Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 36 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Lessons learnt from teachers' perspectives on mobile learning in South Africa with cultural and linguistic constraints</b>]]> South Africa's classrooms are characterised by a wide variety of cultural and linguistic differences, providing teachers with educational challenges, particularly in mathematics and science subjects. In response, various mobile learning systems have been developed and piloted in the North West and Gauteng Provinces of South Africa. A framework has been proposed to support the development of similar technologies to be used in multilingual contexts. This paper evaluates teachers' perspectives on this framework using interviews with eight teachers from a mixture of urban and rural schools in various locations across the two provinces. The results of the study reflect the important roles that language and culture play in the technology needed to support learning in linguistically diverse schools. They highlight the challenges that teachers in schools face in diversely linguistic classrooms and how technology can be used to enhance such classrooms. <![CDATA[<b>Educators' experiences of their relationships with adolescents involved in drug use</b>]]> Substance use amongst learners in South Africa has become a significant problem, with relationships between educators and learners being seriously challenged. Educators are often in a position to notice changes in the behaviour of learners and are able to provide support and assistance. A phenomenological, explorative study was undertaken and in-depth interviews were conducted with 16 educators from a secondary school in a high-risk community in the Western Cape. In addition, a World Café group discussion was used in order to tap the participants' collective wisdom. The data was analysed thematically -using positive psychology as a conceptual framework. This focuses not only on what is wrong or pathological, but rather on what is positive, attempting to nurture resilience and strengths in individuals and communities. Two main themes emerged: challenges to the educator-learner relationships, and the educators' skills and strengths in nurturing positive relationships. It was found that educators' personal well-being is important in order for them to deal with these challenging interactions. Educators used a number of skills and strengths in order to overcome challenges and to foster positive educator-learner relationships. A recommendation for future research is to explore the experiences of learners who have used drugs, and sought support from educators, focusing in particular on what aspects hindered and/or facilitated the relationship between them. <![CDATA[<b>The feasibility of Quality Function Deployment (QFD) as an assessment and quality assurance model</b>]]> Business schools are globally often seen as structured, purpose-driven, multi-sector and multi-perspective organisations. This article is based on the response of a graduate school to an innovative industrial Quality Function Deployment-based model (QFD), which was to be adopted initially in a Master's degree programme for quality assurance purposes. The approach is based on the premise that individuals ought to take responsibility for the quality of their own work. A structured qualitative case study approach was used with the deployment of one-on-one and focus group interviews, document analysis, and observations. Convenient sampling assisted in reaching 27 respondents (five from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, eight academics and university managers and 14 students and alumni), documents and facilities that had the most pertinent information on the research focus. A validation study was used to test the value of the research findings to business and the practice of quality assurance. The main findings of the study attest to the feasibility of QFD as an assessment and quality assurance tool in higher education, and as a compact and holistic model for quality assurance that subsumes the many fragmented models available. QFD appears to supersede most models, where it compounds the market, social and management dimensions in terms of quality. In addition, Six Sigma Road Mapping can be linked to QFD to balance the quality requirements in terms of planned quality, offered quality and expected quality. <![CDATA[<b>Causes of financial mismanagement in South African public schools: The views of role players</b>]]> This paper investigates the underlying causes of financial mismanagement in public schools and focuses on the perceptions of various role players in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The various Departments of Basic Education in South Africa allocate funds to schools each year, and expect school principals and school governing bodies to manage it appropriately. The problem is that in some schools, the principals, teachers and school governing body members are perpetrators of various financial mismanagement activities related to financial mismanagement. This article reports on qualitative research used to arrive at an in-depth understanding of why financial mismanagement occurs in certain schools. For this purpose, data was collected through semi-structured interviews with principals, finance officers and departmental officials and analysed thematically. The findings revealed a lack of knowledge of legislation and skills, poor monitoring and control of funds, unavailability of financial policies in schools, omission to act against culprits, and lack of honesty, openness and trustworthiness. The article proposes remedies that might bring financial management in public schools in line with the principles of good governance. <![CDATA[<b>Transforming beginner teacher mentoring interventions for social reform</b>]]> This article reports on an investigation into the use of action research for beginner teachers' professional development through the use of peer mentoring. Action research principles were applied by the mentor and the participating mentees/peers, forming a scholarly community of practice. The mentees were empowered to transform their teaching practice by applying the principles of Whole Brain® Learning (Herrmann, 1995) as a means to enact the role of facilitator and to take responsibility for developing scholarship of teaching, as it is aligned with the role of scholar and lifelong learner. The mentor (first author) who also was a beginner teacher at the time of the execution of the research project, had to enact the same roles with a view to transforming her mentorship practice, thereby enacting the role of transformative leader (Wolvaardt & Du Toit, 2012). Data collection methods included brain profiling and feedback questionnaires, observations, and video and photographic evidence. Some of the qualitative data collected by means of a feedback questionnaire are reported. Facilitating the mentoring programme offered the mentor the opportunity to develop professionally by using action research as a means to taking responsibility for her professional development per se. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring student teachers' views of science process skills in their initial teacher education programmes</b>]]> The South African secondary school curriculum emphasises the importance of science process skills in its respective natural sciences curricula. The purpose of this study was to explore the views of student teachers with regard to the importance they attach to these skills. A 14-item questionnaire was administered to 75 third- and fourth-year student teachers registered for a Bachelor of Education degree. A small qualitative component was included with a view to identifying selected skills embedded in practical activities the students found interesting. Statistical analysis of the students' responses to the questionnaire items revealed that they rated most skills as important for student teachers to acquire in their teacher education programmes. When asked to identify most important and least important skills for them to acquire personally, the findings were slightly different. With regard to analysis of the students' responses to practical activities, student teachers found interesting, observing and interpreting emerged as key skills. These findings point to indirect influence of their teacher educators' praxis, hence the recommendation to explicitly state the skills included in practical activities offered along with an explanation of how particular skills may be acquired. <![CDATA[<b>Variables associated with Grade R English Additional Language acquisition in multilingual rural Mpumalanga schools</b>]]> In a previous study Moodley, Kritzinger and Vinck (2014) found that formal English Additional Language (EAL) instruction contributed significantly better to listening and speaking skills in Grade R learners, than did a play-based approach. The finding in multilingual rural Mpumalanga schools was in agreement with numerous studies elsewhere. Additional extraneous variables such as teachers' first language, qualifications, age and experience, and learners' first language and gender may also relate to EAL performance. The aim of the present study has been to determine whether these variables were significantly associated with learners' EAL performance scores. A matched two group comparison study was conducted, utilising 175 learners and 10 teachers from isiNdebele, isiZulu, Sepedi, siSwati and Xitsonga first language backgrounds. The English Language Proficiency standards assessment tool was used. Learners of IsiNdebele teachers and young qualified teachers performed better than other learners. Learners with isiNdebele as first language performed better than learners from other languages. No association between gender and learner performance was found. The advantage of isiNdebele speaking teachers and learners in EAL teaching and learning may relate to the many borrowed phonemes and words from English. Further research is required to strengthen the evidence. <![CDATA[<b>Establishing a research agenda for Foundation Phase<a href="#back2"><sup>i</sup></a> initial teacher education: A systematic review (1994-2014)</b>]]> Poor literacy and numeracy levels in schools have raised questions in South Africa, as they have internationally, on the quality and appropriateness of initial teacher education for preparing teachers for the complexities faced in schools generally and for the mediation of literacy and numeracy in the early years in particular. This paper profiles empirical research relating to initial teacher education over two decades of South African democracy, derived from a systematic review of journal articles, with the aim of proposing an agenda for research into foundation phase initial teacher education. It concludes that in the period between the birth of South Africa's democracy and the present, there is little evidence of sustained research on initial teacher education in general, and a dearth of research focused on teacher preparation for the foundation phase in particular. The paper argues for the development of a research agenda that better takes account of the iterative relationship between researching classrooms and researching initial teacher education, especially as it relates to the foundation phase, where research is patchy and unsystematic. Evidence from such research might not only provide a base for policy and curriculum decisions but also lead to more responsive and contextually relevant teacher preparation.