Conducive Environments for the Promotion of Quality Teaching in Higher Education in South Africa

  • Brenda Leibowitz
Keywords: critical realism, higher education, professional development, socio-cultural, South Africa, teaching and learning


The article reports on an investigation into constraining and enabling conditions for professional academic development with regard to the teaching role at eight South African universities. The data comprised transcripts of interviews with 10 – 16 academics across a range of levels of seniority, demographic categories and disciplines at each institution. The findings suggest that organisational climate and access to infrastructure and resources are more significant than the literature on professional development to date has implied, especially for institutions in resource-constrained environments. The analysis supports the view that critical realism helps to bridge the psychological/individual and socio-cultural approaches and points to the need for further research on individual properties such as sense of agency. From a methodological point of view the study affirms the need for multi-site investigations, which analyse phenomena occurring across a range of socio-political contexts.

Keywords: critical realism; higher education; professional development; socio-cultural; South Africa; teaching and learning


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2310-7103