Doctoral Degrees (Curriculum Studies)

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    A contextual analysis of the implementation of a curriculum at a teacher education institution
    (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2023-12) Amweenye, Fares Frans; Le Grange, Lesley ; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Curriculum Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study explored the presence or absence of a constructivist epistemology Namibia adopted to underlie her education system at all levels including teacher education. An epistemology is central in any study programme for it informs the teaching-learning views and actions. Conducted at University of Namibia’s satellite campus, the study sought the meaning and role accorded it in informing English teacher education instruction as well as the grounds established to enable its application. The thesis employed a case study along with the qualitative design entrenched in an interpretative constructivist worldview and engaged an analysis of leading policy texts on education to situate the written position of the epistemology as an underlying theory. To narrow the scope of the study, it embraced interactive semi-structured interviews with eleven senior student teachers and seven teacher educators from an area of English (with an exception) purposely selected to extract their experiences and views pertaining to a constructivist pedagogy centred on their academic involvement with its reception and application. Bernstein’s theory of pedagogical discourse and practice offered a framework for analysing the study’s outcomes.The outcomes of the study revealed an absence of an explicitly defined epistemology and a low status assigned to it in steering the educational practices. Data generated through documentary analysis unearthed incompatibility between basic education and teacher education policy documents, a development that culminated into incongruence, discord and contradiction. Similarly divergence emerged among teacher education programmes in their subscription to the underpinning theoretical framework. Similar revelations were also exposed by interview generated data. At the level of description, the findings indicated an aspiration towards a pedagogical organisation and progression featuring a weak framing over the governing rules concerning the interpersonal social relations of educators and students. The attempts to weakly frame the rules pertaining to selection, sequence and pace also existed. The success on these would have enabled students into the role of active participants with educators acting as facilitators. Contrarily the implementation level signified educators shifting into a dominant position of authority and control into the above rules turning the pedagogy towards teacher-centredness which dislodged students from the centre of the education to the periphery that fostered passivity and further bred the mechanistic view of education. Whilst this could be interpreted as of ensuing educator dominance into this pedagogical encounter they also became disempowered to guarantee instructional perspectives and approaches in line with the expected invisible pedagogy as they lost authority over the regulative rules concerning text, time and evaluative criteria that came to feature the pedagogical practices strongly. The effective and meaningful implementation of the envisioned epistemology became furthermore negatively impacted by the contextual classroom conditions not tuned into the grounds capable of enabling its smooth application.The study recommends a revamp of the epistemology’s current lower position in informing study programmes; an imminent overhaul of the disconnected approach out of which its current state ostensibly originated and the conceited efforts to address constraining structural and contextual factors perceived to impact its clearer meaning and comprehension and effective implementation.
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    Dosente se belewing van die ontwikkeling van akademiese identiteit binne ’n privaat hoëronderwysinstansie met ’n dominant tegnologiese modus: ’n fenomenologiese ondersoek
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12) Viljoen, Jacobus; Frick, Liezel; Strydom, Sonja; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Curriculum Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Academic identity gained attention in the last decade within public higher education institutions with few studies focusing on private higher education institutions. There is no standard definition of academic identity where academic identity is considered a concept, which includes the dimension of the individual, the occupation the lecturers have qualified for, the institution where they work (or have worked previously) as well as the use of technology. In this study, the focus is on the concept of academic identity as well as the development thereof through the lived experience of full-time lecturers at a private higher education institution in South Africa. This study also investigates the dominant focus on technology in the development and functioning of higher education institutions. This research undertakes a phenomenological approach using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) framework. In-depth phenomenological interviews were conducted with eight full-time lecturers at a private higher education institution that provides training through face-to-face and distance learning. The data was collected through means of three-phase interviews (as suggested by Seidman, 2019) and analysed using IPA. This analysis was done through the theoretical lens of the Cultural Historic Activity Theory (CHAT). A homogeneous group of lecturers from the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences was selected to participate in this study.The conclusions from the study suggest that lecturers are more focused on the mandatory work they must do as stipulated in their job description in contrast to the roles that lecturers traditionally have to undertake (teaching, research, and community engagement). With this, lecturers focus mainly on performing the role of teaching as this is the role they have been appointed to perform and will be evaluated on. Even so, lecturers mentioned that they do not regard being engaged with the community as part of their academic identity because the institution aims to be identified as a community-based university. Lecturers associate their role with teaching and must be adaptable within different learning environments (face-to-face and distance learning). Lecturers admit that industry experience is necessary for teaching even though all of them are not currently working in the industry. The lecturers who are actively working in the industry suggest that their academic identity is aligned with their professional identity with no differences between them. Regarding the findings related to technology, it was found that technology provides more possibilities but increased the workload. However, lecturers experience that technology is more important than their pedagogy. Lecturers’ experience was that the intensity of the use of technology is different between learning environments but that there exists an expectation that both learning environments should use technology to the same degree. This study indicates how lecturers initially adopt the academic identity from the idea of the institution before they start to develop and adapt their own academic identity. The overall academic identity found in this study is adaptability (as a process) where this study contributes to the literature regarding the academic identity in private higher education institutions within South Africa. Further research is proposed to confirm the concept of academic identity as used in this study. The investigation of the lived experience of developing and adaption of academic identity could be investigated in other faculties to confirm the experience of adaptability to academic identity.
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    The emotional experiences of Cape Peninsula University of Technology education students in navigating teaching practice
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, ) Zyster, Jenead Diana Nicole; Robinson, Maureen; Le Cordeur, Michael ; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Curriculum Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Teaching Practice, the school-based component of initial teacher education, is one of the most important components of any teacher education program. As a lecturer on the B. Ed. programme many uncertainties that student teachers experience during Teaching Practice were brought to my attention. These include placement and accommodation, the attitudes of teachers, mentors and principals, conflicting personalities, the lecturers assigned for panel assessments, efficiency of school management and the availability of resources. It is against this background that I set out to study the emotional experiences of a group of student teachers at my institution. The aim of the study was to investigate the role of emotions in the various phases (pre, during and post) of Teaching Practice for students enrolled in the Bachelor of Education at CPUT. The study explored the experiences of these student teachers in regard to their emotions and emotional challenges as they navigated the entire Teaching Practice journey. The study was supported by literature, which highlights the emotional challenges student teachers and teachers face during their daily practice (Hayes, 2003). In fact, studies have found that student teachers change professional programmes and teachers resign from their positions due to pressure of the modern-day classroom, which include difficulty in dealing with emotional and psychological challenges in their professional practice (McCarthy, Lambert, O’Donnell, & Melendres, 2009) Struyven & Vanthournout, 2014). Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory was employed as the theoretical framework of the study. My interest in achievement goals and self-efficacy as antecedents to increased performance, motivation, work satisfaction and positive affect, led to the espousing of the Control Value Theory of Pekrun, Frenzel, Goetz and Perry (2007) and Bandura’s (1977) self-efficacy theory to support the theoretical underpinnings of the study. I employed qualitative research methods to acquire a deep, rich array of data in order to answer the research questions. Eighteen third-year B. Ed. students at CPUT’s Wellington campus participated in this study. The following instruments provided the data for the study: two open-ended questionnaires and an interview based on a poster. A thematic analysis was employed, and the data were categorised in themes and categories, derived from the literature review and the constructs from the theoretical framework of the study. The findings of the study highlighted the complex and emotional nature of TP, especially student teachers’ efforts in learning to teach, and their endeavours to become socialized into the school community. Various factors were found to have an influence on student teachers’ emotions. These included the relationship with learners, fellow student teachers, mentor teachers and the principal, as well as the particular school placement. The participants unanimously agreed that they should be continually cognisant of their emotions throughout TP as the journey is one of being emotionally “up and down”. The participants mentioned the value of emotion regulation, self-reflection and self-motivation to serve as buffers against negative affect and inappropriate and drastic actions. The study also found that the pandemic had profound consequences on student teachers in a vastly changed school and home environment. Recommendations are made for ways in which higher education institutions can assist student teachers in alleviating stressful emotions and emotional events which may accompany TP, and to augment existing policy, systems and support structures.
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    Democratic citizenship education in South African schools: Teachers' practices and perspectives
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Rock, Chrischar; Robinson, Maureen; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Curriculum Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since the advent of democracy in South Africa, policy documents and curriculum guides have attempted to shape and provide a framework for democratic citizenship education in schools. Even with such policies being in place, this research works from the premise that through teachers’ practices, perspectives, and lived experiences in classrooms and schools, policy endeavours and ideals for democratic citizenship education can be given meaning. The study draws on practice theory, where the emphasis lies on examining practices in practice. The study uses the notion of sense-making, which includes the central concepts of individual cognition, situated cognition, and policy signals. Through its findings, the research sheds light on teachers’ conceptualisation of democratic citizenship education and how it is implemented, organised, and practiced across different classrooms in different schools. The study utilized qualitative research methods within an interpretivist framework, and it focused on eight Life Orientation teachers, all in their first five years of teaching. Data-collection methods included lesson observations and semi-structured interviews. The lesson observations offered insight into how these teachers implemented democratic citizenship education in their respective classrooms. Semi-structured interviews allowed the research participants to discuss their perspectives on democratic citizenship education and offer further insights into the pedagogical strategies observed in lessons. This study has identified that, conceptually and empirically, there exists a gap between how curriculum policy in South Africa articulates the values and strategies of democratic citizenship education and teachers’ understanding and interpretations of these ideas. Findings indicate the importance of the relationship between the teacher as the individual sense-maker, the situational context, and external policy representations on teachers’ conceptualisation and implementation of democratic citizenship education. The study showed how teachers are constrained or enabled by their situational context and the different ways in which they take initiative to navigate their individual contexts. Results indicate a need for a better understanding of how teachers themselves make sense of democratic citizenship education in practice and the influence of the situational context on teachers’ classroom pedagogy. As one strategy towards this end, the study argues that teacher education programs, both in their design and implementation, need to create opportunities for pre-service and in-service teachers to develop pedagogical approaches to explore, implement and promote democratic citizenship education. By giving attention to the findings and recommendations of this study, it is argued that we may develop a better understanding of the teacher (self), the profession, and the practice for the realisation of democratic citizenship education in schools in South Africa.
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    'n Poging om die loopbaan vooruitsigte van leerders by ‘n VOO-Landelike skool te verbeter: ‘n Deelnemende aksienavorsingsbenadering
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Klaasen, Danoven; Esau, Omar; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Education. Dept. of Curriculum Studies.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The disposition within which rural schools function and the challenges it poses to rural learners have significant consequences for the prospects of rural learners (Nelson Mandela Foundation, 2005; Jansen, 2011). In this thesis, I share the participatory action research project I undertook at the school where I teach and the community that it serves. This research was an attempt to improve the career prospects of learners at a rural school. The study was a critical inquiry characterized by democratic processes and principles of empowerment and collaboration, embodying the fundamental characteristics of Participatory Action Research (PAR). This was done with the aim of bringing about transformation by exposing the restrictive factors that undermine positive change and thus improving my general practice in Career guidance within the rural school environment. General practice in this context refer to my practice inside and outside the classroom which also includes formal and informal teaching. In an effort to answer the research questions related to the topic of this study, data were collected through interactions with my cooperative research group, focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews, field notes, participant observation, triangulation, and the presentation of lessons. During the recruitment and selection of participants, I used purposeful sampling. When purposeful sampling is combined with Participatory Action Research methods, new opportunities are promoted to engage community members in research on social issues and the use of research findings within community contexts (Palinkas et al., 2015). Data were analysed in an ongoing and iterative process and were informed by theories on which this study was based. The analysis of the study indicates that: - The inherent characteristics of the rural environment leave school, learners, parents and guardians in a disposition, - A strong correlation exists between the socio-economic circumstances of the learner and his/her attitude towards his/her future and academic progress. - The lack of ambition that matriculants demonstrate is fuelled by a lack of positive role models. - Factors such as uninvolved parents, unemployment, low levels of literacy of parents and the community, gang elements, early school leaving, unqualified career guidance teachers and other defective elements of the school and community contribute to a weakened frame of reference, which impacts negatively on the rural learners because the learners operate in an environment of low expectations. The above results seem to contribute to a trajectory of the learner that is consistent with that of the community within which he/she finds himself/herself. This dissertation recommends that there should be closer collaboration between the school and the community. It also suggests that classroom practice becomes more cooperative in nature, so that learners can have greater participation. It also wants to emphasize the sentiment that the rural learner will remain oppressed by the restrictive localized characteristics of the rural environment, if the influences to which the learner is exposed are not managed. Changing the trajectory of the rural learner requires a sustainable intervention that improves the career prospects of the rural learner.