Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Education as Change]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1947-941720210001&lang=en vol. 25 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Disrupting Patriarchal Perceptions of Single-Mother Families: An Analysis of Adolescent Narratives</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Parental educational support plays a significant role in the educational success of learners. Research has emphasised the important role of father involvement in educational achievement; however, little is known about how educational support is understood within marginalised contexts such as female-headed households, especially where fathers are absent or largely uninvolved in the lives of children. This article presents the perspectives of six adolescents in a South African community who reflect on what father involvement means to them in relation to educational support. Semi-structured interviews and a focus group were conducted with the participants to discuss their experiences. We use feminist theory to highlight the informal and non-traditional forms of support that are present in these female-headed households. The data were analysed by means of thematic content analysis. The findings revealed that all the adolescents had complex and deeply personal perspectives on the role a father could play in their lives, and that these views often contrasted with dominant stereotypes of female-headed households as inherently inferior. Although all the adolescents showed a desire for a relationship with a biological father, in some cases the influence of a father was framed as detrimental to the family unit and the educational success of the adolescents. These findings have implications for how schools and educational stakeholders can understand and engage with adolescents and families in female-headed households. <![CDATA[<b>Decolonising Schools in South Africa: The Impossible Dream?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Parental educational support plays a significant role in the educational success of learners. Research has emphasised the important role of father involvement in educational achievement; however, little is known about how educational support is understood within marginalised contexts such as female-headed households, especially where fathers are absent or largely uninvolved in the lives of children. This article presents the perspectives of six adolescents in a South African community who reflect on what father involvement means to them in relation to educational support. Semi-structured interviews and a focus group were conducted with the participants to discuss their experiences. We use feminist theory to highlight the informal and non-traditional forms of support that are present in these female-headed households. The data were analysed by means of thematic content analysis. The findings revealed that all the adolescents had complex and deeply personal perspectives on the role a father could play in their lives, and that these views often contrasted with dominant stereotypes of female-headed households as inherently inferior. Although all the adolescents showed a desire for a relationship with a biological father, in some cases the influence of a father was framed as detrimental to the family unit and the educational success of the adolescents. These findings have implications for how schools and educational stakeholders can understand and engage with adolescents and families in female-headed households. <![CDATA[<b>Assault on the Public Good</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Parental educational support plays a significant role in the educational success of learners. Research has emphasised the important role of father involvement in educational achievement; however, little is known about how educational support is understood within marginalised contexts such as female-headed households, especially where fathers are absent or largely uninvolved in the lives of children. This article presents the perspectives of six adolescents in a South African community who reflect on what father involvement means to them in relation to educational support. Semi-structured interviews and a focus group were conducted with the participants to discuss their experiences. We use feminist theory to highlight the informal and non-traditional forms of support that are present in these female-headed households. The data were analysed by means of thematic content analysis. The findings revealed that all the adolescents had complex and deeply personal perspectives on the role a father could play in their lives, and that these views often contrasted with dominant stereotypes of female-headed households as inherently inferior. Although all the adolescents showed a desire for a relationship with a biological father, in some cases the influence of a father was framed as detrimental to the family unit and the educational success of the adolescents. These findings have implications for how schools and educational stakeholders can understand and engage with adolescents and families in female-headed households. <![CDATA[<b>Introductory and Editorial Note</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Parental educational support plays a significant role in the educational success of learners. Research has emphasised the important role of father involvement in educational achievement; however, little is known about how educational support is understood within marginalised contexts such as female-headed households, especially where fathers are absent or largely uninvolved in the lives of children. This article presents the perspectives of six adolescents in a South African community who reflect on what father involvement means to them in relation to educational support. Semi-structured interviews and a focus group were conducted with the participants to discuss their experiences. We use feminist theory to highlight the informal and non-traditional forms of support that are present in these female-headed households. The data were analysed by means of thematic content analysis. The findings revealed that all the adolescents had complex and deeply personal perspectives on the role a father could play in their lives, and that these views often contrasted with dominant stereotypes of female-headed households as inherently inferior. Although all the adolescents showed a desire for a relationship with a biological father, in some cases the influence of a father was framed as detrimental to the family unit and the educational success of the adolescents. These findings have implications for how schools and educational stakeholders can understand and engage with adolescents and families in female-headed households. <![CDATA[<b>From Access to Quality? Examining the Interim Quasi-State Schools for Rural Migrants in Urban China</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article focuses on the educational quality of the newly emerged quasi-state schools for rural migrant children in urban China. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 government officers, school leaders, teachers and migrant parents in Shanghai. Adopting a theoretical perspective of policy as a temporary settlement of interests, the article deconstructs the power relations that constructed the disadvantaged positionality of these schools in the local school system. What can be identified from the empirical data is the emergence of an "interim quasi-state school system" with three interrelated features: it belongs to the state sector, offers quasi-state education and has an interim nature. Under the local government's low-cost and inferior schooling approach, the whole system is treated as an emergency mechanism for solving the floating children's schooling problem, rather than as regular schools offering high quality education. While realising the children's right to education, this system does not guarantee them a "good" education. <![CDATA[<b>Introductory and Editorial Note</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article focuses on the educational quality of the newly emerged quasi-state schools for rural migrant children in urban China. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 19 government officers, school leaders, teachers and migrant parents in Shanghai. Adopting a theoretical perspective of policy as a temporary settlement of interests, the article deconstructs the power relations that constructed the disadvantaged positionality of these schools in the local school system. What can be identified from the empirical data is the emergence of an "interim quasi-state school system" with three interrelated features: it belongs to the state sector, offers quasi-state education and has an interim nature. Under the local government's low-cost and inferior schooling approach, the whole system is treated as an emergency mechanism for solving the floating children's schooling problem, rather than as regular schools offering high quality education. While realising the children's right to education, this system does not guarantee them a "good" education. <![CDATA[<b>South Africa's Comorbidity: A Chronic Affliction of Intersecting Education, Economic and Health Inequalities</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The analogy of South Africa as an ailing "organism" afflicted by chronic socioeconomic inequality is apt as it captures the nation's manifest endemic abrasions and frailties, especially as it relates to the lived experience of its most vulnerable citizens (the precariat). COVID-19 has accentuated the plight of the poor, yet political rhetoric professes that the pandemic does not discriminate. In this article I offer an analysis of the intricate relationship between politics, economics, and education in the South African context. I argue that these are indeed complexly connected social "phenomena" that have particular variant manifestations and implications for South African citizens. While I recognise that health is also implicated in this matrix, it is beyond the scope of this article to examine this crucial social provision in any detail. I contend that in attempting to understand how COVID-19 impacts South African society, it is important to firstly analyse the prevailing (pre-COVID) status quo, especially as it relates to socio-economic inequality, as the effects of the pandemic impact the lived experience of people on the indigent-affluent continuum in starkly distinct ways. The pandemic has brought into sharp purview the accentuated nature of human adversity in the South African context and the social justice peculiarities plaguing South African society. Methodologically, I attempt a Foucauldian analysis of the contemporary political-economy-education matrix to reveal how fundamental neoliberal tenets have fashioned South African society and its education system into a dualism in which poverty and affluence co-exist. I attempt to move beyond constructions of deprivation, strife and adversity to reflect on resistance and the resilience (technologies of the self) that human beings summon in the face of crisis. Secondly, I examine the impact of the pandemic at localised school level to reveal its material effects on poor schools. <![CDATA[<b>Pandemic Leadership in Higher Education: New Horizons, Risks and Complexities</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The disruption of the academic year by the COVID-19 pandemic required higher education institutions to manage and lead under untenable conditions. This article is a case study of a leadership model adopted at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) located in South Africa. It offers insights into how the leadership and governance evolved and enabled management of the crisis presented by the pandemic. This article presents the relevant theory and concepts on leadership followed by a review of the impact of COVID-19 on higher education. This is followed by an interpretation of the sequence of events as they unfolded at UJ propelled by the mandate to leave no student behind and continue with the academic year. The UJ experience was characterised by the values of social justice, equity, access and teaching excellence. This article explores the University of Johannesburg's response in relation to these values and leadership theories. <![CDATA[<b>Aziz Choudry: The Quintessential Scholar-Activist (23/06/1966-26/05/2021)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The disruption of the academic year by the COVID-19 pandemic required higher education institutions to manage and lead under untenable conditions. This article is a case study of a leadership model adopted at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) located in South Africa. It offers insights into how the leadership and governance evolved and enabled management of the crisis presented by the pandemic. This article presents the relevant theory and concepts on leadership followed by a review of the impact of COVID-19 on higher education. This is followed by an interpretation of the sequence of events as they unfolded at UJ propelled by the mandate to leave no student behind and continue with the academic year. The UJ experience was characterised by the values of social justice, equity, access and teaching excellence. This article explores the University of Johannesburg's response in relation to these values and leadership theories. <![CDATA[<b>A Language Course to Teach Administrative Staff English for Communication in an International University</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en A qualitative case study was conducted to triangulate student interviews, a teacher's reflection report, and classroom observation data to understand how a local language course prepared Taiwanese administrative staff for international communication across working contexts in an international university. The findings firstly show that the teacher treated course planning as a teacher and student process of co-developing, co-moderating, co-revising, and co-managing learning resources and content. The teacher empowered the administrative staff by giving them the authority to select language targets for study that the staff thought would be useful to fulfil their job duties. Secondly, participation of the administrative staff was important in creating and managing language resources for international communication. The teacher used vocabulary and dialogue writing and speaking practices that were contextualised to the needs of the administrative staff. The targeted vocabulary was selected by the administrative staff based on gaps in their knowledge and was then used to co-construct dialogues that addressed scenarios the staff had previously encountered that necessitated the use of English with internationals. Thirdly, developing the course to address the administrative staff s communication needs was a process of rebalancing teacher autonomy, learner autonomy, and course development. Both the teacher and the students perceived the course effective in encouraging practical changes in the administrative staff s learning and use of English, which they mostly attributed to the non-formal nature of the course and the support from higher management. Implications for planning and implementing English language courses for international communication were drawn from the findings. <![CDATA[<b>How Female Students Are "Educated" to Retreat from Leadership: An Example from the Chinese Schooling Context</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Women's continued under-representation in leadership positions is well documented. This article asserts that part of the reason for this can be found within educational settings. Chinese educational environments are examined using secondary data analysis, and it is argued that a) the protective approach that teachers adopt towards female students, b) the reserved and unworldly female images exhibited by textbooks, and c) the improper view of leadership that girls tend to develop through classroom-based leadership experiences combine to damage girls' leadership potential. These mechanisms are usually unintentional and hard to detect, which means that part of the solution lies in promoting the awareness of teachers and educational leaders. Meanwhile, it is important to note that this issue is not merely about equal treatment for both genders; rather, it is broadly linked to our construction of leadership as a concept. Ultimately, the educational setting is expected not only to produce an equal number of "great women" and "great men", but also-partly through its explorations of how to cultivate the female version of a "great man"-to contribute to updating and advancing the "leadership" concept and practice as a whole. <![CDATA[<b>The Pandemic as a Portal for Change: Pushing against the Limits of "Normal Schooling" in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Starting from the position that inequalities in schooling in South Africa are well known, this article suggests pausing the impulse to "return to normal" in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead questioning the operations, assumptions and effects of what is considered "normal". It uses Michel Foucault's concepts of governmentality and dispositif to argue that the pandemic not only exposes the structural inequalities in schooling; it also exposes the confusing enmeshment of governmental processes and logics that produce and normalise these. Given the complex social and economic inequalities in South Africa, the article questions the limits of governmental capacity to meet its own stated aims of equal provisioning of schooling for all, using the provision of water to schools as an illustrative case. The article concludes by arguing for the importance of pressing against the assumptions of "normal schooling" with its embedded inequalities, and it sets out the ethical challenge for working for change. <![CDATA[<b>Introductory and Editorial Note-Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Starting from the position that inequalities in schooling in South Africa are well known, this article suggests pausing the impulse to "return to normal" in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and instead questioning the operations, assumptions and effects of what is considered "normal". It uses Michel Foucault's concepts of governmentality and dispositif to argue that the pandemic not only exposes the structural inequalities in schooling; it also exposes the confusing enmeshment of governmental processes and logics that produce and normalise these. Given the complex social and economic inequalities in South Africa, the article questions the limits of governmental capacity to meet its own stated aims of equal provisioning of schooling for all, using the provision of water to schools as an illustrative case. The article concludes by arguing for the importance of pressing against the assumptions of "normal schooling" with its embedded inequalities, and it sets out the ethical challenge for working for change. <![CDATA[<b>Knock Knock: An Exploration of Diverse Student Identities in a South African Design Classroom</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Incorporating socially just concepts into classrooms means students' needs are considered and pedagogic activities recognise everyone and make sure that student voices are heard, acknowledged and affirmed. Art has historically provided alternative ways of making sense of our worlds, commenting on them, questioning practices and structures, and voicing our feelings and experiences. In the context of the volatile South African higher education landscape, diverse student populations, widespread calls for decolonisation and social justice, arts-based enquiry as a method provides a view into the ineffable experiences of students. This article explores collage as a conduit for design students to engage with their designer identities, experiences of higher education and personal narratives. The research documents students' liminal experiences at the start of their journey as extended curriculum design students and uses collage as a form of elicitation, a reflective process and a way of conceptualising ideas as an attempt at restoring justice in an African (design) classroom. <![CDATA[<b>Writing and Drawing with Venus: Spectral Re-turns to a Haunted Art History Curriculum</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article explores some of the complexities of teaching art and design history to students in a Design Extended Curriculum Programme at a university of technology in the context of post-1994 South African society-a society troubled by the ghosts of colonial and apartheid histories that agitate the present/future. Tracking a series of diffractive pedagogical encounters, the article makes visible how, as a discipline, art history haunts the curriculum by reinforcing Western cultural superiority. The article argues that speaking-with and drawing-with dis/appeared ghosts offer new possibilities for reconfiguring art history curriculum studies that both valorise historicity and in turn open us towards different futures. The case study centres around the construction of the "Venus figure" as an embodiment of humanist Western cultural ideologies and practices that reduce the female body to an object of capture for man. Students intra-act with various representations of the Venus figure across art history through the story of Sarah Baartman, the so-called "Hottentot Venus", whose haunting presence continues to contour, colour and texture discourses around decolonising the curriculum in South African higher education. <![CDATA[<b>Multilingualism: A Resource for Meaning-Making and Creating Ontological Access</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article explores first-year Extended Curriculum Programme (ECP) students' multilingual practices in a university course where students have access to professionally translated technical terminology of the subject field. The study examines whether multilingual technical terminology-embedded in a dialogic teaching model-can contribute to students' epistemological and ontological access to the disciplinary content, and whether it can contribute to knowledge construction in a discipline by incorporating students' oral contributions of their lived experiences into the curriculum content. In order to answer the research questions, qualitative data were collected by transcribing, analysing and interpreting students' multilingual oral contributions on key political science topics. The findings of the study confirm that students' vernacular literacies can play an important role in providing epistemological and ontological access for students at university, and can contribute to authentic transformation and decolonisation of higher education. <![CDATA[<b>Profile, Performance and Language in Engineering Mathematics</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100017&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en There is a global concern for retention and success of students in higher education engineering programmes, in particular for students from under-represented communities. Low success in engineering programmes can be partly attributed to students failing mathematics or being unable to articulate mathematics in other engineering courses. This research explores how understanding the academic preparedness of engineering students in relation to their performance in university mathematics can direct curriculum changes to improve student success, driven by the research question: "How can the analysis of student data contribute to understanding student performance in calculus?" Data from engineering students in an extended curriculum programme at the University of Cape Town (UCT) were analysed to generate profiles from variables including gender, home language and performance in university admissions tests. Profiles were related to performance in three consecutive engineering mathematics courses. To determine which variables had the greatest explanatory power on engineering mathematics scores, relative importance analysis was applied. There was no evidence that weaknesses in terms of pre-university mathematics performance held students back from succeeding in the first two engineering mathematics courses at UCT, at least within the support context of the extended curriculum programme. When analysing according to engineering mathematics performance levels (e.g., fail versus first-class pass), academic literacy and, to a lesser extent, quantitative literacy emerged as having greater relative importance than pre-university mathematics in explaining the variance in engineering mathematics scores. The findings imply that interventions to improve the success of engineering students should include developing academic literacy practices, potentially in first- and second-year mathematics courses. We reflect on how the relative importance analysis of student data strengthens similar findings from other research on the importance of language in mathematics by highlighting the most important variables explaining students' mathematics performance. <![CDATA[<b>Becoming Knowledge Makers: Critical Reflections on Enquiry-Based Learning</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100018&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The scholarship of teaching and learning recognises the important interrelationship between teaching and learning, and it values critical dialogues on teaching-learning praxis beyond local contexts. This focus shifts attention from research outputs drawing on student behaviour to a broader focus on teacher-learner mutuality, disciplinary practices, and institutional landscapes. Rapid changes in higher education require the fostering of critical citizenship as a core graduate attribute. The massification of education, however, has emphasised throughput at the expense of nurturing students' sense of "becoming" as they navigate transformations in selfhood. This represents a stumbling block for meaningful participation in their own learning. Our article explores the incorporation of enquiry-based learning within a flipped blended classroom setting that seeks to engage teachers and learners more reflectively as co-producers of knowledge. We show how this approach can nurture an awareness of the self through the process of "becoming". We employ a qualitative case-study methodology to interrogate data taken from student writings, interviews, and course evaluations. Our analysis traces the progression of developmental insights present in students' reflective thinking and writing about their learning. We conclude that the process of "becoming" is possible within an educational context focused on measurable outcomes, where "becoming" is intricately linked to pedagogical imperatives seeking to empower, transform and enrich learning. <![CDATA[<b>Neville Alexander's Warning</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1947-94172021000100019&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The scholarship of teaching and learning recognises the important interrelationship between teaching and learning, and it values critical dialogues on teaching-learning praxis beyond local contexts. This focus shifts attention from research outputs drawing on student behaviour to a broader focus on teacher-learner mutuality, disciplinary practices, and institutional landscapes. Rapid changes in higher education require the fostering of critical citizenship as a core graduate attribute. The massification of education, however, has emphasised throughput at the expense of nurturing students' sense of "becoming" as they navigate transformations in selfhood. This represents a stumbling block for meaningful participation in their own learning. Our article explores the incorporation of enquiry-based learning within a flipped blended classroom setting that seeks to engage teachers and learners more reflectively as co-producers of knowledge. We show how this approach can nurture an awareness of the self through the process of "becoming". We employ a qualitative case-study methodology to interrogate data taken from student writings, interviews, and course evaluations. Our analysis traces the progression of developmental insights present in students' reflective thinking and writing about their learning. We conclude that the process of "becoming" is possible within an educational context focused on measurable outcomes, where "becoming" is intricately linked to pedagogical imperatives seeking to empower, transform and enrich learning.