PiE 2016 Volume 34 Issue 2

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Map literacy and spatial cognition challenges for student geography teachers in South Africa
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2016) Larangeira, Rhoda; Van der Merwe, Clinton David
    South African geography student teachers should master map skills to teach mapwork effectively in their future classrooms. Spatial cognition, prior learning of map skills and map interpretation at secondary school-level are highlighted as being important in furthering map literacy, which is required by geography student teachers. A mixed-method research framework investigated the causes of map literacy difficulties experienced by first year geography student teachers. Lecturers who train prospective teachers should be aware of the conceptual and/or skills-based difficulties associated with poor map literacy amongst their own students in order to address these problems. This paper outlines problems experienced by first year geography student teachers associated with their own acquisition and understanding of mapwork. Furthermore, it argues that without deeper comprehensive development of their own mapwork content knowledge, the geography student teachers’ ability to teach map skills effectively will be adversely affected.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Race, gender and sexuality in student experiences of violence and resistances on a university campus
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2016) Cornell, Josephine; Ratele, Kopano; Kessi, Shose
    With the dismantling of apartheid in 1994, significant changes were made to higher education in South Africa. Access to higher education has expanded and student bodies are now more representative in terms of gender and race. However, demographic change alone is insufficient for higher education transformation. As in other parts of the world, within dominant educational discourses ideal students are still typically represented as white, middle-class, male, cisgender and heterosexual. Furthermore, students who occupy these categories tend to hold symbolic power within these institutions. Recently, student movements, starting with RhodesMustFall (RMF) at the University of Cape Town (UCT), have begun to challenge this and draw attention to these issues of transformation. This study was critically and empathically provoked by engagements around the RMF movement and aimed to examine students’ experiences of transformation in higher education relating to race, gender and sexuality at UCT. Photovoice methods (involving focus groups, personal reflections, photographs and written stories) were used to explore two groups of students’ experiences of non-direct, symbolic violence (i.e. issues of bathrooms, residences and campus art) and direct, physical violence on campus as well as these students’ resistances and disruptions to the violence they encountered.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Interconnectedness of technology teachers’ perceptions of the design process to learner creativity
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2016) Singh-Pillay, Asheena; Ohemeng-Appiah, Frank
    The design process (DP) is key to technology education and is considered as synonymous with problem solving, hence it undergirds all its learning aims and objectives. The Curriculum Assessment and Policy Statement (CAPS) document envisages that the design process will promote problem solving, critical thinking and creativity in learners. However, a paucity of empirical studies within the South African context illuminates the interconnectedness of DP to problem solving, critical thinking and creativity in learners for which the CAPS policy advocates. Further, there is a need to explore the interconnectedness of teachers’ perceptions of the DP, their enactment of the DP and its impact on learner creativity. This paper reports on a study that explored that interconnectedness and addressed the following research questions: What are grade 9 technology teachers’ perceptions of the design process? How do these perceptions relate to teachers’ reported enactment of the DP and creativity in learners? The conceptual framework used to model the interconnectedness that exists between teachers’ perceptions and reported enactment of the design process is Shulman’s pedagogical content knowledge model (PCK). This interpretivist study was located in the Umlazi district of KwaZulu-Natal. A case study design was used to collect qualitative data via an open-ended questionnaire and a semi-structured interview from 30 purposively selected technology teachers. Content analysis of data was undertaken in line with the conceptual framework. Our findings reflect that teachers’ perception and reported enactment of DP and the flexibility of the learning environment have an impact on opportunities for problem solving, critical thinking and creativity in learners. Our findings raise questions about the type of professional development teachers need to enact the envisaged goals of the CAPS document in respect of the DP in technology education.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Theorising a capability approach to equal participation for undergraduate students at a South African university
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2016) Calitz, Talita M. L.; Walker, Melanie; Wilson-Strydom, Merridy
    This article applies a capability approach to the problem of unequal participation for working-class, first-generation students at a South African university. Even though access to higher education institutions is increasing for historically excluded students, when race and class disaggregate completion rates, there are persistent patterns of unequal participation. In the first part of the article, the capability approach is used to conceptualise dimensions of equal participation, which include resources, agency, recognition and practical reason. In the second part of the paper, these four principles are applied to an empirical case study, which is drawn from a longitudinal research project that tracked the equality of participation of undergraduate university students at a South African university. The article makes the case for pedagogical and institutional arrangements that enable equal participation for students who are precariously positioned at higher education institutions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Teaching and learning of Mandarin as a foreign language in South African schools
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2016) Nel, Norma
    Globalisation has influenced the demand for the acquisition of Mandarin. As a proactive response, the South African Department of Education included Mandarin as a second additional language in the National Curriculum Statement grades R–12 in March 2015. The research reported on in this article was context specific. It entailed a case study of a school in Gauteng that had introduced Mandarin as a foreign language. Chomsky’s language theory, the interactionist theory and Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory are acknowledged. A qualitative inquiry strategy was employed; individual and focus group interviews, questionnaires and observations were used as data gathering tools. Content analysis was done manually. Themes, categories and subcategories were identified. The research culminated in a case study narrative elaborating on the main themes, namely motivation and beliefs, teaching Mandarin, and learners’ learning experiences.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Shifting from disorientation to orientation: reading student discourses of success
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2016) Cloete, Nicola; Duncan, Catherine
    Academic success in higher education is generally evaluated by means of concrete and measurable criteria that function as an institutional discourse of success. However, a parallel discourse of success that is far less evident is the languaging and identification of success or failure that students hold and circulate. This paper investigates what counts as success from students’ perspectives using a critical lens informed by Stuart Hall’s discursive analysis and James Gee’s inclusive articulation of discourse. We argue that students tend to describe and evaluate their success in a consistent way, making it more than a highly individualised set of statements. Being well versed in terms of “what counts” for the institution, we consider “what counts” for the students: what do they endorse, contest or negotiate as markers of success? We subsequently tease out the similarities and distinctions in these two discourses that function in parallel and read the recurring themes and nuances of (dis)orientation that come through in the interviews as markers for an alternative discourse of success or failure that stands alongside of (and occasionally in opposition to) the institutional discourse.
  • ItemOpen Access
    One teacher’s experiences of teaching reading in an urban multi-grade foundation phase class
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2016) Sampson, Colleen; Condy, Janet
    Many teachers have been confronted by the demanding situation of teaching two or more year groups in the same classroom although data on this multi-grade phenomenon is scarce. The purpose of this study attempts to answer the research question: What are the experiences of one foundation phase teacher when teaching reading in an urban multi-grade foundation phase class? The theoretical framework central to answering the research question was based on Lave and Wenger’s (1991) community of practice. The literature review highlights the physical setting of urban multi-grade classrooms, debates the limitations and benefits of urban multi-grade teaching and finally briefly outlines the old and the new South African curriculum policies with regard to reading. A qualitative interpretive case study research design was formulated to explore the complex phenomenon of reading practices in the foundation phase. Data were collected using interviews and observations, which were video recorded. In conclusion, this unique study reveals that despite evidence from provincial tests indicating poor reading results in multi-grade teaching of reading, this teacher proved that reading in urban multi-grade classes does work. In her classroom, she showed that multi-grade teaching of reading fosters the emotional, intellectual, social and academic well-being of learners.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Insights from traditional initiation teachers (Basuwe) on the influence of male traditional initiation (lebollo) on the behaviour of schoolboys
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2016) Mohlaloka, Sello Martin Blase; Jacobs, Lynette; De Wet, Nita Corene
    This article aims to describe the outcomes of traditional initiation schools (lebollo), identify reasons for initiates’ deviant behaviour at school after returning from lebollo and offer some suggestions on how to reduce deviant behaviour that may be linked to lebollo. The literature review has shown that lebollo aims to equip initiates with competencies that are necessary for adulthood. A content analysis of data emanating from interviews with two traditional initiation teachers (basuwe) identify initiates youthfulness, inadequate time spent at the initiation school, the erroneous view of initiates that they are adults, initiates’ unwillingness to embrace the teaching of their elders, alcohol abuse and the inappropriate conduct of parents as reasons for initiates’ misbehaviour. The study emphasises the need for close cooperation between formal schools’ disciplinary committees and basuwe, as well as between the parents of initiates and basuwe to reduce initiates’ misbehaviour.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A measurement scale for students’ usage of online networks
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2016) Barker, Rachel; Ong, Derek
    Studies suggest that students are increasingly turning to information and communication technologies as learning tools in which they can present multiple identities quite explicitly tied to context, knowledge and understanding within online networks. Hence it is imperative for educational institutions to understand how twenty-first-century learners use online networks for their identity formation and learning experiences. Through a systematic review of existing instruments, constructs and elements were identified and used to develop a new conceptual research framework which was quantitatively tested on a convenience sample of students (n=300) at Sunway University in Malaysia. Based on the results, a measurement scale was developed and analysed through structural equation modelling and confirmatory factor analysis. The responses of the students revealed they are more likely to use online networks for identity formation than for the learning experience and that there is a relationship between identity formation, the learning experience and the use of online networks.