Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Education]]> vol. 40 num. 3 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Prevalence of ADHD symptoms and their association with learning-related skills in Grade 1 children in South Africa</b>]]> Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD) are developmental disorders in children with 3 symptom clusters, namely hyperactivity, attention deficit and impulsivity, and a combination. We investigated the prevalence of the 3 symptom clusters and their association with learning-related skills among children aged 6 to 7 years in Bloemfontein, Free State province, South Africa. The Aptitude Test for School Beginners (ASB) was applied to determine learning-related skills, and the Strength and Weaknesses of ADHD Symptoms Normal Behaviour rating scale (SWAN) was used to determine ADHD symptoms. Data on SWAN scores were available for 390 children, while data on both the SWAN and ASB were available for 345 children (189 girls and 156 boys) with a mean age of 6 years and 8 months. The prevalence of ADHD symptoms was as follows: 74.6% of the children did not fulfil the criteria for ADD/ADHD, 7.7% presented with the combined subtype, 6.7% presented with hyperactivity and impulsiveness, and 11.0% with inattentiveness. The presence of ADHD symptoms had a significant effect p = < 0.05 on reasoning, numerical abilities, gestalt, coordination and memory. We conclude that ADHD symptoms are a significant risk factor for 5 of the 8 learning-related skills in children, namely numerical skills, memory, reasoning, gestalt and coordination. <![CDATA[<b>Cultural implications for learners' effectiveness as governors of schools in rural South Africa</b>]]> The South African Schools Act, 84 of 1996, articulates the establishment of School Governing Bodies, which authorises stakeholders such as parents, educators and learners to participate actively in decision-making processes pertaining to school governance. The Act further stipulates that learners, through the Representative Council of Learners, should be afforded full opportunity to participate in crucial decisions by the broader governing body. The reason for undertaking the study reported on here was triggered by the concern raised by various authors about the high level of ineffectiveness of learners as governors of schools in South Africa. This study explored and analysed the significance of culture in relation to learners' effectiveness as governors of schools in rural South Africa. A qualitative research approach, based on a purposive sampling method and interviews, was espoused by engaging members of the Representative Council of Learners in certain selected high schools of the Harry Gwala district in KwaZulu-Natal. The findings of the empirical study investigation divulged that culture was one of the main impediments to learners' effective school governance in the rural South African setting. The study recommends the intervention of the Department of Education, with the view of creating an environment conducive to active learner participation in school governance in rural areas. <![CDATA[<b>Principals' views on the implementation of the no-fee policy through the lens of capability theory</b>]]> The purpose of the study reported on here was to investigate the implementation of the no-fee schools policy in quintile 1 schools in the Frances Baard district of the Northern Cape province. The South African schooling system categorises schools into quintile 1 to 5 schools, and, since 2006, disadvantaged learners in quintiles 1 to 3 have been exempted from paying fees. This study explored the perceptions of school principals regarding the implementation of the no-fee policy in the South African context, by applying a capability approach, which offers a novel perspective. In the study we used a descriptive design located within the qualitative tradition. Nine principals from quintile 1 schools were purposively selected as participants. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, and a thematic framework was used for analysis. The findings indicate that the no-fee schools policy is only implemented partially by stakeholders (principals and school governing bodies). Furthermore, it was found that there is a lack of knowledge about the content of the policy which consequently inhibits effective implementation. Based on the findings, it is recommended that the Department of Education monitors the implementation of the no-fee policy more closely. <![CDATA[<b>Voices of resilience: Female school principals, leadership skills, and decision-making techniques</b>]]> In this article we report on a qualitative study which explored the life narratives and career trajectories of female school principals, to determine resilience factors in the principalship position. The female principals' voices and lived experiences were principle focus areas, not barriers or challenges they faced. In-depth insights were provided by narrative analysis as research methodology. Fifteen in-service female principals were selected from one school circuit in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. An interdisciplinary theoretical framework was used to guide the interpretation of the participants' perspectives, using change theory, the ethics of care, and resilience psychology. Findings of the study reveal, among others, that female principals had to be prepared theoretically, practically, and psychologically for the principalship, and that mentoring and learning leadership skills were profoundly valued. These key factors lead to both career and life resilience, and can be imparted to prospective principals. <![CDATA[<b>Collaboration practices between the two tiers of school leadership in eradicating underperformance</b>]]> Collaboration between the school governing body (SGB) and the school management team (SMT) in underperforming schools remains the crest for successful action taken to turn around performance as envisaged in the South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 (Republic of South Africa, 1996). Their interaction is crucial in advancing the course of performance improvement. In the study reported on here a qualitative method and an interpretivist approach was used to explore how shared leadership collaboration practices between the SGB and SMT can improve performance. A case of 3 purposefully sampled underperforming schools in the Gauteng West district was undertaken. Interviews with 3 principals (individually) and 3 focus group interviews with parent SGB members, SMT members and teachers were conducted. Findings show that when developmental needs of SGBs are considered significant and stakeholders are mobilised towards collective effort (letsema), collaboration and interaction enable school performance. It is recommended that SGB development be contextualised to enable swift interaction with stakeholders; the essence of the SGB and SMT collaboration in providing leadership and dealing with issues impacting on performance should be highlighted, so that they can plan activities that bring about improved performance. Employing courageous conversations to achieve institutional goals should be through collaborative endeavours that are inspired by ubuntu leadership practice. <![CDATA[<b>Critical skills for deputy principals in South African secondary schools</b>]]> The development of critical skills for deputy principals is a matter which deserves attention, owing to the critical role which deputy principals are expected to play in school management. However, this area of research is neglected and has received limited attention in the literature that focuses on school leadership development. In this vein, the critical skills needed by deputy principals should be identified in order to suggest measures or programmes to develop the skills. Moreover, the role of deputy principals in school management and leadership brings expectations which need to be met through effective performance. In order for deputy principals to perform their duties as expected, they need proper skills and professional development. The purpose of the study reported on here was to identify and establish the extent of the need of critical skills for deputy principals in secondary schools. In order to achieve the aim of the study, a quantitative survey was adopted to collect the data. The paradigm used was the post-positivist paradigm. The participants in the study were 157 secondary school deputy principals from one province in South Africa. Data were gathered using a standardised questionnaire and analysed by means of descriptive statistical techniques, including frequencies, means and percentages. The results reveal that deputy principals in the studied sample needed positional-awareness or role-awareness, technical, socialisation and self-awareness skills in order to perform their duties effectively. We recommend a preparation programme, mentoring and ongoing professional development to develop these skills for deputy principals in order to empower them to contribute to the attainment of quality education. <![CDATA[<b>Integration of MOODLE into the classroom for better conceptual understanding of functions in Mathematics</b>]]> Many South African educational institutions are adopting learning management systems (LMS) into their daily teaching and learning practice. The Western Cape Education Department piloted Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (Moodle), an LMS for improving teaching and learning. The objective of the research reported on here was to determine whether Moodle improved Grade 10 learners' conceptual understanding of the topic, functions, in mathematics. The research investigated two classes; one dependent upon a traditional chalk-and-talk teaching method (control), and another exposed to Moodle (experimental). It was found that learners constructed their own knowledge by drawing on resources embedded in Moodle and framed within a Social Constructivist theory. A hybrid e-learning framework was deployed; learners acquired knowledge by interacting with computers. Interaction was monitored and results were recorded using online surveys and tests. A quasi-experimental design was employed to compare the groups. The comparisons were statistically analysed. Results showed that the functionalities within the Moodle LMS were instrumental in improving conceptual understanding of mathematical functions. <![CDATA[<b>The concept of prime number and the strategies used in explaining prime numbers</b>]]> The teaching of mathematics does not only require the teacher to have knowledge about the subject, but the teacher also needs mathematical knowledge that is useful for the teaching and explaining thereof, as the teacher's knowledge effects the students' knowledge. A teacher should use appropriate mathematical explanation to be understood well by her/his students. In the study reported on here we investigated how prospective mathematics teachers defined the concept of prime number and which strategies they employed to explain the concept. The study was a descriptive survey within qualitative research. Forty-eight participants took part in the study and all completed the abstract algebra courses where they learned about the concept in question. The data collection tool was a form comprising 3 open-ended questions challenging what the concept of prime number was and how this concept could be explained to secondary/high school students. The data were analysed and the results show that the preservice teachers experienced great difficulty in defining the concept of prime number and that they used rules to explain prime numbers. <![CDATA[<b>Social and structural barriers related to menstruation across diverse schools in the Eastern Cape</b>]]> The barriers to education associated with menstruation vary from country to country and within countries. We report on a cross-sectional survey conducted in diverse schools in 2 districts of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Using multi-stage sampling (stratified random sampling of schools, and purposive sampling of Grade 11 female-identified ii learners), we accessed 1,035 respondents with an average age of 17.2 years. Respondents completed a questionnaire developed from previous questionnaires and our readings of the literature. We report here on results pertaining to the social and structural barriers related to menstruation. Just over one fifth of young women iii across the whole sample reported missing an average of 1.8 days of school per menstrual cycle, while a significant minority reported restrictions related to sporting and classroom activities. Results show, contrary to expectations, that young women attending under-resourced schools report missing fewer days than young women attending resourced schools, despite young women in under-resourced schools experiencing inadequate sanitation facilities and feeling unsafe using these facilities. This research indicates the importance of recognising social as well as structural features when considering the gendered barriers to education that menstruation may represent. <![CDATA[<b>Registered psychological counsellor training at a South African faculty of education: Are we impacting educational communities?</b>]]> The study reported on in this article explored the perceived psychosocial and educational impact on educational communities by alumni of the North-West University who completed their Bachelor of Education Honours degree in Educational Psychology. This programme has been running since 2003 and aimed at training registered counsellors who need to pass the Board of Psychology examination of the Health Professions Council of South Africa to be qualified as registered counsellors. To achieve the aim of this study, telephonic interviews were conducted to gather data from the counsellor alumni of the 2007, 2013, 2014 and 2016 cohorts. In total, 18 participants voluntarily participated in this qualitative research study. The participants' perceptions were analysed using inductive content analysis; the findings suggest that counselling is an add-on skill for these alumni, utilised only on a part-time or secondary basis, as the overwhelming majority work as teachers in educational settings. The psychosocial and educational impact from a registered counsellor's perspective seems to be limited as most of them are teachers and only some provide counselling services in the educational environment where they work. The implications are that some adjustments in the training of registered counsellors - from a holistic wellbeing framework - need to be made, as that the category should be intensively marketed. <![CDATA[<b>Social media commenters' understanding of the antecedents of teacher-targeted bullying</b>]]> This article reports on the findings of a small-scale, extant, qualitative social media research study on commenters' understanding of the antecedents of teacher-targeted bullying. Comments on an article posted by Sarah Sorge (2013) on The Educator's Room were used as data source. Guided by an ecological model and the attribution theory, the study identified victim and perpetrator attributes, colleagues' indifference and unprofessionalism, school management's lack of leadership and failure to address the problem, as well as socio-cultural factors and policy changes as antecedents of teacher-targeted bullying. It is argued that conventional teacher-learner power relations are flawed due to the unsupportive, even antagonistic attitudes of parents, colleagues, society at large, people in leadership positions and policy makers towards the victims of teacher-targeted bullying. It is concluded that, despite ethical dilemmas, the advent of the Internet and social media has created opportunities for researchers to use comments posted on the Internet as a data source to investigate teacher-targeted bullying. <![CDATA[<b>The relationship between assessment and preparing BEd undergraduate students for the South African school context</b>]]> The Bachelor of Education (BEd) undergraduate degree at a university in the Gauteng province, South Africa, aims to prepare pre-service teachers by using their experiences to expose them to the South African schooling context. This is done using a scaffolded process that includes formative assessment, summative assessment and Work-Integrated Learning (WIL, also known as teaching experience). This paper describes research findings based on a sequential mixed method design used within a constructivist paradigm to collect data on the role of assessment in pre-service teacher preparation. Eighty participants answered 16 questions on a nominal scale, and from this sample, 8 participants took part in semi-structured, one-on-one interviews. Based on the findings, it was concluded that all types of assessment were beneficial for pre-service teacher preparation as part of an assessment schedule - especially the case with WIL. However, WIL was criticised for not aligning with the current context and for a need to include the realities of paperwork, policies and systems as well as the emotional strain experienced by in-service teachers. The results suggest that by making WIL more authentic could impact pre-service teachers during their careers when deciding whether to remain in the profession. <![CDATA[<b>A professional development programme for implementing indigenous play-based pedagogy in kindergarten schools in Ghana</b>]]> In this article we report on the development and implementation of a professional development programme for teachers of the kindergarten curriculum (4-5 year olds) in Ghana. Kindergarten teachers in Ghana have little experience and meagre training in implementing a play-based pedagogy as recommended in the national curriculum. An indigenous play-based kindergarten teacher development programme was developed and successfully used to improve participating teachers' knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices during the first year of its implementation. Data collected through classroom observation, interviews, photographs, participating teachers' reflective journals and an evaluation questionnaire revealed that this programme had a positive impact on classroom practices and learners' active participation in learning. The essential components of the programme are described as a guide for professional teacher development for delivering indigenous play-based pedagogy (IPBP) in early childhood education. <![CDATA[<b>Pre-service teachers' pedagogical development through the peer observation professional development programme</b>]]> Student-teaching internships in a teacher-preparation programme are a significant way for teachers to gain practical skills and transfer their textbook knowledge into classroom practice. One of the outcomes of student-teaching internships is that pre-service teachers can observe experienced teachers' teaching pedagogy and strategies for implementing their skills. The purpose of the research study reported on here was to explore how pre-service teachers acquire and improve their teaching pedagogy through the peer observation training model at the secondary school at which they intern, with a focus on pre-service teachers with an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teaching. The results indicate that most of the participants could learn and improve their teaching pedagogy through the peer observation professional development programme - particularly young teachers without significant work experience. More importantly, the research proved how a peer observation cycle programme may apply to different educational systems with similar structures internationally, particularly in former European colonised countries with similar backgrounds. <![CDATA[<b>School-based supervision enhances the professional development of teachers</b>]]> The issue addressed in the study reported on here was the establishment of a clinical school-based model of supervision which was pragmatic and developmental-oriented for the professional development of teachers, a concept currently advocated by the supervisory corps. Since a mixed methods approach was used in the study, a closed-ended 3-point Likert-type questionnaire (1 to 31) was used to collect quantitative data with one question (32), gathering qualitative from 102 respondents who were purposively and systematically selected. The developmental aspect embedded in the school-based supervisory model demands that the process is constant and continuous, ruling out traditional supervisory models which demanded more control, compliance, predictability and accountability. Consequently, this would render the traditional inspectorate teams redundant. Supervisors armed with various models of supervision would be compelled to adopt an eclectic approach to supervision contingent to the situation. <![CDATA[<b>The effect of the successful intelligence interactive module on Universiti Utara Malaysia students' analytical, creative and practical thinking skills</b>]]> The study reported on here aimed to examine the effectiveness of the successful intelligence interactive module (SIIM) that employs thinking skills using the successful intelligence theory. This was an empirical study that used mixed method analysis. The rationale for the development of this interactive module was to increase the analytical, practical, and creative thinking skills score among undergraduates in the education programme at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). We administered a quasi-experimental design with pre-tests and post-tests to 70 UUM undergraduates in the education programme. The participants were randomly selected and divided into a control group and an experimental group. The ANCOVA test result showed that SIIM was effective in increasing the respondents' analytical, practical, and creative thinking skills scores. Overall, the findings showed that the teaching approach of using the interactive module was effective in enhancing analytical, creative and practical thinking skills. This study provides positive implications for undergraduates' soft skill development in preparation for their future careers.