Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 32 num. 3 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The job satisfaction of principals of previously disadvantaged schools</b>: <b>new light on an old issue</b>]]> The aim of this study was to identify influences on the job satisfaction of previously disadvantaged school principals in North- West Province. Evans's theory of job satisfaction, morale and motivation was useful as a conceptual framework. A mixed-methods explanatory research design was important in discovering issues with which these principals struggled. Thirty principals of secondary schools located in the rural villages and townships in the province were purposefully selected. A structured questionnaire was used during the quantitative phase. The items in the questionnaire determined the principals' views on intrinsic and contextual factors related to their working environment. These items were followed by open-ended questions. Additional qualitative data were obtained through interviews with eight principals selected from the same group. Although the principals enjoyed intrinsic aspects of their work and positive interpersonal relations at their schools, the results were significant in determining how the principals struggled with other issues (e.g. policies and practices of the Department of Basic Education). Underpinning factors were unrealistic expectations and negative perceptions that influenced their professionalism. A key factor that emerged was power versus powerlessness. <![CDATA[<b>Teaching practice and the personal and socio-professional development of prospective teachers</b>]]> This study investigates the interplay between individual and contextual variables during teaching practice and its impact on the personal and socio-professional development of prospective teachers. The purpose of the study was to survey how prospective teachers experienced the process of becoming aware of their emerging identities as teachers, and to demonstrate how the unique, individual student teachers' teaching and socio-professional identities are cultivated in the learning-to-teach process. A non-experimental survey research design involving quantitative data was used. A questionnaire, adapted from Caires and Almeida's Inventory of Experiences and Perceptions at Teaching Practice (IEPTP), was used to collect the data. The data were assessed through statistical analysis, using mean ranking scores. Higher levels of success were observed with regard to the professional and institutional socialisation, learning and professional development, and vocational sub-scales. Lower levels of success were found in the support and supervision and socio-emotional sub-scales. Ralph's contextual supervision model and exploration of feelings and emotions are put forward as measures to scaffold, respectively, the supervision and socio-emotional dimensions of becoming a teacher. <![CDATA[<b>Job satisfaction amongst teachers at special needs schools</b>]]> The aim of this study was to establish the level ofjob satisfaction amongst teachers at special schools. Teachers in special schools need to cope with curriculum changes, the administrative duties that come with these changes, and the learners with their diverse needs. Learners with special needs require a specific educational programme and also schools that caterfor the needs of learners with emotional, social, neurological or physical problems. The research group consisted of 101 teachers working at six different special schools situated in various parts of the Bloemfontein area, two in the Mangaung area, and four were situated in suburban areas. The group consisted of English- and Afrikaans-speaking teachers of both genders and from different race groups. The data for this study were compiled by means of a short biographical questionnaire and the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire. The results indicated that the teachers experienced an average level of job satisfaction. In addition to this finding, differences were also found in the levels ofjob satisfaction between different races, but not between genders. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring rural high school learners' experience of mathematics anxiety in academic settings</b>]]> The purpose of the study was to explore rural high school learners' experience of mathematics anxiety in academic settings. Mathematics anxiety has been found to have an adverse effect on confidence, motivation and achievement. This quantitative study is exploratory and descriptive in nature. The participants were 403 learners doing mathematics in 18 rural schools in the Free State province of South Africa. Participants completed a 20-item questionnaire and 373 (92.5%) questionnaires were found to contain valid responses and were analysed by a professional statistician at the University of the Free State using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), Version 17.0. The questionnaire was testedfor reliability using the Cronbach alpha coefficient and was found to have a reliability score of .841, indicating an acceptable reliability coefficient. Findings reveal that all learners sometimes, often, or always experience mathematics anxiety in academic settings. It is therefore important for teachers and authorities in education to observe its prevalence and to implement strategies toward the alleviation of the effects ofmathematics anxiety. <![CDATA[<b>Girls' career choices as a product of a gendered school curriculum</b>: <b>the Zimbabwean example</b>]]> The unequal distribution of boys and girls in certain subjects studied at school and its consequent unequal distribution of men and women in the occupational structure suggest some failure by schools and teachers to institute adequate measures to ensure learning equity. In this study we sought to unmask factors in the Zimbabwean school curriculum that orient girls into not only pursuing different subjects at school, but also following careers in fields traditionally stereotyped as feminine. The study was qualitative and utilized an exploratory case study as the design genre. Data were collected through classroom and extra-curricular observations and focus group discussion sessions (FGDS) with girl pupils. A sample size of 40 participants comprising 20 sixth form school girls and 20 teachers was used. These were purposively sampledfrom four schools. To analyse data we used simple discourse analyses. The main findings of this study were that gender role stereotypes and the patriarchal ideology communicated through the hidden curriculum reflected teachers' attitudes and influence that contributed to girls' career aspirations and choices. <![CDATA[<b>An investigation of strategies for integrated learning experiences and instruction in the teaching of creative art subjects</b>]]> This study investigated the integrating possibilities within each creative arts subject. The objective was to optimize the limited teaching time, generally allocated to each art subject in schools, by developing a pedagogical strategy for its successful implementation. While the study was limited to South African schools, the results have global relevance and significance in the ongoing global trendsetting and discourse on arts education. In South Africa the previous National Curriculum Statement (NCS, 2002) integrated music, dance, drama and visual arts where possible, while the new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS, 2011) offers two elective art subjects in the senior phase (Grades 7-9), each taught separately an hour per week during school hours and one hour per week after school, thereby attempting to extend the teaching time. This qualitative enquiry used documentary analyses, teacher interviews, and student group discussions for the collection of data. Pre-determined and emergent codes based on grounded theory showed that it is possible to integrate theory with practice within one art subject by teaching theoretical work in the context of practical work, thus optimizing the limited time allocated to arts and culture education in school timetables. <![CDATA[<b>Understanding and addressing homophobia in schools</b>: <b>a view from teachers</b>]]> South African schools have been found to be homophobic. Teachers can play an important role in offering a critique of homophobia grounded in South Africa's legal claim to equality on the basis of sexual orientation. Currently there is a dearth of educational research about how teachers understand and address homophobia. By drawing upon focus-group interviews with teachers based atfive schools, this paper shows dominant teaching views which contribute to homophobia, although this is not the only view. Informed by theoretical framings that seek to uncover heterosexual domination, the analysis shows three interrelated discursive constructions through which homophobia is both produced and resisted by teachers. Silencing homosexuality, denying its existence in the curriculum, and religious prohibitions were found to be dominant. It must be understood however that teachers are working in a context without any intervention and support. Their views also show potentialfor working against the climate of homophobia. Recommendations for such work are indicated in the conclusion of the paper. <![CDATA[<b>Developing the language of thinking within a classroom community of inquiry</b>: <b>pre-service teachers' experiences</b>]]> We argue that the "community of inquiry" approach, using reading materials modelled on Lipman's Philosophy for Children programme, is a theoretically justified and teacher-friendly means of promoting effective thinking skills. The stimulus materials, used by the pre-service teachers, consist ofshort stories ofclassroom life designed to elicit children's ideas for further discussion as a community of inquiry. Research has shown that the community of inquiry approach to classroom discussion is perceived positively by educators and teachers and makes a difference to learners. This study explored how the Intermediate and Senior Phase pre-service teachers experienced a classroom community of inquiry by using a qualitative research design with 47 final year pre-service teachers. Data consisted of written reflections from the whole class and recordings of two focus group interviews with selected individuals from the group. From the analysis of the data, the following themes became evident: personal and professional development, changes in learners, contextual concerns, and curriculum links. We conclude that this approach is a valuable addition to the pedagogical strategies of pre-service teachers.