Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 39 num. 2 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Teacher culture and emergent context in two desegregated science classrooms in South Africa: A focused ethnography</b>]]> Framed within Schein's culture model, this study re-centres teacher culture as a key variable in pedagogic settings. Teachers' cultures or basic assumptions in a culturally diverse desegregated school are explored as a crucial dictate in the emergence of the context in which teaching and learning materialises. Through engagement in a focused ethnographic exploration, life sciences teachers' basic/fundamental assumptions in desegregated classrooms are identified and interpretively explored to decipher the context they precipitate. Deciphered assumptions included assumptions about social identity, relations, academics, pedagogy, power, and metaphysics. <![CDATA[<b>Shared storybook reading interactions between children with complex communication needs and their caregivers</b>]]> Quality early home literacy experiences, specifically young children's shared storybook reading experiences, have been identified as critical for establishing the foundations of reading and writing skills. Despite this, literature reports that children with complex communication needs (CCN) have limited exposure to literacy material. There is, however, a paucity of research regarding the home literacy experiences of children with disabilities specifically those with CCN and in developing countries contexts. This study aims to analyse the behaviours of both primary caregivers and their children with CCN during shared storybook reading using a descriptive, observational design. Twelve primary caregivers and their children participated in the study. The 12 participating dyads were video recorded during shared storybook reading activity. Their interactions were analysed using a communicative behaviour checklist coding communicative behaviour of both dyad participants during the shared storybook reading. Results were similar to previous studies conducted on children with CCN from developed countries. The caregivers showed higher rates of interaction as compared to their children, whilst they focused on labelling the pictures rather than reading the story verbatim. Although patterns of interaction varied across the caregivers, they seldom asked complex questions or related the story to the child's utterances. The children, on the other hand, seldom asked questions or commented on the stories. Their interaction patterns could have been improved, should the children have had access to communication devices and caregivers guided on using strategies to facilitate learning during these shared literacy activities. <![CDATA[<b>Understanding student participation within a group learning</b>]]> Participation is an effective strategy in the teaching and learning process. Many students contribute in different ways. Nevertheless, many teachers assume that students are only active if they focus on the teacher's learning objectives. The research aimed to describe student participation in-group learning. A mixed research design was conducted to understand student participation. Data were collected through observation and interviews. Interactive data analysis consisted of fourcycle steps: data collection, data reduction, data displays, and the conclusion. This study found that participation in-group learning required mutual respect, a sense of responsibility, awareness of creating a constructive climate, and leadership. The results of this study are expected as a consideration of teachers in determining student participation in teaching and learning processes. <![CDATA[<b>An analysis of quality of education and its evaluation: A case of Zimbabwean primary schools</b>]]> This study sought to analyse quality of education and its evaluation in Zimbabwean primary schools. A qualitative research methodology was adopted. Thirty-five schools, 73 teachers, 15 school administrators and four Education Officials participated in the study. Data were collected through interviews and questionnaires and analysed through thematic content analysis. Findings indicate that a lot still needs to be done for quality of education to be fully realised. Overall, no meaningful school self-evaluation (SSE) of quality of education is taking place and teachers are not involved in the evaluation of quality of education in schools. Moreover, there is no standard instrument used to evaluate quality of education in schools. The study concluded that schools should engage in SSE and recommends the Ministry of Education to develop an SSE framework to be used in schools. It also recommends that teachers, as the main mediators between policy and practice, ought to be actively involved in SSE of education quality for its realisation and improvement. <![CDATA[<b>Collaboration between school management teams and governing bodies in effectively managing public primary school finances</b>]]> The South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 requires school governing bodies (SGBs) to take responsibility for the management of school finances. However, research in this field of study revealed that many SGB members lack the necessary knowledge and financial skills to effectively and efficiently manage schools' finances. This has resulted in more financial responsibilities assigned to principals, who in turn solicit the assistance of other members of school management teams (SMTs), which include heads of departments (HoDs) and deputy principals. Given that principals and SGBs grapple with the demands of managing financial resources effectively, this study explores the necessity for SMTs to collaborate with principals and SGBs. Qualitative research was used to determine the factors that drive or hinder authentic collaboration among SMT members and SGB governors in the Gauteng West and Johannesburg West education districts. This research followed an interpretivist approach, focusing on the descriptive, contextual and exploratory nature of the inquiry. Findings revealed that collaboration between members of the SGBs and SMTs on school finances are usually non-existent. It is recommended that more structures and opportunities should be created to enable effective communication and teamwork among various role-players. Cultivating and sustaining collaborative relationships between members of SGBs and SMTs will certainly contribute to effective financial management. <![CDATA[<b>Perceptions of teachers and school management teams of the leadership roles of public school principals</b>]]> One of the reasons attributed to the continuous decline in student performance and low educational outcomes in public schools is the poor leadership displayed by many principals. Despite the fact that there are no stringent criteria for the appointment of school principals or prerequisite qualifications, principals do have the potential to lead and manage efficient and successful schools. In this paper, I argue that principals can develop exemplary leadership practices when subjected to sound training and professional development programmes. The Department of Education and Higher Education institutions have emphasised the importance of formal qualifications for enhancing career development programmes for practicing and aspiring principals in South Africa. Using questionnaires, I explore the perceptions of teachers and school management team (SMT) members of the leadership qualities exhibited by principals who acquired the professional qualification referred to as the Advanced Certificate in Education: School Leadership and Management (ACESLM). Findings revealed that leadership development for principals is crucial for school improvement because of active teaching and learning. Leadership capacity requires principals to participate with relevant stakeholders skilfully, and where there is high leadership capacity, instructional leadership develops into sound leadership practices. <![CDATA[<b>An approach to re-skilling of in-service teachers in Physical Education in South African schools</b>]]> During the past two decades, curriculum restructuring in South Africa has had some unintended consequences; one of these being the unrealistic demands expected from Life Skills (LS) and Life Orientation (LO) teachers. Physical Education (PE) finds itself within the multi-faceted subject of LS/LO, therefore the teacher, often without requisite training, has to be accountable for the dissimilar demands of this multidisciplinary subject. The continuing professional development needs are undoubtedly just as diverse as the subject itself is. The aim of the study was to explore an approach for capacitating in-service LS/LO teachers responsible for teaching PE. The research reported in this article employed a qualitative design, which comprised semi-structured interviews with 10 Subject Advisors of LS/LO in the Free State. Themes that emerged from the data analysis were assessment problems, inappropriate allocation of teachers; rotation of teachers; and lack of knowledge and understanding; which culminates in the need for in-service training. The results of this study indicate the necessity for re-skilling of in-service LS/LO teachers and propose an approach for a re-skilling programme to equip these teachers with the essential knowledge and skills to teach PE proficiently. <![CDATA[<b>Prospective early childhood teachers' difficulties in analysing children's ideas about the natural and social environment</b>]]> This study deals with detecting the difficulties that prospective teachers encounter in recognising and analysing children's ideas in the domains of social studies and science. It qualitatively analyses the reports written by 94 third-year Early Childhood Education degree students, while they were taking courses on "Teaching the natural environment to age groups of 0 to 6 Years" and "Knowledge of the Social Environment." The results show that the titles prospective teachers use for their proposals titles do not arouse the children's interest, even when they are not being taken literally from the limited Spanish curriculum. Nevertheless, they demonstrate a great capacity for adapting to the children in terms of the language used in the instruments designed to detect the children's ideas. The greatest obstacle they find is in the analysis of the children's ideas, especially in the process of categorising the responses. Further work with prospective teachers is therefore necessary to provide them with experience of direct contact with children, and to accompany them in the detection and analysis of the children's ideas. <![CDATA[<b>Emerging patterns and problems of higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) mathematical problem-solving in the Form-three assessment (PT3)</b>]]> Higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) mathematical problem-solving was first introduced in the Form-3 assessment (PT3) in 2014. However, to date, there have been no studies of students' ability to solve the mathematical problems in this assessment. Therefore, this study investigated the emerging patterns and problems of HOTS mathematical problem-solving in the PT3. This investigation was a case study and classified under a qualitative research approach. Oral reporting (i.e. thinking aloud protocol) was used to obtain the data. The participants were 10 Form-3 students who were candidates for PT3 in 2015. They were students in a secondary school in a district in Johor Bahru. The results show that students who successfully solved the HOTS mathematical problems produced the same process starting with understanding, followed by phases of planning, implementation, and ending with the final answer. The students who failed to answer the HOTS mathematics questions produced a solution pattern starting with understanding followed by planning and implementation. Based on the patterns, this study also identified the problems that emerged in every step of the HOTS mathematical problems-solving processes and discusses how they could be overcome and improved. <![CDATA[<b>Developing metacognition among young learners by using stories</b>]]> Being aware of our thinking as we perform learning tasks and then using this knowledge to actively self-regulate what we are doing, is commonly known as metacognition. This study investigated the influence of a story-based intervention on the development of metacognition among Intermediate Phase learners engaged in content area learning. Two intact Grade 4 class groups from two public schools in different socio-economic communities in the Western Cape participated in the study. This design-based research (DBR) study comprised of 2 iterative cycles. A pragmatic paradigm underpins the use of multiple data collection methods. This article reports on the pre- and post-intervention data from the second iteration, comparing the 2 groups. Most learners seemed to have improved in terms of metacognition and strategy knowledge on most data collection instruments. The data, however, revealed that learners in both groups struggled to verbalise their thoughts. Low literacy rates influenced both data collection and the outcome of the intervention. From the study, it appears that the story-based intervention could be a feasible and effective learning tool to develop metacognition within the contexts described in this study. <![CDATA[<b>Synchronous versus asynchronous e-learning in teaching word processing: An experimental approach</b>]]> Word processing is a fundamental skill for efficient computer literacy. E-learning has been introduced to ensure wide dissemination of such fundamental content and skills, even beyond school. However, best methodologies need to be identified for efficient instructional delivery. This study therefore investigated the effects of synchronous and asynchronous e-learning on students' cognitive academic achievement and practical skills acquisition in word processing. The study adopted a quasi-experimental research design using a pre-test, post‑test, and non-equivalent and non-randomized grouping of two groups of students. The study revealed that both synchronous and asynchronous e-learning significantly increased students' achievement and skills acquisition in word processing irrespective of the gender of the students. However, students taught through the asynchronous mode displayed higher cognitive achievement while those taught through the synchronous e-learning mode displayed improved skills acquisition. <![CDATA[<b>A focus on self-directed learning: The role that educators' expectations play in the enhancement of students' self-directedness</b>]]> Research in self-directed learning (SDL) has become imperative for education and training in the international arena, and in South Africa. This is a result of the changing education landscape all over the world, initiated by the demands of the 21st century and the changes in knowledge and information production. Teacher-centred methods are still the standard in most schools and higher-education institutions in South African and therefore they do not sufficiently prepare students to become lifelong learners in the 21st century. This study was guided by the following research question: How do educators' expectations influence students' self-directed learning willingness? A constructivist paradigm is evident in my epistemological position, as the idea of SDL is based on the answers of the 12 research participants rather than on my own conceptualisation, as I choose a more personal manner of data collection and data analysis. It is recommended that educators transform their learning environments into supportive SDL environments by practising good teaching by a) motivating students not only to learn, but teaching students how to learn in a manner that is relevant and meaningful, b) having a longing to share their love of the subject with students, c) encouraging independence in learning, d) implementing teaching approaches that necessitate students to learn actively by taking responsibility for their own and co-operatively learning, and e) demonstrating positive expectations from students' learning and encouraging students to engage in SDL. <![CDATA[<b>Relationship between self-efficacy, learning strategies, and learning styles of teacher candidates (Anadolu University example)</b>]]> The purpose of this study is to analyse the relationship between the perceptions of self-efficacy, as well as learning styles and strategies of teacher candidates at Anadolu University, in terms of various variables. We used correlational analysis to define the relationship between efficacy, learning styles, and strategies. The research population of the study comprised teacher candidates who were selected by "convenience sampling" among teacher candidates from various teacher education programs and levels at Anadolu University Faculty of Education. Three different assessment tools were used for data collection: the "Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale" was used to assess the self-efficacy perceptions of teacher candidates; the "Kolb Learning Styles Inventory III" was used to determine the learning styles of teacher candidates; and the "Learning Strategies Scale" was used to define the learning strategies of the teacher candidates. The study revealed a low level of relationship between the self-efficacy perceptions of teacher candidates, their learning styles, and the learning strategies they employ. <![CDATA[<b>The value of teaching practice as perceived by Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) students</b>]]> The pursuit of excellence in preparing student teachers for the teaching profession is a never-ending endeavour. This study aimed at investigating the value of teaching practice as perceived by the participants, how they determined such value using human judgement and whether value judgement can be used as a form of reflection during teaching practice by PGCE students. Human judgement can be used as a tool to promote reflection and an evaluation strategy which promotes a culture of observation and critical thinking about one's practice. The qualitative study involved 25 participants, all of whom were Postgraduate Certificate in Education students and had completed the practical teaching period. In this study we applied Kant's theory to analyse the data gathered by means of narratives. The results, which were based on self-reported values on teaching practice, revealed that the participants viewed teaching practice as valuable and pointed out that it benefitted them and others by enabling them to gain valuable experience in the classroom and in general school management. The participants based their judgement on three components of value judgement, both negative and positive: emotions, attitudes and experiences. <![CDATA[<b>WhatsApp: Creating a virtual teacher community for supporting and monitoring after a professional development programme</b>]]> The introduction and use of online social media networks in education has provided a variety of unique methodologies in support of teaching, learning, and knowledge gathering. The presence of these networks has created opportunities to hear the voice of the teacher. This study explores how teachers and officials from a rural district in South Africa used the WhatsApp platform as a virtual community of practice to aid in monitoring and support after attending a professional development programme. The data used in this study was collected from the WhatsApp conversations held amongst teachers and officials. This data was analysed within the conceptual framework of social learning and social networking. The findings derived from this study show that the effective use of an online social media network to support a virtual community of practice is dependent on the participants' awareness of the context within which the community exists and the willingness of the participants to accept differing views and opinions.