Thursday, September 04, 2008

Renegotiating desire in North America: risky education - Sonia Mehta

This article assumes that desire, like fear, is an inescapable human condition; both are conditions that construct us as subjects of social relationships, and are capable of being embedded in discourse, episteme and institutions. This article is framed around three questions. The first: how can desire be understood and applied to the various processes of education? The second: what are the possible effects of foregrounding desire as the unit of analysis for education in the moment of historical and cultural plurality that characterises North America? The third: what possibilities does a foregrounding (of desire) open for the study of comparative education?
From: Comparative Education, Vol. 44 no. 3 (August 2008)

Fear and desire in twentieth century comparative education - Peter Ninnes

Throughout the twentieth century, comparative education authors in the English-speaking world expressed a range of fears and desires about their field. Many of these authors were or are North American, or spent substantial parts of their careers on that continent. The research reported here systematically maps the discourses of fear and desire in a large body of comparative education literature. Explicitly unpacking and naming these discourses is important for recognising the ways these discourses potentially limit or liberate the scope of the field, and write certain ideas, scholars and methods into or out of the field. The author was motivated by a desire for some of the more neurotic living scholars in the field to lighten up and enjoy life and scholarship more.
From: Comparative Education, Vol. 44 no. 3 (August 2008)

Towards a critical pedagogy of comparative public diplomacy - Wayne Nelles

Little research has examined public diplomacy as a comparative education issue, particularly regarding social-psychological, economic and political fears or personal and national insecurities. This paper discusses American public diplomacy as a mostly Cold War strategy adapted to post-9/11 national security interests, fears and desires. It further explores differences, similarities, and debates in Canadian media, policy documents and academia, in response to American political, economic and military pressures or demands for a 'North American' (i.e. joint American-Canadian) security approach. From a critical pedagogy perspective the paper argues that modern public diplomacy has been a dubious, pseudo-educational, fear-mongering concept nurtured by academics, politicians and military leaders as part of an American foreign policy, military security and propaganda strategy. The paper further shows that post-9/11 Canada, porblematically, adapted its own public diplomacy policies to serve American interests. Further research is needed to examine more closely public diplomacy's impacts on Canadian education.
From: Comparative Education, Vol. 44 no. 3 (August 2008)

Caught on the Mexican-US border: the insecurity and desire of collaboration between two universities - Alma Maldonado-Maldonado

Understandings of cross-border university collaboration are often informed by a concept of internationalisation that privileges the rationales of university administrators. A case study of two asymmetric universities along the border of Mexico and the United States - one of the most active and problematic borders in the world - found that, rather than administrative rationales, the insecurities and desires of individual collaborators play a more prominent role in cross-border academic work. Through studying the interaction between two universities, this study found that social, cultural, historical, and economic contexts at national, institutional and individual levels condition cross-border collaboration. The effects of these contexts, however, are sometimes contradictory and can lead both to closer ties (hybridisation) and stronger divisions (bordering) between faculty and students in two geographically nearby and academically distant universities.
From: Comparative Education, Vol. 44 no. 3 (August 2008)

The appeal(s) of character education in threatening times: caring and critical democratic responses - Sue Winton

This article examines the resurgence in popularity of character education in the USA and Canada. It links this renewed interest to insecurities about academic achievement, economic competitiveness, civic engagement, personal safety, moral decline, and the loss of a common culture. Conceptualising policy as rhetoric, the article shows how character education policies in both countries use similar strategies to appeal to diverse audiences. The policies respond to desires for predictability and stability by claiming that traditional character education prepares students for the workforce, improves academic achievement, fosters active citizenship, creates safer schools, and teaches students universal values. The article concludes by proposing commitments to caring relationships and critical democratic education as socially just alternatives to traditional character education.
From: Comparative Education, Vol. 44 no. 3 (August 2008)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Radical disenchatments: neoconservatives and the disciplining of desire in an anti-utopian era - Kristen L Buras and Michael W Apple

This article traces part of the history of neoconservatism in the United States and analyses its impact on contemporary schooling. It examines the political evolution of a fraction of old leftists whose disenchantment with the possibilities of radical transformation led them to become new rightists. Whether attacking the countercultural left or the welfare state in the 1960s, or critical multiculturalism more recently, neoconservatives have embraced anti-utopianism as the only corrective for the assumed naivete of leftist cultural and economic desires. Concerns for the 'restoration' of cultural and national order are evident in reforms endorsed by this segment, including educational standards and a core curriculum that mediate against the progressive monopoly presumed to exist in schools. Rather than allowing more radical desires to be disciplined by such reforms, it is imperative to reclaim the freedom dreams embedded in past democratic movements and to learn from the grassroots efforts of communities working to create real utopias in education.
From: Comparative Education, Vol. 44 no. 3 (August 2008)

Education in a time of terror: an address given at Kent State University - Vandra L Masemann

This paper gives an overview of the ideas generated in a course taught by a Canadian academic to American students on the subject of teaching in the post-9/11 period. The four major topics discussed are the technological context in which modern societies are situated, particularly the evolution from agrarian to industrial and now knowledge-based societies, the development of the mass communications media and their role in desensitising children to issues of violence against the 'Other', the need for widespread reform in multicultural teacher education, and the challenges for teachers to gain a broader understanding of their own and other societies' history and culture.
From: Comparative Education, Vol. 44 no. 3 (August 2008)

North American insecurities, fears and anxieties: educational implications - Marianne A Larsen

Contemporary North American insecurities and fears are the focus of this article. In the first section, the inter-related concepts of insecurity, fear and vulnerability are theorised, and the argument put forward that these have come to constitute a dominant discourse in contemporary North American society. In the second section of the paper, the components of this discourse are presented by reviewing what North Americans fear, including terrorism, crime and violence, and the 'Other'. Comparisons and local manifestations of this discourse in Canada, Mexico and the US are described. The final section turns to the educational implications (effects) of this discourse as it has been taken up across the three nations. While other comparativists have focused on phenomena such as globalisation and neo-liberalism to explain contemporary education reform, the author argues that it is the discourse of fear and insecurity that now underpins educational reform.
From: Comparative Education, Vol. 44 no. 3 (August 2008)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The effect of 'cultural models' on student learning in law - P Watson

An understanding of student learning and of the reasons for differential student performance is crucial to improving teaching and learning practices in tertiary education. This article aims to contribute to that understanding by reporting on an empirical study which examined two sets of student texts on the topic 'What is law?', written at a six month interval during a semester of tertiary-level introductory legal study. Student development is examined through an exploration of the 'cultural models'(Gee 1990) attached to the concept by students at the outset of study and the extent to which changes evident in student writings are connected to these changes. The article suggests some implications for pedagogy that derive from this research.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

A deliberative democratic view of mentorship - T van Louw and Y Waghid

The article critically reflects on the positive portrayal of mentorship as a professional development strategy for educators. We argue that the conceptualisation of classical mentorship has been informed mainly by functionalist thinking. We contend that the supposedly beneficial nature of the mentorship relationship has been given such prominence that the possibility of learning from two highly problematic assumptions occupying a central position within a functionalist conceptualisation of mentorship, that is, the conceptualisation of learning as a unidirectional transmission process, and secondly, the strong authoritarian tendency deriving from a highly hierarchal mentor-mentee relationship where an experienced older person is the mentor and an inexperienced, younger person the mentee, is largely negated.
Functionalist perspectives informed the highly authoritarian education system that was essential to maintain the oppressive political dispensation in South Africa. We argue therefore that, owing to the underlying assumption of an uncritical transmission of knowledge and management skills in a strong hierarchal relationship between mentor and mentee, mentorship conceptualised within the framework of functionalism is inherently conservative and poses a potential threat to the new education system in South Africa. The conceptualisation of mentorship within a radical humanistic perspective is pursued, especially because social justice, the learner as critical co-learner, and the critical analysis of power relations occupy a central position within this perspective.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

Facilitating adjustment to higher education: towards enhancing academic functioning in an Academic Development Programme - B Davidowitz

Several studies have emphasised the importance of addressing social and emotional factors in facilitating adjustment to tertiary education. This article describes the Skills for Success in Science programme at the University of Cape Town. The broad aims where life skills development and improved adjustment which are assumed to underpin academic performance. Weekly small group sessions were held which addressed several areas, namely adjustment, group work and co-operative learning, coping and stress management, resources on campus, assertiveness and communications, time management study skills and examination competence. The intervention was experiential and participative, and while not compusory, attendance was very good. Evaluation via self-report questionnaires using standardised psychological scales as well as focus groups provided positive feedback from students who described it as a 'must' for all first year science students. The article supports the notion that student development should be located within their daily experience at universities.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

The prospects and challenges of training South African and Japanese educators to enact an indigenised science curriculum - MB Ogunniyi

Since the World Conference on Higher Education organized by UNESCO in 1998, higher educational institutions around the world have been called upon to produce educators (teachers) who are able to motivate their learners to: (1) develop an awareness about, and a valid understanding of the Nature of Science (NOS); and (2) relate such knowledge to the worldviews prevalent in their communties. In the pursuance of that aim and in response to the emergence of multicultural calssrooms in many parts of the world, new curricula have been developed to make school experience more relevant to leaners' home experiences. A common feature of these curricula particularly in the non-western developed and developing worlds has been the bold attempts that have been made to reflect some elements of indigenous knowledge in science classrooms. This article explores briefly such attempts in Japan and South Africa and highlights the prospects and challenges of implementing an indigenized science curriculum in both countries.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

Establishing a preliminary framework for effective blended learning practices in the undergraduate classroom - E Nel

At the University of the Free State (UFS) blended learning (a combination of face-to-face and online modes of delivery) is regarded as a relatively new practice with possibilities of addressing many of the context-specific teaching and learning problems at the institution. During the planning phase for the third cycle of an action inquiry project the researcher decided to subject some of the multitude of findings, gathered over the first two cycles, to scrutiny by fellow online/blended learning facilitators/designers/researchers at other higher education institutions in South Africa. She hoped that sharing experiences would not only broaden her own insights, but would also lead to 'informed' agreeement on at least one practice in which blended learning in either her own or the broader higher education environment could be enhanced. In this article the findings of the inter-institutional opinion survey are presented and analysed. The researcher as (the first author) also makes use of various 'agreed upon' learning principles to develop a preliminary framework for effective/meaningful blended learning which could extend understanding in a complex higher education environment and serve as stimulation for debate and further investigation.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

How one university - and its faculties - respond to new national policies on the measurement of research output - SM Madue

The production of research output has become a complex and competitive pursuit. Basic, experimental and strategic research compete more for scarce state and donor funding. In the Republic of South Africa (South Africa), research output is recognised through government subsidy-earnings guided by the policy for the measurement of research output of public higher education institutions. In this context, the management of research output at higher education institutions has become a highly professional task that requires the ability to understand and translate national policies and directives at the institutional level into opportunities for individual researchers and postgraduate students to pursue their interests and achieve their potential. A study on how a leading University and its faculties respond to the new policy on the measurement of research output might assist other institutions of higher learning to manage and improve their research output.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

The ideological myth of education: a critical reflection - P Higgs

When reflecting critically on issues of education in society it is necessary to consider the following question: in what scientific paradigm should educational theory and practice be located in order to address issues of education in society in an educationally responsible manner?
In this essay, I argue that for education theory and practice to address issue of education in an educationally responsible manner, it is necessary that educational theory and practice be located in the tradition of the human sciences. The human sciences have their origin in values that have to do with the human condition. This being the case, education theory and practice should not be sacrificed in the service of educational policies that are driven by an ideological intent be in political, cultural, social or economic. In the event of such a categorical misplacement of intent, I would argue that the resultant politicisation and en-culturalisation of education gives rise to the ideological myth oof education that in turn leads to the demise of the responsible role of education in society., What is needed to make education theory and practice a responsible force in society is the return of education theory and practice to the tradition of the human sciences.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

Negotiating the emotions of change: research, restructuring, and the doctoral student - C Herman

This article is a reflective account of the emotions generated by the research journey and the challenges these pose for doctoral students, particularly when researching organisations and topics close to their interests and background. By reflecting on my experience, and engaging with the literature to explore other novice researchers' reflective accounts of their research journey, I identify a host of emotions that are generated by the ideological, political and methodological facets of the research. I argue that doctoral students are ill-prepared to deal with the emotions of their research and are often attempted to ignore or control these emotions. This reduces the researchers' ability to engage fully with the process, it limits the data that could be collected, and results in unresolved emotional dilemmas. The article proposes that doctoral students may be better prepared to manage their emotions if they would be exposed to researchers' accounts (such as this one) on the role of emotions in research.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

A model for the branding of higher education in South Africa - HR Hay and GA van Gensen

In this article a proposed model for the branding of higher education institutions is provided. The model describes, among others, the internal practices that have a profound impact on branding and on an institution's overall reputation and image. The authors argue that a strong internal focus is necessary before a meaningful brand experience can be embarkd on that will ultimately result in unprecedented benefits, even for relatively new institutions.
In South Africa the need for more scientific approaches towards the branding of higher education is enhanced by a number of realities, such as a history plagued by inequalities; new policies directed to eradicate the very same inequalities, private higher education, increased diversity in types of institutions, increased reliance on partnerships and alliances; increasing competition between institutions; increasing reliance on private funding for public higher education; a demand for quality, pressure to find solutions to the growing financial problems faced by institutions; and the curent merging and incorporations of higher education institutions. The proposed model is based on two overarching fundamentals, namely the experience economy and its related ness to brand, as well as relevance and branding, which should follow an integrated approach that could ultimately lead to successful external branding.
From: SAJHE 22(1) 2008

Lessons from a mathematics and science intervention programme in Tshwane township schools - I Fricke et al

International benchmark studies confirm that school mathematics and science education in South Africa is weak and suffers from systemic problems. The Teacher Mentorship Programme (TMP) based at the Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering of the University of Pretoria was borne out of lessons learnt from ongoing outreach and awareness creation projects and recent research findings. The most cost effective and sustainable support for maths and science learners can be achieved by mentoring their teachers in their work environment using experienced teachers as mentors. A pre-pilot implementation was launched in 2003 and a pilot project at five schools in Greater Pretoria (Tshwane) was implemented in 2004. This article describes the rationale behind the mentorship intervention programme, reports on the implementation strategies and makes recommendations based on the lessons learned during this implementation. A review of relevant literature supports the strategies employed.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

Nurturing human capital: a challenge for higher education institutions? - N de Lange and MAJ Olivier

In this article we argue that higher education institutions ought to be a reflection of society: its vision, values, conscience and ways of doing. It has as its task the production of human capital for participation in a global economy and by virtue of its position in society, ought to be able to do justice to that. In this article we draw on a case study of incorporation, as part of reshaping the Higher Education landscape in South Africa, not only to give voice to staff involved in an incorporation process, but also to explore the effect thereof on them. We discuss four themes that emerged from the data and draw some conclusions. Drawing on this example, we argue for prioritising the well-being of human capital by ensuring workpace wellness, in order to set an example and to make a real contribution to the well-being of society.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

Reconceptualising teacher training at a South African university: a case study - AE Carl

It is essential for teacher training institutions to reflect continually on changes in education policy with the view of ensuring that teacher training programmes that take the present needs and policies into account are in place. This article describes a four-year programme in an effort not only to merge contemporary needs with recent policy development, but also to provide relevant teacher training for a constantly changing school curriculum landscape. Normally institutions draw up the curricula of their teacher training programmes in isolation and there is little mutual communication regarding the reconceptualisation of their curricula. Through the description of a particular institutions' process of reconceptualisation of a specific programme, this article aims to share perspectives that could be put to use in other contexts and with other parties. This process was characterised by active and inclusive deliberations within the institution itself, thorough research and various workshops, to arrive at a reconceptualised programme.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

Challenges facing higher education governance practices on the African continent - J Divala and Y Waghid

In this article we argue that higher education institutions on the African continent are faced with a dilemma in their patterns of governance. This dilemma arises from particular conceptions and expectations of higher education, on the one hand, and the relationship between higher education and society, on the other hand. Higher education institutions on the continent, particularly public institutions, are in many ways put in a corner in having to choose between serving the public interest and fulfilling the core business of higher education. This position is further complicated by the demands of globalisation and neoliberalism. In view of these challenges, we state that the claims to higher education autonomy have become more complicated, hence making such claims can be more difficult to understand at face value. The article mainly uses an interpretive/critical philosophical approach towards higher education practices.
From: SAJHE 22 (1) 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Subject knowledge for teaching and continuing professional development - Andrew Green

This short discussion article outlines a range of theoretical issues underpinning the formation of subject knowledge for teaching. It suggests a number of practical needs that secondary school teachers of English may be seeking to address in the way of subject knowledge development and how this may relate to the provision made within the United Kingdom (UK) Higher Education sector. It is hoped in so doing that it also identifies issues that may be of relevance in other subject areas and in other national contexts.
From: Perspectives in education, Vol. 26 (2), June 2008

Superheroes v demons: constructing identities of male student teachers in the early years - Deborah Jones

This article presents research undertaken among male teachers and it explores their perceptions and experiences of working in early years contexts. It examines prevalent, contrary discourses and their impact on the construction of male teachers' identities. Public discourses in relation to male teachers reveal contradictions and ambiguities (Carrington et al., 2008). Men are conscious that many conflicting identities are constructed for them - from 'superhero' to 'demon'. According to these data, male teachers semm unsure of who they are and indeed of who they should be within a school context. This uncertainty is, in part, a result of their awareness that various groups have the power to construct their identities in different ways. This article will discuss different identities constructed by, and for male tachers, and will argue that individual may be limited as far as choice is concerned because of the power structures operating both within the primary school institution and in broader society.
From: Perspectives in Education, Vol. 26 (2), June 2008

Intended or unintended? Issues arising from the implementation of the UK Government's 2003 Schools Workforce Remodelling Act - Richard Blair

The United Kingdom (UK) Government's 2003 Workforce Remodelling Act (DfES, 2003) contained nine key points aimed at supporting teachers and schools to raise educational standards without adding additional workload responsibilities. In September 2005 planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time was introduced. This allows for all teachers to have 10% of their timetable to plan lessons, prepare resources and assess pupils' work. This raises issues of what 10% of their time, with pupils, teachers relinquish for PPA. One common soolution is primary schools seems to have been to employ coaches (particularly football coaches) to teach Physical Education (PE) lessons. The purpose of this study was therefore to identify the knowledge skill and understanding of a group of community-based football coaches working in PPA time in primary schools and to understand the implications for schools, coaches and educators. Results showed that these coaches had very little knowledge of the National Curriculum Physical Education (NCPE) and used a narrow range or teaching methods. Some of their pedagogical decision making had a negative consequence on pupils' learning. Thirteen of the twenty-one coaches studied did not plan in the short, medium or long term. There was evidence of routine action (Dewey, 1933) although there was some evidence of reflection. These findings are discussed in relation to the implications of employing coaches to teach the NCPE in schools and also in relation to what Continuing Professional Development (CPD) coached need to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding for working in schools. Although there is a clear PE focus to this current study, there are implications for the teaching of other subjects in primary schools in England and for the use of sports coaches within education in other national contexts. Despite differences in government policies and practices in schools, in many countries there are likely to be issues with the status, delivery and resourcing of PE.
From: Perspectives in Ecucation, Vol. 26 (2), June 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Teach first: from McKinsey to the classroom - Sonia Blandford

In June 2003 one hundred and eighty-six graduats from the United Kingdom (UK) Russell Group universities joined the Teach First (TF) programme which was to have a significant impact on Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in England, Europe and across the globe. This article describes the origins of the programme, provides a summary of evaluations and inspection reports, and concludes with a brief commentary on the next steps for TF. Two key questions can be addressed: Can teachers become effective practitioners without the theoretical underpinning provided by more conventional full-time programmes? Can partnerships with global businesses and management consultants enhance ITE?
From: Perspectives in Education, Vol. 26 (2), June 2008

'Rural' schols and universities: the use of partnerships as a teaching strategy in enhancing a positive response to rurality - Jane Pennefather

This article explores a range of partnership approaches used in a PGCE programme in order to challenge a deficiency framework many teachers have regarding rural contexts and to develop a more positive orientation to the possibility of working in such contexts. This constitutes a response to the national imperative to educate teachers for rural contexts (Pandor states that more than 75% of newly trained teachers move to urban areas) and to challenge the dominant discourses based on a deficiency framework which many preservice teachers exhibit in their interactions with one another in their responses towards contexts viewed as rural and implication inferior and undesirable. These partnerships include the case of PGCE students making an annual field-trip to a deeply rural, underresourced school; the contribution a rural teacher and her learners have made within the lecturing programme of the students; the development of mentors and the placement of students in these partner rural schools. These approaches have been initiated within a broad understanding of what is meant by rurality, acknowledging that there is no agreement on what constitutes urban and rural contexts.
From: Perspectives in Education, Vol. 26(2), June 2008

Nurturing young gifted and talented children: teachers generating knowledge - Valsa Koshy and Cathryn Welham

This article presents the findings of a set of Action Research projects carried out by practitioners in 14 Local Education Districts in collaboration with a team of university tutors over a period of three years. The aim of the project was to explore ways of nurturing the gifts and talents of children aged 4-7 years. The project was funded by the Department of Education and Skills as part of the government's gifted and talented programme in the United Kingdom (UK). Two specific outcomes of the project are presented in this article. The project helped to develop teachers' understanding of both the identification of and provision for gifted and talented younger children. It also highlighted that Action Research offered a suitable methodology for teacher-researchers to explore the complexity of the topic of giftedness through cycles of planning, action and reflection.
From: Perspectives in Education, Vol. 26 (2), June 2008

The complexities of creativity within Initial Teacher Education - Geeta Ludhra

This research explores beginning teachers' perceptions of creative practice and investigates the complexities of developing creative processes within Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and the primary classroom (pupils aged 5-11 years of age). The term 'beginning teachers' refers to trainees within the first few months of their teacher training programme. This research was conducted among 165 primary PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate of Education) trainees. This article draws on the creative experiences of beginning teachers prior to joining ITE and classroom observation data. These examples, along with models of creative pedagogies provide an overall picture of the current context and issues of creative practice within primary education. Throughout the article, consideration is given to how Initial Teacher Educators can seek to modify their own practices to support trainees better within the potentially problematic interrelationship of creativity and curriculum. The article concludes with a series of recommendations for ITE. It particularly emphasises the need for teacher educators to address the ways in which they prepare trainees to take risks with innovative approaches and the degree to which school-based mentors are either open to or 'gate keeping' creative practice from beginning teachers.
From: Perspectives in Education, Vol. 26 (2), June 2008

Trainee teachers: changes in approach to developing a 'connected' understanding of mathematics - Gwen Ineson

The mathematics curriculum in the United Kingdom (UK) has undergone radical changes, placing a particular focus on mental computation. Pupils are not taught written methods of computation until they are able to add and subtract any pair of two digit numbers mentally. Teacher education programmes in the UK have required adaptation to reflect these changes by developing beginning teachers' understanding of 'connectedness' of mathematical thinking. Drawing on data from one institution in West London, this article explores the development of connected thinking. Results suggest that, without specific intervention geared to the development of such thinking, trainee teachers' mental mathematics understanding is likely to be at variance with connected mathematics thinking.
From: Perspectives in Education, Vol. 26 (2), June 2008

An analytical framework for mathematics teacher education from a critical perspective - Renuka Vithal

Whereas there has been considerable advancement in the last few decades with regard to theories and practices in mathematics education from a critical perspective, very little is known about what it means to prepare teachers for such appraoches. In this article I undertake a retrospective, reflexive analysis of my praxis as a teacher educator over the past decade, particularly when introducing an innovation such as project work to prospective primary mathematics teachers within what may be referred to as a social cultural political approach to a mathematics curriculum. Drawing on theoretical methodological tools developed for researching mathematics education from a critical perspective, I reinterpret these for building an analytical framework for mathematics teacher education from the same perspective - as an imagined praxis, an actual praxis and an arranged praxis. I then discuss the qualities that connect and transform these teacher education praxes and conclude with reflections on the consequences for student teachers' learning and actions when one of these dominates a teacher educators' curriculum.
From: Perspectives in education, Vol. 26 (2) June 2008

Reflections on an action research project in teacher education: the Emancipatory Project under scrutiny - Iben Christiansen

The Advanced Certificate of Education (ACE) specialisation in mathematics (for the FET) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal includes a module on professional practice in mathematics education. As part of this module students complete an action research project on their own teaching. This article describes both the progression of one action research project and, in the light of this project, reflections on the module from a teacher education perspective. Measured against the outcomes, the action research project appeared to be highly successful, as the change in teaching not only proved to further the intended learning, but also helped the educator become aware of her own previously held assumptions about learners and learning. However contrasting this one project against how the module developed in general, forced me to question the degree to which my agenda waas as emancipatory as I had desired. By applying the notion of 'distortions' in a critical discursive analysis of the action research report, I attempt to unravel the underlying messages of the module. Through this, I reach the conclusion that while steps were certainly taken towards the emanicipatory aim of helping educators become aware of distortions embodied in ideology, they also contributed to sustaining existing power relations and distortions.
From: Perspectives in Education, Volume 26 (2), June 2008

Accountability to whom? For what? Teacher identity and the Force Field Model for teacher development - Michael Samuel

The rise of fundamentalism in the sphere of teacher education points to a swing back towards teachers as service workers for State agendas. Increasingly, teachers are expected to account for the outcomes of their practices. This article traces the trajectory of trends in teacher education over the past five decades arguing that this 'new conservative trend' is but one of the many forces that characterise present interpretations of the goals of teacher education and development. A de-professionalisation of teaching as a career looms on the horizon. Each era has progressively provided new insights into what the goals for teacher education could and should be. These have become increasingly layered into expanding roles and responsibilities being foisted on teachers. The article argues that this could threaten teaching as a career and fewer individuals now willingly choose the teaching profession. If they do, their accountability is seldom to quality teaching and learning as professional teachers find themselves threatened on a number of fronts by contradictory and often competing forces.
The article presents a model for understanding the complexity of forces influencing teachers' identities, and shows why there is a need for creative discursive spaces for the co-existence of these many forces. Rather than capitulate to the forces of conservatism, the article argues that teacher professional growth can flourish when it is able to understand deeply the biographical, contextual, institutional and programmatic forces that impinge on teacher identity. The Force Field Model of Teacher Development thus provides stimulus for creative dialogue and renewal.
From: Perspectives in Education, Vol. 26 (2), June 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Keeping abreast of changing times and demands in education: implications for teacher education in South Africa - Fanie Pretorius

Since the late 1980s large-scale education reforms have been introduced in various countries in response to increasing pressure to induce change aimed at rectifying the deficiencies in the transmission of knowledge, skills and values required by modern economies. Teachers as well as their trainers have often been singled out as scapegoats for the ills of societies. A barrage of criticism has been levelled at teacher training because of the stubborn refusal of some in the teacher training spehere to question the old orthodoxies and embrace different approaches. However, internationally and locally teachers complain about numerous endemic problems, including a culture that devalues education in many ways, unmotivated learners, a lack of public support and violence in schools. Teachers often feel that teaching in public schools has become a 'living hell'. In this article reserch findings are highlighted that record the response of education systems to the stated situation, with specific reference to how they have modified teacher education. In the light of findings about overseas developments, conclusions concerning judicious future approaches to teacher education are presented. Envisaged strategies include formal partnerships between teacher training personnel and identified reform-minded partner schools, a more rigorous core curriculum in undergraduate programmes, and intensively supervised and extensive clinical experiences. Some critical resarch questions are proposed as it was found that a revitalization of research with regards to teacher education in particular is necessary.
From: SARE, Vol. 14 no. 1/2 (2008)

The practicum in pre-service teacher education: a survey of institutional practices - Chris Reddy, Hannie Menkveld and Eli Bitzer

The paper reports on research aimed at providing an overview of practices, problems and innovative ideas within the teaching practice component of the Bachelor of Education (BEd) teacher education programme at nine teacher education institutions in South Africa in a period of policy changes and transformation. In this paper we report research related to a survey of various institutions regarding practicum practices, issues related to practicum and improvements envisaged. The research is framed in relation to theoretical ideas relevant to the teacher education practicum and mirrored against theoretical discussions regarding the improvement of the practicum. Results indicate that in most institutions very little attention is paid to teacher education theory and policy guidelines. Instead institutions seem to be introducing changes in a piecemeal fashion and not focusing on policy or theoretical ideas as guidelines. We contend that this could be due to the fact that educationists are in the early days of policy development and implementation in relation to the new policies drafted since 1994 or because established practices have become dominant and almost taken for granted in an uncritical manner.
From: SARE, Vol. 14 no. 1/2 (2008)

Towards collaboration rather than cooperation for effective profesional development of teachers in South Africa: insights from social practice theory

Recent curriculum policy change has increased the demand for continuing professional development of teachers in South Africa. Support for teachers has been fragmented. This has resulted in the formation of informal teacher learning communities. This article explores the potential of a 'community of practice framework' for teacher learning in a South African education context characterized by the marked absence of teacher development programmes in areas of need. It draws on case study data from the TEMS teacher development project and from published reports of the PLESME teacher development study. Of note is that both studies adopted tenets of social practice thoery in their design. The article argues that the challenge for teacher developers is to develop, through empirical studies and sound theoretical foundations, plausible models for the continuing professional development of teachers. One such approach that offers a challenging possibility is that of teacher communties of practice. The article suggests that social practice theory provides a framework for useful and meaningful insights and as such offers much potential for continuing professional development of teachers in South Africa.
From: SARE, Vol. 14 no. 1/2 (2008)

Who are we missing? Teacher graduate production in South Africa, 1995-2006 - Andrew Paterson and Fabian Arends

This article analyses teacher production in South Africa between 1995 and 2006. It synthesizes an in-depth analysis of enrolment and graduate data drawn from the South African Higher Education Management Information System with available literature in the field. The article first presents an overview of enrolment and graduation trends in initial professional education and training and in continuing professional development of teachers, thus generating a trend analysis of overall teacher graduate production for the decade. This serves as the platform from which to draw attention to a serious decline in the numbers of African women enrolled in IPET. In considering what has brought about this pattern, the article draws attention to the impact of the closing of the former colleges of education on teacher production. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding the social contexts that inform the movement of potential candidates from their households to teacher training institutions.
From: SARE, Vol. 14 no. 1/2 (2008)

Trajectories of restructuring: the changing context for initial teacher education in South Africa - Glenda Kruss

The article aims to illustrate the complexity of institutional restructuring dynamics in distinct South African university contexts, in order to highlight the challenges posed for the initial teacher education system. It focuses on education faculties and schools that have undergone successive waves of internally and externally mandated change over the last ten years. The first section demonstrates that there is a simple and a complex form of merger, characterized by varying degrees of integration, subordination or cessation of the former institutional configurations. This means that at the micro-level, in planning and implementing their initial teacher education programmes, some institutions are faced with reconciling diverse groups of academics with distinct histories, expertise and commitments. The second section of the article attempts to delineate the impact on initial teacher education programmes and curriculum. The article conclides with a consideration of the challenges for the relationship of teacher education providers with the National Department of Education, with institutional leadership and within faculties or schools.
From: SARE, Vol. 14 no. 1/2 (2008)

A comparison of Ugandan, English and German teacher education models - Proscovia Ssentamu-Namubiru

Teacher education is affected by changes in priorities regarding the requirements and expectations associated with education and upbringing. Such changes have as much to do with teacher professional efficiency and government policies for teacher preparation as with the historical, socio-economical and political climate. Drawing from a rich resource of primary and secondary literature, the Ugandan, English and German teacher education models are compared in light of these contexts.
From: SARE, Vol. 14 no. 1/2 (2008)

Learning to teach in post-devolution UK: a technical or an ethical process? - Moira Hulme and Ian Menter

The early stages of professional development for teachers have been the subject of considerable policy change throughout the UK in recent years. While there have always been some differences in approach between the four countries of the UK, there have been many similarities. The end of the 20th century saw the most significant devolution of power, including powers for education policy-making, from the UK government based in England to the three smaller countries of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
This article reports from a scoping study that compares policy on initial teacher education and early professional development in the four countries of the UK in the post-devolution context. While there is much evidence of similarities in attempting to define teaching through written statements in the form of competences or standards, there is also evidence that the particular national contexts have an influence. This is found when the more value-based aspects of teaching are examined and there is a variation in the ways in which the ethical dimensions of teaching are adumbrated in policy documents.
From: SARE, Vol. 14 no. 1/2 (2008)

Critical perspectives on teacher education in neo-liberal times: experiences from Ethiopia and Namibia - Lars Dahlstrom and Brook Lemma

This article combines analysis from teacher education in Ethiopia and Namibia with recent examples of neo-liberal influences on national education sectors. The article describes the national teacher education reforms and analyses the forces of and damage caused by the 'liberal virus' by looking at the plasma teacher phenomenon in Ethiopia and critical practitioner inquiry in Namibia. Our findings show how neo-liberalism when entering the education arena reduces teachers to technical caretakers and transforms what was once introduced as progressive and critical practices of education into separated entities following technical rationalities. Teacher education is also silently transformed to develop students and teachers alike into consumers in the educational marketplace through the neo-liberal governmentality that turns people into tightly controlled individuals who insist on claiming to be free in a globalized world. This article not only illustrates the damage inflicted by the liberal virus, but recommends the practice of contextualized critical thinking at all levels of education as proposed in critical practitioner inquiry practices.
From: SARE, Vol. 14 no. 1/2 (2008)

Teacher education in the Latin American region: an unfinished business - Beatrice Avalos

This article will consider some of the issues faced by the teacher education systems of Latin America, from the perspective of the frames that affect their development. It begins with a description of the systems of teacher education: requirements, types, length of training and institutionalization. Then, using the concept of 'school grammars', it considers the lingering effect of the 'normal school' tradition versus the 'higher education' or university tradition on the modes in which teacher education is organized, delivered and valued. The article considers the match between the structures of the educational system and the structures of teacher education using some country examples, as well as the ways in which teacher education is regulated and monitored. Assuming that the condition of teachers does affect how the profession and teacher education are perceived, the article refers to how recent studies explore this condition. In the concluding section, the article considers some of the policy frameworks and their intended effects on the improvement of teacher education in the Latin American region.
From: SARE, Vol. 14 no. 1/2 (2008)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Computers in schools: implementing for sustainability. Why the truth is rarely pure and never simple - H Thomas

This study investigates influences on the sustainability of a computers-in-schools project during the implementation phas ethereof. The Cumputer Assisted Learning in Schools (CALIS) Project (1992-1996) is the unit of analysis. A qualitative case study research design is used to elicit data, in the form of participant narratives, from people who were involved in the regional management of the Project, as well as teachers who implemented the Project in their classrooms. These arratives are then analysed from a postmodern perspective (Kvale1996).The analysis reveals personal, programmatic, physical and systemic influences on the Project. These influences can be identified on all structural levels of the education system (Mooij and Smeets 2001). Furthermore, metaphoric patterning across narratives is analyzed in terms of implicatures, postulated by Relevance Theory (Sperber and Wilson 1995). Analysis of the data provides evidence in support of Fullan's (2005) definition of sustainability as a quality of dynamic, complex systems. Personal, programmatic, physical and systemic influences on the Project are found to be interrelated on, and across, structural levels of the system. In addition, influences are dynamically related to the changing Project in particular host environments (Cavallo 2004). The resulting ecological or viral growth is characteristic of complex systems, where further development is indeterminate. Finally, suggestions are made regarding the possible implications of these findings for the development of a framework for the sustainable implementation of ICT-enabled educational projects.
From: SAJHE 21 (6) 2007

The Ulwazi concept - virtual interactive and collaborative classrooms of the future - RN Beyers

The purpose of the study was to demonstrate that two schools which were geographically separated could be digitally included using broadband radio connections, interactive whiteboards and other technologies to enable virtual interactive and collaborative lessons. The project was established to overcome a transport problem of bussing learners from Mamelodi to St Albans College in the Tshwane area as part of an outreach project for them to receive supplementary tuition. The most significant finding was that the results of Grade 10 Science learners in a remote school improved over time.
From: SAJHE 21 (6) 2007

If we build it, will they come? Investigating the relationship between students' access to and use of ICTs for learning - CL Brown

Research from a survey of students in higher education institutions in the Western Cape has demonstrated that despite the difficulties being experienced in terms of access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in higher education, students report that they do indeed use computers for their learning.
In this paper we explore the relationship between access and use examining particularly the influence of context on use. We focus on those specific aspects of access where previous studies have highlighted a link between access and use, namely; home computer access, individals' interest in and aptitude with using computers, and support within social networks.
Although the research findings do reveal quite obviously that students with poor access do make less use of ICTs for learning, this forms only part of the picture. High access does not guarantee high use: differentiation in use is noted amongst students from different socio-economic groups for example. There are also students wth low access who exercise their agency in constraining conditions, and make frequent use of ICTs for learning, particularly in the business and engineering diciplines.
The findings reported in this paper suggest that the notion of the digital divide is simplistic and less useful than previously thought; rather indications are that amongst higher education students there is a usage divide, and digital differentiation is a more useful framing concept.
From: SAJHE 21 (6) 2007

ICTs promises and pitfalls in open and distance learning - LG Kamanja

Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) have for long been celebrated as the solution to access in education. New innovations like the internet and mobile technologies provide a great opportunity for mass delivery of education information especially in Africa where governments and institutions are struggling to equip the people with much needed skills for development.
The African ministers of education attendiing the Regional conference on Education for All by 2015 in Johannesburg in 1999, in advocating the adoption of technologies recommended that 'new, appropriate and cost-effective technologies shall be adopted, to complement the integration of indigenous educational methodologies'(Unesco 2001).
This paper explores the extent to which blending of various ICTs has been successfully used to enhance and supplement learning in a distance learning institution. The paper also examines the constraints that individual learners in Africa face as a result of lack of technological resources and the constraints faced by the institutions of higher learning. It is the author's contention that blending of ICTs is essential in the delivery of education and can go a long way in supplementing and enhancing the lecturers work.
From: SAJHE 21 (6) 2007

No middle gournd, but many mansions: design features of effective mixed mode courses - DD Pratt

In this account a model of communicative functions is used in an attempt to clarify the nature of mixed mode learning delivery. Formulated in research on communication in written mode, the model can be seen to offer insights into the nature of hypermedia communication, as well as helping to identify some key features of effective mixed mode course design. The model also suggests that blended learning should be viewed as a multiplicity of combinations rather than 'middle ground' in a continuum of wholesale adoption or rejection of ICT. The tentative hypotheses outlined in this paper are illustrated with reference to doctoral research on communication in written mode and reflective monitoring of mixed mode courses run at the Durban University of Technology from 2002-2006.
From: SAJHE 21 (6) 2007

Print based learning might still be the answer to the digital divide - J Mitchell et al

There seems to be a belief world wide, that by going online and including learning technologies in learning packages learner success and economies of scale will be ensure in open and distance learning (ODL). Recent literature suggests that ODL and online delivery are regarded as synonymous. While the introduction of technology in the delivery of ODL materials can be extremely useful, in most developing countries access to these technologies is either very expensive or non-existent. For this reason it seems as if the vision of distance education as a means to provide education to those who have been denied it is being undermined by the overriding enthusiasm with technology. The perception seems to be that if a student is computer literate he or she will be able to access the world of information that the Internet and other electronic media can deliver and thus become educated. From an institutional point of view, there seems to be a perception that the high cost of distance education delivery will be drastically minimised once courses are delivered online. Unfortunately the costs of online delivery and the use of various media is often underestimatesd. Examples of this are the many failed e-learning initiatives that can be found on the internet.
Essential to any ODL course, is for the designers and writers to find more innovative but authentic ways of implementing ODL instructional design good practice, no matter what method of delivery is chosen. The focus must be on providing students with the best learning experiences that the chosen medium and the relevant learning environments can offer.
From: SAJHE 21 (6) 2007

The potential impact of computer-aided assessment technology in higher education - E Tshibalo

Distance learning generally separates students from educators, and demands that interventions be put in place to counter the constraints that this distance poses to learners and educators.
Further more 'Increased number of students in Higher Education and the corresponding increase in time spent by staff on assessment has encouraged interest in how technology can assist in this area' (Mogey and Watt 1999,1). As student assessment is an important challenge faced by Higher Education institutions, this paper investigates the role that Computer Aided Assessment (CAA) can play for both face-to-face and distance learning institutions. The discussions include the definition of CAA, its rationale, potential benefits, limitations, impacts on student learning and strategies for developing effective computer-based or online assessment. Research has indicated that when students are actively engaged by giving them more tests, assignments or examinations, the pass rate increases. CAA is one of the methods that can be used to engage students actively in their learning. It allows marking; immediate feedback, the recording of student scores and the analysis of student performance to be processed by computer and thus alleviate the burden on educators. Computer Aided Assessment is described as any instance in which some aspect of computer technology is deployed as part of the assessment process (Atkinson and Davies 2000). These may include: interactive exercises and tests completed on a computer, onscreen marking of students' word-processed writing,
use of revision software, using of spreadsheet or database to keep a record of student marks and use of e-mail to send coursework and to receive marks and feedback etc.
There are many benefits linked to CAA, some of which are objectivity and consistency of standards; automatic, immediate, and detailed feedback to all students; time saved when marking and allocating marks (Billings, 2004; McKenna and Bull 2000; Musham 2004). Limitations linked to CAA include the possibility that CAA may not be suitable for assessing skills such as constructive argument, writing, presentation and interpersonal skills. Computers and software sometimes crash and boot students offline during resting, and cheating sometimes occurs (Musham 2004; Greenburg 1998). The above-mentioned issues are discussed with the aim of encouraging higher education institutions to consider the potential benefits of introducing CAA.
From: SAJHE 21 (6) 2007

It's not about the tool, its about the ideology - A Amory

While it is often argued that technology could act as a change agent and transform educational practices, individuals, communities, government and society holding their own ideological beliefs limit such a liberalisation of the educational system. To show that the use of educational technology is part of a dialectical struggle this article explores the current use of technology in the classroom; development of standards and approaches to learning technology; and the use of computer and video games. The design, development, integration and use of technology in the classroom is driven by individual and institutional ideologies that support current hegemonic constructions maintained through observation and control systems. The development of standards for learning management systems (for example the Sharable Content Object Reference Model and the associated Learning Object Metadata Standard) underpin the concept of Reusable Learning Objects (RLO). The conceptualization, development, deployment and use of RLOs is ideologically driven and has little to do with contemporary ideas of learning and everything to do with fundamental and totalitarian ideologies of instruction. The blended approach to learning, where technology is introduced into existing courses where appropriate, sees technological objects (such as digital information, discussion boards, and chat sessions) as an additional component to existing courses. The use of technology in such a way does not allow for the re-conceptualisation of existing ideological practices and therefore limits educational transformation. Computer game technology could be used as a powerful tool to support learning. However, many supporters of the use of games in education argue for the use of simulations that are either ideologically suspect (for example the use of game software used to train military personal as a useful educational device) or based on model-using rather than model-building. An analysis for successful computer games shows that players are presented with either realistic environments that include complex multifaceted characters involved in richly textured narratives or are designed to support male fantasies (both erotic and authoritarian), inculcate self-discipline (especially through reflex), include control-and-monitoring (preparing workers for a global economy) and are gender exclusive. This article argues that technology can only be used within specific idiosyncratic, homological and inclusive ideologies that in most cases reproduce the past into the future, which is making real a neo-liberal dream.
From: SAJHE 21 (6) 2007

E-Policy and higher education: from formulation to implementation - MJ Sesemane

Policy formulation and implementation is a highly contested domain within the South African Higher Education landscape. This contestation can be attributed to the lack of wide stakeholder involvement and the architecture of the policy-making process. The contestation is also born of an absence of a systemic monitoring and evaluation mechanism to ensure adherence to policy.
In this paper, I present a document analysis of the e-learning policies of three higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa, with specific reference to how e-policy has shaped: access to information, e-learning as an alternate system of teaching and learning, quality assurance in e-learning, intellectual property rights (IPR) and e-communication.
I also draw upon the similarities and differences that emerge from the three policies under scrutiny. In so doing, I provide a basis for discourse about current international trends influencing e-policy in higher education. In conclusion an analysis of the government's (South Africa) e-policy and its impact on the e-policy of higher education is also provided.
From: SAJHE 21 (6) 2007

Exploring the role of ICTs in addressing educational needs: identifying the myths and the miracles - J Daniel et al

Persistent myths have lessened the impact of ICTs on education. Happily they are balanced by miracles of theory and practice that are gradually gaining the upper hand. We counter the myth that innovation in the application of ICTs is the preserve of industrialised countries by listing examples of innovations from southern Africa that have set global trends. Developing countries have the advantage over industrialised countries in taking advantage of the fundamental miracle of educational technology, namely its ability to provide higher quality learning to increasing numbers at lower costs. The power of this miracle increases with every new generation of technology. The current trends to social software and open educational resources will benefit more and more South Africans as connectivity steadily improves. However, things are not always what they seem. In the most difficult (and important) section of the paper we explode the myth that all open content is truly open and show how to restore the mirace of a global intellectual commons that cannot suffer the tragedy of the commons. The secret is to use 'share-alike' rather than 'non-commercial' licenses under the provisions of Creative Commons.
From: SAJHE 21 (6) 2007

Leadership development in South African higher education: the heart of the matter - O Zuber-Skerritt

An extensive literature on leadership theories and models concerns large organizations in industry and has been developed mostly by outside researchers with expertise in conducting large surveys on and interviews with 'subjects' in leadership positions. Recently, such theories have been adopted or adapted to higher education in South Africa. These theories and their derived guidelines for practice in higher education present some interesting ideas but have rarely been of practical, transformational vaue and benefit to academic leadership development (ALD).
This article aims to take an alternative approach to ALD that can be developed actively from 'inside out' by the participants themselves through refleciton on their own character and values (the heart of the matter), rather than through application of theory 'from the outside in'. Thus the research and development discussed in this article are for and with people as 'participants' in the research, rather than on people as 'subjects' in the research. In this way, the article contributes to a new paradigm and model of self-developed leadership in higher education in the light of Covey's (1992) 'principle-centred leadership' and Maxwell's (1999, 2000) 'indispensable qualities of a leader' and the action learning concept of 'failing forward', that is, turning mistakes into stepping stones for success.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Bringing knowledge management into an engineering curriculum - SL Winberg et al

The use of effective knowledge management is becoming an essential part of technical development projects in order to enable developers to handle the growing complexity of these projects. In this article we discuss an innovative approach to address this concern from the perspective of an undergraduate engineering curriculum. Instead of adding knowledge management in the form of explicit study material, we integrated implicit knowledge management strategies into laboratory practice and projects. Using this method we exposed students to practical knowledge management techniques that will equip them with effective skills to handle the knowledge they produce and use in future projects. This article focuses on a pilot study in which we investigated how to design and focus a knowledge management system for inclusion into the practical component of an engineering course. We conclude this article by reflecting on how this approach is likely to influence engineering education in general.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Cross discourse boundaries - Students' diverse realities when negotiating entry into knowledge communities - SC van Schalkwyk

Approximately one in every three students entering higher education in South Africa will have dropped out by the end of their first year of study. Under-preparedness has repeatedly been cited as one of the most common causes, with academics suggesting that many students lack the reading and writing skills they need to be succesful at university. However, the widening of access to higher education worldwide has created a shift from the homogeneity typical of an elite structure, to a complex, multi-layered diversity. In response, institutions have implemented support mechanisms, such as mentoring, tutoring and extended degree programmes, for 'at-risk' students. Recent research confronts several of the assumptions on which the establishment of such academic support interventions are typically based. This article seeks to explore these issues as part of an ongoing doctoral study. Some of the issues articulated by students as they seek to cross discourse boundaries will be discussed against some of the theoretical considerations that underpin current academic development thinking.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Preparing lecturers to integrate educational technology into their teaching and learning practices - S Simelane et al

Technology improvements in education created new methods, opportunities and challenges for teaching and learning. Globally Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) integrate the Internet and technology into teaching and learning. This is a challenge for lecturers not trained for this mode of course delivery. However, HEIs should improve and supplement traditional classroom-based courses by taking advantage of the Internet and technology, and empowering lecturers to utilise and integrate technology into their teaching and learning practices. Many HEIs offer professional development programmes to ensure the effective use of technology in courses delivery. Partners@Work is a well-planned professional development programme, supported by management and academic staff, designed to promote the optimal use of tecnology in teaching and learning at the Tshwane University of Technology. This article reports on the strategies and approaches to prepare lecturers to use technology in their classes.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Is the SATAP test an indicator of academic preparedness for first year university students? - D Scholtz and COK Allen-Ile

Various reasons may be advanced for conducting proficiency tests in academic literacy at higher education institutions. The Standardised Assessment Test for Access and Placement (SATAP) aims at determining the academic literacy skills that entry-level students should demonstrate as a predictor of their preparedness and success in tertiary education. At the CPUT the test was written by first year students in the Business Faculty as a means of identifying students who might need academic intervention in order to cope with their studies.
The present study investigated whether the SATAP test is a reasonable predictor of academic literacy abilities. The quantitative methodology of data collection, that is , the Swedish ratings of the matriculation examination results were compared with the scores obtained in the SATAP test and their first semester results. A correlations analysis and other statistical techniques were computed using the SPSS package. This study was limited to five groups of students in the Business Faculty.
The findings indicate that the SATAP test is actually adequate for assessing and predicting future academic performance of first year students at tertiary institutions, albeit with certain qualifications.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Staff developers' perceptions on building a culture of teaching and learning - IJ Roy

The rapid education transformation in South African education over the past decade (1994-current), forced Institutions of Higher Learning to critically examine their own practices. The transformation of the post apartheid South African education system is largely driven and determined by a social and economic agenda. At institutions of higher learning, the absence of an enabling culture of teaching and learning has been identified as the focal point for immediate engagement. In an attempt to address this gap, Teaching and Learning Centres have been established at all institutions of higher learning in South Africa. These centers developed out of the academic development movement established in the 1980's at predominantly white institutions to assist 'under-prepared' black students. This article provides an overview of the activities of Teaching Development units within these centers at the four universities in the Eastern Cape.
From: SAJHE 21(7) 2008

Dealing with diversity in a virtual learning community across two universities - P Rohleder et al

The authors report on their experiences as participants in the Community, Self and Identity Project; a collaborative teaching and research project between the University of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch University. The project aimed to provide fourth year social work and psychology students the opportunity to become part of a shared 'community of practice', where students could work and learn together, and become co-creators of knowledge. It provided the participating students with the opportunity to engage in critical interactions with one another, across racial and class differences. One of the researchers and facilitator for the project, together with four of the participating students, describe their overall impressions of the project; the challenges faced in talking about differences; the effects of facilitation; and some of the group polarization that emerged. The authors conclude that the contact provided by the CSI project, may not have reduced prejudices, however an awareness was created of the importance of acknowledging silenced issues and reflection on one's own assumptions. The article highlights the necessity for higher education institutions to create opportunities for students to engage in dialogue across differences.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Data analysis and the technological turn: contrasting attitudes and discourses in e-learning - M Madiba

This article reports on how computer software (NVIVO) was used to analyse data for a research project on design issues in e-learning. The aim of the project was to study how South African higher education has incorporated new e-learning in the delivery of programmes. The study began by exploring the emerging patterns of the use of e-learning in South African higher education. A further step was to investigate pedagogical design considerations that are necessary for successful teaching and learning when a framework that can be used as a tool to think and work with when courses to be delivered through these technolgoies are delivered. The data being analyzed is composed of website data that was used in a preliminary study to the bigger project, as well as the interviews that were collected as the project progressed.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Mainstreaming academic literacy teaching: implications for how academic development understands its work in higher education - C Jacobs

This article draws on research into the role of academic literacies within a range of disciplines and its implications for academic literacy teaching in Higher Education. The study explored ways of transforming current academic literacy teaching practices with a view to developing better synergy between the academic literacies that are taught and the disciplinary knowledge that students are accessing. The study examined how academic literacy practitioners and subject lecturers at a university of technology constructed their understandings of an integrated approach to the teaching of academic literacies. With a focus on the changing role of lecturers and academic literacy practitioners, the article briefly contextualises the study by sketching some of the background and outlining the methodology. The nature of disciplinary discourses is then theorised in relation to the findings from the study. Finally the article presents a theoretical model for the teaching of disciplinary discourses, and considers the implications of the theoretical model for academic development work generally, and for higher education broadly.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Personal transformation and leadership: student responses to the life-skills module at the University of Limpopo, 2003-2006 - H Efthimiadis-Keith

This article focuses on student leadership and transformation because of the belief that a) students have a tremendous influence on the academic leadership of an institution, and b) students themselves form part of this academic leadership - whether they are formally recognized for it or not - and can transform it in significant ways. The article briefly describes the history of the current Life-skills module since the inception of the Alternative Access Foundation Programme (AAFP) in 2002, as well as the learning and teaching philosophy behind it. It focuses on the interventions on offer through this module, for example Dependable Strengths Articulation, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, curriculum co-construction, and Cognitive Apprenticeship, describing what occurs through these in terms of content, student learning, leadership and transformation. The article then evaluates the module based on the analysis of student responses to questionnaires, and maps out possible future scenarios in terms of the module offering and evaluation.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Crossing the Rubicon in higher education - L Du Plessis and E Lodewyckx

An invitational teaching ecosystem comprises an environment of 5 Ps: people, places, policies, programmes and processes. Invitational education is promoted amongst students and educators. This article reports on an empirical study conducted at a higher education institution that is offering programmes at multiple sites of deilvery to determine the impact of mergers on an invitational ecosystem. Results indicate that access to learning resources that support teaching, as well as other social and personal factors in the learning environment, also influence the quality of a student's learning. Enthusaism, motivation and sensitivity of educators are noted by students as necessary to create an invitational ecosystem. Key priority areas on which higher education institutions should focus are higlighted in the findings.
A qualitative approach was followed to understand and represent the opinions of the students at the different sites of delivery. This article attempts to represent the views of students on the balance between people, places, policies, programmes and processes within the educational transaction movements.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Profesional socialisation: an influence on professional development and role definition - JJ Cornelissen and AS van Wyk

Professional socialisation refers to the acquisition of values, attitudes, skills and knowledge pertaining to a profession. This article reviews the definition and conceptualisation of professional socialisation through anticipatory and formal professional socialisation processes. It describes the core elements of professional socialisation such as knowledge acquisition, investment and involvement. The article concludes with models and frameworks of professional socialisation with reference to higher education.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Students learning across differences in a multi-disciplinary virtual learning community - V Bozalek et al

Despite desegregation, and educational policies calling for increased inclusivity in higher education, students in South Africa generally continue to have homogenous social and learning experiences. This article reports on a collaborative student learning community across three disciplines at two universities. The e-learning project aimed to provide students an opportunity for collaborative learning across differences. Feedback and comments from the students revealed that students had the opportunity to learn about socio-economic difference in South African communities, but that there was some avoidance in engaging with issues of race and apartheid. What students most benefited from was learning about the different disciplines.
From: SAJHE 21 (7) 2007

Taking the sting out of evaluation: rating scales for thesis examination - RM Albertyn et al

The role of assessment and evaluation in postgraduate research is problematic due to varying perceptions of standards and criteria regarding expectations of a postgraduate research thesis. To improve the standard of evaluation of theses and dissertations, a set of criteria, as well as rating scales for each criterion, was developed. These criteria and rating scales were applied to the evaluation of theses by over 15-0 academics in six workshops on the assessment and evaluation of theses and dissertations at different South African universities. The outcomes of each particpant's evaluations were compared to the formally appointed examiner's evalution of that thesis.The findings from applications in workshops reflect a greater consistency in the use of criteria, more comprehensive holistic coverage of all criteria, greater accountability by the examiner and an easier process in writing an examiner's report. The rating scale provided a standardised approach across disciplines, but proved to be less lenient to the candidate.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007

To become an asker of questions. A 'functional-narrative' model to assist students in preparing postgraduate research proposals - J Hilsdon

At the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, a 'functional-narrative' model (FNM) to stimulate thinking, questioning and reflection is being developed with undergraduate and postgraduate students in a range of subject areas. The FNM implies that a basic narrative structure operates in academic discourse, through various kinds of texts across disciplines (Hilsdon 1999). The approach is underpinned by the functional logic and social practices implied in a narrative structure consisting of description, analysis and evaluation, Initial evidence indicates that the model is helpful to students in deconstructing and reconstructing a given problem, topic or knowledge claim. A possible use of the FMN to assist postgraduate students in developing research proposals is now being investigated in South African universities, where academics are being consulted as to its potential. This article reports initial findings evaluating its use in that context, and elaborates on the model's background and underpinning theory.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007

Valuing employability: supervision training and the generic or transferable skills agenda - MR Davidson

This article describes the impact of generic research skills training on the supervision process, and the implications for training supervisors, in a northern Irish university. It seeks to find appropriate conceptual and theoretical frameworks with which to provide training for supervisors that recognise a pedagogy of supervision, which embraces the transferable skills agenda. The study is a case study, grounded in current and proposed work at the University of Ulster, which has around 900 Ph.D. or early-stage researchers, a growing number of research-only staff who supervise, and increasing numbers of experienced researchers and principal investigators. Ph.D. students are required to accumulate evidence of competence in all (A-G) skills listed in the Joint Skills Statement, to the extent of 180 Research Training Credits (RTCs), over a three year registration. The article also describes a web-based personal development plan (PD) kknown as the PD-System, recently adapted for the benefit of research students and their supervisors to track efforts to engage with such training, recognise prior experiential learning, and assist with training needs analysis within an electronic, and evidenced-based environment.
From: SAJHE 21(8) 2007

Guides and climbers: development of an online resource for thesis writers and supervisors - R Lamm et al

The supervisory relationship has been identified as a key feature of the research degree process. Notwithstanding its broadly acknowledged importance, there is often little formal institutional provision to support supervisors and candidates to establish effective educational relationships. In responding to the identified needs of students and supervisors, an onine resource has been developed at Monash University, Australia. Informed by the literature on academic writing skills instruction, genre studies and disciplinary discourse, it seeks to provide students with accessible educational content to enhance and support each stage of the process. The article focuses primarily on the components of the site which relate to the issues arising from the scoping study. It outlines the development within a framework of adult learning theory, as well as social interactionist and constructivist learning models, and highlights the stages of the construction of the project, as informed by content evaluation and usability tests.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007

Managing the student-supervisor relationship for successful postgraduate supervision: a sociological perspective - F Hodza

Supervision is an intensive, interpersonally focused one-to-one relationship between the supervisor and the student. In this process, the supervisor is designated to facilitate the student's academic development. This article will address supervision as a complex process that is influenced by many factors, including the social setting, the personalities of the supervisor and the student, the relationship that develops between them, the expertise of the supervisor, and so on. Patterns of thinking that have influenced supervision will be discussed, while an interactionist framework to project possible strategies concerning the importance of relationship skills in supevision will be highlighted. The article's thrust will be to highlight the social nature of the interaction between supervisor and student. This entails recognizing that as a social process, interaction is as much subject to limits imposed by the structural parameters within which supervision occurs as it, in turn shapes them. In other words, whilst the interaction between supervisor and student allows a considerable degree of free expression, it is enacted within a wider context of institutional power which itself is continuously modified by that interaction. These arguments are based on the findings from a study that I carried out in the Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance of Africa University in July 2006. A qualitative research design was employed to establish how to manage the student-supervisor relationship for successful post-graduate supervision. The study revealed that supervision is a complex soxial encounter which involves two or more parties with both converging and diverging interests. Therefore, balancing these interests is very crucial to the successful supervision of post-graduate research projects.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007

Postgraduate supervision: the role of the (language) editor: Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes? - ES van Aswegen

The article emanates from the author's current position at a university of technology, where she conducts workshops on research writing. She also has wide experience as a freelance academic editor. The article is therefore largely empirical, in the sense of being guided by practical experience and observation, rather than a theoretical discourse.
While touching briefly on the requirements for research writing, the article highlights deficiencies of postgraduate students in respect of research writing, bibliographic citation and compilation, as well as delineating the role and responsibility of the supervisor in the writing process.
The ethics of editorial intervention, particularly in the case of theses and dissertations, are also noted.
Finally, the author's modus operandi in editing academic texts provides some guidance in respectof the technicalities of research writing. The article concludes with recommendations for improving the writing skills of ill-prepared students.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007

Postgraduate supervision: for better or for worse? - MAJ Olivier

The purpose of this article is to articulate my systematic and critical reflection on my supervision of postgraduate students and the changed actions that I adopted, based on my self-reflection, in an attempt to improve the quality of my supervision practice and scholarship. The frustrations I often experienced over my years of supervision of Masters and Doctoral students, infused in me a desire for better practices. The significance of an improved supervision practice lays in my elicited critical awareness of my own supervision practice a positive relationship with my postgraduate students, mutual professional growth and scholarship, as well as the emancipation of postgraduate students.
From: SAJHE 21(8) 2007

Using 'currere' to re-conceptualise and understand best practices for effective research supervisio - R Nsibande

The article explores a way that could be used to facilitate re-conceptualisaton of what is essential to doing research supervision work. It highlights the need to deal with the problematic nature of past supervision experiences and the extent to which they impact on the way students are supervised. It argues that acquiring knowledge and understanding of best practice in supervision requires supervisors to embark on a 'currere' that will encourage them to investigate the nature of their experience of research supervision. This autobiographical method is emphasised as a means to in depth reflection which would subsequently lead to professional development in the area of supervision. The article suggests using currere as a means to expose and critique the influence and assumptions that underlie orientation to the concept of supervision in order to forge new understanding that will guide practice.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007

On the modellig of postgraduate students' conceptions of research - JHF Meyer

In contrast to the voluminous literature on undergraduate student learning there are relatively few studies that have set out to explore variation in postgraduate students engagement with research. The analogy is that research engagement represents a process of postgraduate learning, of comparable multivariate complexity to that of undergraduate learning, that explains variation in learning outcomes. In modelling terms, the conjecture is that there are multivariate sources of explanatory variation that shape the quality of learning outcomes. The research question is whether there is such variation, and whether it is amenable to statistical modelling. Based on the analogy between undergraduate and postgraduate learning, a simple prior knowledge and process core model of postgraduate learning is posited. Empirical findings from a number of studies that have reported variation in students' conceptions of research are used to explore some postulated properties of the undifferentiated core model and confirm its sensitivity to various response contexts. These implications of these findings are discussed in relation to research training and supervision.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007

Rigorous science - academic freedom. The challenge of thesis supervision in an art university - K Rinne and P Sivenius

The purpose of this article is to describe and discuss the role of support services in doctoral studies in an art university. The special question for art and design universities is the role of the supervisor when the dissertation contains art or design productions or projects. Two supervisors are usually appointed, one holding a doctorate and another being highly qualified in the artistic field. The requried dialogical and analytical relation between the written thesis and the productions is sometimes difficult to solve, and the definition of these key workds has given rise to much debate. Likewise the question of practice-led research has provoked intense discussion. At its best a doctoral thesis containing experimental projects would succeed in finding new ways to anayse the affiliation between art, science and technology. From the supervisors, this type of approach requires not only a knowledge of the subject of the research, but also a creative mind and an ability to understand the artist's or designer's methods and approaches.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2008

Post-graduate studies in South Africa: myths, misconceptions and challenges - J Mouton

The article interrogates some of the current views and myths around the so-called 'inefficiency' of the management of postgraduate studies in South Africa. In this regard data are presented on recent trends in postgraduate completion rates at the doctoral level; as well as on comparative data on throughput rates. I argue that the current discourse in South African higher education is obsessed with concerns of efficiency rather than effectiveness and quality. In this process, we focus too much on managerial and administrative solutions rather than on the challenges posed by academically underprepared postgraduate students.
From: SAJHE 21(8) 2007

Incremental writing: a model for thesis writers and supervisors - R Murray

Academic writing is a complex process in which a range of elements are at work. This article is an attempt to tease out the elements of this complexity: it suggests that rhetorical, social, behavioural and psychological elements are involved in academic writing. In addition, this article proposes that these elements can be combined in a model called incremental writing. Implementations of this model in writing prgrammes, run in different educational cultures, and evaluations of this approach in three research projects, suggest that it can have benefit for developing writers. It has been shown to help writers engage with the complexity of writing and develop productive writing prctices. The incremental model has relevance for thesis writers, for those who supervise them and for professionals facing the imperative to write for publication.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007

Postgraduate studies in Germany - how much structure is not enough? - H Roebken

In many European higher education systems, doctoral education is considered a rather unsystematic educational path. The candidate does not participate in course programmes nor is the Ph.D. candidate selected or evaluated according to any common standards. Since the 1990s, this unstructured approach to doctoral education has come under increasing scrutiny from politicians, scientists and has been the subject of public debate. Central issues include the employability of doctoral students and the lack of quality assurance and proper supervision. A considerable number of European higher education systems, including the German, are therefore shifting their doctoral education to a more structured approach. However, there is little consensus on just how much structure is necessary. The purpose of this essay is to discuss the tensions in the reform debate on doctoral education in Germany and to provide suggestions for how to cope with the conflicting pressures and demands.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007

Ph. D thesis quality: the views of the examiners - S Bourke

The Ph. D is clearly the pinnacle of formal education qualifications internationally, representing excellence and attracting resources and prestige to universities. In Australia, normally the only assessment of the Ph.D. is the reports on the thesis by two or three external examiners. The examiners effectively set Ph.D. standards. This study provides empirical information on doctoral assessment. From 2121 examiner reports on 804 thesis across all discipline areas at eight Australian universities, discipline and other differences, and thesis quality are discussed. What examiners comment on, and therefore presumably value, should be of considerable use to candidates and supervisors in meeting examiner expectations. Because examiner recommendations are intended for another specific purpose, there are problems in identifying thesis quality directly from them, except in distinguishing between the best and the marginal thesis. However, more fine-grained distinctions between theses would seem to be possible from a detailed description of the written comments.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007

'Levels' of success in the use of the literature in a doctorate - A Holbrook

This article explores two themes, the first is what examiners look for when judging a doctoral thesis or dissertation, the second is what constitutes an acceptable 'level' of doctoral scholarship. The focus of the analysis will be the literature review, chosen because it is in the presentation and use of the literature that scholarliness will be evident. The article draws together for the first time the findings of two large independent research studies on the doctorate that took place around the same time, one in the USA, the other on Australia. The aim of both studies was to make the expectations for the dissertation more transparent to graduate students. What academics expect if the literature component of the dissertation is examined in relation to 'coverage' and 'use'. The findings indicate that examiners have more modest expectations of a thesis than those generally implied in the notion of academic scholarship.
From: SAJHE 21 (8) 2007