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Yesterday and Today

On-line version ISSN 2309-9003
Print version ISSN 2223-0386

Y&T  n.17 Vanderbijlpark Jul. 2017

 

Editorial

 

 

Before reporting on what can be expected in this first edition of 2017, the good news about the journal must first be shared. Yesterday & Today is now rated among the top five journals in terms of the average amount of document views the journal has in the SciELO SA collection! It is indeed a big achievement and a credit to everyone - from the Editorial Board to each author who contributed over the years.

This issue of Yesterday&Today contains a good variety of articles, namely seven articles in the scientific research section, two in the hands-on section and two book reviews. The themes of the articles incorporated in this issue, are:

The effect of multimedia use on the teaching and learning of Social Sciences at tertiary level: A case study (Luiza de Sousa, Barry Richter and Carisma Nel)

The impact ofsocial media on History education: A view from England (Terry Haydn)

Student protest and the culture of violence at African universities: An inherited ideological trait (Kehdinga Fomunyam)

"Word Generation" and skills around learning and teaching History (Sarah Godsell)

Underperformance in Social Studies in Grades 5-7 in Namibian primary schools: A case study (Arend Carl and Theopolina Negumbo)

Learners' encounter with archaeological fieldwork: A public participation Archaeology account of the East Fort Archaeological Project (Anton C. van Vollenhoven, Mariette Harcombe and Karin Scott)

Contemporary relevance - A category of historical science and of the didactics of History and its consequences in teacher training (Elisabeth Erdmann)

Nostalgia, memory and History teaching and learning (Barry Firth)

Crossing the "chalkboard-keyboard-divide" on a shoestring budget (Rika Odendaal)

In the first article, entitled The effect of multimedia use on the teaching and learning of Social Sciences at tertiary level: A case study, Luiza de Sousa, Barry Richter and Carisma Nel report on which forms of multimedia combinations are best for the teaching and learning of specific Social Sciences content. By applying a quasi-experimental research design, they examined how exposure to different multimedia combinations on digital videodisc (DVD) may affect the achievement of Social Sciences trainee teachers. The authors come to the conclusion that the nature of the theme and the outcomes assessed are important factors in determining what the multimedia structure and format should look like on DVD when teaching and learning at tertiary level. The study further shows that by utilising multimedia, different teaching and learning styles were applied, helping the pre-service teachers to construct their own knowledge and thereby making the learning experience in Social Sciences more meaningful.

Terry Haydn in his article, The impact of social media on History education: A view from England, examines recent ideas and developments with regard to utilising new technology in History education. Haydn raises the question as to what it means "to be good at ICT" as a History teacher and what the priorities should be when History teachers are trained. He is convinced that a revolution has taken place during the past decade in the way people receive information on social media platforms about "the news" and about "the past". He contends that people's views and convictions have been influenced by "fake news" and falsehoods in what have recently been described as a "post-truth" society. Haydn then rightly asks: What are the implications for History teachers of these developments in new technology and social media and how -if at all - will they influence the teaching and learning of History in a different way? The author concludes that less attention should be given to the general technological competence of History teachers and greater emphasis placed on training teachers to help their learners to be able to "filter" information from digital sources. Only when developing skills on information literacy will teachers be able to make judgements on the reliability and trustworthiness of information on social media platforms.

In his contribution, Student protest and the culture of violence at African universities: An inherited ideological trait, Kehdinga Fomunyam examines student protest in the five regions of North, South, East, Central and West Africa, covering more than 20 different nations. He points out that this is not a new phenomenon in Africa and elsewhere, and that although student protests were triggered by various reasons in the different countries, they have all become violent. Fomunyam argues that students in Africa have inherited the culture of violence demonstrated during their struggle against colonialism. Even though colonialism came to an "end', the culture of violence is increasingly manifesting itself across the African continent. The author concludes by arguing that because the culture of student violence is an inherited one, the process will continue to manifest itself if urgent steps are not taken that will guarantee transformation and decolonisation.

In Sarah Godsell's article, "Word Generation" and skills around learning and teaching History, she reports and illustrates how the sub-program of WorldGen (pioneered in 2006 by the Harvard University Education School) that is specifically designed for social sciences (SoGen), can be engaged as a basis to create materials for the teaching and learning of History in the South African intermediate classroom. WorldGen holds the advantage that it affords the possibility for learners to expand their vocabulary, critical thinking skills (such as historical enquiry and perspective taking) and factual content through discussion and debate. By utilising SoGen material Godsell creatively explores the possibility of translating this material for tertiary teacher training in the Intermediate Phase. The article reflects third-year education students' responses to the WorldGen material. She argues that the application of WorldGen material facilitates the manner in which learners think about History. This allows student teachers to interact with historical knowledge and to conduct historical research while at the same time being able to consider their methodology when teaching the subject.

In the article by Arend Carl and Theopolina Negumbo, entitled Underperformance in Social Studies in Grades 5-7 in Namibian primary schools: A case study, the focus is on possible factors that may contribute to learners' underperformance. In their empirical research, the authors used different data collection methods to ensure its validity and reliability. Carl and Negumbo found that there are a number of factors that constitute obstacles and inhibit learners' performance. Some of these factors are: English as the medium of instruction; the policy of automatic transfer to the next grade despite the fact that learners did not meet the grade's pass requirement; untrained teachers; principals not monitoring the teaching and learning process and lack of inservice training opportunities for teachers. The authors conclude by making recommendations to address these issues.

In their article, entitled Learners' encounter with archaeological fieldwork: A public participation archaeology accountofthe East Fort Archaeological Project, Anton van Vollenhoven, Karin Scott and Mariette Harcombe claim that the practice of archaeological activities seldom extends towards public participation. By means of the East Fort Archaeological Project that started in 2013 they provide an opportunity for the public as well as for school learners to become actively involved in an archaeology project, regardless of their skills level. By including high school learners, the authors are addressing and strengthening the section on heritage that forms an important part of the History school curriculum. While experiencing practical archaeological field work the learners are exposed to real, tangible history, which not only makes them aware of heritage and history but also the importance of it being conserved. The authors conclude by suggesting that History teachers should become involved in similar projects for History to be taken out of the textbooks and in the process it will serve as the first step in creating a heritage-literate society.

In her article, entitled Contemporary relevance - a category of historical science and of the didactics of history and its consequences in teacher training, Elisabeth Erdmann discusses the important role of contemporary relevance in the teaching and learning of History. By creating a context between present and past, Erdmann claims it will contribute to orientation knowledge which will enable learners to reflect on solutions to present-day issues. In the process, the learners will develop future perspectives by thinking creatively of alternatives that will revise habitual contemporary thoughts and thinking patterns. Selected examples, such as the conflict between the Arabs and Israelis in the Middle East, are discussed for contemporary relevance in History teaching and learning, and the consequences they constitute for History teacher training.

In the article in the hands-on section, entitled Nostalgia, memory and History teaching and learning, Barry Firth explores the use of nostalgic writing by pre-service teachers in an attempt to define their space or "twilight zone", in which positions have to be reflected and negotiated as a result of a compromised gaze. Drawing on Boym's restorative and reflective nostalgia theory, Firth reports his findings after having requested his students to use nostalgic writing as an extreme form of subjective memory.

In her article, entitled Crossing the "chalkboard-keyboard-divide" on a shoestring budget, Rika Odendaal focuses on creative ways in which History teachers can use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) where it is limited in schools. She argues that there should be no excuse for History teachers not to include technology in their teaching and learning from time to time. She expertly shows how the cell phone can be used in class as well as the Classmarker programme, which she finds useful in assessing the learners' basic content knowledge and the interpretation of sources without the effort of having to mark it.

Apart from the above contributions, included in this issue are also two interesting and thought-provoking book reviews with a South African context. The book reviews were written by Jugathambal Ramdhani (Poverty in South Africa: Past and Present) and Simphiwe Ngwane (The Art of Life in South Africa).

Finally, important information is provided regarding the South African Society for History Teaching (SASHT) that will act as host for the International Society for History Didactics (ISHD) conference to be held at the Riverside Sun Hotel in Vanderbijlpark from 13-15 September 2017. The draft programme for the conference is also included.

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