South African Journal of Childhood Education
On-line version ISSN 2223-7674
This paper makes a case for a new impetus in creating a coherent research basis for childhood education and teacher education in South Africa. We are proposing a three-level - teacher educators, student teachers and practising teachers - research-led approach that integrates teacher education, schooling and early learning. The aim of the approach is to enhance the quality of learning in primary schools through systematic focus on the object of learning, whether in terms of teaching in school or educating entrants to the teaching profession at the university, or teacher educators inquiring into their practice. There are two thrusts involved: on the one hand bringing the focus of teachers, teaching students and teacher educators coherently onto the object of learning and thereby bringing it to the attention of their respective learners, and on the other hand invoking the principles of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) movement, thereby enabling its sustainability. We illustrate our case with two examples from the literature that show clearly how learning in school can be enhanced when teachers are actively studying what and how their learners are learning in connection with their teaching and where the work is disseminated in a scholarly manner.
Keywords : Childhood learning; childhood education; teacher education; object of learning; scholarship of teaching and learning; South Africa; variation theory.