Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 40 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>A hope-based future orientation intervention to arrest adversity</b>]]> Hope has been identified as a key element to success in planning one's future. An attitude of hope opposes feelings of despair and can sustain one through adversity. The study reported on in this article is based on the premise that everyone needs hope to thrive and that educators can be providers of hope for the future, since they are responsible for building capacity in young people. Educators can assist young people towards successful transition from school to tertiary education and training, before entering the world of work, by focusing on practical interventions. The prevailing difficulties within the economic-socio-political arena contribute to ubiquitous feelings of helplessness and hopelessness among both privileged and disenfranchised people. The intention of this case study was to explore the efficacy of a hope-based future orientation intervention to arrest the negative impact of adversities faced by a university student. The participatory action research approach was used to gain insight into the experiences of the participant. The analysis was qualitative. The efficacy of this intervention, which uses constructs of hope as a unique foundation, is discussed. <![CDATA[<b>School climate, an enabling factor in an effective peer education environment: Lessons from schools in South Africa</b>]]> Globally, peer education and school climate are important topics for educators. Peer education has been shown to improve young people's decision-making and knowledge about healthy and prosocial behaviour, while a positive school climate contributes to positive learning outcomes in general. In this article we explore the role of school climate in enabling the success of peer education outcomes. We do so by considering 8 geographically and socially distinct schools in the Western Cape province of South Africa where the peer education programme, Listen Up, was implemented, and for which measures of peer education quality exist. We then report a qualitative assessment of each school's climate characteristics (student-interpersonal relations, student-teacher relations, order and discipline, school leadership, and achievement motivation), conducted through a rapid ethnography drawing on work by Bronfenbrenner (1977) and Haynes, Emmons and Ben-Avie (1997). Finally, we conclude that school climate can enhance learning and positive peer education outcomes. <![CDATA[<b>Not a panacea, but vital for improvement? Leadership development programmes in South African schools</b>]]> The performance of South Africa's educational system in national and international tests indicates that a large proportion of its public schools are underperforming. Ineffective leadership has been put forward as one reason. This paper analyses a leadership development programme, Partners for Possibility (PfP), which seeks to strengthen leadership in underperforming schools. PfP employs a one-year, cross-sector social partnership that pairs school principals with business leaders. Literature on leadership development attests to the problem of learning transfer. Interviews were conducted with 9 PfP principal-business leader dyads and 4 PfP unpaired participants. The research also included observations of PfP meetings and analysis of PfP reports. Although PfP's partnerships were found to support the school principals' learning, the cost of the programme limits its scalability. PfP's group learning component was also found to sometimes divert partnerships from transformational to transactional forms. This study contributes to the understanding of learning transfer within social partnerships. It also highlights a limitation of programmes such as PfP, which aim at school improvement, but are not focused on instructional practice. The article explores ways in which partnership programmes could be strengthened. <![CDATA[<b>Student teachers' perceptions, experiences, and challenges regarding learner-centred teaching</b>]]> Learner-centred teaching education generally involves methods of teaching that move the focus of instruction from the teacher to the learner. The "learner-centred" label is subsequently attached to teaching strategies, learning events, classroom layout and learning programmes. Aspects such as active learning, learner commitment and the construction of own knowledge are among the principles of learner-centred teaching. Worldwide, the thorough training of teachers is crucial. Every organisation preparing teachers should establish whether they offer suitable qualifications that empower student teachers to cope with the abundant difficulties of the teaching occupation, including learner-centred teaching. The aim of this article is to explore student teachers' perceptions, experiences, and challenges of learner-centred teaching. To this end, an inquisitive research strategy and qualitative research approach were selected as suitable methodology. Data was collected through a voluntary written assignment set out in student teachers' teaching practice notebooks. The participants were fourth-year students enrolled at a higher education institution for the Bachelor of Education (BEd) qualification (with speciality in the Foundation Phase). These students were placed in productive, successful schools for the duration of their teaching practicum by the teachers training institution. In addition to their placements, they had to complete their teaching practice at schools in widely differing social environments. The schools' locations ranged from well-off areas, with good teaching means, to schools in poor areas that were lacking learning support materials. The participants were from diverse cultural groups. Furthermore, the constructivist learning theory was used as theoretical framework. The findings reveal that student teachers have a limited understanding of learner-centred teaching and are currently experiencing three serious challenges with regard to learner-centred teaching. To combat this, guiding principles involving lecturers' support and involvement, reflection, and the accountable intervention of mentor teachers are suggested. <![CDATA[<b>Pre-service teachers' views about the nature of science and scientific inquiry: The South African case</b>]]> The convenience sample used in the study reported on here consisted of 91 students enrolled in the primary and middle school Postgraduate Certificate in Education course for 2 consecutive years at a South African university. We used the Student Understanding of Science and Science Inquiry instrument to answer questions about these students' knowledge of the nature of science and scientific inquiry compared to that published for pre-service primary and middle school teachers from China, Turkey, and the United States of America (USA), whether the changes proposed for the instrument enhanced its reliability, and whether any correlation could be found to these students' age and educational factors. The findings show that these South African student teachers shared similar levels of knowledge of the nature of science and scientific inquiry to their counterparts from Turkey and the USA, all of which were less sophisticated than that of the Chinese students. The test was found to have a high degree of reliability in the South African context, with the proposed changes to the instrument doing little to enhance this. The older students and those who did not study any tertiary science or mathematics courses scored statistically significantly higher. We suggest that the confirmatory nature of tertiary practical science work and exposure to the complexity of science in postgraduate work or employment in industry could explain these findings. <![CDATA[<b>The role of professional learning communities to support teacher development: A social practice theory perspective</b>]]> In this article I discuss the potential of professional learning communities (PLCs) within the South African education context using a practice theory lens. PLCs are presented by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) as collaborative learning communities that are fundamentally social and should be established in all schools (DBE, Republic of South Africa, 2015). In order to consider how PLCs could be used within the current South African schooling context to support teacher development, the article provides an exposition of practice theory that is exemplified by a discussion on how PLCs can support teachers' pedagogical practice. Drawing on practice theory that states that the world is constructed and ordered by social practices rather than individuals and their attitudes, behaviour, or choices, the article suggests that the conceptual framework of social practice theory provides a productive way forward in conceptualising the social nature of teachers' pedagogical practices and consequently ways in which sustained improvement in teaching and learning can be analysed and understood as a social and individual phenomenon. <![CDATA[<b>Learning from professional conversation: A conversation analysis study</b>]]> This article analyses conversation around classroom discipline to establish how teachers learn through professional conversation. The study was a qualitative study that originally adopted an ethno-methodological research design. Purposive sampling was used to select 6 primary school teachers from the East London Education District in the Eastern Cape. A video recorder was used to capture the conversation which lasted for 31 minutes 56 seconds after school hours. The recording was viewed repeatedly and transcribed verbatim. Three learning episodes were selected from the transcript for further transcription following Jefferson's notations for conversation analysis purposes. Clayman and Gill's (2004) conversation analysis levels were used to analyse selected episodes to establish how teachers learn through professional conversation. The findings show that teachers learn through requesting advice and testing ideas, and through the sharing of ideas. The findings also indicate that teachers use response preferences (response favourites both in agreement or disagreement during conversation), repairing or assisting one another through talking, nodding, and laughing as learning strategies. The study concludes that professional conversation is relevant for continuing teachers' professional development. We recommend that teachers should embrace professional conversation for exchanging knowledge and experiences for learning purposes. We also encourage teachers to adopt conversational strategies highlighted in this study for professional learning purposes. Research experts on teacher learning should be involved in school workshops in order to further enhance teacher learning in specific areas. <![CDATA[<b>Implications of the quantitative literacies test results of the National Benchmark Test Project (NBTP) for teachers</b>]]> Learners intending to enter some higher education (HE) institutions in South Africa write the National Benchmark Tests (NBTs) that are expected to provide a measure of their readiness for HE. A large gap exists between the quantitative literacy competencies of many of these learners and expectations at HE level. In this article I explore the following research question: Which quantitative literacy competencies required in HE, as identified through the National Benchmark Test Project (NBTP), are not well developed in the test takers, and what does this imply for teachers? Twelve test-item results in which candidates performed the poorest were analysed (N = 2348). The focus areas identified for teachers included quantity, number and operations, data representation, and change. The research indicates that, to enhance learners' competence in these areas, teachers should provide them with more challenging tasks than, for example, reading a single value from a graph, chart or table. Instead, learners should be required to integrate information from more than one graph/chart. <![CDATA[<b>Prevalence of motor skill impairment among Grade R learners in the West Coast District of South Africa</b>]]> A high prevalence of medical conditions affects the typical motor development of learners in the West Coast District of South Africa. Given the strong correlation between motor skill performance and academic achievement, this study aimed to determine the prevalence of motor skill impairment among Grade R learners (5-7-year olds) enrolled in public schools in the area. Multistage cluster sampling was used to identify 6 schools from which all Grade R learners were invited to participate. Following ethical approval, 138 learners' gross and fine motor skills were assessed using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children 2nd edition (M-ABC2). Results indicate that the prevalence of significant motor skill impairment in this region was high at 14.5%, and that the prevalence of children with manual dexterity difficulties was very high, at 24.6% (i.e. scores below the 15th percentile of the M-ABC2) when compared to global statistics, yet comparable to countries with a similar socio-economic structure. The prevalence of children with balance difficulties was 18.1%, while the prevalence of children with difficulties in aiming and catching was low at 4.3%. Pearson's correlation indicates that gender (male), a lack of playground equipment and low weight/height are factors associated with learners' poor manual dexterity, while poor manual dexterity and balance skills were associated with learners attending no-fee schools. The study confirms that motor skill difficulties are a significant problem in this region and calls for further research to address the problem. <![CDATA[<b>The effect of psychological violence on preschool teachers' perceptions of their performance</b>]]> The phenomenon of psychological violence (mobbing) explained within the context of psychological aggression, is gaining attention due to increased focus on industrialisation and work life. The study aimed to examine the effects of mobbing experienced by teachers on the way they perceive their performance. The research sample consisted of 698 teachers (647 female/51 male) working in public preschools. The Mobbing Scale developed by Yaman (2009), and the Teachers' Perception of Performance Scale developed by Özözen Danacý (2009) were used as data collection tools. In data analysis, the correlations of teachers' psychological violence levels to their self-performance assessment and managing skills were determined. The findings suggest that there is a significant negative relationship between psychological violence and work performance. Based on the findings obtained in this study, the aim was to establish an educational environment without any psychological violence to provide an improved service. <![CDATA[<b>Contribution of teaching assistants to quality education in Grade 1 classrooms</b>]]> Grade 1 learners in South Africa are not receiving the quality education they deserve. Early Childhood Education forms the basis of all education; however, numerous challenges in the South African education system impede the teaching and learning of young children. In this article we investigate Grade 1 teachers' responsibilities in the class and the teachers' management of the complex teaching environments. Qualitative data using semi‑structured interviews with 9 Grade 1 teachers and teaching assistants (TAs) at 6 schools were used to gain insight into and explore various perspectives on the need for the services of teaching assistants in Grade 1 classrooms. The participants were selected from public, private and rural schools, using purposeful sampling, to allow for a broad spectrum of inputs. Findings indicate that participants regard the presence of teaching assistants as a necessity in Grade 1 classrooms as it allows the teacher to focus on quality teaching. The support provided by teaching assistants contributes to the quality of the learning facilitated by the teacher and allows learners access to the individualised attention that they need. <![CDATA[<b>A proverb in need is a proverb indeed: Proverbs, textbooks and communicative language ability</b>]]> In the study reported here we focus on proverbs in English Language Teaching (ELT) coursebooks and how the pithy structure and the "wisdom"-loaded content of proverbs can contribute to the development of foreign language learners' communicative competence as defined by Bachman (1990). We discuss how the most frequently used coursebooks in the context of English as a foreign language (EFL) were identified through a questionnaire administered to 127 first and fourth-year EFL pre-service teachers. We also show how these popular coursebooks were scrutinised for the inclusion and presentation of proverbs by using content analysis and an analysis form to uncover (1) the number of the proverbs incorporated, (2) whether or not the presentation of the proverbs in the coursebooks would foster the development of the competencies identified by Bachman (1990), and (3) whether they were among the most known and frequently used proverbs in present-day English (i.e., currency). The findings reveal a number of problems related to the frequency and currency of the included proverbs, and to the adequacy of the presentation of the proverbs in the examined coursebooks to help students i develop their communicative competence. <![CDATA[<b>Management capability in a structural modelling of the quality of economics and accounting education in Indonesia</b>]]> The research reported on in this article was motivated by the absence of modifications to A model for the study of classroom teaching proposed by Dunkin and Biddle in 1974. In this paper we aim to provide revision input to A model for the study of classroom teaching by adding management capability to the group of school community context. The research examined the suitability of structural equation modelling between managerial capability and the quality of economic and accounting education based on the data, as well as the effect of managerial capability on the quality of economic and accounting education. The research instrument consisted of two inventory sets that were valid and reliable. The validity and reliability of items were tested using Cronbach's Alpha (Alpha Cronbach's = .89 and .87; R = .78 and R = .82). Data was collected from 150 principals and 150 economics and accounting teachers. Based on the analysis using the linear structural relations (LISREL) 8.80 version, the results of the study show that: 1) the structural equation model of managerial capability, including managing schools and performing management functions, managing human resources and educational personnel, and managing the learning process, can be used to estimate, predict, or explain the quality of economic and accounting education; 2) managerial capability has a significant effect on the quality of economic and accounting education in schools. Based on these findings, management capability can be included as a revision of A model for the study of classroom teaching. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring female learners' perceptions of learning geometry in mathematics</b>]]> In this article we explore female learners' perceptions of learning Grade 11 geometry. Many learners have difficulty in learning geometry in mathematics, thus, teachers and researchers are constantly searching for reasons why learners have challenges with learning geometry with the aim of developing suitable pedagogic strategies to alleviate these challenges. An improvement in female learner performance advances learners' pass rates in mathematics, which has the potential to improve the economic status of South Africa. Data was generated from 1 secondary school for girls in the KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa. Qualitative data was generated through the use of learner journal entries and focus group interviews. All generated data was coded and analysed using the NVivo software program. Employing Piaget's constructivist theory as a lens to analyse the data generated, the article highlights that the participants (N = 30) held both positive and negative perceptions of learning Grade 11 geometry. Findings from this study suggest that if teachers wanted to improve female learners' performance in mathematics, then important steps needed to be taken to alleviate learners' negative perceptions of learning Grade 11 geometry. Some suggestions are provided. <![CDATA[<b>The alignment of the Grade 12 physics examination with the CAPS curriculum: (November 2014-March 2018)</b>]]> The South African Department of Education has attributed the poor pass rates in Grade 12 Physical Sciences to the learners' lack of practical work and the inability of learners to solve problems by integrating their knowledge from different topics in Physical Sciences. A possible reason for this could be a disjointed alignment between the curriculum and the examinations. The study reported on in this article focused on the alignment between the curriculum and the examination by analysing the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) document, the Examinations Guidelines documents, and the final and supplementary examinations of Paper 1 (P1) for Grade 12 Physical Sciences. We used the Surveys of Enacted Curriculum method, which incorporates a document analysis of CAPS and P1 using Bloom's taxonomy as a classification tool for the 4 physics topics and the 4 levels of cognitive demand. We found a balance of representation of 67%; a cognitive complexity of 80%; and an average Porter's alignment index of 0.76 between the CAPS and P1, all of which indicates a disjointed CAPS-P1 alignment. We recommend that the CAPS-P1 alignment be reconsidered.