Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Childhood Education]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=2223-768220200001&lang=es vol. 10 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Pre-service teachers' perception of values education in the South African physical education curriculum</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822020000100001&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Since the beginning of the new democratic era of 1994 in South Africa, human rights and values concerns have been placed on the forefront of educational research to respond to the needs of the South Africa's Constitution as well as the intentions of public school curricula. It is believed that qualified physical education teachers can address the fading of values and recession of morals in schools by promoting value-based education into their physical education lessons to provide a holistic approach to learning AIM: This article aims to identify the values that pre-service teachers deem are important to be taught at school. SETTING: The study was conducted in the Gauteng Province. METHODS: A questionnaire was employed to collect quantitative data (close-ended questions) and qualitative data (open-ended questions) from all final year BEd physical education students (n = 68). RESULTS: Sixty-eight values were identified: respect (n = 47), honesty/integrity (n = 23) and courage/perseverance/determination (n = 25) were ranked as the three values these teachers considered as important for inclusion in a physical education curriculum CONCLUSION: These pre-service physical education teachers indicated that learners could learn core values and basic human rights in a conducive and safe learning environment by employing role-play, games and modelling as the main strategies to infuse values in their physical education lessons. <![CDATA[<b>Noise, screaming and shouting: Classroom acoustics and teachers' perceptions of their voice in a developing country</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822020000100002&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The vocal demand on teachers may predispose them to vocal difficulties. This concern is exacerbated by unfavourable classroom acoustics and a large number of learners in a classroom in developing countries such as South Africa. There is a dearth of classroom acoustic protocols in South Africa, which intensifies the effect of noise on teachers as well as learners. AIMS: The aims of this study were to determine the acoustic properties within the teaching environments and to fix the foundation-phase teachers' perceptions of their voice. SETTING: The study was conducted in Foundation Phase classrooms in South Africa. RESULTS: There were two sample groups: ten schools with 31 foundation-phase classrooms and 31 teachers. Teachers perceived that their voices are affected by occupational demands, with predominantly physical symptoms being reported. Excessive background noise levels were evident in all classrooms. Air traffic noise and noise from adjoining classrooms were the main contributors. METHODS: A classroom acoustical screening survey was utilised to conduct classroom observations. A voice handicap questionnaire was used to determine teachers' perceptions. CONCLUSION: The need for classroom acoustic specifications and design of classrooms are essential as both teachers and learners experience the effects of noise exposure. The implementation of noise reduction in classrooms has the potential to improve the performance of teachers and learners. In a developing country, schools are unique institutions in terms of structure, and therefore additional research is required to determine what building structures may be beneficial for future school buildings. The findings could assist developing countries in the formulation of polices that align with the best practices for acoustically suitable educational settings that benefit both teachers and learners. <![CDATA[<b>Investigating the comprehension iceberg: Developing empirical benchmarks for early-grade reading in agglutinating African languages</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822020000100003&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Reading development in agglutinating African languages is a relatively under-researched area. While numerous studies highlight the low comprehension levels among learners reading in African languages in South Africa, little has been done to probe beneath this 'comprehension iceberg' in terms of decoding skills. AIM: As a tentative step towards benchmarking in African languages, we analyse the sub-components of reading across three languages (Northern Sotho, Xitsonga and isiZulu), to better understand the nature of alphabetic knowledge, word reading and fluency in these languages, how these relate to one another, and how accuracy and speed relate to comprehension. SETTING: Data was obtained from 785 Grade 3 learners across three African languages in three provinces in South Africa. METHODS: The early grade reading assessment (EGRA) framework was adapted to the written features of the three languages to assess letter-sounds, single-word reading, non-word reading, oral reading fluency (ORF) and oral comprehension. RESULTS: We present results on fluency, accuracy and comprehension and their interrelationships in these morphologically rich languages. While differences emerged between the conjunctive and disjunctive orthographies, strong relations occurred across the languages between letter-sound knowledge and word reading, word reading and oral reading fluency, and ORF and reading comprehension. Results suggest minimum thresholds of accuracy and ORF in each language, below which it is virtually impossible to read for meaning CONCLUSION: There is a strong need for language-specific norms and benchmarks for African languages. Preliminary minimum decoding thresholds for comprehension found in these three languages serve as a move in that direction. <![CDATA[<b>Questioning techniques used by Foundation Phase Education students teaching mathematical problem-solving</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822020000100004&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Developing the questioning skills of Foundation Phase Education students when teaching mathematical problem-solving is often a neglected area of student curricula. AIM: This gap in mathematics programme is the focus of this study. Three main components were identified: presentation of mathematical problem-solving, the role of the Foundation Phase Education student in shared action and the questioning practice of the pre-service teacher. SETTING: This study is embedded in an amalgamated theoretical framework of three theories: relational theory, hermeneutical theory of Davis and the revised taxonomy of Bloom. This qualitative, interpretive study was conducted in a grade 1 class. Seven Foundation Phase pre-service students were purposively selected to participate in the study. METHODS: Triangulation of a multitude of research instruments ensured verification of data. The case study consisted mainly of the observation and analysis of six lessons. The framework of Tesch was used to interpret the data. RESULTS: An outcome of the case study is a concise description of the use of questioning when teaching mathematical problem solving. Students in the selected sample generally struggled to ask questions and expressed the need for skills training. CONCLUSION: The student participants seemed unsure of how to use questioning skills optimally to elicit useful responses from their learners. Recommendations are made for enabling Foundation Phase students to learn the necessary skills to ask questions effectively in the problem solving segment of the curriculum. <![CDATA[<b>Using a phone-based learning tool as an instructional resource for initial literacy learning in rural African families</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822020000100005&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Despite increased enrolments at primary schools in Zambia, more than half of the children in Grades 1-4 are unable to meet the required minimum standards for literacy. AIM: The study set out to examine the effects of using a phone-based mobile literacy game (Graphogame) to improve literacy skills in children and adults in rural family settings. SETTING: The study was conducted in the Katete District, a rural town in the eastern province of Zambia. METHODS: Participants were 73 Grade 2 learners (52% boys, mean age 9 years and 48% girls, mean age 10 years) and 37 parents (mean age 36 years). Three literacy tests, measuring letter-sound identification, phonological awareness, spelling competence and word recognition, were administered to both the children and parents. Parents also reported on their level of education, familiarity with smart phone use, availability of home reading materials and home literacy activities. RESULTS: The findings showed that children who were exposed to the Graphogame performed better than the control group on all literacy measures. Furthermore, parent's performance on the tests improved after the intervention. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that technology can improve literacy skills in both children and adults in rural areas of Zambia. <![CDATA[<b>A mathematics teacher's response to a dilemma: 'I'm supposed to teach them in English but they don't understand'</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822020000100006&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: English is the dominant language in South African schools although it is the home language for less than 10% of the population. Many schools have yet to embrace the Language in Education Policy's advocacy of additive bilingualism. This has led to a majority of the country's children learning and being assessed through a language in which they lack proficiency. AIM: This article draws on second language teaching and learning theory to make a case for more systematic support for learners' second language development and for legitimation of use of home language in mathematics classrooms where a different language is the official medium. The article shares empirical data from a South African Grade 4 mathematics teacher's classroom to illuminate arguments in favour of additive bilingualism. SETTING: A non-fee-paying public school in Eastern Cape province of South Africa. METHODS: Data were collected through lesson observations, teacher interviews and assessment data generated by a professional development project initiative. RESULTS: The 'illuminatory' lesson data suggest that allowing learners to use their home language alongside English facilitated their mathematical sense-making. This suggestion is strengthened by assessment data from a larger development project mandated with exploring ways for improving the quality of primary mathematics teaching and learning. CONCLUSION: Insights from this article add to many other calls made for more sustained and serious consideration of the pedagogical and epistemological value of multilingual approaches for South African classrooms. <![CDATA[<b>Overcrowded classrooms - The Achilles heel of South African education?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822020000100007&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: The South African education system is characterised by a shortage of teachers and inadequate school infrastructure which is contributing to the overcrowded nature of South African classrooms. The current national learner-educator ratio (LER) is 33:1, and some classes have even reported an LER value of 50:1 and higher. The South African LER is more than double the average of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's international average of 16:1. AIM: This research has been conducted to identify overcrowdedness in classrooms as a factor associated with poor academic achievement. SETTING: A qualitative research approach served this study best when an investigation was launched into the impact of overcrowded classrooms in the Foundation Phase in the Tshwane-West district. METHODS: The study's sample comprised 10 purposefully chosen participants who are knowledgeable and experienced in the field of teaching in overcrowded classrooms in the Foundation Phase. The participants included heads of departments, primary school principals, higher education lecturers and a department of basic education official. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with each of the participants. FINDINGS: Based on the findings, the impact of and challenges (such as didactical neglect, discipline issues and negative teacher attitudes) related to overcrowdedness was elaborated on, and practical recommendations were made regarding possible solutions. CONCLUSION: This study conclude by emphasising the importance of a combined effort between all role players, such as the School Management Teams and the teachers, when dealing with the challenges posed by overcrowdedness. <![CDATA[<b>Proposing and modifying guided play on shapes in mathematics teaching and learning for Zambian preschool children</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822020000100008&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Early childhood education (ECE) has recently been introduced in Zambian government schools, leading to a need to examine the quality of mathematics lessons. AIM: This study focussed on guided play lessons on shapes in pre-mathematics classes and examined how they could be implemented and what children could learn in the class. SETTING: The lessons were conducted in two early childhood mathematics classes in two different schools in Zambia. METHODS: A qualitative design-based research method was applied. For data collection, teachers implemented a trial lesson in one school and a main lesson in another school in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. RESULTS: In the first lesson, the activity differed from what was planned and discussed. In the second lesson, the content and objective of the guided play were changed from those of the trial lesson. In the main lesson, children engaged in a more basic activity involving shapes and created many kinds of shapes that they were familiar with in and out of school. This was particularly effective for children in terms of explicitly learning the basic features of the shapes and important mathematical ideas such as congruency, similarity and symmetry CONCLUSION: The main lesson was successful because the level of mathematical content was more appropriate for the children and allowed them to enjoy the activity. Two points regarding developing more effective lessons for ECE, to identify pupils' readiness and sociocultural status, were also assessed and discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring primary school teachers' use of formative assessment across fee and no-fee schools</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822020000100009&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Recent initiatives by the Department of Basic Education to support teachers to enhance their use of formative assessment are positive steps for improving teaching and learning. However, the nature and type of support required by teachers is unclear given the dearth of information on teachers' current pedagogical practices, and the extent to which formative assessment approaches are applied. AIM: This article explores teachers' pedagogical practices in relation to five key formative assessment strategies: introduction of lesson objectives and assessment criteria, questioning and learner engagement, feedback practices and peer and self-assessment. SETTING: This study was conducted in two districts involving 96 foundation and intermediate phase teachers selected from 54 fee- and no-fee-paying schools. METHODS: Data were obtained using lesson observations and document review schedules. The analysis comprised descriptive and chi-square statistics. RESULTS: Some evidence of all the formative assessment strategies as well as the range of steps that characterised each strategy was observed in the pedagogical practices of teachers sampled for this study. However, only a minority of teachers were able to demonstrate effective use of any specific strategy. No significant differences were detected between teachers in fee-paying and no-fee-paying schools as well as between the foundation and intermediate phases. CONCLUSION: Evidence of various aspects of the formative assessment approach in teachers' pedagogical practices provides a positive platform for enhancing their formative assessment knowledge and skills. The key challenge pertains to ensuring the effective implementation of the formative assessment approach to address the specific learning needs of all learners, in both fee and no-fee schools. <![CDATA[<b>Preschool cognitive control and family adversity predict the evolution of classroom engagement in elementary school</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2223-76822020000100010&lng=es&nrm=iso&tlng=es BACKGROUND: Classroom engagement is key predictor of child academic success. AIM: The objective of the study was to examine how preschool cognitive control and the experience of family adversity predict developmental trajectories of classroom engagement through elementary school. SETTING: Children were followed in the context of the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development from birth to age 10.5 (N = 1589) METHODS: Working memory was directly assessed when children were 3 years old and mothers reported child impulsivity, parenting characteristics, stress and social support when children were 4 years old. Elementary school teachers rated classroom engagement from kindergarten through Grade 4. RESULTS: Growth mixture modelling identified three distinct trajectories of classroom engagement. Child working memory and impulsivity, and maternal hostility, social support and stress predicted greater odds of belonging to the low versus high engagement trajectory. Child impulsivity and maternal hostility and stress also distinguished between the low and moderate engagement trajectories. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that targeting preschool cognitive control and buffering the effects of family adversity on children may facilitate academic success.