Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=0256-010020130002&lang=es vol. 33 num. 2 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>The effect of technology on learner attention and achievement in the classroom</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The objective of this investigation was to determine the effect of technology on attention and achievement within a classroom context, taking motivation and concentration into account as well. Lessons in Geography, English and Mathematics were presented to an experimental and a control group consisting of 23 and 22 Grade 8 learners, respectively. Technology was implemented for the experimental group but not for the control group. Significant differences were found between the average achievements of a group of learners, exposed to technology during a lesson, compared to a group not exposed to technology. Significant differences were also found between the average attention of a group of learners, exposed to technology during a lesson, compared to a group not exposed to technology. A high positive relationship was obtained between motivation and concentration and moderate to high positive correlations were obtained between attention, concentration and motivation, taken jointly as independent variables and achievement as the dependent variable. <![CDATA[<b>High school learners' mental construction during solving optimisation problems in Calculus</b>: <b>a South African case study</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This qualitative case study in a rural school in Umgungundlovu District in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, explored Grade 12 learners' mental constructions of mathematical knowledge during engagement with optimisation problems. Ten Grade 12 learners who do pure Mathematics participated, and data were collected through structured activity sheets and semi-structured interviews. Structured activity sheets with three tasks were given to learners; these tasks were done in groups, and the group leaders were interviewed. It was found that learners tended to do well with routine-type questions, implying that they were functioning at an action level. From the interviews it appeared that learners might have the correct answer, but lacked conceptual understanding. Exploring learners' mental constructions via their responses to activity sheets and interviews enabled common errors and misconceptions to be identified. Themes that emerged were that learners: 1) lacked the understanding of notation dy/dx, 2) had not constructed the derivative and minima/maxima schema, 3) had some difficulty in modelling problems, 4) preferred rules and formulas, and 5) applied algebraic notions incorrectly. Inferences are drawn for curriculum developers and teachers. This study also formulated itemised genetic decompositions for particular tasks, which contribute to APOS theory. <![CDATA[<b>Consistencies far beyond chance</b>: <b>an analysis of learner preconceptions of reflective symmetry</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es This article reports on regularities observed in learners' preconceptions of reflective symmetry. Literature suggests that the very existence of such regularities indicates a gap between what learners know and what they need to know. Such a gap inhibits further understanding and application, and hence needed to be investigated. A total of 235 Grade 11 learners, from 13 high schools that participate in the First Rand Foundation-funded Mathematics Education project in the Eastern Cape, responded to a task on reflective symmetry. Our framework for analysing the responses was based on the taxonomy of structure of the observed learning outcome. The results indicated that 85% of learner responses reflect a motion understanding of reflections, where learners considered geometric figures as physical motions on top of the plane. While this understanding is useful in some cases, it is not an essential aspect of mapping understanding, which is critical for application in function notations and other analytical geometry contexts. We suggest that if this gap is to be closed, learners need to construct these reflections physically so that they may think of reflections beyond motion. <![CDATA[<b>An exploratory study on the utilisation of resilience by middle adolescents in reconstituted families following divorce</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Every year thousands of core families disintegrate through divorce, and in the ensuing restructuring of the family system the child has to cope with various development challenges, such as divided membership of two micro family systems and complexities that result at the mesosystemic level. Achieving positive development outcomes in the presence of challenging living circumstances entails complex interactive processes. The aim of the study was to understand the concomitant, reciprocal and/or responsive dynamics of middle adolescents' use of their inherent resilience potential in their movement back and forth between their two reconstituted family systems after the parents' divorce. The study was grounded in the qualitative interpretivist paradigm, and used a multiple case study as research design and a narrative format for description. A purposive sample of four white Afrikaans-speaking middle adolescents participated in the research. Findings revealed that middle adolescents of divorced parents utilise their resilience potential in a systemic manner, which requires a solid base provided by the meso system. Hence the utilisation of resilience relies at the very minimum on a functional relationship of cooperation between the biological parents. <![CDATA[<b>In-service teacher education</b>: <b>asking questions for higher order thinking in visual literacy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The kinds of questions teachers ask may thwart or promote learner high-order thinking; teachers themselves must have expertise in questioning skills to promote higher order cognition among learners. Drawing on experiential knowledge of assessment, and as an English-teaching professional development programme (PDP) facilitator, I demonstrate that within the framework of a carefully structured subject-specific PDP, teachers can be taught how to enhance thinking skills in the English visual literacy (VL) learning classroom. Guided by an earlier taxonomy of cognition, and using qualitative methodology, the paper analyses data obtained from: (i) observation notes and examination equivalents of 40 teachers from various public schools in Gauteng who were engaged in the Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE), English specialization programme; and (ii) a case study of three teachers by means of semi-structured interviews, and a study of their lesson plans and worksheets.The paper examines, specifically, teachers' choice of texts and questions asked, for English second-language learners for the teaching of VL. It concludes by suggesting that if teachers themselves are first engaged in the cognitive processes they wish learners to acquire, they are better positioned to promote higher order among their learners. <![CDATA[<b>The relationship between the critical thinking skills and the academic language proficiency of prospective teachers</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es We report on the relationships that exist between the critical thinking skills and the academic language proficiency ofa group of first-year prospective teachers at a South African university (n = 89). The results revealed the nature of the critical thinking skills as well as the academic language proficiency of the students. Significant correlations between academic language proficiency and making inferences, as well as between academic language proficiency and critical thinking as a general competency, were noted. The article concludes with recommendations on how to enhance critical thinking and language proficiency in the teacher-training curriculum. <![CDATA[<b>Scale development for pre-service mathematics teachers' perceptions related to their pedagogical content knowledge</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es The purpose of this study is to develop a scale to determine pre-service mathematics teachers' perceptions related to their pedagogical content knowledge. Firstly, a preliminary perception scale of pedagogical content knowledge was constructed and then administered to 112 pre-service mathematics teachers who were enrolled in a mathematics teacher education programme. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, item analysis, correlation analysis, internal consistency and descriptive statistic techniques were used to analyse the data. Then validity and reliability of the scale were investigated. The analyses resulted in the development of a five-factor scale of 17 items that was proved valid and reliable. We contend that the scale developed has the merit to contribute to pre-service teachers' self-awareness by revealing their perceptions regarding their pedagogical content knowledge. <![CDATA[<b>Teachers' reflections on distributive leadership in public primary schools in Soweto</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Schooling has become increasingly complex in purpose and structure and therefore requires appropriate forms of leadership to address this challenge. One current leadership approach that is receiving national and global attention is distributive leadership. A qualitative approach was employed to investigate teachers' experiences and perceptions of the practice of distributive leadership in public primary schools in Soweto. Soweto is a township in Johannesburg, South Africa, which comprises predominantly black African residents. The findings revealed that leadership in Soweto primary schools is rooted in classical leadership practices and that any potential for the practice of distributive leadership is hindered by autocratic styles of leadership, hierarchical structures, and non-participative decision-making. <![CDATA[<b>Callings, work role fit, psychological meaningfulness and work engagement among teachers in Zambia</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Our aim in this study was to investigate the relationships among a calling orientation, work role fit, psychological meaningfulness and work engagement of teachers in Zambia. A quantitative approach was followed and a cross-sectional survey was used. The sample (n = 150) included 75 basic and 75 secondary school teachers in the Choma district of Zambia. The Work Role Fit Scale, Work-Life Questionnaire, Psychological Meaningfulness Scale, and Work Engagement Scale were administered. Structural equation modelling confirmed a model in which a calling orientation impacted psychological meaningfulness and work engagement significantly. A calling orientation impacted work engagement directly, while such work orientation impacted psychological meaningfulness indirectly via work role fit. The results suggest that it is necessary to address the work orientation and work role fit of teachers in Zambia as pathways to psychological meaningfulness and work engagement.These results have implications for the recruitment, selection, training, and development of teachers in Zambia. <![CDATA[<b>Professional and organisational socialisation during leadership succession of a school principal</b>: <b>a narrative inquiry using visual ethnography</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es Leadership studies on principal succession show that new principals are required to address numerous challenges when adapting to a new school context. This paper, on a study that used a qualitative research design, reports on the professional and organisational socialisation of a new principal in a South African primary school during the first three years of the principal's appointment. Data were collected through a number of interviews and photographs and were presented in the form of a reflexive story. The principal's story illuminated the socialisation process and illustrated how he made sense of his role as a new principal of the school and the way in which he addressed the challenges in the school. The findings emphasised that socialisation in principal succession can be complex and varied, depending on factors such as the principal's personal characteristics and the school context. <![CDATA[<b>The zone of proximal development in the learning of mathematics</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200011&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es South Africa has a huge shortage of skilled workers in various fields such as engineering, applied sciences, accountancy, architecture, medicine and law. Mathematics is a requirement for entry in these careers to enable learners to grasp the content of various subjects in these disciplines. Despite that, in South Africa, learners' performance in mathematics is shocking. This article highlights the high failure rate of mathematics in a South African context. It suggests possible causes of learners' poor performance based on the literature. The article brings a socio-cultural theory of learning focusing on the zone ofproximal development as a possible solution in the development of instructional practices. It makes recommendations on what should be done to tackle anticipated problems as suggested in the discussion. <![CDATA[<b>The curriculum ideology of the South African secondary school Biology</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0256-01002013000200012&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es South Africa has had a number of curriculum reforms since 1994 which have been based on both political and education grounds. However, there is a dearth of knowledge about the nature of the envisioned graduates, especially with respect to social challenges. This can be addressed by exploring the curriculum ideology which outlines the vision of subjects within an education system by clarifying the aims of the subject, the content knowledge taught, the instructional process, the roles ofteachers and students, as well as the assessment processes. There are at leastfour curriculum ideologies, namely, the scholar academic ideology, efficiency ideology, student-centred ideology and social reconstruction ideology. The aim of the current study was to investigate the curriculum ideology of the Grade 11 Biology curriculum by analysing the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement. Results show that Biology adopts a multi-curriculum ideology approach with greater emphasis on scholar academic and student-centred ideologies. Characteristics of the social reconstruction ideology were the least observed. This implies that Biology is designed to advance the discipline but will probably not lead to social and student empowerment with regard to current social challenges.