Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)]]> vol. num. 71 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>A critical analysis of CAPS for Life Skills in the Foundation Phase (Grades R-3)</b>]]> The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement Foundation Phase Life Skills curriculum (DBE, 2011) is composed of four focus areas: Beginning Knowledge; Personal and Social Well-being; Creative Arts; and Physical Education. These areas draw on a number of disciplines and this makes the curriculum dense. This density is, in turn, a challenge for teachers and teacher education. We perform an historical analysis of Life Skills curriculum documents from 1977 to the present and a content analysis of the CAPS document. Using Bernstein (1971, 1996) we show that this curriculum is weakly classified and that epistemological orientations are blurred, if not rendered invisible. The specificity of different disciplinary lenses that have different objects of enquiry, methods of analysis, and criteria for truth claims is lost in an overemphasis on everyday knowledge. If teachers are not themselves schooled in the languages of the disciplines that underpin Life Skills they may not be able to give children access to them, nor are they likely to be able to help them understand how different parts of the system relate to one another. <![CDATA[<b>Legitimation of knowers for access in science</b>]]> Based on poor performance of students in the higher education science context, this paper questions the current focus on content knowledge and, in so doing, examines the role student knowers play in enabling epistemological access. Using Legitimation Code Theory, and drawing on data from interviews, course documents, observations, and critical reflections, the social relations of a science foundation course in the South African context are examined empirically to reveal the valuing of two kinds of knowers-learning-context knowers (or science learners) and production-context knowers (or scientists). Since being both kinds of knowers is necessary for access to powerful science knowledge, and home and educational contexts of certain groups of students are better in terms of enabling science knowers and learners than others, it is argued from a social justice perspective that science (and other) curricula account for knower attributes in enabling access for success for all students. <![CDATA[<b>Are instructivist pedagogies more appropriate for learning the sciences in South African low-quintile schools than western literature suggests?</b>]]> Some research suggests that the use of instructivist teaching strategies may be detrimental to learning while other research asserts that such strategies can enhance learning under certain conditions. In this article I make the argument that the conditions present in South African low-quintile 1-3 schools, and, probably, more broadly in schools typical of developing countries, make such strategies appropriate and may indeed be the only strategies currently implementable on a large scale in the South African low-quintile school context. I propose two kinds of instructivist resources, low-language-demand drill-and-practise worksheets and software, that may be effective in improving learning in this context by developing language competence, increasing feedback and reinforcement, and extending teaching and learning time. I caution against a simplistic interpretation of the argument, and discuss possible difficulties. Discussions such as this are necessary in our search for appropriate and implementable solutions to the crisis of South African underperformance in education. <![CDATA[<b>Using a Vygotskian sociocultural approach to pedagogy: Insights from some teachers in South Africa</b>]]> The goal of the study on which this article is based was to examine teachers' perspectives on the effectiveness of adopting a Vygotskian sociocultural approach to teaching and learning in the classrooms. The study used focus group interview discussions to gather views from 20 classroom practitioners who had completed a BEd Hons in Education Psychology. The teachers were from five secondary schools in the Gauteng region. Among the key concepts explored in the focus group discussions (FGDs) were the role of scaffolding when linked to mediated learning experiences (MLEs), the use of situated learning experiences in the learners' zones of proximal development (ZPD), and how the approach helped transform the learners' skills from lower to higher psychological functions through the use of material, psychological and semiotic tools in the classroom. The analysis of the data followed a thematic approach, with emerging codes being clustered into code families. Among the key findings of the study was the view of teachers that adopting a multipronged strategy that includes the use of authentic learning conversations, learning tools (material, psychological, and semiotic) and situated learning experiences goes a long way towards fostering useful teaching and learning. The study illustrated that classroom practitioners do need to take into account and adopt the many and varied benefits that can be derived from an authentic sociocultural approach to teaching and learning. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring pre-service teachers' opportunities to learn to teach science with ICTs during teaching practice</b>]]> Teaching practice is an important component of the teacher education programme that provides opportunities for pre-service teachers to learn in the context of real classrooms. In this paper, I use the framework of opportunities to learn (OTL) to analyse data from a mixed-methods study on the experiences of pre-service teachers with learning to integrate Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) into the teaching of science during teaching placement in schools. A sample of 103 science pre-service teachers from one mid-size university in South Africa completed a survey on their use of ICTs for subject teaching during teaching practice, 21 of whom submitted 33 actual lesson plans from teaching practice for analysis and participated in 4 focus group interviews. The findings show that the teacher education programme provided uneven opportunities to learn for students in the same cohort. These findings have implications for how universities should structure teaching practice experience for equitable OTL for all pre-service teachers, especially with respect to the integration of ICTs for subject teaching. Thus, I recommend restructuring of teacher education programmes to better the opportunities for future teachers to learn to use ICTs for subject teaching during and after teaching practice. <![CDATA[<b>Human rights and neo-liberal education in post-apartheid South Africa</b>]]> Internationally, people have different concepts of human rights. In this article, I discuss three dominant schools of thought through which human rights have been conceived of. These are the natural school (human rights as given), the deliberative school (human rights as agreed upon) and the protest school (human rights as fought for). I show that the thinking of deliberative scholars forms the basis of Rawls's (1971) principles of the social contract reflected in global, regional, and domestic human rights frameworks. I argue that the neo-liberal state (and, by implication, the neoliberal education agenda) in post-apartheid South Africa does not guarantee equal access to education as agreed upon during the political negotiation period in South Africa. Echoing the tenets of the protest school of thought, I maintain that, despite the anti-apartheid struggle movement's achievements in human rights, the right to education is yet to be fully realised. I employ two basic questions of political philosophy to support the protest scholars' call for continual struggle by (or for) those denied the right to education in post-apartheid, neo-liberal South African schools. <![CDATA[<b>Youth understanding of citizenship rights and responsibilities in Lesotho: Implications for civic education</b>]]> This paper reports on findings from a recent PhD study that explored how young adults in Lesotho understood and applied their citizenship rights and responsibilities. It aims to inform proposed revisions to the 1995 Lesotho National Youth Policy that highlighted concerns that young adults are caught between the tensions of traditional values and their expectations of human rights that are internationally recognised and to which Lesotho is a signatory. The focus in this paper is on exploring the extent to which Basotho youth understood and behaved in relation to communitarian, civic republican, and cosmopolitan style citizenships. It also explores how and where youth learned their citizenship values with a view to recommending curriculum reform in the country's non-formal youth programmes. In this qualitative study youth from three different groups were interviewed and invited to provide and discuss photos of their citizenship activities. Recommendations included the need to develop a broader understanding of cosmopolitan and civic republican civic values and to include in a youth curriculum an opportunity to discuss intergenerational tensions that challenge how youth reconcile their human rights entitlements with traditional community responsibilities.