South African Journal of Education - Volume 22, Issue 2, 2002
Volume 22, Issue 2, 2002
Author L. Le GrangeSource: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 83 –87 (2002)More Less
In the current phase of our history, crises abound in many spheres of life - political, ecological, economic, personal, and so on. When crises manifest themselves in society we often turn to education as a panacea for addressing these societal ills as if 'education' might not be part of the problem. All education is ideological in the sense that an educational activity can not be neutral. Educational ideologies have shaped different approaches to environmental education, and have influenced its implementation in formal education. Through a critical examination of educational ideologies that underpin environmental education, I explore possibilities and constraints (poverty) of education in addressing environmental problems. I argue that in order for environmental education to avoid the status of a peripheral pedagogy, it needs to be liberated from the ideological constraints of how it is often defined. Also, I point out that a language of probability is needed for its systemic implementation. I contend that in South Africa OBE might be a vehicle for the systemic implementation of environmental education.
Educators' perceptions of the school as a learning organization in the Vanderbijlpark-North District, South AfricaSource: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 88 –94 (2002)More Less
This article outlines the principal findings of research that sought to provide a comprehensive understanding of schools as learning organisations in the Vanderbijl Park-North District of the Gauteng province of South Africa. The quantitative research methodology used was of major importance in obtaining data that were grounded largely on the theoretical framework of learning organisations as well as in the personal experiences of educators and principals. The purpose of the research was to investigate the essential features of learning organizations, the perceptions of educators in respect of these essential features and the guidelines that could be provided for schools to cope with the demands of continuous learning and adaptation in a turbulent environment. A major finding was that the learning disciplines of personal mastery, mental models, a shared vision, teamwork and systems thinking were fundamental to two factors: namely, a collaborative culture and personal beliefs about educator commitment. The school can therefore function as a learning organization by cultivating a climate where a collaborative culture and beliefs that stimulate educator commitment can develop.
Author Y. WaghidSource: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 95 –100 (2002)More Less
The legislation of several policy documents in relation to schooling over the past few years - of which the Norms and Standards for Educators (2000) appears to be the most significant - has brought into focus a renewed emphasis on improving schooling. The by now well-known outcomes-based model, which focuses on learner-centredness, team work, creative design of learning programmes, learner outcomes and flexible time frames to allow learners to work at their own pace, presents a major challenge to schools to co-operate and find common ground for effecting good education. In as much as policy urges schools to become better achievers by improving and developing teacher competences, organisational culture, learning programmes, leadership and community involvement in school governance, it seems that scant attention has been given to the question of inter-school relations vis-à-vis under-performing and high-performing schools. These schools, as I shall report and argue with reference to a case study in the Northern Cape province, continue to function mutually exclusively and independently of each other, thus posing a major threat to the notion of deliberative schooling. In this article, I argue that atomistic (independent) inter-school relations are pernicious and far too restrictive in cultivating genuine deliberative schooling, more specifically inter-school teacher interaction. I contend that deliberative inter-school relations must confirm the value of "interactionism", whereby under-performing and high-performing schools can learn about each another and from each other, thus improving possibilities for teacher engagement and the establishment of inter-school collaboration in some rural areas. I argue that interactionism invokes the idea of deliberation, whereby teachers do not have to function in isolation from one another but rather as deliberators within a set of inter-school relationships with others. The idea of deliberation brings into question mere acceptance of a lack of serious engagement among teachers at under-performing (historically disadvantaged schools) and high-performing schools (historically advantaged schools).
Die ontwikkeling van menslike potensiaal in die Republiek van Suid-Afrika : drie essensiële voorwaardesSource: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 101 –105 (2002)More Less
The development of human potential in the Republic of South Africa: three essential conditions. The widespread poverty in South Africa severely handicaps the progress and development of all its citizens. This situation can be improved by optimizing their development. It is also universally accepted that the development of the own potential is a democratic human right. From the results of the research it became clear that, before reasonable success could be expected from efforts to develop human potential, certain conditions had to be prevalent. These pre-requisites and the supportive role of education with regard to the development of human potential are discussed.
Source: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 106 –112 (2002)More Less
In the light of a lack of a consensus on the definition of the concept minority and the continuing debates on minorities and their rights in education, policy makers need to consider the adequate provision of education suitable to different minorities. The issue of minority rights in education is particularly sensitive in South Africa where members of previously disadvantaged groups regard the demand for minority protection with suspicion. An overview of the literature on the concept minority, legal provisions in international law and the main provisions in South African law is given. An analysis of documents, especially primary documents, was carried out. Unstructured interviews with a small sample of informants selected by purposeful sampling were used to obtain additional data. Findings indicated that there is no international consensus on the definition of the concept minority; the South African constitution uses the concept communities rather than minorities but in this incidence, no definition is given. However, the South African constitution contains sufficient provisions for the right of communities to education. Subject to certain limitations minority groups may open their own schools and use their own language.
Source: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 113 –118 (2002)More Less
Although a great deal of debate surrounds poor performance in Grade 12 National Examinations, very little research has addressed the factors influencing student performance. This paper gives an overview of causes of poor student performance in Grade 12. Stakeholders' perceptions on causes of poor student performance were gathered through interviews. The study revealed that major causes of poor student performance included lack of resources, lack of discipline and poor morale, problems concerning the implementation of policies, and inadequate parental involvement.
Factors influencing the choice of English as language of learning and teaching (LoLT)- a South African perspectiveAuthor C. De WetSource: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 119 –124 (2002)More Less
In accordance with the South African Constitution and the South African Schools Act, the Department of Education's Language-in-Education policy aims to promote multilingualism and the development of the official languages and to pursue the language policy most supportive of general conceptual growth amongst learners. The majority of South Africans prefer English and not their home language as language of learning and teaching (LoLT) after the first four years of schooling. Why? In an attempt to address the issue of choice of LoLT, in this article I report, against the background of a literature overview, on an empirical investigation on the perceptions of a group of educators and student educators, on the importance of languages in politics, education, science and technology, trade and industry, and cultural activities, as well as on educational matters pertaining to the LoLT. I explore the problematic sociolinguistic issues concerning the choice of English over home language as the LoLT.
'n Histories-opvoedkundige rekonstruksie van die geletterdheid van die Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking : 'n eerste karteringAuthor C.C. WolhuterSource: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 125 –131 (2002)More Less
Historico-educational reconstruction of the literacy of the South African population: a first mapping. The aim in this paper was to map the outlines of the history of the literacy of the South African population, from census material and from the few existing studies, as a basis for further research on the history of literacy in South Africa. The problem of defining and measuring literacy is discussed. Areas of main emphases in international history of education research on literacy are identified, and the research apparatus available for the reconstruction of the literacy history of South Africa is surveyed. This is followed by mapping the outlines of the history of the literacy of South Africa's population. In conclusion, and in the light of the foci in international history of education research on literacy, the following recommendations are made for further research on the theme, using the identified available research apparatus. There is a need for research that will complete the picture on progress in the history of literacy of the South African population; for investigations into the causes/determinants/correlates of literacy in South Africa and for research on the relationship between literacy in South Africa and industrialisation, economic growth, modernisation, cognitive development, and the development of political consciousness. Out of these studies, guidelines for combatting the illiteracy that still exists in South Africa could then be abstracted.
Source: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 132 –135 (2002)More Less
Whether behaviour dimensions in a management context can be changed by means of training programmes is a debatable issue. Little if any research has been done in this regard and, in the education setting, it appears no research at all has been done. Against this background the first experimental research project of its kind was launched in South Africa. The research design made provision for an experimental and a control group, both consisting of an equal number of secondary school principals. As a first step, both groups were exposed to a recognised assessment centre (ACEL) during which certain management dimensions were evaluated. The second step was to put the experimental group through a management training programme followed by the third step, namely, a second assessment for both groups. According to the statistical results, two behaviour dimensions of the experimental group showed a significant difference before and after the training programme, whilst no significant difference was recorded for the control group. This research project does not claim that management dimensions of educational leaders can be changed by means of training. The work should rather be regarded as a pilot studyand the first empirical attempt of this kind in the field of education management. The findings are therefore preliminary and can only be verified by a longitudinal study.
Die BINGO-hulpverleningsprogram vir die begaafde seun wat akademies onderpresteer in die sekondêre skoolSource: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 136 –143 (2002)More Less
The BINGO support programme for the academically under-achieving gifted boy in secondary school. Research shows that more boys than girls experience such problems and consequently their full potential is not realised. Hence the focus on an effective assistance and support programme. Literature studies show that many existing support programmes target primary school pupils and that South African support programmes are limited. The study focused on assistance to the under-achieving gifted adolescent boy through an interdisciplinary team approach. Two questionnaires facilitated identification of the unique needs and problems of the learner and focused on his totality. The Accumulative BINGO Plan chart contains suggestions for assistance. Support is intensive on a mainly one-to-one basis and is justifiable from an educational viewpoint. Evaluation of the learner and the support programme yielded positive results.
Source: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 144 –148 (2002)More Less
The ESSI reading and spelling test (Afrikaans and English) was developed to replace the well-known UCT reading and spelling test standardized in 1944. This measuring instrument was developed in four phases. This article deals with the development work performed during the first three phases. During phase 1, support teachers were involved so that provisional vocabulary lists could be drawn up. Next, these vocabulary lists were presented to experts in the field of support teaching for their comments, after which they were finalised. Phase 2 was used to perform item analyses on the vocabulary lists, with assistance of item-response theory (IRT). On the basis of these findings, the final tests (vocabulary lists) were drawn up. During phase 3, tables of norms were drawn up. The tables of norms were made available per term so that the test could be taken throughout the year. To promote the utility value of the tests, screening tests were also drawn up, and the words included in the vocabulary lists could also be used to perform assessments of reading and spelling errors. Only registered psychologists and support teachers are allowed to administer the test and interpret test results.
Source: South African Journal of Education 22, pp 149 –153 (2002)More Less
In drawing up the ESSI reading and spelling test, four phases were followed. In an earlier article, the development work that took place during the first three phases was discussed. This article focuses on the last phase during which the psychometric characteristics of the ESSI reading and spelling test were investigated. Firstly, the skewedness of the test scores on all the tests (vocabulary lists) was investigated. The results showed that there was a reasonable measure of symmetrical distribution of scores on all the Afrikaans and the English tests. The kurtosis of the scores was also investigated, and with some exceptions, it was clear that the scores had a normal distribution. Attention was also devoted to the standard error of measurement for the tests. Not one of the standard errors of measurement values for the tests was larger than 2. Information on the reliabilities of the tests is also included. Various reliability indices were calculated and all of them exhibited high levels of reliability. Concerning the validity of the tests, attention was devoted to content and criterion-related validity of the tests. It was possible to ensure that the requirements of content validity were met by requesting experienced persons to identify the words for the test. Information on the predictive validity of the tests indicated that all the tests have sound predictive validity.