PiE 2013 Volume 31 Issue 2

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Towards an Africanisation of community engagement and service learning
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Preece, Julia
    This article argues that the South African research community could benefit by engaging in more collaborative partnerships within the African continent in relation to community engagement. This argument relates to literature in South Africa concerning an Africanised notion of service learning (SL) and community engagement (CE), university contributions to sustainable development, and recent discussions which suggest that South Africa is ready to explore local solutions to local problems in Africa. The article briefly introduces the global interest in universities and engagement, followed by a reflection on the historical context for African universities in this regard. The South African context is highlighted as a major player in advancing research and scholarship in relation to CE and SL. The article then refers to concerns within the South African research community that reflect the need for greater theorisation, a deepening of our understanding of how to Africanise an agenda, which has been, to a large extent, imported from the West, and how to address community perspectives and sustainable development in relation to CE and SL. The article concludes that one way forward is to explore the potential for intra-continental collaborations and comparative studies in order to expand our understanding of some of the above issues. Some examples of initiatives, studies and publications from other African countries are cited to illustrate ways in which mutual learning might take place across the continent. Key themes from these studies include the use of multi-partner collaborations, networking, a focus on community relationships, interdisciplinary approaches to community-identified concerns, and the application and elaboration of context-specific indigenous knowledge. It is suggested that one of the strengths of country initiatives outside of South Africa is their focus on CE which informs SL, rather than the other way around. Conversely, South African theoretical and pedagogical perspectives on SL can contribute to a broader understanding of this aspect within higher education institutions on the continent.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Service learning as a response to community/school engagement: towards a pedagogy of engagement
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Alexander, Gregg; Khabanyane, Mokhethi
    The promulgation of the White Paper on Higher Education (1997) necessitated Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in South Africa to avail their expertise in their human resources and physical infrastructure for service learning and community engagement initiatives, in the interest of demonstrating social responsibility, collaborative partnerships with, and a commitment to the development of South African communities. Service learning as a thoughtful organised, reflective and engaged service pedagogy is focused on the developmental priorities of communities through the application of knowledge, skills and interaction among communities, academics, students and service providers to the benefit of all participants (Council on Higher Education, 2006). In response to the latter mentioned, this interdisciplinary study, therefore, reports on the results of a service learning component to teach postgraduate students, attached to the Department of Comparative Education and Education Management, to perform specific skills (management tasks) via the implementation of structured interventions at their selective schools. Class presentations, reflective journals on students’ observations, experiences and actions revealed significant parallels between the implemented service learning curricular (management tasks) and the respective ‘engaged’ school communities.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Growing researchers from the historically disadvantaged groups through internships
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Mda, Thobeka
    This article provides an overview of the nature and quality of research supervision and mentorship practices employed by supervisors and mentors of interns in a South African research council in an attempt to increase the pool and change the face of researchers in the country. Through a series of studies conducted by the research council, the success of this intervention is investigated. The article provides insight into the difficulties of attaining the goal of increasing researchers from this group through internships. The practices viewed as being generally successful in supervision and mentorship of master’s and doctoral research interns inside and outside SA, are highlighted. From this analysis, models of effective supervision and mentorship of research interns are identified.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The South African PhD: insights from employer interviews
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Treptow, Reinhold
    Current international trends reveal that doctoral education is increasingly expected to satisfy workplace demands. In South Africa, Work Integrated Learning (WIL), introduced as part of the HEQF, is the principal initiative to facilitate greater relevance of higher education in the workplace. There has, however, been significant confusion regarding its precise definition and implications. This article presents insights gained from interviews conducted in 2009 with employers of doctoral graduates (located outside the higher education sector) regarding their expectations of doctoral education. The implications thereof for WIL are discussed and, based thereon, recommendations are made to facilitate greater workplace relevance for doctoral education in South Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The influence of gender, parents and background factors on Grade 7 students’ beliefs and attitudes towards mathematics in Mozambique
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Murimo, Adelino Evaristo
    The third study by the Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ) revealed that achievement in mathematics among Grade 6 children in Mozambique is declining, and gender differences favouring boys persist. This study examined the contribution of parents, economic resources and cultural factors on Grade 7 students’ beliefs and attitudes towards mathematics. No gender differences were found, but age, geolocation, number of siblings, education of parent, and possession of economic resources were statistically significant predictors of students’ perceived usefulness of mathematics.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Niemann, Rita
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    Queering transformation in higher education
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Msibi, Thabo
    Transformation in higher education has tended to focus on race and sex, at the expense of other forms of discrimination. This article addresses the silencing of ‘queer’ issues in higher education. Using queer theory as a framework, and drawing on current literature, popular media reports, two personal critical incidents and a project addressing homophobia in educational institutions, I explore the concerning nature and pervasiveness of homophobia in South African higher education institutions and argue for the adoption of a queer approach towards transformation. Such an approach prioritises the intersectionality and multiplicity of social identities and foregrounds queer issues in South African higher education institutions, including the challenging of homophobia and its manifestations.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the changing role of learning support teachers in the Western Cape, South Africa
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Dreyer, Lorna M.
    The South African education system is continuously changing and adapting to address the challenges to provide access, equal and quality education in a new democratic dispensation. One such challenge is the way in which learning support is provided to learners who struggle in mainstream classrooms. The department of education opted for a systemic approach to learning support services. The Western Cape Education Department (WCED), in particular, adopted a learning support model which reflects the changed role of learning support teachers. Research confirms that the role of learning support teachers is more comprehensive and complex within an inclusive education system. Learning support teachers in South Africa (like their counterparts across the world) have their roots in the individualised medical paradigm. Therefore, as key role players in establishing inclusive education in schools, learning support teachers are currently faced with the challenge to make a paradigmatic shift from the traditional narrow focus towards addressing learning support systemically. This article explores the experiences of learning support teachers in a district of the WCED as they engage and adapt in their new role as part of a collaborative team addressing barriers to learning systemically within a whole school approach.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Education and training initiatives at the Central Methodist Church Refugee House in Johannesburg
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Pausigere, Peter
    Zimbabwean economic migrants and political refugees have been given refuge and provided with shelter at the Central Methodist Church (CMC) Refugee House, in central Johannesburg. The refugees have successfully initiated learning and training programmes which resulted in the establishment of a combined school, namely St Albert Street Refugee School, an adult education programme, a pre-school, an infant day care, an Adult Basic Education Training (ABET) and vocational training centres for sewing, basic computer studies and waitering courses. The research presented here was conducted over a period of five months. It used an ethnographic approach and employed three primary strategies for gathering data: non-participant observation, interviewing and document collection. Using the theoretical framework of the Community Based Approach (CBA) to refugee education development, the article explains how the weekly refugee and School Council meetings served as forums for initiating education and training programmes and for important decisions that influenced the refugees’ education and training policies and curriculum guidelines. The Refugee School’s adoption of a modified Cambridge curriculum resulted in ‘Renewed education for repatriation’, whilst the vocational skills centres orientated themselves towards the ‘Adjusted education for integration’, which prepares adult refugees to integrate into the host country’s economic communities.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Emotional intelligence in learners with Attention Deficit Disorder
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Wootton, Carol Anne; Roets, H. E.
    This study was undertaken to analyse and evaluate the nature and quality of emotional intelligence in learners with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and to investigate whether their emotional intelligence was enhanced, and whether the symptoms and behaviour of these learners improved, after exposure to a programme on emotional intelligence. Learners with ADD were identified from within a larger group of Grades 4 and 5 learners. The whole group was exposed to a programme on emotional intelligence and the results were examined and compared qualitatively. At the beginning of the study, the learners with ADD displayed an inaccurate appraisal of their emotional intelligence as being at a higher level than that of their peer group. After exposure to a programme on emotional intelligence, these learners were able to accurately appraise their emotional intelligence. The results of this study indicate that the symptoms and behaviour of learners with ADD are improved after exposure to a programme on emotional intelligence. The enhancement of emotional intelligence, therefore, appears to be related to the symptoms and behaviour of learners with ADD.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Development of verbal thinking and problem-solving among TshiVenda-speaking primary school children
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Muthivhi, Azwihangwisi E.
    The paper presents findings of primary school children’s performance on classification and generalisation tasks to demonstrate the fundamental connection between their verbal thinking processes and problemsolving, on the one hand, and the practical activities of their society and culture, on the other. The results reveal that, although children generally classify (or group) objects in ways that suggest abstract categorical relations, they in fact employ heterogeneous thought processes rather than simply employing either concrete-functional or abstract-theoretical modes of thinking. In addition to the concrete and abstract modes, a third cognitive mode termed abstract-functional mode is posited as revealing the fundamental connection between verbal thinking processes and the modalities of the specific sociocultural context of these children’s learning and development. The findings have crucial implications for children’s schooling and curriculum development, as they call for classroom pedagogy that accounts for, and interrogates the heterogeneous nature of children’s thinking and conceptual development.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A vision of improvement of learning: South African teachers’ conceptions of classroom assessment
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Jane, Sethusha Mantsose
    This article explored conceptions that teachers hold about classroom assessment and how these conceptions influence their classroom assessment practices. The qualitative study employed a case study approach. Semi-structured interviews, observations and document analyses were used. The study utilized Brown’s (2004) conceptual framework on conceptions of assessment. The findings reveal that teachers’ conceptions of assessment are influenced by the social and education context in which they find themselves and that their personal experiences of assessment also influence their conceptions of assessment.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Drawing AIDS: Tanzanian teachers picture the pandemic. Implications for re-curriculation of teacher education programmes
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Wood, Lesley; De Lange, Naydene; Mkumbo, Kitila
    In this article, we explain how we engaged teachers in creating their own representations of HIV and AIDS in Tanzania as a starting point for re-curriculation of the undergraduate teacher education programme. We employed a qualitative design, using visual methodologies, to encourage 29 in-service teachers to draw their perceptions about HIV and AIDS in Tanzania, and to explain their drawing in a short narrative. Thematic analysis of the drawings revealed that, while teachers are aware of the social injustices that fuel the pandemic, they do not envision themselves as having much influence for social change of learner attitudes and behaviour. The discussion of the findings, compared to and recontexualised by relevant literature, leads us to argue for the need to engage teachers in participatory research to find contextually appropriate ways to conceptualise and practise HIV and AIDS education. The recommendations we offer have relevance not only for Tanzania, but for the entire sub-Saharan African region.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Student levels of engagement in learning: a case study of Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-06) Ivala, Eunice; Kioko, Joseph
    South Africa is currently faced with the challenge of undesirably low throughput rates in higher education. The need to keep students interested and motivated to succeed are key objectives of many lecturers and institutions. Empirical studies have shown that one of the factors influencing student success at university is student engagement. This paper presents lecturers’ and students’ perspectives on levels of student engagement in four (Engineering, Business, Applied Sciences, and Informatics and Design) of the six faculties at CPUT as well as factors that contribute to and constrain these levels of engagement in learning. Finally, the paper offers some practical strategies for promoting student engagement and success in learning.