Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0256-010020080001&lang=en vol. 28 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>A profile of effective leadership in some South African high-poverty schools</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002008000100001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The struggle of high-poverty schools for survival is well documented. Some have overcome poverty-related odds and performed exceptionally well, prompting the following research question: What elements constitute a profile of effective leadership in high-poverty schools? Investigations conducted at six successful high-poverty schools revealed the contribution of invitational leadership to this success. I look at the personal traits and capabilities of effective leaders in high-poverty schools, as presented in a leadership profile. <![CDATA[<b>Teacher learning about probabilistic reasoning in relation to teaching it in an Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) programme</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002008000100002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en I report on what teachers in an Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) in-service programme learned about probabilistic reasoning in relation to teaching it. I worked 'on the inside' using my practice as a site for studying teaching and learning. The teachers were from three different towns in the Northern Cape province and had limited teaching contact time, as is the nature of ACE programmes. Findings revealed a complicated picture, where some teachers were prepared to consider influences of their intuitive probabilistic reasoning on formal probabilistic reasoning when it came to teaching. It was, however, the 'genuineness' of teacher learning which was the issue that the findings have to address. Therefore a speculative, hopeful strategy for affecting teacher learning in mathematics teacher education practice is to sustain disequilibrium between dichotomies such as formal and intuitive probabilistic reasoning, which has analogies in content and pedagogy, and subject matter and method. <![CDATA[<b>The perceptions of teachers and school principals of each other's disposition towards teacher involvement in school reform</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002008000100003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Worldwide teachers are faced with the task of continuously facilitating and implementing educational reform that has been designed without their participation. This exclusion of the key agents, who must mediate between the change agenda and actual change in the classroom, from the planning and decision-making processes, is detrimental to educational reform. Although school-based management has recently emerged as the instrument to accomplish the decentralisation of decision-making powers to school level, the success thereof depends largely on school principals' disposition regarding teacher involvement. It is argued that the expectation of principals regarding their own leadership role, as well as the professional role teachers should fulfil, is a primary determinant of principals' willingness to involve teachers in responsibility-taking processes outside the classroom. The results from an empirical investigation revealed that principals' perception, of the wishes of teachers regarding involvement, significantly underestimated teachers' actual involvement wishes. Likewise, the expectation of teachers regarding the willingness of principals to involve them was a significant underestimation of the involvement level principals are actually in favour of. These misperceptions probably discourage actual school-based management and could jeopardize the implementation of educational reform in general. <![CDATA[<b>Challenges to preschool teachers in learner's acquisition of English as Language of Learning and Teaching</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002008000100004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Multilingualism in classrooms is currently prompting debate and has significantly impacted on schooling in South Africa over the last decade. At present South African educators face the challenge of coping with and finding solutions to culturally and linguistically diverse urban school contexts which did not exist before. In many South African communities young learners, without any prior knowledge of English, are enrolled in English preschools. Preschool teachers have the demanding task of preparing these multilingual preschoolers for formal schooling in English, and, in addition, are pressurised by parents or caregivers who expect their children to be fluent in English by the time they enter primary school. A group of preschool teachers in a specific urban, multilingual preschool context expressed concern about multilingual preschool learners' academic performances and their future, and requested advice and support from speech-language therapists. To investigate this need, an exploratory, descriptive, contextual research design, incorporating the quantitative perspective, was selected to describe the specific educational context of multilingual preschools in the Pretoria central business district (CBD) and the Sunnyside area. Results indicated that the participants perceived certain personal challenges while supporting the preschool learners acquiring English as Language of Learning and Teaching (ELoLT). These participants expressed a need for knowledge and support. <![CDATA[<b>Democratisation of education in South Africa</b>: <b>issues of social justice and the voice of learners?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002008000100005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The South African Schools Act No. 84 of 1996 mandates that secondary school learners, who are members of the Representative Council for Learners, should be part of school governance through participation in school governing bodies. But they are often not afforded a full opportunity to participate in crucial decisions by the adult members of governing bodies, directly or indirectly. I explore the participation of learners in school governance by means of a literature review and empirical investigation using a qualitative approach. The findings are presented in terms of the role of learners in the school governing bodies, learners' involvement in decision making and in curriculum issues, and the role of governing bodies in promoting democracy in the school and in the wider South African society. Findings suggested that spaces should be created for learners to participate sufficiently in SGBs in order to allow them to exercise their right to participation, thus engaging fruitfully in deliberations dealing with school governance. This would in turn lead to social justice and there would be a great potential for their voice to be heard. They would in turn engage fruitfully in dialogues as they felt included in debates and decision-making processes. Silencing the voice of learners, implicitly or explicitly, means that the issues of social justice and democracy are not taken into consideration in SGBs. <![CDATA[<b>Understanding teacher identity from a symbolic interactionist perspective</b>: <b>two ethnographic narratives</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002008000100006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this ethnographic inquiry we portray two teacher narratives reflecting educational change in the context of two South African schools. The study was conducted as part of a larger inquiry into ten schools in urban South Africa.ยน A decade of democracy begs some attention to educational progress and reform, from the viewpoint of teachers and with the culture of their schools as the inquiry's landscape. We present two ethnographic narratives, crafted of a typical 'township/rural' school, and an established Afrikaans school, with two teachers as the main social actors. Data were sourced from passive observations, interviews, informal conversations, and journal data. These field texts were analysed for content and narrative using, as methodological frame, the 'Clandininian' "metaphorical three-dimensional inquiry space". Three data themes, teacher authority, commitment to the profession in terms of staying or leaving, and multitasking are theorised from a symbolic interactionist framework, using constructs such as situational, social and personal identity. The major finding of this inquiry speaks to the power of the working context, the educational landscape, which appears to be a much stronger force in the development of teacher identity than national educational policies. <![CDATA[<b>Access to mathematics versus access to the language of power</b>: <b>the struggle in multilingual mathematics classrooms</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002008000100007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this article I explore how teachers and learners position themselves in relation to use of language(s) in multilingual mathematics classrooms. I draw from two studies in multilingual mathematics classrooms in South Africa. The analysis presented shows that teachers and learners who position themselves in relation to English are concerned with access to social goods and positioned by the social and economic power of English. They do not focus on epistemological access but argue for English as the language of learning and teaching. In contrast, learners who position themselves in relation to mathematics and so epistemological access, reflect more contradictory discourses, including support for the use of the their home languages as languages of learning and teaching. <![CDATA[<b>Typing speed, spelling accuracy, and the use of word-prediction</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002008000100008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Children with spelling difficulties are limited in their participation in all written school activities. We aimed to investigate the influence of word-prediction as a tool on spelling accuracy and typing speed. To this end, we selected 80 Grade 4 - 6 children with spelling difficulties in a school for special needs to participate in a research project involving a cross-over within-subject design. The research task took the form of entering 30 words through an on-screen keyboard, with and without the use of word-prediction software. The Graded Word Spelling Test served to investigate whether there was a relationship between the children's current spelling knowledge and word-prediction efficacy. The results indicated an increase in spelling accuracy with the use of word-prediction, but at the cost of time and the tendency to use word approximations, and no significant relationship between spelling knowledge and word-prediction efficacy.