South African Journal of Education https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje <p>The <em>South African Journal of Education</em> (SAJE) publishes original research articles reporting on research that fulfils the criteria of a generally accepted research paradigm; review articles, intended for the professional scientist and which critically evaluate the research done in a specific field in education; and letters in which criticism is given of articles that appeared in this Journal.</p><p>Indicate the relevance of the study for education research where the education system is characterised by transformation, and/or an emerging economy/development state, and/or scarce resources. Research articles of localised content, i.e. of interest only to specific areas or specialists and which would not appeal to the broader readership of the Journal, should preferably not be submitted for consideration by the Editorial Committee.</p><p>Ethical considerations: A brief narrative account/description of ethical issues/aspects should be included in articles that report on empirical findings.</p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;" lang="EN-ZA">SAJE is<strong> </strong><span>ISI accredited (in the Social Sciences Citation index), with an impact Factor is 0.560 (in 2015). </span></span></p><p>Other websites related to this journal: <a href="http://www.sajournalofeducation.co.za/" target="_blank">http://www.sajournalofeducation.co.za/</a> and <a title="http://reference.sabinet.co.za/sa_epublication/educat" href="http://reference.sabinet.co.za/sa_epublication/educat" target="_blank"><em></em> http://reference.sabinet.co.za/sa_epublication/educat</a></p> Education Association of South Africa en-US South African Journal of Education 0256-0100 <p align="left">If the article is accepted for publication, copyright of this article will be vested in the Education Association of South Africa.</p><p align="left">All articles published in this journal are licensed under the <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" target="_blank">Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International</a> (CC BY 4.0) license, unless otherwise stated.</p><p align="left"> </p> Opinions of pre-service pre-school teachers on the use of mathematics activities https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205724 <p>The research reported on here was designed in a qualitative approach to present the opinions of pre-service pre-school teachers on the use of mathematics activities. The sample consisted of 10 pre-service teachers, who in their fourth year of pre-school education in the teaching department in 2017 to 2018. The pre-service teachers in the study group were selected from those with a grade point average (GPA) of above 3 and who completed the teaching practice course. In the research, the data were collected from the pre-service teachers through interviews. A semi-structured form, developed by the researcher, was used as a data collection tool in order to reveal the opinions of pre-service pre-school teachers on the application of mathematics activities. The results of the research show that the participating pre-service pre-school teachers used more than one-to-one correspondence in mathematics activities of which the most difficult concepts were classification and geometrical&nbsp; figures – difficult situations in which to attract the attention of children and a crowded class of 36 to 48 month old children. Most of the mathematics activities were integrated into games and art through the narration and gamification method. The participants mostly used prepared mathematics activities in practice.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: mathematics; pre-school; pre-service teacher </p> Oguz Serdar Kesicioglu Copyright (c) 2021 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 10.4314/saje.v41i1. Who designs the classroom’s images? Study of visual culture diversity at three Valencian schools https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205725 <p>The research reported on here elaborated on the effects that images displayed on the walls have in schools as a variable in evaluating the educational quality. Mixed methods were used to analyse the images displayed on the walls of 27 classrooms to determine their provenance and authorship. The results show quantitative, qualitative and aesthetical values of the school visual culture, thanks to the numerous photographic series (resembling in graphs) which are a testimony of each classroom. After the typologies of the displayed images at the schools had been documented, it was demonstrated that images mostly come from the school products industry and from faculty members.<sup>i</sup>&nbsp; The kind of analysis and the conclusions that were obtained could be considered in other contexts of schools with cultural diversity. Four alternatives are proposed in order to improve schools’ visual culture diversity: 1) consensus between the entire educative community – both adults and children selecting which images should adorn the classroom walls; 2) an increasing of external images, but generated by students and teachers about their personal experiences to increase the sense of belonging in the classroom; 3) a greater presence of internal images created by specialised agents, that enrich the learning processes, diversity,&nbsp; iconography and style of the images; 4) the emphasis of elementary teachers’ visual education to integrate images pedagogically.</p> <p><strong>Keywords:</strong> educational quality; images; mixed methods; school; visual culture </p> Amparo Alonso Sanz P. Rueda Paula Jardón Giner Copyright (c) 2021 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 10.4314/saje.v41i1. Foundation phase teachers’ points of view on the viability of Response to Intervention in their school contex https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205726 <p>Guided by an interpretivist paradigm, the qualitative case study reported on here provided insight into the points of view of 9 foundation phase teachers on whether they believed that Response to Intervention (RtI) could be a viable approach to implement within their own school context. A semi-structured, focus group interview was conducted to explore the participants’ views regarding the viability of RtI for their school. Through exploring these teachers’ views, we aimed at initiating further research into whether RtI could potentially be a viable approach to assessment and intervention within a South African context. The findings suggest that the participants envisioned numerous challenges in the implementation of RtI within their school context. These challenges related to a lack of resources and challenges associated with the curriculum. The participants envisioned such challenges as potentially preventing the effective implementation of RtI and, therefore, decreasing its viability in their school context. The participants believed that if certain challenges, such as a lack of time and a lack of qualified teaching staff could be addressed and overcome, then an RtI approach could become viable in their school context. They believed that an effective RtI implementation could yield benefits associated with improved overall service delivery to learners and their parents. Furthermore, the participants believed that RtI could potentially result<br>in a reduced need for financial resources to pay for referrals to learner support specialists, which they perceived as a challenge in their learner support interventions. The insights obtained from this study may be useful in guiding further research endeavours into the perceived viability of RtI in other school contexts in South Africa.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: differentiated instruction; inclusive education; learner support; response to intervention </p> Suzanne Bester Michè Conway Copyright (c) 2021 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 10.4314/saje.v41i1. A study to understand the inclusion of learners with and without visual impairment in a secondary school in Lesotho https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205727 <p>The study reported on here was conducted to investigate the perceptions of 8 learners in a secondary school in the Maseru district of Lesotho about inclusive education as it relates to learners with visual impairment. This school had integrated children with visual impairment. The study was conducted using a qualitative research approach, and a case study format was adopted. Eight participants (aged 16–23; 5 girls and 3 boys) participated in the study. Two focus groups were formed: one comprised 4 learners without visual impairment, and another 4 learners with visual impairment. Focus-group discussions were followed up with individual interviews. The results reveal that learners (with and without visual impairment) had mixed opinions about the integration of learners with visual impairment in their mainstream school. On the one hand they pointed out that inadequate resources and the unwelcoming infrastructure of their school discouraged this integration. Those with visual impairment also pointed to their exclusion from sports activities by their peers, as well as the occasional use of exclusionary language by some of their teachers, as indicating that special schools were better places for them. On the other hand, the learners stated some of the benefits of including learners with visual impairment in their school. These included enabling peer tutoring, peer consultations, and a slower pace of teaching. Learners with visual impairment also stated that inclusion had improved their social life, by enabling them to learn better ways of living with people without visual impairment. Based on these benefits, learners welcomed the inclusion of those with visual impairment in mainstream<br>schools.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: inclusive education; Lesotho; secondary school learners; teaching strategies; visual impairment</p> Malehlanye Ralejoe Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 Lessons for South Africa from Singapore’s gifted education – A comparative study https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205728 <p>Since 1999 South African learners have participated in various international studies but sadly the learners have continued to perform dismally, which brings to question the quality of their education. Meanwhile, Singaporean students have been among the top achievers in all these competitions. Many comparative studies have been done between different nations and Singapore, but in few, if any, of these studies the focus has been on comparisons regarding gifted education. Singaporean policies and practices on gifted education generally prioritise a commitment to engaging learners from all ability levels with appropriately challenging curricula and instruction. In this article we report on a comparative study between the Singaporean and South African education systems. Three frames, (a) political context (b) curriculum structure and (c) loose coupling shaped the analysis. Results show that both countries had similar&nbsp; challenges at the point of independence from colonial rule and yet, they responded differently to those challenges. Singapore&nbsp; implemented inclusive education driven by excellence while South Africa’s inclusive education is driven by equity without excellence. South Africa has a one-size-fits-all curriculum, whereas Singapore has alternatives that create multiple pathways for learners to reach their full potential. Although gifted education is being proposed in current South African pronouncements, there is no evidence of coherence in terms of its implementation. Meanwhile, Singapore has a coherent system that ensures their policies move from theory&nbsp; into practice. All these are lessons that South Africa can learn.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: comparison; coupling; frames; gifted education; inclusive education; Singapore; South Africa </p> Annari Milne Mike Mhlolo Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 Oral Reading Skills and Comprehension Test-II (SOBAT®-II): Assessment of reading fluency and comprehension of Turkish students with specific learning disabilities https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205729 <p>Efforts to diagnose students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) have increased in recent years in Turkey. However, the limited number of assessment tools used to identify students with SLD is one of the most important concerns in this area, since 8 out of 10 students with SLD have difficulty in reading, which affects other academic areas. Considering reading performance scores from standardised reading tests may help eliminate difficulties in SLD assessment. Reading problems are often observed with or without SLD, especially in primary and middle school age groups. However, standardised reading tests are usually not used in screening and diagnosis of these children, and in planning, monitoring, and evaluation of the effectiveness of reading intervention programmes in Turkey. The purpose of the study reported on here was to provide findings of a project that was carried out to develop a standardised reading test, SOBAT®-II, for the assessment of reading and reading comprehension skills development of children with SLD between 7 and 14 years of age. A total of 1,133 test administrations were performed within the scope of this study. As a result of this study, the Oral Reading Skills and Comprehension Test (SOBAT®), of which the preliminary study was conducted between 2002 and 2012, was expanded to include children between the ages of 7 and 14, and the parallel form of the test, A and B, was formed. In future studies,<br>expanding the number and diversity of the sample by including students from different provinces, and adding motivation resources to increase voluntary participation may be beneficial for standardisation of the test.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: comprehension; fluency; reading; SOBAT®-II; special education; specific learning disabilities; test development</p> Macid Melekoğlu Gülsen Erden Orhan Cakiroglu Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 Differentiation practices in a private and government high school classroom in Lesotho: Evaluating teacher responses https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205730 <p>One way in which the practice of inclusion can be actualised in classrooms is through the use of consistent, appropriate differentiated instruction. What remains elusive, however, is insight into what teachers in different contexts think and believe about differentiation, how consistently they differentiate instruction and what challenges they experience in doing so. In the study reported on here high school classrooms in a private and a government school in Lesotho were compared in order to determine teachers’ thoughts and beliefs about differentiation, the frequency of differentiated instruction, and the challenges faced by teachers who implement this inclusive practice. Sampled teachers offered their views on what they understood differentiated instruction to be, the frequency of differentiated instruction, and identified challenges via an administered questionnaire. Data analysis was based on frequency counts and bar charts for comparative purposes. Findings indicate that private school teachers have a higher frequency of differentiated teaching practice, with time constraints indicated as the main challenge. Government school teachers had a lower frequency of differentiation, and identified a lack of resources, and the learner-teacher ratio as challenges, among others. In the study we&nbsp; highlighted the critical role that private schools can play in the national call for the implementation of inclusive teaching in Lesotho, in terms of active collaboration with surrounding government schools. Private schools, with their resources and access to professional development opportunities, can become catalysts in the implementation of inclusive teaching practices.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: differentiated instruction; inclusive education; Lesotho </p> Makatleho Leballo Dominic Griffiths Tanya Bekker Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 Improving cognition in school children and adolescents through exergames. A systematic review and practical guide https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205732 <p>Recent studies and reviews have shown the positive effects of exergames (EXs) on physical activity (PA) and fitness in children and adolescents. Nevertheless, their effects on cognition have been scarcely explored, and no previous review has focussed on this relationship. The purpose of the research reported on here was to analyse the acute and chronic effects of the use of different EXs on the cognition of young people aged 6 to 18 years, to review potential confounders, and to elaborate a practical guide to using EXs in schools or extracurricular contexts. Studies were identified from 4 databases (Pubmed, SportDiscus, ProQuest and Web of Science) from January 2008 through January 2018. Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria. All the studies showed a positive effect of EXs on cognition. The review showed an acute improvement effect on executive functions (EFs) (visual attention, mental processing, working memory, response inhibition, and motor planning) and chronic benefits on mathematical calculation, self-concept, classroom behaviour, and on parental and interpersonal relationships. Only 5 studies used confounders. EXs are an effective and motivating tool to improve cognition in young people aged 6 to 18 years. Didactic recommendations to use EXs in school or extracurricular contexts are provided in this article.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: academic performance; active video games; acute and chronic effects; cognitive performance; executive functions;&nbsp; exergames; learning; motivation; physical activity; physical education </p> Sebastián López Serrano Alberto Ruiz-Ariza Manuel De La Torre-Cruz Emilio José Martínez López Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 Parents’ knowledge and skills about the risks of the digital world https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205733 <p>In this article we present the level of knowledge and literacy held by the parents&nbsp; of primary school students regarding internet safety (online safety, digital safety) in the context of digital literacy (DL) in terms of both technical skills and knowledge. The study reported on here was conducted in Poland, and was commissioned by the Ministry of National Education. The research involved measuring the knowledge and skills regarding the prevention of electronic threats (ethreats) which are defined as problematic situations and&nbsp; behaviour mediated by digital media and the internet. E-threats are related to mental and physical health, social aspects and technical matters related to the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). In order to narrow down the research area, 6 components related to e-threats were selected, namely: the ergonomics of using digital media; the evaluation of the reliability of online information; the influence of advertising on consumers’ choices; risky online relationships; understanding the mechanisms of secure logging-in; and protection against malware. The DL level was measured using a competence test. An analysis of 514 tests revealed that the most neglected areas were the protection of children against unwanted communication with other users, and secure loggingin.&nbsp; The strongest component was the ergonomics of using ICT. We also noted that more than one fifth of parents showed a satisfactory level of DL related to online safety. Another observation was that DL is a complex and heterogeneous concept. The DL components are related with one another to different extents. Some DL elements are determined by the level of education, place of living, subjective sense of own well-being or intuitive perception (self-evaluation).</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: digital literacy; digital safety; first stage of education; parents; school </p> Łukasz Tomczyk Katarzyna Potyrała Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 English language skills for disciplinary purposes: What practices are used to prepare student teachers? https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205735 <p>In the study reported on in this article, we explored the preparation practices used to prepare student teachers to use English<br>language skills in disciplinary content teaching. Despite studies which emphasise generic academic literacy where language is<br>a subset of this field discourse, there is a dearth of research studies on the use of English in the specific context of disciplines<br>in initial teacher education (ITE), which is addressed here. Guided by social constructivism, we collected data from 102 purposively selected student teachers from 3 universities. A qualitative multiple case study design was used as the methodological tool, and data from focus group discussions and document analysis were collected, documented and analysed. The results of the analysis show that the student teachers were prepared using structured and unstructured English Across the Curriculum (EAC) pedagogical activities. Structured activities are content-oriented learning processes that are largely rigid and prescriptive, while unstructured activities are rooted in the academic values and identity that are held in the institution. Although drawn from a relatively small sample, these findings may assist ITE institutions to develop a curriculum that attends to multiple strategies for developing student teachers’ strategic competence in EAC.</p> <p><strong>Keywords:</strong> English across the curriculum (EAC); English for specific purposes; initial teacher education curriculum; pedagogical&nbsp; activities; student teachers</p> Nhlanhla Mpofu Mncedisi C. Maphalala Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 Correlates of South African subject leaders’ perspectives and their perceived competence on instructional leadership https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205738 <p>Too often, instructional leadership is perceived as an area of competence for principals with less focus on teachers, especially those with subject leadership responsibilities. In the study reported on here we investigated the perspectives of subject leaders and their perceived competence in instructional leadership as a basis for its correlation. Two hundred and five subject leaders from a purposive sample of 100 primary schools across 5 education districts of the Free State province in South Africa were surveyed on their knowledge, beliefs and perceptions of instructional leadership, in relation to their perceived competence. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients and regression. The results show that beliefs about instructional leadership tend to correlate negatively with perceived competencies and make no impact on such competencies. On the other hand, knowledge and perceptions showed significant correlation and are thus considered to be the better predictors of subject leaders’ perceived competencies on instructional leadership. Further examination using regression analysis shows that perceptions may have a high impact on perceived competence. Consequently, we recommend interventions to deliberately target subject leaders’ perceptions of instructional leadership to promote a more distributed practice of subject leadership in schools.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: distributed leadership; heads of departments; instructional leadership; perspectives; South Africa; subject leaders</p> Maribaneng Moeketsane Loyiso Jita Thuthukile Jita Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 The relationship between school administrators’ leadership styles and organisational cynicism from teachers’ perspectives https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205739 <p>This study reported on here aimed to determine the relationship between leadership styles (democratic, autocratic and&nbsp; transformational) and organisational cynicism in addition to examining whether leadership styles predict organisational cynicism. The data were collected from 426 teachers (183 male and 243 female teachers) from primary and secondary schools in the central districts of Mersin. The sample was formed by availability sampling, which is one of the improbable sampling techniques. Data were collected using the Leadership Style Scale (Taş, Çelik &amp; Tomul, 2007) and the Organizational Cynicism Scale (Kalağan, 2009). Descriptive statistics, t-test, correlation and multiple regression analysis results show that views of teachers on autocratic and democratic leadership differ significantly by gender and also that male and female teachers experience behavioural cynicism to different extents. The findings of the study also reveal that all leadership styles were associated with all sub-dimensions of organisational cynicism. Furthermore, the leadership styles were found to be significant predictors of all 3 types of organisational cynicism. As a result, leadership styles of school<br>administrators are associated to a considerable extent with organisational cynicism experienced by teachers. Thus, it would be recommended that school administrators attend training or seminars on leadership behaviour and also be evaluated by their subordinates.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: autocratic leadership; democratic leadership; organisational cynicism; transformational leadership </p> Fahrettin Gılıç Yusuf İnandi Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 Striving for equity: Life orientation resources in South African high schools https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205742 <p>As a school subject, life orientation (LO) aims to improve learner well-being, but a lack of classroom resources may be a barrier. We investigated whether classroom resources were equally available for LO educators in fully funded (no-fee) and partially funded (fee-paying) high schools in Tshwane South, South Africa. In this analytical cross-sectional study, LO representatives completed questionnaires about the availability of resources in their schools. Sixty-seven LO representatives completed the questionnaire. No-fee and fee-paying schools had the same availability of government resources and textbooks, but no-fee schools had less access to audio-visual equipment and printed materials. Representatives from both categories of schools were least satisfied with the availability of resources for the topic: Health. In contrast, they thought that the resources for non-health related topics such as career and skills-development were adequate. Representatives from no-fee schools were less satisfied with physical education resources (U (56) = -2.29, p = 0.02). The government’s efforts to redress inequity is evident in the availability of basic resources. However, a lack of health resources is a source of concern in a society that has a quadruple burden of disease.</p> <p><strong>Keywords:</strong> equity; health education; life orientation; resources; school </p> André van Zyl Elizabeth M. Webb Jaqueline E. Wolvaardt Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 The implementation of the progression policy in secondary schools of the Limpopo province in South Africa https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205744 <p>Globally, policy implementation in the education system has been found to be a challenging area of development. The South African education system is no exception to the ineffective implementation of policies. For example, in South Africa, the progression policy was introduced by the Department of Education in 2013 for the purpose of minimising school drop-out rates. It was intended particularly for learners who had been retained for more than 4 years in a phase. However, progressed learners have been said to be contributing to the decline of Grade 12 national results in 2015 and 2016. We argue that due procedures in the implementation of this policy could have affected the performance of progressed learners, and in turn the overall matriculation results. A qualitative approach was followed and a descriptive case study design was adopted in the study reported on here. Data were collected through document analysis and semi-structured interviews from 2 secondary schools in the Dimamo circuit, Limpopo province. We found that the progression policy was not implemented according to the stipulations. Communication breakdown, negative teacher attitude, overcrowded classrooms, a lack of knowledge and support were found to be contributory factors in the ineffective implementation of the policy.</p> <p><strong>Keywords:</strong> implementation; progression policy; secondary schools</p> Makobo Lydia Mogale Mpho Calphonia Modipane Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 Perceptions about the use of language in physical science classrooms: A discourse analysis https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205745 <p>The low enrolment, lack of interest, exacerbated by the general poor performance in physical science in South Africa paints a gloomy picture about the status of physical science in the country. Despite the fact that there might be other factors at play, one factor which cannot be ignored is the discourse about the use of language in the science classroom as viewed by physical science teachers. In the study reported on here a quantitative methodology was followed in which a closed-ended questionnaire survey was used as data collection tool. In the study we examined South African physical science teachers’ perceptions about the language use in science classrooms, and the study was informed by the Vygotskian socio-cultural theory (SCT). The target population from which a sample size of 37 physical science teachers was systematically sampled was high school classroom<br>teachers and learners in Grades 10, 11 and 12 in the Ngaka Modiri Molema district of the North West province of South Africa. The study revealed that physical science teachers encountered difficulties with meanings of non-technical words used in science context. The conclusion drawn was that many physical science teachers were not proficient in the discourse of the science classroom and this often compromised their effectiveness in the teaching and learning of science. The main difficulty was confusion in differentiating between technical and non-technical words and the lack of convincing explanations of meanings of these words in teaching and learning. Key among the recommendations of this study was the need to address teachers’ challenges with regard to the language use and the implications thereof.</p> <p><strong>Keywords:</strong> discourse; non-technical words; proficiency; science classroom language; technical words</p> Nasimu Semeon Edmore Mutekwe Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1 Boys and bullying in primary school: Young masculinities and the negotiation of power https://www.ajol.info/index.php/saje/article/view/205749 <p>In this article, we draw on data from focus group discussions to examine the ways in which some young boys in a South African township primary school construct and negotiate hegemonic masculinity through bullying, and other forms of violence, within the school. Deviating from the simplistic victim-bully binary, we draw from critical masculinity studies to show how younger boys exert power over girls through violence but are, themselves, also victims of violence which, they say, is perpetrated by girls. Boys are often identified as bullies at school, but when we gave them the opportunity to talk about what it meant to be a bully, we gained a far more complex picture of how bullying behaviour manifests between learners at school. Indeed, our participants’ accounts of violence at school gave us great insights into the complexities of gender violence and highlighted the broader socio-cultural and economic conditions that produce it. We conclude that it is vital to understand the mechanisms of gender power relations among primary school learners, if primary school violence prevention interventions are to be effective.</p> <p><strong>Keywords</strong>: boys; bullying; gender power relations; primary schooling; South Africa; violence </p> Emmanuel Mayeza Deevia Bhana Copyright (c) 2021-04-12 2021-04-12 41 1