Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of Education (University of KwaZulu-Natal)]]> vol. num. 83 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Knowledge-building and knowers in educational practices</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Researching higher education in Africa as a process of meaning-making: Epistemological and theoretical considerations</b>]]> In this article, we argue for a new way of thinking about knowledge construction in African higher education as a basis for developing new theoretical and epistemological insights, founded on inclusivity, epistemic freedom, and social justice. We recognise coloniality as a fundamental problem that needs us to scrutinise our knowledge of decolonisation (about decolonisation itself) and our knowledge for decolonisation (to make change possible). Following Bourdieu (1972), such thinking also requires degrees of vigilance that entail fundamental epistemological breaks, or put differently, it requires epistemological decolonisation as a point of departure. Thus, the future of tertiary education in Africa must be located within a new horizon of possibilities, informed by a nuanced political epistemology and ontology embedded in the complex African experience and visibility of the colonised and oppressed. In short, there can be no social justice without epistemic justice. <![CDATA[<b>Conceptualising work-integrated learning to support pre-service teachers' pedagogic reasoning</b>]]> Much South African research suggests that work-integrated learning (WIL) experiences of pre-service teachers are uneven. Their learning depends heavily on the functionality of the school and on the presence and commitment of the mentor teacher. Even then, mentor feedback tends to focus on generic comments on classroom routines rather than providing an account of their teaching practices. In this conceptual paper, we draw on a range of literature and studies to argue that the value of WIL would be greatly enhanced if pre-service teachers and their mentors discuss both the visible classroom routines and the less visible reasoning that inform the pedagogic choices that teachers make. This focus on pedagogic reasoning could foreground both the principled knowledge base that teachers need, as well as the contextual responsiveness and ethical orientations needed to become a specialised knower within the teaching profession. WIL therefore needs to provide pre-service teachers with explicit, structured opportunities to consider how the teachers they observe enact their teaching and why. They also need to articulate the pedagogic choices they make in the design and delivery of their own lessons. We argue that structuring WIL as a space in which to recognise and engage in forms of pedagogic reasoning addresses some of the challenges of the uneven quality of student learning identified in research on WIL in the South African context. <![CDATA[<b>Coping in complex, changing classroom contexts: An investigation of the bases of pre-service teachers' pedagogic reasoning</b>]]> Despite its central role in enabling professional judgements and decision-making in teaching, pedagogic reasoning is a slippery concept and difficult to pin down. Although pedagogic reasoning is understood to inform all aspects of teaching practice, we still do not know what pedagogic reasoning looks like. In this article, I present a conceptual tool, using concepts from Legitimation Code Theory (Maton, 2014), to explore analytically the differences between the abstraction and context-embeddedness of ideas expressed in the pedagogic reasoning of a sample of pre-service teachers. I argue that pre-service teachers who are able to draw on specialised concepts associated with context-independent principles, may be in a better position to distinguish the "formal elements" from the "material elements" of teaching (Morrow, 2005, p. 98). Being able to make this distinction is likely, I argue, to set pre-service teachers up to cope in complex changing classroom contexts. <![CDATA[<b>Harry Potter and the Critical gaze: Autonomy pathways in literary response writing</b>]]> Critical literacy studies require both textual reading and a knowledge of power dynamics in context. To achieve in critical literacy, learners need to work with different kinds of knowledge and integrate them. In this paper, I analyse how learners connect representations of social injustice from a popular literary text to issues of social justice in their broader cultural context. I investigate how different forms of knowledge came together in their response to a writing task. The empirical data comes from a critical literary course taught to Grade 8 learners in an English class in the southeastern United States. I offer an analysis of an exemplary essay submitted by a learner. In the analysis, I use concepts from the Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) dimension of Autonomy to show how the essay brought together information from the literary texts and from beyond to support interpretations of the characters' stances on the rights of elves. The analysis highlights how integration of knowledge drawn from imaginary and real contexts meets both the implicit and explicit critical literacy goals of the task. The findings offer a means for understanding how autonomy pathways can support teachers and learners in recognising and realising connections between texts and broader cultural discourses in ways that align with disciplinary literacy practices. <![CDATA[<b>Connecting assessment and feedback: A customised and personalised experience for knowledge-building</b>]]> Formative assessment coupled with effectual feedback is instrumental in enhancing student-learning experience and contributing to knowledge-building. However, feedback does not always translate into the desired outcomes for students receiving feedback and this compromises educational experiences and goals. In this small-scale empirical study, we worked with five postgraduate Honours students at a university in South Africa to explore their experiences of feedback on formative assessments in the learning space. We focused in a nuanced way on innovative opportunities and practices of feedback in the digital age. The data collected from the semi-structured interviews revealed that participants understood the value of quality formative assessment and feedback. Most participants reacted negatively to assessment grids and feedback received from lecturers. Some were unaccustomed to digital formative assessment and feedback as a developmental tool. They recommended a discipline-specific blended feedback approach that incorporates face-to-face feedback to make the digital feedback provided to them more meaningful. This would provide useful feedback that would create a customised and personalised learning experience for students in collaborative knowledge-building. <![CDATA[<b>Revealing shifts from mastery of knowledge to problem solving in assessments of a tertiary physics programme</b>]]> There is an increasing pressure on lecturers to work with two goals. First, they need to ensure that their undergraduate students have a good grasp of the knowledge and skills of the intellectual field. In addition, they need to prepare graduates and postgraduates for careers both within and outside of academia. The problem we address in this paper is the way in which assessments may reveal a shift of focus from a mastery of knowledge to a work-focused orientation. We examine this shift through a case study of physics and the sub-discipline of theoretical physics as intellectual fields. The evidence is comprised of assessment tasks given to students at different points of their studies from first year to doctoral level. By examining and analysing the assessment tasks using concepts from Legitimation Code Theory (LCT), we demonstrate how the shifts in the assessments lead students incrementally from a pure disciplinary focus to one that enables them to pursue employment potentially both within and outside of academia. In doing so, we also highlight the usefulness of LCT as a framework for evaluating the preparation of science students for diverse workplaces. <![CDATA[<b>"I haven't had the fun that is portrayed": First-year student expectations and experiences of starting at university</b>]]> Prospective students have both expectations and anxieties about what their imminent university experiences might entail. In this study, we compare first-year students' expectations with their experiences of being included and excluded while settling into university life. Our participants in this qualitative phenomenological research study were 322 first-year students. We use insights from social and pedagogic inclusion to critique Tinto's (1983) model of the transition of students from schooling to higher education settings. The findings indicate that participants experienced mastery of knowledge, procedures, and structures of the institution as a point of exclusion almost 8% more than they expected. The participants also experienced personal disposition and relationships to be a point of exclusion 24% less than they expected. We recommend that university orientation programmes place more focus on the academic expectations of university since this was an aspect on which participants did not focus much. In addition, these findings also have implications for how universities conceptualise and implement the move to online learning which is often viewed as the solution to increasing access to higher education. <![CDATA[<b>Enhancing knowledge-building through communicative language teaching</b>]]> Zimbabwe's new primary school curriculum aims at enhancing knowledge-building through the use of communicative language teaching (CLT) to assist both the teachers and the learners to solve problems. In this qualitative case study, we investigated the extent of teachers' inclination to use the CLT approach. To do so, the study was guided by Socio-cultural Theory (SCT) and the Experiential Learning Theory (ELT). Five purposively selected participants in the Warren Park/Mabelreign District in Zimbabwe responded to semi-structured interviews and were observed while they were teaching. The analysis revealed that although teachers understood that knowledge-building can be enhanced by CLT they are ill prepared to implement it because they lack the skills and the knowledge, and they have to cope with inadequate resources. Consequently, teachers still follow traditional pedagogic practices that do not lead to knowledge-building in learners. We recommend that a number of workshops be offered to in-service teachers and stakeholders on how to employ CLT activities that enhance knowledge-building.