Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 37 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The effect of outdoor learning activities on the development of preschool children</b>]]> Learning ought to be supported by both in class activities and outdoor activities contributing to structuring knowledge. Outdoor activities allow children to actively participate and to learn by doing. Learning requires a lot of work and activities. These activities, which provide primary experiences, help children to change theoretical knowledge into practice, record it in the long-term memory, and create solutions to problems they encounter in daily life, based on what they have learned. Children, especially preschoolers, can record things into their long-term memory in learning environments which stimulate all the senses. Based on these ideas, this study was directed towards revealing effects of outdoor activities on cognitive, motor, linguistic and social-emotional development of preschool children. Thirty-five preschool children living in disadvantageous districts in İzmir, Turkey, and not being able to get education, were offered ten-week preschool education involving outdoor activities. This research was designed according to one group pre-test and post-test model. The results show that outdoor activities improved cognitive, linguistic, social-emotional and motor skills of preschool children. <![CDATA[<b>Inclusive values in the planning of Mathematical issues at an early age</b>]]> In accordance with the general principles of the present inclusion in advanced education systems, which are based on the support of children with special educational needs and their inclusion in regular teaching process along with their peers, inclusive values are gradually becoming a reality in the Montenegrin educational process. The paper aims to show the importance of inclusive teaching of mathematics as a starting resource for planning and implementation of mathematical concepts at an early age, which is of great importance for the development of intellectual and other abilities of a child. Research was conducted in preschool institutions in Montenegro. The most significant parameters related to the respondents were their level of education and years of teaching experience and working with children with special education needs, which serve as indicator of understanding of inclusive values in the educational process at an early age. Respondents expressed problems in practice and proposed measures to overcome them. To provide reliable and objective results, the research covers a representative sample of 550 respondents. <![CDATA[<b>The relationship between housing and children's literacy achievement: Implications for supporting vulnerable children</b>]]> This article examines the relationship between housing, a critical aspect of socio-economic conditions, and literacy achievement of children from a school in a high density suburb in South Africa. Data was collected through a quantitative survey that was administered to learners (N = 160) from four Grade Five classes. The survey included five literacy tests that were standardised by two education consultancies, namely Do-IT-Solutions (United Kingdom-based) and Shape the Learner (South African-based). The findings indicate that most learners who live in informal houses, that is, low-cost houses such as a shack, in overcrowded conditions, generally perform poorly in the literacy tests administered as compared to those learners who live in conventional (brick) houses that are not overcrowded. Also, learners who have more home duties appear to perform poorly in the literacy tests compared to those that have lesser responsibilities. As such, the findings indicate a relationship between housing conditions and literacy achievement. The author proposes a social justice framework for providing educational support for children made vulnerable due to their housing conditions. <![CDATA[<b>Language at the Grade Three and Four interface: the theory-policy-practice nexus</b>]]> This paper interrogates the complexity of language use at the Grade Three-Four transition, using the South African context as a microcosm of similar educational systems. The paper describes the complex nature of the transition, particularly within a second language (L2) instructional context. It explores the dissonance between and among theory, policy or curriculum, and practice; which aggravates an already complex transition. It draws on Cummins' Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills (BICS) and Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency (CALP) theory, the Linguistic Interdependence Hypothesis (LIH) and the Linguistic Threshold Hypothesis (LTH). Theory is considered in relation to the South African policy and curriculum ideals as espoused in the Language in Education Policy (LiEP) and the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) respectively, as well as in relation to the reality of the classroom instructional context. The paper argues for extensive research, which delineates the linguistic needs and thresholds second language learners need for the transition, a consideration of learners' attainment of the requisite linguistic thresholds as a condition for the use of a First Additional Language (FAL) as Language of Learning and Teaching (LoLT), and deliberate teaching for transfer in the Foundation Phase, among other recommendations. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring teachers' practices in teaching Mathematics and Statistics in KwaZulu-Natal schools</b>]]> Teaching approaches and assessment practices are key factors that contribute to the improvement of learner outcomes. The study on which this article is based, explored the methods used by KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) teachers in teaching and assessing mathematics and statistics. An instrument containing closed and open-ended questions was distributed to seventy-five KZN mathematics teachers from Grade Four upwards. Teachers were encouraged to write freely about the different teaching methods and assessments that they used in the classroom. The findings revealed that teachers were more likely to report a single method in teaching statistics, but more than one method for teaching mathematics topics. In terms of assessments, the teachers generally reported the use of a single method. We also found that teachers mostly focus on teacher-led instructional methods and formal assessments. Furthermore, the findings revealed that teachers' demographic factors such as gender, age, teaching experience, participation in professional development course and further studies are associated with the choice of a variety of teaching and assessment methods. It is recommended that professional development courses ought to focus on helping teachers to increase their repertoire of teaching and assessment strategies. <![CDATA[<b>Predicting secondary school dropout among South African adolescents: A survival analysis approach</b>]]> Education is one of the strongest predictors of health worldwide. In South Africa, school dropout is a crisis where by Grade 12, only 52% of the age appropriate population remain enrolled. Survival analysis was used to identify the risk of dropping out of secondary school for male and female adolescents and examine the influence of substance use and leisure experience predictors while controlling for demographic and known predictors using secondary, longitudinal data. Results indicated being male, not living with one's mother, smoking cigarettes in the past month, and lower levels of leisure-related intrinsic motivation significantly predicted dropout. Results support comprehensive prevention programmes that target risk behaviour and leisure. <![CDATA[<b>Repeated retention or dropout? Disputing Hobson's choice in South African township schools</b>]]> South Africa, like many developing countries, is heavily burdened by high dropout and unemployment rates and an undersupply of skilled workers. Grade retention is a common practice when learners do not meet the specific requirements - especially in countries with limited socio-economic resources. In South Africa, 52% of the learners are retained at least once before they reach Grade 10. However, the results of this study clearly suggest that the policy of repeated scholastic retention does not contribute positively to the academic achievement or to career maturity of Grade 11 and Grade 12 learners in township schools in South Africa. This study emphasises the importance of improving learner performance, starting in the Foundation Phase (Grade 0/R to Grade Three) and the need for accessible career guidance and counselling for all learners. By guiding these at-risk learners into vocation-oriented or technically oriented directions before the career maturity and academic achievement decline emerges, a decrease in dropout and an increase in the outflow of skilled people in the short term and unemployment in the long term may be addressed. The latter can be regarded as the cornerstone of socio-economic development and enhanced social capital in all developing countries. <![CDATA[<b>Pre-service accounting teachers' attitudes to mathematics</b>]]> Mathematics proficiency has an acknowledged impact on students' accounting grades. Success in this core business subject is dependent on students' mathematical aptitude, attitude and type of secondary schooling. Our study investigated accounting students' attitudes to mathematics on domains of the Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitudes Scales (F-SMAS) and identified demographic variables in overall attitudes to mathematics, which are pertinent to higher education pedagogy for accountancy. Eight of nine F-SMAS with established reliability and validity were used for the study. A cross-sectional data set containing demographic details and attitudes to mathematics were collected, and quantitative responses of 255 first-, second- and third-year pre-service teachers were analysed. The F-SMAS scores were strongly positive, except for mathematics anxiety, where the score was slightly above neutral. The distribution of scores showed that there are first- and second-year students who experience mathematics anxiety, and have low scores in other domains, while third-year students are less anxious. The results also revealed more positive overall attitude to mathematics from specific categories of students, who also more frequently indicated parents and teachers as sources of support and encouragement for mathematics studies. <![CDATA[<b>The liminality of new foundation phase teachers: Transitioning from university into the teaching profession</b>]]> This paper explores novice foundation phase teachers' descriptions of their experiences in the liminal stage between being a student teacher and entering the professional world of the early grade classroom. The term "liminality" was popularised by anthropologist Turner (1969), building on the early work of Van Gennep (1960), in his work on rites of passage. The fluidity of the liminal period is characterised by instability and uncertainty with a diversity of factors affecting different novice teachers. In a generic qualitative study, based on individual, semi-structured interviews with 10 participants, findings show that the new teachers appeared to be somewhat unrealistic and/or unprepared in their expectations of what they would encounter in this period. The novices struggled to settle into the practice of a school classroom and largely blame the inadequacy of their teacher education programmes. They also cite the demands of tracking their young charges' learning and the lack of support from senior teachers as compounding factors for the difficulties they faced. These issues may have serious consequences for the retention of teachers in this important phase of schooling and therefore require the attention of both teacher education and school managers. <![CDATA[<b>Encounters of newly qualified teachers with micro-politics in primary schools in Zimbabwe</b>]]> This article demonstrates, through the example of Zimbabwe, the complexities of micro-political learning during induction. It reports on the experiences of ten newly qualified teachers with micro-politics or power relations in their schools during induction and locates these experiences within the broader context of their professional development. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and a focus group discussion, and analysed using an abridged version of Hycner's (1985) framework for phenomenological explication of interview data proposed by Groenewald (2004). The findings revealed that the beginners' micro-political experiences mainly revolved around themes such as exploitation and marginalisation, lack of respect and recognition, lack of access to information about the scheme-cum-plan and dealing with the micro-political realities. Furthermore, the findings suggest that although the newly qualified teachers (NQTs) displayed some micro-political literacy, the strategies they adopted to counter adverse micro-political actions were limited. Findings reflect an inability by schools to contain micro-political activity, which in some instances might have been so rabid that it distracted the attention of the beginners from the process of learning to teach. We conclude the article by suggesting areas for further research on micro-politics and new teachers. <![CDATA[<b>Postgraduate supervision at an open distance e-learning institution in South Africa</b>]]> Effective postgraduate supervision is a concern at universities worldwide, even under optimal conditions where post-graduate students are studying full-time. Universities are being pressured by their governments to increase the throughput of postgraduates where there is a need for supervisory guidance in order to produce quality graduates within a shorter period of time than was previously thought possible. In an Open Distance E-learning (ODeL) context in South Africa, postgraduate supervision presents an even more formidable task as face-to-face communication between supervisor and student is restricted or totally non-existent. Informed by a review of the Community of Practice Theory, the researcher undertook a qualitative study to investigate the challenges of supervisors by means of a purposeful sample of postgraduate supervisors at a major ODeL institution in South Africa. Open-ended questionnaires were the means of collecting the data. The results indicated weaknesses in respect of the following: the selection and allocation of postgraduate students to supervisors without consultation; the requirements for intensive guidance during the process of writing the thesis to meet the needs of under-prepared students; and the difficulties inherent in the ODeL model, which depended primarily on written communication, especially for academically weak students. The recommendation is that experienced supervisors should conduct workshops and mentor novice academics on effective ODeL supervision procedures.