Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 37 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Socio-educational development of pre-school children in Eastern Cape: Factors militating against fathers' readiness to participate</b>]]> Past studies on South African fathers' less or non-involvement in their children's development have either approached it qualitatively, with rural dwellers that are less educated than participants, or those that were quantitatively limited in terms of their focus and methodology. There is, therefore, a dearth of quantitative data on factors affecting South African fathers' readiness to participate in their children's development. It is precisely this realisation that has prompted this research paper. For this study, a descriptive survey research design with a sample of 300 university students was adopted. A questionnaire with a reliability coefficient of 0.78 was used to collect data, and both descriptive and inferential statistics were employed in the analysis at 0.05 level of significance. Absence of father at home (weighted average = 3.72), relationship with the mother of the child (weighted average = 3.63), and financial factors (weighted average = 3.46) are identified as those factors conspiring against South African fathers' readiness, while fathering skills (weighted average = 3.41) are not one of these factors. The conclusion drawn, based on the findings of this research, is that counselling service units ought to be established in all communities in South Africa to work with families so as to help facilitate and maintain positive and cordial relationship amongst them. <![CDATA[<b>Educators' relational experiences with learners identified with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder</b>]]> The focus of this research is educators' relational experiences with learners presumed to have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in a South African school community. Although relational interaction (usually seen as trusting and caring) is an integral aspect of the learning environment, relational functioning within this context is seriously challenged when educators are working with FASD learners. A qualitative approach was used and 14 educators were selected as participants from a rural school community in the Western Cape Province. Data were collected via semi-structured individual interviews and two focus groups. Thematic analysis of the data revealed that the relational quality of educators' experiences is determined by their practical knowledge of the limited intellectual abilities, and impaired social functioning within the learning environment of learners with FASD; the negative impact of these experiences on educators' personal resources and job satisfaction; and, educators' relational experiences with learners identified with FASD entail a unique blend of challenges and competencies. Recommendations include specialised training for all South African educators to deal with the particular educational requirements of learners with FASD, and the requisite relational competencies, so as to actualise these learners' full potential. <![CDATA[<b>Teaching strategies to support isiXhosa learners who receive education in a second/third language</b>]]> There are a number of challenges related to teaching in a multi-linguistic classroom. Despite the literature clearly indicating how learners acquire learning, there is still a dearth of material on descriptions of current support provided to learners within the theoretical framework of Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory. In an attempt to resolve these challenges, this article explores and describes challenges regarding teaching strategies to support isiXhosa-speaking learners in Grade One, whose home language is different from the LOLT in their schools. A qualitative research design was used supported by the exploratory, descriptive and contextual research methods. A sample was selected of Grade One teachers from schools in different socio-economic areas in the Western Cape. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews. The findings provided a clear description of challenges and needs experienced by both the learner and the teacher. Conclusions were made in terms of Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory. Based on the findings, practical recommendations were made regarding teaching strategies for language support to Grade One isiXhosa learners. <![CDATA[<b>The effect of a school-based outdoor education program on Visual Arts teachers' success and self-efficacy beliefs</b>]]> The aim of this research is to determine the effect of an education programme developed based on the school-based outdoor education approach on the academic achievement of visual arts teachers, as well as their self-efficacy beliefs for using museums and the natural environment. The aim is likewise to explore the views of the teachers on the implementation of the education programme. The study, which utilised a mixed method of qualitative and quantitative data collection, lasted for seven weeks. The results demonstrate that the developed programme is effective. At the end of the study, a significant difference was revealed in terms of the participant teachers' knowledge and skills regarding the approach as well as their self-efficacy belief levels in relation to the use of museums and the outdoors as teaching environments. Face-to-face interviews conducted with the teachers who participated in the experimental practice revealed that they were satisfied with the experience. <![CDATA[<b>Democracy, ethics and social justice: Implications for secondary school leadership in Kenya</b>]]> Principals in Kenyan schools are required to adopt democratic school leadership practises as part of the government policy. Adopting an interpretive case study, this paper set out to explore the application of democracy, ethics and social justice in secondary schools in Kenya. The study was in two phases. Phase one: twelve school principals were interviewed to explore their perspectives on democratic school leadership and establish the rationale for selecting two case schools. PHASE TWO: an in-depth case study was conducted in the two schools. Interviews, focus group discussions, observation and informal conversations were used to generate data. The findings suggest that the principals, teachers and students each perceive and apply democratic school leadership differently based on individual as well as the school socio-cultural context. These contrasting views provide grounds for further discourse on the phenomenon. The paper recommends formal training for principals through in-service courses. Inclusion of democratic school leadership principles in teacher training programmes and an inculcation of democratic school leadership practices/values in the school curriculum for students to create a shared vision and understanding of these concepts for the success of the school <![CDATA[<b>Comparing the achievement goal orientation of mathematics learners with and without attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder</b>]]> Many learners with different learning challenges are accommodated in the same classroom in South Africa, which could result in poor performance in mathematics. By reinforcing or disregarding certain goals, a teacher can influence the way in which learners learn mathematics. This study compared the achievement goal orientation of Grade Nine mathematics learners in a conventional classroom. The two groups studied were learners experiencing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and learners without ADHD. A quantitative, exploratory research design was used. Twenty Grade Nine learners, of whom 10 experienced ADHD, were purposefully selected from one school in Ekurhuleni-East, South Africa. Data was collected with an existing questionnaire. The results revealed that while learners without ADHD compare themselves against their peers' behavioural and cognitive engagement, as well as the level of their mastery goal orientation, learners with ADHD rely more on their personal performance-avoidance goal orientation and the goal orientation of their parents. Differences between the achievement goal orientation of mathematics learners with or without ADHD could assist teachers in recognising methods to direct learners' goals for better engagement with and improved results in mathematics, which could support learners to develop to their full potential in the subject. <![CDATA[<b>Teacher classroom practices and Mathematics performance in South African schools: A reflection on TIMSS 2011</b>]]> Teachers play an important role in the provision of quality education. The variety of classroom practices they use in interacting with learners play a critical role in the understanding of mathematical concepts and overall performance in Mathematics. Following the work done by Hattie (2009, 2012) in relation to classroom practices this study investigated the association between learner achievement and selected teacher classroom practices. The Mathematics teacher questionnaire, administered as part of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011, comprised questions pertaining to the classroom practices of Teacher Clarity, Classroom Discussion, Feedback, Formative Assessment, Problem Solving and Metacognitive Strategies, and Collaboration. The results showed a positive association between teachers' high endorsement of the selected classroom practices and learner performance. The study also investigated how collaboration between Mathematics teachers affected learner performance. The analysis shows that teachers observing each other's lessons affected the learners' performance positively, although most teachers were not keen on collaboration with their peers. This study showed that various teacher classroom practices affect learner performance in Mathematics significantly and that these practices should be identified and mechanisms put in place to support teachers in terms of these practices. <![CDATA[<b>Promoting resilience among Sesotho-speaking adolescent girls: Lessons for South African teachers</b>]]> Teachers are a crucial part of young people's social ecologies. Considering that black South African adolescent girls remain the most marginalised group in South Africa, the purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study has been to explore if and how teachers champion resilience among black adolescent girls living in rural contexts of structural adversity. Using Draw-and-Talk and Draw-and-Write methods, 28 Sesotho-speaking adolescent girls from the Free State Province of South Africa generated a total of 68 drawings. The drawings were analysed using inductive content analysis. The findings include teachers actively listen and provide guidance; teachers motivate girls towards positive futures; and teachers initiate teacher-girl partnerships. These findings prompt three strategies to support teachers' championship of resilience, namely pre-empt support; advocate for a changed education landscape; and communicate constructive messages. <![CDATA[<b>Adolescent identity formation in the context of vocationally oriented special needs schools</b>]]> Adolescence is a phase that is associated with important identity-relevant issues. Shaping a clear sense of identity is an important step in developing a healthy psychosocial disposition, and the school is an important context where this can happen. In this article, we explore how adolescents who had attended a special needs school of skills in the Western Cape, South Africa, perceived the role that their school experiences played in shaping their sense of identity. These were learners who entered the school of skills with a poor sense of self, due to years of academic difficulties and exclusion in mainstream primary schools. Using a qualitative research design, data was collected through interviews, and analysed by means of the inductive process of thematic content analysis. The findings showed that participants' school experiences shaped their sense of identity in a more positive way. The participants' narratives speak to the complexity in the individual, the school and the community in contributing to a sense of identity with both positive and negative aspects. Though the participants experienced a sense of belonging and felt accepted by their teachers and peers, the school did not deliver on its implicit promise of a job-related skill, and this in turn negatively affected their thinking about future life paths and careers, which is important for identity formation. <![CDATA[<b>Using metaphoric body-mapping to encourage reflection on the developing identity of pre-service teachers</b>]]> This article explores the contribution that a teaching strategy, such as metaphoric body-mapping, can make towards the discourse on the development of professional teacher identity. Second-year students in a Life Orientation methodology module in a B.Ed programme were offered the opportunity to validate their local knowledge and make new meaning together, through bringing their lived experiences into the classroom. In a contact session, groups were tasked with using body-mapping to conceptualise metaphoric superhero and villain characters of both effective and ineffective teachers. In a subsequent discourse, the characteristics of these metaphoric characters were explored to set the stage for inter- and intrapersonal reflection on students' own social construction of their developing professional identities. This student experience clearly indicates that metaphors can be a rich and stimulating way for prospective teachers to talk about their perceptions, experiences and expectations of teaching, and the method accentuates the importance of tertiary institutions that contribute to the emerging conversation about the development of professional identity in pre-service teachers. This article pioneers the use of body-mapping as a group-based technique, where a group of people works together on the same body-map, rather than the traditional individual approach to this method. <![CDATA[<b>How teachers of English in South African schools recognise their change agency</b>]]> The South African Council for Educators' Code of Professional Ethics requires teachers to help learners develop values consistent with the fundamental rights contained in the Constitution of South Africa. To engage with such rights, teachers need to have the agency to develop such values, and this article explores how teachers of English in South African schools recognise (or fail to recognise) their change agency. Using a qualitative, interpretivist approach with narrative inquiry, twenty-two teacher-researchers were tasked with listening to the stories of teachers of English in order to answer the research question: do teachers consider themselves to be agents of change in their English classrooms? While the findings indicate that some teachers fail to enact agency, other teachers, despite claiming otherwise, do serve as agents of change in their classrooms. By respecting who learners are and enabling a democratic environment, teachers are able to engage with possibilities for change despite challenges. By having a clear vision of who they are as teachers, they are able to use interventions to improve the conditions for learning and make a difference to the lives of their learners. <![CDATA[<b>"Walking the talk": The influence of an introduction to cognitive education on school leaders</b>]]> The current emphasis on curriculum leadership implies the need to update school leaders' pedagogical knowledge. This paper will interest local and international readers because it highlights both essential content and the importance of the pedagogy employed to convey it. The study explored the initial effects of an introduction to Cognitive Education on the understandings of curriculum of school leaders engaged in post-graduate study. Using a qualitative research approach informed by a social constructivist paradigm, it accessed 29 participants' perceptions of the course content and methodology. Data included participant observer field-notes, questionnaires, and focus group interviews. Data was thematically analysed and key themes identified using 'content' and 'process' of the short course as initial categories. Findings indicated that new knowledge regarding intellectual (cognitive) development was valued, as were active modelling of cognitive education strategies, engagement with one another as a social community of enquiry, and opportunities for reflection and practice. The process categories reflected several of the characteristics highlighted as important in the professional development and cognitive education literature. Discussion focuses on the importance of the active 'teaching of thinking' within the curriculum and on the urgent need to pay attention to how the curriculum is delivered at all levels of education, including the new Advanced Diploma for School Leadership and related leadership development courses. <![CDATA[<b>Zimbabwean teachers in South Africa: A transient greener pasture</b>]]> Zimbabwean teachers constitute the largest group of migrant teachers in South Africa (Department of Higher Education & Training (DHET), 2013). The main reason South Africa welcomes migrant teachers is to ease the country's own teacher shortage. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore Zimbabwean teachers' motives for migration to South Africa and their future career plans. Fifteen migrant Zimbabwean teachers in public high or combined schools (private schools) took part in semi-structured, face-to-face interviews. Several sampling techniques (purposive, quota, convenient and snowball sampling) were used to select the teachers in Gauteng Province. The data was analysed qualitatively using open coding. The findings revealed that the economic and political instability in Zimbabwe (a push factor) played a much stronger role in migration decisions of the migrant teachers than did pull factors such as the close proximity of South Africa, and the existence of a migration network in South Africa. The findings of the study also revealed that some of the migrant Zimbabwean teachers migrated to reunite with their families, as they preferred not to split their immediate families between two countries. Migration networks were effective in assisting the migrants to find employment. The future plans of the majority of the teachers were ambitious. They involved improving their academic qualifications, getting employment in the tertiary education sector, and migrating to other, better paying countries. Migrant teachers are playing a crucial role while balance is being sought between demand and supply of teachers in South Africa. They ought to be given fair contracts that would encourage those who want to stay on, to do so. <![CDATA[<b>Pre-service teachers' professional learning experiences during rural teaching practice in Acornhoek, Mpumalanga Province</b>]]> The concept of student teaching practice is globally rooted in training pre-service teachers to work within diverse schools and learner populations, in dissimilar contexts. It is also a drive towards the development of knowledge, professionalism, sense of efficacy, and flexibility in their performance and interactions. There is seemingly little research that has been done in South Africa to gain insight into the pre-service teachers' development of knowledge and professionalism during rural teaching practice. In developing countries like South Africa, teaching practice challenges are usually severe, particularly in rural schools, where there is generally a paucity of information on the nature of school-based support pre-service teachers receive. In the article we explore pre-service teachers' professional learning experiences during teaching practice in Acornhoek, rural Bushbuckridge. The project used qualitative semi-structured reflective discussions and students' reflective journals to collect data. The findings show that pre-service teachers experienced a shift of mind as they engaged in professional thinking, learning and meaning making.