The Journal of Independent Teaching and Learning - latest Issue
Volume 6, Issue 1, 2011
Author Dolina DowlingSource: The Journal of Independent Teaching and Learning 6, pp 3 –4 (2011)More Less
South Africa finds itself confronted by two interrelated socio-economic imperatives. The first is the challenge of responding to the demands of the emerging knowledge economy. The skills and competencies required are radically different from those of agricultural and industrial economies. Unlike the latter, whose primary resources are land and raw materials, the knowledge economy increasingly relies on the sharing, dissemination and exploitation of knowledge, as well as its creation. Success in this economy is dependenton, inter alia, high level human resources and communication technologies. However a majority of SouthAfricans are still only equipped for employment in the agriculture and extractive economy.
Author Michael Johann Van HeerdenSource: The Journal of Independent Teaching and Learning 6, pp 5 –13 (2011)More Less
The aim of this essay is to approach the question of the task of tertiary education from a new angle. It seeks to examine some of the issues of the malaise among contemporary students via negativa, i.e.by examining three thinkers from antiquity (Sophists) it is argued we have a window on what tertiary education should not be doing in our own time to address this malaise. This is because not only was the Greece of their time beset with similar problems, but also because the Sophists,who had a view on education that was primarily pragmatic and reductionist, fuelled this sense of being in an ethical limbo. Their view on education, it is argued, does not help the malaise among our youth, but only entrenches rampant professional greed, a sense of historical disconnectedness and a lack of overall vision. This in turn cripples the imagination, which should be the locus in which life's meaning is situated and in whicha student is invigorated to take on the challenges of the 21st century.
Author Leigh KilpertSource: The Journal of Independent Teaching and Learning 6, pp 14 –24 (2011)More Less
This study examined students' responses to assessment for evidence of cumulative learning. The hypothesis was that if students' learning is cumulative, then they will be able to apply their knowledge and skills productively in industry. The research used Matonâ??s (2009) concept of 'semantic gravity' as a tool to determine the relative context-dependency of the students' knowledge. A higher education institution provided the Journalism curriculum for this research. Assessments were coded according to 'knowledge principles' described by the research tool. The coding allowed these responses to be given a 'weight' ofsemantic gravity, i.e. a level of context-dependency. The codes were then examined for patterns that wouldreveal evidence of cumulative learning. The study found evidence of cumulative learning, but because of certain limitations, this learning was not fully developed. The findings of this research have implications for an enriched understanding of the potential for students to be productive after they graduate.
The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.
Plutarch (c.46â??119 AD)
Source: The Journal of Independent Teaching and Learning 6, pp 25 –33 (2011)More Less
The notion of resilience amongst first year students in higher education is of increasing interest as the number of at-risk students is growing and educators are seeking ways of strengthening the whole teaching and learning package. This study investigated a group of 51 first year Public Relations and Communication students at the University of Johannesburg who were identified by the faculty as at-risk students and who had been given provisional passes into the second semester of study. The study was conducted through the use of a questionnaire which related to several internal risk factors but more specifically to the students' use of the support services offered by the university. These support services are considered by the university to be strategic interventions which, if utilised by the students, may assist in realising their academic success. The study concluded that it is the responsibility of those who structure the learning environment to nurture students specifically through ensuring that the services offered by the university are well utilised by them and thus promote the vision of the university to widen access and improve retention and throughput.
Author Yougan AungamuthuSource: The Journal of Independent Teaching and Learning 6, pp 34 –44 (2011)More Less
A lecturer in mathematics undertook a study of his students' perceptions of the various new technologies hewas embedding in their extended curriculum programme. This paper is not about that study; this paper is about something seemingly simple and yet profound that happened along the way. The lecturer, aware of the alienation students may feel in their new university environment, used emails to encourage his studentsto invest time in their university studies. Unexpectedly, the impact of this personal correspondence, which was initially just seen to be a means to an end, turned out to be something worthy of consideration in its own right. This paper examines what that was and how emails can be one way of demonstrating care for our students within the South African higher education context.
Author Gregory H. BassSource: The Journal of Independent Teaching and Learning 6, pp 45 –54 (2011)More Less
Extended curricula have been introduced in a number of programmes in South Africa as one mechanism for addressing issues of equitable access, the low throughput rate in higher education and the need to articulate better the gap between school and higher education practices. This article considers the extended curriculum programme in Dental Technology at the Durban University of Technology and argues that in order to achieve these multiple aims, such programmes have to provide a broad range of inputs which consider the learners in both social and academic ways. Dental Technology has offered an extended curriculum programme since 1995. In 2003 the programme was re-curriculated to comply with Department of Education funding criteria. The Dental Technology extended curriculum has evolved to include a range of interventions which support learners as they adjust to university life and which induct them into the discipline-specific norms of the Dental Technologist. It is through the integrated development of academic and information literacies as well as the conscious concern with social integration that this programme has succeeded. Analysis of semi-structured interviews with learners and staff of the Dental Technology programme shows that this intervention is successful specifically because it takes note of a combination of multi-faceted issues. It mediates learnersâ?? acquisition of complex concepts and nomenclature while at the same time narrows the gap between the literacy practices of school and tertiary education. The explicit foregrounding of academic literacy practices through real tasks in the specific discipline promotes the acquisition of analytical, reading and writing practices and conceptual understanding. In addition, it was recognised that attention to social integration issues led to more settled learners who were consequently able to enjoy academic success. Social integration was achieved through a well-defined mentorship programme running parallel with the academic programme.
Collaborative learning of mathematics by educationally disadvantaged students at a university : practioners' cornerSource: The Journal of Independent Teaching and Learning 6, pp 55 –68 (2011)More Less
This paper reports on a qualitative study of how collaborative learning as a pedagogic intervention was implemented in the Centre for Science Access (CSA) in a South African university. Students in the CSA are from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds. Collaborative learning was implemented to improve the mathematics knowledge and skills of these students. Collaborative learning involves organising students to work in pairs or in small groups to achieve shared goals or learning outcomes.