Journal of Educational Studies - Volume 11, Issue 1, 2012
Volume 11, Issue 1, 2012
Coping with change and adapting to change : are principals' leadership styles changing in response to policy demands?Author Thamsanqa Thulani BhenguSource: Journal of Educational Studies 11, pp 1 –13 (2012)More Less
The aims of study were to find out whether or not principals in 8 KwaZulu-Natal's rural schools, were coping with new policies within the context of change and transformation. This was a qualitative study which was underpinned by interpretivist paradigm. Semi-structured interviews were used as a method of generating data from the principals, heads of departments, teachers and parents. The findings suggest that, in principals' interactions with various education policies, they made choices about which policies to observe. In compliance with policy expectations, their leadership approaches were participative but in certain instances, this was not genuine, whilst in others it was. Three approaches emerged and are discussed. They are "Open-Participatory", "Closed-Participatory" and "Authoritative-Participatory". It is proposed that principals need to consider using leadership approaches that encourage their staff members to actively participate in the activities of their schools. One of the ways to promote that is to be open to inputs from the teachers.
The planning of school guidance and counselling services from the perspective of school counsellors and learners in three Zimbabwean educational regionsSource: Journal of Educational Studies 11, pp 14 –27 (2012)More Less
This study established the status of the Zimbabwean school guidance and counselling (SGC) services planning by ascertaining school counsellors' and learners' perspectives in three educational regions. A comparison with other countries was made by using international literature. A descriptive survey design was used in the empirical research. Nine hundred and fifty (n = 950) respondents participated in the study. A questionnaire was used to collect the data. The SAS/STAT version 9.1 was used to analyse the data. Chi-square tests were computed. Ratios were calculated to establish the relative rating of each item. The study revealed that according to the school counsellors' and learners' perspectives, planning for SGC services was seldom done. Where planning was done, parents, learners and the psychological team of the district were seldom involved. Recommendations for improving the SGC services planning in Zimbabwe are made.
Child sexual abuse : a study of primary school learners' experiences in Malamulele North-East CircuitSource: Journal of Educational Studies 11, pp 28 –39 (2012)More Less
The purpose of this current study was to investigate child sexual abuse among learners at primary school. A self-designed questionnaire was used to collect data from 29 learners from grade four to seven, who had been predisposed to sexual abuse experiences. The major findings of the study were that: both male and female learners were predisposed to sexual abuse; female students were more vulnerable to sexual abuse as compared to their male counterparts; the majority of the perpetrators were people known to the victims of sexual abuse; abused children developed poor interpersonal relations; sexually abused children developed attention deficit disorder and scholastic performance deteriorated. The study recommended that every school should have a comprehensive guidance and counselling program to assist learners at risk.
Source: Journal of Educational Studies 11, pp 40 –54 (2012)More Less
High student dropout and corresponding throughput rates undermine all attempts to widen access to higher education in general. While dropout rates are a cause for concern generally, this problem should also be understood within the unique context of the University of South Africa. In response to the findings of the Higher Education Quality Committee report, this research project sought to investigate causes of dropout in a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education programme and present mechanisms for addressing the causes. The research highlights the complexities in determining dropout and throughput rates at the University of South Africa. Data were gathered from interviews with the 2004 to 2007 cohorts of students who dropped out. The research is important and differs from other studies on retention and dropout rates in contact universities in South Africa. The outcomes of the research are proposed intervention strategies for adoption by various role players, including the University programme managers, module coordinators and administrative staff.
Source: Journal of Educational Studies 11, pp 55 –66 (2012)More Less
In this paper we investigated the attitudes of teachers in shaping the culture of schools. In the 21st century, schools face new challenges within increasingly diversified environments. Emphasis is now placed on the need for school leaders and teachers to continually and explicitly create, understand, and nurture school culture so that schools become adept at innovating within the pervasive context of educational diversity and renewal. We examined the culture of two schools in order to gain a better understanding of teacher attitudes of each school's cultural setting. Data were sourced from focus group interviews and observations. The major finding of this research revealed that the culture of schools not only have a significant impact on the conditions of both teaching and learning, but also on the extent to which values, beliefs and norms of connectedness, belonging, and identity are fostered. There is thus a critical need for principals and teachers to focus on the cultural environment prevalent within their schools.
Source: Journal of Educational Studies 11, pp 67 –84 (2012)More Less
The main objective of the study was to explore how teachers teach reading comprehension to Grade 3 Tshivenda-speaking learners. This qualitative study was prompted by the low levels of reading amongst these Grades 3 learners in South Africa. Three schools, each with two Grade 3 classes, were selected in this study. Data from individual interviews with teachers, focus group interviews and classroom observations revealed that there were a number of factors that contributed to the Grade 3 learners' poor performance in reading comprehension. It is recommended that teacher education programmes should be improved and that Tshivenda reading resources be made available, as these are currently extremely limited. The study also indicated that the best way to teach reading comprehension is by teaching learners a variety of strategies that they can use in order to self-regulate their comprehension when reading.
Understanding the dynamics in a dysfunctional school through a university - community participatory action researchSource: Journal of Educational Studies 11, pp 85 –97 (2012)More Less
While some studies suggest that there are numerous factors including community stakeholders that have an effect on learners' academic achievement at a school, researchers generally lack consensus on what constitutes school dysfunctionality and effectiveness. The main aim of this study was to find out what the stakeholders in a dysfunctional school thought they should do to move away from the state of dysfunctionality to functionality. A participatory action research strategy was employed to investigate the dynamics in dysfunctional schools through university-community partnership processes. Data were collected through individual interviews and focus group interviews with stakeholders. The results confirmed that the approaches needed to facilitate the improvement in school should be multi-pronged and comprehensive in nature taking into consideration the sensitivity, complexity and the interdependence of issues at community level that are both contextual and historical. The process is as important as the outcomes and care need to be placed in navigating the dynamics, defining boundaries and clarifying roles of engaging, researching, acting and reflecting. The article link the role of university community partnership and participatory action research with improving school effectiveness.
The challenges faced by student teachers towards inclusion of learners with special educational needs in the mainstreamAuthor Jacob M. SeleshoSource: Journal of Educational Studies 11, pp 98 –110 (2012)More Less
The purpose of the study was: (a) to explore student teachers' attitudes towards the inclusion of learners with special educational needs in mainstream classrooms; (b) to establish the knowledge and attitude of the student teachers in facilitating inclusive education classroom. A sample of one hundred and twenty third-year B.Ed students from a university of technology participated in the study. These students were enrolled for a teacher education qualification and inclusive education topic was covered in education module. A questionnaire was used to collect data in this study. The study found that student teachers have positive attitudes towards an inclusive classroom. They agree that it enhances social interaction and thus minimises negative attitudes towards learners with special needs. The study also found that collaboration between mainstream and the special education teachers is important and that there should be clear guidelines on the implementation of inclusive education. More efforts are needed for teaching student teachers how to function in the multi-faced classroom with both normal learners and those with disabilities in the same class. The findings of the study have significant implications for the university lecturer, teachers, and other stakeholders who are directly and indirectly involved in implementing inclusive education.
Source: Journal of Educational Studies 11, pp 111 –120 (2012)More Less
The article argues that there is inadequate knowledge and understanding in the macro, meso and micro-policy environment on the potential influence of subjectivities in educational management, policy development and policy implementation. This inquiry sought to explore and explain how teachers understood the change processes at national, provincial and institutional level, tracing the impact of teacher subjectivities on teaching, learning, curriculum and assessment. This was done by exploring how teachers aligned themselves with the dominant educational discourses and their own subjectivities during policy implementation, as well as engaging teachers to find their voices and how they were able to deal with the complexities of practice regarding the new curriculum and educational assessment policies. Using mixed methods as research design we administered questionnaires and conducted semi-structured interviews. Findings recognised teachers' outward support of change and education policy reforms but mostly through their inward perceptions of their roles in conceptualising, developing and implementing policy. Broadly speaking, this inquiry exposed that while wounded memories in the South African education system cannot be erased, educationists working together at all levels in the entire education and training system, must move towards using subjectivities as a springboard to conceptualise, develop and implement policy to change the status quo for the better.
Author Wendy McMillanSource: Journal of Educational Studies 11, pp 121 –133 (2012)More Less
This paper discusses a pilot reading-literacy development initiative in a class of Grade 6 township learners. The purpose of the study was to pilot a model of literacy development that could be implemented across a wider platform of schools. The pilot study, using classroom observation and focus group interviews, was designed within a psycholinguistic perspective. Criteria for effective reading-literacy development - access to text and the desire to engage, knowing what to do with text, and opportunities to understand and reflect on text - were used to design the study, and as a lens for analysis. The paper focuses on case studies as illustrative examples of the ways in which the initiative supported access to texts, reading-literacy confidence, and the development of interpretive and reflective reading skills. The study suggests that a conducive literacy environment, including access to texts, knowing what to do with texts, and opportunities to understand and reflect on text - as well as the support of teachers who know how to facilitate literacy - has the potential to achieve literacy gains for even seriously compromised learners.