Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0256-010020140002&lang=es vol. 34 num. 2 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>The balancing act between the constitutional right to strike and the constitutional right to education</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es While the South African Constitution enshrines both children's right to a basic education and teachers' right to strike, conflict between these two often occurs when the way in which teachers' unions conduct strike actions detracts from learners' education. This article identifies the parties affected by industrial action in the school context, and then proceeds to examine educators' right to strike as defined by the provisions of the Labour Relations Act. The unique implications of picketing in the education environment are then discussed, covering relevant questions such as where pickets may be held, the issue of picketing rules as well as unprotected pickets. Even though we are faced with a qualified right to strike as opposed to an unqualified right to education, the South African reality seems to be that striking teachers are handled with kid gloves. It is therefore concluded that the vast range of existing laws regulating protest action should be applied more effectively. One of the most important aspects should be the picketing rules, which should clearly determine whether picketing in fact contributes to resolution of the dispute, and how learners' interests and rights may best be actualised. <![CDATA[<b>'Being hit was normal': teachers' (un)changing perceptions of discipline and corporal punishment</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Global and national concerns that corporal punishment is still being used, openly in certain milieus and surreptitiously in others, suggests that education stakeholders need to take cognisance of teachers' perceptions and experiences that influence their classroom discipline in the context of changing curriculum policies and legislation. This study was guided by research objectives that explored, firstly, teachers perceptions of their past experiences of corporal punishment and, secondly, their perceptions of their disciplinary techniques since the abolition of corporal punishment. Through a qualitative research methodology of semi-structured interviews, data were collected from seven primary school teachers in KwaZulu-Natal. Teachers' perceptions of their experiences and practices of corporal punishment were explored through two dimensions of the Foucauldian concept of bio-power, namely, disciplinary power and governmentality. The findings show that although all teachers experienced corporal punishment negatively when they were pupils, their responses to the abolition of corporal punishment were varied, multiple and complex. Recommendations for further research include exploring the resilience of authoritarian teaching approaches and teacher professional development of learner-centred approaches to curb teacher frustration that contributes to their use of corporal punishment. <![CDATA[<b>The challenges of realising inclusive education in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es In South Africa, up to 70% of children of school-going age with disabilities are out of school. Of those who do attend, most are still in separate, "special" schools for learners with disabilities. This situation prevails despite the push for the educational inclusion of learners with disabilities over twelve years ago by the South African policy document, the Education White Paper 6. In this article, we take a primarily top-down theoretical approach to policy implementation and focus on two main factors that hinder the implementation of inclusive education. Firstly, we focus on what we regard as the most significant constraint, namely, the apparent lack of clarity in the policy, i.e. ambiguity about the goals for inclusion and the means through which they can be achieved and, secondly, various issues around the poor implementation of the policy. We argue further that the primary means by which the divide between inclusive policy and practice will ultimately be closed is through the implementation and enforcement of education policy by the South African Department of Education. <![CDATA[<b>Technical efficiency and primary education in South Africa: evidence from sub-national level analyses</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The paper examines the extent to which sub-national public officials are efficient in delivering basic education services and argues that technical inefficiencies, especially in the management of public funds for education, could potentially contribute to poor education service delivery in South Africa. A conceptual framework is proposed to show the underlying mechanisms by which these technical inefficiencies can adversely affect education outcomes. The analysis is based on two micro-level surveys that were applied at 175 public primary schools and 13 district education offices (DEOs) in two provinces in South Africa: the North-West Province and Gauteng. The analysis reveals that South Africa has a well-planned decentralised structure to administer education. However, districts have significant human resource constraints. Capacity is often lacking and record-keeping, particularly of financial information, is very poor. Lack of technical efficiency has resulted in misappropriation of funds (leakage) and extensive delays in remitting funds to schools. The paper concludes that these inefficiencies potentially affect education outcomes and therefore should be given due consideration when designing and implementing education policy reforms. <![CDATA[<b>Weaknesses of South African education in the mirror image of international educational development</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The aim of this article is to present a systematic, holistic evaluation of the South African education system, using international benchmarks as the yardstick. A theoretical model for the evaluation of a national education project is constructed. This consists of three dimensions, namely: a quantitative dimension, a qualitative dimension, and an equality dimension. International databases and the existing international taxonomies of national education systems are then used to evaluate the South African education system, along the three dimensions of the model. It is found that the weakest links are the facts that primary and secondary education enrolment ratios are not followed through to the higher education level; that input, particularly financial input, does not render a commensurate return in terms of the quality of teaching and learning, and learning outcomes; that the administrative component of the system and teacher input appear to be the two weak links in the system in this regard; and that stark inequalities exist in the education system. In conclusion, some recommendations for the improvement of practice and for further research are made. <![CDATA[<b>Integration of educational methods and physical settings: design guidelines for High/Scope methodology in pre-schools</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Quality design and appropriate space organization in preschool settings can support preschool children's educational activities. Although the relationship between the well-being and development of children and physical settings has been emphasized by many early childhood researchers, there is still a need for theoretical design guidelines that are geared towards the improvement of this issue. This research focuses on High/Scope education and aims to shape a theoretical guideline that raises teachers' awareness about the potential of learning spaces and guides them to improve the quality of the physical spaces. To create a theoretical framework, reliable sources are investigated in the light of High/Scope education and the requirements of pre-school children educational spaces. Physical space characteristics, the preschool child's requirements and High/Scope methodology identified design inputs, design considerations and recommendations that shape the final guideline for spatial arrangement in a High/Scope setting are integrated. Discussions and suggestions in this research benefit both designers and High/ Scope teaching staff. Results help High/Scope teaching staff increase the quality of a space in an educational setting without having an architectural background. The theoretical framework of the research allows designers to consider key features and users' possible activities in High/ Scope settings and shape their designs accordingly. <![CDATA[<b>Pass rates in primary school leaving examination in Tanzania: implication for efficient allocation of resources</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper examines regional differentials in pass rates in Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in Mainland Tanzania. In particular, the paper investigates the effects of pupil-teacher ratio (PTR), pupil-latrine ratio (PLR), pupil-classroom ratio (PCR), availability of electricity in schools, and secondary school and above education of women and men aged 15-49 years on the percentage of students passing the PSLE. The paper employs a multilevel framework using aggregate regional data from Basic Education Statistics in Tanzania (BEST) and Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS). The results indicate that regional pass rates in PSLE are negatively associated with regional PTR and PLR, and that there are regional differences in these education resources. However, their effects were found to be statistically insignificant. Education of women on the other hand, was positively and significantly related to the pass rate in the PSLE. Accordingly, there is a need for formulating education policies that would promote the enrolment of women in higher education in Tanzania so as to ensure that children achieve progress in education and social economic development later in life. In addition, measures to ensure efficient allocation of resources are needed in order to address apparent regional disparities regarding access to essential education resources. <![CDATA[<b>The contribution of a particular 'kids in parks' programme to the professional development of teachers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article considers the possible contribution of the 'kids in parks' programme offered at Golden Gate Highlands National Park to the professional development of teachers. Focus group interviews were held with teachers who participated in the programme, and an interview with open-ended questions was held with a learning facilitator from the provincial education department. Although the programme has not primarily been developed to focus on professional development, the setting creates an ideal opportunity for the professional development of teachers away from the formal school situation. This research suggests that the programme, and consequently similar programmes offered at other national parks in South Africa, could make a contribution to the professional development of teachers. <![CDATA[<b>When teacher clusters work: selected experiences of South African teachers with the cluster approach to professional development</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Recent scholarship on teacher professional development has shown renewed interest in collaborative forms of teacher learning. Networks, communities of practice and clusters are related concepts that describe forms of collaboration between schools and/or teachers that encourage such learning. In South Africa, teacher clusters represent a relatively recent and popular experiment in teacher professional development. However, there is no verdict yet about their effectiveness. While the utility of such collaborative structures for teacher learning is fairly well established in many developed countries, we still know very little about how the intended beneficiaries (the teachers) experience these non-traditional structures of professional development. Using qualitative data from a large-scale research project, we explore teachers' perspectives on what constitutes a successful clustering experience, and the kinds of professional development benefits they derive from their participation therein. Our major findings are twofold: First, clusters seem to enhance teachers' content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. Second, and somewhat unexpectedly, the teachers identified another set of benefits, the so-called "process benefits" that include collaboration, instructional guidance and teacher leadership. In a context where teachers have tended to work solo and insulated their classroom practices from influence, the presence of the "process benefits" represents a significant finding. We conclude the paper by exploring several possible directions for further research on these process benefits of clusters for teachers in South Africa and elsewhere. <![CDATA[<b>Impediments to the successful reconstruction of African immigrant teachers' professional identities in South African schools</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The purpose of this study was to explore difficulties and challenges that confront African immigrant teachers as they attempt to reconstruct their professional identities in South African schools. The study was qualitative in nature and utilized narrative inquiry and the case study approach. Data-gathering techniques included a mix of semi-structured interviews, observations, focus group interviews, field notes and researcher journals. Data were analysed using grounded theory and content analysis methods. Findings of the study revealed that immigration status, employment status, attitudes of indigenous learners and holding on to former culture or way of knowing due to lack of induction or mentoring, were impediments to the successful reconstruction of African immigrant teachers' professional identities in South African schools. <![CDATA[<b>'We were not part of apartheid': rationalisations used by four white pre-service teachers to make sense of race and their own racial identities</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Despite fundamental reforms to South African education, large performance gaps still prevail between former black schools and former white schools. Nineteen years into a democracy and education in post-apartheid South Africa still retains a strong racial dimension between poorer communities and more affluent communities. Differential access to power and privilege in post-apartheid South Africa is the logical consequence of a racialised society, and the latter constitutes the context in which pre-service students have to make sense of their racialised subjectivities that ultimately affect their decisions and active agency to bringing about a less polarised society. In this paper, Bonilla-Silva's structural theory of racism is used as a theoretical lens to unpack the rationalisations used by four white pre-service teachers to make sense of race and their own racial identities. By claiming that they were not part of apartheid, the participants use various rationalisations to provide them with information to maintain a belief in white innocence in racism and to disengage them from structural racism. <![CDATA[<b>Curriculum, curriculum development, curriculum studies? Problematising theoretical ambiguities in doctoral theses in the education field</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Theoretical ambiguities in curriculum studies result in conceptual mayhem. Accordingly, they hinder the development of the complicated conversation on curriculum as a verb. This article aims to contribute to reconceptualizing curriculum studies as a dynamic social practice that aspires to thinking and acting with intelligences and sensitivity so as to understand oneself and others. It also raises awareness that equating all forms of research on curriculum with curriculum studies dilutes the scope of the conversation. This exploration asks two key questions: What is the nature of doctoral theses in the field of education's theoretical contributions to nuances of curriculum (curriculum, curriculum development, and curriculum studies)? In what ways do these theses perpetuate or even add to current ambiguities in the discipline of curriculum studies? The exploration of these two questions draws on a critical meta-study of 511 theses completed in South African universities (2005-2012) conducted using a three level process. It appears that the main detractions of these theses are that some of them see curriculum studies as a dumping ground and others make no theoretical contribution to the discipline. The article concludes by suggesting ways which would encourage the intellectual advancement of curriculum studies through rigorous disciplinarity. <![CDATA[<b>Implementing the recent curricular changes to English language instruction in Turkey: opinions and concerns of elementary school administrators</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200013&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Recent modifications to the Turkish educational system have mandated that instruction in English begin in the 2nd grade, rather than the 4th grade, as was previously required. Consequently, substantial modification of the elementary (2nd through 8th grade) English language teaching program has been carried out in order to accommodate this change. Successful implementation of the new program may be significantly affected by the efforts of elementary school administrators to incorporate the restructured curriculum at the institutional level. Therefore, the researchers believe that understanding the attitudes of school principals concerning these changes may play a significant role in learner outcomes. Accordingly, by means of personal interviews, this qualitative study explores the beliefs of nine elementary school administrators concerning the teaching of English to younger students, as well as their general opinions on English language education. The results indicate divided opinions toward the requirement for English instruction, although the administrators' attitudes toward facilitating English teaching in their schools were generally positive. However, they expressed concerns about the recently replaced teaching program and indicated general agreement that revision was needed. Based on the perceptions expressed by the participants, the researchers concluded that the administrators may be motivated to promote the modified teaching program among teachers, students and parents. However, the responses of the participants also raised significant questions about school principals' underlying beliefs concerning the importance of English language education, as well as institutional issues that may warrant intervention. As a result, suggestions for additional research are made. <![CDATA[<b>'Cascading participation' and the role of teachers in a collaborative HIV and Aids curriculum development project</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200014&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This paper presents findings of four Grade 6 teachers' involvement as facilitators of a participatory action research (PAR) project conducted in three South African primary schools. Based on the results of Phase One research which indicated that Grade 6s learn about sexuality, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) from multiple sources, the Phase Two project designers developed a toolkit to help Life Orientation (LO) teachers consult learners on what they know and how they want to be taught. In each school, a curriculum development group comprising the participating teacher, learners, parents and an HIV and Aids specialist worked to enhance the official HIV and Aids curriculum using the information gathered each week by the teacher. This dialogue between the study participants represents the culmination of what we describe as the project's 'cascading participation' research model, a term denoting the multiple levels of participant involvement in the study. Although theories of participation often depict a binary relationship between those with power and those without it, the implementation of this project shows how the official curriculum, cultural norms and low parent involvement can exert pressure at different levels to diminish teachers' ability to facilitate social and educational change. <![CDATA[<b>Developing Sport Psychology in a girls' sport academy curriculum</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200015&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article explores the initial steps in developing and presenting Sport Psychology in a leadership and sport curriculum at Stellenbosch University's (SU) Centre for Human Performance Sciences' (CHPS) Academy for Girls' Leadership and Sport Development. Sport Psychology does not feature within the South African school curriculum specifically, yet the CHPS recognises the importance of exposing girls to the principles and skills of Sport Psychology and has a leadership curriculum for girls participating in sport to this end. This paper reports on a qualitative and exploratory reflective inquiry by the author who presented this theme. What was gained during this process, as well as the associated challenges encountered, suggest possible areas for research as well as changes and adjustments which could be made in similar Sport Psychology curricula. <![CDATA[<b>Test-taking skills of secondary students: the relationship with motivation, attitudes, anxiety and attitudes towards tests</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200016&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Test-taking skills are cognitive skills that enable students to undergo any test-taking situation in an appropriate manner. This study is aimed at assessing the relationship between students' test-taking skills and each of the following variables: motivation to learn mathematics; mathematics anxiety; attitudes towards mathematics; and attitudes towards tests. The study was conducted on a random sample of 626 (372 males and 254 females) secondary school students. The following instruments were used in the data collection: the Test-taking Skills Scale (TSS); the Mathematics Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MMSLQ); the Mathematics Anxiety Scale-Revised (MAS-R); the Mathematics Attitude Inventory (MAI); and the Attitude towards Tests Scale (ATS). A positive and significant relationship was reported between students' test-taking skills and each student's motivation to learn mathematics, attitudes towards mathematics, and attitudes towards tests; while mathematics anxiety was shown to have a significant negative relationship with test-taking skills. Test-taking skills account for more than 30% of the variation in motivation to learn mathematics, 25% in attitudes towards mathematics, 17% in mathematics anxiety, and more than 40% in attitude toward tests. The study concluded the improvement of secondary students' testing skills to be significantly correlated with variables that play a substantial role in a student's level of achievement in mathematics. <![CDATA[<b>A case study on the investigation of reasoning skills in geometry</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200017&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The aim of this study is to evaluate the reasoning skills in geometry-related subjects of six 8th Grade students. The study data were obtained at the end of the 2011-2012 spring period in a public elementary school. The study uses a case study with qualitative research techniques to investigate how students use reasoning skills. In this study, six geometry problems were used to collect the study data. The students were asked to think aloud when solving the problems so as to be better able to explain their thoughts. From the data obtained, it was identified that the processes involved when demonstrating reasoning skills showed a number of differences. <![CDATA[<b>The need for invariant assessments in South African education</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200018&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Presently, a plethora of instruments designed to assess a mathematical skill, disposition, or competence prevail in South Africa. Yet few of them adhere to the basic requirements of the unidimensionality and invariance of measures. The Marko-D is a mathematical instrument designed to test learners between the ages of 4 and 8. The instrument, thus far, appears to adhere to the central tenets of fundamental measurement, which hold that a test should be invariant across different groups of people and that it should measure a single variable to a level of precision that is useful practically and theoretically. The Marko-D was used to assess the mathematical competence of 249 foundation phase pupils. Even though we cannot conclude at this stage that the Marko-D satisfies the requirements of invariance and unidimensionality completely, this study provides an elucidation of the need for invariant assessments in South African education. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluating students' perspectives about virtual classrooms with regard to Seven Principles of Good Practice</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200019&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This study assesses the quality of distance learning (DL) in higher education assessed by considering the Seven Principles of Good Practice (SPGP). The participants were 77 second-year students from the Computer and Instructional Technologies Program (CEIT) of a Faculty of Education in Turkey. A questionnaire was developed in line with the SPGP and administered to collect data after 14 weeks of teaching. The author's observations were added to a discussion of the connections between student perspectives and the SPGP. The lessons were delivered in a virtual classroom. It is a synchronous online learning environment with online meetings, chat, forums, whiteboards, desktop sharing, document sharing and other online features. The analysis of the results of the questionnaire indicate that this questionnaire as it has been developed in this study can be effective in understanding and evaluating the perspectives of learners on the quality of distance learning in virtual classrooms. This study also presents some new evidence on the potential of virtual classrooms for teaching, learning and learner interaction. Finally, some suggestions regarding the expectations of distance learners were also provided for instructors who wish to utilize virtual classrooms in their teaching. <![CDATA[<b>Parental perceptions: a case study of school choice amidst language waves</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200020&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es In this article we report and reflect on the responses to a questionnaire survey administered to 600 parents/caregivers, whose Foundation Phase children attend a former Afrikaans-medium primary school where English is now the sole medium of instruction, although English is not spoken as home language by either teachers or learners. We explored reasons why parents chose this particular school, especially in the light of available alternatives as well as their views of mother tongue/English instruction. At present, many parents favour an approach that also nurtures the home language, even while support for an English-only approach is strong. It may be that well-established research findings on the pedagogical and social benefits of maintaining home/local languages are being heard, at least among younger and better educated parents. <![CDATA[<b>The relationship between temperament, gender, and behavioural problems in preschool children</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200021&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The aim of this study is to examine the relationship between gender and the temperamental characteristics of children between the ages of five and six, as well as to assess their behavioural problems. The sample included 128 children selected by simple random sampling from 5-6 year old children, receiving preschool education in the city centre of Izmir province in Turkey. Of the children, 65 were girls (50.8%) and 63 (49.2%) were boys. The data collection instruments were the Preschool and Kindergarten Behavior Scales and the Short Temperament Scale for Children, respectively. The results of this study reveal that there is no significiant difference between gender and the child temperament subscales of approach/withdrawal; persistence and rhythmicity; and a child's behavioural problems, respectively. However, the gender of the children was found to be significantly related to the reactivity sub-dimension of their temperament (p < 0.05). Moreover, a significant correlation was observed between the temperament subscale of reactivity and externalising problems subscale of behavioural problems (p < 0.05). On the other hand, a negative correlation was observed between the persistence temperament dimension and the behavioural problem dimension of self-centredness (p < 0.05). In the opinion of the researcher, it is important to know the children's personality features, monitor their behaviour, and take respective measures when necessary. These research results contributed positively to this end. <![CDATA[<b>Comparison of educational facilitation approaches for Grade R English Additional Language learning in rural Mpumalanga</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200022&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The Early Childhood Development Manager in Mpumalanga is faced with the problem of providing evidence-based guidance of the best facilitation approach in the Grade R context. An investigation on the effect of facilitation, i.e. play-based or formal instruction, on Grade R performance scores in English Additional Language (EAL) learning was conducted. Literature findings attest to formal learning contributing to better performance scores than play-based learning, yet most rural schools in Mpumalanga use the play-based approach. The English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards assessment tool is reported to have no cultural bias and was used to collect the data. The tool assessed learners' listening and speaking skills in EAL. A quantitative methodology was followed, using a static two-group comparison design. Participants in the two groups were matched according to age and all had a similar exposure period to EAL learning, a rural upbringing, poverty level, and all were mainstream learners. Inter-rater reliability was obtained since two raters assessed learners' proficiency in EAL skills. A one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used to analyse the data. It was found that the formal based approach contributed to better EAL scores when compared to the play-based approach. Implications for practice are discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Relational aggression: the voices of primary school learners</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200023&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The aim of this research was to explore and describe primary school learners' experiences of relational aggression at school. This was done within a qualitative research design with a phenomenological approach. In order to give a voice to primary school learners' lived experiences of relational aggression, 25 individual interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of learners from two primary schools in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District, North-West Province. Data analysis was done using Tesch's systematic open coding process. Social Learning Theory underscored the theoretical foundation that emphasises relational aggression as a socially learned phenomenon through observation. Although existing theory supports the findings, the reality, however, is that the effects of relational aggression impede negatively on learners' social and academic development and well-being. This jeopardises schools' endeavours to effectively socialise learners in order to establish and maintain effective personal and social relationships. Curtailing relational aggression has the possibility of reducing other forms of aggression in schools and will enhance the creation of effective teaching-learning environments that are conducive to teaching and learning that will support the task of schooling, which is the socialisation of learners to optimally achieve their potential in schools. The article provides some suggestions to assist teachers in endeavours to effectively curtail relational aggression. <![CDATA[<b>The investigation of STEM Self-Efficacy and Professional Commitment to Engineering among female high school students</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200024&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This study employed social cognitive theory and social cognitive career theory (SCCT) as foundations to explore the influence of high school students' beliefs about female gender roles and female engineer role models on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) self-efficacy and professional commitment to engineering. A total of 88 students from a national girls' high school participated in STEM project-based learning. A survey questionnaire named The STEM Self-efficacy and Professional Commitment to Engineering Questionnaire, developed by the researchers, was administered to collect data, and a structured equation model was employed to confirm the multi-theoretical model developed in this study. The results of this study show that enhancing the gender role beliefs and engineer role models of female students may increase their STEM self-efficacy and professional commitment to engineering. In other words, the female high school students' professional commitment to engineering model can explain students' intentions for future engineering careers. Thus, this study suggests integrating STEM project-based learning into the curricula of various schools and integrating female engineer role models into STEM project-based learning activities for female students, which can enhance female high school students' STEM self-efficacy and professional commitment to engineering. <![CDATA[<b>Technology innovation in education research</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002014000200025&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This study employed social cognitive theory and social cognitive career theory (SCCT) as foundations to explore the influence of high school students' beliefs about female gender roles and female engineer role models on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) self-efficacy and professional commitment to engineering. A total of 88 students from a national girls' high school participated in STEM project-based learning. A survey questionnaire named The STEM Self-efficacy and Professional Commitment to Engineering Questionnaire, developed by the researchers, was administered to collect data, and a structured equation model was employed to confirm the multi-theoretical model developed in this study. The results of this study show that enhancing the gender role beliefs and engineer role models of female students may increase their STEM self-efficacy and professional commitment to engineering. In other words, the female high school students' professional commitment to engineering model can explain students' intentions for future engineering careers. Thus, this study suggests integrating STEM project-based learning into the curricula of various schools and integrating female engineer role models into STEM project-based learning activities for female students, which can enhance female high school students' STEM self-efficacy and professional commitment to engineering.