Item Open AccessA capabilities perspective on education quality: implications for foundation phase teacher education programme design(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Baxen, Jean; Nsubugu, Yvonne; Botha, Liz JohansonWhile governments and communities across the globe are faced with the challenge of providing their citizens with good-quality education, there is lack of consensus on how education quality should be defined. Whereas a great deal has been written about the human capital and human rights approaches, which currently dominate the debate, the potential value of the capabilities approach to the field of education quality policy and practice is yet to be fully explored. This article aims to advance discussions on education quality, through critical engagement with discourses on the capabilities approach and its implications for education quality thinking, and offer an example of what implementation of this approach might mean in a South African teacher education context. The article outlines the core concepts underpinning the capabilities approach to education quality against the background of critiques of the human capital and human rights approaches. It then critically explores what a capabilities approach has to offer to education quality thinking, and describes how these concepts and principles are being interpreted within the new Rhodes B.Ed. (Foundation Phase) programme, currently being developed. Item Open AccessEnhancing validity when researching the ‘Other’: insights from Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social science research practice(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Naidoo, DevikaThis article explores aspects of Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of social science research practiceand discusses their relevance for enhancing validity when researching the ‘other’. Aspects such as: a relational way of thinking about concepts, epistemology and methodology; the rigorous construction of the object of research; and epistemic reflexivity are analysed and illustrated by drawing on Bourdieu’s own research practice and reflections.The paper draws on Bourdieu’s original works as well as secondary publications on Bourdieu’s work. Itargues that Bourdieu’s theory of research practice provides invaluable insights and guidance for enhancing validity when researching the ‘other’. Item Open AccessPatriarchy: a case of women in institutions of higher education(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Dlamini, Eunice Tressa; Adams, Jabulile DorothyThis article presents research on women’s experiences of patriarchy in a Higher Education Institution X. This is a qualitative study located within the interpretivists’ paradigm. The research problem of this study is articulated through the following research questions: how do female academics experience patriarchy? How does patriarchy impact on their upward mobility? And, how does patriarchy affect their academic output? A purposive sample of eight Black female academics that have experienced the phenomenon under study participated in this research. Data were collected by means of an interview schedule and through self-written stories of experiences that have been thematically analysed. The findings revealed that women at Institution X experienced male supremacy, disempowerment, and disrespect of womenfolk. Another finding is that patriarchy impacts on their upward mobility and deprives them of promotions they deserve. The participants also felt that the reigning patriarchal environment does not only impact on their academic output but also on their intellectual and emotional wellbeing and their person. Suggestions for corrective measures were put forward for use by the Department of Higher Education, Higher Education Institutions and other stakeholders. Item Open AccessDoes deafness spell disaster? An analysis of the written English levels of deaf children in the Nelson Mandela Metropole, South Africa(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Weir, Carolyn; Ayliff, DianaThis article presents the findings of an empirical comparative study in the Nelson Mandela Metropole investigating the difference between the written English of deaf children and the written English of hearing children and makes recommendations on how to improve the writing of deaf children. The psycholinguistic approach was used for the theoretical framework. Within the framework of psycholinguistics, the acquisition and development of language and writing are discussed from the perspective of (1) emergent literacy and (2) the critical period hypothesis. The findings of this research indicate a significant difference between the writing of the deaf and hearing children who participated in this study. In order for deaf children in South Africa to develop their writing, immediate government assistance is necessary in order to implement newborn screening country wide followed by medical and/or language-based intervention to minimise the impact of deafness on the language and writing abilities of deaf children. This is an essential foundation on which parents and teachers can build in helping deaf children reach age-appropriate levels of written English. Item Open AccessGender representation in contemporary Grade 10 Business Studies textbooks in South Africa(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Maistry, Suriamurthee Moonsamy; Pillay, PreyaThere is a distinct attempt on the part of the state to reposition the textbook as a key teaching and learning resource in South African schools. While the textbook industry has responded to the growing demand for better quality textbooks and attempted to embrace the tenets of the country’s Constitution, especially as it relates to the issue of gender discrimination, there remains a great deal of uncertainty as to the extent to which attempts at gender equality have moved beyond technical cleansing in South African school textbooks. This article reports on a qualitative study that engaged the tenets of Critical Discourse Analysis as the key analytical frame. The Huckin’s (1997) framework for Critical Discourse Analysis was used to analyse data from the selected textbooks. A purposive sample of two contemporary South African Business Studies textbooks was selected to investigate the phenomenon of gender representation. The findings of this study revealed that stereotypes of women and men are both implicitly and overtly reinforced in the selected textbooks. Women were shown more frequently in home settings than were men. Men were shown in a wider variety of occupational roles than were women. In both texts, more males were represented in leadership positions in government, economic and corporate institutions. Finally, the portrayal of firstness presented the male pronoun first in sentences and conversation as opposed to the female pronoun. The findings have implications for several stakeholders, as it reveals the subtext of Business Studies textbook content that appears normal and natural. Item Open AccessEducation researchers as bricoleurs in the creation of sustainable learning environments(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Mahlomaholo, SechabaHigher education has, to date, been unable to provide effective and lasting solutions to challenges of education, because large sections thereof continue to search for knowledge for its own sake. At best, they conduct responsive research, but on a small scale they reduce the complexity that is education to a neat unilinear process which can be studied by individual researchers in isolation. Hence, I propose the adoption of bricolage as the perspective that will better enable us to respond to the challenges mentioned above. I argue for a multi-layered and multi-perspectival research approach, conducted by teams of researchers in collaboration with participants who emerge from the research process as co-researchers. This research approach incorporates aspects of the eight moments in research, namely the traditional qualitative, modernity, blurred genres, crisis of representation, postmodernity, post-experimentalism, methodologically contested representation, and the current fractured futures. Using data from our research team, I show how we have operationalised bricolage. Based on the positive educational outcomes and findings of this project, I come to the conclusion that, as higher-education bricoleurs, we are better able to respond to the complexity of education in a coherent, logical, focused and original manner. Item Open AccessConfronting contradiction: diversity experiences at school and university(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Wilson-Strydom, MerridyTransformation and the embracing of diversity remains a major challenge at South African universities. This article reflects on the contradictory nature of first-year university students’ experiences of diversity and highlights the difficult terrain that students need to navigate, often with hardly any preparation for the university environment based on their schooling experiences. Using the capabilities approach as the guiding theoretical framework, the article interprets these contradictory diversity experiences in the first year in light of data on encounters with diversity at high school. It draws on the results of a large-scale mixed methods study. Qualitative data, using focus group and visual methodologies, was collected from 270 first-year students in 2009 and 2010. In addition, a total of 2.816 high school learners selected from a diverse sample of 20 local schools completed a mainly quantitative survey that included various items about interaction with diverse peers and the broader community as well as engagement with complex and diverse ideas. The school-level data provides important contextual background for understanding and interpreting students’ experiences. Such understanding is critical if we are to confront and challenge the contradictory diversity experiences during the first year at university. Item Open AccessGroup work as ‘terrains of learning’ for students in South African higher education(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Thondhlana, Gladman; Belluigi, Dina ZoeA common global perception of group work in the higher education context is that it has the potential to act as a platform which can enable student learning by means of interactions, shared diverse experiences, deep engagement with subject concepts and the achievement of tasks collaboratively. Indeed, in different socio-economic, historical and institutional contexts, group work activities have become levers by which deeper learning could be achieved. Drawing on perceptions and experiences of group work among environmental science students at a South African university, we investigate the ways in which group work could be more expansively viewed as ‘terrains of learning’ for students. The results in general indicate that students have positive perceptions and experiences of group work, though problematic elements are evident. This particular case study points to the attention that should be paid to understanding issues of background, ethnicity and various student personalities which could hinder or enable the desired student learning. Such an understanding could contribute to debates regarding the achievement of higher quality learning, given issues of diversity and transformation in the South African higher education context. Item Open AccessExploring differential science performance in Korea and South Africa: a multilevel analysis(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Cho, Mee-Ok; Scherman, Vanessa; Gaigher, EstelleThis paper reports on secondary analysis of TIMSS 2003 data with the aim of explaining the difference in science achievement of Korean and South African learners. The question asked by this research, i.e. which factors at various educational levels influence science achievement in Korea and South Africa respectively, is addressed from the perspective of school effectiveness. Data from Korea included 5 300 learners from 151 schools, while approximately 9 000 learners from 265 schools were tested in South Africa. The background data were analysed in conjunction with the achievement data by means of factor, reliability, correlation and multilevel analysis. The multilevel analysis revealed that the strongest predictor of science achievement is attitudes towards science in both countries at learner level while, at classroom/ school level, the strongest predictors are learner background in Korea and safety in school in South Africa respectively. In addition, factors specifically significant in Korea included educational resources, out-of-school activities, high expectation, professional development, and school size, while South Africa showed factors such as ethnicity and SES-related factors, textbook use, teacher age, teacher qualification, STS-based teaching, physical resources, and class size. Item Open AccessAccess or inclusion? Conceptualisation and operationalisation of gender equality in Zimbabwean state universities(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Chauraya, EfirithaThis article explores concerns about gender inequality in Zimbabwean state universities. The researcher’s interest arose from the realisation of persistent gender inequalities despite initiatives to close gender gaps. Of particular concern is the conceptualization and operationalisation of gender equality in institutions. Focusing only on the student admissions sector, this paper critically surveys the experiences of the departmental chairpersons and students who enrolled through affirmative action, their vision of gender equality and the impact thereof on the inclusion of the said students in the mainstream. The study applied a gender perspective to development as well as in-depth and focus group interviews with purposively sampled stakeholders. The findings of the study shed light on the adopted tailoring model of gender equality by the institutions and how the model blinkered the other qualitative gender dimensions of the mainstream, rendering the envisaged goal of gender equality elusive due to the exclusion of the students from the mainstream. Based on the findings, useful recommendations are made to resuscitate the almost paralysed gender equality agenda of the institutions. Item Open AccessEntering an ambiguous space: evoking polyvocality in educational research through collective poetic inquiry(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Pithouse-Morgan, Kathleen; Naicker, Inbanathan; Chikoko, Vitallis; Pillay, Daisy; Morojele, Pholoho; Hlao, TebohoWe explore how the participatory, literary arts-based methodology of collective poetic inquiry can facilitate awareness of, and insight into polyvocality in educational research. Using found poetry and haiku poetry, we present a poetic performance in which we engage with diverse voices that manifest in multiple data sources: a student participant’s photographic collage and unstructured interview transcript; audiorecorded discussions with research team members and a conference audience, and research team members’ written reflections. We aim to contribute to methodological conversations about poetry as research, with a particular focus on understanding more about the potential of collective poetic inquiry for evoking polyvocality in educational research. Drawing on notions of ‘un-knowing’, ‘not-knowing’ and ‘productive ambiguity’, we conceptualise our participatory research process as polyvocal and invite readers to join us in considering how cultivating polyvocality in educational research might bring about change in ourselves and in our ways of knowing as members of research communities. The article highlights our evolving understanding that how we research shapes and reshapes what we come to know and un-know and how we communicate that knowing.