Research Articles (Educational Psychology)

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    The value of literary theatre in the consciousness education of psychotherapy students
    (Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns, 2023) Conradie, Karlien; Swart, Estelle
    The capacity to comprehend experiences in a coherent way and attribute meaning to existence is unique to human beings. Through Dasein, being consciously concerned with the onto-phenomenological experience, thus interpreting what it means to exist amid that which is and is still becoming, human beings strive to connect with their Lebenswelt (a lived world). Only when individuals are consciously receptive to and involved in their own ontological being and becoming can they empathise with the very nature of another. Woven into this larger disposition characterised by continuous onto-phenomenological self-making-in-a-situation (Bildung) -the Nietzschean call - is the empathic attitude. In the context of psychology, in particular psychotherapy, the empathic attitude - that is, being sensitively aware of how we understand ourselves, others and the world we share - is undeniably part of the repertoire of qualities that a therapist ought to possess. Often, however, the attitude of novice therapists towards what is happening between them and their clients here and now involves inflated self-awareness that is devoid of ontological considerations. Frequently, this results in a clichéd form of empathy based primarily on sentimental emotionality. It seems to be true that, in a ubiquitous cyberculture characterised by self-absorption and the mere accumulation of simplistic explanations, the ability to be ontologically receptive - as the sine qua non of an empathetic attitude - is gradually becoming undervalued. Art, in particular literary theatre, has the capacity to push psychotherapy students (as spectators) to the edge of what it means to be human beings; by implication, therefore, it constitutes an appeal for existential phenomenological involvement. Suddenly the spectators cannot escape the incantatory circle ofwhat is affectively transcendent and become participants in their own self-developmental needs and psychological yearnings. This article seeks to illustrate how the existential phenomenological elements of literary theatre, including physicality (language, movement, actions and sound), time and spatiality, can be used to comprehend an embodied involvement (being with the client, here, now) and encourage ontological reflection in psychotherapy students. In this regard, literary theatre displays certain existential phenomenological characteristics that can be understood and applied as part of a pedagogical enterprise in psychotherapy teaching and training. Some core characteristics include inner stillness, a sensitive-receptive attitude, and an awareness of Jungian or depth-psychology archetypes. Of importance is therefore the existential phenomenological attitude of the psychotherapy student towards a child's being (onto-involvement) in the therapy room or clinical evaluation situation. By way of a conceptual explication, we attempt to provide an understanding of the relationship between the psychological function of literary theatre and the existential phenomenological attitude of the educational psychology student. This attitude embodies a certain artistry or aesthetic disposition, characterised by qualities such as honed intuition, sensitive awareness and the formation of nuanced connections. Such artistry allows the psychotherapy student to explore the developmentally and contextually layered client, and to articulate den Zachen Zelbst meaningfully by way of contemplative, nuanced thought and language. Den Zachen Zelbst, ingrained in the Husserlian and Heideggerian vernacular of philosophy of phenomenology, refers to existence as intentional; to be consciously concerned with the meaning of being, therefore life-world experience, as opposed to merely registering and measuring impressions from the outside world. An existential phenomenological disposition cannot be assumed, however, nor can it be simply taught as part of a postgraduate module on psychotherapy skills. Instead, the existential phenomenological disposition ought to be fostered and developed through carefully crafted embodiment activities of an intersectional nature (the intersection of philosophy, psychology, literature and drama, for example) as part of the teaching and training of psychotherapy students. This article attempts to cast light on the existential phenomenological disposition as an essential attitude of the psychotherapy student, especially in the context of an often unmindful, mechanistic and utilitarian society. At its core, the existential-phenomenological attitude presupposes a more embodied (as opposed to essentialist) psychotherapy, characterised by ontological awareness, deepening insight and symbolic language. These intellectual qualities need to be protected at all costs from the technocratic materialism of mass psychology.
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    Specific learning disabilities: Challenges for meaningful access and participation at higher education institutions
    (University of Natal, 2021-08) Dreyer, Lorna M
    The worldview on the rights of people with disabilities have changed in pursuit of social justice, resulting in an international increase of students with disabilities enrolling at Higher Education Institutions (HEI). This compound the need to meet the challenge to transform and attain the SDG’s and EFA as global imperatives. This research focussed on the experiences of students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) at a South African university. Findings suggest that although HEI have policies that promote inclusive education, many students with SLD still experience exclusion. It is concluded that authentic inclusion requires acknowledgement of the complex inter-relationship between teaching and learning.
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    Running Records (RR) as ’n leesassesseringstrategie om leesonderrig in Suid-Afrikaanse grondslagfaseklaskamers te ondersteun
    (LitNet, 2022) Van Tonder, Lynette; West, Joyce; Moen, Melanie
    Vanuit internasionale en nasionale studies kan waargeneem word dat Suid-Afrikaanse grondslagfaseleerders sukkel om basiese leesvaardighede aan die einde van die fase te bemeester. Moontlike redes hiervoor is dat onderwysers ondoeltreffende leesassesseringstrategieë in hul klaskamers aanwend, en onakkurate pedagogie en leeskonteks gebruik om leesprobleme te identifiseer en leesvaardighede vir leerders te leer. Akkurate identifisering van leerders se leesprobleme is noodsaaklik om leesonderrigbeplanning, pedagogie en die onderrig van leesvaardighede korrek in te gee. Effektiewe ingryping en ’n leesassesseringstrategie is noodsaaklik om leerders se leesstruikelblokke aan te spreek en hulle leesvaardighede te verbeter. Running Records (RR) is ’n leesassesseringstrategie wat onderwysers moontlik kan ondersteun om leesprobleme te identifiseer en leesonderrig te rig. In hierdie kwalitatiewe studie is die moontlikheid om RR as ’n leesassesseringstrategie in Suid-Afrikaanse grondslagfaseklaskamers te gebruik vanuit ’n interpretivistiese paradigma ondersoek, en in hierdie artikel word ’n opsommende verslag hieroor gelewer. Die studie is gegrond in die geletterdheidsprosesseringsteorie en die onderwyseragentskapsteorie. Die geletterdheidsprosesseringsteorie is toegespits op die wyse waarop leerders geletterdheidsvaardighede ontwikkel en verkry, terwyl die onderwyseragentskapsteorie sigself toelê op die manier waarop onderwysers hul professionele mag en identiteit gebruik om leesassessering in die klaskamer toe te pas. In hierdie studie het sewe deelnemers (onderwysers) opleiding in die gebruik van RR ontvang. Daarna het hulle RR in hul klaskamers aangewend en terugvoer gelewer oor die uitvoerbaarheid van hierdie strategie in Suid-Afrikaanse grondslagfaseklaskamers. Daar is bevind dat RR die potensiaal het om geldige, betroubare en bestendige inligting op te lewer om leesonderrigbeplanning, pedagogie en leesvaardighede van leerders in te gee sodat leerders se leesstruikelblokke die hoof gebied kan word. Die bevindinge het ook aangedui dat RR leesonderrig akkuraat kan ingee slegs as onderwysers hoëgehalte-opleiding ontvang in die akkurate aanwending en gebruik daarvan. Derhalwe moet daar duidelike riglyne en opleiding verskaf word vir die gebruik van RR en moet onderwysers bereid wees om opleiding oor die gebruik van RR by te woon.
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    Validating the adaptation of the first career measure in isiXhosa : the South African Career Interest Inventory–isiXhosa version
    (SAGE Publications, 2019) Rabie, Stephan; Naidoo, Anthony V.
    South African career counselling practices have predominantly been informed by vocational theories and models developed in the United States and Europe. In view of South Africa’s peculiar history and its unique cultural and linguistic environment, the indiscriminate application of Western career models has become increasingly contentious, as the majority of these models fail to account for culture-specific values that influence an individual’s career interests, decision-making, and development. The South African Career Interest Inventory was developed to address this contention, through operationalising John Holland’s vocational personality theory in South Africa. This study adapted and translated the South African Career Interest Inventory into isiXhosa, in the process constructing the first career interest inventory in a South African indigenous language. Subsequently, we investigated the structural validity of the South African Career Interest Inventory, and therefore Holland’s model, on a sample of isiXhosa-speaking secondary school learners (n = 266). The randomisation test of hypothesised order relations, multidimensional scaling, and covariance structure modelling were employed to examine the structural validity of the inventory. The results demonstrated the South African Career Interest Inventory–isiXhosa version to be a reliable and valid measure of vocational interest on an early isiXhosa adolescent sample, suggesting the tenability of Holland’s model in the South African context. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
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    Developing metacognition among young learners by using stories
    (Education Association of South Africa, 2019) Van Aswegen, Suzanne; Swart, Estelle; Oswald, Marietjie M.
    Being aware of our thinking as we perform learning tasks and then using this knowledge to actively self-regulate what we are doing, is commonly known as metacognition. This study investigated the influence of a story-based intervention on the development of metacognition among Intermediate Phase learners engaged in content area learning. Two intact Grade 4 class groups from two public schools in different socio-economic communities in the Western Cape participated in the study. This design-based research (DBR) study comprised of 2 iterative cycles. A pragmatic paradigm underpins the use of multiple data collection methods. This article reports on the pre- and post-intervention data from the second iteration, comparing the 2 groups. Most learners seemed to have improved in terms of metacognition and strategy knowledge on most data collection instruments. The data, however, revealed that learners in both groups struggled to verbalise their thoughts. Low literacy rates influenced both data collection and the outcome of the intervention. From the study, it appears that the story-based intervention could be a feasible and effective learning tool to develop metacognition within the contexts described in this study.