Day 4 | Thursday 26 October

Panel discussions: 08:00 – 10:00


Exploring Absence And Emergence In Zones Of Proximal Development: Co-Engaged Learning Processes. Being And Becoming

Heila Lotz-Sisitka, Tichaona Pesanayi, Priya Vallabh

This panel focusses on the dialectical processes of learning, and an associated sociology of absence and emergence (De Sousa Santos, 2014). The papers all address the broader question: “What forms of critical, expansive learning might we mobilise in environment and sustainability education (ESE) out of our existing forms of being in order to re-imagine new becomings that are oriented to the common good?” In this regard, it is interesting to note that the concept of the common good is coming into focus in global educational discourse on ‘re-thinking education’ (UNESCO 2015). In addition to affirming the need to see education as a common good, UNESCO (2015) suggests a new purpose for education. The 2015 document (ibid) states that, “Education must be about learning to live on a planet under pressure. It must be about cultural literacy, on the basis of respect and equal dignity, helping to weave together the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development (pg. 3)”.

Our panel contributions are mindful of the points made by Dussel (2008) that decolonization of society (and thus also education) will require a triple focused programme of action that responds to three major intersecting limits:

1)    Ecological destruction of the planet based on a conceptualization of nature as an exploitable object,

2)    Poverty and inequality based on ongoing exploitation and accumulation of wealth,

3)    Narrow rationalities epitomized by colonial and imperialist thinking (Dussel, 1998; Andreotti, 2011).

Paper 1 (by Heila Lotz-Sisitka) deliberates the concepts of ‘absence and emergence’ from a transformative learning / educational point of view. It draws on the dialectical critical realist frame of Bhaskar (2008) the decolonisation work of De Sousa Santos (2014) and the ‘fourth generation’ expansive learning work of Engestrom & Sannino (2010; 2016) all of who posits a need for a sociology of ‘absence’ and emergence in transformative (dialectical) education and learning processes.  Paper 2 by Tichaona Pesanayi draws attention to the processes of engaging with absence and emergence in learning networks that are oriented towards food sovereignty in rural agricultural learning system contexts.  Paper 3 by Priya Vallabh focusses in on the need to expand epistemologies (and incorporate absent epistemologies and ways of knowing) if we are to enable the wider potential of citizen sciences to fully embrace their educational potential.  In all of the papers we point to the way in which critical engagement with absence can enable emergence, and how this expands learning potential in zones of proximal development.


Eastern Cape “Social Cohesion and Pedagogies for Social Transformation”

SESSION CHAIR Professor Yusuf Sayed

Associate Professor Azeem Badroodien, Dr. Yunus Omar, Ms. Lorna Balie, Ms. Joyce Raanhuis


Presentations: 08:00 – 08:30

“Traditional agricultural knowledge amongst emerging farmers: agricultural advisor perspectives”

T Teele

This study investigates the sentiments of the agricultural advisors towards the traditional agricultural knowledge of the local emerging farmers. Traditional agricultural knowledge is an indigenous knowledge to the native people of South Africa whom are the emerging farmers. This is the knowledge that is perpetuated for many years from generations to generations and has survived many families who cannot afford the modernised technologies. This knowledge in embedded in the hearts and minds of the aging people of Africa and it is freely available to them. The challenge is that this knowledge stands a chance of disappearing along with the aged generations. Euro-American education systems of many African countries promote western methods and ways and seem to not cater for indigenous knowledge. School leavers, graduates and professionals tend to distance themselves from their cultures and traditions.

Majority of agricultural advisors are no exception to this phenomenal. They have risen that emerging farmers are reluctant to adopt the new modernised methods that they advise on. They also indicated that most of the trainings emerging farmers attend; they seem to not apply what has been taught to them. Furthermore, they also indicated the issue of emerging farmers from various cultural stands and how their own beliefs could affect how they do things differently from each other based on tribal affiliates. Agricultural advisors indicate that emerging farmers seems to prefer their olden ways of doing things and pay not much attention to new most modernised technologies. Agricultural advisors are of a view that should emerging farmers adopt new ways their production will improve. They indicate that the olden way of doing things take too long to complete the task as compared to the modern ways.

Interestingly, it is worth noting that the modern ways comes with a price tag; which requires expensive instruments and materials at some cases. Many of these emerging farmers are of old age and pensioners whom their pension grants are the only source of income. Some on their enterprises do not make enough returns or break even to afford them enough profits to procure these equipment or modern services. However, rely on their indigenous knowledge that is free to them and which allows them to make use of equipment they have and can access to solve their own problems. Activity theories of agricultural education in relation to traditional or indigenous knowledge need an urgent review. The focus or motivation behind agricultural teaching and learning has to take to effect local content and indigenous knowledge.

Adult Education: Exploring a humanising pedagogy in a Higher Certificate course

June Saldanha, Nariman Laattoe & Lyndal Pottier

In this paper, we aim to provide a window into our practice through reflection on our pedagogy in the Higher Certificate in Education in Adult Education at a tertiary institution. The students are adult learners working in communities, many of whom were forced to leave school at an early age because of poverty. The majority do not have matric and are admitted into the course through Recognition of Prior Learning, thereby giving men and women from predominantly black working class communities a second chance to acquire a formal qualification at a higher education institution.

The philosophical orientation of the Higher Certificate has always been emancipatory and located in a radical tradition of adult education, drawing on the work of Paulo Freire and other critical educators. There has recently been an organic shift to include the emotional dimensions that impact learning into this course. This shift is described through two recent modules.

It was through deep empathic listening and our observation of the classroom dynamics that led to the introduction of autoethnography, which required students to identify key moments of transformative learning in their lives. This process evoked strong emotions and as educators we were challenged in terms of how to create a safe space and how to guide them through this learning experience.

Student and educator reflections on this module led to two things: the subsequent design of a module on understanding the impact of race, class and gender on people’s lives; and to embrace and explore pedagogies of love, hope and difference. These pedagogies, which we would like to name as a humanising pedagogy, helped students to surface the woundedness and resilience of growing up in Apartheid South Africa, which in turn allowed them to understand that their experiences of dehumanisation are located within a shared socio-political context. These shifts in pedagogy are in synergy with recent student protests, calling for the inclusion of their narratives as part of a decolonised curriculum. This dialectical process reawakened the importance of a consciously engaged pedagogy and reinforced the importance of a focus on the self.

Production Of Locally-Made Instructional Materials For Early Childhood Classroom Instruction

Rachael Ojima Agarry

Instructional materials are essential tools for effective teaching and learning at all levels of education especially at the early childhood and primary school levels. This study determined the effect of participatory training programme on early childhood education pre-service teachers’ production of locally made instructional materials for early childhood classroom instruction. A total of 65 Early Childhood Education (ECE) pre-service teachers were purposively selected from Kwara State College of Education Ilorin, Nigeria (16 males and 49 females, ages 20 years ± 1.6) to participate in the study. The moderating effects of gender and creative ability were also examined. A Rating Scale on Production of Locally-Made Instructional Materials (RSPLMIM) (r = 0.80) was used to generate data for the study. The data was analysed using Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) and Scheffe Post-hoc test at 0.05 level of significance. There was a significant main effect of treatment on pre-service teachers’ production (F(1,52) = 704.31; partial η2 = 0.93). It also showed that gender and creative ability do not have significant effect on the production ability of pre-service teachers. Hence, Early Childhood Educators should maximize the locally available resources through the production of instructional materials that will aid teaching and enhance children’s learning.

What are students saying about their identities and how to embed this in a transformative curriculum?

Jacqueline Lück and Sharon Rudman, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

This paper explores examines how South African students are making sense of their own identities and those of ‘others’, amidst calls for decolonisation and transformation in higher education. Students have pointed to the silence in the curricula on Africanised contexts, student voice and realities. Additionally, they experience a deeply divided ‘post-truth’ world where fear of an ‘other’ is surging and where it is increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction. Students at the forefront of calls for decolonisation have not claimed a rainbow legacy and, instead, are acutely aware of realities of privilege and discourses of ‘us’ and ‘them’. This paper thus examines the grounding of a module in African student identities as well as the possibilities for resistance, re-envisioning and renewal of discourses which ‘other’.

This paper reports on the findings of a first year Linguistics module where South African student identities and their contestations are foregrounded and critiqued. This is an attempt to situate the Linguistics curricula within African student experience. It also presents students with theoretical and practical tools for unpacking common sense assumptions of fixed and essentialised notions of identities in an African context. The module does this by focusing on the nature of ideology, discourse, common sense assumptions and identity. It draws on a notion of ideology, as an interpretation of reality, determining how students make sense of that which they encounter and, subsequently, how they react to the world around them, which appears as reality. The validity of ‘reality’ is only critically assessed if it is foregrounded, thus the origins of ideology and how it operates via discourse are examined and made explicit. The module is also framed within theoretical underpinnings of identities as fluid and multiple, assumed, imposed and negotiated.

The module attempts to bring in all student voices, in providing spaces to examine how ideology is reflected in discourse to construct a particular, often deficit version, of other South African language groups. It is presented to 600 first year Linguistics students. It highlights the shifts that resulted when students were given tools and spaces for critical reflections on their discourses and assumptions about identities. It shows the value of linguistic modules to encourage critical examination of discourses which ‘other’ – thus adding to the transformation project in higher education.

The development of student teachers’ professional knowledge for the Foundation Phase

Rada Mogliacci, Maureen Robinson, Nici Rousseau

This paper explores the perceptions of Bachelor of Education (B Ed) Foundation Phase student teachers of the professional knowledge for teaching that they have gained in their initial teacher education programmes. The paper draws on data from three Foundation Phase teacher education programmes in South Africa. It explores the experiences of students of the content of their programmes and the extent to which they believe this content aids them in their teaching experiences. Epistemological issues related to what constitutes professional knowledge and what kind of knowledge is needed for professional teaching practice are also addressed.

The starting premise of the paper is that teacher professional knowledge is a complex construction (Adoniou 2014). One way of understanding teacher knowledge is through the formation of a didactic triangle between teacher, learner, and content (Kansenen & Meri, 1999); a triangle that pulls together a) knowledge of the content, b) knowledge about the learners, c) pedagogical approaches, d) knowledge about teaching and learning, and e) knowledge about the professional self (teaching profession).

The paper works also from the premise that teacher professional agency (Toom et al., 2017) is an important condition for the ongoing development of teacher professional knowledge. Agency, we argue, contributes to how teacher professional knowledge is developed and deployed; in the light of concerns about the quality of teaching and teacher education in South Africa, new teachers and their knowledge are essential in building an improved state of education in the country. We argue that it is in the capacity of teachers to recognize themselves as initiators of – or responsible for – action (or non-action) within the education system that teacher professional knowledge can best be developed.

Laboratory Versus Effective Science Learning: South African Learners” Perspectives In A Rural Context

M John, JK Alex, U Ogbonnaya

In an era of decolonization and transformation in the context of South African basic education system, learners’ voices on the current practices need to be given the required attention. Moreover, for decolonization and transformation to be an effective reality, educators and researchers need to make prior and consistent efforts to understand the contexts where learners come from. Laboratories have always been a given a central role in facilitating effective learning in science education. Researchers extensively embarked on educational effectiveness of laboratory work in science education in facilitating the attainment of the cognitive, affective and practical goals. However, the voice of learners on how effectively laboratories play their roles in effective science learning has not been extensively discussed by science education researchers, especially in a rural South African context. In light of the above, we investigate the extent to which laboratories in rural schools play their role in effective science learning according to the learners’ perspective. Data were collected from learners from 7 senior secondary schools in Mthatha education district of the Province of Eastern Cape in South Africa. Findings were discussed on four key areas as far as the roles played by Physical Science laboratories in effective learning of the subject: infrastructure facilities, interaction of educators in the laboratory, learners’ interest and overall functioning of the laboratory. Based on the findings emerged, it was recommended that the specific backgrounds where learners come from have to be taken into consideration in the design and implementation of laboratory experiments. It was further recommended that the Department of Basic Education should take consistent efforts to train its educators on how to implement laboratory experiments by maximising learners’ interaction, interest and motivation.

Presentations: 08:30 – 09:00

Experiences of Collaborative Problem Solving within the Educational context

Meagan Meiring, Heidy Lathy

Enhancing Risk Management at a Municipality: An adult education approach

Mamokhosi Choane

This study aims at formulating a framework to enhance risk management skills of officials at a municipality through adult education approach. Risk management is a process whereby risks are identified, assessed and mitigated in the organisation. Adult learning is a learning process which involves collaborative learning, prior knowledge and experience, self-directed learning. There are challenges that remain critical to effective teaching strategies for risk management and these includes inability to promote collaborative problem solving skills, ignorance of adult learner’ experience, a teacher centred approach and this affect an appropriate assessment of risks. Ubuntu will be a theoretical framework that will guide the study. Ubuntu promotes the common good of society and humanness as an essential element of human growth, interdependence, communalism, sensitivity and caring towards others. This study will use Participatory Action Research (PAR) as a practical intervention to enhance risk management skills using adult education approach. It is envisaged that this study will promote effective teaching strategy for risk management skills and lives of municipal officials.

Supporting parents and ECD practitioners through mobile applications: The case of CareUp

Dr Nicky Roberts and Mr Garth Spencer-Smith

The Care Up project is a mobile communication intervention initiated by the Department of Social Develpment in the Western Cape. It was funded by Innovation, the technology design was conducted by The Reach Trust, and the content was adapted from Wordworks.

CareUp targeted both practitioners at Early Childhood Development 
(ECD) centres working with classes of 4-5 year old 
children; and parents of the children in their class.
It aimed to support quality communication between the parent, caregivers and their children.

Children in disadvantaged communities are typically not exposed to quality ECD services, resulting in poor levels of literacy and numeracy which impact long-term educational outcomes. Further, many parents and caregivers lack an understanding of the important role they can play in stimulating their child’s early learning through simple everyday interactions.

The project implementors hoped that through the literacy/language resources, instructions and activities received via the CareUp mobile ap- plication, parents will be made aware of their critical role in developing their 4-5 year old children, particularly in the area of home language.

The CareUp project concept and planning was initiated in the 2015/16 financial year. The implementation of the
intervention’s first design cycle was from August-December 2016. It involved testing the intervention in ten Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in Cape Town in the Western Cape. The ECD centres were located in four communities.

This paper reports on the quantitative data on uptake and use of the CareUp application and mobi-site is from all four of these communities. In addition qualitative data collected for this evaluation which was restricted to the isiXhosa sites. The paper presents a synopsis of the prgramme design, which is followed by analysis of the uptake and use data; as well as feedback solicited from both parents and ECD practitioners.

The paper provides a local example of how child development practices – as taking place through public ECD centres in township communities – may be enhanced through engaging parents in multiple languages, by making use of available mobile technology.

Using metaphoric body-mapping to encourage reflection on the developing identity of pre-service teachers

Carolina Botha

This study explored the contribution that a teaching strategy such as metaphoric body-mapping could make towards the discourse on the development of professional teacher identity. Second year students in a Life Orientation methodology module in a B.Ed programme were offered the opportunity to validate their local knowledge and make new meaning together through bringing their lived experiences into the classroom. In a contact session, groups were tasked with using body-mapping to conceptualize metaphoric Superhero and Villain characters of both effective and ineffective teachers. In a subsequent discourse, the characteristics of these metaphoric characters were explored to set the stage for inter- and intrapersonal reflection on students’ own social construction of their developing professional identities. This student experience clearly indicates that metaphors can be a rich and stimulating way for prospective teachers to talk about their perceptions, experiences and expectations of teaching and accentuates the importance of tertiary institutions that contribute to the emerging conversation about the development of professional identity in pre-service teachers. This study pioneered the use of body-mapping as a group-based technique, where a group of people work together on the same body-map, rather than the traditional individual approach to this method.

Decolonising African Languages: The association of dialectic issues with achievement of Grade 1 isiXhosa learners in the Western Cape

Nangamso Mtsatse, Celeste Combrinck, Sarah Howie, Peter Tymms

Cross-cultural and linguistic assessment is increasing internationally and nationally. However, the complexities of cross-linguistic assessments are not always fully understood or taken into account. African languages have been historically disadvantaged and issues of dialects are still not fully understood and acknowledged. In the Western Cape, a project was conducted with Grade 1 learners who were assessed in isiXhosa, English and Afrikaans for literacy and numeracy development. The international Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (iPIPS) instruments were utilized for the assessments and were translated into Afrikaans and isiXhosa. A total of 2 497 learners were assessed at the beginning and end of the school year in their language of learning and teaching (LOLT). Of the total sample, 768 learners were in isiXhosa language schools. The schools and learners were randomly selected in three districts within the Western Cape. In each school, 25 learners were selected across classrooms to be representative of the Grade 1s in the school as well as gender distribution. The isiXhosa learners had significantly lower performance when compared to the other language groups. The current study examined the association of dialects and multilingualism with the achievement of the isiXhosa Grade 1 learners. It was found that learners who struggled to understand the standardised isiXhosa or who required informal or other languages to understand the assessment had significantly lower achievement. The findings highlight the importance of investigating dialectic issues in isiXhosa, as well as the need to decolonise the language by developing resources for classrooms, strengthening African research and finding ways to address the complexities of dialects within a pedagogical framework.

Professional Learning of Beginner Science Teachers

Melanie Sadeck

Beginner science teachers experience many challenges when they enter the formal schooling sector.This includes dealing with ill-discipline, lack of formal induction, lack of resources and professional support (Luft 2009; Haigh and Anthony 2010). Sameul and Stephen (2000: 477) contends that “The professional environment in South Africa into which student teachers will initially enter during their practice teaching and later as newly qualified teachers is equally shaped by difficult and volatile forces”. South Africa experiences a particular problem with the shortage and quality of science teachers and few research studies focussing on beginner science teachers (BSTs) have been done.

This paper reports on a study which explores the professional learning experiences (PLEs) of beginner science teachers in the Western Cape, South Africa. The research questions guiding the study are: What do newly qualified science teachers report as critical challenges (potential PLEs) in their teaching?;How does the PLEs of NQTs affect their practice; What factors affect the PLEs of NQTs?

The study utilises a qualitative research methodology, a case study approach and is underpinned by a social interpretive philosophy. Data was gathered using a questionnaire and semi structured interviews at the end of the first and second year of their teaching. These accounts of their professional learning experiences (PLEs) generated specific, subjective narratives which allowed for the development of individual profiles/cases. The data was also consolidated to develop a picture of the overall experiences of the BSTs.

Initial findings indicate that BSTs experience a range of challenges and while the first year of teaching is the most challenging, different challenges emerge in subsequent years. The challenges and the way they are addressed or impact on the practice of the BST is dependent on the specific context and the identity of the individual BST. This has implications for national induction policies for novice teachers in South Africa.

Presentations: 09:00 – 09:30

Understanding the lived world of an Accounting teacher

Karen de Mink

Over the last two decades research has shown that there are deep connections between a person’s education and how s/he teaches. To this end the focus of this paper is on the contributory relations between an Accounting teacher’s education and its effect on her teaching. The paper chronicles the lived experiences of a Further Education and Training (FET) Accounting teacher (pseudonym Abigail) in South Africa. The main aim of this paper is to provide a descriptive and interpretive narrative of (i) her childhood experiences; (ii) her formal education (schooling and tertiary training); and (iii) her engagement with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy for Accounting. Data were constructed by conducting two in-depth semi-structured face-to-face interviews and field notes. Theoretically the paper will draw from Husserl’s lifeworld theory, Heidegger’s Dasein and Merleau-Ponty’s lived body theory to give meaning to her experiences. The findings suggest that her formal education had a major impact on how she perceives and relates to curriculum and the content knowledge of Accounting. The insights gleaned from this phenomenological investigation into the thought processes of an Accounting teacher raises an awareness to curriculum planners and policy makers of the significance of a person’s education and how s/he teaches.

Andragogy and critical pedagogy: A framework for adult educators to decolonize education

Chris Dali and Samketi Dlamini

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, formed in 1992 to organize their political influence and minimize economic dependence on their former colonizers, experienced extended liberation struggles that manifested in processes of reconstruction and development toward building new nations. Although at the point of political independence adult education had a significant symbolic purpose, there is to date very spare research that integrates the principles of adult education (andragogy),as advocated by Malcolm Knowles (1984) and critical pedagogy, as espoused by Paulo Freire (1970). It is in the light of this backdrop that this article sought to review literature on the interconnectedness betweenandragogy and critical pedagogy as a framework for adult education practitionerto deconstruct colonialism and demystify decolonization of adult education in the SADC countries. Recent literature on these two constructs revealed that adults have a potential to move their self-concept from being dependent on colonial dominance to being self-directed, socially responsible, critical of taken-for-grunted assumptions of colonialism, and motivated to construct own knowledge based on their reservoirs of indigenous knowledge.

“Sponge Bob is super human”: investigating the teaching of scientific concepts in underprivileged Foundation Phase science classes in the Western Cape Province of South Africa

Joanne Hardman

Codification, meritocracy and performativity: Potentially potent factors for the academic performance of pre-service teachers

PB Neo Maseko

This article presents an argument and commentary about the concomitant effects of codification, meritocracy and performativity in the academic performance of a cohort of Black African Bachelor of Education degree (BEd) students. The site that falls under the scrutiny of this discussion is a previously predominantly white institution (PWI) of higher learning. Codification, meritocracy and performativity are factors that are considered as potentially potent, with negative implications for the performance of this cohort of pre-service teachers. In this instance language is regarded as part of a hegemonic codification mechanism as well as a means towards epistemological access. The argument presented in this paper is that the socio-cultural backgrounds of the cohort pre-disposes them to the resultant negative effects of the combination. The study that forms the basis of this article used the qualitative theoretical orientation of the Transformative Paradigm to pursue a critical emancipatory and transformative agenda. The findings, which were infused into the recommendations, pointed towards the need for a social justice imperative that is underpinned by a critical emancipatory and transformative support strategy. The envisaged intention of this support strategy is to make a significant contribution towards counter-acting and diffusing the potentially debilitating effects of the combination.

The Effects Of Parents’ Levels Of Reading On Children In Rural Primary Schools Of Limpopo Province

Maite E. Maebana

A considerable number of learners do not perform well in primary schools of Dikgale area as they find it hard to read and write. This may be as a result of high illiteracy levels of their parents, as they are unable to assist their children to read. This is despite the introduction of the National Reading Strategy which aims to promote a nation of life-long readers and life-long learners. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of parents’ levels of reading on their children’s reading in the primary schools of Dikgale area in the Capricorn District of Limpopo Province. The study will follow a mixed research methodology where a mixed method research design will be adopted. Twenty (20) teachers from twenty mainstream primary schools and one teacher from one special school, twenty one School Governing Body members (parents) from twenty one primary schools will be requested to participate in the study (The total of 42 participants). Data will be collected through interviews, questionnaires and document analysis. Data will be analysed through the use of a thematic content analysis, which involved identifying common themes that emerge from the data collected. The preliminary findings were as follows: (a) behavioural problems are commonly found in families with lower levels of reading (b) Parents with higher levels of reading earns higher income and (c) Raises their children to have a healthy self-perception towards their academic progress.

The impact of colonization in curriculum design: A case study of primary school science curriculum design in Lesotho

Molise David Nhlapo, Lokesh Ramnath Maharajh

There is no homogenous society however small or monolingual the nation is. Every nation is “confronted with a nation split within itself, articulating the heterogeneity of its population…internally marked by the discourses of minorities, the heterogeneous histories of contending peoples, antagonistic authorities and tense locations of cultural differences” (Bhabha, 1994, p.148). Our hypothesis is that, besides culture, the divisive element in a society is also caused and aggravated by colonial education. Curriculum decision makers in the form of ministers, CEOs, inspectors, examiners and curriculum designers are products of colonial education and they might not see anything wrong with the implementation of colonial ideologies in a local context. This paper discusses reasons for continued engagement of foreign curriculum experts over local consultants to design Lesotho curriculum. Data used in this study were solicited from one-on-one interviews of curriculum specialists and foreign curriculum experts who worked together to design Lesotho curriculum for Grades 1 to 5 between 2010 and 2015. The study is a case study of one curriculum development institution in Lesotho and qualitative approach was used. The researchers utilized Neo-colonialism theory to interrogate the reasons for involvement of foreign curriculum experts in the Lesotho curriculum design and development. The findings reveal that lack of knowledge of curriculum design may not be the main reason for engaging foreign curriculum experts. The main reasons include level of education, knowledge and experience in education programmes change. This paper also presents a model of knowledge requirements for a curriculum designer.

Presentations: 09:30 – 10:00

Best Thesis Awardee

Overview of thesis

A craft towards an Afrocentric andragogic approach for social workers: A decolonisation standpoint

Mary-Ann Damons, Milton Nkoane

This paper aims at amplifying discourses around the construction of an African consciousness to advance the educational transformation through the decolonisation process. Topical demonstrations and pleas by students in higher education institutions in South Africa and their cries for a decolonised education, indigenous, and Afrocentric practice have influence the standpoint of this intellectual piece. This scholarly piece seeks to respond to the question of how pedagogic, andragogic and heutagogy in social work education could contribute to the creation of an African consciousness, as foundations for transformation and decolonisation. This intellectual piece seeks to disrupt discourses around critical consideration of reality in order to solve relevant problems. This paper is informed by Africana Critical Theory (ACT) as a theoretical frame with an epistemic essence for hope to realise educational transformation and decolonisation. Regardless of its deep-seated critical nature, it aspires for the creation of a more humane society through transformative educational approaches. The paper will conclude with a discussion on how an African consciousness that surpasses the geo-spaces, anatomy or our physical make-up and culture, could contribute to the transformation of education in general.

Responsive Evaluation as an approach towards inclusivity

Layane Thomas Mabasa

The paper is based on the study that was conducted focusing on the use of responsive evaluation approach in the evaluation of the implementation of the Safe Schools Programme (SSP). A qualitative evaluation approach where seven schools were selected as sites for the study was adopted. Three methods of data generation were used and they are observation, interviews and documents. Data were analysed by developing themes. The study found that responsive evaluation is an appropriate approach towards inclusivity in evaluating the implementation of intervention programmes such as the SPP. It helped in capturing the views of different stakeholders and made them count in the evaluation of the programme. The study concludes by indicating that policy makers may benefit from the use of this approach in getting views from different perspectives.

Experimenting on blended learning for Teaching General English 1 in a College of Education in Abuja- Nigeria: students and Teachers Experience

Ezenne, N. Immaculate, Levi Chinelo

This study describes a first-time e-learning experiment in a College of Education in Abuja – Nigeria. It was the transformation of the teaching of ‘General English I’ by infusing a blended e -learning approach to the traditionally delivered course for pre-service teachers in first semester of 2015/2016 session. Purposeful attempts were made to cater for the diverse participants’ English Language Proficiency needs. The experiment involved the collection of both quantitative and qualitative survey data via the use of three sets of Questionnaire (need analysis, pre and post), interview and observation from 795 students participants and 2 observing teachers (not the researchers).

The findings of this Action Research offer clear evidence that the English Language learners proficiency needs as perceived by the learners affects their use of tenses and punctuation. While the least in the listening skills. Interestingly, the pre- research data assessing their ICT background revealed that most of the participants have developed ICT skills through online interaction in the social media and are eager to learn with technology. They also, admitted that their mobile phones can be used for learning purposes.

The post research questionnaire, the interviews and observation notes attest to the success of the blended learning in many folds; it is more practical to address students’ English language proficiency needs; it is easy to embark on by both teachers and students; it encourages higher order thinking skills, improves team work, generates richer classroom interactions, learning is made more authentic among others. However, the experiment also had some challenges which are context related such as; data cost, internet availability, power supply, scoring the learners assessment to mention but a few.

Luniko: A Collaboratively Constructed Program To Promote Parental Involvement In The Education Of Their Primary School Children

Camila Ismail, Lesley Wood

The socio-economic adversities facing communities in which many schools are situated negatively impact on the provision of quality education. Yet, within such communities there is also a wealth of human resources that can add real value to the quality of teaching and learning. The purpose of this project, named Luniko by participants, was to enable 6 volunteer parents at the school to work hand in hand with 5 teachers to develop a culturally and contextually relevant programme to enable parents/guardians to partner with the school in the education of their children. A participatory action learning and action research methodology ensured the participation of all stakeholders in the design, implementation and evaluation of the ten session programme. This paper will report on the perceptions of the teachers and community members of the impact of the participatory process on their professional and personal lives. The findings indicate that involvement in the design of the program equipped the community volunteers, not only with enhanced parenting skills and improved communication with teachers, but also with other skills and knowledge that can potentially enhance their employability in the future. Participating teachers also learnt much that improved their interaction with parents and enabled them to better understand and support the children in their class. The findings in this project indicate how parental involvement in schools can be improved through the recognition and valuing of community knowledge.

Science teacher professional development: Mentorship transforming science education

Dr Marie Louise Botha

“Teacher professional development is about teachers learning, learning how to learn and transferring their knowledge into practice.” (Avalos, 2011). Teaching practice is an integral part of teacher training. Pre-service education students (student teachers) are afforded the opportunity to gain experience in the actual teaching and learning environment through the actual teaching practice or work integrated learning (WIL) period. Teaching practice is a challenging part of teacher training especially in developing countries such as SA, the USA (Tellez, 2008) and the Netherlands (Van Tartwijk et al, 2008), considering factors such as low and uneven levels of teacher expertise, lack of resources, geographical distance and location (Kiggundu &Nayimuli, 2009), diverse cognitive abilities of learners and large classes. These challenges is of significance especially in science as it is a discipline underpinned by practical work, experimental and investigative, and has an activity-based approach to education. Quality science teachers are crucial as “Preparing budding scientists to be able to solve local and global problems” and “decolonising science curriculum to be found through innovative students” (Khene, 2017) prompts the re-thinking of science education for the 21st century science educator, science student teachers and science teacher.

Therefore, science teacher education and more specifically initial science teacher training and education are central in rebuilding and transforming the science educational landscape in South Africa. It is therefor crucial that the quality of teaching and learning in all schools in South Africa, but more specifically that of science teachers’ professional development, be improved. One aspect of science teacher professional development would be to improve the quality of mentoring rendered during the WIL period. This paper therefore reflects on professional teacher development and the role of mentorship within the landscape of transforming science teacher education.

Panel discussions: 10:15 – 11:45


Supporting Teachers and Teacher Agency for Systemic Change: Challenges and Prospects

Convenor: Yusuf Sayed.

Dr Aaron Nkosi, Dr Sandy Malapile, Shafika Isaacs, Nimi Hoffmann/Thomas Salmon


What is quality ECD?

Dr G.D. Harrison, Dr N. Shaik

This paper seeks to examine what is quality ECD in a time when there is a call for transformation in pedagogy, a professionalizing of the ECCE space and a sense of urgency around improving South Africa’s education from the ground up. It is understood that the first 1000 days are essential in the development of the child and that maximizing the potential of the child within the aforementioned timeframe can have a significant impact. SARAECE is a research institution that is committed to growing ECD in South Africa and as such is involved in a number of key projects that are driving change. These projects include: Transformative pedagogy; PIECCE; benchmarking ECCE in South Africa and establishing an ECCE database as a resource. The panel will discuss the potential contribution of each of these projects in determining quality ECD; whether or not it is possible to provide a qualification that will ensure quality ECD and how this impacts on transformation.

Presentations: 10:15 – 10:45

Unifying South Africa’s education system: lessons from the National Health Insurance

Nimi Hoffmann

There is a wealth of scholarship characterising South Africa’s public education system as a tale of two schooling systems, one for a multi-racial elite, and the other for an impoverished black majority. However, very little scholarship has sought to investigate ways of dismantling this bifurcated education system to create a single high-quality education system for all. On the contrary, existing scholarship has largely sought to identify ways of improving learning outcomes for poor black children while retaining fundamental structural divisions in terms of school fees, learner admission policies, and teacher deployment.

In this respect, policy and scholarship in the health sector is considerably more advanced. The proposed National Health Insurance scheme aims to unify South Africa’s bifurcated health system by creating a national collective insurance pool that will purchase healthcare services on behalf of the entire population from both public and private providers. The intention is to create a system in which no patients pay user fees and all patients have access to the same quality healthcare, be they black or white, rich or poor.

This paper asks: what lessons can we draw from the NHI in thinking about how to create a unified, high quality education system for all? What policy measures are required to create a single national education system premised on the principles of social solidarity and the public good? And what legislative, political and economic factors would facilitate or impede the creation of a single national education system?

Re-envisioned educator role in teaching and learning cultures

Jonas Seabata Kabi

The advent of democracy in 1994 gave rise to a new education system in South Africa. This education system promulgated a series of acts and polices including those that defined the teaching and learning practices. The role that teachers had to play in order to ensure the transformation of teaching and learning cultures was emphasised. Understandably, teachers are better positioned to serve as agents of transformation in this regard. To this end, a strong focus on progressive eradication of the lingering oppressive tendencies and subjugation of indigenous teaching and learning cultures and practices is inevitable. The seven roles that culturally and legally empower teachers to ensure and work for decolonisation of education in this manner is at the heart of this argument. The interrogation of these roles is pivotal because they serve as indicators of the extent to which teachers contributed to the struggles of decolonisation and transformation of education. It would be interesting, for instance, to establish the extent to which the educational changes that were instituted contributed towards the decolonisation of the teaching and learning cultures. In this regard, we may analyse changes in the teacher development and training initiatives and revised admission requirements and certification for pre-service teachers. This paper focuses on the extent to which the re-envisioned role has or has not been achieved against the backdrop of initiatives taken by the government. It further probes contributing factors towards this ambivalence. The notion that learner performance is largely dependent on teacher facilitation is also scrutinised.

Achieving transformative educational practice through Zanempilo – a Mobile Health Education Unit

Elizabeth du Toit, Shanene Olivera, Kegan Topper, Riaan van de Venter, Maggie Williams, William Ventres

The Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, seeks to transform its health sciences curricula in order to achieve equity in health outcomes. Integral to this are interprofessional education service-learning initiatives attendant to socially accountable objectives . We describe one such initiative, the Zanempilo Mobile Health Education Platform (MHEP), which engages undergraduate and postgraduate interprofessional health care students and faculty members in delivering health care to underserved populations. A converted 13-ton truck forms the physical foundation of the MHEP. Alongside the Eastern Cape Ward based outreach teams it serves four underserved communities in the greater Port Elizabeth area to conduct clinical assessments, HIV counseling and testing, screening tests, treat minor ailments, and provide health care education under the direct supervision of lecturers and clinical mentors. In alignment with the delivery of a socially accountable service, through a process-oriented-participatory approach – we, an inter-disciplinary health science working group, created socially accountable learning goals for both students and faculty members appropriate to the above platform. We identified several learning objectives specific to the Zanempilo MHEP. Although we framed these goals using Bloom’s Knowledge, Attitudes and Skills taxonomy, we also added two new dimensions—“Intentions” and “Relationships”—in order to support professionalism and social engagement as critical qualities for training in underserved settings.

We anticipate using these learning goals as a means to measure the realisation of interprofessional and socially accountable educational goals.

Decolonizing lesson experiences in Life Orientation: the search for relevance and context

Dr P Swarts

Although Prinsloo (2016) argues that decolonisation can be ‘disruptive and uncomfortable’, academics should not grab this as an excuse to say that decolonising lesson experiences in Life Orientation for example HIV education is too hard, too complicated or too sensitive. What academics and teachers must realise is that HIV is real and affects people (human bodies). According to Le Grange, Reddy and Beets (2011), as well as Wood (2008), it is local communities (human bodies) that are mostly affected by HIV. For this reason Wood and Rolleri (2014) recommend that education around risky socio-environmental issues should adhere to what they refer to as ‘casual pathways indigenous to South Africa’. Such a call, which puts the local context at the centre, has the potential to humanise HIV education. The question that automatically comes to mind is: ‘What would a humanistic approach towards HIV education look like?’ The answer: a rejection of all forms of stereotyping and biases that cause continuous pain (own emphasis). However, humanising HIV education comes with its own unique challenges. Learning content, pedagogies as well as the role of educators and teachers need to be reconsidered when we want to challenge the conservative textbook constructions around HIV education.

In this presentation the infusion of Life Orientation with environmental education and the benefits thereof to dehumanise HIV / AIDS education will be elaborated on.

Decolonizing music in a South African B.Ed Foundation Phase Arts curriculum: A balanced approach

Dr Eurika Jansen van Vuuren

After a period of student unrest in South Africa due to variety of factors including the call for ‘decolonization’ of the curriculum, many stakeholders in Higher Education have started to revisit curricula to meet the demands of a ’decolonized’ curriculum. Several views exist regarding the meaning of ’decolonization’ and without understanding the thinking behind the call for change, it is not possible to bring about the changes. Decolonization is not something new and has been in process in many countries to dismantle the colonisation of countries that took place before World War 1. Very little research has focussed on the achievability of such changes when it comes to the Arts field and specifically music. In this paper, mixed methods were used through a constructivist paradigm to explore views on the decolonization of a music curriculum. Inspiration for a framework was found in the work of Hayden Burgess who names the phases of decolonisation as being: rediscovery and recovery; mourning; dreaming; commitment and action. Although music is regarded as a universal language, influences of acculturation are evident in South Africa and therefore it will be challenging to cleanse music of colonial influences. The research problem then asks; what should a decolonised music curriculum for pre-service educators contain? The purpose of the research is to find guidelines for decolonising a music curricula without destroying global relevancy. Preliminary findings are that the meaning of ‘decolonisation’ in music is complex and is interpreted in a myriad of opposing ways. I call for a balanced approach to bring about change and suggest ‘contextualisation’ based on an African Arts philosophy rather than a total move back to ancestral music cultures. The outcomes of this research will assist stakeholders in higher education with a framework for decolonization through contextualizing curricula in music in B.Ed Foundation Phase courses in South Africa and similar other contexts.

The children in public school foundation phase classes: how do we hear them and see them learning?

Elizabeth Henning, Fikile Simelane, Lerato Ndabezitha, Refilwe Ntsoane, Sonja Brink

The paper addresses a concern about young children and how educationists imagine and attend to them. Most teachers develop intuition and rely on their experience to guide them, along with their knowledge of subject content, of child development and of teaching. Although many teachers and young children have been studied, the researchers in this group remain doubtful about how much we attend to the knowledge we have about young children entering school. We report on various studies:
Simelane and Henning point to the pedagogical leaps teachers make when they teach early maths and how most teachers do not fully grasp the messages they receive from children who fail to develop concepts and who are ultimately ‘diagnosed’ with MLD (mathematics learning difficulties). Ntsoane examines how mass produced artefacts for teaching may interfere with children’s learning and how we conceive of them as consumers of commercially marketed materials. Ndabezitha explores teachers’ use of professional development program materials and ideas and find it hard to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ children in diverse contexts. Brink explores the paper’s theme by showing how important it is to hear the very phonemes that children utter when they learn to read.

We conclude the paper by arguing that educationists, including teachers, may wish to listen more than speak in classrooms and research settings.

Presentations: 10:45 – 11:15

Oral Health Occupations In Transition: Boundary Contestation And Curricula In South Africa

Glynnis Vergotine

In South Africa oral diseases are common, with the prevalence of untreated conditions high, as dentistry is an expensive service. Additional reasons for this is, that the supply of oral health practitioners attending to the public is low, with service provision concentrated in the private sector. The occupations providing basic oral health services are the three groups included in this study, namely: Dentists, Oral Hygienists, and Dental Therapists. The daily labour practises of these three occupations are different and this affects how curricula are designed. This study aims to show how the coverage of curriculum knowledge types is influenced by the changing division of labour in oral health occupations. This research has been prompted because of two reasons; First, dentists previously worked autonomously while midlevel workers operated under the supervision of a dentist. Second, among these three occupations, the scope of practice differs for certain procedures, while it overlaps with common procedures for others. However, recent government regulatory developments have allowed midlevel workers to practice without such supervision and authorised an increase in the number of procedures they may perform. Consequently, increasing contestations have emerged amongst these three oral health occupations as they struggle for control over procedures and the autonomy to perform these. This has resulted in questions about the comparisons in their training and reservations by dentists about how midlevel occupations are prepared for work. This provides a background to the study which leads one to question how curriculum is helping to support autonomous practice and the increases in scope of practice. This presentation will focus on the following; firstly, local and international literature from this sector, relating to labour market contestations and the implications this has for curriculum development. Secondly, in order to assess the comparisons in knowledge apparent in the curriculum of these occupations regarding common procedures, a description of the approaches to classify curriculum knowledge will be outlined. Thirdly, the question of how contestations in the labour market and the curriculum shapes the professional identities of each occupation will be interrogated. One could say that oral health occupations in SA are in transition, as it is not evident how regulatory frameworks influence daily work and educational preparation, and how this influences these occupations’ professional identity.

Learning to be ‘Out of Order’: Rethinking Advocacy in South Africa

Stephen Phiri

This presentation stands to argue against the literal understanding of the phrase ‘voice of the voiceless’, it will argue that people in all walks of life have a voice but they do not have space to express their voice. Hence what they need is not someone to speak for them but a platform to speak for themselves. This presentation stands to critically look at the advocacy role played by Civil Societies organisations especially NGOs. The argument which this presentation makes is that speaking for the oppressed or poor is not is just unsustainable but fails to solve their plight. Hence, advocacy in this regard undermines and takes for granted the capability of poor communities to solve their own problems. The predicament which poor communities find them-selves does not in any way incapacitate their agency; but it just limits the emancipatory space. This presentation will trace the development of CLP ’s praxis specifically the process through which the organisation realised the need to unlearn the advocacy model and endeavour to adopt a more emancipatory model as part of its praxis. CLP is an NGO which seeks to support emancipatory activities of social movements or organisations whose objective it is to ensure that development is controlled and owned by the marginalised. This paper focuses on the method used by CLP to facilitate this emancipatory process and the extent to which this reflects the ideas of different theorists who are critical of advocacy. The presentation will use primary documents of CLP, which includes evaluation report, annual reports and fieldwork reports, their regular publication (padkos) and occasional papers.

Culture and number concept development in elementary mathematics classrooms in Malawi

Tionge Weddington Saka

The importance of a numerate person in the development of any country has been documented by several researchers. Literature from Malawi, however, reveals that the achievement of learners in mathematics is consistently poor. There are many factors that affect the achievement of learners in Mathematics. This paper discusses classroom culture that currently exists in early grade mathematics classrooms in Malawi, identifying aspects of a classroom ‘way of life’ that may inhibit learning. This includes classroom ‘rituals’ and the use of signs and symbols that appear to be cemented and dating from earlier generations of teachers. With classroom observation and interviews with teachers and learners, the study has yielded a “thick description” of classroom life in five schools in southern Malawi, including urban and rural schools. This study, with the use of ethnographic methods, was conducted with the objective of contributing to knowledge of the daily life in early grade classrooms. With vignettes and the outcome of qualitative content analysis, I will illustrate aspects of the process of the study and the ethnographic portrait of life in the classrooms where I spent time at three different points in the school year.

Implications of adult mediation and learners’ performance on grade 4 assessment items

Lucy Sibanda

South African learners’ underperformance in literacy and numeracy is of great concern and the causes for this underperformance are well documented. These include: learning in a language unfamiliar to the learners, poorly resourced schools, lack of reading and reading material at home, poor teaching methods, among many others. Grade 4 in South Africa is a transitional stage in which the majority of learners begin learning in an additional language and this is a challenge since they are also expected to write assessments in this unfamiliar language. The report highlights the challenges experienced by learners in grade 4 in solving mathematical assessment problems with and without assistance from a more knowledgeable adult. The performance of learners in the assessment without assistance from an adult and their performance in the assessment with assistance from an adult (in form of task-based interviews) was compared. Data emanated from a content analysis of the learners’ 2013 mathematics assessment answer scripts, and from task-based interviews in which learners answered the same questions. An analysis of both the answer scripts and task-based interviews revealed that learners performed poorly where they answered questions without assistance but performed better in the task-based assessment where an adult assisted them linguistically. The manifest lack of comprehension of the demands of the questions was attributed to language which was either unfamiliar or unnecessarily complex for grade 4 learners using English as an additional language. It is therefore, recommended that some level of linguistic mediation in assessments be considered to increase the validity of test results.

Factors That Affect Music Education In Rural School: A Case Study Of Kwangema

Sakhiseni Yende

In the recent years, music education has become popular worldwide. However, local and global researchers and scholars have linked poor education with rural schools. It is without doubt that music education in rural schools of South Africa like any other developing countries is presently facing difficulties. Challenges experienced by music education in majority of countries has seized to be a severe concern, especially in emerging countries such as South Africa. Furthermore, the issue of music education in rural schools has become a great deal of concern. There has been a lively and rising debate about the factors that affect music education in rural schools. It is true that rural schools finds it demanding to bridge from music to music education. However, this factors that affect music education in rural schools does not only affect South African rural schools, nonetheless it is worldwide catastrophe. Therefore, this problem has merged to serious concern in education. Thus, this paper sort to explore and investigate the factors that affect music education in rural schools of KwaNgema. In order to effectively undertake this, the paper will critically engage with rural schools of KwaNgema that are affected by this emerging issue. A qualitative research method was employed in this paper, in order to acquire an accurate data in this paper. Moreover, interviews with school principals were conducted in this paper, in order to gain their view concerning this factors. This paper concludes by arguing that there is a general isolation in rural schools from the departmental support and this has been changing and this has led majority of schools has been opt to stop practicing music education. It is, therefore, recommended that department of education should place its focus to develop rural schools education, especially music education.

Foundation Phase Teachers’ Reflections Of Physical Education In Lower Socio-Economic Communities: Implications For Continuing Professional Development

Kahts, S., Delport, A. and Du Randt, R.

Physical education (PE) provides Foundation Phase (FP) children aged five-to-nine years old the opportunity to develop their cognitive, social, emotional and physical domains. However, if PE benefits are to be realised for children in lower socio-economic status (SES) communities in post-colonial South Africa, contextually based and needs driven Continuing Professional Teacher Development (CPTD) courses are warranted. The aim of this study was hence to understand current FP teachers’ experiences of PE in lower SES community schools in South Africa in order for CPTD recommendations to be made. A qualitative research design situated within the interpretive and phenomenological paradigm was used to achieve this aim. Twenty seven FP teachers working in nine schools in lower SES community urban areas of the Eastern Cape were purposively sampled for semi-structured interviews. The qualitative data were analysed and coded using Braune and Clarke’s (2013) thematic analysis process. In general, it appeared that the teachers’ real life experiences of PE affected their perceptions of the implementation of PE in their classrooms. In this regard, two themes could be identified, namely reflections on the self, as well as reflections on the system. The interaction between the two themes was multifaceted, highlighting the complexity of teachers’ PE experiences and perceptions of PE in the FP in lower SES communities. Given the teachers’ need for effective CPTD with regard to PE implementation, especially in lower SES communities in South Africa, I thus argue that as a means of transforming current South African CPTD practices, decolonising CPTD interventions in the form of Participatory Action Learning and Action Research approaches are needed.

Presentations: 11:15 – 11:45

Financing Teacher Training Programme by Distance: A Neglected Specie

Olaniran S.O., Nzima D.R., and Duma M.A.N

Teacher training by distance is rapidly growing in Africa but there has been little attention giving to the issue of finance, especially the availability of funding to those who enrol for ODL based teacher training programme due to the limitation of fund. This article presents a multiple case study of pre-service teacher training programme in two Open and Distance Learning (ODL) based universities in Africa. Survey research design was used to carry out the study. One thousand, two hundred and sixteen (1216) Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) degree students participated in the study from the two ODL based universities in South Africa and Nigeria. Anonymous web based questionnaire, was used as instrument to collect data from the participants. Data from the field revealed that majority of the distance learning based pre-service teacher trainees that participated in the study are single and unemployed. The findings of the study also revealed inadequate access to information about funding opportunities, and strict funding criteria which are not favourable to distance learners as great barriers to accessing funding and scholarship opportunities by the ODL based teacher trainees. The study suggests special funding opportunities targeted at young people in teacher training by distance, and introduction of a mandatory orientation programme for the new entrants into the ODL based teacher training programme for them to be sensitized on different possible areas or platforms to explore to finance their studies.

Learning support for students with disabilities at a South African university: An investigation

Sithabile Ntombela

Before 1994, people with disabilities, like many South Africans, had limited access to higher education. Although this has changed, students with disabilities still encounter barriers to learning and to meaningful participation in the teaching and learning process. To understand how these students experience learning support, an interpretive, qualitative case study was used to acknowledge and privilege their experiences in an attempt to understand how disability and disablement intersect in education. Using social constructivism as a framework, a purposive sample of four students (N=4) with medically confirmed disabling conditions was interviewed individually, using semi-structured interviews. The findings suggest that although these students are physically included and a Disability Office is there for their support, they feel that academically they are not supported, that they remain on the margins. Findings also indicate the need for more advocacy and awareness raising within the institution. The article recommends that better collaboration between the Disability Office and academic staff is necessary to ensure that appropriate support is provided across the faculty as well as targeted professional development of academic staff to promote inclusive teaching and learning at this institution.

An Intervention Case Study on the Reconceptualisation of Space in A Grade 6 classroom

Nkosikhona Nkosi

Despite all events unfolding in space, mainstream research often overlooks the influence of space in teaching and learning. This paper adds to a growing body of spatial research in education with a particular focus on creating socially just spaces and experiences. The paper discusses the reconceptualisation of space in a grade 6 English classroom in order to explore new ways of working with space. The paper explores (1) spatial relations in the classroom, (2) the redesign of space and (3) the implications of being and doing in one’s own space. In this case study thirty-one grade 6 learners and a teacher collaboratively redesigned their classroom space. Observations were recorded over a six-week period. Four Community of Enquiries and interviews were conducted with participants. Using Lefebvre’s (1991) spatial theory the data was analysed systematically paying special attention to learners’ and teachers’ perceptions and behaviours prior to and following the reconstitution. The findings show how relations between participants are governed by time and manifest in the spatial layout of the classroom. Prior to the reconstitution the normalisation of theft and strong gendered boundaries created antagonistic relations amongst participants. Learners also expressed a strong desire to belong in the classroom and the broader schooling community. Having reconstituted the
space, space also reconstituted the participants. In the redesigned space learners’ agency and voice was amplified and the space became more conducive to learning.

The benefits of the reconceptualisation were learners entering into stronger communal relations with peers and increased participation from learners and broader take up on the school of the grade 6 class’ ideas. The challenges of the reconceptualisation were teachers finding learners’ voice and increased agency more challenging to manage. Systematic and collaborative work with space presents a range of insights into the social relations in classrooms that are often otherwise invisible.

A Baseline Assessment Of Emergency And Disaster Preparedness Of Junior Secondary Schools Of Gaborone Junior Secondary Schools In Gaborone

Ms V.T Molaodi & Prof E Useh

A mixed method study was conducted in seven junior secondary schools of Gaborone to assess the state of Emergency and Disaster preparedness. This was motivated by the fact that commonly little is known about how and to what extent schools are prepared for emergencies and disasters since there is a scarcity of studies that examine comprehensive school safety in Botswana. Quantitative data was collected using self-administered questionnaires from 268 participants recruited through simple random and purposive sampling. Through random sampling, 228 learners and 40 teachers purposively sampled were involved in gathering quantitative data. In addition, 2 focus group discussions of eight participants in each group, interviews from six school principals purposively selected, observation and photography were used to gather qualitative data. Presentation of data was in form of tables, charts, graphs, frequencies, and percentages. Quantitative data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) computer software (version 22.0) and Stata version 12. Qualitative data was analysed using Nvivo (Version 9). The findings revealed that schools in Gaborone junior secondary schools are not compliant with International requirements to safety, the findings indicated that classrooms and staffroom have no emergency exits and no escaping ways in classrooms in case of fire or disaster.

Decolonising Mathematics Through Music In The Development Of Executive Function And Self-Regulated Learning Skills In The Foundation Phase

Carolyn Stevenson-Milln

The purpose of this proposed paper is to argue the critical need for teacher development interventions which merge music with mathematics in the teaching of Foundation Phase, with a focus on Grade R. In the paper, I investigate the development, implementation and effect of a programme that blends African music and mathematics learning, (particularly in relation to pattern and sequencing). The aim being to help develop learners’ executive function and self-regulated learning. The study employs a design research approach, while the theory of enactivism provides a powerful theoretical framework.

There are three main goals to the intervention programme, namely:

  • to develop executive functioning and self-regulated learning skills in Grade R primary school learners, through music and mathematics
  • to add to the ‘fun’ of mathematics through active participation in counting, rhythm, sequencing and patterns of music commensurate with the mathematics curriculum required in Grade R, while developing working memory, mental flexibility, self-control and inhibition in the learner
  • and to focus on the development and improvement of executive functioning and self-regulated learning skills through music and mathematics at primary school level for greater achievement in mathematics in South Africa.

However, for the purpose of this paper I focus only on the rationale for the importance of such programmes. This rationale is based on an analysis of the current context of music and mathematics learning in primary schooling in South Africa, including, from a curriculum and policy perspective in relation to music, mathematics and executive functions in Grade R, to draw out possible gaps and opportunities. Secondly, the rationale focuses on an analysis of international and local literature on blending music and mathematics to support early learning (including mathematical) and executive functioning. This includes pointing towards gaps in research in South Africa on early music learning, and the potential for supporting mathematical learning and executive functioning. Finally I provide an analysis of a range of literature which I use to argue for the need for the development of music resources and programmes that focus on an African and South African music perspective.

Translanguaging practices: an exploratory study of the intermediate phase science classrooms in Limpopo

Mpumelelo Cele

The African child is seldom monolingual but more often bilingual or multilingual in the vernaculars of the area where they grow up. The dynamics of bilingualism and multilingualism of English Second Language learners need to be accommodated in our education system, in particular. Hence, the multilingual character of the African child and in terms of this study, in South Africa, provides a catalytic blanket of opportunity for the development of translanguaging practices (Strauss 2016). This research will use a mixed research approach to investigate translanguaging practises by teachers and learners to aid teaching and learning in the science classroom. I argue that learners use their linguistic repertoires to comprehend what is communicated to them or to access the science content. The teachers also use translanguaging (a purposive alternation of the languages of input and output) to teach the content. Data will be collected through observation, individual interviews, focus group, and bilingual reading comprehension test with the control and experimental groups. The quantitative data will be analysed using the statistical package for social science (SPSS) and the qualitative data will be organised into emerging patterns and categories.

Presentations: 11:45 – 12:15

Transformation of Higher Learning in South Africa: Confronting Gatekeepers of Eurocentric Bodies of Knowledge

Ismail Lagardien

Excluded but not Bothered? Decolonising the Legal Profession

Chiedza Simbo

If Jan Van Riebeek had not settled at the Cape would we have lawyers today? Would we have family law, property law, the law of delict or criminal law? Let us for now, conclude we would. Would we have been be able to document these laws, develop them and pass to the next generations? Would we have teachers to teach these laws, academics to critique them, advocates for justice, judges and practicing lawyers? Would we see the need to develop rules and Constitutions? In fact, let us shift the questions. Did we have rules, constitutions, family law, property law, criminal law, the law of delict and the law of succession? Did we have lawyers and courts? If we did then did you study that history in the first year of your LLB degree? Since we can agree that education begins at the time you are born, when you studied law, were you able to match it with your earlier life experiences? Were your values and culture reflected in what you were taught? Or perhaps did you identify your values and your culture in the curriculum you studied? Did you still want to be associated with the laws which you were taught by your society at the time you graduated? Did you want to be associated with how you grew up? When you graduated, did you ever ask yourself why you could not pay school fees but failed to pay for Practical Legal Training and Puppilage? Did you ask yourself why you could not find a law firm to do articles? When you began to teach others as a Lecturer, did you ever ask yourself why all your students appeared dump, could not write good English, could not speak English, did not want to speak English, either opted not to come to your classes or when they came looked at you in awe when you tried to pronounce de bene esse or convince them that R v X found in the English report of 1901 is the main case which developed the law of marriage in South Africa. Have you ever asked yourself why you married twice first through payment lobola and second through registration at court? Besides you which other person in Europe married twice? So do you still believe you are educated?

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