PiE 2012 Volume 30 Issue 1

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Understanding pre-service teacher education discourses in Communities of Practice: a reflection from an intervention in rural South Africa
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Islam, Faisal
    Drawing on an evaluation experience of a teacher education preparation project in a rural area of South Africa, this paper attempts to explore the possibility of using Communities of Practice (CoP) in teacher preparation. The paper concludes that the concept of CoP is powerful in providing spaces for self-reflection to pre-service teachers and challenging the dominant urban-based teacher education discourses in relation to rural schools. However, the CoP is also problematic, especially with regard to the issues of social differences among the members of the CoP and the sustainability of the broader influence of a CoP on marginalised rural communities.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rurality and resilience in education: place-based partnerships and agency to moderate time and space constraints
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Ebersöhn, Liesel; Ferreira, Ronél
    In an ongoing longitudinal intervention study (STAR)1 we found that, although similarities existed in the way teachers promoted resilience, rural schools (in comparison to other STAR case schools) took longer to implement strategies to buoy support and found it difficult to sustain such support. Using rurality we wanted to understand how forces, agencies and resources act, move, pull and push when adversity and resilience are centred in a discussion. Similarities in promoting resilience included prioritised needs requiring support and resource use through relationships. Time, space and place were relevant as forces hampering resilience initiatives. We argue that, by means of relationships, teachers prioritised needs and were aware of available resources. As a result, place and agency (as rurality variables) were reconfigured. Consequently, resilience was positively effected as the changed place-patterns and agency were significant for teachers to negotiate ongoing challenges of time, space and resource.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Repositioning educational research on rurality and rural education in South Africa: beyond deficit paradigms
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Moletsane, Relebohile
    Almost two decades after the demise of apartheid, rural communities in South Africa are still plagued by seemingly insurmountable challenges, with no change in sight for those who need it most. In spite of the many interventions that have been implemented, real transformation remains elusive. This position paper is premised on the notion that this lack of social change is due, in large part, to the dominance of research paradigms that ignore the voices of those most affected and those who are the intended beneficiaries of the interventions informed by the scholarship. Thus, the paper aims to critically reflect on the nature of rurality and to map the issues that face rural communities as well as the limitations of dominant research paradigms and their impact on social change (or lack thereof). It concludes with an exploration of the possibilities for using participatory visual methods for conducting research that makes a difference in the lives of participants and those around them.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Social justice and rural education in South Africa
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Hlalele, Dipane
    Social justice is undeniably grounded in efforts at circumventing provisions that seek to uphold ostracism and exclusionary practices which have permeated South Africa and many other societies worldwide for extensive periods of time. Vast incongruities and/or inequalities between better resourced urban communities and neglected rural areas impinge on the provision of and access to education. This paper, grounded in a distributive paradigm that views social justice as a proper distribution of social benefits and burdens among members of society, traverses the positive and negative features of rural education related to social justice. It concedes that difference is an inherent, inevitable and indispensable feature of social existence and education, arguing that rural education needs to embrace difference, shape demands and model social benefits in accordance with the realities of a particular rural setting. This implies that social justice should be perceived as a humanising process – a response to human diversity in terms of ability, socio-economic circumstances, choice and rights.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Revisiting rurality and schooling: a teacher’s story
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Pillay, Daisy; Saloojee, Sheeren
    This paper presents an understanding of what it means to be a teacher in a school defined as ‘rural’. From a sociological perspective, we consider the mechanisms and ways of knowing that are adopted by a teacher for understanding not only the external world but for being a certain kind of teacher for a school in a rural setting. Employing data techniques from life history and collage compositions, data was produced with a teacher we have named Hilton. The data focused on his daily lived experiences and the social realities of working in the context of rural education to offer an expanded social and collective approach to teacher identity. Through his story, as told and experienced by him, we foreground dominant discourses at work in a rural context, and show how specific discourses define Hilton’s life and work as a teacher in specific ways. Despite the challenges and adversities he faces, we show how as a teacher he chooses to negotiate - through resistance and complicity - the discourses that dominate rural schooling and its culture, learners, teachers and communities. The article concludes that a teacher’s capacity to disrupt and challenge stereotypical meanings of rural schooling involves ongoing dialogue with the self, with teachers, with learners and the wider community.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Early school leavers and sustainable learning environments in rural contexts
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Mahlomaholo, Sechaba M. G.
    In this paper, I show by means of Yosso’s community cultural wealth theoretical framework how equal numbers of early school leavers (ESLs) from the rural and the urban parts of the North-West province cite similar reasons for their early departure from school. The conclusion drawn from this scenario is that, irrespective of their diverse backgrounds and locations, they all seem to be affected in similar ways by conditions in their respective schools and social milieu. The above conclusion indicates that there is nothing intrinsically inferior or backward about rural learners and their settings. What seems to be different though may be how they are excluded with regard to curriculum practices that do not address their specific circumstances directly. On the basis of this conclusion I suggest that these curriculum practices be customised to the needs and conditions in the rural settings towards the creation of sustainable learning environments so as to stem the high rates of learner attrition therein. This must be done with the intention of giving rural learners opportunities similar to those afforded to learners from urban backgrounds. To date, rural learners have been deliberately and/or inadvertently excluded and marginalised; thus, to remedy the situation I propose the creation of sustainable learning environments in rural schools as well.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rurality research and rural education: exploratory and explanatory power
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Balfour, Robert J.
    This article presents analysed data from the first year of the Rural Teacher Education Project (RTEP 2007–2009) with a view to illustrating how a generative theory of rurality as education research was developed, and for which ends it might be utilised. The article suggests that data from projects in rural communities, which take the rural as context, need to interrogate the role and purpose of education in such contexts in relation to notions of social and professional identity. I argue for the application of a social theory in which the rural is linked to the possibilities of identity and interaction in terms of the quality of teacher education and the quality of education in rural communities. The theory accounts for the ability of people (in this case teachers) to sustain themselves in space and time – both as subjects and agents able to resist or transform the environment, depending on resources available. It also illuminates the reality, or otherwise, of subjectivities and perceptions in our collective imaginary concerning education and the transformation project in South Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rural school children picturing family life
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) De Lange, Naydene; Olivier, Tilla; Geldenhuys, Johanna; Mitchell, Claudia
    Rurality is an active agent and central to the lived experiences of children growing up on a farm and attending a farm school. It is a key to their everyday experiences, and influences family life, schooling and their future. Previous studies elsewhere in the world have explored the notion of childhood in rural contexts, but there is a dearth of similar research in South Africa, which has a vast section of the population living in rural areas and therefore a vast number of children attending school in rural areas. A farm school – a public school on private property - provides the context for this study’s exploration of children’s views of family life in a rural area. The data was obtained using drawing as a visual participatory methodology with 16 primary school children, aged between 6 and 10, both boys and girls, providing an insider local perspective on growing up on a farm in a rural environment. How do children picture their lives? What do these pictures tell about rural family life? How does this influence schooling? This paper reports the findings and makes critical recommendations for turning the tide for children in rural education contexts.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The journey to school: space, geography and experiences of rural children
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Morojele, Pholoho; Muthukrishna, Nithi
    This paper gives prominence to rural children’s accounts of their journey to school. Twelve children (male = 6; female = 6) from three different rural villages in Lesotho participated in the study. Individual and focus group interviews were used to generate data, and these were preceded by three participatory research techniques: family drawings, route mapping and diamond ranking, to engage children in dialogue and discussion. The study provided insights into the implications of family dynamics on children’s school journey and the meaning of the school journey to the children. It illuminated how children actively define and re-define the varied places, power-laden spaces and social relations embedded in the journey. The study also highlighted how children’s agency is expressed in their negotiation of the school journey, and represented rural children as heterogeneous with the capacity to navigate their localities in complex and autonomous ways.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The diverse educational needs and challenges of Information Technology teachers in two black rural schools
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Mentz, Elsa; Bailey, Roxanne; Havenga, Marietjie; Breed, Betty; Govender, Desmond; Govender, Irene; Dignum, Frank; Dignum, Virginia
    This article reflects on the first phase of a research project aimed at the empowerment of Information Technology (IT) teachers in black rural schools in the North-West province of South Africa. In order to empower these IT teachers, the first phase aimed at understanding their unique challenges and needs. Qualitative research methodology was used to determine the IT teachers’ experiences of teaching a difficult subject such as IT in black rural schools. We report on the unique needs and challenges that these teachers experience. Results indicate that mutual challenges exist with regard to Internet access, lack of technical support and learners not having computers at home. Challenges with regard to electricity supply, shortage of textbooks and insufficient software also occur in some instances. We conclude with some recommendations on how the unique needs and challenges of these schools could be addressed in order to empower the teachers in their desire to facilitate success among IT learners.
  • ItemOpen Access
    “Our culture does not allow that”: exploring the challenges of sexuality education in rural communities
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Khau, 'Mathabo
    Within sub-Saharan Africa, AIDS is becoming a greater threat to rural communities due to the high numbers of urban dwellers and migrant labourers who return to their rural villages when they fall ill and due to the lack of information and health services. Previous studies have found a reduced rate of infection among people who have high educational attainment, and thus advocate for education as the vaccine against new HIV infections among the youth. However, very little research has focussed on the delivery of sexuality and HIV&AIDS education in rural classrooms. With teachers positioned at the forefront of the pandemic, especially in rural communities, it is important to understand how teachers experience teaching about sexuality in rural schools. In this paper, I explore the experiences of eight women teachers through focus group discussions. Thematic inductive analysis was used to identify the stumbling blocks within sexuality education classrooms in rural schools. Societal constructions of childhood and nostalgia for past traditional practices were found to be the major challenges to teaching. The findings highlight the need for a sexuality education curriculum that integrates traditional ways of knowing into formal sexuality education in order for it to be effective in reducing further spread of HIV.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Within and between the old and the new: teachers becoming inclusive practitioners
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) D'Amant, Antoinette
    This paper explores how 20 African teachers in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, construct their identities in the light of inclusive education, and how they negotiate the tensions and contradictions emerging from the process of becoming inclusive practitioners. Central to this discussion is the understanding that teachers’ identities are socially constructed and that radical transformation requires teachers to draw on their transformative capacity and develop an alternative sense of themselves, not only as teachers but also as individuals. A qualitative approach using personal narratives is used to better comprehend the context-specific experiences of these teachers and draw on their authentic voices. What emerges from the study is evidence of the simultaneous existence of both the powerful influence of historic roots of exclusion, which discourage teachers from becoming inclusive practitioners, and some fruits of inclusion, where teachers’ attitudes and practices are beginning to embrace inclusion. Findings clearly show a lack of homogeneity in participants’ responses to inclusion, highlighting instead the diversity which exists within and between individual African teachers in rural contexts.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rural education and rural realities: the politics and possibilities of rural research in southern Africa
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Balfour, Robert J.; De Lange, Naydene; Khau, 'Mathabo
    Abstract not available