooling challenges. The value of this approach in unpacking the transactional nature of occupation for learners attending schools in a low-income area is described. The integrated lens provided by interpreting human occupation in context and framing practice through Ob-CD is highlighted. This is significant for the nature of the relationships formed and the design of interventions within a university-school partnership. A case example illustrates how Ob-CD provides a framework for confronting hegemonic ways of thinking and doing so that fresh perspectives are created for the emergence of new ways of participating. It is advocated that these new pathways provide an impetus for contextually relevant OT practice while promoting partnerships that foster development.
Revitalising career counselling to foster career adaptability and resilience during change and turbulence : part 2Author Jacobus Gideon (Kobus) MareeSource: South African Journal of Higher Education 29, pp 294 –296 (2015)More Less
The 21st century workplace, defined largely by the economic global meltdown in 2008, is characterised by fundamental change and turbulence at a time when 'the digital revolution produces jobless work' (Savickas 2011, 6). An appropriate response to this dire situation (including updating existing career theories and practice in career counselling) is needed from theorists, practitioners, and researchers in career counselling to help them meet the career counselling-related needs of their clients. A positive approach to career counselling is required to address the uncertainty, lack of permanence, feelings of despair, and the disappearance of a holding environment in the contemporary workplace. Hope must be rekindled in the hearts and minds of current and prospective employees, and decent work, which is defined as 'productive work in which rights are protected, which generates an adequate income with adequate social protection. It also means sufficient work in the sense that all should have access to income earning opportunities. It marks the high road to economic and social development, a road in which employment, income and social protection can be achieved without compromising workers' rights and sound standards' (Somavia 1999) must be found for all work seekers.