PiE 2015 Volume 33 Issue 3

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Problematising the standardisation of leadership and management development in South African schools
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Williams, Clarence
    In 2007 the Department of Education introduced the standards-based Advanced Certificate in Education: School Management and Leadership. The standardisation of leadership and management development in South African schools has been uncritically accepted by most academics and professionals. The purpose of this article is to problematise the standardisation of leadership and management development, using the critiques of the Interstate School Leadership Licensure Consortium standards of the United States as the basis of analysis. This article indicates the following areas of concern: the lack of clarity regarding the empirical basis of the unit standards; the incorporation of certain non-empirical ideals into the programme; the generic instead of contextualised approaches to leadership and management development; the use of a generic programme for school principals, deputy principals, and heads of department in spite of their differentiated roles; and the lack of a single, generally accepted policy document containing an exposition of the role of school principals that could form the basis of leadership and management development. This emphasises the need for the unit standards to be subjected to regular scrutiny and revision to address areas of concern and to ensure relevance thereof in the face of current developments and empirical research findings.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Multimodality in science education as productive pedagogy in a PGCE programme
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Edwards, Nazeem
    Initial teacher education programmes such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in South Africa are undergoing significant changes with the introduction of a new policy regime. This paper briefly outlines the policy changes advanced for teacher education programmes in South Africa. It examines productive pedagogies as a conceptual framework to underpin such a restructured programme. It then proposes that multiple representations can serve as a productive pedagogy of enactment in the science classroom because it engages the student with higher-order thinking skills, connects them with the world beyond the classroom in a supportive environment, and values difference by affording students multiple opportunities to develop a deep understanding of concepts. Some examples are given and the broader implications for classroom practice are discussed.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The need for place-based education in South African schools: the case of Greenfields Primary
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Ontong, Krystle; Le Grange, Lesley
    The discourses of accountability and global economic competitiveness have impacted negatively on the quality of education in schools worldwide. Focused attention on the social and ecological places that people inhabit has been overshadowed by education’s support for individualistic and nationalistic competition in the global economy. South African schools are not exempt from this. Despite these dominant realities, we argue that place-based education (PBE) is a transformative educational approach for counteracting this tendency. Moreover, we contend that PBE is critical to the field of environmental education – not only to encourage environmental conservation ethic among learners, but also to make them aware of the deeper social, ecological and political forces that are embedded in places. Such consciousness can only be achieved, however, if teachers are aware of their learners’ sense of place. In this article, we discuss the case of Greenfields Primary, a school situated in an eco-village outside Stellenbosch, South Africa. Twelve learners’ sense of place was investigated. An attempt was also made to determine what two Social Sciences teachers’ understanding of the concept ‘place’ was, the extent to which they practised ‘a pedagogy of place’, and the influence that the eco-village had on their teaching approach.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Developing empathetic skills among teachers and learners in high schools in Tshwane: an inter-generational approach involving people with dementia
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Alant, Erna; Geyer, Stephan; Verde, Michael
    This article describes the implementation and outcomes of an experiential learning approach to facilitate the development of empathetic skills among teachers and learners at two high schools in Tshwane, South Africa. An inter-generational training programme, the Memory Bridge Initiative (MBI), aimed at exposing participants to interactions with older persons with irreversible dementia, was used as a means to develop empathetic skills. Programmes such as MBI have the potential to develop empathetic skills and to cultivate interpersonal and personal skills among the learners and the teachers. Seven learners and six teachers, recruited through non-probability sampling, from two high schools in Tshwane participated in the three-and-a-half-day training programme which serves as the basic training to equip teachers and learners for the implementation of the programme in their respective schools. Focus-group discussions were conducted with the teachers and the learners separately before and after exposure to the MBI programme. Both learners and teachers agreed that the programme contributed to their interpersonal and personal development. Learners also adopted a more positive way of perceiving older persons and people with Alzheimer’s disease. It is recommended that inter-generational programmes should be implemented in more high school settings to determine best practices to develop empathetic skills among learners. Inter-generational programmes could minimise the isolation of older persons with dementia and equip the youth with transferrable skills to educational and work settings.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Youth perspectives of achievement: is money everything?
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Matope, Jasmine; Badroodien, Azeem
    This article draws from a qualitative research project completed at Victoria High School (pseudonym) in Cape Town in 2012 which explored 13 learners’ perspectives of achievement and its influence on their lives and thinking. The piece problematises and analyses taken-for-granted connections between money, achievement, youth aspirations and views of employment (Opsahl & Dunnette, 1966). The article builds on McClelland’s (1967: 10) view that “money isn’t everything,” that money is a motivator for some, yet often inconsequential for others, and that its meaning mostly lies “in the eye of the beholder”. In light of this view, the articles discusses the perspectives of four learners at Victoria High to illustrate how they approached achievement, aspiration and materiality according to the different social standings and worlds that they inhabited. It was found that the expressed views of achievement by learners went beyond stereotypical and measurable attitudes and connected in quite complex ways with how they imagined their futures. The learners approached the notion of achievement in developmental, cumulative, and progressive ways. An interpretive qualitative paradigm using the work of Pierre Bourdieu and Arjun Appadurai was employed to highlight how the youth’s various capitals and aspirations respectively influenced their notions of achievement.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Helping learners think more hopefully about life after school: the usefulness of participatory visual strategies to make career education more contextually relevant
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Smit, Suegnet; Wood, Lesley; Neethling, Marinda
    Learners living in challenging socio-economic circumstances face limited opportunities for further education and employment. In this context, formal career guidance which merely provides information about specific jobs and how to access them may be of little use. This article explores the usefulness of participatory visual strategies as a pedagogical tool for teachers to help learners think more critically, realistically and hopefully about their future life opportunities. Analysed through a resilience lens, findings indicated that the strategies inspired hope in learners; helped them identify assets and barriers in their social ecologies; develop a sense of agency and responsibility for deciding on their futures; and care more for other people, all of which will help them make more constructive choices for life after school. The findings might help teachers make their career education more relevant for children who live in contexts of adversity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The external contingencies and development processes of students with emotional disabilities
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Nikolaros, John
    This paper examines the external contingencies that students with emotional disabilities (ED) experience throughout childhood and adolescence. It presents an in-depth assessment of the impact of external dynamics on the emotional development of students with ED, and considers the school, home, and community support systems. The paper assesses school implementation and the ability to influence the regulation process, along with a review of strategy that assists schools and parents in assessing interventions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Doctoral writing for publication at a leading African university: publication patterns and pedagogies
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Van der Merwe, Mathilde
    Writing-for-publication is a practice that doctoral students should acquire for integration into international research culture. Publication rates and forms of pedagogy supporting the development of publication skills for doctoral students, however, remain inadequate worldwide. Limited data of doctoral student publication from African universities is available in terms of publication patterns and pedagogies. To gain insight into publication pedagogies, a top-publishing science department at a leading African university was studied. A literature search was performed to find journal articles linked to dissertations and the numbers and timing of publication were documented. Supervisors and graduates from the sample were interviewed to uncover educational strategies employed to support doctoral student publication. Results indicate that the majority of the students published. Departmental culture and a pedagogy of collaboration were highlighted as aspects encouraging students to publish. These results indicate that, with appropriate educational strategies, PhD students can be prolific publishers and thereby become integrated into research cultures.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Estimation of promotion, repetition and dropout rates for learners in South African schools
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Uys, Daniël Wilhelm; Alant, Edward John Thomas
    A new procedure for estimating promotion, repetition and dropout rates for learners in South African schools is proposed. The procedure uses three different data sources: data from the South African General Household survey, data from the Education Management Information Systems, and data from yearly reports published by the Department of Basic Education. The data from the General Household survey are utilised to estimate repetition rates for learners in three different age groups. Keeping these repetition rates fixed, the data from the other two sources are used to estimate dropout and promotion rates, which are based on a birth-year-cohort approach for the different age groups. In particular, this procedure involves minimising the difference between actual flow-through rates and simulated flow-through rates for both the birth-year cohorts and age groups. The procedure gives different results when compared to published literature.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Socio-economic factors affecting parents’ involvement in homework: practices and perceptions from eight Johannesburg public primary schools
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Ndebele, Misheck
    This paper examines socio-economic factors influencing parental involvement in homework at the Foundation Phase in eight Johannesburg public primary schools. The research was conducted among over 600 parents from schools in different geographical and socio-economic areas such as the inner city, suburban and township. Two primary schools were chosen from each of these settings. This research offers a form of classification of parents, with the view to analyse the relationship between the types of parental involvement in homework and different categories of parents. In this study, I argue that the socio-economic status of parents has a major influence on participation in their children’s homework. Findings suggest that the higher the income and socio-economic status, the more parents are likely to become involved, whereas parents from a poorer socio-economic background are less likely to be involved in their children’s homework.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Guided group reflections of first-year pre-service teachers: moving beyond the rhetoric of "go and reflect"
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Beylefeld, Adri; Le Roux, Adré
    In South Africa, pre-service teachers enter education programmes with diverse preunderstandings of the teaching profession. For some, their experiences are often naively divorced from a genuine understanding of how present-day education perpetuates patterns of poverty and privilege. Responding to the pedagogical challenge of framing problems of social injustice in relation to the profession, we designed a school visit project to expose first-year pre-service teachers to school environments that represent the exciting inequities in educational experiences and opportunities. In this article we comment on the written group assignments that followed from the small-group discussions which were held after the school visit. Located within a lifelong learning framework, we proceed from the assumption that discussion in a group with support will afford students the opportunity to position themselves in relation to the grave inequalities embedded in South African education. Data obtained were analysed by means of open and axial coding to comment on the salient issues the students discussed, the issues they wanted further clarification on, and the opportunities they envisaged to engage with and act on. We found that, although the small-group discussions succeeded in setting a critical reflective process into motion, a space was not created for students to uncover and challenge their deep-seated assumptions that stem from a specific historical and cultural context.