Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)]]> vol. num. 81 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Editorial</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The othering of teacher training in Lebowa bantustan: A historical perspective</b>]]> In this paper, I focus on the history of teacher training for Africans in the former Lebowa bantustan. My discussion of this is informed by the theoretical concepts of othering and structural racialisation, which capture various prejudices such as segregation, marginalisation, hierarchisation, subjugation, and racism. I examined textual data for the period 1970-1994 which included unpublished material, Lebowa Department of Education reports, memoranda, administrative documents, and newspaper articles and journals housed in Limpopo Provincial Archives, Polokwane, to elicit meaning and gain insight into the othering of teacher training in Lebowa. I established that African teachers were othered from economic, educational, political, and technological power through the bantustan policy and that this othering was interconnected. For African teachers to be inferior, subjugated, and marginalised, they needed to be spatially isolated; they had to receive a segregated, racialised, gendered, and inferior curriculum. This meant that resources were inequitably allocated and distributed across racial groups. Further, I argue that to understand the underlying problem of teacher education and other related challenges, we need to interrogate processes, structures, relationships, and the interconnectedness of the various factors and systems that produced a particular outcome. <![CDATA[<b>Impact of funding on academic performance: An exploration of two South African universities</b>]]> Empirical evidence on the relationship between student funding and academic performance is unclear. Some studies have found a positive relationship, some have suggested a negative one, while others maintain that there is no relationship between them. Acknowledging that a range of factors, other than funding, impact on student success, in this paper, we aim to contribute to a small, but emerging, body of literature on the relationship between student funding and academic performance, proxied by the average individual academic mark for the year. We applied descriptive and inferential statistics to a dataset of 29,619 students registered at two South African universities for the 2018 academic year. The results highlight that in an examination of the impact of being funded by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) in a bivariate context, it is possible to find a negative relationship with performance. However, at an aggregate level and controlling for the impact of other variables, a positive (albeit weak) and statistically significant correlation between being NSFAS funded and average academic performance emerges. <![CDATA[<b>The impact of the apprenticeship of observation on pre-service teachers' perceptions of teaching</b>]]> First year pre-service teachers' images of, and beliefs about, teaching are formed over years of prior educational experiences and these images exert a powerful effect on their perceptions of teaching. In this paper, I examine the impact of the apprenticeship of observation on the developing professional identity of two cohorts of first-year pre-service teachers at a South African tertiary institution. I use Schlossberg's transition theory (1981) to explore the perceptions and expectations with which pre-service teachers enter their initial teacher program. I argue that these deeply rooted ways of thinking about teachers and what they do should be acknowledged, challenged, and disrupted, and pre-service teachers should be supported in efforts to scrutinise their local knowledge and lived experience that constitute their dominant discourses about teaching and being a full-time teacher. The findings indicate that students have a naïve understanding of the teaching profession and confirm that the apprenticeship of observation serves as a measure of their own ability or inability to teach. Recommendations highlight the opportunity for tertiary educators to empower pre-service teachers in their journey towards an ethical and caring professional identity. <![CDATA[<b>Building conceptions of teaching: Students' perceptions expressed through artifacts</b>]]> Teacher education researchers have been grappling with the question of how students perceive teaching. This is an issue complicated by inadequate schooling conditions. In this paper, we report on an intervention used in a campus-based teaching experience programme at the Wits School of Education that involved first-year students producing artifacts that included statues or posters to depict their conceptions of teaching. Students drew on their schooling experiences to formulate their ideas. Our intention was to provide multimodal opportunities for first-year student teachers to articulate their views and perform, as it were, their understanding of teaching through visual and written forms. We wanted to explore how students, working in groups, developed the capacity to represent their conceptions as they designed and made an artifact to depict the role of South African teachers. Interesting findings about the power of representing ideas visually in combination with written reflections emerged from our analysis of their outputs. We argue that the exclusive use of traditional written methods to elicit student teachers' conceptions of teaching limits the creative and critical possibilities for students to extend and challenge their common-sense assumptions about teaching. <![CDATA[<b>Portraits of primary school pre-service teachers at a South African university: Implications for nuanced student support</b>]]> In this article, we report on a study of two South African primary school teacher education cohorts undertaken to investigate and understand their readiness to succeed in higher education and to plan support accordingly. Using the methodology of portraiture, we generated data from a combination of student questionnaires and examination results. Qualitative content analysis enabled the construction of six personas and three main themes. The portraits helped with an understanding of the complexity of the themes, in particular with how an identification of both the malleable and non-malleable elements affecting students' lives could inform and shape interventions for successful transition into university. More specifically, the dominance of particular characteristics in the personas provided information about which student groups required the most psychosocial and academic support and where it was required. The portraits also helped us to gauge the value of existing first-year initiatives, such as the educational excursion, for promoting student enculturation and in overcoming their initial anxieties and preconceptions. We argue for more nuanced information about students to inform a multi-pronged approach to student support that may extend much longer than teacher educators anticipate. <![CDATA[<b>Continuing the debate on teacher autonomy: A capabilities perspective</b>]]> Whereas much has been written about initiatives to empower teachers, scholars agree that the capabilities approach, which is an important method for empowering teachers in the arena of autonomy, requires continued research. Our aim in this research paper is, therefore, to continue the debate on fostering teacher autonomy from a capabilities perspective. We present a South African education policy analysis in which it can be seen that capabilities may empower teachers to be agents of autonomy. Having employed a capabilities approach, our study shows that possibilities exist for deepening thinking about teachers' autonomous education practices in general. The findings show that teachers should focus on self-attention and care for the self to become autonomous beings. The results show that empowering teachers to be autonomous may be regarded as a robust paradigm that can be used even as development challenges and educational priorities shift. <![CDATA[<b>Analysing the hegemonic discourses on comprehensive sexuality education in South African schools</b>]]> Despite the mixed public responses, the South African Department of Basic Education decided to issue its detailed comprehensive sexuality education scripted lesson plans for testing in schools. I conducted a desktop review by searching for digital newspapers in the online archive Sabinet References using six key terms such as "comprehensive sexuality education", "schools", and "South Africa." In total, I retrieved 128 newspaper articles and selected 83 for a Foucauldian discourse analysis underpinned by governmentality theory. The newspapers reported on marches, letters, and press conferences from various stakeholders such as parents, learners, teachers, and other social figures. Some stakeholders were in favour of the rollout while others were against, but of interest was the seemingly neutral position of those whose reporting was presented in a balanced, non-biased manner. In this paper, I aim to make sense of this neutrality in addition to the views in favour of and against the rollout while suggesting implications for educational settings. <![CDATA[<b>Deep conceptual learning opportunities in business studies classrooms</b>]]> Initial tests of the curriculum design coherence model (McPhail, 2020) indicate that teachers face challenges in relation to engaging deeply with the epistemic structure of their subject. In this study, we discuss the additional difficulty that teachers have in identifying appropriate content and examples that will provide opportunities for students' concept formation. The key question guiding this study was: "What opportunities for deep conceptual learning and cognitive advance are provided in business studies classrooms?" This analysis of the pedagogic practices of teachers is framed by the curriculum design coherence model (CDC) that is informed by deep learning from the cognitivist theory perspective. This article gives an account of observations of grade 11 business studies lessons in two schools. The lessons were observed, recorded, transcribed, and deductively analysed according to an analytical framework based on the CDC model. While there was evidence of concepts that were taught, appropriate subject content necessary for understanding the concept was not evident in most of the lessons. The dominant pedagogy of direct instruction, reading definitions, and copying notes amounted to giving students the definition of concepts and their basic components in a skeletal way. Content that requires students to analyse and infer meanings and make generalisations was lacking. The absence of appropriate content and examples, such as case studies in the textbook, curtailed opportunities for deep conceptual learning and cognitive advance. These practices deny learners access to the formal academic knowledge of the discipline.