PiE 2014 Volume 32 Issue 3

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Examining opportunities for the development of interacting identities within pre-service teacher education mathematics classrooms
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Essien, Anthony A.
    In any pre-service mathematics teacher education classroom, multiple identities are co-constructed simultaneously through the practices in which such classrooms engage. These multiple identities, which are interrelated and in constant interaction, include becoming a teacher of mathematics, becoming learners of mathematics, becoming learners of mathematical practices and becoming proficient English users for the purpose of teaching/learning mathematics and, finally, in multilingual contexts, becoming teachers of mathematics in multilingual classrooms. In this paper, I explore how classroom engagement supports the development of these interacting identities within pre-service teacher education classrooms. I use a developing framework, which I describe in this paper, to delineate each of these identities in four pre-service teacher education classrooms in two universities in South Africa. A notable finding was that, even though the teacher educators in the study were aware of their context of teaching, the identities that were projected through their classroom practices were mostly those that inducted the pre-service teachers (PSTs) into becoming learners of mathematics content. There were very limited practices aimed at inducting pre-service teachers into becoming teachers of mathematics and even more limited opportunities for the development of the identity of becoming teachers of mathematics in multilingual classrooms. Recommendations are made for the design of pre-service teacher education programmes.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Shrouds of silence: a case study of sexual abuse in schools in the Limpopo Province in South Africa
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Masehela, Boledi; Pillay, Venitha
    This study seeks to understand the reasons that allow a parent, a principal and a teacher to maintain silence when young girls under their care are sexually abused. Put another way, it attempts to explain what it is about sexual abuse that makes these parties relinquish their role as protectors of innocent children. This paper, based on a larger study of sexual abuse in schools in the Limpopo Province, investigates the possibility that teacher/learner sexual abuse has, over the years, become imbued in a cultural silence linked to African cultural practices. It is argued here that the silence on sexual abuse might be rooted in traditional, patriarchal views on gender and social justice. The research findings indicate that there might well be a growing resistance to what is regarded by some communities as the imposition of liberal, urban, value systems on traditional, rural African people.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Research at private higher education institutions in South Africa
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Deacon, Roger; Van Vuuren, Rex; Augustyn, Dave
    Very little is known about whether and what kinds of research are being undertaken at private higher education institutions (PHEIs) in South Africa. This article draws on a recent survey of all registered PHEIs undertaken by a group of interested private higher education providers. This survey was facilitated by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and aimed to examine the quantity and quality of research produced by PHEIs from 2008 to 2010. Placing PHEI research output within the broader context of factors that encourage or discourage research in the sector and in the country as a whole, the survey found that, although PHEI research is negligible in comparison with that of public universities, it is much more substantial than previously estimated.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Towards a reconceptualisation of “word” for high frequency word generation in word knowledge studies
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Sibanda, Jabulani; Baxen, Jean
    The present paper derives from a PhD study investigating the nexus between Grade 4 textbook vocabulary demands and Grade 3 isiXhosa-speaking learners’ knowledge of that vocabulary to enable them to read to learn in Grade 4. The paper challenges the efficacy of the four current definitions of “word” for generating high frequency words (HFW) for such a study. The paper submits that the token and type conceptualisations are unrealistic in their disregard of the learning burden principle, and that the lemma and word family notions are too accommodative and untenable in their overextension of the learning burden principle. It critiques the arbitrary generation of word levels from a language corpus which is not cognisant of the natural order in which second language learners at different levels and from different first language backgrounds acquire English vocabulary. Based on research findings, the paper proposes, for the larger study, a unit-of-word quantification broader than the token but less accommodative than the lemma. The paper advocates further research into children’s psychological processing of English word forms to constitute a taxonomy of word forms which merit treatment as single words at different levels of learners’ competence.
  • ItemOpen Access
    E-readiness of open and distance learning (ODL) facilitators: implications for effective mediation
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Nyoni, Jabulani
    This article is a narrative report of the findings from the analysis of multicultural facilitators’ discourses on their e-readiness in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) affordances in open and distance learning (ODL) mediation experiences. First, the findings revealed by qualitative deconstructive discourse analysis indicated that the majority of ODL facilitators lack those e-readiness skills that are critical in the effective manipulation of ICT affordances tools in ODL mediation environments. Secondly, some facilitators did not fully understand what undergirds ODL andragogy, principles and practices. Institutions’ academic lecturers are periodically given e-training, but this seems to be inadequate. I, therefore, recommend that a comprehensive orientation tutorial package, covering e-readiness, e-training and ODL principles and practices, be organised for all inexperienced, as well as newly employed lecturers, to appropriately prepare them for the rigours of ODL pedagogies and methodologies.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Successful students’ negotiation of township schooling in contemporary South Africa
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Kapp, Rochelle; Badenhorst, Elmi; Bangeni, Bongi; Craig, Tracy S.; Janse van Rensburg, Viki; Le Roux, Kate; Prince, Robert; Pym, June; Van Pletzen, Ermien
    This article draws on data from a larger longitudinal qualitative case study which is tracking the progress of students over the course of their undergraduate degrees at a South African university. For this paper, we used background questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with 62 first-year students from working-class, township schools who were first registered for Extended Degree Programmes in 2009. The article draws on post-structuralist theory on learning and identity to describe and analyse the participants’ perspectives on how they negotiated their high school contexts. We analyse the subject positions in which participants invested, as well as how they negotiated their way through social networks and used resources. Our data illustrate the ways in which students had to carry the burden of negotiating their way through home, school and neighbourhood spaces that were generally not conducive to learning. Nevertheless, participants consciously positioned themselves as agents. They were resilient, motivated and took highly strategic adult decisions about their learning. We argue that a focus on how successful students negotiate their environments challenges the pathologising paradigm of “disadvantage” that characterises research and debates in higher education. It also offers an additional lens for admissions processes and for providing appropriate intervention strategies in the tertiary setting.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Using Foucauldian ‘discursive practices’ as conceptual framework for the study of teachers’ discourses of HIV and sexuality
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Davids, Mogamat Noor
    Educational research conducted in the context of the HIV and AIDS pandemic in Southern Africa has produced diverse knowledge claims. A review of extant literature espoused elements of ambiguity and contradictions which have become challenging to explain, given the growing instrumentality of educational policy and institutional cultures. The research question addressed in this article is: What is the content and nature of the dominant literature strands informing teachers’ HIV and AIDS discourses? Educational policy’s preoccupation with efficacy and uniformity underplays the complexities in teachers’ discourses. This article proposes Foucault’s notion of ‘discursive practices’ as a conceptual lens to analyse the diversity of teachers’ HIV and sexuality discourses. Discursive practices encompass social, structural and subjective elements that constitute the wide scope of discourse formation. These elements create possibilities of uncertainty and indeterminacy in educational outcomes of HIV prevention, which often counteract intended policy’s expectations of uniformity and consistency. This article presents a perspective stating that a discursive practices approach offers an innovative way in broadening an understanding of the subjective nature of teachers’ HIV and sexuality, arguably a weakness in policy.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Inclusion of disability issues in teaching and research in higher education
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Ohajunwa, Chioma; Mckenzie, Judith; Hardy, Anneli; Lorenzo, Theresa
    Evidence suggests that the lack of inclusion of disability issues in the curricula of higher education institutions may result in the perpetuation of practices that discriminate against disabled people in the broader society. In light of this claim, this article investigates whether and how disability issues are included in the teaching and research of three faculties at the University of Cape Town (UCT), namely the faculties of Health Sciences, Humanities, and Engineering and the Built Environment. A survey of disability inclusion was conducted across the faculties, followed by interviews with selected participants. The study revealed low levels of disability inclusion, and that disability is not viewed as an issue of social justice and transformation overall. However, there are pockets of inclusion, the nature of which differs for each faculty. In the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, disability is included as an issue of legislation, space and environment, while the Faculty of Humanities focuses on the sociocultural and socio-economic impact of disability, and the Faculty of Health Sciences introduces disability with an emphasis on individual impairment, environmental effects, community-based rehabilitation and inclusive development, as well as the prevention and management of disability. We propose the creation of an institutional system that will build the capacity of lecturers to include disability in teaching and research across faculties, in line with UCT’s transformation agenda.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Understanding economic and management sciences teachers’ conceptions of sustainable development
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) America, Carina
    Sustainable development has become a key part of the global educational discourse. Education for sustainable development (ESD) specifically is pronounced as an imperative for different curricula and regarded as being critical for teacher education. This article is based on research that was conducted on economic and management sciences (EMS) teachers within a South African school context and their conceptualisation of sustainable development. A case study design was applied within an interpretivist paradigm. The purpose of the study was not to generalise the findings, but rather to acquire in-depth understanding and insight. The findings revealed that the EMS teachers’ dominant conception is likened to notions of unrivalled economic growth with limited reference to the interrelatedness of the economy, society and the biophysical world or to the incorporation of “green” issues. This article concludes that it is crucial to incorporate ESD into business curricula at school level since sustainable development has become progressively important to nation states, the business sector, the higher education sector and diverse discourses and curricula. The need for a more integrated approach to ESD in the EMS discourse is recommended.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Education for rural development: embedding rural dimensions in initial teacher preparation
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Masinire, Alfred; Maringe, Felix; Nkambule, Thabisile
    In South Africa, rural education and development are issues of social justice, especially in places that were previously established as homelands. This article presents some of the tensions that are inherent in the conceptions of rurality, rural education and the possibility of sustainable rural education and development. We propose the notion of education for rural development as a useful concept for its potential for transforming and sustaining rural education. We describe the implications of education for rural development on teacher education change by focusing on the teaching experience (TE) programme.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Discussing sexual identities with pre-service primary school English-language teachers from a Spanish context
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Barozzi, Stefano; Ojeda, Juan Ramón Guijarro
    This article is based on a discussion with seven voluntary Spanish pre-service primary school English-language teachers on queer issues. The focus group followed a questionnaire on their knowledge and understanding of sexual identity issues in education. The facilitated discussion enabled the participants to be better prepared on the subject. At first, the researchers guided the discussion based on the main results from the questionnaire and then worked as facilitators for the focus group, prompting critical thinking. Through pedagogical suggestions, the participants discussed possible applications of queer theory in primary education in order to counter homophobia and heterosexism. The results of the discussion highlight the absence of queer issues in English-language teaching in primary education in Spain and the need for teacher training programmes, as requested by the participants. In this article, sexual identities are related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersexual (LGBTI) as well as heterosexual people. It is the first study realised in Spain to use group discussion on these topics.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A social semiotic approach to textbook analysis: the construction of the discourses of Pharmacology
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Weiss, Rachel; Archer, Arlene
    This article takes a multimodal social semiotic approach to analysing educational textbooks. We are interested in the ways in which educational textbooks contribute to designing our social futures by constructing both the student and the discipline in a particular manner. While a textbook’s primary purpose is to provide the reader with knowledge content about a specific topic, it also serves to conventionalise and entrench certain discipline-specific practices and values. A textbook simultaneously competes in an economic environment where the reader has a choice of many textbooks. The text, therefore, takes on a hybrid form, where marketisation and conversationalisation co-exist in dialogue with academic discourse. The article analyses the discourses of Pharmacology as constructed in two widely used Pharmacology textbooks in South Africa. We take a systemic functional approach which views texts as realising meaning in three ways, namely the ideational, the interpersonal and the textual. The analysis shows how one of the textbooks tends to establish a more democratic relationship between authors and readers, while constructing Pharmacology within a scientific discourse of drugs. The other textbook constructs a more traditional and hierarchical relationship between author and reader, yet tends to reinforce a clinical, patient-centred approach to Pharmacology. We argue that this kind of analysis is important when interrogating curriculum, as textbooks are crucial sites of struggle over discourse, meaning and power.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Reflections on Creemers' Comprehensive Model of Educational Effectiveness for reading literacy: South African evidence from PIRLS 2006
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2014) Van Staden, Surette; Howie, Sarah
    This study reports on a doctoral investigation (Van Staden, 2010) to identify and explain relationships between some major learner- and school-level factors associated with successful reading in Grade 5. South African classrooms are characterised by large variation, with linguistically and socio-economically heterogeneous groups of learners. However, there is a paucity of theoretical frameworks that could explain reading effectiveness in a developing context. For purposes of this study, the South African Grade 5 data from the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2006 were analysed. Hierarchical Linear Modelling (HLM) was applied to determine the effect of a number of explanatory variables at learner- and school-level on reading achievement as outcome variable, while controlling for language. In the absence of a reading effectiveness framework, Creemers’ Comprehensive Model of Educational Effectiveness was used as theoretical point of departure. The framework left the differences in reading scores largely unexplained and could not capture the South African PIRLS 2006 data adequately. The study concludes with reflections on whether Creemers’ model could guide an analysis to explain reading performance and on what further modifications to the model might be required to suit a developing South African context more adequately.