Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 34 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Large-scale instructional reform in the Global South: insights from the mid-point evaluation of the Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy</b>]]> This paper reports on a mid-point evaluation of the Gauteng Primary Language and Mathematics Strategy (GPLMS), an innovative large-scale reform designed to improve learning outcomes. Using data from universal testing of all learners in 2008 on a provincial systemic evaluation, and data from the 2011 and 2012 Annual National Assessment (ANA) test, this paper addresses the key research question, namely whether the GPLMS is effective in closing the gap between performing and underperforming schools. Given the evidence we have presented of an instrument effect, namely that various versions of the ANA may not be strictly comparable, no definitive conclusions can be drawn about the effectiveness of the GPLMS. <![CDATA[<b>The implications of the National Norms and Standards for school funding policy on equity in South African public schools</b>]]> The government's educational reforms since 1994 have focused on equity and redress. Redressing historical imbalances and achieving equity are fundamental policy mechanisms in attempts to restructure South African education. This aspiration is demonstrated in many education policies including the National Norms and Standards for School Funding (NNSSF) policy. While inequalities in resource allocation from the state have been removed, inequalities persist due to the inability of the state to provide free education to all, parents' inability to pay user-fees, the unavailability of qualified teachers in rural schools and unfavourable learner-teacher ratios. A quantitative research was conducted to investigate the implications of the NNSSF policy on equity in public schools in the Tshwane West District of the Gauteng Province. Based on the three first order factors derived from the first analytic procedure, namely, "The effective financial management", "The management of equity issues" and "Access to educational resources", it was found that despite substantial government interventions in the education system, equity has not been fully realised. <![CDATA[<b>Functions of Turkish complementary schools in the UK: Official vs. Insider discourses</b>]]> Complementary schools in the United Kingdom (UK) are community organised schools with the general aim of teaching younger generations their 'native' languages and cultures. However, the aims and practices of these schools are predominantly dependent on changes in the social and political contexts both in the host country (in this case the UK) as well as in the respective 'home' countries of these children. This study focuses on one such Turkish complementary school in London, aiming to describe and analyse the functions of these schools more broadly, by means of a variety of perspectives and using a social constructivist approach. Data collected from official documents, participant observations, as well as interviews with parents, teachers, students and organisers of the schools, were analysed, focusing on the emerging themes in relation to the functions and practices of the schools. The analysis revealed that the official discourses, which stress the issue of underachievement amongst young people from Turkish speaking backgrounds in the UK, differ strikingly from the participants' perceptions of the functions of the school, as well as the actual teaching and learning practices found there. This discrepancy is attributed to trends in current neo-liberal educational discourses and the discourses surrounding ethnically-oriented educational provisions in the UK. <![CDATA[<b>Effective home-school partnership: Some strategies to help strengthen parental involvement</b>]]> The primary aim of the study from which this paper derives was to investigate the level of parental involvement in the schooling of their children. The study employed a descriptive case study research design. All data were based on unstructured interviews with the 30 parents whose children attended one of the primary schools located in the London area of England, United Kingdom. The results of the study showed that parents care about their children's education, and want to get involved. However, results also showed that most parents do not always know how to get involved, and some are even intimidated by the operational structures within the school. The study concludes that to effectively involve parents in the affairs of the school, as well as in their children's education, certain strategies must be popularised within the school. It is recommended that parents be made aware of the strategies for their involvement in children's education if such strategies are to be effective. <![CDATA[<b>Assisting School Management Teams to construct their school improvement plans: an action learning approach</b>]]> This article reports on a first cycle of a larger action research study conducted to determine how Circuit Teams could support School Management Teams of underperforming high schools towards whole-school development. Although it is a mandated requirement by the Department of Education, none of the four schools involved in the study had developed a school improvement plan, a necessary first step towards whole-school development. In this article we focus on the collaborative intervention we designed to meet the identified needs of the participants regarding the construction of a school improvement plan. A qualitative baseline study revealed the School Management Teams' general disregard towards the school improvement plan as well as limited insight into what skills they needed to develop it, and their imperfect understanding of whole-school development. We explain the action research process we took to facilitate a clearer understanding of the school improvement plan and how to develop it. The data analysis revealed that the collaborative learning experience ignited feelings of empowerment, increased motivation to collaborate with the Circuit Teams towards whole-school development, and generally assisted the School Management Teams' resolve to improve the management of their respective schools. These findings present evidence that suggests the value of an action learning approach to the professional development of School Management Teams, but the process could be equally useful to encourage sustainable change in varied contexts of continued professional development. <![CDATA[<b>The Caring School Leadership Questionnaire (CSLQ)</b>]]> The purpose of this research was to develop the Caring School Leadership Questionnaire (CSLQ) as a valid and reliable instrument to measure the extent of care being given by school leaders (principals) to teachers. The research involved 1,041 teachers and 65 principals from 68 primary schools in the North-West Province of South Africa. The construct validity of the CSLQ was determined by means of a confirmatory factor analysis. The three main constructs regarding caring that emerged from the factor analysis proved to be the same as those theoretically identified as the three main determinants of care. Cronbach's Alpha coefficients furthermore proved the CSLQ to be reliable. The key finding flowing from the investigation was that the CSLQ may be applied with good effect in 180°-, 360°-, as well as self-evaluations of school leaders. <![CDATA[<b>Inclusive education: a case of beliefs competing for implementation</b>]]> The study explored the understanding and implementation of inclusive education in an independent Jewish community school; a school with a community ethos of care and belonging, whose context is, by definition, exclusionary on the grounds of a particular social category - religion. However, this exclusionary agenda positioned the school as inclusive on the grounds of strong communal values. Nevertheless, the school struggled with difference and diversity despite its purportedly strong communal spirit and religious culture. Further, it is arguable that the challenges encountered by the school may be indicative of the emergent economic context of South Africa where aspiration is often thwarted by economic realities. This study relied on qualitative methods of data generation such as insider interviews, personal accounts and document analysis. The participants were drawn from four stakeholder groups, namely, teachers, parents, middle managers and top managers. Guided by Lewin's theory of planned change, the study identified four belief systems which influenced the way inclusive education was both understood and practised in this school. The study argued for the recognition of the importance of different belief systems in the implementation of inclusion in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Educators' motivation on integration of ICTs into pedagogy: case of disadvantaged areas</b>]]> This paper investigates factors that motivate educators to use Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in schools in disadvantaged areas. The study employed Herzberg' Motivation-Hygiene theory to guide the process of understanding the factors that motivate or demotivate educators when using the technology for teaching and learning. Qualitative research approach was used to gather and analyse information from educators from randomly sampled schools located in disadvantaged areas in the Western Cape. The study has shown that educators' motivation to use technology for curriculum delivery could be impacted by satisfaction derived from using the ICTs, individual expectations, responsibility and a sense of achievement experienced when using the technologies. <![CDATA[<b>Knowledge and cognitive process dimensions of Technology teachers' lesson objectives</b>]]> A clearly stated lesson objective is considered an essential component of a well-planned lesson. Many teachers of Technology, a relatively new subject in South African schools, teach Technology with rather limited training both in content and methodological approaches. This study sought to investigate and classify lesson objectives framed or implied by teachers in their lesson plans according to knowledge and cognitive process dimensions. The two-dimensional Taxonomy Table introduced by Krathwohl was adapted for Technology and formed the framework for this study. It was found that most of the directly stated objectives are directed to the lower level of the cognitive process dimension and address mainly factual knowledge, while no activities or lesson components address meta-cognitive knowledge. Some lesson objectives inferred from planned assessment activities placed higher demands on learners' cognitive domain. A recommendation flowing from the study is that, during pre-service training and in-service teacher support processes, the importance of clear lesson objectives should be emphasised and that assessments planned for such lessons should closely match the lesson objectives. Further research is also needed on the reasons why low cognitive demands are made in the teaching of Technology. <![CDATA[<b>The association between nutrition and physical activity knowledge and weight status of primary school educators</b>]]> The purpose of this study was to investigate primary school educators' health status, knowledge, perceptions and behaviour regarding nutrition and physical activity.Thus, nutrition and physical activity knowledge, attitudes, behaviour and risk factors for the development of non-communicable diseases of 155 educators were assessed in a cross-sectional survey. Height, weight, waist circumference, blood pressure and random glucose levels were measured. Twenty percent of the sample had normal weight (body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) < 25), 27.7% were overweight (BMI&gt; 25 to < 30) and 52.3% were obese (BMI < 30). Most of the participants were younger than 45 years (54.2%), females 78.1%, resided in urban areas (50.3%), with high blood pressure (&gt; 140/90 mmHg: 50.3%), and were inactive (48.7%) with a high waist circumference (&gt; 82 cm: 57.4%). Educators' nutrition and physical activity knowledge was poor. Sixty-nine percent of educators incorrectly believed that eating starchy foods causes weight gain and only 15% knew that one should eat five or more fruit and/or vegetables per day. Aspects of poor nutritional knowledge, misconceptions regarding actual body weight status, and challenges in changing health behaviours, emerged as issues which need to be addressed among educators. Educators' high risk for developing chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) may impact on educator absenteeism and subsequently on school functioning. The aspects of poor nutrition and physical activity knowledge along with educators' high risk for NCD development may be particularly significant not merely in relation to their personal health but also the learners they teach. <![CDATA[<b>Factors that affect South African Reading Literacy Achievement: evidence from prePIRLS 2011</b>]]> This study aims to identify factors that predict reading literacy achievement among Grade 4 learners in South Africa by utilising aspects of Carroll's model of school learning. The study draws on the preProgress in International Reading Literacy Study (prePIRLS) 2011 data, which places South African Grade 4 learners' results substantially below the international centre point of 500 at 461 (SE = 3.7). Selected items from the prePIRLS 2011 learner, parent and teacher questionnaires were used in a two-level model to determine the effect of learner aptitude, opportunity to learn and quality of instructional events on reading literacy achievement. The results point to the statistical significance of engaged reading and cultivating motivation for reading among learners from an early age, specifically through parental involvement in introducing early literacy activities as foundation of reading literacy by school-going age. Other results provide evidence for the importance of the value of reading across the curriculum not confined to formal reading lessons only. The teaching of reading comprehension skills and strategies is identified as a significant predictor of reading literacy achievement, instruction of which should form an integral part of teaching reading in the classroom. <![CDATA[<b>Profiling classroom reading comprehension development practices from the PIRLS 2006 in South Africa</b>]]> The South African 2006 and 2011 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) findings continue to highlight major concerns about the quality of reading literacy teaching in primary schools. Of specific concern is the lack of representation of the sampled South African learners at the PIRLS international benchmarks, revealing a distinct lack of their development of thinking and reasoning abilities for reading comprehension. To shed light on potential reasons for learners' reading comprehension difficulties, this article presents selected findings on teachers' reading comprehension development practices emanating from the investigation of one KwaZulu-Natal and five Gauteng province case study schools from the national South African PIRLS 2006 Grade 4 sample. These cases represented a range of educational contexts across the South African PIRLS 2006 performance continuum and were sampled according to class average achievement aligned to the PIRLS international benchmarks and further South African benchmarks lower on the achievement scale. The findings juxtaposing teaching practices for reading comprehension development from case study schools with achievement profiles at the PIRLS international benchmarks against those of case study schools with less than optimal achievement at benchmarks lower on the achievement scale speak to key teaching and learning areas, which still need attention in terms of curriculum policy and teachers' implementation thereof. <![CDATA[<b>Becoming a teacher: tracing changes in pre-service English as a foreign language teachers' sense of efficacy</b>]]> This longitudinal study aimed to trace changes in Turkish pre-service English as a foreign language teachers' self-efficacy over a year, and to detect possible sources of information influencing their efficacy. Utilizing concurrent mixed model design of Creswell (2003) both qualitative and quantitative data was collected. A total of 40 pre-service teachers participated in the study. Findings indicated that pre-service English language teachers' efficacy changed significantly over time. We also found that pre-service teachers seem to depend more on enactive mastery experience and social persuasion than on vicarious experience and affective state as sources of information. Based on our findings, measures are suggested on how to support pre-service teachers to improve their sense of efficacy. Implications for research on teaching and teacher education are discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Integrating sustainability into Business Education teacher training</b>]]> Businesses are increasingly coming under scrutiny from stakeholders who expect them to report how they protect the environment, how they guarantee no human and labour violations in their value chain, and how they function on ethical business principles. Businesses are trying to adjust to these changing environments for the betterment of society and the planet while still concentrating on profit. The same awareness and inquiry would be expected from business education student teachers who teach business principles and business operations. This study, which was conducted at three universities, describes the perspectives and sustainability virtues of pre-service business education teachers who attended a workshop aimed at integrating sustainability in their teacher training curriculum. A qualitative framework was adopted using three methods: focus-group discussions, reflection based on a video recording and a critical analysis of the curriculum. Findings suggest that incremental shifts in critical self-awareness of business education pre-service teachers occurred. A business education and education for sustainability synthesis is recommended and provided as a conceptual framework in this study. This synthesis can be a useful place to start to elicit critical self-awareness when pre-service teachers have to deal with the complex mix of the five types of learning, namely disciplinary, situational, practical, fundamental and pedagogical learning. <![CDATA[<b>Institutional factors that affect black South African students' perceptions of early childhood teacher education</b>]]> Black students account for over 72% of enrolments in higher education, but only a small percentage of them choose Early Childhood Education (ECE) as a field of study and complete the qualification. The purpose of this study was to examine, from the perspective of black ECE students, why so few of them enrol in this particular programme at a historically white university. Through a qualitative, case study approach the reasons for the low enrolment and completion rates were investigated. Participants mentioned that recruitment for this programme, particularly in rural areas should be improved. They also pointed out the higher prestige of other career options, the linguistic challenges they face, the cost of university education and early teacher education in particular, as well as access to transport and resources as barriers to recruitment and retention. Their recommendations for higher enrolment rates included the use of black students to recruit in rural and in township areas, increased funding for bursaries, and more culturally sensitive pedagogies in early childhood teacher education. <![CDATA[<b>Student teachers' perceptions about their experiences in a student centered course</b>]]> There is a growing need to provide curricula that meets the changing needs of students in higher education. To train pre-service teachers according to the demands of the new educational contexts, the move from teacher-centered curricula to learning-centered curricula is a must. The aim of this research is to examine the currently used curriculum of EGIT 450 Student Centered Education (SCE) course to highlight suggestions for a better design and implementation of the SCE approach. A qualitative paradigm was used with an interpretive methodology. The participants of the study were the 37 third year undergraduate students enrolled in the course at one of the tertiary institutions in North Cyprus. Qualitative data were collected through end-of-the-semester reflective essays and analyzed through content analysis method. The findings revealed that SCE methodology helped improve student teachers' cognitive skills via holding an active role and their affective skills through group work activities emphasizing its effect on permanent learning and learning how to learn. Participants also pointed out the difficulty and complexity of the roles expected from the teacher and learners individually and cooperatively. The inefficiency of some of the teaching-learning activities, physical characteristics of the classroom setting and duration of the allocated time for the activities were among the weak aspects of the course. <![CDATA[<b>An analysis of the language of attribution in university students' academic essays</b>]]> The study reports on challenges related to the use of the language of attribution in academic essay writing by Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) students at Rhodes University, as a microcosm of similar challenges faced by university students elsewhere. The study content-analysed 150 essays written by 50 PGCE students taking the course 'Language, Learning and Cognition' which the researcher taught. Key categories analysed were: student preferences for the type and style of incorporating authors' ideas in own academic essays, appropriateness of attributive words used, punctuation within the language of attribution, tense consistencies, appropriateness of attendant lexico-grammatical collocations, attributive words' fit with the syntax and grammar of the writer's ideas, as well as their consonance with the spirit and intent of the citations. Although findings point to gross challenges across all categories of analysis, they were most glaring in the matching of attributive words with the intent of citations and in the use of proper punctuation. Chief among the study's recommendations is the need for explicit instruction in, and attention to, the language of attribution in university students' essays by all lecturers and not just those in academic literacy development. <![CDATA[<b>A study on preschoolers' conceptual perceptions of states of matter: a case study of Turkish students</b>]]> The purpose of the present study is to identify preschoolers' conceptual perceptions of states of matter, this issue that they often come across in their daily and social life. The study was designed as a qualitative case study. The population of the study was comprised of 25 preschoolers studying at two primary schools located in Kirikkale and Kirşehir, Turkey. The data were collected through the Science Concepts Perception Test (SCPT), which contained 10 semi-structured questions suitable for the level of preschoolers. The data were subject to content analysis, a qualitative method of data analysis, in order to identify how the students perceived science concepts. <![CDATA[<b>The experiences of alumni adolescents on the contribution of a Youth Opportunities Programme</b>]]> This article focuses on the experiences of alumni adolescents on the contribution of a Youth Opportunities Programme, a non-profit after-school education programme presented in Namibia. A qualitative descriptive design was used to provide insight into the contribution of this programme. Five focus groups were conducted with 32 participants. The transcribed data were analysed by means of thematic analysis. The rich descriptions of the experiences of alumni adolescents indicated learning, personal and relational experiences as well as challenges. The learning experiences included the transfer of academic knowledge and skills that assisted them to deal with advanced opportunities, and the provision of resources. They were able to socialise with friends and form personal relationships with teachers, serving as emotional support. The challenges they encountered while attending the programme on a full-time basis included high expectations in terms of time management, attendance and behaviour. These challenges proved to be exhausting at times. <![CDATA[<b>Work-related basic need satisfaction as a predictor of work engagement among academic staff in Turkey</b>]]> This study examines the relationship between work-related basic need satisfaction and work engagement. Data were obtained from a total of 203 academics who are employed in various universities of Turkey. In this research Work-Related Basic Need Satisfaction Scale and The Turkish Form of Utrecht Work Engagement Scale were utilized. The data were analysed through multiple regression and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient analysis methods. The findings revealed that the sub-dimensions of work-related basic need satisfaction significantly predicted work engagement. Upper management should improve work conditions of their personnel, which are related with competency, autonomy, and relatedness needs of academics. This way, academic staff will have better efficiency in terms of work engagement, which will also result in higher work adaptation and participation. <![CDATA[<b>Corrigendum</b>]]> This study examines the relationship between work-related basic need satisfaction and work engagement. Data were obtained from a total of 203 academics who are employed in various universities of Turkey. In this research Work-Related Basic Need Satisfaction Scale and The Turkish Form of Utrecht Work Engagement Scale were utilized. The data were analysed through multiple regression and Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient analysis methods. The findings revealed that the sub-dimensions of work-related basic need satisfaction significantly predicted work engagement. Upper management should improve work conditions of their personnel, which are related with competency, autonomy, and relatedness needs of academics. This way, academic staff will have better efficiency in terms of work engagement, which will also result in higher work adaptation and participation.