Day 3 | Wednesday 25 October
Panel discussions: 08:00 – 09:30
District Six: Let the subaltern speak! Decolonising local history
M Noor Davids, Egsaan Behaardien, Faaiz Gierdien, Nazeem Khan, Omar Esau, Naeemah Sadien, Sakinah Davids, Karen Dos Reis
District Six symbolises the physical and psychological scars left behind by the Group Areas Act and similar legislation promulgated during the colonial-apartheid period. Similarly, the South African historical landscape is strewn with memories and untold stories of forced removals and oppression, accentuating the need for their recording and pedagogization as part of a new decolonised education curriculum. This panel discussion focuses specifically on the history of District Six as a case study, with the intention to generate alternative perspectives to restore the dignity and respect that apartheid education intended to destroy. As an extension of colonialism, apartheid education also envisioned to control the minds of the disenfranchised through censorship, repressive legislation and sub-standard education. Official history became state propaganda, perpetuating the myth of white supremacy and paternalism. After 23 years of democractic governance, nation-wide student protests demanded free and quality education to put an end to apartheid inequalities and suffering. Jeppe & Soudien (1990: 203) described District Six as the “birthplace of the national democratic movement and the fountainhead of literature, intellectual and ideological development in South Africa.” This satement is equally valid as a description of places such as Sophiatown, Fietas, Lady Selborne and others – all destroyed by apartheid. An alternative historical narrative of District Six remains relatively unknown to many generations that have fallen victim to biased scholarship through reproduction of popular culture and an alienating curriculum. In pursuance of the call for a decolonised curriculum, members of this panel will unpack various aspects of this argument so as to frame their vision of the District Six case study as a re-imagined pedagogical space to redress current knowledge deficits. Panellists will individually and collectively reclaim the space by giving voice to the creative technologies of the subaltern’s care of self through performance of de-territorial and re-territorial practices, trans-local spatial jumping, stories of resistance and return, and a celebration of institutions that were purposely excluded and suppressed to justify a myth of cultural superiority. This panel discussion’s contribution lies in framing the complexities of memory and its enrichment of the historical archive by remembering the almost forgotten and untold stories of the past. The panellist will share their research on historical institutions such as the Moravian Chapel/Zinzindorf Primary school, Saligh Dollie Moslem Primary; topical themes such as the colonial-apartheid obsession with racial segregation; post-apartheid cosmopolitanism, land surveying and town planning as empire-building practices, biographical and other previously marginalised topics.
Empathetics, Resonance, and Attunement: Exploring modalities of re-imagining pedagogies of solidarity in T-learning research in feverish times
Injairu Kulundu, Dylan McGarry, Anna James
This panel presents pedagogical work that responds to our troubling and feverish times. They resonate with Gaztambide-Fernandez’s (2012) consideration of a pedagogy of solidarity that seeks to be decolonized. This is characterized by educational encounters that hold the tension between radical difference and interdependence. Our pedagogies propose that we can no longer build solidarity from sameness if that sameness is defined by colonial logics of inclusion and exclusion such as the nation state or a particular interest group.
This pedagogy is characterized by three modalities: relational, transitive and creative (Gaztambide-Fernandez, 2012). The relational mode calls us to understand how we are made by our relations with others: people, animals, our environment. Solidarity that is transitive implies acting for change. Furthermore in acting for change, transformation occurs for all – including the actors. The creative mode is thinking anew about how to represent and how to redefine artefacts of coloniality. Creativity is not just done by artists but is a process every human being is capable of doing together with others in order to forge a new way.
The three contributions in this panel speak to these elements in various ways. Injairu Kulundu reports on the “Not Yet Uhuru!’ project which pays attention to the rising cultures that sit at the heart of young African experiences as they chart their way to a future worthy of their longing. Anna James considers the concept of dialogue characterised by attunement as pedagogical modality in the context of improvisational play-making, exploring how to affirm creative agency. Dylan McGarry, working with theatre in the context of coal mining and drug addiction, problematizes an essentialist notion of empathy and draws on intersectionality and intra-rationality frameworks towards a critical empathy for ecological, social and social-ecological justice.
In our work, solidarity is also expanded to include both the human and more-than-human world. All three papers explore aesthetics inspired pedagogical modalities and consider them in relation to a solidarity that empathetically bridges the spaces between the Black Lives Matter (BLM), #FeesMustFall, Indigenous Peoples, Queer/LGBTQ, Animal Rights, Nature Rights, Critical Environmental Justice, and migrant/refugee/Islamic discrimination movements.
This work situates itself in the ISSC T-learning [transformative, transgressive, together] project reaching across nine countries and four continents (see www.transgressivelearning.org). This work of the South African researchers in this wider transformative knowledge network constitutes inquiry into and the creation of learning that is transformative, transgressive, transdisciplinary and together, in this particular time of feverish social and climate change.
Presentations: 08:00 – 08:30
Decolonising the teaching of mathematics in rural learning by using indigenous game
The paper explores the use of diketo (coordination game), as an example of indigenous games to teach patterns such as linear functions in mathematics. The paper is guided by the theory of community cultural wealth. The theory views community members as experts in rural learning ecologies. The marginalised knowledge they possess is empowering to find their own solutions to local issues. The knowledge which learners possess from the rural learning ecologies is not used in the teaching and learning of mathematics. The researcher maintained that there are no deficiencies in the marginalised knowledge of the excluded people. As the results, the researcher tapped into the marginalised knowledge of subaltern communities to teach linear functions, using participatory action research (PAR) in generating data. Hence, the involvement of community members (parents, traditional leaders), education experts (teachers, mathematics subject advisors, lecturers from institution of higher learning) and learners themselves. All the discussions by participants will be captured by using tape-recorder and video camera. The generated data will be analysed using Van Dijk’s critical discourse analysis (CDA). CDA enabled the study to acquire deeper meanings of the text. Again, CDA assists to identify instances of ‘discursive injustices’ in text and talk, and signifies a form of resistance to unethical and unjust social power relations.
Schools are burning: The impasse of decolonisation and democracy in school system
Andrea Mqondiso Buka
The South African education system has been recently (in the past 3 years) engulfed by violence, where infra-structures were burnt and students and ordinary people felt oppressed and deprived of certain rights. There seems to be a new struggle among ordinary people to possess back power to the people. What was interesting was the reaction of authorities, where an eye-for-eye approach was applied. Could this be a replication of 1976 apartheid approach (which was a by-product of imperialism) or duplication of Marikana brutality by the new democratic government? While school communities are legally entitled to some kind of democracy to participate in school governance in their schools it can be argued that they feel suffocated and oppressed in both public and private schools. Principals are allegedly accused of various misconducts or mismanagement and yet they are custodians’ policies. Consequently tension and mistrust seem to exist among stakeholders which in some instances lead to school violence that impact negatively on teaching and learning. This paper propounds for active parent participation in schools leadership based on imbizo philosophy which is an African approach of collective leadership.
Decolonizing the university curriculum: Student perspectives
Addisalem Yallew, Othusitse Paul Dipitso, Fredua KwasiAgyeman
It would be stating the obvious to point out that questions related to decolonizing curriculum have been some of the outstanding concerns raised by recent student movements in universities in South Africa (Le Grange, 2016; Mamdani, 2016; Mbebe, 2016).From our preliminary assessment of the topic, we have come to learn that not much of systematic research has not been conducted on the issue especially taking into account student views. This paper focuses on investigating student perceptions on what decolonizing the curriculum means. Their views as to who should do it, what can be done to achieve it, and when it should be done will also be considered through in-depth interviews with student leaders at the University of the Western Cape. The case study method of qualitative research is chosen from the five approaches of qualitative inquiry as stated by Creswell (2012) for its efficacy to tackle the issue from a multidisciplinary vantage point. Michael Apple (2016, 2004, 1993, 1971) works on analyzing ideology and curriculum, and other concepts borrowed from postcolonial and critical race theories are proposed to thematically conceptualize and analyze the study. Relevant literature like: policy documents, research articles, books and other publications shall also be reviewed to inform the analysis. This study is expected to contribute to our understanding of the contemporary national, continental and global debates on university and knowledge decolonization by focusing on students’ perspectives regarding curriculum change.
Decolonizing Pedagogies – Teaching and Learning in and for context
This paper will present a discussion on decolonising pedagogies from the point of view of the context within which it is located and for which it should apply in the present and future.
It will locate the discussion within the sharp debates that are occurring on the topic of decolonisation and then proceed to present perspectives on pedagogies and what might constitute decolonising pedagogies.
The paper will present data and observations on the profile of curricula as they are currently implemented and argue that the evidence indicates that much more needs to be done in current educational settings to meet the goals of education for all learners. Some considered options on what can be done in teaching and learning contexts will be provided. An analysis of the opportunities, obstacles, risks and risk management issues will be presented.
The paper will conclude with the position that options are not either /or but need to include the best of all existing influences on practised pedagogies and develop a hybrid model based on deep understanding of the different trajectories that have shaped current practices and are the basis of developing pedagogies that are responsive to past and current inequalities and projected imperatives of the future.
(Institutional) culture as development at two higher education institutions: policy implications
This paper reports on work in progress for my doctoral degree in which I attempt to understand and interpret culture as development, as constructed and articulated by the University of Namibia (UNAM) and Stellenbosch University (SU). The study draws on Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics which is primarily concerned with historical consciousness, understanding and interpretation, and from this perspective conceptual and documentary analyses and narrative constructions are conducted. Namibia gained independence in 1990 and, as part of the decolonisation process, the apartheid-created ‘Academy for Tertiary Education’ was closed and the University of Namibia (UNAM) was officially established in 1992. Therefore, UNAM aligns its policies to Namibia Vision 2030, and the university shows a commitment to building an institutional culture that is in line with the development needs of the nation. UNAM is an agent for development because it is required to contribute to social and economic development of Namibia. Higher education institutions in South Africa were called upon to transform themselves in line with the democratic principles of the new nation state. Although Stellenbosch University (SU) has been struggling to transform itself over the last twenty years, a review of some of its policies indicate that development is also a key feature of its institutional culture. A review of the strategic goals of SU demonstrates that within these strategic themes development is highlighted as broadening access and creating opportunities for development; development of staff as excellent researchers; and research focusing on national development goals; etc. It is thus clear that SU’s focus on development is embedded within its overarching strategic goals. I argue that culture as development features strongly at both institutions, and that UNAM policy is largely effected by Vision 2030 whereas at Stellenbosch development is not so clearly effected by national policies.
Teacher governance for peace-building: recruitment, deployment and social cohesion
Yusuf Sayed & Thomas Salmon
Teachers can be seen as playing a central role as actors whose distribution, employment, recruitment and deployment can serve to redress the past and promote equity. This paper reviews polices and mechanisms to provide for an equitable and socially just distribution of teachers to schools, providing a synthesis of research from South Africa and Rwanda for a joint ESRC-DFID funded research project. This was conducted through a documentary review of relevant policies and recruitment and deployment interventions alongside 25 semi-structured interviews with policymakers, academic experts, teachers, unions and NGO’s.
The synthesis of the country case studies investigates how teachers are being deployed and governed at school sites which are most in need with a focus on hard-to-fill school sites such as in rural and violence-affected areas. Across this gap between rural and urban communities the governance of teachers is characterized in different ways by high levels of disparity in the conditions and distribution of the workforce. Drawing on the data, it highlights the themes of rurality, gender, decentralization, teachers working conditions and the relationship between policies as a whole and teacher governance in which various incentives for their recruitment and deployment seek to operate.
The analysis highlights how the design and implementation of teacher recruitment and deployment intentions are conditioned by political economy factors in diverse ways. First, it highlights how the stratified inequalities embedded within educational systems marked by processes of colonization and decolonization which led to forms of segregation based on race and ethnicity, violent conflicts and political settlements shaped teacher governance. Second, it explores ways the political economy of both contexts explains the disjuncture between intentions and outcomes (intended and unintended). Thirdly, this critical political economy perspective on transitions interrogates why progressive intentions to equitably distribute teachers flounder in the struggles between contending social and political forces and factors at local levels.
Presentations: 08:30 – 09:00
Can we decolonising mathematics teacher education? Let us think and talk
Marinda van Zyl
The intention of this paper is to convey a mathematics teacher educator’s reflections of (re)thinking and some inspiring literature for a changed university MTE classroom practice. Acknowledging the views of student teachers is essential to ensure quality learning.
The foundation phase (FP) academics at Nelson Mandela University embarked on changing the BEd FP programme, including mathematics teacher education (MTE) for implementation in 2019. Preparing the guiding study materials is a complex process and require collaborative conversations to ensure coherence in our thinking and doing.
Guiding and supporting FP student teachers to become confident teachers, with sufficient knowledge of theory and practice to approach mathematics education in an inclusive manner, is essential. Our changing practice strives to encourage the decolonisation process. Furthermore, MTE learning opportunities undertake to ensure that student teachers develop agency, namely “the capacity of teachers to act purposefully and constructively to direct their professional growth and contribute to the growth of their colleagues” (Calvert, 2016). Two of Wilson’s (2017) strategies to develop teacher agency that are prominent in our MTE university classroom, are
Listen to teachers’ voices and promote choices for professional learning.
Allocate time during the [contact sessions] for [student teachers] to learn collaboratively.
In current South Africa, calls for decolonisation are prominent and learning at higher educational institutions is included in this debate. The discipline of mathematics allows for an interesting case in the context of decolonisation (Brodie, 2016). Brodie claimed that although the content of mathematics might not change, the way we approach mathematics through our thinking and teaching is essential in order to contribute to the process of decolonising mathematics (teacher) education. Focussing on three aspects integrated in the curriculum process, namely our critical thinking, problem solving and pedagogy provide opportunities to rethink and change how we can promote mathematics education for all our young citizens.
Following a connectionist approach with the three aspects (i.e. critical thinking, problem solving and pedagogy), combined with a dialogic approach, is utilised to create an university classroom practice that provides epistemological access that allow all student teachers to actively participate and bring their diverse knowledge, skills and beliefs into the learning setting. Student teachers solved mathematics problems in small-groups and engaged in conversations while doing so. Their individual and collaborative reflections clearly indicated their appreciation for opportunities to experience such collaborative doing of mathematics and related the conversations as learning process. Their diverse contributions enriched their conversations in their small-groups that serves as communities of practice, with opportunities to share their collaborative thinking with the whole class for further elaboration.
The scholarly contributions by Dweck (2008) on deciding whether you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset encourage rethinking mathematics teaching, learning and assessment (TL&A) and with emphasis on the foundation phase context. Boaler‘s (2016, book cover) contributions on mathematical mindsets, influenced and supported by Dweck, urged “unleashing students’ potential through creative math, inspiring messages and innovative teaching”. These are just two of the inspiring literature that contributed to our rethinking of teaching mathematics in school-based classrooms. Viewing these two works through the lens of Wa Thiong’o “decolonising the mind” (1986) and comparing with the student teachers’ and the mathematics teacher educator’s reflections, assisted with the compiling process of the new study materials for future MTE student teachers.
What if #feesmustfall in all public schools? Exploring different scenarios
The #feesmustfall campaign that started in 2015 changed the higher education landscape in South Africa. The campaign had a profound impact on universities, not only in monetary terms but it also served as a prelude to the decolonisation debate.
Msila (2016) described #feesmustfall as just the start of change. This inevitably leads to the question about a possible #feesmustfall campaign in public schools. Following the promulgation of the South African Schools Act (84 of 1996), provision was made for 5 types (quintiles) of public schools as well as the introduction of some “no-fee” schools. Quintile 1, 2 and 3 schools are no-fee schools, where parents are not expected to pay school fees. According to the Department of Basic Education (2014) the Limpopo Province had 77% no-fee schools and the Western Cape had 40%.
From 2013-2015 the number of learners in no-fee schools increased by 6.85%. This led to a widening of the gap between well-performing and underperforming schools.
In order to ensure smaller classes and quality education, fee-paying schools (and some no-fee schools) employ additional teachers that are remunerated from the school fees. There are currently around 50 000 educators and 100 000 non-educators employed and paid by School Governing Bodies at an annual cost of R10-12 billion. The total annual contribution by parents to fee-paying public schools is equal to the combined incomes of the universities of Stellenbosch, Cape Town and Johannesburg.
The question that is explored in this position paper is how the #feesmustfall campaign in 2015 that was aimed at tertiary level, may impact on public schools. Official departmental data as well as projections will be used to assess the possible impact of a successful #feesmustfall campaign in public schools in South Africa and to predict possible future scenarios that will best serve education in South Africa.
The Right to a Decolonised Education, in South Africa
Margot Stephanie Riley, Leah Ndimurwimo
This paper addresses the social injustices and epistemic racism of the post-apartheid education system of South Africa. The history and purpose of the colonial education system of South Africa is summarised and compared to the current education system. The aim of this paper is to comprehensively understand what the constitutional right to education in South Africa encompasses, especially in light of the rise of legal theories of transformative constitutionalism and international law standards for educational rights. It seeks to discover whether or not the right to education includes the right to a decolonised education through a legal interpretation method of ‘reading-in’. Ultimately, the question which is addressed is whether or not there is a constitutionally enforceable right to decolonised education, in South Africa.
The value of drama-in-education as a decolonizing pedagogy in the university lecture room
The paper provides a detailed account of how drama-in-education was used to engage third year university students in an education module entitled ‘Issues and challenges in education’. The delivery of the module focused on the use of drama-in-education strategies such as tableaus, role plays and theatre-in-education in conjunction with dialogical engagement and discussion classes.
The focus of the paper is on how the students experienced the drama-in-education strategies, their views on the strategies used and to what extent they believed that their knowledge of the themes was enhanced as a result of the processes involved in learning.
The data collection methods used to gain insights into the students’ experiences included focused group interviews and written reflections. The findings emerging from the ‘rich, thick data’ of this qualitative study indicate overwhelmingly that students were positively predisposed to the arts based methodology used and felt that their learning was developed on a much deeper level as they were able to internalise theories and apply them to practical contexts. They felt that since the strategies provided a context for learning the issues could be interrogated more critically which led to enhanced learning, critical engagement and reflection.
The paper argues that as a decolonizing pedagogy in the university lecture room drama-in-education has a significant contribution to make to enhanced teaching and learning thereby developing students’ critical and creative skills.
Cultural intelligence of student teachers as a pathway toward decolonisation of education: A literature review
Dr Chris Dali
It is almost three years since the South African university students organised themselves under the banner of #FeesMustFall, and drove an international debate about decolonisation of education. Despite its conceptual evasiveness, decolonisation manifests itself as a useful discourse for black and white student teachers who have to cross cultural boundaries in their teaching practice. However, there has been paucity of empirical and theoretical research that fosters different pathways for student teachers to critically engage in the decolonisation of education. It is against this background that this article seeks to review current literature on cultural intelligence as a framework to enhance student teachers’ school-based learning competencies. The systematic review of literature revealed that teachers with high levels of metacognitive, cognitive, motivational and behavioural components of cultural intelligence are better positioned to address decolonisation issues in schools.
The Impact Of Youth Work On Educational Achievement Of adolescent
Chauke Thulani Andrew
The study aims was to investigate the impact of youth work on educational achievement of adolescent. The study was conducted at EPP Mhinga secondary school which falls under Lim 345 South Africa. The participants were both male and female who partake on youth work programme at their school and beyond school context competing with other schools from District level to national level called Youth Citizen Action Programme (YCAP). The research approach employed in the study was qualitative research methodology. The sampling procedure used in the study was non-probability sampling companied by purposively sampling as sub-type. Thematic data analysis was used to analysis the collected data. Positive youth development theory and empowerment theory were employed as study theoretical framework. The study finding revealed that youth work have played paramount role on improving learners educational achievement. It shows that learners self-esteem who involve themselves on youth work has been improved which enabled them to develop self-confidence to participant in classroom. Learners have develop team work skills that contributed to their educational achievement, learners have gain computer literacy skills that help them to access educational information at internet. Learners have acquired management skills that enable them to balance school work and social life. The study recommends that youth programmes in South Africa shall performed by professional youth workers who understand the code of ethics of working with adolescent. Department of basic education must employ professional youth workers at school to carry youth programmes, youth sport development and life skills programmes.
Presentations: 09:00 – 09:30
AFLA – Assessment for Learning in Africa: Improving Pedagogy and Assessment for Numeracy in Foundation Years
Toyer Nakidien, Osman Sadeck, Anil Kanjee, Qetelo Moloi
The low level of numeracy skills of millions of poor and marginalised students, particularly in developing nations, is of international concern. The Assessment for Learning in Africa: Improving Pedagogy and Assessment for Numeracy in Foundation Years (AFLA) research project focuses on developing teachers’ pedagogical and assessment skills in challenging locations and context in South Africa and Tanzania. This is being done through developmental workshops and on-site developmental support sessions. The workshops and school based support focus on formative Assessment for Learning (AfL) of Mathematics in Grade 3 classes.
The aim is to investigate how teachers can develop and sustain high quality assessment for learning teaching practices towards enhancing the learning of mathematics. This research project utilises the work of the Assessment Reform Group (ARG) in the United Kingdom and of Dylan Williams’ formative assessment tools tool to improve teacher practice.
In the Western Cape, this research project is being implemented in one rural Educational District and includes six primary schools. Specifically, this project focuses on teachers teaching Mathematics in Grade 3 classes. Drawing on data collected from surveys, base and end line observations, interviews, classroom observation and portfolios, this paper report on emerging issues and themes. In particular, it examines the extent to which teachers feel empowered to use these techniques and how it impacts their teaching practices. This paper argues that there is much merit in the approach to supporting teachers to use assessment for learning though context crucially shapes how they implement these techniques.
100 years on, and still absolutely relevant: one teacher’s resistance under colonial and apartheid education
Dr Yunus Omar
This paper examines the educational life and teacher-identity of a largely hidden-from-history teacher, Alie Fataar, who was born on the eve of the Russian Revolution in 1917, and whose life remained true to that revolutionary genesis. Alie Fataar was born into a working class home in Claremont, Cape Town, to a functionally illiterate father and a fairly literate mother, who was a washerwoman to the rich residents of leafy Cape Town suburbs. Yet Fataar’s desire to be educated drove him to the centre of an extraordinary educational movement that sought nothing less than ‘taking a nation to school’ (Rassool, 2004). The paper draws on a doctoral study that examined the teaching life of Alie Fataar as situated in several layers of complexity. The paper situates the life of one teacher within the broader context of teacher resistance to education, and asks questions about teacher agency and institutional structures that both enable and inhibit this resistance. The paper seeks to inscribe a teacher’s ideals and pedagogic vision from the past, and makes an argument that his deeply humanist, anti-racist pedagogic orientation is not out-of-place, nor out-of-time with current contestations around equity, quality and access to education. Fataar’s educational-cum-political life resulted in his banning under the Suppression of Communism Act in 1961, and he fled into exile in 1965, where he experienced the vagaries of exile, as well as the opportunity to make an educational contribution as a teacher and later as an education official in two new post-colonial African states, namely Zambia and Zimbabwe. The paper examines these pan-African educational experiences, and concludes by highlighting the continued critical voice of Fataar on his return to a post-apartheid South Africa in 1993. The paper suggests that the present can be illuminated by examining the life of a public intellectual who worked outside of the academy as a fiercely independent, politically-imbued, critical, informed counterpoint to legislated and policed discrimination. As such, the paper argues that the voices of teachers are crucial to the formation of a critical citizenry in the context of a highly unequal, violent world in search of a just peace.
Decolonizing The University Curriculum: A Focus On Dismantling The Western Relativistic Social Ethics For Ethical Improvement And Mind Set Change In Africa
Florence Kirabo Nampijja
The current decolonization debates on education are focusing on the challenges of inherited western knowledge systems/ western epistemologies in Africa. Whereas this is quite pertinent, there are other issues on which ‘purposeful’ education in Africa survives and thrives. For example, the ability of education to equip its citizens with essential and appropriate social ethics that makes graduates purposefully fit in their societies and in the globe. The curriculum of contemporary universities has been developed from a secular point of view that is based on western models and that undermines the indigenous social ethics that informed indigenous education in Africa. The consequence has been the lack of social ethics skills and social responsibility by university graduates and yet these are the foundations upon which professional ethics hinge and are the driving force behind all human actions and decisions. In this paper, I will concentrate on decolonizing the university curriculum with a focus on integrating the often taken for granted component of indigenous social ethics into the contemporary university curriculum; as a way of counteracting the effects of contemporary university pedagogies that are focused on market- driven competitiveness, materialistic goals and relativistic social ethics. The idea of the paper is premised on the fact that ethical modeling is not only a precondition to economic, social and political sustainability, but it is also a serious tool against social injustices and immorality; and thus considered as another relevant pathway to development. The Author envisages that failure to interwove the indigenous social ethics into the curriculum, the goals of the decolonization campaign shall probably be realized only in part. The purpose of the paper therefore is to broaden the ways of (re)thinking the (re)construction of the university curriculum in Africa with a special focus on social ethics.
Strengthening Roots: Explorations Of The Precolonial (Past History, Origin And Culture) Through Arts-Based Pedagogies
Dr Kathija Yassim
A compelling statement made by Fredua-Agyeman (2008) is that “growing up and learning about the art of story-telling from my father and teachers … I was never told that Africa has its unique story.” In this conceptual paper, I attempt to explore the use of arts-based pedagogies in creation of children’s literature and storytelling as a possible mechanism to explore our unique pre-colonial history. The arts and their forms are as ancient as human existence, yet the emergence of artistic paradigms and their use in educational inquiry has been relatively recent. Such approaches have the potential to create new epiphanies and an opportunity to explore the liminal spaces in ways that some traditional research approaches cannot access. Weaving artworks, photographs, artefacts and pre‐existing images drawn from society can be used creatively through the act of storying, oral storytelling and performance to provide a creative space to bring to the fore our past history, origins and culture.
Cross-cultural awareness as a strategy to decolonize education: A literature review
For centuries, South Africa has always sought to design its education system based on insidious colonial domination that entrenched cultural boundaries and marginalized the indigenous knowledge pedagogies, experiences, and situationality of the learner. A strategy that will deconstruct the vestiges of colonialism and thus demystify decolonization of education requires attention in order to recover and rediscover the history, culture, and identity of South African learners. This article sought to review literature on the adequacy of cultural intelligence as a theoretical framework that could contribute toward the decolonization of education in South Africa. Recent literature review on cultural intelligence – the capacity to function effectively in intercultural contexts – revealed a marked paradigm shift from focusing on cultural differences toward inquiring how to bridge the differences. The literature also showed that decolonization could engage with imperialism and colonialism and thus regenerate indigenous knowledges, cultural epistemologies and ways of life. Structuring education to be more cross-culturally sensitive would enrich learning because education would be contextualized to include the culture that learners are already familiar with.
Is theoretical teaching at university sufficient in preparing students for the working environment?
T Ncetezo, AN Mini, BV Nonkwelo
The purpose of the study is to investigate whether or not university education without practical component is sufficient in preparing students for the working world. It is further to establish whether knowledge acquired through theory alone at university make them ready for the working environment immediately after completion of their studies. The interest is prompted by difficulty that the students encounter to secure employment after graduation, not being absorbed after completing internship and others are not placed according to their qualifications and end up not following their career paths. The significance/impact of the study is to expose the university to shortcomings of theoretical teaching and to make it aware of the importance of experiential learning and Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in programmes for which a practical component is not a requirement. A survey will be conducted using questionnaires and by conducting interviews. Quantitative data will be analysed using a descriptive statistics. A stratified random sample of thirty respondents will comprise of ten already employed Public Management, Human Resources Management students and four unemployed students of 2013-2015, ten workplace supervisors and six university lecturers from the respective programmes. A mixed approach will be used for the study. The study will establish whether or not theoretical teaching alone is sufficient to prepare a graduate for the working world.
Presentations: 09:30 – 10:00
Decolonizing The Colonized Mind-Set: Reflecting On Lecturer Preparedness To Decolonize Teacher Education
An increasingly diverse student population is becoming more and more the norm at South African universities with culturally and linguistically complex classrooms being the new reality. Lecturers are challenged not only to prepare students to participate in an increasingly diverse democracy, but also to respond to such diversity within their own sites of learning and teaching. Most of these lecturers were schooled during the “Apartheid era” and have only been exposed to western ideologies and fundamental pedagogics and struggle to make the mind-shift required for the new university classroom. Higher Education in South Africa thus, finds itself at a crossroad. Universities have been asked to review their curriculums and to re-curriculate to ensure that it addresses the needs of the new generation of students as well as prepares them for the challenges peculiar to the 21st Century. Despite rigorous transformation and curriculum renewal at universities students claim that they can still feel the effects of racism in lecture halls and in the rendition of the curriculum; and has called for decolonized education.
What does this mean? What does it mean to decolonize education and what is required to do so? More importantly are lecturers prepared to do what is required to decolonize education as Jansen (2009: 179) so aptly observes: “Changing the curriculum without changing the curriculum maker is especially difficult under conditions of radical social transformation. Changing the curriculum too far ahead of the teachers who have to implement it, is unlikely to rearrange the epistemological order of things in the classroom.” This paper reflects on the findings of a qualitative case study on lecturer preparedness to decolonize teacher education. The study investigated lecturers understanding of decolonization as well as their willingness to do what is required to decolonize teacher education. The aim of the study was to understand reasons why lecturers would be prepared or not prepared to decolonize teacher education.
Neoliberalism and Inclusive Education in the South African context
Problem-based learning: A socially inclusive teaching approach for a sustainable learning environment
This paper aims to elucidate how problem-based learning (PBL) could be a socially inclusive teaching strategy that enhances the creation of sustainable learning environments. This paper highlights the benefits of teaching English first additional language, by means of PBL and considers this as a way of consciously recognising caring. This paper validates the way PBL could promote the comprehension and articulation of complex and dynamic realities. The paper advances the constructive benefits of PBL as a teaching approach that could integrate knowledge from multiple perspectives and theoretical positions. This paper calls for socially inclusive teaching approach that could appeal to respect and inclusivity of diverse discourse and skills, and acknowledgement of social context. This study makes a contribution by amplifying the recognition of learners’ voices as a means to create a space for their success in learning. The study adopted participatory action research (PAR) as a methodological approach and, for the analysis of both empirical and theoretical sets of data, critical discourse analysis was engaged. This paper affirms that, for PBL and sustainable learning environments to thrive, regarding an ontological and an epistemological stance, both should be socially inclusive, collective and collaborative.
Professional development in Art education: First Steps in becoming a participatory artist, researcher and teacher (P) ART in diverse learning environments
Merna Meyer, Lesley Wood
In an attempt to understand my positional role as art educator and develop my living theory of art education, I explain my ontological, epistemological and methodological stance that guides my enquiry into my own practice. I am concerned about the future of art education and in particular the role of the art teachers in South Africa where there is a need to be not only creative, but also inclusive and transformative professionals in their career fields. Based on ART theory as a theoretical framework, I utilize the three roles of artist, researcher and teacher in my practises. I argue that educating pre-service teachers to fulfil the seven generic roles stipulated in policy (South Africa, 2000) does not necessarily help them to develop a deep understanding of their professional roles to create transformative learning experiences in schools. During the first cycle of this qualitative action research study, I utilized observations, visual diagrams and reflective notes to generate data that support my argument for the need to provide a conceptual framework of the praxis-orientated roles of the artist, researcher and teacher (ART) that form the basis of my emerging living theory in socially engaged art education. Obtaining an embedded understanding of my professional role as art educator is a first step to critically blend my views with students’ perceptions of their professional roles in the current South African educational context of decolonised awareness and transformative practices.
Rethinking cultural appropriation in a museum space: Decolonizing the FET art history curriculum
Dr Alfred Masinire
Museums are not just spaces to exhibit aesthetic artifacts so as to satisfy the, leisure, taste and imagination of those who have an appreciation of art objects and beauty. From their inception during the Enlightenment in Europe, museums were conceived of as pedagogic tools to categorise and control knowledge and to reinforce cultural supremacist ideals. When African art forms were relocated and reworked within the boundaries of colonial museums, they lost their original cultural meaning and import, and were used as markers of Africans’ supposed cultural inferiority because they did not comply with European aesthetics.
Since the 1990’s new museum studies and critical curatorial practices have adopted self-reflexive approaches to museum education that acknowledge museums’ colonial origins and problematize the museum’s underlying cultural agenda’s. Nevertheless, contemporary museums retain their pedagogic functions, and therefore cannot be immune to the current wave of curriculum/knowledge decolonization that South African activists, politicians, scholars and educators are grappling with.
Contemporary artists who use African artworks that were not made to be exhibited in museums with little regard for the origins and purpose of the artworks they appropriate, further entrench the colonial knowledge and power dynamic. Yet, the assumption of power implicit in these acts of appropriation is often ignored when these artworks are celebrated within South African art history, and consequently the FET History of Art school curriculum.
In this paper we analyze artworks by selected South African artists, who are featured in the FET Art History curriculum, and whose artworks profile a significant range of appropriated African art works. The main questions we seek to answer are 1) what cultural, ethical, and authorship problematics arise when contemporary artists appropriate older African artworks, and 2) how do we engage with these problematics in a decolonial curriculum?
By deploying a decolonial framework and Foucault’s concepts of power/knowledge to analyze the above art works, we raise critical questions on issues of authorship, ethics, knowledge power and pedagogy around museum art. In our analysis we demonstrate that the selected artists’ appropriation is an extension of the colonial project of Western epistemic-cultural-art hegemony which requires decolonization. We argue that in order to decolonize the art history curriculum, it is necessary to rethink the ways in which these artworks have been canonised. We conclude by highlighting the pedagogical implications for understanding, interpreting and teaching these art works for educators and museum curators committed to decolonising the curriculum and the art museum.
Work integrated learning (WIL) experiences of final year teacher education students: A global perspective
Dr. Parvathy Naidoo
Work integrated learning (WIL), as part of an initial teacher education programme, serves as a powerful vehicle for designing educational programmes for students to gain built –in, on the job experience relating to teaching practice. A major benefit of a well- designed WIL programme is the increased awareness of teaching practice and the application of theory to practice in real-life contexts. In strengthening academic collaboration between institutions of higher learning, a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Georgia State University, United States of America was signed in 2014. Annually cohorts of final-year teacher education students from the South African university spend two weeks of teaching practice abroad. During the first week, they attend a rigorous on campus programme, followed by visits to schools and places of historical significance in the second week. A constructivist perspective Bruner (1973) and Vygotsky (1978) was used to frame this investigation.
This paper reports on the perceptions and experiences of nine final-year pre-service teachers who were part of the student exchange programme and endeavours to answer three research questions:
- What are the perceptions and experience/s of the students regarding the student exchange programme at GSU?
- How did the programme contribute to their development as pre-service and prospective teachers?
- How can the programme be further enriched?
Using qualitative research, data was collected firstly through daily reflective journals, artefacts and documents and secondly through a focus group interview. The data was analysed using Tesch’s (1990) eight step process of data analysis. A significant finding was the pervasiveness of diverse language usage, and the presence of science and technology education in grade R and foundation phase classrooms. The expectation is that this paper will create an awareness of international student exchange programmes as well as contribute towards improving future student exchange programmes globally.
Knowledge For The People: Understanding The Complex Heritage Of Colonial Education In South Africa
Panel discussions: 10:15 – 11:45
Drama Pedagogy as a Decolonising Approach Within University Contexts: Students talking back
Logamurthie Athiemoolam,Thato Moshesh, Rookaya Gregory; Felicia Fortuin
This panel discussion will focus on students’ viewpoints on the use of drama pedagogy as a decolonising strategy in an FET first year module (PCEH 101) that focuses on communication in English at home language level. During the presentation of the module, drama pedagogy, incorporating the use of tableaus, role plays, theatre-in-education and improvisation was used as the predominant teaching strategy to engage students. Drama pedagogy, as an approach to teaching and learning within university contexts, has the potential to deepen students’ insights and to engage them in more authentic and meaningful learning. Since it has the potential to conscientise the participants on various issues affecting society at large and involves dialogical learning it could be characterised as a decolonising pedagogy.
This discussion will enable the students to talk back to the lecturer in terms of how they experienced the use of drama pedagogy and what they learnt in the process. Through the process of reflecting on their experiences the participants will provide invaluable insights into the extent to which drama pedagogy impacted their own learning and the value of its use to their own personal, intellectual and emotional development.
The lecturer will chair the session by providing a background to the pedagogy adopted during the teaching of the module and each first year student will be afforded an opportunity to respond by means of a short presentation followed by questioning and audience participation.
The first panellist, Mr Thato Moshesh, will deliver a dramatic presentation on how he experienced the use of tableaus as a strategy in the teaching of concepts and literature. He will also reflect on the value of tableaus as a teaching strategy and how it could be used to examine the innermost thoughts, views, feelings and desires of the participants. Through this presentation he will aim to provide insights into the use of tableaus within the context of the university lecture room and also showcase its practical implementation within a given context.
The second panellist, Ms Rookaya Gregory, will deliver a presentation on how she experienced the use of role plays and theatre-in-education productions within the context of her own learning. Through her presentation she will reflect on how her participation in the role plays and theatre pieces contributed to her own development and will showcase the practical application of the strategies within a specific context to elucidate its meaning and value.
The third panellist, Ms Felicia Fortuin, will deliver a presentation on how she experienced the use of improvisation within the context of her own learning. Through the presentation she will reflect on the value of improvisation within classroom contexts and provide scenarios to engage the audience.
After the three presentations, the lecturer, in his role as the chairperson, will invite the members of the audience to pose questions to the three panellists and to share their insights with regard to the implementation of drama pedagogy within the context of university classes. During this discussion issues that will be further interrogated will include challenges and constraints in implementing drama pedagogy within university contexts and a reflection on whether there is a place for its implementation across the B.Ed programme. The deeper interrogation of key issues relating to drama pedagogy will also create a space for the first year pre-service teachers to reflect on whether and to what extent their learning and insights were enhanced during their drama-in-education experiences within university contexts compared to school learning contexts. Further issues that could be explored during the panel discussion could relate to how and whether there is a place for drama pedagogy as pedagogy at university across a wider range of modules, other than only language modules, and to what extent drama pedagogy, encompassing all its facets, could be considered to be a decolonising pedagogy.
Different contexts and pathways for decolonising the curriculum
Krystle Ontong, Carina America & Lesley Le Grange
Decolonisation has received renewed attention in South Africa in the past few years, triggered by recent student protests which called for the decolonisation of the university curriculum. The panel wishes to respond to the call for the decolonisation of the curriculum by exploring different pathways for decolonisation in the contexts of both schooling and higher education, and also by focusing on different arenas of education and/or academic work. The panel’s points of departure are that decolonisation is a process and not an event and that there are multiple pathways for the decolonisation of education. In this panel three different papers will be presented that focus on different arenas of education, promising to open up different pathways for decolonisation of education.
In the first paper Krystle Ontong explores how geography education could be decolonised through a critical place-based approach. She avers that the discipline of Geography has always been concerned with knowledge of the earth, through studying its features, landscapes, people, places and the interactions between them. Although the concept of place serves as a central organising theme in geography, school geography primarily focuses on descriptive and analytical approaches to place, in terms of scale and spatial dynamics. For example the theme “people and places” in the Geography Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) is largely studied through lenses such as mapping, climate and population density and distribution to explain and understand why people live where they do. Although these traditional lenses are important, they seem remote and insufficient given the local environmental and social ills that our students have to face. Conservative approaches like these reduce geography education to a cognitive process of knowledge and skill acquisition. In such approaches the affective, social, political and ethical dimensions mainly go unrecognised and are rarely integrated in curriculum policies and pedagogies. Some geographers claim that the geographical content being taught at school and university are mainly the product of men (Henderson and Waterstone, 2009). These dominant understandings not only reflect in the geographical content represented in the current curriculum used in schools but also in how it is taught. At this point one might ask: how can geography education be decolonised so that it becomes more holistic and relevant to the lives of those studying it? Ontong will argue that a critical place-based approach (PBA) whereby the local community becomes the learning environment and the students the principal investigators might serve as a transformative pathway for decolonisation. By focusing on the multidimensionality of place, a critical PBA invites the place experiences of students and the community into the classroom. It urges educators and students to explore place as a political space by challenging the power and ideologies embedded in places, thus enhancing geographical literacy. Educators are therefore forced to rethink and restructure their goals, content, resources and methods in geography teaching.
In the second paper Carina America points out that in recent years, there has been continuous critical reflection on international business as an instrument of (neo) colonialism or (neo) imperialism. The Western-centric perspective and knowledge systems suggest a general state of unbalance triggered by neoliberal globalization. Economic and business activities influence local markets, the future welfare of individuals and how societies are shaped, and that business education has been implicated in these. This is so because the manner in which many business schools and business educators interact with curriculum material remain rooted in Western worldviews and epistemological traditions. In her paper, America aims to add to the discussion on decolonisation in relation to business education in an era of globalisation by focusing on: the important role that the business teacher education could play in the decolonisation of the business education curriculum; how the business education curriculum might be viewed differently, how resources and methodologies could be applied so as to incorporate local realities.
In the third paper Lesley Le Grange critically discusses the decolonisation of educational research methodologies by focusing on: why decolonisation of methodologies is important; what is meant by decolonisation; why the empirical needs to be ‘rethought’; an emerging Indigenous Research Paradigm; the decolonisation of the research interview and participatory action research. Le Grange will also reflect on the introduction of African talk circles as a decolonising pedagogy in a research methodology module taught at as part of all BEdHons programmes at Stellenbosch University.
The panel session promises to elicit critical discussion on an array of issues related to the decolonisation of both school and university education.
Presentations: 10:15 – 10:45
Contextualising science teaching as a strategy of decolonising science education
The past year at the universities of South Africa a lot of discussion about decolonising science education were taking place. The debates focused on the rejection of Western Science and this seems to focus on science content. These discussions South African universities do not clarify the meaning of “decolonising science” which might not be the same as “decolonising science education”. Listing to this discussions on decolonising science education, a number of questions are come up. These questions relates to decolonising science, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Africanising science, using African textbooks and the relationship between science education and science. Hence this paper intends to discuss “contextualising the teaching of science” as way of decolonising science education. This theoretical paper starts with discussing the differences between “decolonising science” and “decolonising science education”. The paper then presents the possible challenges that could be caused by fully eliminating what is considered western science. The process of contextualizing science teaching starts with the understanding of “what is science?” and “what is science education?” Based on this, the paper presents theoretical bases for decolonisation of science education by contextualising science teaching. The science teaching that is recommended by the learner-centred approach has to take into consideration the learners’ background. The learners’ background could include the contexts in which they live outside school and the context in which they school.
A self-paced mentoring course for in-service teachers involved with student teacher education: reflections from the creators
Andries du Plessis, Ari Myllyviita
Transforming education in South Africa also involves a close scrutiny of initial teacher education (ITE) in order to achieve marked increases in quality. Given the importance of experiential learning during ITE partnerships are forged between Higher Education Institutions (HEI) and schools. A key to meaningful student learning during experiential learning at partnering schools remains exposure to best practice. Following a learning centred approach to curriculum design, mentoring and deep reflection are required elements given a process view of curriculum delivery. In this paper we focus on mentoring – a role for which in-service teachers must be trained. Making a self-paced mentoring course freely available to aspiring mentor teachers is part of the University of Johannesburg’s efforts to contribute to the transformation of ITE. Numerous lessons were learned while collaborating with the University of Helsinki in developing a free, stand-alone course for non-qualification purposes. A number of primary factors were first identified. Careful consideration had to be given to content given the intended audience: teachers in public schools interested in becoming mentors for student teachers. Subsequently, decisions about content and content development emphasised simplicity and accessibility. With little information available in terms the range and type of devices and/or operating systems, technical considerations included options to produce an offline version. Secondary considerations included in-service teachers’ attitudes towards professional development in as far as it involves courses for non-qualification purposes. Regardless of the various combinations (type, purpose, format and cost) motivational factors associated with adult learning remain at the heart of in-service teacher development. In this paper we reflect upon the project and lessons learned along the way. We also include a synopsis of the content and the underpinning principles in terms of decisions that influenced the choice of content and levels of computer-driven interactivity.
Understanding first-year engineering learning experience in a context of difference and diversity
Mkonto, N., Esambe, E., Kakaza, L. (CPUT)
South Africa as an emerging economy is caught in a crossroad: transforming or decolonising the economy (that is making it open and accessible for all classes and groups), versus ensuring growth and stabilizing the country’s economic indicators (Southall, 2007). Much of this is directly linked to what happens at learning institutions, especially at institutions of higher learning such as universities. A good degree in Maths, Science or Engineering can play a major role in determining the progress of an emerging economy. Unfortunately, Maths Science and Engineering register very high dropout and attrition rates. In the context of a democratic and free South Africa with massive demands for quality university qualifications, many first-year students experience higher education differently and often painfully.
This paper focuses on the learning experiences of first-year students registered in an engineering qualification at a university of technology in South Africa. Using a diffractive methodology, the paper employs Bourdieu’s concept of cultural capital to read selected cases of feedback on first-year engineering students’ learning experiences against the political ethics of care theory. The diffractive methodology allows us to explore first-year engineering students’ learning experiences in a constructive and deconstructive manner and enables us to read one set of data through the lenses of another (Barad, 2007). A key finding from the paper is that, while there are excellent student learning support structures available to first-year students at this university, these structures are underutilized or often ignored by the students who need them the most. The consequence of this is that many first-year engineering students miss the interventions available to them causing them to fail and contributing towards the dropout rates. It also suggests that faculty administrators need to find nuanced ways of engaging with first-year students within the context of diversity and difference. We, therefore, propose innovative ways of supporting first-year learning, especially in engineering and science-based disciplines.
A study of teacher education and the roles of teachers as agents of social cohesion in South Africa
The role of initial teacher education (ITE) to meaningfully prepare teachers to act in ways to support social cohesion and social justice in post-Apartheid South Africa is of critical concern for researchers and teachers. The development of standards and policies to frame ITE and enrich teacher professionalism also faces challenges given the persistent inequalities and difficulties teachers face in their work. Teachers dispositions and skills also emerge in complex ways to enact the roles proposed for them within ITE programmes. The paper reports on a study focusing on how trainee teachers become agents of change through initial teacher education to support social cohesion within the context of one PGCE programme in a historically privileged university. Pawson’s realist evaluation framework and an embedded case study methodology are deployed to investigate ‘what works, for who and why’. Documentary analysis, individual and focus group interviews, a cohort survey and lecture observations are used to identify how individual trainees seek to realise opportunities available for them to act as agents of change to support social cohesion. The paper also focuses on the interaction between opportunities and mechanisms presented by the program and individual candidates’ own experiences of belonging, respect and trust within education. The findings link the vision of the program with the experiences of different groups of trainee teachers and the paths taken by three individuals to becoming agents of change to support social cohesion in their professional practice. The paper offers insights into how individual teachers avail themselves of opportunities offered to them through a particular program, and through their own reflections upon experience in order to act as agents of social cohesion.
Politics of the body: the embodiment of the ‘native savage’ during the eighteenth century at the Cape Colony, Southern Africa
The relationship of the human body to politics has emerged in recent decades as a prominent node in historical and interdisciplinary analyses of national identity. Practices and politics through which powers and society regulate human bodies has become one of the concerns raised by post-colonial and decolonialist movements. The study of politics of the body was marginal until the work of Foucault (1980) and feminist theorists and even more recent theories remain problematic (Turner, 1996). This paper adopts a theoretical and interpretative approach, using document analysis as method. The decoloniality framework outlined by Grosfoguel (2007), which analyses coloniality in terms of the coloniality of power, coloniality of knowledge and collegiality of being, grounds this analysis of the colonial use of gender, social characteristics, body types and sexual anatomy to assess intellectual achievements, capabilities and rankings of the ‘native savage’, that is, the indigenous people of Southern Africa. According to colonist logic, physical characteristics of the native body denoted the index of the mind. Description and assessment of the body form of natives started as early as 1652 when Jan Van Riebeeck, first commander of the Vereenigde Ostindische Compagine (VOC), arrived at the Cape of Good Hope to establish a settlement to serve the interests of the VOC. An extensive scrutiny of the body form of the natives by colonists also emerged in 1658 during the era of the slave trade.
This article argues that the slave trade practices inflicted by white colonists on natives were clear indicators of dehumanisation trends that prevailed in colonial societies. The colonists moved from the premise that the Eurocentric lens used to define the native was absolute (Mignolo, 2005). Evaluating natives in terms of beauty, attractiveness or masculinity denied natives their self-pride and humanity and subjected them to sovereign-subjectivity (Wynter, 2003). For these reasons, Africans today (the former ‘natives’) have begun to reclaim their heritage and the pride that slavery and dominant Western epistemologies stripped them of and to decolonise their bodies and souls from commodification or objectification.
Experiences of Foundation phase student teachers related to PCK and language
Sene van Heerden, Zahraa McDonald and Marcina Singh
This study investigates exit level, foundation phase student teachers experiences of their initial teacher education programme with regards to PCK and langauge. The purpose of this study was to explore the pre-service teachers’ experiences, with the focus on pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and learning to teach language. Foundation Phase teachers need to acquire a distinct body of knowledge and skills that enables them to realize a positive outcome for learners. This is specifically challenging when focusing on language teaching in a diverse context. Premised on this, this presentation looks specifically then at the question: What are the experiences of foundation phase student teachers related to pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and language?
The investigation draws on the work of Shulman (1987), Grossman (1990), Andrews (2001) and others to contextualize the findings of this study. Shulman’s model of PCK and CK argues that PCK is more than the knowledge of subject matter, but knowledge of teaching the subject matter, which includes topics, representations of ideas, teaching strategies including learner’s backgrounds, demonstrations, explanations, illustrations and many more. In addition, Andrews says for English language teaching, literacy content knowledge is not enough if teachers do not have appropriate strategies to teach each literacy component.
The approach adopted for this study is an interpretive approach. Qualitative data from focus group interviews with B.Ed foundation phase students are analysed in the paper to answer the research question. . Themes were extracted from the data during analysis. The first theme relates to how PCK is impacted by the differences between the language of learning (LOLT) and mother tongue of student teacher, mentor teachers and learners. A second theme is insufficient opportunity to develop the PCK related to language teaching practice. For example while many lessons are taught, student teachers are not given the space and time to assess if a learner has grasped a language concept during lesson. The paper is important in that it highlights what student teachers experience related to learning to teach language. This has implications for both initial and continuing professional development of language teaching in the foundation phase.
Presentations: 10:45 – 11:15
Taboo or not taboo? What are student teachers’ concerns about teaching human reproduction?
Human reproduction is taught in Grade 7, 9 and 11 in the Life Sciences in South Africa. The teaching of this topic in schools is controversial in many communities for religious, cultural and other reasons. For many student teachers, the requirement to teach this topic is thus a source of great anxiety. This paper explores final year student teachers’ concerns about teaching reproduction as they enter the teaching profession and the solutions they propose.
Forty five student teachers, after exploring the topic of reproduction and some of the tensions associated with teaching this topic, were asked to write about their three greatest concerns when teaching reproduction in their expected future context. Their responses were qualitatively analysed through coding of themes. The most common concerns expressed by student teachers related to cultural and religious taboos concerning whether the topic should be taught, who should teach it, and what was acceptable in terms of content, language and representations. Students expected and feared resistance from communities, parents and colleagues and accusations of promoting sexual activity. They were also concerned about how to address deeply embedded and culturally-based misconceptions as well as how to promote a respectful exploration of the topic. They proposed a number of ways in which they intend to address these concerns such as negotiation with parents, colleagues and community on what should be taught and putting codes of conduct in place in the classroom. The study highlights the complexity of teaching reproduction in South African schools. Questions will be posed on whether the current curriculum on reproduction can be considered a colonial construct that needs decolonizing, what form of decolonizing is required and what this would mean in culturally divergent communities across the country.
Standards for professional teaching in South Africa: Possibilities for systemic improvement?
Faith Kimathi; Lee Rusznyak
Internationally, systemic improvements in education systems have been attributed to the development of standards for professional teaching. In the South African context several attempts to devise criteria describing effective teaching have not yielded similar results. This paper presents a comparative analysis of three initiatives to produce formal sets of criteria for quality teaching: the 7 Roles of the Educator and its 132 associated competences; the criteria used to evaluate teachers in the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS), and the Basic Competences of Beginner Teachers (from MRTEQ). The analysis shows how each of these sets of criteria differs in the extent to which they depict teaching as holistic, pedagogically reasoned, knowledge-based and communally shared. We suggest that these initiatives have failed to support the systematic improvement of teaching because they did not adequately consider and address the vast variation in experience and expertise between teachers in the South Africa education system. While a national set of standards for professional teaching might very well provide a common language of practice to teachers from diverse backgrounds, they will only be useful in leveraging systemic improvement if they are specific enough to support novice teachers without constraining the practices of more proficient teachers. We propose a differentiated model for standards for professional teaching that constructs a zone of proximal development for supporting the professional development of teachers. We suggest that more observable, prescriptive; high levels of specification standards are best used as a basis for supporting novice teachers. In contrast, abstracted standards that foreground relational and holistic practice with probing questions for reflective and research-based practice are used to extend the professional practices of proficient teachers.
Establishing learning communities through offering mentoring support to female engineering students
Ann Lourens; Ronelle Plaatjes; Ruth Connelly
South Africa faces a shortage of engineering skills and particularly a shortage of female engineers. Often students entering engineering programmes do so from positions of inequality in terms of schooling, finances, and other resources. Along with these challenges, academia is also grappling with calls for decolonisation of the curriculum and humanising the pedagogy while developing interventions to support, develop and retain engineering students., As a result, a Women Engineering Leadership Association (WELA) was established at a South African university and strategies and interventions were developed to support female engineering students and practicing engineers. The activities and co-curricular interventions characterising WELA as a learning community. The aim of this research is to investigate the potential benefits of establishing learning communities to assist in the development and retention of students within the context of the challenges facing South African universities currently. Accordingly, this research discusses the characteristics and benefits of developing learning communities and reports on data obtained from a survey conducted with student mentors who were members of the WELA. The results of the survey indicated that learning communities could lead to more motivated students; increased life-skills, greater social tolerance and appreciation of diversity and, finally, increased personal and interpersonal growth. In addition, increased academic effort and a greater sense of self-efficacy was reported. It is proposed that the establishment of a learning community can benefit students from all disciplines in the institutional quest to support, develop, and retain both male and female engineering students.
Dispute resolution channels and transformation in South African higher education institutions
This paper examines dispute resolution channels in higher education institutions, in the wake of FeesMustFall protests in South Africa. South African universities have become nests of student-led protests since 2015. While these protests ostensibly focus more on issues related to fees, they are actually directed towards the symbolic post-apartheid transformation and decolonisation of the higher education system as a whole. Various stakeholders have contributed to brokering agreement among the opposing constituencies. This is indicative of the use of an amalgam of channels to address issues raised by students and ensure the serenity needed for the smooth continuation or resumption of academic projects in affected universities. Drawing on interviews conducted at the University of the Free State, the paper, overall, challenges conventional wisdom by bringing to the fore the relevance of both formal and informal dispute resolution mechanisms the university management and students had recourse to. The paper argues that universities are complex spaces influenced by both visible and invisible actors to be taken into consideration for successful dispute resolution between management and students. Specifically, the paper highlights the characteristics of dispute resolution channels used and their contribution to the outcomes of negotiations; the level of institutional empowerment of student representatives to engage in dispute resolution; the power relations influencing discussions; the sources of students’ bargaining power based on individual experience and political affiliation; students’ appraisal of their participation in negotiations; and suggestions towards institutional self-sustaining mechanisms for dispute resolution.
Educating for the Apocalyse
What are the production practices, powers, and principles of education in the epoch of the anthropocene, the age of the digital, a world of increasing inequality and global warming? This paper presents a case that the education mode of production is undergoing a revolution, that the powers of education to address inequality and enable increased life opportunities are diminishing; and that the foundational principles of education have to be radically rethought for a world hurtling to towards an apocalypse.
Pre-service teachers’ perspective of the acquisition of foundation phase teaching practice experiences
Charmaine Iwu; Rada Mogliacci
This study focuses on the experiences of student teachers during teaching practice (TP) of Foundation Phase (FP) mathematics, in their final year B.Ed. initial teacher education (ITE) programme in 2016. Teaching practice is considered an important component of ITE (Gravett, 2012) because it is argued that not only do student teachers have a chance to implement theoretical knowledge gained at the University but they also have an opportunity to expand their knowledge through hands-on experience. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to understanding how teaching practice support or contribute to student teachers development to be effective FP mathematics teachers. Thus this study asks the question: How does teaching practice as part of an ITE programme influence the development of student teachers to teach FP?
With the support of lecturers and mentors the experiences can be encouraging or have an adverse effect on future teachers, and teaching practice allows student teachers to engage with their environment to prepare for teaching in future.
The paper uses Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning theory to examine student teachers’ experiences. Kolb affirms that learning is a process which is grounded in experience. Teaching practicum is a process of practical experience through learning, since student teachers are involved in school-based activities to acquire relevant knowledge and skills. Therefore, it is imperative that teaching practice be of a quality that student teachers can use in future as teachers.
This research is qualitative in nature with an interpretivist approach. Two focus group interviews with 16 student teachers were conducted with the final year B.Ed. student teachers, pertaining to their experiences during foundation phase teaching practice.
A content analysis of the data suggests that the experiences of student teachers were generally positive. They referred to their sense of preparedness, motivation, knowledge about the inclusive education, assessment and administrative tasks. However, student teachers reflect on the TP experience only in relation to implementing theoretical knowledge in practice. There is no evidence of student teachers referring to TP as a place of learning. In this paper, we discuss the possible reasons which are found in student teachers reference to organizational aspects of TP that does not always provide a space for learning on the one hand, and student teachers’ sense of ‘learned helplessness’ (Gholami, 2017) on the other. The paper concludes with the discussion about the implications on ITE.
Presentations: 11:15 – 11:45
Higher order and critical thinking in the university science curriculum
Critical thinking is a skill that any university education claims to instil in students and is the defining characteristic of a university education (Phillips & Bond 2004). However, disciplinary understandings, definitions and importance placed on critical and higher order thinking differ quite significantly. The aim of science education is to prepare students how to deal effectively with wider decision making and problem solving in their lives. The published national studies’ reports consistently show that learners at different grade levels are unable to solve tasks requiring higher order thinking skills in primary and secondary schools.
Furthermore, Grade 12 South African learners perform poorly in subjects like Mathematics and Physical Sciences. Various research studies conducted, show lack of higher order (HO) and critical thinking (CT) skills amongst teachers in schools. My belief is that if student teachers are equipped with relevant HO and CT skills during initial teacher education, they can begin at an early stage in their profession, to model and teach these skills in their classrooms.
This paper describes a research project that examined the development of higher order thinking skills in science student teachers during initial teacher education. The qualitative case study method was employed. The CT test was administered to science students from 2013 to 2015 in order to find out whether CT skills improved or not. A focus group with student teachers was used to get the overall picture about their understanding of higher order and critical thinking skills. Documents such as module descriptors, faculty handbooks and past examination papers were analysed using TASSK tool (Munsamy, 2014). I made use of subject experts to examine the level of examination papers. CT test results revealed that there was minimal improvement at all levels. Past examination papers and students’ workbooks revealed that 90% of the work was lower order. Focus group interviews revealed that there is less or no explanation of CT and students are not told explicitly what is expected of them with regards to critical thinking.
If universities’ mandate is to produce critical thinkers, they need to be more explicit about what CT is, how it is realised, how it can be recognised and how it can be taught. At entry level, students are not in the position to be critical thinkers; lecturers need to lead them to understanding HO and CT by guiding them on how to become critical thinkers. The fast changing world needs teachers who are knowledgeable, who can think out of the box, who can prepare learners to create, produce and be able to use relevant knowledge. This paper further discusses how a model of critical thinking across disciplines can be used (Ahern, O’Donnell, O’Connor, McNamara & McRuairc, 2012) and also how Maton (2013)’s idea of semantics gravity (SG) and semantics density (SD) can be applied.
The role of teachers in the curriculum development process in Zimbabwe
Mrs Patricia Chisiri, Professor M Modiba
The teacher education curriculum should provide teachers (in- service and pre-service) with skills and knowledge that should allow them to function effectively and efficiently in the classroom. One of the expected major duties of the classroom teacher is the selection of teaching and learning materials for their classes. The quality a country’s teachers depends to a great extent on the quality Teacher Education the teachers go through .A critical review of literature in Zimbabwe indicates that Teacher Education programmes lack content on curriculum materials analysis and yet it is one of the major duties of the teacher. As a result, teachers lack knowledge and skills on the analysis of materials they use. They accept them as they are brought to them by school administrators and booksellers/publishers. They thus take them as ‘givens’ that they are not able to analyse and adapt to suit their specific contexts and learner demands. This paper will therefore focus on the following objectives 1 to explain curriculum materials as part of the curriculum development process 2 to illustrate the role of the teacher in the curriculum development process 3 to illuminate the purpose of curriculum materials analysis in the curriculum development process. This paper will thus illuminate the role of teachers in the curriculum development process.
Efficacy of Total Quality Management System as a performance enhancement instrument: Explorative study of Walter Sisulu University
Xolani Gwele, Newlin Marongwe
The importance of education for the development of excellence, expertise and knowledge leading to total development in the economy of the country cannot be undermined. This study seeks to explore the efficacy of Total Quality Management System as a performance enhancement instrument at Walter Sisulu University (WSU). Relevant literature on quality assurance (QA), total quality management and performance management system (PMS) have been reviewed. The study employed a mixture of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. A survey design was adopted. Purposive and random sampling techniques were used respectively for its successful completion. Individual interviews with twenty academics across the four campuses (ten males and ten females), focus group interviews with students from different departments and questionnaires to third year students and support staff have been used to collect data. The data collection instruments were piloted for validity and modified accordingly. The data was analysed and presented by means of thematic frames, thick descriptions, tables, graphs, charts and discussions. The findings suggested that quality arrangements at WSU are fragmented and presented the absence of PMS and uniform QA standards across WSU campuses to enhance quality assurance mechanisms. The study recommended that PMS policy be formulated and implemented and QA standards be improved in accordance with national requirements.
Tradition, modernity, and contradictory conceptions of social cohesion: insights from two rural schools in the Eastern Cape
Dr Yunus Omar
This paper examines social cohesion in diverse rural and urban public schools in two provinces in South Africa. The paper draws on evidence and research collected during a current UNICEF and ESRC-funded project on education and social cohesion in post-conflict societies. The paper presents evidence that competing notions of what constitutes social cohesion in the schools sector creates potential conflict between local communities and schools, particularly with regard to school-based governance structures and parent-communities. This is particularly crucial in that this creates potentially bifurcated learner identities with regard to what constitutes appropriate, social-cohesion related attitudes and concomitant positive behaviours. The implications of continued socially disruptive behaviours by learners, as opposed to their adoption of socially progressive, peace-based behaviours and practices for teachers, learners and schools are examined in this paper. The paper further examines key findings from the empirical schools case-studies data that reveal that teachers’ racialised identities, as well as severe resource inequities in schools, undermine state-initiated peace-building initiatives in post-apartheid schools. This holds the potential for the perpetuation of violence in already traumatised societies. The paper makes recommendations in terms of strategies that can mitigate apartheid-generated markers of discrimination in terms of race, class and gender. In the current South African context, the paper seeks to strengthen the knowledge base on the key policy issue of teacher policy and practice in conflict affected contexts. In doing so, the paper highlights the need for context-and-conflict-sensitive teacher policies that seek to redress educational inequalities, promote social cohesion, and which contribute to resilient communities in the pursuit of reducing inequality and transforming one of the most unequal societies in the world.
Decolonising and changing the institutional culture of a Global South University
Dr Omar Esau
Decolonisation is the ultimate dismantling of colonial systems that prevail in post dependent territories. The recent uprisings at SA Universities Fees Must fall# and Rhodes Must Fall# is part of what Steve Biko (2004) refers to as the physical liberation in the Black Conscious Movement. This paper reflects on the challenges and complexity of changing and decolonising the universities in the global south and in this presentation will be specifically focussing on the university where I teach – Stellenbosch University. In collecting my data I adopted a grounded theory building approach (Strauss and Corbin, 1998; Bernard, 2000). Methodologically I was influenced by Kvale (1996) and Erricker (2001), who engaged in conversations rather than interviewing. I also reflect on my own observations and experiences at this previously white only privileged university. Presently the university has 21% academics of colour and whilst this texture might change drastically in the forthcoming years, in my deliberations I am reminded by Fanon (1963) that the black elite – who are mostly western educated and trained- continue the colonial practices and their educational background can become a crutch that impedes change and progress in the post-colonial nation.
Decolonizing a Global South-North Partnership: Is an Equitable and Transformative Research Agenda Possible Between the University of Botswana and the University of Central Florida?
Karen Biraimah, Agreement Lathi Jotia
This paper explores issues linked to the development of Global South-North partnerships, the inequities of such relationships, patterns of inherent neo-colonialism within “partnership” research and publications, and the potential to decolonize. The paper will:
1) Develop a framework for analyzing the opportunities, challenges, and dilemmas of expanding Global South-North partnerships;
2) Apply theories of dependency, liberation, interdependency and institutionalism to current Global South-North relationships, as well as to the research emanating from such partnerships; and
3) Provide recommendations for moving toward more equitable and decolonized partnerships and research agendas between the Global South and North.
- Conceptual Framework:
This paper, based on an application of multiple theories nested within neo-colonial and core-periphery perspectives, suggests a continuing pattern of unequal relationships where the Global North seeks to maintain its domination over the Global South. To explore these perspectives, the authors will review and apply theories of dependency, liberation, and interdependency to current patterns of Global South-North partnerships in an era of decolonization (Costello & Zumla, 2000; Dahdouh-Guebas et al, 2003; Jentsch & Pilley, 2003). They will then critically examine one vibrant partnership between their own institutions to determine the degree to which patterns of neo-colonialism or decolonization are embedded within their own professional research and publication activities. The presentation will conclude with perspectives regarding meaningful transformations within partnerships including universities from the Global South and North.
3. Modes of Inquiry:
This study is built upon a systematic review of pertinent literature, and a comparative analysis of research data on the degree of neo-colonialism and/or decolonization inherent within Global South-North partnership publications, including a review of research and publications in central and southern Africa, as well as from the authors’ own partnerships, which have continued since 2010. The quantitative data were tested using univariate statistics such as frequency distributions and percentages; statistical procedures deemed appropriate for managing descriptive input.
This study underscores the need to operationalize the most effective approaches for identifying and managing key opportunities, challenges and dilemmas directly linked to quality Global South-North partnerships. Moreover, the results provide a sobering reminder that, even when partners have the best intentions, regrettable patterns of neo-colonialism and inequities continue to be reproduced.
It is anticipated that the results of this study will provide future Global South-North partnerships with a clearer understanding of factors that mediate the successful outcomes of collaborative projects, as well as the research and publications forthcoming from such endeavors.
Panel discussions: 14:00 – 16:00
RESEARCH CAPACITY WORKSHOP
The MmogoMethod® data generation tool
Avivit M Cherrington
Student engagement with institutional support structures at a University of Technology
Najwa Norodien-Fataar, Nosisana Mkonto, Xena Cupido
This panel discussion focuses on first generation disadvantaged students’ engagement with institutional support structures at a University of Technology. This panel will explore the nature of students’ educational engagement at the university and the types of institutional support that students draw on for their educational success. The panel will proceed from the view that students’ have assets and cultural resources that must be recognised and harnessed by the university. We argue that higher education lacks a comprehensive account of the resources and cultural capital that first generation disadvantaged students bring with them to university study. We show that students encounter a fragmented institutional support environment which impacts on their educational engagement at the university.
Based on quantitative and qualitative data methods this panel is based on research on the ways in which students navigate the institutional environment and are able to engage in their education. We suggest that through this mixed method approach we are able to elicit rich data. The quantitative data and results provided a general picture of students’ engagement with the institutional support structures such as the peer tutor programme, while the qualitative data, through interviews and focus group discussions enabled in- depth discussion on students’ educational engagement with lecturers, peers and peer tutor programmes.
A key component of our panel is to discuss the university’s educational infrastructural and support environment which affects the nature and quality of the students’ educational engagement. The panel puts the spotlight on the uneven field conditions of the university in terms of which the students had to navigate their engagements with lecturers, student peers and the academic support offered by the university. It highlights institutional programmes such the formation of retention officers (ROs) and peer tutor programmes as institutional structures designed to support students in their university education. The first paper focuses on the experiences, knowledge and practices of disadvantaged first generation at a university. The second paper focuses on the Retention Officers (ROs) who provide support to the first year students to ensure smooth and successful transition to university. The third paper focuses on a peer tutor programme at a University of Technology. The panel argues for the productive utilisation and strengthening of institutional support platforms as pivotal for successful student engagement.
The ‘logic of engagement practices’ of first generation disadvantaged students’ at a university.
This paper focuses on the educational engagement practices of first generation disadvantaged students at a university. It discusses how disadvantaged students use their resources to navigate the university and optimise their education. The starting assumption of the paper is that higher education lacks a comprehensive account of the resources and cultural capital that disadvantaged students bring with them to university study. I argue disadvantaged students possess valuable resources and assets that are not recognised by higher education institutions. Drawing on qualitative data collected over an eighteen-month period, this chapter focuses on findings from seven purposively selected students. Informed by Bourdieu’s (1990,1992, 2000) ‘logic of practice’ with attendant concepts of field, hysteresis, capital, I discuss the nature of students’ educational engagement practices by exploring students’ engagement with the university’s teaching and learning spaces and their engagement with peers, lecturers and ICTs. I show that students developed the mediating capacity to engage in their university education and that they established horizontal field-based engagement practices that enabled them to accumulate the capital necessary to engage with the university’s formal educational processes. I argue that the students developed a learning habitus via embodied learning practices at a university that did not fully recognise their educational needs.
Retention Officers’: Support for students
Most first year students experience serious academic and adjustment challenges. Lecturers are often unaware of these challenges until it is too late to resolve. First generation students with little or no experience of higher education are likely to be at risk of failure and dropping out (McMillan, 2014). The majority of these students do not know how to access support services at the university and feel that they do not want to bother academic staff with small questions such as what time do classes start, where to go for financial assistance, what to do and where to go when you missed a deadline, what to do when you missed an assessment because you were sick, etc. These small questions became vital to student retention, engagement and success. Our university employed Retention Officers (ROs) to provide support to the first year students to ensure smooth and successful transition. They attend to first year students’ issues; provide support and refer them to the appropriate support service. ROs are senior students (Masters and PhDs) that are based in departments in Faculties. The fact that ROs are students themselves make them accessible to first year students and are also used to lecturers. They act as a link between the lecturers and the students. The ROs provide support to the specific context (department) and the needs of students in that department. They attend Faculties FYE committee meeting and engage in issues pertaining to first students, sharing best practices and challenges. This approach is based on understanding of the transition of first year students and the universities’ systems processes required to support successful transition (James, Krause and Jenkins, 2010). This paper attempts to understand the role of retention officers in facilitating smooth transition for commencing students.
Developing a sense of connectedness and belonging: A peer tutor experience
Ms Xena Cupido
Universities in South Africa have been challenged by the student body to transform. In 2016, a call for free education resulted in students calling for the complete transformation of higher education to be inclusive institutions that reflect the diverse student body. A part of this transformational change is to address our approach to student engagement in teaching and learning activities. Peer-learning is recognised as a contributory factor to student learning, retention and success. Considered an integral component in higher education student support services, peer-learning programmes are encouraged and widely implemented. This paper reports on a study that was conducted with students who participated in a peer tutor programme at a University of Technology. While much is known about the benefits of peer tutoring as a support mechanism, not enough attention has been given to the potential of the programme as a transformational mechanism to create a sense of connectedness. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of peer tutors of the tutor programme had on their personal sense of connection framed by the Five Senses Framework (Lizzio, 2006). A sequential explanatory mixed method design was used and data collected by means of an online survey followed by focus group discussions. The Five Senses Framework (Lizzio, 2006), was used as the analytical framework. This framework is based on the premise that developing a student’s sense of capability, purpose, resourcefulness, identity and connectedness are crucial factors that enhance academic success. For the purpose of this paper we focused on the sense of connection. The findings suggest the peer tutors engagement in the peer tutor programme impacted their sense of connection which helped in their personal and professional development.
SIG: SELF-REFLECTIVE METHODOLOGIES
“Not just an object”: Making meaning of and from everyday objects in educational research for social change
Kathleen PithouseMorgan, Logamurthie Athiemoolam, Bridget Campbell, Naydene de Lange, Mathabo Khau, Thokozani Ndaleni, Elizabeth Sipiwe Ndofirepi, Eunice Nyamupangedengu, Inbanathan Naicker, Daisy Pillay
How do we get at the meanings of everyday (and not so everyday) objects and how might their meanings have significance for social agency? This session will bring together researchers from diverse contexts and multiple knowledge fields who share a commitment to educational research for social change. The session will offer a shared space in which subjects and objects, living and nonliving, entangle to open up understandings of new connections that can be made. It will open up ways to rethink objects and subjects as interconnecting entities that can demonstrate the social meanings of daily lived experiences of education and the objects used in personal and professional lives. Presenters will exhibit and succinctly describe visual representations of objects in response to a guiding question: “How can we get at the meanings of everyday (and not so everyday) objects and how might these meanings enrich our research for social change?” Each presentation will offer a unique object piece. The session will include hands-on participatory activities to engage all attendees in object inquiry. Taken as whole, the session will push the boundaries of what counts as evidence in research for social change to consider the educational possibilities of objects, situated within wide-ranging societal questions. It will stimulate scholarly conversations about the potential of objects in generating social, historical and autobiographical accounts, with implications for social change.
Subsequent to the conference, session participants will be encouraged to submit articles for consideration for publication in a similarly themed 2019 special issue of the journal Educational Research For Social Change.
Presentations: 14:00 – 14:30
Is Our Rural Mathematics In The Right Track? Evidence Of Persistent Poor Performance Of Learners In Mathematics At A Selected Senior Secondary School In The Mthatha District
Angela Mjwana, Jogymol Kalariparampil Alex
Mathematics is seen by society as the foundation of scientific and technological knowledge that is vital in social economic development of any nation. Despite the important role that mathematics plays in society, the senior secondary school learners at the selected school in the Mthatha Education District in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa persistently performed poorly in the Mathematics. This paper reports on a study which investigated the factors contributing to the persistent poor performance of learners in Mathematics. The study rests on Maslow’s theory of motivation. The study adopted a positivist paradigm, quantitative approach and survey design method to collect data from a sample of 20 students and two teachers who were selected through simple random sampling technique. The manual method was used to analyse and process the data. Respondents’ responses were then summarised into tables in a form of descriptive statistics. There is a perception among teachers in this selected school that very few learners have positive attitude towards Mathematics and even these few learners still perform poorly in Mathematics. Both the teachers and the sample of learners agreed that previous mathematics experiences influenced a learner’s motivation and attitude towards mathematics in the school. The study also revealed that the persistent poor performance was also due to the lack of resources, shortage of experienced and effective mathematics teachers and poor methods of teaching in the selected school. Insufficient exposure to English at home also contributed to the failure. The study recommends that there is a need for the Department of Basic Education to supply schools with adequate materials, train mathematics teachers on the best teaching strategies which in turn could help to increase learners’ motivation and interest in mathematics.
Emotion Regulation Techniques Of Teachers In The Classroom
Anja Philipp, Heinz Schuepbach
A great number of teachers feel emotionally exhausted (a first indicator of burnout), highlighting that the interaction with learners can be very emotionally demanding. Previous research has shown that well-being of teachers is associated with their strategies of emotion regulation in the classroom. A strategy directed at changing ones feelings so that they match the appropriate feelings (so called deep acting) is discussed to be more beneficial than a strategy that aims at expressing emotions without actually feeling them (so called surface acting). However, only a few studies have addressed specific emotion regulation techniques of teachers in real classroom situations. In a field study, 25 lessons of 13 teachers from Germany were filmed and analysed with an observational instrument (Meder et al., 2008). In these 25 lessons, 504 demanding situations occurred with an average of 20 disturbances per lesson (M = 19.84, SD = 13.07). The most time consuming and complex situations were identified for a video-stimulated recall situation in which the 13 teachers were interviewed about their specific emotion regulation techniques in these situations. Answers were classified into eight categories and brought in line with predefined strategies identified in the literature (deductive approach). Descriptive analyses will be presented which show that teachers use different emotion regulation techniques depending on their level of emotional exhaustion and also depending on their job experience in terms of years in the profession. It will be discussed how these results might be reflected in the South African context with its manifold emotional demands on teachers. An outlook will be provided how South African teachers could be fostered in their emotion regulation so that they are able to manage the emotional demands in their classroom more effectively, and how this may influence their professional development.
“You are a male teacher but you have a woman heart”: Societal constructions of an early childhood male teacher identity
This paper seeks to demonstrate how societal constructions and gender policing informs schooling and how men construct and negotiate identities, specifically in the context of early childhood education. While much work has been done in the last decade drawing both from international scholars such as Raewyn Connell and local scholars such as Robert Morrell, troubling the manner in which masculinities are constructed, constituted and configured within schooling spaces, much work is still needed exploring how men, in particular male teachers, construct their masculinities in professional occupations previously perceived as being the reserve for women. The paper draws on a case study methodology of nine men from rural schools in the Mpumalanga province and Semi-structured interviews and semi-structured observations were used to generate data. The paper sought to explore the ways in which these men navigate societal pressures on how to be a man in the foundation phase. The paper was informed by theories of masculinity and intersectionality. It was found that the male teachers were constantly experiencing gender policing both inside the school premises and outside, mainly male teachers were policed on their sexuality, dress, and age including their gender identities. Another finding relates to the expectations to take up roles such as being the sports coach, being a role model to boys as well as being a disciplinarian. In addition the study found that men were expected by department officials to lead or be part of the committees in their respective clusters because they are men. It was also found that these men were suggesting that societal expectations varies across different contexts, for instance they believed that men in urban areas have different experiences in terms of masculinity and early childhood education. The paper suggests that more work is still needed for an early childhood education including foundation phase that shifts significantly away from patriarchy.
Learning pathways and decolonisation
Heidi Bolton, Darren Lortan
Recent decolonisation debates have focused on the rootedness of epistemologies and knowledge systems, and access to these systems in South African Higher Education, in colonial world-views and traditions. These debates also focus on the disconnectedness of curriculum from the lived experiences of the majority of South Africans. The high number of learners whose lived experiences are in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector are part of this majority. Decolonisation addresses the legacy of the injustices of colonisers’ domination and subordination that remain under democratic rule. In education and training, it has included dismantling colonial structures and processes, the indigenisation of curriculum, improving access and inclusivity, and enabling lifelong learners to progress in a system of quality. In addressing epistemic injustice, it is imperative to consider the rich range of learning offerings in the Post-School Education and Training (PSET) sector. Failing to do so could perpetuate injustice. This paper focuses on the TVET sector. Democratic South Africa inherited a racially segregated, unequal, unbalanced and unfair education and training system. The majority of people were denied access; quality assurance was uneven; little parity of esteem existed between different types of learning; many qualifications led to ‘dead ends’ rather than learning and work pathways. TVET was not as valued as HE. The South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF) was the means chosen to integrate this system, to make it accessible to everyone, to enable redress, quality learning, and transparency in the African context. To what extent has this system addressed the epistemic injustices of devaluing TVET? The NQF policy suite is geared towards enabling individual development, and contributing to the social and economic development of the country as a whole in a just way. To work effectively however, it must be implemented in a collaborative, inclusive, participatory manner. Learning and work must be for the highest good of the people. Relationship-building, respect, and ‘relational agency’ (Edwards, 2014) are essential. This paper sketches one of six cases in a long-term research project designed to understand and develop the desired accessible articulated PSET learning and work pathways through collaborative partnerships. The case explores the learning and work pathways afforded to ‘second chance learners’. The navigation of these pathways will enable the learners’ participation in the nation’s development – pathways that if not included in the lingua franca of decolonisation may be short lived.
Widening access in higher education could result in widening the gap between first-year students’ expectations and experience
The widening of access into higher education institutions in South Africa has rapidly transformed the student population to become more diverse in regard to social and economic groupings which varied in age, race, culture, backgrounds, educational experiences, academic potential and university expectations. A consequence of this diversity is the challenge in understanding incoming students’ level of preparedness and academic needs. In pursuance of this concern, this paper reports on a case study which used gap analysis to explore incoming first year students’ expectations and actual experiences of academic and social integration at a particular university in the Western Cape. The study utilised a pre- and post-survey to collect quantitative data from 195 first-year teacher education students. A Likert-type scale was utilised to measure students’ responses to 40 items related to their expectations and experiences of social and academic integration at university. The survey data was analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. The results indicate that there is a significant difference between students’ expectations and their actual experiences with regard to socialising on campus; their relationship with lecturers; seeking academic support; and academic preparedness. The findings further reveal that there is a lack of social connection between students and lecturers and between students and their peers. It is posited that such a mismatch between students’ expectations and experiences could lead to an increase in dropout and failure rate at first year level, given that previous research has shown that students need to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness to their institution in order to succeed. This study recommends that a carefully planned first year experience programme, which takes into account the key areas of the findings, is required to entrench a more holistic and sustainable first-year experience for all students which prevails beyond their first year of study.
An analysis of critical reflective teaching of Language Education student educators at a South African University
Molotja T.W and Maruma M.W
Critical reflection is a current domain of research in educational studies. However recently few studies have been conducted on critical reflection in Language Education teaching. This study reports on critical reflection of Language Education student educators conducted during their first semester practice teaching sessions as part of theirBachelor of Education for Senior Phase (Bed SPF) training.10 students who were purposefully sampled submitted their reflective journals on teaching practice. Document analysis was adopted as the research method in this enquiry. The description reports on lesson preparations and lesson presentations were analysed. The results indicated a positive correlation between lesson preparations and lesson presentations. All the 10 students’ critical reflection reports have shown that if all aspects of lesson planning are considered, it becomes easier for lesson presentation to take place. This study contributes to successful teaching and learning in the classroom. The study recommends that student educators should be oriented into bringing an alignment between lesson planning and presentation and that critical reflection be infused in student educators’ training.
Presentations: 14:30 – 15:00
Children’s use of narrative in mathematics: preparing for a classroom based design experiment
Classroom based design experiments are being adopted by a growing number of education researchers in order to develop research-based solutions to complex problems in educational practice. In South Africa, one such problem is that of teaching mathematics to foundation phase learners in large classes in a language other than English (for example isiXhosa). In order to develop solutions to this particular challenge, a 10 lesson classroom-based design experiment which was first implemented in an urban English medium school will be adapted and implemented in a grade 3 class in a rural Eastern Cape school. Classroom based design experiments iterative and often implement an approach to teaching that is different to the typical approach used in a school and therefore, in the initial iterations, the researcher takes on the role of the teacher. For the study described in this paper, adaptations will be made in terms of language (tasks used in the 10 lessons will be translated from English into isiXhosa and the researcher will team teach the lessons with an isiXhosa speaking teacher) and in terms of class size (activities that were designed for small groups will be redesigned to be used with a large class). This paper discusses the first two cycles of the iterative design based process which focus on trialing and improving the translation of the tasks used in the series of 10 lessons. The first cycle was implemented with a small class (8 foundation phase learners) at a bilingual school (English and isiXhosa). The second cycle was implemented with a group 15 of isiXhosa speaking adults working as literacy champions in the foundation phase classes at the school in which the third and fourth cycles will be implemented. This paper will share lessons learnt in terms of the specific grammatical structures of isiXhosa that need to be taken into consideration when translating and designing mathematics tasks in isiXhosa.
Developing critical inquiry as a professional accountability for social justice practice: Insight gained from pre-service teaching professional learning communities
Debates on pedagogies for social justice call upon teachers to rethink the reasons underlying learners’ disengagement from learning. The ways in which the curriculum privileges certain kinds of knowledge and ways of knowing is part of the rethinking in these debates. Professional learning communities are viewed as spaces for teachers to inquire into their practice as a means to develop a deeper understanding of a pedagogy for justice. There is strong empirical evidence that professional learning communities can improve teaching practices and enable better learning for learners (Stoll et al., 2006). Ongoing research into the enabling and constraining conditions for success in professional learning communities point to the complexity of professional learning communities as learning spaces (Brodie &Borko, 2016).
This paper argues that a deeper analysis into teachers’ critical inquiry in professional learning communities as professional accountability needs to be explored for rethinking teachers’ practices. The paper works with the concept of an epistemic move as an enabler of critical inquiry. The identification of epistemic moves in pre-service teachers’ shared repertoires of practice in professional learning communities is presented. An in-depth analysis of the competing inhibitors of critical inquiry bring to the fore forms of mutual engagement dispositions necessary for activating the epistemic moves as enablers of critical inquiry. This paper further argues that critical inquiry as professional accountability for social justice practice entails both a recognition of forms of mutual engagement dispositions for knowledge-interaction and taking collective action to experiment with new practices in order to generate new professional knowledge.
‘Re-searching’ Ourselves: Studying While Applying (In)justice in the Unsettled Academy
Sahar D. Sattarzadeh
As students, academics and journalists have shown us, the 2015-2016 student protests at South African universities have provided optimal opportunities, serving as “laboratories” or “playgrounds” for academics or scholars to study and report on activist-related phenomena within the higher education space. Older and recent publications and research analyzing student protests globally and in South Africa are quickly emerging, including propositions and demands from academics that echo student protestors’ calls to “decolonize” the university and specific knowledges. Similarly, the history and current manifestations of apartheid within the South African academy have also been popularly deconstructed and interrogated, especially during the post-apartheid, democratic South Africa era. As a challenge to scholars and academics—myself (presenter) included, this study questions the “researcher-subject” relationship often adapted in university protest research, identifying if and how academics and scholars (across and within disciplines, including those “outside” the typically-engaged or involved social sciences and humanities) are defining, understanding and “responding” to calls for justice, inclusion, equity, “transformation,” and “decolonization” within (and beyond) the academic space. Adapting Said’s (1996) notions of the “native intellectual and the “intellectual exile and outsider,” Keet’s (2011) concept of shared complicities and “mutual vulnerabilities,” and Tuck and Yang’s (2012, 2014) analyses of “settler colonialism” within spheres of research and social (in)equality, (in)justice, and (in)equity, this study applies a mixed methods approach—via interviews, surveys, participant observation, and critical discourse analysis—that highlights the diverse modes of participation/presence and absence of academics and scholars in progressing the seemingly abandoned “transformation” and highly fetishized ”decolonization” agendas at a historically white university in South Africa.
Adoption of e-learning: Lessons from fees must fall movement
Mtshabe Mxolisi and A. Kayode Adesemowo
Literature have been looking at the use of e-learning platform for pedagogical purposes, including social-constructivism, notably Lev Vygotsky’s cultural and social influences (Angela, 2011, p. 186) . Focus has also been on the pedagogical use of social media towards cognitive learning (Angela, 2011; Ansong, Boateng, Boateng, & Effah, 2016; Mbati, 2013) and connectivism (Siemens, 2005). Before the advent of social media or social network (Kwak, Lee, Park, & Moon, 2010, p. 599), as we now know it, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) has been used for communication and task performance (Adesemowo & Tucker, 2005, p. 245). The features of CSCW are evident in a number of e-learning platform, loosely referred to as LMS (Ansong et al., 2016, p. 25; Mbati, 2013, p. 167). What social media or social network brings to the fore is a pervasive and/or ‘mass socialisation’ dimension of CSCW (Selwyn, 2011, p. 3). Social media/network is also changing the way people interacts and opening new ways of collaboration, communication, discussion, and sharing of ideas (Mbati, 2013, p. 179). In the aftermath of the Rhodes Must Fall (#RMF) and rolling fees must fall (#FMF) campaign in South Africa (Bosch, 2016, 2017; Hattingh, Eybers, & Liu, 2017), a lot still need to be learnt from the active participatory use of social media/network and multiple social actor role of students in decolonising curriculum and concepts. In the sense that the students, through the use of social media not only sustain the #FMF campaign, but were able to ‘define’ and bring to limelight the phenomena of decolonisation and transformation. Reflecting on the success from this, the question that begs to be answered is how would and how should social media/networks be viewed as a phenomenon of learning, such that they can be successfully put to use. This is distinct from the viewpoint of technology usage or acceptance. Rather, from a diffusion point of view, the success of the social media/network phenomena as a research reality requires exploratory, explanative and in-depth investigation. The linkage of the “elements of success” of the #FMF to elements that should be carefully considered in adopting e-learning platform is what this paper explores, in the era of social media being no longer distraction, but rather tools of engagement (Purvis, Rodger, & Beckingham, 2016).
Transitioning To University Student Academic Life: A Holistic Approach
Patrick W Bwowe
Recent research has been consistent in emphasising the negative impact of poor transition processes on student retention and success especially during their first year at a tertiary institution. Transitioning results in changed relationships, routines, assumptions, and roles. These new experiences and expectations arguably present challenges that impact negatively on the student ability to interact and assimilate successfully into both the academic and social systems of the university. This has a negative impact on student retention and academic performance. The purpose of this paper is to provide more understanding to university administrators, managers and lecturers of factors that are likely to affect effective student transitions to universities. The paper will use a mixed method research design to evaluate students and lecturers perceptions of the factors that influence students’ progress, retention and success at one of the campuses at a selected university. A stratified random sample of 30 first year students drawn from each of the two academic departments at the campus will respond to a survey questionnaire, while 5 lecturers and 10 students will be purposely chosen to participate in the semi structured interviews. Descriptive statistics will be used to analyse the survey data, while generated themes from the interviews will be analysed to enrich and provide depth to the quantitative data. It is hoped that findings will assist universities to develop strategies that will ensure a holistic approach to student transitioning to university academic life.
A disadvantaged school under apartheid: A laboratory for cultivating students’ transposable capital
This article contends that teaching and learning practices that develop a form of transposable capital in students have lasting imprints on the students thinking, doing and identity. The article considers transposable capital comprising of three elements: reflexivity, engagement and deliberation. It argues that three elements, enable students to imbibe and critically employ the skills and knowledge of what they learn in various situations of their lives. The article explores how four students’ learning experiences under apartheid at Victoria high (pseudonym) school embedded in them forms of transposable capital. The article employs Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice to show how social structures are embodied in individuals. The article uses the life history method to establish how the school practices nurtured the students’ transposable capital.
Presentations: 15:00 – 15:30
Investigating the impact of mathematics professional development on learner attainment: Initial results from a quasi-experimental study
Craig Pournara, Patrick Barmby
Does mathematics professional development make a difference to learner attainment? There is little research that has investigated this question, partly because it is no simple task to make associations between teachers’ participation in professional development and their learners’ attainment.
In 2013 the Wits Maths Connect Secondary Project (WMCS) conducted a learning gains study to investigate the impact of Grade 10 teachers’ participation in a mathematics professional development course on the performance of their learners. The results showed that learners taught by teachers who had participated in the course made more gains over one year than learners in the same schools taught by teachers who had not participated in the course (Pournara, Hodgen, Adler, & Pillay, 2015). Given that learners’ test marks were low, the gains were small and there was high variation in gains across learners and teachers, the results were treated as indicative rather than conclusive evidence of the impact of the course on learner attainment.
This study is being repeated in 2017-2019 at Grade 9 level, with a larger sample of learners and teachers, and a new instrument that was piloted in 2017. The test includes items on negative number, algebra and function spanning Grades 7 to 9.
The pre-test was conducted with over 2000 Grade 9 learners in nine schools in Gauteng in February 2017. In this presentation we report on the initial analyses of this data, paying particular attention to learner performance on the items. We also discuss potential flooring effects of some items and the continuing tension between developing items that might potentially show evidence of learning gains versus items dealing with the content of the current grade.
Using audio-recordings to assist teachers’ self-reflection in a professional development intervention for mathematical problem-solving pedagogy
This paper focuses on how audio-recordings facilitated teachers’ self-reflection in a professional development (PD) intervention for mathematical problem-solving pedagogy. Four grade 9 mathematics teachers participated in the PD intervention which consisted of three workshops. After attending the first workshop teachers were encouraged to go and implement the new ideas on mathematical problem-solving pedagogy in their lessons for a month. During this implementation stage, I observed, supported and guided the participant teachers as was necessary and audio-recorded the lessons. After the first implementation, I conducted the second workshop where the aim was for teachers to further collaboratively reflect on their teaching experiences and to review the audio tapes of the observed lessons. I selected crucial and relevant audio recordings that foregrounded participant teachers’ use of problem-solving in their teaching. Participant teachers analysed and self-reflected how they had taught mathematical problem-solving. After the second workshop the teachers once again implemented the new ideas on mathematical problem-solving pedagogy for a month whilst being observed, supported, audio-taped and guided by the researcher. The third workshop and the implementation process were similar to the second stage. The findings were that as teachers listened to the audio recordings and looked back on classroom events and made critical judgments about them, they modified their teaching behaviour and this resulted in them constructing knowledge about themselves, their teaching practices and their learners (Schunk, 2012). As participant teachers knowingly and systematically reflected on their teaching experiences (Farrell, 2007), I realized that they were consciously able to improve their own teaching. This procedure by teachers thinking about what they were doing and why they were doing it turned their experiences into meaningful learning. In this case, learning by teachers did not just happen but was derived from them constructing sense from their experiences and particular contexts.
From the subjective to the society: using narrative inquiry as a lens in research on student teacher experience, and its implications
In the literature on qualitative research there has been much discussed over the validity of some qualitative methods and the justification of findings. In education research scant attention has been paid to student teacher’s background and voice. This paper deals with using narrative inquiry and draws on a recent qualitative empirical research project examining the background, motivation for teaching, and subsequent learning experiences of the research participants, twelve Intermediate phase, English method education students, on their initial teacher education course at one urban university. The research uses narrative inquiry as a means of revealing the subjective stories of the research participants. The findings were that the research participants use stories in an illustrative way in their self definitions and to locate and discuss difficult topics. They also use stories to reveal their experiences of and the society in which they move. This paper shares the methodology used in this research , and discusses the issues of the changing position of the researcher, and concomitant concerns of ethics, validity and bias. The ontological dimensions of narrative inquiry are also discussed, as well as the limitations of narrative inquiry in describing the wider society.
E-Learning Platform – Successes and Pitfalls: A case study
Grasia Chisango, Newlin Marongwe, Nomxolisi Mtsi
With the advent of technology such as the computer and the internet, teaching and learning is no-longer restricted to the classroom but can take place anywhere and anytime. Properly implemented E-Learning Platforms result in easy access to learning. To the student, e-learning promotes independent study, enhances critical thinking skills and prepares the student for the information society. To the lecturer, e-learning allows speedy communication with students, uploading course material online, tracking student participation and performance. Though there are a lot of successes associated with e-learning platforms, pitfalls also exist. This study thus seeks to investigate the successes and the pitfalls of an e-learning platform at a rural university in South Africa. The university under study use blended learning in teaching and learning. The study is informed by the connectivism framework which focuses on enhancing understanding of how students learn in the computer and internet age. A qualitative approach and a case study design will be used in this study. A purposive sampling technique will be used to identify students and lecturers who will participate in the study. Data will be gathered through face-to-face interviews and focus-group interviews. A thematic approach will be used to analyse and present data through verbatim quotations of the research participants.
Obstacles to student access and continued participation in universities
This paper reports on a five-year longitudinal study that followed approximately 85 students from seven South African universities. Participants were interviewed each year regarding their experiences at university and the main factors that enabled and hampered their progress at these institutions. The sample was mixed in terms of race, class, gender, language and university course of study. Students’ claimed that academic and financial factors were the most debilitating obstacles that inhibited access and continued participation in universities. Academic factors included choice of programme, poor quality lecturing, ineffective channels for complaints about staff, lack of academic support, lecturer inaccessibility, fears of intellectual inferiority, coping with high workloads and technological unpreparedness. While almost all of the participants believed that they could succeed academically, many complained bitterly that financial barriers were out of their control. They tried to exert control over finances through the highly unreliable and bureaucratically arduous NSFAS system, or by finding part-time employment. Students were tormented by unexpected additional costs like textbooks and unforeseen changes in families’ financial circumstances. These challenges occurred whilst students continually struggled to deal with tedious registration and administration systems. Inclusive of but separate from financial barriers, was the issue of accommodation. Residential location had a substantial impact on access to libraries, laboratories and quiet places to study. The findings make sense in the light of the 2015/2016 student fees protests, as financial issues were named by students as the most debilitating factors that hampered their success in higher education. The results are interpreted in relation to the increasingly unaffordable nature of tertiary education, in an era in which the neoliberal ‘university’ is increasingly becoming an elusive entity that is not perceived as a public good.
Laying a Foundation for Commerce: How Schools are a Challenged Partner in Some Rural Areas?
Charles Lwanga, Newlin Marongwe
The modern globalized world is commerce driven. Commercial skills shortage causes poverty in communities. In Eastern Cape rural communities suffer from pervasive chronic poverty in spite of having abundant underutilised resources and unexploited opportunities for generating wealth. Although historical factors created this situation, it is now perpetuated by a shortage of commercial skills. Schools are the primary rural source of commercial skills. Schools introduce commercial skills through business subjects. Rural schools, however, do not seem to do so effectively. Rural schools repeatedly produce poor matric results in business subjects. The poor introduction of business subject goes beyond poor matric results, it does not capacitate rural school leavers to successfully start or improve rural enterprises. The purpose of the study was to find out why the transfer of commercial skills by rural schools produces poor matric results in business subjects and less effect on the growth of rural business enterprises. Eighty educators plus other stakeholders in Lady Frere District of Eastern Cape were selected by random, convenience and purposive sampling for a survey. The data was analysed using quantitative and qualitative statistical methods to determine limitations to effective transfer and application of business skills in rural areas. The study found that: Challenges to schools cause learners to leave school with a poor understanding of the basics in commerce and of the business environment. It recommends that addressing the challenges to rural schools deserve urgent attention, more resources and further research.
Presentations: 15:30 – 16:00
Abandonment In Mathematical Sense-Making In High-Stakes Examination
Marius Simons, Cyril Julie
Evaluating the efficacy of pedagogical training initiatives for University Teachers at a University of Technology
Phiwayinkosi Richmond Gumede
Transformation of higher education is South Africa lead to the establishment of the teaching and learning units. Until the formal establishment of the teaching and learning units for the coordination of academic staff development, professional development initiatives that focus on pedagogy had been offered in an uncoordinated and unsustainable manner. Not surprisingly, such initiatives often took different formats, designs and with little or no evaluation of the perceived impact. Like other universities, the establishment of the teaching and learning unit at Mangosuthu University of Technology provided a platform for the coordination of professional development initiatives for academic staff. Between 2013 and 2015, four pedagogical training workshops were conducted for university teachers at Mangosuthu University of Technology. Workshops were evaluated to assess the perceptions from participants. A mixed method approach was used in study. Quantitative data were analysed using the Microsoft Excel and qualitative data were recorded verbatim to capture the actual views of the participants. Results of the study suggest that academic staff members regarded pedagogical trainings as important initiatives that contribute positively in improving teaching and learning practices in their respective disciplines. The paper concludes with a discussion on how academics thought the pedagogical training would influence their approaches towards teaching. Furthermore, the possible strategies for incorporating evaluation data in professional development initiatives and its dissemination mechanisms to ensure continuous improvement are discussed.
Decolonization and teacher educator agency
Gert van der Westhuizen
The decolonisation turn in education is a historical moment which requires deep thinking about teacher educator agency. What teacher educators do is of systemic importance, since they shape school curricula and pedagogies through research and teacher preparation in direct and indirect ways.
Discourses of decolonization seem to have downplayed the consequences of the cognitive crises in education, the limitations of the Western oriented “science of teaching”, and the knowledge exclusion and practices of epistemicide which we see in education curricula (Fataar 2016). The consequences remain unproblematized, widely evident in duress and humiliation experienced by students and communities (Odora Hoppers 2017).
The purpose of this paper is to argue that the knowledge problem in South African schools cannot be solved without rethinking the agency role of teacher educators. The framework developed by Phelan and colleagues (2013) is useful here. It encourages the rethinking of education and teacher education in terms of subjectivity (dispelling myths of responsibility, focussing on normative identities and life stories), historicity (prioritizing biographical relations with communities, historically affected events, cultural pressures and ethical awareness), and questions of praxis (rethinking the ethics of teaching) for the future.
With reference teacher education challenges at UJ, this paper proposes an agenda for restorative action which will help crystallize agency options for teacher educators in South Africa.
Educators working towards social justice in higher education: a performative text
This paper is a creative exploration of the lived experiences of educators working towards socially just practice in the South African higher education landscape. As South African educators we are often troubled by our own identities and experiences with oppression both inside and outside the classroom. Our experiences could be described as disruptive, interrupted, messy and uncomfortable. To engage with the complexities and contradictions in our lived experiences and identities this paper makes use of an illustrated arts-based narrative of five educators working at the University of the Free State between 2014 and 2016. The narrative revolves around ‘portraits’ of these educators and was created as part of a collaborative research project in which participants shared their experiential knowledge of anti-oppressive practice. Thus, the co-constructed narrative explores the connections between educator identity and social justice in the broader South African higher educational landscape. Written as a performative text it opens up new spaces for the researcher to explore the social context and educational landscape while looking for different ways of being, and also different ways of learning and knowing. The narrative is intended to bring forth the ‘voices’ of educators as they make their way through the often uncertain and messy terrain in an attempt to learn from uncertainty and crisis and trouble existing knowledge. The work is guided by the belief that as educators we cannot learn or be ‘told’ how to work towards anti-oppressive practice, but have to build such knowledge through our experiences – and our creative engagement with those experiences.
Are they really “ready, willing and able”? Exploring reality shock in beginner teachers in South Africa
Carolina Botha, Julialet Rens
Reality shock can be defined as experiencing a gap between what students have learned in their initial teacher education programme and the reality that they may face during the first year(s) of teaching. This study reflects on the experiences of 100 South African beginner teachers and contextualises their experiences by applying the ‘ready, willing and able’ model of Schulman and Schulman (2004). Participants were invited to critically reflect upon their experiences during their first year(s) of teaching that could provide insight into the challenges they faced. A discourse analysis of the themes accentuated the correlation between the results of this study and the aims of the ‘ready, willing and able’ model. This discussion is structured around the salient points of the model combined with the qualitative data gathered by the researchers. Perceptions of the participants highlight the evidence of reality shock and the question is asked whether higher education institutions might have an extended responsibility to better equip beginner teachers for handling the academic and emotional realities they will face. In this way both the individual and the higher education institutions can become part of the quest towards readiness for beginner teachers. It is proposed that the solution to reality shock might therefore be a shared responsibility that is guided by a commitment towards interdependence and interactiveness within the system and all the role-players. The findings of this study suggests the fostering of a sense of self-reflection in individuals, continuous evaluation of their experiences and critical reflection upon their perceptions to provide opportunities for creating new meaning, embracing local knowledge and contemplating lived experiences. This research endeavour deepened and enriched knowledge about the impact of the full cycle of teacher education on the beginner teacher.
Panel discussions: 16:15 – 17:45
Teachers, governance, and pedagogies for social cohesion in diverse rural and urban public schools in post-apartheid South Africa
Professor Yusuf Sayed, Professor Azeem Badroodien, Dr Yunus Omar, Ms Lorna Balie, Ms Joyce Raanhuis, Ms Tarryn de Kock, Mr Thomas Salmon and Mr Toyer Nakidien
This panel examines social cohesion in diverse rural and urban public schools in two provinces in South Africa. The three papers in the panel draw on evidence and research collected during a current UNICEF and ESRC-funded project on education and peacebuilding in post-conflict societies. It considers how teachers are framed as agents of change in post-apartheid South African education by analysing how different teacher practices and objectives are influenced by educational policies and key projected outcomes. The goal of the three papers is to highlight how government positions on social cohesion alongside the social contexts of schools invariably influence the ways in which teachers interpret the curriculum, what teachers teach, what textbooks they use, the conditions they teach in, and how this relates to fundamental questions about equity and reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa. In the third paper for example, the authors draws on empirical evidence from case-studies in nine South African schools located in two provinces, and shows how spatial differences, class, race and gender shape teachers’ pedagogies for peace-building in quite different ways. The arguments made there, alongside a focus in the second paper on the building of relations of trust in schools and communities in the context of teachers’ accountability in terms of national teacher accountability structures such as SACE, school management structures, and school governing bodies, strengthens – we argue – the current knowledge base on key policy issues of teacher policy and practice in conflict affected contexts. As a whole the three papers in the panel highlight the need for context-and-conflict-sensitive teacher policies that redress educational inequalities, promote social cohesion, and that contribute to resilient communities bent on reducing inequality and assisting in transforming schools and communities in post-apartheid South Africa.
The structure of the panel will be as follows:
- Introduction by the Chair
- Paper One:
Governance, trust and social cohesion
Presenters: Yusuf Sayed, Lorna Balie, Thomas Salmon
This paper develops and speaks to key issues in relation to governance and issues of teacher trust in relation to social cohesion in South Africa. It poses questions to a number of foundational issues in this regard, starting with an assessment of how teacher trust operates in a system of governance which privileges operational matters over issues of a more conceptual nature. Within this broad area, critical questions arise as to how teachers and policy makers address issues of accountability within such a dynamic. Crucially, the paper looks at some of the implications of such governance approaches for issues of trust and accountability and social cohesion in the post-apartheid context.
Structurally, the paper focuses first on policy attempts to ensure that teachers were recruited and deployed to remote and rural contexts in post-apartheid South Africa through three different interventions, namely (1) post provisioning norms; (2) the Funza Lushaka bursary programme, and (3) the Teacher Rural Incentive Scheme (TRIS). It asserts that policies that adopt a one-size-fits-all approach and targets too broad a range of teachers across different contexts invariably struggle.
The paper then asks ‘how do educational interventions ensure that teachers build up trust and are held accountable?’. It focuses specifically at the issue of codes of professional ethics (overseen by SACE – the South African Council for Educators) as well as the role of school communities and School Governing Bodies (SGBs) in generating arrangements of structural trust and ways of safeguarding the reputation of the teaching profession. The paper argues that formal bodies like SACE and SGBs play too small a role in developing or ensuring mechanisms that build trust within schools or that hold teachers accountable. The implications of these findings are discussed as part of the broader arguments of the panel.
- Paper Two:
Teacher Professional Development and social cohesion in South African schools
Presenters: Azeem Badroodien, Tarryn de Kock, Joyce Raanhuis
The second paper addresses key challenges within Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) with respect to shaping student teachers’ and practicing teachers’ dispositions and capabilities to effect change within the systems they work or will work in, and for the learners they will and do teach. It asserts that teacher pedagogic strategies can mediate inequalities and continuities within the education system, and are linked to the schooling system and society in which teachers operate. This paper addresses the question of what ITE and CPTD programmes provide in addressing this challenge and process, and assesses this by looking at what is currently provided in three different case contexts. As such, the paper draws on data from three case studies of ITE programmes at three higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa, as well as data from four case studies of CPTD programmes focused on developing teacher agency for social cohesion. The paper asks how these various programmes assist teachers in promoting social cohesion in their classrooms, and the implications, for example, of ‘teaching to CAPS’ for such a focus.
The paper argues, inter alia, that CPTD programmes that have a strong social cohesion orientation invariably create environments where dominant discourses and traditionally unjust institutional cultures are better challenged, discussed, and engaged. In contrast, programmes that privilege assessment and governance issues struggle to generate environments that lead to greater solidarity and inclusive practices, especially in contexts where poverty and violence have a key influence on teacher performance and development.
- Paper Three
Pedagogy and texts for social cohesion in the South African classroom
Presenters: Yunus Omar, Toyer Nakidien
The third paper investigates the roles of teachers as key determinants of education quality (Mourshed et al, 2010; Sayed et al, 2012) who play a key role in nation building, identity construction and peace and reconciliation (Durrani and Dunne, 2010; Smith et al, 2011). The paper argues that greater attention needs to be given to what teachers do, and with what learning resources, in order to assess how teacher agency for social cohesion can better shape what children and young people learn. A key focus of the paper is to grapple with both the texts and the pedagogies teachers use to stimulate social cohesion-oriented thinking and practice in their classrooms. The paper focuses on some of the explicit pedagogies that teachers privilege to promote social cohesion in their classrooms, and works within a conceptual frame that accepts that teachers are as socially inscribed as their learners. The paper asks questions about what needs to be effected in policy and practice to better equip teachers to act as agents of social cohesion.
The paper works with three inter-related fields, namely (1) teachers as agents of social cohesion, or as potential agents of continued social violence; (2) teachers’ engagements with the official curriculum, and (3) teachers’ use of textbooks in promoting social cohesion across the learning areas of History and Language. As such, the paper provides an empirical analysis of the ways curricula, syllabi, textbooks, and other learning resources are used in different settings to promote and teach about social cohesion.
The main argument developed in the paper is that there are several layers of complexity that characterise the roles of teachers as potential agents of social cohesion in schools. Among these are issues tied to, in many cases, the still-racialised identities of teachers. The data that is presented illustrates contrasting understandings of social cohesion by communities in poor rural schools, quintile 1 and 5 schools, and between two different provincial contexts. The paper argues that explicit strategies to promote social cohesion must be developed, including teachers’ and local communities’ participation in content development for curricula and textbooks. It asserts that opportunities must be developed to engage with differences in approach by teachers across urban-rural divides, across racial and class lines, and across linguistic lines. The paper argues that if these opportunities are not led by policy and not implemented and monitored, intended national social cohesion outcomes are unlikely to be met, and patterns of violence across several social markers of difference will probably be perpetuated.
- Discussion, and Questions and Answers
In this half-hour slot, questions will be taken from the floor that engages with some of the bigger issues that emerge from the three papers as a way of promoting a deep discussion about social cohesion in post-apartheid South Africa.
Presentations: 16:15 – 16:45
Acqusition Of Basic Knowledge And Student Performance In Euclidean Geometry: Evidence From South African Grade 11 Classrooms
Zukiswa Nombambela, Jogymol Kalariparampil Alex
Mathematics has been and will continue to be the focus of concern in South Africa and throughout the world. Performance in mathematics is a major concern for the country as it is in demand in almost every field, but it is also a challenge. Though there is a high gross enrolment rate in South African basic education, the numbers begin to drop quite dramatically in secondary schools and achievement levels are alarmingly low in so much that learners are moving through the grades but without necessarily attaining the learning outcomes prescribed by the curriculum. Euclidean geometry is deemed as one of the sections in mathematics that is performed poorly. This paper sought to investigate the relationship between acquisition of basic knowledge and student performance in Euclidean geometry. One hundred and thirty two learners from two conveniently selected senior secondary schools in Mthatha district formed the sample for the study. This study rests on the theory of Performance. Quantitative methods were used as the performance of the learners was assessed using Euclidean geometry questions in a questionnaire. There were twelve items addressing the basic knowledge in Euclidean geometry. The highest score indicated better knowledge of Euclidean geometry basics. The data were analysed using Microsoft Excel. Shockingly, in both schools 0% of learners with correct responses from four questions. In some questions concerning terminology most of them scored less than 20%. The average was 17% and 21% respectively for the schools. This indicated a poor profound knowledge in Euclidean geometry. The study revealed that there is a strong correlation between performance and acquisition of basic terminology. This study recommends that circle geometry should be introduced strongly from lower classes. Learners should be acquainted with the terminology from earlier grades. Deductive reasoning skills should be promoted to learners so that they can be able to solve geometric riders logically.
Defining Decolonisation In The South African Higher Education Landscape
Margot Stephanie Riley
In light of the social movements surrounding “RhodesMustFall” and subsequently “FeesMustFall” across South African universities, a general awareness towards the obligation to decolonise these institutions has arisen and, with this, a growing need to understand what this obligation entails. This paper aims to provide a helpful understanding of what decolonisation means when referring to decolonising the higher education system in South Africa. This paper also suggests that the term “decolonisation” may be under defined. Furthermore, the meaning of decolonisation is discussed within the context of the education system, in general. Examples are provided of successful decolonizing projects, conducted in Australia, to “Aboriginalise” the various levels of the indigenous schooling system. The topic is then discussed in the context of South Africa’s higher education system, with attention being drawn to: research into the methodology of decoloniality by indigenous and non-indigenous researchers; specific tertiary education courses which carry a responsibility to assist in the decolonial process; the necessity for the eventual implementation of the decolonial process into the primary education system, as well as, the general public.
The Influence of Macro-Policy Factors on Curriculum Decision-Making in South African Schools: Implications for Curriculum Relevance
Curriculum relevance has become central in the secondary schooling system in an attempt to address the socio-political imperatives facing society. For the secondary school education, addressing the wider economic and social demands through the curriculum became dependent on the relevance and responsiveness of the curriculum represented in the school subjects. This paper focuses on analysing the extent and ways in which socio-economic factors influence curriculum decision-making, specifically in the selection of Tourism as a school subject and its implications for curriculum relevance. Using a case study design, this study was conducted in four secondary schools in the Uthukela District in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. From the four schools used, key stakeholders, including the principal, Heads of Departments, tourism teachers and parent members of the SGB were interviewed, based on their vested interest in both the subject (Tourism) and curriculum decision-making. In-depth semi-structured individual interviews. The findings suggest that the macro-policy factors tended to have a direct influence on the schools’ choice of subjects for the curriculum, as evident in the adoption of Tourism. The participants linked the influence of macro-policy factors to three aspects: political imperatives, economic benefits, and educational policies. Although the study sample was small and the results could not be generalised to a larger population, the findings nevertheless suggest that schools’ decision-making to select Tourism (as a school subject) was influenced by the view that Tourism is a means for addressing negative social issues, including reducing or eliminating unemployment and poverty. This implies a great demand for more vocational and skills-based subjects in our school curriculum in order to be responsive and relevant.
Moving In – Moving Through – Moving Beyond: Understanding Novice/Beginner Teacher Needs Through Peer Networking
This research study is an investigation into the Apprenticeship of Observation of a variety of novice/beginner teacher participants located in Bozeman, Montana; Manhattan, New York; Potchefstroom, South Africa; and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan as a global an online network.
Each participating institution will carry out face to face interviews with novice/beginner teachers within their own local context while participation in an on-line networking opportunity to share their experiences with other teachers from North West University, Potchefstroom, SA; Montana State University, Montana, United States of America; Columbia University, Manhattan, New York, United States of America; University of Saskatchewan, Canada; and, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada.
Typically, novice teachers are eager to accept the first job offered, but are not likely to understand fully the expectations and responsibilities of their new roles. Unfortunately, novice teachers often describe their career experiences as trial by fire. This research study integrates theoretical and moral frameworks as moral purpose in ensuring essence and meaning of novice teacher experiences are gained. A blend of the principles of a sustainable learning community and the moral purpose of moving from a sorting to a learning system of knowing resonates with the right for novice/beginner teachers to be active agents in their own learning from the time they enter teacher education programs and work toward gaining experience as a teacher in their first year of their career.
The shared teacher narratives and on-line discussions/queries propose not only to inform the researchers, but also provide participants with a community of practice where they can support one another. The local and global peer network will enable space and opportunity to dialogue and develop best practices though self-reflective narratives and discussion groups. The research study contributes to the understanding of and the construction of knowledge on the full cycle of teacher-education for which pre-service teachers move in, move through and move beyond teacher education programs to enter their teaching career as novice teachers. The mentorship network will also inform us about the importance of mentorship as novice teachers embark on their career while possibly rejuvenating experienced teachers as a parallel learning journey. The overall purpose of the study is to work toward bridging the gap between theory and practice, as well as lessen the impact of reality shock when novice teachers start their career. The research study will inform post-secondary institutions and the K-12 education system of the reality of transitioning from pre-service teacher education to classroom practice as novice/beginning teachers.
Geography Student’s experiences of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) as an assessment strategy used in Higher Education
The majority of second and third-year Geography tertiary students experienced difficulty in answering assessment that comprised of the ‘new’ Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs). The usage of MCQs in Geography education is a new trend that had been adopted to cope with the large class sizes. Hence, MCQs are foreign in Geography education. Geography as a discipline, studies places and the relationship between people and the environment. It requires open-ended assessment practices that provide students with an opportunity to learn Geography by exploring both the physical properties of the earth’s surface and how societies interact with it. The study explored Geography Student’s experiences of MCQs as an assessment strategy used in Higher Education. Purposive and convenient sampling was used to select Geography student participants. Twelve students that have completed the Geography module in a second and third year level have been chosen. The sample comprised of students who performed; above average, average and below average. The total number of participants was twelve. The study was a qualitative case study within the interpretive paradigm. Semi-structured Interviews and focus group interviews were used to generate data. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data. The findings of the study revealed that students had negative experiences with MCQs assessment strategies. The study concludes that MCQs as an assessment strategy are not suitable to assess Geography content knowledge as they restrict student engagement with geographic concepts.
Presentations: 16:45 – 17:15
Change from Common to Best Practices in Educational Research: Contributing Factors for Nigerian Mathematics Educators
Kehinde A. Adeniji
Effect size estimates are used to determine the practical and theoretical importance of an effect, the relative contributions of factors and the power of an analysis in Research. Thus, this study investigated the contributions of academic qualification, type of institution and academic designation and geo-political location on the level of awareness and the report of effect sizes among Mathematics Educators in Nigeria. The researcher designed and administered two instruments; Effect Size Awareness Questionnaire (ESAQ) and Effect Size Usage Rating Scale (ESURS), at 52nd Annual Conference of Mathematical Association of Nigeria (MAN) to collect data for the study. The findings showed that it was only geo-political location that substantially accounts for the difference in the level of effect sizes awareness (ɳ2=0.16) and the usage (ɳ2=0.14) among Nigerian Mathematics Educators while others account for effects that ranges from small to moderate (0.01≤ɳ2≤0.11) differences. The study further established that these differences were statistically insignificant except in the case of academic qualification which contributes moderate effect (ɳ2=0.11) in the awareness level of effect size F(2,58) = 3.557 at p< 0.05. Based on these findings, it was recommended among others that syllabi of Research Method and Educational Statistics courses should be reviewed to include the concepts of effect size in our tertiary institutions at all levels and also the editorial policies and guidelines of Nigerian journals, especially in Mathematics Education, should include effect sizes reports for their journals.
What characterises an effective continuing teacher professional development initiative? Lessons learnt from Fundisa for Change National Teacher Training Programme
Continuing teacher professional development initiatives are necessary in an attempt to improve the quality of teaching and learning in schools. The teaching profession has its own challenges, some of which are: the changing nature of knowledge; the changing curricula; teaching new subjects; and starting work as a newly qualified teacher. While there are many continuing teacher professional development initiatives, the question is whether or not these are effective. The paper looks at the characteristics of an effective continuing teacher professional development initiative using the views of the teachers trained in the Fundisa for Change National Teacher Training Programme. There are several ideas being put forward in the literature in this aspect, but a case is made here that the issue of context is very important and such ideas cannot be generalised. One element of an effective continuing teacher professional development initiative that kept on coming from the teachers was the follow-up. It has been regarded as very important as some teachers felt that it gave them a sense of individual attention as in most cases this is not possible in the training due to the large number of the trainees. The follow-ups offer a platform to voice out their challenges and for the trainers or whoever visits them to see their real struggles. Some indicated that when they got back to their schools, there would be little support from their colleagues. This paper originates from a qualitative research study that uses a case study method in which participating teachers and teacher trainers were interviewed to answer the research questions. The ideas of practice architectures and ecologies of practices were used as theoretical lenses in the study. The interviews were conducted in Mpumalanga and in the Eastern Cape.
My personal voyage of discovery in student academic development
While research shows that in their first year of university, students are likely to face adjustment challenges in handling the large volume of their academic work, there is an assumption that beyond first year, students would have adequately adjusted to the university’s programmes, and therefore managing. However, my experience in student academic development has shown that Health Sciences students across years of study request assistance with managing time and workloads. This trend has impelled me to reflect on my own practice over the four years that I have worked in student academic development. The purpose is to unveil my perceptions of the underlying causes of students’ time management needs by critically examining my interventions. This reflection contributes to the improvement of my own practice as well as to conversations in the scholarship of student academic development in general and the decolonisation of student support in particular. The reflection addressed the following questions: What factors informed my time management interventions over the past four years? To what extent has my practice transformed, if at all? With the help of critical friends, I analysed the thinking behind changes in my student support practices as recorded in my journal entries. Preliminary findings suggest that my practice is transforming. I have stopped giving students cookbook–type time management solutions and am now focusing on solutions that are based on listening to students’ individual needs – needs which are fluid and intricately linked to their broader socio-economic context. My practice has transformed from being prescriptive to one where outcomes are more negotiated and therefore shared.
From ‘people’s education’ to neoliberal education in South Africa: a critique of post-apartheid education policy
The anti-apartheid struggle and its concept of ‘people’s education for people’s power’ promised to foster a free, equal and democratic education. Unfortunately, ‘people’s education’ was diluted during the interregnum, a political negotiation period in South Africa. As a consequence, neo-liberal education policy in post-apartheid South Africa treats learners as investors (and customers) who buy education in order to increase schools competitive edge. To this end, a neo-liberal State is stretched and pulled in different directions , in post-apartheid South African schools, i.e. between academic success or failure that is interpreted in terms of entrepreneurial virtues (such as competitiveness, self-interest and decentralisation) on the one hand and genuine social right (collective or equal right to education) on the other hand. The author argues that neoliberal education (or employability) policy tendencies are ahistorical (suffers from presentism), anti-educational (have unintended ends) and un-democratic (suspicious of democracy) in post-apartheid South African schools and beyond.
Empowering 21st Century Students With Self-Employment Skill Competencies In An Era Of Uncertainties Of Paid Employment Jobs
The paper was conceived bearing in mind that employment of tertiary education graduates has become an endemic problem in Nigeria. Recognising the objective of schooling, the paper identified two basic objectives of present day education as schooling to become a successful employee, and schooling to become self-employed. While the first was identified as the focus for the older generation, the later was defined as the focus for 21st century teaching and learning. Hence, the paper condemned the inability of curriculum implementers to teach creative trends to enable students acquire practical skills and business oriented competencies. A review of some disciplines was made to show the new trend of education that would empower Nigerian students for self-employment on graduation. This was further made to draw attention of institutions and implementers to the need for our curriculum to be functional in line with demands of the innovative economic environment. The paper also noted that periods of recession, though with its attendant effects, was the best period for students of entrepreneurship to dream and create their business enterprises. It highlighted the role of FCE(T) Omoku and the national honour she has received for developing an innovative practical model of teaching entrepreneurship education in Nigeria Colleges of Education system. While the paper obviously recommended that lecturers should be creative and teach outside the curriculum box, it further recommended that students should use this period of their studentship to establish and operate their own small business enterprises. In order to equip students for survival on graduation, it opined that this can only be done if lecturers shift their focus away from the conventional emphasise on intelligent quotient to students’ energy quotients.
The Use of e-Portfolio to Assess Students’ Performance
The use of portfolios as means of assessment has been increasing over the decades. The increasing integration of e-learning in curricula has influenced the integration of e-portfolio as part of pedagogy and practice. This study explores the education theories on portfolio and also shares evidence for the use of e-portfolio at tertiary level for assessment. The study emphasises
that the use of e-portfolio is a transformative instruction and assessment which enhances learners’ capacity beyond capturing the content of the programme of study. It also shares recommendations along evidence of students’ e-portfolios.
Presentations: 17:15 – 17:45
Enhancing students’ problem-solving ability through the use of simulations in physics education
Dr Nazeem Edwards
Traditional teaching methods have been shown to be ineffective in teaching physics to undergraduate students. These transmissive modes employ rote memorization and a formulaic approach to problem-solving which is devoid of qualitative reasoning and understanding. Physics education can be enhanced by utilizing a research-based approach which connects the student to real-life experiences. The teacher educator can limit the cognitive load and maximize learning by focusing on key concepts and having a clear organizational structure (Wieman & Perkins, 2005). The use of simulations have been shown to be very effective in developing students’ understanding of physics concepts.
In this study I explore the use of simulations as an adjunct to traditional paper-and-pencil problem-solving in physics education. By using the well-developed Phet simulation to build electric circuits the student is directly exposed to the concept of current, voltage and resistance. Second-year science education students’ ability to simulate electric circuits and generate answers to questions are captured through screenshots of their work. These answers are compared with their calculated answers to see if the simulation promotes better understanding of key concepts. I present my findings as part of a wider study of technology-enhanced learning environments in teacher education.
Developing Teachers’ Understanding of Social Cohesion through Continuing Professional Development Interventions
Joyce Raanhuis, Yusuf Sayed, Azeem Badroodien
Philosophies of inclusivity, democracy, equality and human dignity as described in the South African Constitution are at the core priorities of post-apartheid education (DoE 2001). After 1994, to overcome the challenges of poor education quality shaped by the apartheid legacy, teachers had to be supported to develop the skills required to teach in diverse settings and crucially in supporting teacher agency for social cohesion (Sayed, Kanjee & Nkomo 2013). In this context, teacher professional development in general and continuing professional development (CPD) in particular to promote social cohesion warrant close scrutiny and attention (Sayed, Badroodien and others 2015). However, scholarship on this is limited. It is this gap which this paper addresses.
The data used in this paper is derived from semi-structured interviews with policy makers, teachers, programme managers and CPD facilitators, with a firm focus on their views regarding selected CPD programmes. The paper analyses these using Pawson and Tilley’s Realist Evaluation Methodology (2004). A preliminary analysis shows that teachers do reflect on their experiences during interventions but struggle to implement their learning due to unsuitable or uninterested teaching and learning environments. The paper conclude with some recommended improvements in the development of CPD programmes for social cohesion.
Reflections on the constraints and possibilities of some curriculum theories used in the quest for an inclusive, decolonised and quality teacher education
In this paper I reflect on some curriculum theories that are prevalent in curriculum development for an inclusive, non-colonial and quality teacher education in South Africa. I argue that the current dominant discourses for teacher education curriculum development are disenabling and cannot deliver and non-colonial and inclusive quality teacher education because they are informed by the traditional curriculum theories inherited from the colonial masters. I propose that more liberating theories such as Felix Guttari and Gilles Deleuze should inform teacher education development rather the current approaches that rely heavily traditional models characterised by compliance to policy imperatives such as is the case with Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education Qualifications.
Subject Advisers’ Perception of Curriculum Delivery in the Intermediate Phase: A case study of South African schools
Smith Vincent, Bongani Gamede
Can integrated-content assessments improve student performance in Human Resources Management Extended curricular programme: A Case of Walter Sisulu University
Nonelela Buso, Khululwa Spelman & Nxenye Zandile
The practice is that students in extended curricular programme for Human Resources Management (HRM: ECP) register for six courses in their first year and four courses in their second year. With each course providing several assessment opportunities students are bound to feel overwhelmed with assessments. The objective of this study was to look at integrated-content assessment as an approach to lessen the burden of over assessment while allowing multiple opportunities of assessing, and improving student performance. Most often in academia the term integrated-content in assessment is mostly found in courses that incorporate language in their assessments. In some cases it is used to refer to an assessment approach that incorporate the different learning competencies that is theoretical, practical, applied, foundational and reflective competencies. Alternatively, it is used to refer to an assessment approach that uses a combination of assessment tools. This study used integrated-content assessment to refer to an assessment approach that incorporates more than one subject/course content that are related and taught to that same group of university students. The study used a case study method and purposively selected a group of students in HRM: ECP. The programme enrols a maximum of 20 students a year and extends over two years, so the study used questionnaires followed by group focus interviews to collect data from first and second year. SPSS was used to analyse data from questionnaires and NVIVO was used to transcribe and analyse the interview data. The findings were that 1) although the approach had to be explained to both lecturers and students involved, the participants were enthusiastic and encouraged to use integrated-content assessment. 2) There was notable improvement in the performance of students which they attributed to less burden to prepare for tests, as they can sit in one assessment that covers several courses than to write several times for each of their registered courses. 3) The approach made explicit the relationship between the course the students were enrolled in which made learning less of a perplexity. The conclusion of the study is thus there are clear benefits in exploring use of integrated- content assessment for both students and lecturers. The study therefore makes the following recommendations, that lecturers consider the benefits of integrated-content assessment from the student and lecturer perspective. Contented integration begins as early as curriculum development to spread over to teaching and learning activities in the classroom. Programs like Human resource management, continues to explore integrating more than two subject content during assessment, for example finance, business law, and business management, which are currently assessed independently.
Student experiences with experiential learning: Striving to develop best practice along a TPACK framework
Dr Andries S du Plessis
Following the first democratic elections in 1994 the South African government has been striving to address societal inequalities through education, among other ways. One key need is better trained teachers who are adequately equipped to deal with the challenges of school-based education. Experiential learning during initial teacher education plays a pivotal role in this endeavour. For experiential learning to be meaningful it requires that students get exposed to best practice in authentic settings. Schools offer such contexts and are thus necessary partners. What is questioned, however, is whether or not all practices are necessarily “best practice”. Furthermore, best practice according to whom? Influenced by approaches elsewhere in the world a revised vision for teacher education includes teaching schools (TS) for an intense practicum. Ordinary schools, however, will continue to serve as professional development schools. Problems, however, continue to plague public schools: lack of resources, poor maintenance, limited infrastructure, as well as demotivated and poorly trained in-service teachers. These problems inhibit student learning since it impacts the development of their teaching practices along the technological pedagogical content knowledge framework (TPACK) negatively. This paper explores the experiences of a group of fourth year students who are enrolled for a BEd Foundation Phase programme at a rural-based campus. The focus is their Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) sessions at outside partnering schools. Data obtained from a survey as well as focus group discussions, are used in conjunction with an analysis of their lesson plans. The latter is used to identify the development of their TPACK. Their experiences are juxtaposed with the programme’s outcomes in order to critique school-university partnerships (SUPs). By identifying the problems experienced by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) it is argued that a learning-centred approach to curriculum can produce the type of teachers that would exhibit best practice along the TPACK framework.
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