Masters Degrees (School of Education Studies)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Psychosocial factors influencing effective learning among Basotho learners during the COVID-19 pandemic in a rural high school
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Mofokeng, Mantwa M.; Mukuna, Kananga Robert
    The learning process is built on decisions and constant assessments obtained from what is learned and how it is learned, the support given to access knowledge or concepts, and whether what is remembered by the learner is correct. However, this learning process was disrupted by the Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown regulations that were put in place under the auspices of the World Health Organization, in order to curb the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on teachers and learners’ mental health which prevented effective learning. The primary aim of this study was to explore the psychosocial factors that influenced effective learning among Basotho learners in a rural high school during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. A literature review gave the background to an observed inquiry using a qualitative approach. Case study design was chosen for this study, since it permitted the researcher to explore the experiences of various stakeholders during the COVID-19 pandemic era of the Basotho learners within their real-world context and collect data on how they make sense of their experiences. A rural high school was purposively chosen as a research site, together with the four learners, four parents or guardians, four teachers, School Governing Body, School Based Support Team and School Management Team members. Data was generated through in-depth interviews and thoroughly analyzed. Narrative analysis was used to analyse the data collected through in-depth interviews. Data was organised through the use of thematic analysis. The study employed interpretivism paradigm. The Protection Motivation Theory and Self-Efficacy Theory constitute the theoretical frameworks of the study. The research concluded that psychosocial factors that influenced effective learning among Basotho learners in a rural high school during the COVID-19 pandemic era ranged from panic behaviour, or collective hysteria to pervasive feelings of hopelessness and desperation, which were associated with negative outcomes including suicidal behaviour. It also triggered a wide variety of psychological problems, such as panic disorder, anxiety, and depression which disturbed effective learning. The research also concluded that learners' reactions to the challenges they faced in the Thabo Mofutsanyana District rural high school and their strategies and remedies to the challenges show that they value teaching and learning. The learners' strategies and efforts to solve the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic in the rural high school also enhanced teaching and learning.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Comprehensive sexuality education: the experiences of teachers in one Bloemfontein secondary school
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Seboholi, Tankiso; Jagessar, V
    Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is one of the most crucial programmes, among many, that can be entrusted with reducing the prevalent risky sexual behaviours to reduce the spread of HIV and AIDS, STIs and unintended childbearing among learners in South African schools. Formal CSE instruction is mainly limited to the Life Orientation (LO) classroom which is ineffective because of the influences on the subject content as a result of cultural differences. The main objective was to gain insight into the experiences (difficulties) of teachers teaching CSE in one selected secondary school in Bloemfontein, and to explore how teachers teaching the new structured CSE lessons in a selected secondary school in Bloemfontein deal with the challenges they may face. The study used the interpretive paradigm and draws on Dewey's education and experience theory. In this study, I used a semi-structured one-on-one interview to collect data from eight participants, allowing for probing and clarifying both questions and answers. The teachers' norms and attitudes that guide their teaching of CSE posed a severe danger to its effective delivery, as did the nuanced nature of the new CSE lessons. The study's findings revealed that teachers' experiences teaching the new structured CSE lessons in LO were unquestionably driven by their culture, religious orientation as well as their belief and value system. Teachers expressed their discomfort in teaching what they referred to as ‘sensitive topics’ in CSE, which were considered taboo in their community. They chose to exclude such topics and select what to teach based on their values and beliefs. The decision of what to teach and what not to teach compromised the intentions of the new structured CSE lesson plans. Participants also complained that CSE was a waste of their time because the high rate of teenage pregnancy remains unchanged and the relevant authorities had failed to give CSE the attention it deserves. They also reported that they had seen no improvements in the learners' behaviour since they were introduced to the programme. Participants also expressed their dissatisfaction with teaching the new structured CSE lessons, citing issues to do with the nature of the programme's content, and lack of proper consultation from the educationists about CSE implementation and monitoring in schools. Even though some teachers were convinced that CSE was designed to expose learners to explicit sex and pornographic issues at a young age, they discovered that it was not as bad as they thought. Participants explained that CSE enables learners to maximise their potential on the levels of the body, mind, soul, and society. Participants also suggested that through CSE, learners learn how to constructively relate to and contribute to family, community, and society while also living up to the principles outlined in the constitution. It gave pupils the opportunity to exercise their constitutional rights and obligations, respect others' rights, and show tolerance for differences in culture and religion in order to help create a democratic society. With CSE participants further learners were urged to learn and put into practice life skills that would enable them to respond positively to challenges and play an active and responsible role in the economy and society. They were also encouraged to make informed decisions, become morally accountable for their decisions about their health and their environment. CSE is a crucial subject that can help learners become fully reliable people and responsible members who can competently handle life’ challenges in their democratic society. However, teachers discovered later that CSE curriculum was not as atrocious as they had imagined. They further noticed that it was not intended to expose students to explicit sex and pornographic material at an early age. Therefore, CSE gives students the opportunity to reach their full potential on all levels of life being, physical, mental, spiritual, and social. In collaboration with UNESCO, I propose that the Department of Education (DoE) host seminars for parents, legislators, and cultural and religious leaders, to develop the support structure within the teaching sector focused on CSE. This study showed that, like any other subject in the classroom, CSE would be one of the most motivating factors for teachers if it received the attention it merits. I suggest that CSE be offered as a field of study at higher education institutions, allowing student-teachers with a CSE major to enrol.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Enhancing the academic performance of Grade 12 progressed learners in english first additional language
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Masuku, Sbonelo Qiniso; Dube, Bekithemba
    The objective of the study was to design a transformatory-bricolage strategy that aims to respond to the challenges faced by Grade 12 progressed learners in English First Additional Language (ENGFAL) in Gert Sibande district secondary schools. The strategy arose against the background of numerous challenges with the current progression policy referred to as National Policy Pertaining to the Program and Promotion Requirements (NPPPPR), which informs the promotion and progression of learners. This study was equally aimed at finding the impact of using bricolage through a transformative paradigm as a scheme to enhance the academic performance of progressed learners in teaching and learning ENGFAL in Grade 12. Learner progression corroborates a challenge facing the South African education system. This qualitative Participatory Action Research furthermore aimed to find possible solutions through bricolage for ENGFAL learners to employ as an intermediation tool to help learners who are progressed through to Grade 12. Data collection tactics used in this study were Focus Group Discussions, semi-structured interviews. Furthermore, data were collected from records such as support policies used at selected schools. The study population was eight Grade 12 learners doing ENGFAL and four educators from two Gert Sibande district schools. Participants were sampled through purposive and convenience sampling. Data were analysed by means of thematic analysis by Laws et al. (2003). Findings from this study showed that transformatory-bricolage could assist in enhancing the academic performance of Grade 12 progressed learners in ENGFAL. The findings additionally indicated that transformatory-bricolage is likely to lessen failure rate which eventually decreases the number of learners who need to be progressed short of meeting promotional requirements. The discoveries also revealed some challenges teachers face in teaching progressed learners, such as a lack of basic understanding of the subject in both grammar and literature, especially the elements of literature. One common feeling was the need for much improved foundations in the lower grades, which prepares learners for the tougher content in the FET phase. Further, findings from this study suggested the need for specialised training and support for teachers in order to assist progressed learners.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the use of YouTube videos in the teaching and learning of fractions in Grade 4
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Tsoaela, Mokgasi Benjamine; Mpalami, Nkosinathi
    The purpose of this study is to explore the teaching and learning of fractions using YouTube videos in grate 4. The study focused on two schools in Bethlehem/Bohlokong location in Free State province South Africa. The use of YouTube videos is a very new way of learning in the South African context. This new teaching approach might prove to be exciting for young learners in grade 4 because it has many options like animations, colourful videos, and pictures. Even though YouTube learning is exciting and fun, its implementation has challenges such as teachers wanting to use chalk and board and finding it demanding to change, and secondly, currently in South Africa there is a load shedding that happens almost after every 4 hours. This study was guided by Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPCK). The research participants in this research were two educators from different schools and 37 learners form School A (coloured dominated school) and 40 learners from School B (Zulu dominated school). The main key findings for this study are: Firstly, teachers find the teaching using YouTube videos very productive and helpful, as it makes their workload lighter. The YouTube videos are making learners to understand better and faster because it has options of pause and play, and learners can play them several times at home at their convenient time. Secondly this study has shown that learners enjoy learning by means of YouTube videos. Learners in school A and school B stated that they love the use of YouTube videos because they are colourful, they have pause and play options, one can play them at his or her convenient time. The implication for the teaching is that educators might have to plan thoroughly for lessons. Much time might be required during planning when they choose relevant videos and making snapshots. However, during teaching educators might play lighter role of pausing the video and explaining a few things. Lastly, the policies for the schools and department of education must be amended so that they can allow the use of gadgets in classrooms. It is recommended that, the use of YouTube videos in schools are good and can yield positive results for improvement of learning. Lastly these videos are loved by learners hence these learners are part of forth industrial revolution (4IR), and technology is a very important part of 4IR.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Teachers’ lived experiences of school violence: a phenomenological case study
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Windvoël, Simphiwe; Okeke, C. C.
    School violence is becoming a global scourge and teachers seem to be helpless in tackling the challenging violent behaviour of learners in classrooms. Teachers are expected to apply alternatives to corporal punishment, even as violence increases, making these attempts at discipline futile. This study explored teachers’ lived experiences of school violence at one high school in the Xhariep District of the Free State province. The aim of the study was to make positive contributions to the creation of safe and healthy school environments for teachers by formulating new coping and intervention strategies that can help curb school violence, thus aiding teachers and managers with tools to manage school violence. The study adopted a qualitative research approach with a phenomenological case study research design to describe how school violence related to the lived experiences of teachers. A purposive sample of eight teachers from one high school participated in the study. Data were collected through semi-structured and face-to-face audio-recorded interviews. The data were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis as outlined by Braune and Clarke (2012) to identify themes and sub-themes. Findings from the study show that school violence remains a concern in South African schools. Teachers experience school violence in various forms, and it is detrimental to their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. It has significant implications for teachers’ professional motivation, satisfaction, job retention and efficacy. Teachers resorted to different strategies to deal with violence, such as reporting and campaigning against school violence; peer communication; self-check and avoidance; temporary removal of learners from school; motivation and coping training skills; and recreational activities, taking time-off, and medication. However, none of these coping strategies were adequate by itself, so teachers recommended multiple intervention strategies to assist teachers, including debriefing sessions and mentoring; parental involvement; counselling and psychological support; support from school stakeholders; conflict management training and workshops; and amendment of policies and laws.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Perceived self-efficacy as a factor realising choice satisfaction regarding post-compulsory Physical Sciences
    (University of the Free State, 2019) Venter, Elizabeth Petronella; Stott, A. E.; Le Roux, A.
    Societies are dependent on learners studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in order to address, for example, issues related to health, sustainability and poverty. There is a global decline in the uptake of STEM-related studies by learners at post-compulsory level, which has prompted a worldwide research focus on factors that can influence renewed learner interest in the uptake of studies related to this field. Researchers have identified four groups of factors which influence post-compulsory uptake of Science: Systemic, School, External and Individual. Self-efficacy, a concept from Social Cognitive Theory, forms part of the group of individual factors, and is under-researched in science education on post-compulsory level. Self-efficacy can also be incorporated into the Capability Approach as a conversion factor. Conversion factors transform available opportunities into realised opportunities. In this study I argue that perceived self-efficacy can possibly be seen as ‘perceived power’, in other words a personal conversion factor towards post-compulsory choice satisfaction in the context of Physical Sciences. Given the firmly established role of perceived self-efficacy in affecting a variety of aspects of people’s lives, it is conceivable for the level of perceived self-efficacy employed to affect the extent to which learners realise post-compulsory choice satisfaction regarding Physical Sciences. In 2017, I surveyed 541 Grade 10 learners from the Lejweleputswa district in the Free State, South-Africa. These Grade 10 learners were surveyed, from a capabilities perspective, on their perceived self-efficacy, satisfaction with choice regarding Physical Sciences, and some basic opportunities identified in education. Biographical data were also collected with the aim of including an account regarding the structural constraints and human diversity of learners. From a capabilities perspective, structural constraints relate to policies and institutions influencing learner opportunities, while an account of human diversity includes elements like gender and ethnicity. A simple linear regression was done to determine the relationship between perceived self-efficacy and satisfaction with choice. Multiple regression was done to adjust for biographical factors and basic opportunities identified in education. The findings show a statistically significant positive relationship between perceived self-efficacy and choice satisfaction regarding Physical Sciences. A relationship independent of biographical factors and mediated by basic opportunities in education was found. Statistically the influence of perceived self-efficacy on choice satisfaction, although small, is independent of biographical factors and basic realised opportunities in education. It is therefore conceivable that perceived self-efficacy can be seen as a personal conversion factor. This could have numerous implications regarding further research, teaching practise and policy-making.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Enhancing the role of teachers' trade unions in the culture of teaching and learning
    (University of the Free State, 2022) Kubheka, Enoch Sihle Banana; Tsotetsi, C. T.
    The main objective of this study was to enhance the role of teachers’ trade unions in COLT. The underlying principle was being informed by the noticeable neglect of learners when members of a teacher trade union attend to their union matters during the official teaching and learning time. This has developed into a propensity which gradually meddles with the constitutional provisions of the existing rights of children regarding their interest, notwithstanding the rights of union members as stipulated in the South African Constitution. Following a qualitative research approach, this study adopted the Participatory Research (PR) as a methodology. PR is a self-conscious way of empowering people to take effective action toward improving conditions in their lives. Participatory researchers caution against either dichotomy: “They know, I don’t know.” Or “They don’t know, I know.” Instead, PR offers a partnership: “We both know some things; neither of us knows everything. Working together, we will both know more, and we will both learn more about how to know.” Basically, PR promotes collaboration amongst participants in and of the study. Research paradigm that my study used was Critical Theory which is transformative in nature as such helping the oppressed children in schools to be liberated from teachers’ trade unions activities during COLT. Theoretical framework used was Critical Emancipatory Research helping to understand those without power and affording voice to those without one, was one of the main purposes of CER. Purposeful participant selection was used to select the population and sample all participants stating the reason why they are appropriate for the success of the research. Data collection instrument was interviews to collect data from the participants. For data analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis was used for analysing, interpreting, drawing findings, making conclusions and reporting. My dissertation’s findings were to advance and enhance the existing body of knowledge relating to the role of teachers’ trade unions in COLT. It was also to add new information about my dissertation – thus addressing the gaps in the existing knowledge, like the neglect of the education policies and/or the non-knowledge thereof. Some of the recommendations of the study were for the officials of the Department of Education to familiarise themselves more with the employer’s policies for effective implementation and unions need to regularly induct their new members into their constitutions and many more in the last chapter. The conclusions about the implications of my dissertation was to enhance the relationship between teachers’ trade union members and the Department of Education regarding the interest of the child. This was to diminish and limit the meddling behaviour which the teachers’ trade union members demonstrate when leaving learners unattended during official notional time to attend to their own interests. It was going to benefit all stakeholders in understanding both negative and positive repercussions that teachers’ trade unions have on the education system, but more specifically in COLT.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The impact of electronic devices during the Covid-19 pandemic on grade 2 learners' socio-cognitive development
    (University of the Free State, 2021) Van Dyk, Danél; Ndlovu, B.
    The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increased usage of electronic devices by learners, due to virtual classrooms and devices used for entertainment, which may impact the socio-cognitive development of learners. Previous studies done mainly outside of South Africa show mixed results: Electronic devices are beneficial to a certain extent but have detrimental effects on learners' social behaviour and cognitive abilities. The impact of electronic devices on the socio-cognitive development of learners has not yet received adequate attention from researchers within South Africa. This study aims to explore the impact of electronic devices during COVID-19 on the socio-cognitive development of Grade 2 learners. The location of the research is in a preparatory school (Grades 1 to 3) in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa. The quantitative research design used three questionnaires (screen time, social development, and cognitive development) participated in by parents, teachers and learners respectively, framed by Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory. The findings of the study showed that online learning and school closures severely impacted the socio-cognitive development of learners, and that they were not at the expected developmental level for their age group. Screen time increased significantly. However, the different levels of electronic device usage by learners had no significant impact on development. The COVID-19 pandemic, school closures, and online learning had a detrimental effect on the socio-cognitive development of the learners. Intervention should be done to address the underdeveloped socio-cognitive skills of learners.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Improving the well-being of teen mothers through resilience-focused interventions in rural schools
    (University of the Free State, 2021) Van Schalkwyk, Johan Harold Dirk; Khanare, F. P.
    The well-being and resilience of teen mothers (TM) is adversely affected after the sudden transition into motherhood, due to lack of sufficient support in their social environment, such as the family, church, and the school, leading to an increase in school "drop-outs". This study used the Social Ecology of Resilience model as its building block and theoretical framework. The interpretivist paradigm used in qualitative research was used to conduct this research in rural secondary schools in QwaQwa, where the researcher aimed to explore and articulate the feasibility of resilience-focused intervention programmes for teen mothers in rural schools as a way of improving their well-being. The researcher used the amended semi-structured interviews and the draw-and-write technique, as an arts-based method, to generate data. These data gathering methods explain the factors that could either enable or constrain resilience-focused interventions for teen mothers whose well-being needs to be improved in rural schools. The selection of the teen mothers was based on their demographics and location. Five teen mothers from five different rural schools were purposefully selected to participate in the current study. This study used thematic analysis to analyse text with conferred and demonstrated results. The main aim of this study was to investigate how enhancing the well-being of teen mothers through resilience-focused interventions in rural schools can effectively enhance their learning and personal development. The findings of the study were multi-faceted. The study proposed intervention strategies which involve a support package for teen mothers that entails unified, interconnected, and inclusive community structures, such as local health institutions, FBOs, neighbourhoods, inter alia. The draw-and-write technique, as an arts-based method of investigation, was an alternative form of communication other than words which was used by teen mothers to recreate and share their life experiences. One of the teen mothers explained that drawing pictures and sharing her story was also therapeutic. Lastly, the schools should play a critical role in implementing effective, resilience-focused interventions to support and empower teen mothers to cope with early parenthood, academic responsibilities and psycho-social demands.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Academic performance in Mathematics among selected high school students in Phuthaditjhaba as a function of the teacher's motivation
    (University of the Free State, 2003-10) Ramosunya-Helu, Lerato Jacqueline; Mahlomaholo, M. G.
    This study seeks to investigate the academic performance in Mathematics among selected high school students in Phuthaditjhaba as a function of the teacher's motivation. This investigation was triggered by the arguments put forward by some educationists' belief that children do not have a learning problem, but it is the teachers who are having a teaching problem. For the purpose of this study, special focus was on learners doing Mathematics in Grade 11 and their teachers. It has been observed that South Africa is threatened with a shortage of Mathematics teachers and the number of Mathematics learners has decreased. It is therefore very crucial to unearth the difficulties bedeviling learning and teaching of Mathematics. The study used the following instruments to arrive at the findings - namely: A teacher's questionnaire mainly to measure their motivation or self-efficacy. All learners doing Mathematics at Grade 11 in six High schools in Phuthaditjhaba were included for stratified sampling. Males and females, learners of different ages, from different socio-economic backgrounds were included. Test scores of learners obtained from their tests and half yearly examinations written at each school. To use a more or less consistent average performance for learners, four tests were decided upon. The fact that all the sampled schools apply the system of continuous assessment meant that these average marks ultimately determine whether a learner gets promoted to the next grade or fails. No other independent test that may purport to be more objective than the ones used by the teachers of the mentioned learners were constructed. The findings of this study indicate that there is no significant relationship statistically between teacher's motivation and learner's performance and therefore the hypothesis that there is significant relationship is rejected. The results in table 4. 7 indicate that there is some correlation between teacher's motivation and learner's performance. Though the correlation coefficient is positive, the correlation is very small (r = 0.112) Although the study was conducted amongst all the African learners from historically disadvantaged schools doing Grade 11 Mathematics in Phuthaditjhaba High schools, this does not however, rule out the fact that some of the findings may in the end be applicable to learners in other provinces not being targeted at.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Peer-group pressure as a contributory factor to alcohol abuse among learners in selected high schools in QwaQwa (RSA)
    (University of the Free State, 2001) Lebitso, Mokete Christopher; Olaniyi, Bojuwoye; Mahlomaholo, Mahlomaholo Geoffrey
    The main purpose of this study was to investigate whether peer-group pressure is a major contributory factor to alcohol abuse among learners in selected high schools in QwaQwa. Five hundred (500) high school adolescents participated in the study. Participants were randomly selected from ten high schools (six public day schools, a private day school, and three boarding schools) all of which were co-educational. Questionnaires were used to collect data. The respondents were required to indicate by means of"Yes" or "No" responses whether they agreed with the statements on the questionnaire that peer-pressure among high school adolescents influence alcohol abuse. The data were then analyzed using chi-square. The results of the study indicate/reveal that: 1. Peer-pressure was perceived as a major influence in alcohol abuse by adolescent high school learners in QwaQwa. 2. Male adolescents felt more influenced by peer-pressure to abuse alcohol than their female counterparts. 3. There was no statistically significant difference between day and boarding school learners with regard to their opinions on the influence of peer-pressure on alcohol abuse. 4. There was no statistically significant difference between urban and rural learners with regard to their opinions on the influence of peer-pressure on alcohol abuse. In summary this study among others, recommends the following: 1. Schools and social agencies should establish intervention programmes for preadolescents with low social skills or aggressive tendencies. Addressing these problems before adolescence would decrease the chances of adolescents joining anti-social peer groups that would reinforce their problem behaviours. 2. A drastic overhaul of adolescent high school learners' mindset should be re-oriented. Peerpressure can also be positive. Therefore, adolescents must be encouraged to make informed decisions about their lives. 3. Further research in adolescent peer-pressure and alcohol abuse especially in areas not covered in this study, is recommended.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Enhancing the teaching and learning of Grade 11 trigonometric functions using integrated ICT
    (University of the Free State, 2021-11) Mokoena, T. S.; Moloi, T. J.; Mosia, M. S.
    This study aimed at designing a strategy to enhance the teaching and learning of Grade 11 trigonometric functions using information and communication technologies (ICT). Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) points out that Grade 11 learners must be able to sketch trigonometric graphs, considering effects of the given parameters; read and interpret the graphs given; and solve the mathematical modelling problems, in order to be fully competent and meet the curriculum needs (DoE, 2011:32). However, in South Africa (SA), learners struggle to sketch, read and interpret trigonometric graphs accurately. They find it difficult to know the critical features and characteristics of basic graphs, understand the change for each of the transformations and visualize the effect of a, p, q, and k on the basic function (DoE, 2018:149).Teachers, on the other side, should give learners exercises that enable them to draw trigonometric graphs with accuracy, translate and reflect graphs, interpret graphs and read solutions from the graphs. In order to respond to these challenges, this study preferred bricolage as an appropriate theoretical framework, because of its flexible, fluid, and open-minded approach towards problem-solving and knowledge-production (Rogers, 2012:06). Participants or co-researchers jointly used tools and materials at hand, as well as their life experiences, social practices and discourses to creatively construct new artefacts. Coming from different backgrounds they employed participatory action research (PAR), in order to willingly share ideas, experiences, and expertise to generate new knowledge and for pedagogy innovation. The co-researchers refer to 2 mathematics teachers; 80 grade 11 learners; two SGB parents; one KST mathematics facilitator; one IBP program manager and the researcher. Data were generated from the classroom deliberations, discussion in meetings, assessments tasks and scores obtained from planning sessions, assessments and reflection reports. The critical discourse analysis (CDA) was used to analyze generated data.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Comparative analysis of representations in natural sciences textbooks and senior phase curriculum and assessment policy statement
    (University of the Free State, 2021-11) Mofolo, Serapelo Boipelo Oreeditse; Rabaza, Msebenzi; Tlali, Moeketsi
    Textbooks are known to be primary resources for teaching and learning in most classrooms. Many inexperienced teachers rely on textbooks for content, lesson planning and guidance when teaching natural sciences. Several studies have been conducted globally over the years regarding representations in natural sciences textbooks and national curriculum documents. In studies on natural sciences textbooks, multiple representations of matter and materials in natural sciences textbooks have been found to be particularly challenging, more so for Grade 9 learners in South Africa. This study sought to explore verbal and visual representations of matter and materials on multiple levels of chemistry representation in Grade 9 natural sciences textbooks when compared to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS). By employing an exploratory research design through a deductive qualitative approach, a comparison was made between each of three preferred Grade 9 natural sciences textbooks and the senior phase CAPS document. Nonprobability sampling was employed through purposive sampling of data sources (textbooks and CAPS). Primary data collected from the three textbooks and the CAPS document were analysed using Yin’s analysis framework stages. The findings revealed that all three natural sciences textbooks had limitations in representing the CAPS document. Most limitations were found in visual representations on the sub-microscopic level than in verbal and verbal-and-visual representations on the macroscopic and symbolic levels, respectively. The conclusion was that preferred textbooks have limitations, which may negatively impact the performance of natural sciences leaners taught by novice teachers that are dependent on the textbook.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the training-needs of teachers for the implementation of Life Skills Education (LSE) in Lesotho: a case study of selected rural and urban secondary schools
    (University of the Free State, 2021-11) Ntelo, Mamolefe; Mukuna, R. K.
    Teachers are the most important players in the effective teaching and learning of Life Skills Education (LSE). It is, therefore, crucial to ensure that they are well prepared to facilitate the new teaching of LSE. A teacher's success largely depends on various factors, such as personal context, personal efforts, general personality, and the training acquired. These factors could be greatly improved if a teacher is provided with specialised training in the effective teaching of the LSE programme. This prompted the researcher to conduct a study on LSE teaching in Maseru and Mohales’ Hoek district, using four secondary schools in both urban and rural settings. This study explored the experiences of LSE teachers and how a selected training programme could influence the effective teaching of LSE in the study area. The study adopted interpretivism as the research paradigm and phenomenology as the research design. The technique used to select the research sample is purposive sampling. There were eight Basotho LSE teachers and school principals who were randomly chosen from four schools. Structured telephonic interviews were used to collect data. The data were presented thematically. The data were analysed from the participants’ perspective and contrasted with the findings from the extant literature. The study has revealed that teachers were not adequately trained to teach LSE and were in dire need of in-service courses. Therefore, it was recommended that the Ministry of Education facilitate and broaden in-service training for LSE teachers and provide clear guidelines on how to teach the contents of LSE. This study has yielded findings that can be used to enhance the teaching and learning of LSE in secondary schools. Curriculum developers would find the research used, reflecting on the extent to which the objectives set for the subject were achieved.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Enhancing teacher pedagogical content knowledge of teaching Sesotho phonics to learners with learning disabilities
    (University of the Free State, 2021-10) Pelea, Ntsoaki Annacleta; Ramabenyane, M. J.
    This study focuses on the enhancement of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK) by investigating the lived-experiences and knowledge of three special school teachers who teach learners with learning disabilities (LLDs). This research was carried out in one of the special schools within the Motheo District in the Free State Province of South Africa. The population sample for the study included Sesotho teachers teaching LLDs in a special school. The researcher purposively and conveniently selected Junior Phase teachers for the study which employed Participatory Action Research (PAR) as the research methodology. Three instruments for data collection were employed: focus group discussions, classroom observations, and document analyses. The findings revealed that most of the teachers did not have the required in-depth knowledge about Sesotho phonics. Also, most of the participants did not possess adequate content knowledge pertaining to the teaching of Sesotho phonics to LLDs. Moreover, the co-researchers did not know how to adapt and familiarise themselves with diverse learner-needs. Knowledge of learner-centred strategies was lacking. The co-researchers’ pre-conceptions and misconceptions on the topic of phonics were also evident. The research team used Social Constructivism and Ubuntu as the theoretical frameworks which enabled the researcher to work closely with co-researchers in sharing information. Mcniff and Whitehead’s Framework and Guidelines were utilised to engage with the topic under investigation. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) was applied to analyse data collected from the three co-researchers through their lesson presentations in teaching Sesotho phonics to LLDs. The most important recommendations assist in overcoming the main challenges; these are that Sesotho teachers in the Junior Phase of this special school must continue to apply the principles of PAR, and that they should avail themselves for regular in-service training to enhace their TPCK in teaching Sesotho phonics to the LLDs.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring principals’ roles in improving literacy in the foundation phase
    (University of the Free State, 2021-07) Jordaan, Mache; Plaatjies, B. O.
    This dissertation explored the role of the principal in improving literacy in the foundation phase. The challenges teachers and principals experienced were shown in the study as well as additional influential factors affecting literacy. This study is grounded in a theoretical framework with a focus on instructional leadership. This study comprised a qualitative research method, and the study took place in five different schools in the Motheo District, Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa. Data were collected using individual interviews with five principals and 6 Departmental Heads. In addition, focus group interviews were conducted with 16 foundation phase teachers. Furthermore, a documentary analysis was done in each school as well. Various themes emerged from the qualitative research, and the primary focus was on the role of the principal in improving literacy in the foundation phase. The findings revealed that principals need to better understand literacy and the curriculum in the foundation phase and that literacy instruction needs urgent attention to improve learner achievement.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the enhancement of disciplinary processes in Botshabelo primary schools
    (University of the Free State, 2021-02) Mothai, Sellwane Annah; Ntsala, S. A.
    The objective of this study was to explore the possible strategies that could be used to address problems of poor learner discipline in primary schools based in Botshabelo, Mangaung Metropolitan District in Motheo Education jurisdiction. The researcher employed a qualitative approach where semi-structured interviews were conducted with the six participants who were qualified educators at the respective schools, with each of them having varying teaching experience. The results of the study, emanating from thematic analysis revealed that there are indeed disciplinary problems experienced at the primary schools, but the magnitude and intensity varied across. They mentioned challenges such as disruptive classroom behaviour, vandalism, non-adherence to the school’s code of conduct, defiance of school authority, etc. Participants held the opinion that the use of adverse punitive measures, such as corporal punishment should be avoided at all cost, as it is illegal in South Africa. They emphasized that effort should be placed in using positive disciplinary measures, such as pep talks, collaborative decision- making and using the both the Alternatives to Corporal Punishment and SASA documents as a guiding tool to implement discipline in schools. This study made the following recommendations for future research: The use of a larger sample to ensure representativeness, the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection to maximize validity and reliability. Thirdly, future research should explore the causes of disciplinary problems in in order to generate more data. Lastly, the study recommends that future research to be conducted in other districts in the Free State province.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Beginner teachers’ experiences of professional identity development during an induction programme in the Free State
    (University of the Free State, 2021-11) Tjirumbi, Nasaret; Muller, Marguerite
    In this study, I explored the professional identity of beginner teachers (BTs) during an induction programme. Research indicates that many new teachers are thrown into the deep end when they start their careers and are expected to take on the same roles and responsibilities as their senior colleagues. Worldwide, it has been shown that teachers who feel unsupported, stressed and unprepared are more likely to abandon the teaching profession in their first few years. In South Africa, there is currently no formal induction programme in place for BTs. Stakeholders agree, however, that such a programme is required, prompting the Department of Education to launch an induction field test in one Free State district (Thabo Mofutsanyana). In collaboration with Gent University, the University of the Free State conducted a research component of this field test. My study fell within the ambit of the larger research component and focused specifically on the development of BT professional identity during an induction programme. I worked with Social Network Theory to better understand the role of social network structures, collaborative relationships and different actors that play a part in BT identity development. The study used a qualitative approach, drawing on survey and interview data from BTs in the Thabo Mofutsanyana district. The findings show that BTs experience a range of challenges in the first few years of teaching related to administrative duties, difficult relationships with senior teachers, little support, feelings of isolation, and large class sizes which further aggravated learner discipline issues. In addition, many experienced the added challenges related to dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in their first years of teaching. Based on the highlighted, I recommend that induction programmes be strengthened to help BTs deal with the existing challenges as they develop their professional identity. This may help in minimising teacher turnover in South Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring factors influencing Grade 7 learners’ performance in Mathematics in the Frances Baard District
    (University of the Free State, 2021-11) Ajimudin, Fatima; Mukuna, K. R.; Baloyi-Mothibeli, S. L.
    The performance of learners who reach Grade 7 level tends to decline owing to a number of factors. Presently, learners from more impoverished communities are denied access to the trending resources, which places them at a disadvantage. Psychological factors, social and academic factors affect learners and this impacts their academic performance. Learners who reach Grade 7 are in the same school in South Africa as the Grade 6s, because in the previous curriculum that South Africa used, the differentiation only came about in Grade 8. In the CAPS curriculum, a new phase starts in Grade 7. It would be problematic for Grade 7 to be physically moved to a new school. Thus, the difficulty in Mathematics occurs when learners reach Grade 7. The study focused on learners who reach Grade 7 in the same school in South Africa as the Grade 6 learners, because in the previous curriculum that South Africa used, the differentiation only came about in Grade 8. In the CAPS curriculum, a new phase starts in Grade 7. It would be problematic for a Grade 7 learner to be physically moved to a new school. Thus, the difficulty in Mathematics occurs when learners reach Grade 7. The study seeks to explore the most imposing factors that influence Grade 7 learners’ performance in Mathematics at the Senior Phase. Furthermore, the study aims to explore the best teaching strategies for mathematical concepts thereby enhancing the performance of learners. The study also aims to help parents guide learners in choosing the most beneficial methods of achieving their goals in Mathematics. The objectives of the study were to explore the reasons why learners’ marks tend to be lower when they reach Grade 7, and identifying the challenges that militate against learners’ academic performance. Considering the above will allow teachers to adopt the best strategies to mitigate the challenge of marks decreasing. Six teachers, who were the participants for this study, were purposively chosen from the six schools selected for the study. Also selected for this study were six focus groups of four learners each. The qualitative research approach located within the contours of the interpretivist paradigm were chosen for this study. The case study design was used as the research design. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the teachers and focus group discussions were held with the learners during the data collection process. Data were organised into categories and analysed using thematic analysis, which uses themes. Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory formed the theoretical framework underpinning this study. This theory proposes that individuals develop in relation to environmental conditions, the time spent in the environment, and an individual’s personal characteristics. The limitations of the study included the fact that the sample was small and drawn only from public schools in a predominantly rural province. The results of the study were that learners displayed resilience in the face of the difficulties they experienced and the teachers ascertained that the learners recover quickly from the difficulties they may experience. However, the study found that although teachers are adequately trained and experienced in Mathematics, they need to enhance their curriculum delivery skills to include 21st century skills. This will ensure that learners remain focused and engaged during classes. Furthermore, the learners felt excluded by the outdated teaching pedagogies used by their teachers. One of the recommendations derived from the findings of the study is that teachers ought to adopt learner-centred teaching pedagogies that continue to keep learners engaged. Learners are exposed to modern digital technologies like television, computers and mobile phones, to which schools do not have adequate access. The study further recommends that teachers must modify their teaching approaches to learner-centred approaches that consider the use of digital technologies and thus respond appropriately to learners’ interests. Teachers should teach learners time management skills to capacitate them to manage their time when undertaking their academic work. This study further suggests that schools should elicit the aid of social services to support learners in difficult socio-economic situations (SESs).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring approaches for teacher representatives on school governing bodies to cope with demanding relationships
    (University of the Free State, 2021) Slabbert, Lajane; Plaatjies, B. O.
    The challenges School Governing Body (SGB) teachers experienced were shown in the study and additional influential factors affecting the best interest of primary schools. This study was grounded in a theoretical framework focusing on approaches to coping with demanding relationships in the SGB as teacher representatives. The theoretical framework was embedded in the choice Theory of William Glasser and the theoretical perspective of representative democracy. This study comprised a qualitative research method applied in five primary schools in the Motheo District, Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa. Data were collected using interviews with five principals, nine SGB teachers, and seven SGB parents, and open- ended questionnaires were conducted with eight teachers. Furthermore, non- participant- observation was done in each school as well. Four themes emerged from the qualitative research, and the primary focus was on the role of the teacher in improving relationships in the SGB. Findings revealed that to put the schools' needs first and improve functionality in the SGB, teachers need to gain a greater understanding of the SGB, not be afraid to voice concerns, and focus on building stronger working relationships with colleagues in the SGB.