Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 35 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Issues and challenges facing school libraries in selected primary schools in Gauteng Province, South Africa</b>]]> There is no national policy for school libraries which compels school governing bodies and principals to have a library in their schools. It is thus not surprising that in 2011, only 21% of state schools had libraries, only 7% had stocked libraries and 79% of schools had no library at all (Department of Basic Education (DBE) Republic of South Africa, 2011a:23). This article forms part of a broader qualitative study which investigated 10 primary schools in Gauteng Province, South Africa that had libraries, or were in the process of setting up a library, with the intention of providing a rich description of the issues and challenges facing these schools. The 10 schools used in this study were chosen on the basis of their location and fee structures. They represented the full continuum of fees within the state structure. In this article, we discuss three core categories of predicaments faced by primary school libraries. These were resourcing the library, operating the library and the role of the library. Our main contention is that school libraries are not playing an effective role in supporting and enabling quality education for all South African children. This needs to be addressed by government as a matter of urgency. <![CDATA[<b>Teachers' professional development: Awareness of literacy practices</b>]]> This article draws upon our experiences of participating in a Literacy Hub in South Africa. The aim is to describe and analyse how dialogue among Grade Eight teachers in a Literacy Hub around literacy teaching practices might lead to professional development and deepen teachers' understanding of literacy practices and teaching. Interviews and observations with eight teachers were conducted to understand their literacy practices. The result indicates that sustainable development is a process that takes time. Furthermore, the study shows that the teachers relate to students' context and own experiences as a means of introducing a topic. While some teachers try to give the students access to cognitively demanding tasks, most tasks and events in the classrooms are cognitively undemanding and context-embedded. The importance of offering teachers examples of varied literacy practices and of making classroom literacy practice visible is noted. <![CDATA[<b>EMC<sup>2</sup> = comprehension: A reading strategy instruction framework for all teachers</b>]]> Comprehension is a critical part of the reading process, and yet learners continue to struggle with it and teachers continue to neglect it in their teaching. Many reasons exist for the lack of focus on reading comprehension instruction, but for the most part, teachers simply do not seem to view comprehension as part of the reading process, are not able to teach the concept, and are seemingly not taught to do so during their teacher training years. In addition to this, comprehension continues to be viewed as part of 'language teaching', and is therefore viewed as the so-called 'language teacher's' domain. In support of effective comprehension instruction in the unique, multilingual South African education environment, this article proposes a framework for reading strategy instruction, aimed specifically at teachers. The framework was developed from a research study, and refined through subsequent application in a university course as well as a further study. The framework acknowledges that reading is a multifaceted and complex process, and accordingly, provides sufficient structure for teachers. It further addresses the issue of comprehension instruction through the use of selected reading strategies, designed to be applied by all teachers in all subjects in a flexible and easy manner. <![CDATA[<b>International comparisons of Foundation Phase number domain mathematics knowledge and practice standards</b>]]> Poor mathematics performance in schools is both a national and an international concern. Teachers ought to be equipped with relevant subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge as one way to address this problem. However, no mathematics knowledge and practice standards have as yet been defined for the preparation of Foundation Phase student teachers in South Africa. To make recommendations for the drafting of such standards for final year Foundation Phase teachers, we compared different policy documents. We performed a document analysis on policy documents from South Africa, The Netherlands, Australia and North Carolina (United States of America), all of which addressed the number domain in mathematics. Our findings indicate that knowledge standards ought to include subject matter knowledge, while practice standards require pedagogical content knowledge, noting that neither of these are fulfilled in the education system in South Africa at present. <![CDATA[<b>Home and school resources as predictors of mathematics performance in South Africa</b>]]> The creation of an environment conducive to learning is vitally important in the academic achievement of learners. Such an environment extends beyond the classroom and school to include the home. It is from these environments that learners draw resources, both tangible and intangible, that impact on their educational experience. While current bodies of literature focus on either school or home resources, this paper looks at both. Multiple regression analyses were conducted on the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) data to determine the resources factors that influence South African learners' performance in mathematics. The findings reveal that both school and home environments play significant roles in learners' mathematics performance. This paper therefore suggests that it is not only the socio-economic factors of schools that impact learners' mathematics performance, but also that higher levels of parental education have a significant positive influence. <![CDATA[<b>Teacher training for mathematical literacy: A case study taking the past into the future</b>]]> With the advent of the Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications policy (MRTEQ), higher education institutions (HEIs) are rethinking curricula for teacher training in order to enable entree for in-service teachers to reskill, retrain and have access to higher qualifications. In the field of mathematical literacy (ML), most teacher training has been offered via government-funded Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) qualifications, which have now largely been phased out. In this article we examine two ACE ML programmes offered in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in order to present some lessons that have been learnt. We put forward some elements that we consider to be essential for training ML teachers and also raise concerns about future training of ML teachers. <![CDATA[<b>A comparative analysis of South African Life Sciences and Biology textbooks for inclusion of the nature of science</b>]]> This study reports on the analysis of South African Life Sciences and Biology textbooks for the inclusion of the nature of science using a conceptual framework developed by Chiappetta, Fillman and Sethna (1991). In particular, we investigated the differences between the representation of the nature of science in Biology textbooks that were written for a previous curriculum and the new Life Sciences textbooks that are in accord with the National Curriculum Statement. The analysis reflects that both Life Sciences and Biology textbooks still overwhelmingly represent the theme "Science as a body of knowledge" according to this framework. Despite significant curriculum reform that underlines a more balanced perspective of science encompassing the acquisition of knowledge through inquiry, the limited coverage given to the themes "The investigative nature of science", "Science as a way of thinking" and "The interaction of science, technology and society" does not reflect this reform. <![CDATA[<b>Promoting healthy lifestyle behaviour through the Life-Orientation curriculum: Teachers' perceptions of the HealthKick intervention</b>]]> This study explores the feasibility of implementing the curriculum and action-planning components of the HealthKick (HK) intervention in eight low-resourced schools in the Western Cape, South Africa. Process evaluation comprising workshops and personal interactions with teachers and principals were followed up with semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions, along with a questionnaire and evaluation sheet, during three implementation phases. Since promoting healthy habits during the early formative years is of key importance, the research team actively intervened to ensure successful implementation of the curriculum component. Time constraints, teachers' heavy workload, and their reluctance to become involved in non-compulsory activities, were the main reasons for non-compliance in using the curriculum document. Furthermore, the priorities of the teachers were not necessarily those of the researchers. However, findings indicate that with an appropriate introduction and continued interaction and support, the integration of specific healthy lifestyle outcomes into a curriculum can be sustainable if teachers are well informed and motivated. <![CDATA[<b>A peer-led approach to promoting health education in schools: The views of peers</b>]]> Peer-led health promotion strategies in schools have been found to be effective in promoting healthy behaviours amongst youth. This study aimed to evaluate the views of the peer educators in implementing a health education programme using a qualitative approach. Informal discussions and eight in-depth interviews were used to explore the views of the 10 peer educators. Information from the interviews was transcribed verbatim, analysed, and coded thematically. The themes that emerged from the analysis of the informal discussion and in-depth interviews were grouped into categories, which included peer educators' experience of implementing the intervention, personal growth and experience with interacting with young people, and personal reflection on the presentation of the intervention. The role of peer educators was shown to be crucial to the success of peer-led programmes, but it is clear that equipping and supporting them through the process of implementation is essential. <![CDATA[<b>Mainstreaming disability in education beyond 2015</b>]]> This article presents an exemplary case study of an Independent Business Owner (IBO) from multiple case studies on narratives of differently abled persons. The aim of this article is to illustrate mainstreaming disability through an exemplary case of the IBO. The article is informed by the imperatives of critical theory to understand mainstreaming disability. I examine mainstreaming disability in reference to inclusive education and sustainable development via hephapreneurship (later described in the text). The purposively selected sample of the study was (n=18) participants. The argument forwarded suggests hephapreneurship as one way of mainstreaming disability. Data were collected through interviews, observations and informal conversations. Results indicate the need to unlock entrepreneurial capacities of persons with disabilities such that they may contribute to sustainable development. The study concludes by showing that the participation of independent business owners in sustainable development activities could serve as an anchor for mainstreaming disability beyond 2015. <![CDATA[<b>Mothers' reflections on the role of the educational psychologist in supporting their children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder</b>]]> The characteristically disruptive conduct exhibited both at school and home by children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) appears to be particularly emotionally difficult for the children's mothers, who often turn to educational professionals for guidance. With a view to improving best practice in assistance to mothers and to promoting the tenets of inclusive education policy, the authors investigated the ways in which mothers experienced the support provided by educational psychologists. A qualitative interpretivist approach was adopted, with five purposefully selected mothers, whose children had previously been diagnosed with ADHD. Data was gathered from a focus group discussion and an individual interview. It emerged that mothers experienced parenting their children with ADHD as stressful, requiring continual reassurance and emotional support from educational psychologists. Having need of counselling for their families and academic help for their children, these mothers expected that educational psychologists should collaborate with educators and other role players, so as to enhance overall support to their children as learners. The findings pointed to the need for an effective inclusive school environment that forefront the role of educational psychologists in sharing knowledge and working collaboratively across the education system in South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>A teacher's identity trajectory within a context of change</b>]]> This article examines the effects of political, socio-economic and educational change on a South African teacher's identity trajectory. Our research was conducted at a primary school in a historically disadvantaged community in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. We applied a cultural-historical activity theoretical (CHAT) lens to explore the identity trajectory of one of the teachers. Our findings suggest that a teacher's identity is a social product, drawn from social history, actively internalized and re-authored in response to new circumstances. This was especially evident during the transformation at the macro-political, educational and institutional levels in South Africa since 1994. <![CDATA[<b>University-affiliated schools as sites for research learning in pre-service teacher education</b>]]> This article proposes that the 'teaching/practice schools' formally affiliated to initial teacher education programmes at universities, can be utilised more optimally as research sites by student teachers. The argument is put forward with reference to the role that such schools have played historically in teacher education in the United States (US), and more recently, in the successful Finnish teacher education system, in which research is highly valued as a requisite part of a teaching qualification. The authors propose that the single component of these schools, which has historically distinguished them from schools for work integrated learning (WIL), is that they are also research spaces and have retained some of the 'lab' character of earlier schools, such as the one established by John Dewey. In such schools, the authors argue, students learn to be reflective practitioners by positioning themselves as researchers, who reflect on practice in a research-rich environment. In a pilot study, the authors found that university and school personnel hold different views about research in the schools. The article recommends that careful consideration be given to the research function in these public schools as part of teacher training. <![CDATA[<b>Historical continuities in the education policy discourses of the African National Congress, 1912-1992</b>]]> This article considers the nature and trajectory of the African National Congress's (ANC) education policy discourses from its founding in 1912, until its repatriation from exile by 1992. The broad issue that this article considers is how to explain why the ANC was inadequately prepared to address the educational challenges of a democratic South Africa. The article considers the relationship between its political struggles against segregation and apartheid and the particular educational focus that it favoured during this period. From its inception, the ANC was actively involved in the political arena, with the purpose of opposing racist rule. The article suggests that its involvement in the education arena was subordinate to its political focus, with consequences for the type of educational change and curriculum orientation that it favoured. Employing a historical-sociological perspective, we divide ANC involvement in politics and education into two broad and distinct periods. The first period from 1912 to 1960 examines ANC involvement within South Africa. The second period from 1960 to 1992 examines the ANC in exile. We end the article with some discussion of the ANC's education reform trajectory from 1992 to 1995, in other words, its educational orientations during the context of political negotiations, and the first years of a democratic South Africa. It will be argued that during both periods, the ANC focused on struggle politics that relegated education to a position ancillary to its political struggle, which resulted in discursive continuities in its educational orientations. Despite some contestation, these continuities were characterised by their remarkably consistent support for a traditional liberal education across the existence of the organisation. <![CDATA[<b>Some aspects of education litigation since 1994: Of hope, concern and despair</b>]]> In this article we report on qualitative research in which we probed the opinions and views of a purposive sample of high-profile and influential role players in education about aspects of education litigation in South Africa since 1994. This year marked the transition to a democratic government in South Africa, and resulted in a new education system, which has led to a great deal of litigation, as was to be expected. Our participants were personally involved in litigation in various capacities. Their responses to our questions reflected hope, but also concern, and even despair. In their opinions almost all of the disputes were between the state and its citizens, and that the state lost virtually all cases. State officials often ignored legal advice and acted on "imagined powers", causing embarrassment to the state where they seemed insensitive to the needs of the people, and sometimes deliberately transgressed prescripts and provisions, abandoning its mandate to children and the country more broadly. There is extreme concern about the tendency of officials to ignore court orders. No lessons seem to have been learned from judgments and infractions of the same kind occur repeatedly - even if litigation seems to have consumed between 4-6% of the education budget. There was surprise that cases dealt almost exclusively with disputes about stake-holders' powers, and that few human rights and social issues have been litigated. Furthermore, individual officials that seemed to suffer no consequences from their unlawful actions and showed an apparent lack of professionalism to acquaint themselves with the legal prescripts that govern their professional work, caused concern for our respondents, as did the destructive role that unions and politicians seemed to play in education. However, litigation has nonetheless led to the clarification of some issues. <![CDATA[<b>The corruption bogey in South Africa: Is public education safe?</b>]]> Corruption is a constant global phenomenon, which is becoming more complex and intense as competition for resources increases. It is even more so amongst those living in developing countries, particularly emerging economies such as South Africa. Acts of corruption directly contest the basic principles of South Africa's Constitution, which aims at establishing freedom and security for everyone and a democracy 'for the people, by the people'. The aim of this article is to determine whether South African public education is safe from the corruption 'bogey', where reflection is made on professional public school management, which is the responsibility of school principals. Our objectives include designing an education-specific definition of corruption to advance accountable and transparent leadership; establishing the degree to which corruption has infiltrated the public education sphere; and making recommendations to fight corruption in public schools at professional public school management level. Among other findings, we found that even though some principals actively advocate upholding high morals, their conduct proves differently. <![CDATA[<b>The Lesotho curriculum and assessment policy: Opportunities and threats</b>]]> The end of British colonial rule in 1966 provided an impetus for curriculum reform in Lesotho. Since then, a number of curriculum and assessment reforms have been attempted, albeit with a little success. In all cases, the aim has been to achieve the goals of education for national development. The Curriculum and Assessment Policy 2009 represents the latest education reform, which marks a departure from the subject and examination-oriented curriculum to a new dispensation wherein curriculum is organised into learning areas reflecting practical life challenges. In this paper, we analyse the content of this policy document in order to identify the underlying assumptions about curriculum, pedagogy and assessment focusing on secondary education. We take a critical perspective on policy analysis to uncover contradictions and paradoxes associated with the educational discourses being promoted by the document. We further discuss the implications of curriculum policy intentions of the document, highlighting opportunities and threats for educational development in Lesotho. Based on the findings of our review, we argue that although the new policy creates opportunities for personal growth of learners and economic development in Lesotho, there are threats and challenges, which can be detrimental to its successful implementation. <![CDATA[<b>Between college and work in the Further Education and Training College sector</b>]]> Students studying Civil Engineering (CE) at the Further Education and Training (FET) colleges spend periods of time in the classroom and workshop as well as in the workplace during experiential learning. The overall purpose of education and training in the college sector is generally understood as preparing students for employability, and difficulties in colleges performing this role are well known. In this article, these difficulties are examined in a novel way. The everyday perspectives of lecturers and supervisors about student learning in their college programmes and their work experience are translated into more theoretical language, using activity theory. A theoretical argument is made, which suggests that different sites of learning create different purposes, and that these different purposes derive from a distinction between knowledge and practice, which in turn has historical roots. The study concludes by suggesting that a new, common object of integrating theory and practice at all the sites would better link the college and workplace education and training systems, and tentatively suggests how this new object could be put into practice. <![CDATA[<b><i>"A hundred times we learned from one another" </i></b><b>Collaborative learning in an academic writing workshop</b>]]> Using Design Research as methodology and research design type, this article reports on a research proposal writing workshop conducted with Education postgraduate students, with the aim of ascertaining the roles that conversation, collaboration and feedback play in constructing meaning and supporting writing. It was found that through conversation, as part of a general discourse within a community that students whose first language may differ from that of others, but for whom the language of learning is English, are able to share with tutors and other students, and to negotiate meaning. The construction of knowledge is consequently dependent on conversation between students, their peers and the tutors within a collaborative community, such as a writing centre, in which feedback on writing is offered and received in order to support student writing. <![CDATA[<b>Undergraduate student teachers' views and experiences of a compulsory course in research methods</b>]]> In comparison to attention given to research methods for education students at postgraduate level, the offering of research methods for education students at undergraduate level is less often considered. Yet, it is agreed that research methods for undergraduate level students is important for shaping student attitudes, learning and achievement in the field of research. In concurrence with the aforementioned, this paper aimed to examine the views and experiences of a conveniently sampled group of 124 undergraduate South African student teachers of a compulsory course in research methods. By following a quantitative research design, the authors determined the sampled students' experiences of research methods, how they value them, and how they perceive the pedagogy, which in this particular instance was 'working-in-pairs', to teach research methods. For all three the mentioned facets, the findings reflected positive results. However, the research results also pointed to specific issues which might enrich the teaching and status of research methods for undergraduate level education students.