Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Publications (2012)

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Akojee, S., Nkomo, M., Twalo, T.
Alternation 19 3
Title Access to Labour Market Equity: Advancing the Case for National Development in South African Higher Education
Abstract The responsibilities of higher education and training (HET) institutions include, but are not limited to, preparing students for absorption and productive participation in the labour market. Although the post- 1994 period has witnessed a rapid expansion in enrolment into tertiary institutions in South Africa by black people who were previously excluded, this has not resulted in transforming the South African labour market. Although increased black graduate production has resulted in more black people emerging from the university system, the labour market outcomes of black graduates and those emerging from previously black tertiary institutions (referred to as previously disadvantaged institutions) is less than consistent. While this must reflect on the reality of a racialised labour market selection process that favours white rather than black students or their ‘traditional’ institutions, it is necessary for supply side institutions to respond appropriately. The role of universities in this process is considered critical. This article argues for a more responsive higher education system that provides a bridge between the worlds of the institution and work.
Keywords: Education and labour market, South Africa, higher education access

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Balfour, R.J.
Alternation 19 3
Title The Retun to Reading: Acquisition, Reading, Research on Narrative and the Implications for a Multilingual Pedagogy for Higher Education in South Africa
Abstract As applied linguists, we still need, given the resurgence of interest and scholarship in multilingualism, to attend to research on developing and changing language pedagogy so that it is informed by cognitive linguistics and psycholinguistics. This article surveys research into bilingual language acquisition and educational linguistics and explores the implications of this work for the development and use of indigenous languages development in South Africa. Five arguments, as listed here, are presented on the basis of this research. First, that grammatical competence develops earlier in bilinguals because the use of two languages encourages an awareness of language systems (syntax and semiotics) such that the grammaticality of language is drawn to the attention of the bilingual learners when differences between two language systems become evident in the way these language are used and even learnt. Second, that the role of vocabulary development is crucial for the successful learning of a target language and such learning becomes more profound when phonology is developed and awareness of pronunciation is reinforced through reading. Third that bilinguals become aware of syntactic differences within languages at an earlier age than do monolingual speakers owing also to language exposure and use. Fourth, that phonological awareness of language use can be developed earlier when two languages are used and further that phonological awareness development is closely correlated to the development of reading skills as sight and sound work together to develop and enhance language awareness in bilingual speakers. Finally, that bi-lingual language reinforcement occurs best through a focus on complex narratives outside as well as inside controlled learning environments. In this regard and within the controlled learning environment (from the early school years to tertiary education level), the teaching of complex narratives is critical for the development of sophisticated reading skills. The article concludes by stating that research on language pedagogy for second language acquisition needs to be revived and further research conducted to account for an understanding of home-language syntax in relation to target-language syntax, and to create the scaffolding to enable learners to make the transitions necessary for effective learning.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Bansilal, S.
Education as Change
16 1
Title Arriving at the starting point? Exploring a teachers’ use of circular reasoning in a mathematics classroom
Abstract Many studies point to the problem of poor mathematics content knowledge of mathematics teachers in South Africa. The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers' knowledge of the mathematics they are themselves teaching. Data was generated from the teachers (n = 253) written responses to test that was a shortened form of a previous Grade 12 Mathematics Paper One examination. The sample of teachers were studying towards an Advanced Certificate in Education (an upgrading high school mathematics qualification) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The findings revealed that the teachers in this sample obtained an average of 57% in the test. Using an APOS theory analysis it was found that many teachers who were working at an action level of a concept would require help and scaffolding to move to process or object levels of understanding of that concept. Furthermore it was found that on average teachers obtained 29% on questions which were at the problem solving level, raising concerns about how these teachers would mediate tasks that are set at high cognitive levels, with their Grade 12 learners. 

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Bansilal, S.
Alternation 19 3
Title Exploring Success Rates in a Professional Development Programme for In-service Teachers
Abstract The purpose of this study is to explore the success rate of practising teachers in an in-service programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal for the period 2007 to 2011. Success in this context is taken as the ability to complete the programme in the mini mum time of two years. The participants were a group of mathematical literacy teachers, most of whom were over 35 years old and were enrolled in an advanced certificate in education programme funded by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education. Data was sourced from students’ assessment records and the student management system. The factors that were identified as influencing the participants’ success were gender, race, level of prior qualification and Grade 12 mathematics results. It was found that the group of students with the lowest rate of success was the female African teacher who had not studied beyond her initial three-year college diploma. The findings of study suggest that universities that offer programmes for upgrading teachers should design support systems to help the female African teacher with a three-year diploma to cope with the demands of the formal programme.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Bansilal, S.
Pythagoras 33 1
Title Using conversions and treatments to understand students’ engagement with problems based on the normal distribution curve
Abstract Including probability and statistics in the core curriculum of mathematics in South African schools has made it necessary to train teachers to teach statistics at high school level. This study concentrates on practising mathematics teachers who were students in an in-service programme. The purpose of the study was to investigate students’ success rates on different questions of a multi-part task based on the normal distribution curve. The theory that I used to understand the students’ difficulties is Duval’s theory about movement within and between semiotic representation systems, called treatment transformations and conversion transformations respectively. The first two parts of the problem were unknown percentage problems and involved a treatment followed by a conversion. The third was an unknown value problem and required a conversion before the students could undertake a treatment transformation. The findings reveal that the success rates the students achieved in treatment transformations were higher than those they achieved in conversion transformations. The study also revealed that the direction of the conversions played a role in success rates. Recognising the different challenges the two types of transformations pose requires that teachers pay particular attention to actions that involve movement between different representation systems.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Bargate, K.
Meditari:Accountancy Research
20 1
Title The readability of Managerial Accounting and Financial Management textbooks
Abstract Purpose – University Accountancy faculty need criteria to assist with the selection of textbooks, to ensure that the subject matter is congruent with the level at which students are taught. Readability is one such criterion. The purpose of this study is to assess the readability of two Managerial Accounting and two Financial Management textbooks, using three different readability evaluation methods. Design/methodology/approach – The sample for the study included 281 Accounting students from an Eastern seaboard university. Each student was requested to complete two passages – one from a Management Accounting textbook and one from a Financial Management textbook. The Gunning Fog Index, Flesch Reading Ease and Cloze Procedure readability evaluation methods were used to measure readability. Findings – The findings suggest varying levels of readability among the textbooks. Results from the Cloze Procedure reveal that three of the four textbooks were being read at the Frustration Level and the fourth marginally above the Frustration Level. The readability formulae returned varying results demonstrating that some of the textbooks were at a level that the students ought to be able to read. Research limitations/implications – Only two Managerial Accounting and two Financial Management textbooks of many published were assessed, and only three readability evaluation methods were used. Social implications – The findings have implications for university faculty, authors, publishers, editors and students. Originality/value – The readability of Managerial Accounting and Financial Management textbooks used at South African universities, has received scant attention in the literature. The analysis of the readability of the accounting textbooks, presents a synthesis that adds important knowledge in this under-researched topic.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Bargate, K.
International Journal of Humanities and Social Science
5 20
Title Criteria Considered by Accounting Faculty When Selecting and Prescribing Textbooks - A South African Study
Abstract The importance of textbooks in education is widely acknowledged. In South Africa, there is a scarcity of studies on accounting textbook selection criteria. This article describes the criteria considered important by accounting faculty when selecting prescribed textbooks. The survey sample included 122 accounting faculty at 13 South African Institute of Chartered Accountant accredited universities. The findings provide insight into criteria that accounting faculty consider important when selecting textbooks for prescription, such as up-to-date text material and comprehensibility to students. The results of the study may assist faculty when considering textbooks for selection and authors and publishers take cognisance of the importance attached to criteria when considering future editions of textbooks.
Keywords: Accounting education, Accounting faculty, Accounting textbooks, Authors, Education, Publishers, Textbook adoption, Textbook selection criteria

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Blewett, C.
Alternation 19 2
Title e-Learning Terminology Trends-A Lens to Institutional Paradigms?
Abstract A disturbing dichotomy is becoming apparent within e-learning. On the one hand are reports of increasing use of e-learning environments by higher education institutions, however on the other hand are indications that the use is limited and pedagogically rigid. By exploring the changes in e-learning terminology and research foci over the past ten years it is possible to trace underlying pedagogical currents in higher education. The paper firstly presents a framework that classifies e-learning tools into three categories. Then using search engine count estimates based on both Google Scholar and five top ranked journals, the paper examines trends in the terminology associated with these three categories between 2001 and 2010. The findings indicate that Type 1 environments, typified by Learning Management Systems continue to dominate, while Type 2 environments such as Virtual Learning Environments are becoming increasingly popular. However, despite technological innovations in Web 2.0 platforms, Type 3 Personal Learning Environments appear to already be floundering. The results indicate that out-dated approaches to learning, supported by industrial- age models may be hampering the adoption of alternative learning paradigms which are more readily supporte d by Type 3 environments. Future research may need to focus on exploring new informal learning environments, such as social networks, that are more authentic to the student learning and communication experience.
Keywords: e-Learning, Facebook, Learning Management Systems, pedagogy, Personal Learning Environments, Virtual Learning Environments

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Chapman, M.
English Academy Review: Southern African Journal of English Studies
29 1
Title Pile up! Masters Study in South Africa
Abstract The article reflects on a one-year pilot project in what, in South Africa, is a national concern: unsatisfactory throughput in Master’s study, or what a Council on Higher Education (CHE) report refers to as ‘pile-up’ in the system. The project considered the question of what is expected of the Master’s student and, in working with a sample of 30 students from arts/humanities disciplines, what might be done to address unsatisfactory throughput. A descriptive analysis of the project is followed by Lessons Learned and Recommendations. Examples are drawn from literary studies; the principles and procedures, nonetheless, have general applicability to disciplines in which research pursues an interpretative/textual methodology.
Keywords: Master’s throughput; recommendations; research protocols

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Chitja, J.
Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 
30 3
Title Enablers and barriers to multilingualism in South African university classrooms
Abstract Despite a robust national language policy, multilingual learning has yet to make headway in South African universities. In addressing the gap between the language of instruction and the languages South African university students are competent in, this article begins with a brief review of current national and institutional policy positions and recent multilingual learning theoretical discussions at university. Lines of thinking that emerge include: significance of academic literacy and how it underpins university studies; and separatist solutions where academic literacy is taught in dedicated modules. However the uncertain academic status of African language studies and negative attitudes to its speakers may compromise the potential of multilingual initiatives in universities. To solicit student impressions on the actuality and potential of multilingualism in universities, a focus group discussion was conducted with 15 students in the School of Agricultural Sciences and Agribusiness at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Students concurred that trying to process information in a language they were not competent in limited their understanding of lectures. Attempts to cope using mother tongue in study groups was limited by lack of terminology and conceptual equivalents, however, being taught in mother tongue was unacceptable to students because their aim was to acquire better English at university. In addition, foreign students expressed anxiety that multilingualism might disadvantage them. The study concludes that multilingualism could assist students in developing academic literacy and academic discourse but students seem blind to this advantage.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Combrinck, M. & Hatch, M.
Journal of Social Sciences
33 1
Title Students’ Experiences of a Continuous Assessment Approach at a Higher Education Institution
Abstract Assessment is an important component of any teaching-learning process. Due to economic and historical factors many higher education institutions have been using large-scale summative assessment. However there is move away from summative assessment to formative and continuous assessment (CA). Academics are therefore re-thinking assessment practices and considering using the latter approach. One of the challenges when using CA is developing the logistical procedures for large classes. This study is based on the introduction of a CA approach for 1000 second year macro-economics students in the Faculty of Management Studies at the University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN). The study is underpinned by an interpretive research orientation and is exploratorive in that it aims at achieving an in-depth understanding of the second year macro-economic students’ experiences of CA. Qualitative data was gathered. The paper starts with a literature review of assessment and continuous assessment followed by a description of the research methodology and design of the CA strategy. The last part of the paper offers a discussion of the qualitative data and the findings of the study. The qualitative data indicates that CA assisted students to manage their workload better and improved their understanding of the subject content. This approach to assessment in higher education institutions requires additional research but the positive results from this study demonstrate that CA could be considered as an approach to improve teaching and learning in large class contexts.
Keywords: assessment, qualitative research, formative assessment

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Flack, P.S.
Rural and Remote Health
Title Qualitative exploration of the career aspirations of rural origin health science students in South Africa
Abstract There is evidence in the literature that rural background significantly encourages eventual rural practice. Given the shortage of healthcare providers in rural areas, we need to explore ways of ensuring throughput and success of rural-origin students in health sciences. It is therefore important to understand who these students are, what motivates them and the factors involved in the formation of their career choices. The aim of this study is to understand the aspirations of undergraduate health science students of rural origin with regard to their future career plans. The objectives of the study include to explore and identify the key issues facing rural-origin students with regard to their future career plans. Individual interviews were conducted with 15 health science students from two South African universities. Transcriptions were analyzed with the aid of Nvivo v8 ( The findings suggest health science students of rural origin studying at universities in the South African context face specific challenges related to the nature of the contrast between rural and urban life, in addition to the more generic adaptations that confront all students on entering tertiary education. In order to support rural students in their studies, academic, financial, emotional and social stressors need to be addressed. Universities should strengthen existing support structures as well as aid the development of further support that may be required.
Keywords: career plan, health science, rural background, South Africa.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Giddy, P.
South African Journal of Philosophy
31 3
Title The Ideal of African Scholarship and its Implications for Introductory Philosophy 
Abstract Thinking of an academic discipline in terms of a ‘social practice’ (MacIntyre) helps in formulating what the ideal captured in the slogan ‘African scholarship’ can contribute to the discipline. For every practice is threatened by the attractiveness of goods external to the practice – in particular, competitiveness for its own sake – and to counter this virtues of character are needed. African traditional culture prioritizes a normative picture of the human person which could very well contribute here to upholding the values internal to scholarship. I argue, contrary to Matolino, which for these purposes Tempels’ notion of the transactional process of becoming more of what you are by virtue of the human insertion in nature, is a useful starting point. But the dominant way philosophy is framed today, the human person outside of ‘nature’, omitting the key notion of presence-to-self, disallows this dialogue between the dominant tradition and African thought culture. I show, by interrogating what I take to be an impoverished understanding of objectivity in the dominant philosophical approach, how the idea of personal, subjective, growth is crucial to introductory philosophy if the project of African scholarship is to find purchase. As an example I look at rival ways of understanding the value of justice, procedurally or, alternatively, substantively and hence foregrounding participation.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Gough, N.
Alternation 19 3
Title Generating Curriculum Visions for Global Citizenship: Collective Stories and Creative Imagination
Abstract Defensible curriculum decision-making requires that there be available to practical deliberation the greatest possible number and fresh diversity of alternative solutions to problems. Visions of alternative futures arise from many sources, and in this essay I focus on two such sources that tend to be under-represented in both school and higher education curricula, namely, (i)collective stories that reflect some degree of cultural (or sub-cultural) consensus about desirable futures; and (ii) speculative futures imagined by creative artists in various media. I describe selected examples of these approaches to generating alternative futures with particular reference to the implications of a global knowledge economy for contemporary understandings of notions such as citizenship.
Keywords: curriculum, globalisation, futures, consensus, storytelling, speculative fiction (SF), imagination.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Govender, N.
Alternation 19 2
Title Educational Implications of Applying the Complexity Approach to Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS)
Abstract Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is a body of valuable knowledge produced and owned by local people in their specific communities and found worldwide. Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) comprises a complex and an often implicit educational system that is not easily recognisable. The paper focuses on complexity thinking to unravel IKS and proposes that using Capra’s notion of meaning, Luhmann’s concept of communication in social systems and metaphors like autopoiesis (self-organisation), emergence and holism from complexity may provide explicit educational value in critically examining IKS and education. Applying these metaphors to IKS implies curricula at universities and schools need to be re-focused and disciplines re-structured for cross-disciplinary teaching and learning in order to solve current and pressing societal problems.
Keywords: IKS; education; complexity theories; autopoiesis, emergence, holism

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Harrison, L., Pithouse-Morgan, K., Conolly, J. & Meyiwa, T.
Alternation 19 3
Title Learning from the first year of the Transformative Educational Studies
Abstract The Transformative Education/al Studies project (TES) is a three-year, funded project led by researchers from three universities: a University of Technology, a Research-Intensive university, and a rural Comprehensive University. The project participants are academic staff members who are pursuing Masters and Doctoral studies and their supervisors. These participants, all engaged in self-study of their practice in Higher Education, form an inter-institutional, trans-disciplinary learning community. TES aims to enhance and study the development of self-reflexive pedagogic, research and supervision capacity among these participants. In this article, we make public our learning thus far about supporting an emerging postgraduate research learning community involving academic staff working and studying in three very different university contexts. The data sources comprise digital logbooks kept by participants, workshop evaluations, and the researchers‟ personal reflections and communications. Our analysis contributes to a body of academic work that explores how collaborative and social approaches to scholarship can enhance research capacity, productivity and quality in Higher Education. The conceptual underpinning of the article is that of reflexive ubuntu, which demands a consciousness of our developing „selves‟ as researchers and supervisors and of our interrelationships with other people.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Higgins-Optiz, B.
Advances in Physiology Education
Title Active Physiology learning in a diverse class: an analysis of medical student responses in terms of sex, home langauge, and self-reported test performance
Abstract The student body at the Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine (NRMSM) is very diverse, representing many cultures, religions, and languages. Research has shown that weakness in English can impact student performance. Recent studies have also highlighted sex-based differences in students' learning and listening styles. These factors pose both challenges and opportunities for teachers of physiology. Student presentations were incorporated for a number of years into the traditional didactic second-year medical physiology curriculum at the NRMSM. Feedback obtained about the perceived benefits of these presentations for the learning of gastrointestinal and endocrine physiology included demographic data pertaining to students' sex, home language, and self-reported performance in tests. Analysis of the 50-item questionnaire responses, obtained over a 2-yr period, provided some interesting insights. Student responses to the items differed significantly in 27 of the 50 items in the questionnaire, based on sex alone (22%), sex and home language (7%), home language alone (37%), performance alone (26%), and performance and home language (7%). Our analyses of student perceptions support the findings of other studies and show that factors such as sex, home language, and student performance can play an important role in the way students are motivated to learn. In designing active learning strategies, academics need to take into account the potential influences that might affect student learning in diverse, multicultural, and multilingual classes.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Maphosa, C. 
The Anthropologist
14 5
Title Learner's Peceptions of Possible Approaches to Curb Learner Indiscipline in South African Schools
Abstract The study is part of a larger study on the management of learner indiscipline in South African schools. This study sought to establish learners’ views on the possible approaches that could be employed to curb indiscipline in schools. The study adopted a descriptive survey approach encompassing quantitative and qualitative approaches. It sought the insights of 280 learners selected form 15 independent schools in Mthatha district in theEastern Cape Province of South Africa. Data were collected mainly thorough a semi-structured questionnaire administered on selected learners as well as interviews. The SPSS statistical package version 17 was used to analyze the quantitative data. Qualitative data was analysed through content analysis as emerging key issues led to themes that guided the analysis. It emerged from the study that participants felt strongly the need for the formation of teacher/ parent partnership teams in schools, random searches for dangerous weapons, compulsory guidance and counseling programmes in schools, equipping teachers with techniques to identify children with behaviour problems, focusing on prevention of indiscipline, random searches for drugs, compulsory stress management courses for all learners from senior phase, compulsory anger management courses for all learners from senior phase, monitoring school playgrounds and employing child psychologists in every school. The study concludes that a lot could be done to deal with learner indiscipline in schools by adopting preventive and proactive approaches. The study recommends a holistic approach to the management of learner indiscipline in schools in which all important stakeholders play pivotal roles. The study further recommends that under increasing psycho-social pressures there is need to expose learners to compulsory anger and stress management courses in schools specially at senior school level.
Keywords: Behaviour Problems. PreventiveApproaches. Behavior Management. Parents/School Partnerships

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Mbatha, T.
Per Linguam
28 1
Title IsiZulu Teachers’ Perceptions of the Foundations for Learning Literacy Programme in Four Township Primary Schools.
Abstract This article reports on a study that was conducted to investigate how isiZulu speaking teachers teaching Grade R to Grade 3 in four Pietermaritzburg township schools in KwaZulu-Natal have received the Foundations for Learning Programme (FLP), launched by the national Department of Education as a response to drastic deficiencies in reading and writing skills that have recently been confirmed among South African learners. In total, 14 Foundation Phase teachers participated in an interview- based study on their perceptions of the programme. Findings of the study indicate considerable uncertainty and unevenness in the way teachers interpret the FLP, and teachers of isiZulu in particular reported inability to engage with the programme because it was published in English and no isiZulu version was available. The conclusion is that the DoE must provide FLP resources in isiZulu so that teachers are enabled to use the programme for improving isiZulu literacy skills among learners.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Mudaly, R.
Alternation 19 3
Title Gazing Inward: Teaching in the Postgraduate Milieu
Abstract This paper focuses on a critical reflection of my practice as a woman academic who supervises the research work of postgraduate students, and who teaches collaboratively in a Masters level module in the higher education context. This epistemological vigilance is facilitated by my temporary withdrawal from teaching in order to analyse my modes of academic pedagogy and practice. Drawing on theoretical frames from feminism and cultural production theory, I use journal entries to reflexively explore my experience as a woman academic navigating the postgraduate landscape. The findings include a description of my learning in the workplace through three primary activities, namely, individual supervision, team supervision and collaborative teaching on a postgraduate module. I consider the intersecting influences of my age, gender, experience in teaching and research, and the hierarchy of different types of work, on my academic development by charting my individual journey from the undergraduate to the postgraduate terrain. The concluding remarks describe how the formation of partnerships can be achieved by working with a cadre of fellow academics. This team of academics shared the same values and practices about teaching and resulted in creation of a more authentic gestalt, and enabled postgraduate students to develop skills related to expression and critical thinking en route to becoming organic intellectuals.
Keywords: teaching, postgraduate, gender, supervision, academic development, reflection

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Munro, N., Chilimanzi, Y. & O'Neill, V.
South African Journal of Psychology
42 1
Title Character Strengths and Psychological Type in University Peer Educators
Abstract This study explores the relationships between character strengths and psychological type in a sample of university peer educators. As part of their training, 69 peer educators from the University of KwaZulu-Natal completed both the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The administration of these questionnaires was integrated into the peer educator training as a means of enhancing self- and other-awareness, and inducting the participants into their role as peer educators. Significant differences were found between five of the 24 VIA-IS character strengths and three of the four bipolar categories of MBTI type. In particular, when compared with introverts, extraverts reported significantly stronger scores for the character strengths of curiosity and humour, while the character strength of appreciation of beauty and excellence was significantly higher in the MBTI preference of intuition (when compared with sensing). Finally, the character strengths of capacity to love and be loved and gratitude were stronger for those with the MBTI category of feeling (when compared with those in the category thinking). Positioned within the framework of positive psychology and context of peer education in higher education, the implications of these results are considered from strengths and type perspectives. 

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Naidoo, J.
33 1
Title Teacher reflection: The use of visual tools in mathematics classrooms
Abstract Research has shown that the use of visual tools in mathematics classrooms is beneficial, but what we do not know is how South African teachers negotiate the use of visual tools (e.g. diagrams, gestures, the use of colour, et cetera) in classrooms. Research was conducted with six ‘master teachers’ to explore the use of visual tools. Master teachers in this study are expert teachers identified by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education. They are experienced teachers with the potential to mentor new teachers. Master teachers were asked to complete a questionnaire, and they were observed and recorded whilst teaching mathematics lessons. Each master teacher was observed at least three times. All the video recordings were analysed, after which each master teacher was interviewed. After each master teacher interview had been analysed, one focus group interview was conducted with learners at each school. The study was undertaken within a qualitative, interpretive paradigm. The study was framed within Schön’s theory of teacher reflection. The findings suggest that each master teacher incorporated the use of visual tools in order to make mathematical concepts easier to understand for the learners. For example, one master teacher used a stick with coloured rubber bands to teach rotation about a point; another master teacher used various colours and lines on an interactive smart board to teach number patterns and a third used hand gestures to demonstrate the direction of the gradient of a line. Interview data suggest that the incorporation of such visual tools came about as a result of teachers’ reflecting in action. These findings are important for advancing teacher and curriculum development.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Nerad, M.
Alternation 19 3
Title Conceptual Approaches to Doctoral Education: A Community of Practice
Abstract A silent paradigm shift has occurred in doctoral education. Preparing the next generation of PhDs to function successfully in and contribute to today’s and tomorrow’s global environment requires an approach that goes beyond conceptualizing an apprenticeship model and institutes communities of practice, which should include recognition of peers as learning partners. Coordinated efforts are also needed across many levels inside and outside the university. Because more is being asked of the next generation of researchers—in addition to the traditional academic research competencies, they now need professional skills as well as cultural competencies—what is required today at the PhD level is the kind of purposeful structuring that allows for transformative doctoral education.
Keywords: Globalization, knowledge economy, doctoral education, PhD research pedagogy, learning communities, peer learning partners

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 North, D., Zewotir, T. & Murray, M.
Alternation 19 3
Title Modelling Research Productivity Using a Generalization of the Ordered Logistic Regression Model
Abstract In South Africa, the Department of Education allocates funds to universities by means of a funding formula that focuses primarily on student throughput and academic staff-based research productivity. Accordingly, South African universities have developed their own strategies to help improve their student throughput and staff publication rates. In this paper we are concerned with identifying potential factors that affect the publication rates of academic staff at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Some extensions of the ordered logistic regression model will be considered with the final objective being  to produce a model that can assign a particular academic (with a given set of demographic variables) to one of four possible publication-based productivity classes.
Keywords: research productivity, logistic regression, generalised ordered logistic progression

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Pithouse-Morgan et al.
Alternation 19 3
Title 'The Air is Hostile': Learning from an African International Postgraduate Student's Theory of Fear and Isolation within a South African University Campus
Abstract In this article, we–a research team of academic staff and postgraduate students–take a narrative inquiry stance to explore what we can learn from one African international postgraduate student‟s stories of experience on a South African university campus. We use the medium of narrative vignettes–brief evocative scenes or accounts–to re-present data generated through unstructured interviews and collage-making. Framed through a multiperspectival theoretical lens, the vignettes reveal how the student’s everyday life on campus is constrained by fear of xenophobic harassment and violence. We argue that the setting or backdrop for his learning can therefore be understood as pedagogically unsound, even when effective teaching and learning activities might be seen to be taking place in designated spaces. To conclude, we consider possibilities for cultivating pedagogic settings that are beneficial and safe for all those who learn, teach and live within them.
Keywords: narrative inquiry; vignettes; pedagogic settings; university campuses; African international students; xenophobia; multiperspectival theoretical lens

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Pocock, J. 
South African Journal of Science
108 4
Title Leaving rates and reasons for leaving in an Engineering faculty in South Africa: A case study
Abstract This paper describes a case study undertaken at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of KwaZulu-Natal to determine the leaving rates from the faculty both by a cohort analysis (over the existence of the university from 2005 to 2010) and by a 1-year population balance over the whole faculty in 2009. Students who had left the faculty who could have continued were identified from the population balance and interviewed to determine the common reasons for leaving. The cohort analysis showed that from 2005 through to 2008, the leaving rate from first-year cohorts was reduced year on year (from over 22% to below 14%). This reduction coincided with stabilisation of the faculty after a merger process and increased academic support. In 2009, however, an increase in the proportion of first-year students who left (to over 17%) was identified, which may be linked to the entry of students who had taken the new National Senior Certificate in South African high schools. The population balance over the year 2009 showed an academic exclusion rate of approximately 6% of the total undergraduate student body, and, more significantly, an academic leaving rate of about 14% of the total student body. The exclusion rate remained fairly static across three semesters whilst voluntary leavers increased over the same period. An analysis and interviews with a sample of the students who left showed that financial reasons played a significant role in these rates, with 49% of non-academically excluded students having financial difficulties, and that a significant proportion of students continue their studies at universities of technology. Although this is a case study within one institution, it is hoped that the findings can inform the current debate surrounding increasing throughput in Science and Engineering within the country.
Keywords: drop out; engineering education; South Africa; student retention; academic monitoring

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Raniga, T.
Alternation 19 2
Title Community Work through Reflective Practice: Social Work Student Perspectives
Abstract In this paper I present empirical evidence from the experiences of 10 final year social work students involved in community work practice. The students were involved in a garden project using a sustainable livelihood model in a low income community in KwaZulu-Natal. Data was produced in six phases involving methods of participant observations, interviews, and focus groups. The minutes of meetings held with students and members of the community were also sources of data. Three themes were distilled from the data: reflections on self, reflections on team meetings and reflections on working with community members. A major finding of the study was the importance of reflective practice for learning to be a professional social worker in general and understanding of community work in particular.
Keywords:Reflective practice; community work; student perspectives

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Sibanda, D. & Jawahar, K
Alternation 19 2
Title Exploring multiple perspectives on the mentoring of in-service teachers enrolled in a Maths, Science and Technology Education Programme
Abstract The Advanced Certificate in Education programme in Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST ACE) offered by the University of KwaZulu-Natal was a collaborative effort between the university and the national Department of Education. The programme was originally offered by the university with classroom support provided to in-service teachers in the general education and training phase. The programme aimed to improve the subject content knowledge and teaching skills of teachers. One innovation of the programme was the inclusion of classroom based mentoring. This paper explores the impact of classroom-based support as offered in the programme on the development of in-service teachers. Data was collected through programme evaluation questionnaires, written submissions from in-service teachers and school visit mentors. Our results show that both in-service teachers and school visit tutors were supportive of the inclusion of the school visit support component of the MST ACE programme. The findings of the study will contribute to a nuanced understanding of the need for classroom support for in-service teachers’ programmes and provides an empirical basis for further curriculum innovation as well as academic monitoring and support.
Keywords: innovation, mentoring, school visits, in-service teachers, school visit mentors, development, general education and training

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Sibanda, D. & Jawahar, K.
Alternation 19 2
Title Exploring the Impact of Mentoring In-service Teachers Enrolled in a Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Prgramme
Abstract The Advanced Certificate in Education programme in Mathematics, Science and Technology (MST ACE) offered by the University of KwaZulu-Natal was a collaborative effort between the university and the national Department of Education. The programme was originally offered by the university with classroom support provided to in-service teachers in the general education and training phase. The programme aimed to improve the subject content knowledge and teaching skills of teachers. One innovation of the programme was the inclusion of classroom based mentoring. This paper explores the impact of classroom-based support as offered in the programme on the development of in-service teachers. Data was collected through programme evaluation questionnaires, written submissions from in-service teachers and school visit mentors. Our results show that both in-service teachers and school visit tutors were supportive of the inclusion of the school visit support component of the MST ACE programme. The findings of the study will contribute to a nuanced understanding of the need for classroom support for in-service teachers’ programmes and provides an empirical basis for further curriculum innovation as well as academic monitoring and support.

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Temesgen Z., North, D. & Murray, M.
Alternation 19 2
Title Using a zero-inflation and hurdle model to predict research output at the University of KwaZulu Natal
Abstract In South Africa, the Department of Education allocates funds to universities by means of a funding formula that focuses primarily on student throughput and academic staff based research productivity. Accordingly, South African universities have developed their own strategies to help improve their student throughput and staff publication rates. In this paper we are concerned with identifying potential factors that affect the publication rates of academic staff at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Some extensions of the ordered logistic regression model will be considered with the final objective being to produce a model that can assign a particular academic (with a given set of demographic variables) to one of four possible publication based productivity classes.
Keywords: research productivity, logistic regression, generalised ordered logistic regression

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Van Laren et al.
Alternation 19 3
Title Exploring University Educator's Lived Experiences of Curriculum Innovating through  Intergrating HIV and AIDS
Abstract There is a growing realisation of the vital role that Higher Education institutions in South Africa can and should play in keeping students not only alive, well and productive but also prepared to face the multiple challenges associated with living and working in the context of the HIV & AIDS pandemic. This article reports on part of a larger research project that explores the experiences and work of university educators who are involved in curriculum in novating through integrating HIV & AIDS in their teaching at a South African university. The objectives of the larger study are to locate, document, highlight, encourage and explore further possibilities for curriculum innovating through integrating HIV &AIDS in Higher Education teaching. This article responds particularly to the following research question: What are the lived experiences–personal and professional–of curriculum innovators who integrate HIV & AIDS into their teaching? We point to three significant aspects of the lived experiences of curriculum innovating–selfing, distancing and valuing–and highlight the commitment of these curriculum innovators to making a difference as well as drawing attention to the emotional and professional challenges they encounter.
Keywords: Curriculum innovating, Higher Education, HIV & AIDS, Integration, South Africa

Year Authors  Journal/Book Volume Issue
2012 Vithal, R. & Skovsmose, O.
Pythagoras 33 2
Title Mathematics Education, Democracy and Development
Abstract Mathematics education and its links to democracy and development are explored in this article, with specific reference to the case of South Africa. This is done by engaging four key questions. Firstly, the question of whether mathematics education can be a preparation for democracy and include a concern for development, is discussed by drawing on conceptual tools of critical mathematics education and allied areas in a development context. Secondly, the question of how mathematics education is distributed in society and participates in shaping educational possibilities in addressing its development needs and goals is used to examine the issues emerging from mathematics performance in international studies and the national Grade 12 examination; the latter is explored specifically in respect of the South African mathematics curriculum reforms and teacher education challenges. Thirdly, the question of whether a mathematics classroom can be a space for democratic living and learning that equally recognises the importance of issues of development in contexts like South Africa, as a post-conflict society still healing from its apartheid wounds, continuing inequality and poverty, is explored through pedagogies of conflict, dialogue and forgiveness. Finally the question of whether democracy and development can have anything to do with mathematics content matters, is discussed by appropriating, as a metaphor, South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s framework of multiple ‘truths’, to seek links within and across the various forms and movements in mathematics and mathematics education that have emerged in the past few decades.

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