Item Open AccessCritical emancipatory research for social justice and democratic citizenship(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012-12) Nkoane, Molebatsi MiltonThis article proposes a research paradigm located within the respectful relationship between participants and researcher(s) towards construction of positive holding, interactions and invitational environments which privilege social justice. I outline power as expressed at the heart of any form of human society through communication. For analysing power relations, issues of social justice and democratic citizenship become central. This article also demonstrates that social justice in research depends on interactions between the participants and researcher(s). I further argue for the need to engage with the methodological expectations of critical emancipatory research (CER), using the power of language and communication. I interrogate and trouble the power of text in the form of spoken or written words or any other means of communication. In addition, the article conceptualises communication as a medium of expression between the researcher(s) and participants; the researcher should not be regarded as aloof from the conditions of the participants. Therefore, the argument developed for social justice and democratic citizenship is that researcher(s) should be sensitive to the plight of all participants, recognising their voices or experiences. The article concludes by acknowledging the fact that human language is a product of human communication and that communication is important for knowledge production. Item Open AccessTeacher narratives on the teaching of sexuality and HIV/AIDS education(Department of Communication Science, University of the Free State, 2012) Francis, DennisThis article interrogates two questions: what do teachers believe about their training and preparation to teach sexuality education, and how do teachers reconcile their own identities and beliefs with the content of sexuality education? Using a qualitative research design with in-depth interviewing as method, this article argues that Life Orientation teachers lack training and come from a diverse range of fields, which do not always adequately equip them to teach sexuality education confidently and effectively. The article also makes suggestions for policy, practice and direction that future research might take to deepen our understanding about the teaching of sexuality education, including that schools must provide in-service sessions on the teaching of sexuality and that teacher training in the area of sexuality education must take into account elements of self-reflexivity where teachers begin to recognise and name their own beliefs and prejudices, and begin to separate their own values from the content they are teaching. Item Open AccessEnabling roles to reclaim teacher agency: insights from the Advanced Certificate in Teaching (Foundation Phase)(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2011) Ebrahim, H. B.; Verbeek, D. C.; Mashiya, J. N.In developing the Advanced Certificate in Teaching (ACT) as a professional qualification for continuing teacher education for early schooling at the University of KwaZulu-Natal we asked the following: “What are the enabling roles foundation phase teachers need to play in order to reclaim their space as agents who significantly influence their professional practice and how can they be assisted to become fully engaged in these roles?” We believe that this focus is timely and critical given the current effect of the discourse of standards and accountability on teacher agency. In this article we present a framework of enabling roles which create opportunities for teacher-students to experience critical reflection, transformatory learning and the development towards stronger agency. A significant implication of the framework is that teachers gain the experience of being part of a community in dialogue instead of a blunt tool for externally imposed curriculum demands. Space is created for both personal direction and the development of practice from within the foundation phase. We are mindful of the fact that, once the course has been completed and the qualification obtained, the lack of personal commitment and institutional pressure to teach in government-sanctioned ways may create slippage and constrain liberating roles. Nonetheless, we feel that, in introducing the roles in the ACT, developmental opportunities for teacher autonomy and transformative professionalism will be created. Item Open AccessEarly school leavers and sustainable learning environments in rural contexts(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2012) Mahlomaholo, Sechaba M. G.In this paper, I show by means of Yosso’s community cultural wealth theoretical framework how equal numbers of early school leavers (ESLs) from the rural and the urban parts of the North-West province cite similar reasons for their early departure from school. The conclusion drawn from this scenario is that, irrespective of their diverse backgrounds and locations, they all seem to be affected in similar ways by conditions in their respective schools and social milieu. The above conclusion indicates that there is nothing intrinsically inferior or backward about rural learners and their settings. What seems to be different though may be how they are excluded with regard to curriculum practices that do not address their specific circumstances directly. On the basis of this conclusion I suggest that these curriculum practices be customised to the needs and conditions in the rural settings towards the creation of sustainable learning environments so as to stem the high rates of learner attrition therein. This must be done with the intention of giving rural learners opportunities similar to those afforded to learners from urban backgrounds. To date, rural learners have been deliberately and/or inadvertently excluded and marginalised; thus, to remedy the situation I propose the creation of sustainable learning environments in rural schools as well. Item Open AccessDie loopbaanbelewenis van akademici aan Suid-Afrikaanse universiteite: CAP ondersoek(University of the Free State, 2010) Wolhuter, Charl; De Wet, Corene; Higgs, Philip; Higgs, Leonie; Ntshoe, IsaacEnglish: This article aims to explain how South African academics experience their professional lives during different career phases by employing data from the international Changing Academic Profession (CAP) investigation into the academic profession. Two perturbing aspects emanate from the research. First, how academics during the early career phase (ages 20-39 years) experience being constricted, in view of their roles as researchers and the fact that this phase is typically the most creative in one’s career. Similarly, the fact that academics in the mid-career phase (ages 40-55 years) show the lowest levels of job satisfaction is a cause for concern, as these years are typically the most productive in one’s career. Item Open AccessAn online multiple-choice microbiology game for undergraduate medical students: a case study(University of the Free State, 2012) Struwig, Daleen; Beylefeld, Adri; Hugo, Alwyn; Joubert, GinaEnglish: Educational games are increasingly used in medical curricula to enhance the process of mastering subject content. Students experience medical microbiology as an exceptional challenge because of unfamiliar terminology and the extensive volume of this field of study. Consequently, many students believe that medical microbiology could be a major contributor to failing an academic year. This article describes the use of an online multiple-choice game to improve students’ performance in the Infections module of their medical training programme. The results show that an informal approach to learning may be beneficial to students, even in tertiary institutions. Item Open AccessPerformance of first-year accounting students: does time perspective matter?(University of the Free State, 2013) Joubert, Hanli; Viljoen, Marianne; Schall, RobertEnglish: Academic failure of first-year accounting students is a national and international problem. Existing research is inconclusive regarding the causes for the failure and does not make provision for the possible influence of dominant time perspectives on performance in accounting. This article investigates whether time perspective has an effect on the performance of first-year accounting students. A quantitative non-experimental predictive multivariate design is used and confounding variables are taken into consideration. The results of the study indicate significant relationships between performance in first-year accounting and gender, age and a past-negative time perspective. The most significant result of this study is that a past-negative time perspective, together with an unfavourable psychosocial background, might have led to failure in first-year accounting. It is suggested that students with a negative time perspective be identified and encouraged to participate in support programmes at the university. Item Open AccessDominant discourses of teachers in early childhood education(Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2010) Ebrahim, H. B.This article examines the dominant discourses teachers in early childhood education (ECE) used to produce understandings of children and educational practice for them. Seven teachers from two early childhood centres in urban KwaZulu-Natal participated in this qualitative study. Data were produced through semi-structured interviews and conversations. The shared discourses of biology, development and difference are discussed. The findings show that teachers unproblematically use dominant discourses which narrow possibilities for them to understand children. This in turn limits their capacity for shaping contextually relevant practice. The article concludes with a brief discussion on worthy areas to focus on in order to map a way forward for developing the skills and capacity of teachers in ECE.