Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0256-010020110002&lang=en vol. 31 num. 2 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Exploring safety in township secondary schools in the Free State province</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002011000200001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Research overwhelmingly suggests that effective teaching and learning can occur only in a safe and secure school environment. However, despite the plethora of laws and acts protecting teachers and learners in South African schools, scores of them are still unsafe. This study examines the safety of teachers and learners in township secondary schools in the Free State province, South Africa. The sample of study consisted of 396 teachers who were randomly selected from 44 township secondary schools across the province. The sample completed a questionnaire based on the safety of teachers and learners in their schools. Prior to completion, the questionnaire was tested for reliability using the Cronbach alpha coefficient and it was found to have a reliability score of .885, indicating an acceptable reliability coefficient. The questionnaire was computer analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences Primer Version 12. The results of the analysis revealed that both teachers and learners are not safe in their schools, either during or after school hours. The causes of a lack of safety in these schools reside within and without the schools, implying that learners are sometimes the culprits. The study concludes with recommendations on addressing the problem. <![CDATA[<b>Legal accountability for public school discipline</b>: <b>fact or fiction?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002011000200002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Educators, learners and parents/caregivers should be held accountable for instilling learner discipline through clear guidelines and limitations to achieve security at public schools. Two previously identified education challenges are sustaining well-disciplined education systems and ensuring that educators are attentive to legal parameters in making decisions and dealing with discipline. This article adds a third challenge: convincing educators, learners and parents/caregivers of their accountability concerning creating/maintaining safe learning environments. Five subordinate legislation documents relevant to legal accountability are scrutinized, as well as relevant case law. The article follows a documentary comparative perspective using a secondary analysis method: appraising legal guidelines and asking questions to draw conclusions and make pragmatic action-oriented suggestions. <![CDATA[<b>Distributed leadership in South African schools</b>: <b>possibilities and constraints</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002011000200003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Before 1994 South African teachers in general, but more specifically women teachers, were effectively excluded from fulfilling meaningful roles as leaders at school level. Since 1994 the Department of Education has promulgated a number of policies in an attempt to actualize distributed leadership in South African schools. Fundamental to distributed leadership is the belief that all teachers have the right and potential to participate in decisions that affect their work. This article unpacks the theoretical underpinnings of the notion of distributed leadership and then investigates the numerous and diverse factors which have prevented the actualization of distributed leadership in South African schools. It is suggested that distributed leadership within schools can be actualized if the combined knowledge, expertise and experience of various role-players and stakeholders are harnessed in a collaborative fashion. While a healthy bout of idealism is required it is important that this idealism be moderated by the recognition of the realities of the South African situation. <![CDATA[<b>The possible cause of school governance challenges in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002011000200004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en School governance in South Africa is about the single most important factor in education that appears to experience apparently insurmountable challenges. In this article I explore and analyse school governance challenges to find their possible cause. A qualitative study using interviews was conducted with principals, educators and parents as school governing body members. The results of the empirical investigation reveal numerous challenges in school governance, which challenges seem to be mainly related to school governors' ability or inability to execute functions prescribed by the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 (hereafter referred to as the Schools Act). An analysis of the challenges strongly indicates that these challenges are possibly caused by the nature of the prescribed functions, which require specialised skills and knowledge to execute. This is manifested in the various reasons advanced by school governors, such as the apportionment of blame among themselves. It is therefore concluded that school governing bodies are not really succeeding in facing the challenges of their roles and responsibilities and that the possible cause for these challenges resides in the specialist nature of most prescribed functions themselves. <![CDATA[<b>Life orientation as experienced by learners</b>: <b>a qualitative study in North-West Province</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002011000200005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The learning area Life Orientation (LO) is aimed at educating healthy, responsible young people who are able to live productive lives in the new South African democracy. Effectiveness in this learning area has not yet been proved and there is evidence of some problems in attaining this ideal. In order to give voice to learners, in terms of their views, ideas and comments on LO, focus group interviews with mainly high-school learners were utilized in this study. The results of this qualitative investigation indicate that there are various problems in the practice of LO education. Many learners seem to view LO as unnecessary, boring and irrelevant. Furthermore, this study provides some evidence that LO does not succeed in accomplishing its aims, as laid out in the National Curriculum Statement. <![CDATA[<b>A conceptual exploration of values education in the context of schooling in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002011000200006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article is based on the assumption that values education has much to offer to a country that is struggling to overcome a fractured moral landscape. Pursuing a modest agenda, the focus of the article is on values and values education in the context of schooling in South Africa. We suggest that debates about what constitutes values and values education raise important philosophical and pedagogical questions about what values are and which values should be prioritized. We contend that it is unlikely that values education will in any significant way meet the expectations of South Africa's Constitution and its national school curriculum intentions, if it is not underpinned by conceptual clarification of what values are in relation to the role that values education is expected to fulfil in South Africa's schools. Intended as a conceptual investigation, the article explores different interpretations, tensions and assumptions that confront the notions of values and values education. We suggest that the insights from such a conceptual clarification could provide an appropriate platform not only for a coherent approach to values education, but also for the more effectual transfer and take up of values in schools. We favour a pragmatist conception based on the notion 'shared goods' in terms of which values education in schools can lay the basis for dialogical encounters necessary for addressing our country's diverse and even divergent values orientations. <![CDATA[<b>Is schooling good for the development of society? </b><b>The case of South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002011000200007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This paper is concerned with three possible theoretical relationships, between education and social, economic and political development, that - (a) education improves society, (b) education reproduces society as it is and (c) education actually makes society worse. The paper then uses South Africa as a case study to critically analyse these different roles of education in relation to development theory. In particular, it examines three theoretical tensions in post-apartheid education policy and practice - those between human capital theory and social reproduction, between modernisation and bureaucratic disorganisation, and between democracy and peace and authoritarianism and violence. It concludes by attempting to explain these tensions and contradictions in term of factors specific to South Africa such as teacher professionalism and teacher identity and in relation to wider factors inherent in the historical origins of schooling as a form of organisation based on social control. <![CDATA[<b>Philosophy for children</b>: <b>the quest for an African perspective</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002011000200008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The debate as to whether philosophy is suitable for children is an ancient one and the discussion of philosophical issues has been withheld from the young since Plato's time. This paper seeks to examine the possibility of a Philosophy for Children programme in Africa. This presentation is a critical discourse on the concept of Philosophy for Children in the context of Africa through African-centred criteria. The paper attempts to recover aspects of the traditional African education and ways of philosophizing that may have been effective for earlier purposes but now need to be reconceptualised in new ways to serve today's purposes. This document discussion shows the need to hybridize traditional African ways of doing philosophy with children within the 21st century African milieu. <![CDATA[<b>In-service teachers' perspectives of pre-service teachers' knowledge domains in science</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002011000200009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The concept of pedagogical content knowledge is integral to teaching as a profession and is often considered to be an important aspect of a teacher's lived experience. Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is described as a transformation of teacher knowledge from a variety of domains of knowledge, which includes subject matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and knowledge about content. This exploratory study reports on in-service natural science teachers' inferences regarding pre-service teachers' performance in natural science teaching, as observed during a practice teaching period. Perspectives of in-service teachers of the different knowledge domains of pre-service teachers during their final year were investigated. Semi-structured interviews, incorporating a specific set of open-ended questions, were conducted with in-service teachers following a practice teaching period of four weeks. The findings indicate that the in-service teachers rated the pre-service teachers positively in some knowledge domains but less positively in other knowledge domains. This has prompted some rethinking on the structure and presentation of the curriculum, in our undergraduate teacher education programme, to include and accommodate approaches that would enable better uptake of various knowledge domains and improve PCK development. <![CDATA[<b>Care and support of orphaned and vulnerable children at school</b>: <b>helping teachers to respond</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002011000200010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en It is acknowledged that teacher training programmes around HIV in most of sub-Saharan Africa appear not to have been very effective in assisting teachers to respond to the demands placed on them by the pandemic. In response to the need identified by international development agencies, for research into teacher education and HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, this study investigated teacher perceptions of the effectiveness of training programmes offered in a specific school district in South Africa to equip them to deal with issues arising from having orphans and vulnerable children in their classrooms. A qualitative research design was followed to purposively select teachers who had attended the departmental training to participate in focus groups to explore the phenomenon of teaching orphaned and vulnerable children. The findings that emerged from the thematic data analysis provided supporting evidence that current teacher education approaches in this regard are not perceived to be effective. The results are used to suggest guidelines for an alternative approach to the current forms of HIV and AIDS training for teachers that is more likely to be sustainable, culturally appropriate and suited to the context.