Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 29 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Educators as action researchers</b>: <b>some key considerations</b>]]> A characteristic of expert educators is their ability to interpret classroom acti­vities critically, to identify and solve problems regarding their teaching practice, and to make thoughtful or reflective instructional and classroom management decisions that are conducive to learning. For educators to be efficacious, they should be active participants in the classroom and observers of the learning and teaching processes, assessing and interpreting the data forthcoming from the classroom and using that knowledge, together with more academic or public theory and research, as a basis for planning and decision-making. Action re­search provides educators with a strategy to enhance their reflective teaching practice, thereby sharpening their understanding of instruction and improving their instructional and classroom management skills, thus promoting educa­tional change. In this article I discuss an action research model for educators to assist them in finding alternatives to current practice by gathering data and using the data to create meaning, which is then fed back into the system with a view to improved action. The proposed action research model is highly rele­vant to pre-service and in-service teacher training. <![CDATA[<b>Holistic curriculum development</b>: <b>tutoring as a support process</b>]]> In many programmes, tutorials have proved to be an effective way of providing both academic and personal support. The tutor's role in these involves different aspects of teaching and learning. In this article I explore the value of tutoring as a means of supporting the holistic curriculum development process. I reflect on the reason for introducing a system of tutoring for students in curriculum studies and the results of its implementation on students' academic performance, in order to contribute to a better understanding of this kind of intervention. A summary of empirical data on the implementation of the tutor system and feedback on the system and tutors' reflections on the process are provided. Finally, the outcomes of the implementation of tutoring on the students' performance at the end of the academic year are discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Educators' perceptions of school climate and health in selected primary schools</b>]]> The aims in this research were to determine the perceptions of school climate held by educators of primary schools in the southern Cape. Six primary schools with a staff complement of 178 educators participated in the investigation. Two instruments were used: the Organisational Climate Description Questionnaire Rutgers Elementary (OCDQ-RE) and Dimensions of Organisational Health Inventory of Elementary Schools (OHI-E). The results indicated that primary school educators in the southern Cape perceived their relations with their principals as closed, while educator-educator relations were perceived as more open. An engaged school climate was taken as the typical prototype for the relevant primary schools. Average health profiles were drawn for the overall organisational health of primary schools. A significant relationship was found between primary schools' perceptions of organisational climate and organisational health. A significant difference was found between perceptions held by educators from different primary schools regarding the various dimensions of organisational climate and health. These findings have significant implications for the implementation of change in schools, educators' job satisfaction, motivation, productivity, well-being, and learner achievement. <![CDATA[<b>The value of play for conflict management</b>: <b>a case study</b>]]> This is a case study of a conflict management intervention in two secondary schools in post-apartheid South Africa. The feature of the intervention that we examine is the use of play as an educational strategy. The literature attests that play can facilitate change by allowing learners freedom to change their behaviour and opportunities to explore their new identities. The context of the case revealed that conflicts had become deeply entrenched over time. The literature on conflict management suggests that such situations can change if approached in the right way. In the article we describe the intervention and evaluate it with the help of feedback received from participants and facilitators. In the evaluation we found that the participants were able to overcome prejudices and develop democratic approaches to conflict. The evaluation was repeated several months later, when it was found that the benefits of the workshop had been maintained, with the result that the participants were engaging in healthier relationships. <![CDATA[<b>The mediation of Representative Council of Learners policy</b> <b>in Western Cape schools</b>: <b>1997 to 2003</b>]]> We investigated how education policy was mediated at a representative number of Western Cape schools, from 1997 to 2003, using the structure, symbolic, human resource and political frames of Bolman and Deal (1997) as the basis of the investigation. The investigation produced diverse research findings. At the one end there were a majority of representative councils of learners that received the full support of the main role players. These councils were fully functional and were making a significant contribution to the effective governance of their schools. At the other end there were significant numbers of representative councils of learners that were not receiving the requisite support, and which were merely tolerated to ensure legal compliance. The factors responsible for preventing the development of education policy into praxis, at these schools, are divided into three categories: technical challenges, cultural challenges and political challenges. In conclusion suggestions are made as to how these varied and complex challenges can be met in the interests of furthering the democratic goals that underpin RPL policy. <![CDATA[<b>The perceptions of parents of their role in the democratic governance of schools in South Africa</b>: <b>are they on board?</b>]]> I argue that parent participation in SGBs is an important ingredient in building democracy in the schooling system, as well as in the wider society of South Africa. At some schools in South Africa, parents are not yet playing their full role as governors mandated by legislation. Parents at some rural schools are reluctant to participate in the decision-making by School Governing Bodies (SGBs) as a result of their low educational level or of power struggles in SGBs. In some former model C schools, on the other hand, lack of participation is related to a level of education of parents in general, lack of education on parental involvement in school activities, a fear of ‘academic victimisation' of their children, language barrier, and difficulty in attending meetings. This lack of involvement is at its highest in school governing bodies. It appears therefore that while representation and debate are theoretically open and fair, there are still factors that inhibit SGBs from operating democratically. Although the political control of apartheid has gone, issues related to full democratic participation have not been resolved. <![CDATA[<b>The extent and practice of inclusion in independent schools in South Africa</b>]]> In line with international trends in education, South Africa has embraced inclusive education as the means by which learners who experience barriers to learning will be educated. As inclusion is beginning to be realised in South African schools, a gap in the emerging research base on inclusive education is that of inclusion in the independent sector. A study was undertaken to establish the extent to which learners who experience barriers to learning are included in independent schools belonging to ISASA (the largest independent schools association in South Africa) and the practices that facilitate inclusion. The results of a survey administered to principals were analysed quantitatively and reveal that most ISASA schools include learners who experience various barriers to learning and employ inclusive practices that are described in the international literature. We report on salient aspects emerging from the study and focus on the diversity of learners found in ISASA schools, as well as the inclusive practices found at school-wide, classroom, and individual levels. The practices described are the provision of on-site specialist personnel, support for teachers, building modifications to ensure access by persons using wheelchairs and various instructional practices and assessment adaptations. Recommendations arising from the study may give direction to South African schools pursuing inclusivity. <![CDATA[<b>Perspectives of teachers on the implementation of Life Orientation in Grades R-11 from selected Western Cape schools</b>]]> Educational transformation in South Africa not only brought about Outcomes- based Education and Curriculum 2005 but also a new Learning Area/Subject, called Life Orientation (LO). A major challenge for LO as a new Learning Area/Subject is the preconceptions that exist about it, and the fact that the attitude of school principals is not conducive to the successful implementation of LO. Against this background it was deemed necessary to investigate teachers' perspectives regarding the implementation of LO in Grades R to 11. For the survey 248 schools (124 primary, 124 secondary) were randomly selected, of which 157 returned questionnaires. Summary statistics were done using frequency tables and histograms. Comparisons of ordinal variables were performed using one-way analysis of variance and the Kruskal-Wallis non- parametric test. For the majority of the schools the learning outcomes, related to the movement component of LO in the General and Further Education and Training bands, are presented. The fact that most of the schools do not have qualified Physical Education teachers holds certain implications for the status of LO in general and more specifically for the growth and development of the learners. To address this situation it is recommended that in-service and pre- service education and training of teachers commences immediately and that Higher Education Institutions become more involved in different forms of training initiatives than currently the practice.