PiE 2013 Volume 31 Issue 1

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  • ItemOpen Access
    The Geographic Information System (GIS) in secondary education in Serbia
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-03) Komlenović, Djurdjica; Manić, Emilija; Malinić, Dušica
    This study investigates the application of new educational technologies in geography classes. The research involved 126 students from vocational secondary schools in Serbia taking geography as a compulsory subject. We developed and applied a questionnaire for this research. The results indicate that out of several ICTs available, the majority of students are familiar with the GIS, but only one third can be said to have theoretical knowledge and practical skills for its effective implementation. Students who use the GIS stated that it is a useful tool that contributes greatly to the development of cartographic skills, which is a major advantage given the problem-oriented learning approach, and that it is highly interactive, systematic and precise. These findings suggest that the GIS and other ICTs are still not fully used and that teacher presentation remains the dominant method, which includes less innovative didactic aids. The importance of the application of the GIS in teaching and suggestions for enhancing teacher motivation to apply this technology are discussed in the conclusion.
  • ItemOpen Access
    South African educators’ mutually inclusive mandates to promote human rights and positive discipline
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-03) Coetzee, Susan; Mienie, Cathrine
    South African educators are mandated by international and national law to observe and promote human rights. However, given the realities of the limited teaching time available, educators cannot fulfil this obligation solely by teaching the curriculum. Another avenue needs to be found for educators to fulfil this obligation. Educators are also mandated to follow a positive discipline approach, but they are still finding this mandate difficult to accept. The authors of this article contend that the mutual inclusivity of these mandates might hold the solution to both these challenges. It provides the avenue needed for educators to fulfil their human rights mandate because by implementing positive discipline, human rights are invariably observed and promoted. This is so because positive discipline is grounded in human rights. In this article the authors aim to explain the mutual inclusivity of these mandates to illustrate the fact that, by adopting a positive discipline approach, educators will be fulfilling their theoretical obligation to promote and observe human rights and will thus be making these rights a reality
  • ItemOpen Access
    The challenges of school-based teacher development initiatives in South Africa and the potential of cluster teaching
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-03) De Clercq, F.; Phiri, R.
    This article examines the challenges of teacher development strategies in post-1994 South Africa by arguing that school-based development initiatives address teachers’ specific development needs and that it is imperative to understand the conditions under which these initiatives can have a positive impact on teachers. A framework is developed through which to examine why TD initiatives evolve over time and why teachers do not benefit equally from these. It illustrates this by reporting on some research findings on the potential and limitations of school-based teacher development through a cluster case study, which could be described as a South African version of a Professional Learning Community.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Comparison of urban and rural dropout rates of distance students
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-03) De Hart, K. L.; Venter, J. M. P.
    South Africa has one of the highest university dropout rates in the world. As a country, it also has a history of forced location and the withholding of resources, including quality education, from certain rural areas. This study investigates, the effect of urbanisation (of the area in which a student resides) on the dropout rate of distance students in an introductory taxation course. Using Kember’s longitudinal-process model of dropout from distance education as a point of departure and interrogating the “characteristics” of students, it was found that the effect of urbanisation on its own only accounted for a 1% higher dropout rate for rural students over their urban peers. When urbanisation, as a variable, was combined with other demographic variables, the outcomes were sometimes unexpected. Ten multi-variable comparisons indicated that rural students always represented the students who dropped out the most. However, in four of these multi-variable comparisons, rural students were also those who dropped out the least. A further study could examine the characteristics of population groups and language groups within rural communities to ascertain why certain students drop out more than others. Recommendations are made for specific interventions that could assist in supporting students that are prone to dropout.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The drivers of student enrolment and retention: a stakeholder perception analysis in higher education
    (Faculty of Law, University of the Free State, 2013-03) Angelopulo, George
    This study identified the drivers of student participation in the academic programmes of a South African university department. First, it explored the determinants of student enrolment and retention from earlier research and literature. Second, it discussed the utility of Q methodology in the identification of subjective perception. Finally, it isolated dominant perceptions of the factors that govern enrolment and retention in the academic programmes of the Department of Communication Science at the University of South Africa. The research was undertaken amongst a diverse group of students, faculty, support and oversight staff, chosen to represent as wide a range of opinions on the topic as possible. Q methodology was used to categorise the variety and span of subjective opinion on the market-related, service quality and cultural variables that support or undermine student participation in the department’s academic programmes. Eight richly diverse accounts were derived, reflecting the most salient perceptions on the topic. Underlying factors that supported student enrolment and retention were the reputation, credibility and image of university and department, and specific academic, disciplinary, technical and administrative competencies. The main factors that undermined enrolment and retention were the scope of research and tuition, institutional performance, inconsistency in teaching quality and the relative inaccessibility of tuition material. The research framework described in this paper offers a promising resource for the student development strategies of academic institutions.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Teaching Political Science to first-year university students: challenging ‘taxi-rank analysis’
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-03) Niven, Penelope
    This paper explores the situated nature of the epistemological values of a social science discipline as it finds expression in a particular department. Although it explores Becher and Trowler’s anthropological conception of disciplinary ‘territories’ and ‘tribes’ ([1989]/2001) it finds deeper resonances in Trowler’s more recent notion of ‘teaching and learning regimes’ (2009). It begins to identify some of the regimes that characterise one Political Science department but discovers that these are unstable and diverse, suggesting that, in practice, there are very few unifying ‘tribal’ values or uncontested ‘territorial’ practices at work in this context. The study offers these observations on the basis of an ethnographic account of one intellectual community doing the work of inducting first-year students into a new discipline. It has a particular focus on lecturers’ perceptions of the resources and capabilities of beginning students, describing some of the lecturers’ frustrations with early students’ literacy practices. These are metaphorically represented by the idea of ‘taxi rank analysis’, that is, many new students’ tendency to emotive opinions based in experiential, local knowledge rather than the more guarded, grounded analyses of academic Political Science. Finally, the study considers some of the implications these descriptions could have for more responsive teaching and learning regimes in the social sciences. Some examples are offered in the departmental narratives recorded in this study.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Revisiting expansive learning for knowledge production and capability development at postgraduate level in Higher Education Studies
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-03) Niemann, Rita
    Higher education in South Africa is challenged by academic and social demands. Universities, therefore, have to produce graduates who will be able to function optimally within their field of study, as well as act as agents of change in their social environment. The main purpose of this article is to theorise about applying Engeström’s expansive learning theory to teaching at Master’s level in order to address the academic demands at this level as well as foster essential capabilities. In this theoretical article, a possible framework is proposed for teaching students in a coursework programme in Higher Education Studies. The framework is based on re-conceptualised principles of expansive learning as a means of addressing the demands for producing graduates, who will possess both academic and social capabilities. The framework is an attempt to contribute to the conceptualisation of teaching as a process and a product by providing guidelines for integrating theory and practice. In this regard, it is focused on addressing both the quest for academic rigour as well as for embedding capabilities, valuable for human development.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Perceived gender-based challenges endured by Zimbabwean secondary school girls in their academic and occupational prospects
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-03) Mutekwe, Edmore; Modiba, Maropeng
    This study explores and unmasks factors in the Zimbabwean school curricula that predispose or channel girls into particular occupational trajectories, in particular occupations or careers traditionally stereotyped as feminine. As a qualitative research study of the culture of the schooling system within this country, it employs the views of a sample size of 20 Sixth Form girls who were purposively selected. The study also examines the impact of the pupils’ gender and their teacher attitudes and expectations towards them as girls on their resultant career trajectories. The design adopted is an exploratory case study that utilises the focus group interview for data collection from four secondary schools conveniently sampled from the Ngezi District of Zimbabwe. The study establishes that as part of the hidden culture and curriculum, teachers’ perceptions, attitudes and expectations of pupils’ gender roles exert a significant influence on their academic achievement and career aspirations. This study concludes that effective intervention strategies are an imperative if the Zimbabwean school curriculum is to be made gendersensitive.
  • ItemOpen Access
    When schoolgirls become mothers: reflections from a selected group of teenage girls in Durban
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-03) Bhana, Deevia; Mcambi, Sithembile Judith
    Schools are obliged to support young women who become mothers. Drawing from an interview study of young women in a Durban school, this article shows how their experience is situated within discourses of shame and stigma. Such shame works to reduce their agency and increase their vulnerability to drop out of school. Both teachers and peers are complicit in this. The participants argue that schools do not support the management of pregnancy, parenting and learning, with negative effects for learning outcomes. However, schools are not only sites of social reproduction, since the participants point to glimmers of hope as a consequence of care work among friends, some teachers and support groups in the school. The article argues that the experience of pregnancy and parenting is highly gendered, and addressing the challenges requires a commitment to gender equality and justice. Some implications for schools are suggested in the conclusion of the article.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Teenage pregnancy and parenting at school in contemporary South African contexts: deconstructing school narratives and understanding policy implementation
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013-03) Bhana, Deevia; Morrell, Robert; Shefer, Tamara
    South African national education policy is committed to promoting gender equality at school and to facilitating the successful completion of all young people’s schooling, including those who may become pregnant and parent while at school. However, the experience of being pregnant and parenting while being a learner is shaped by broader social and school-based responses to teenage pregnancy, parenting and female sexuality in general. Drawing on qualitative research with a group of teachers and principals at 11 schools (over 80 interviewees) and 26 learners who are parents at school, in Cape Town and Durban, the article argues that dominant moralistic discourses on adolescence, normative gender roles and female sexuality, perpetuating the representation of teenage pregnancy as social decay and degeneration, underpin negative responses to learners. In addition, the school is constructed as a space where pregnancy and parenting are unintelligible. These discourses are shown to be experienced as exclusionary practices by some learners. The article foregrounds the imperative of addressing the larger ideological terrain that impacts on the successful implementation of the policy, recommending support for teachers in the challenges of providing meaningful guidance, constructive support and appropriate interventions in the nurturance of pregnant and parenting learners.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2013) De Wet, Corene
    Abstract not available