Articles / opinion pieces about teaching for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Armstrong, M. P. and D. A. Bennett (2005). “A Manifesto on Mobile Computing in Geographic Education." The Professional Geographer 57(4).
Abstract: Mobile, location-aware computing technology is widely available. In this article we sketch out a manifesto on mobile computing in geographic education (MoGeo) for consideration and debate within the geographic community. At the core of our argument is the idea that emerging mobile computing technologies will allow teachers to bring the classroom and pedagogic materials into the field, and that the resulting in situ educational experience will enhance learning by contextualizing the complex and abstract concepts that we teach. We provide a set of key principles that can guide the development of field experiences for students using these new technologies. Key words: mobile GIS, wireless computing, geographic education, location-aware computing.
Ayliff, D. and G. Wang (2006). “Experiences of Chinese International Students Learning English South African Tertiary Institutions." South African Journal of Higher Education 20(3): 25-37.
Abstract: This article aims to provide insight into the experiences of Chinese international students in some South African tertiary institutions. The study investigates their successes and failures in endeavouring to learn English and the culture shock and 'learning shock' they endure when registering to study in an African country with an essentially European-based tertiary education system. The current state of English learning and teaching in China is compared with that of South Africa, as is the daunting prospect of taking the step to study in a country on the other side of the globe where their home language is hardly spoken and their cultural background little understood. The students' insecurities surrounding their language learning suggest that the hugely different approaches in mainland China and South Africa are at the root of their anxieties and problems concerning their learning experiences. By opening up, exploring and understanding some of these differences South African academics might be empowered to help reduce the shock international students experience in adjusting to our system and assist them to achieve academic success.
Bernard, T. 2015. The discursive construction of Foundation Programmes in South African media texts. South African Journal of Higher Education, 29:1, 238-261.
This article reports on research that investigated public perceptions of transformation within South African universities, with a particular focus on the incorporation of foundation programmes into university curricula. Foundation programmes are an initiative on behalf of both governmental and higher education institutions (HEIs) to grant wider and equal access to higher education (HE). However, it is evident that public views regarding university plans and admission policies are varied and the actions on behalf of both governmental bodies and universities are interpreted in diverse ways. These interpretations are problematic if they are misinformed, yet are able to influence or limit participation in HE. The study utilised methods developed within critical discourse analysis (CDA) to closely analyse three media texts that articulate various perceptions regarding the changing HE system. In line with Gee's (1996) model of CDA, these three texts are viewed as individual instances of societal discourses about HE, but also provide insight to ideologies relating to education and access.
Cameron, D. (2003). Small screen, big picture: Students explore TV journalism with streaming media. Apple University Consortium Conference.
Abstract: This national study used the expertise of the winners of the NVATA Outstanding Young Member Award in identifying problems and challenges associated with the first years of teaching agriculture. The study was conducted using a three stage Delphi technique. The population surveyed was the state winners of the NVATA Outstanding Young Member Award for the years I995 and I996 and totaled 61 different names. The respondents to survey one listed over 350 problems and challenges associated with the first years of teaching agriculture. The 350 problems and challenges were subsequently grouped into 23 categories and formed the content for surveys two and three using a Likert-type scale. Sixty percent of the respondents rated seven of the 23 categories as very important problems and challenges for first year teachers. Classroom management and student discipline, again in this study, surfaced as a problem for first year teachers. However, different from other studies, the issues relating to time and organizational management, and managing the activities of the FFA chapter surfaced as big problems and challenges and consistently placed at the top of the list in this study.
Cavus, N. and D. Ibrahim (2009). “m-Learning: An Experiment in using SMS to support learning new English language words." British Journal of Educational Technology 40(1): 78-91.
Abstract: There is an increase use of wireless technologies in education all over the world. In fact, wireless technologies such as laptop computers, palmtop computers and mobile phones are revolutionising education and transforming the traditional classroom-based learning and teaching into anytime and anywhere education. This paper investigates the use of wireless technologies in education with particular reference to the potential of learning new technical English language words using Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging. The system, developed by the authors, called mobile learning tool (MOLT), has been tested with 45 1st-year undergraduate students. The knowledge of students before and after the experiment has been measured. Our results show that students enjoyed and learned new words with the help of their mobile phones. We believe that using the MOLT system as an educational tool will contribute to the success of students.
Clements, R. D. (1979). “The Inductive Method of Teaching Visual Art Criticism." Journal of Aesthetic Education 13 (3): 67-78.
Abstract: No abstract available
Conner, D., B (1996). “From Monty Python to Total Recall: A feature film activity for the cognitive Psychology course." Teaching of Psychology 23(1).
Abstract: Describes a college psychology course activity designed to help students define the parameters of cognitive psychology. Students selected a feature film and a journal article that represented some aspect of cognitive psychology. They then wrote a paper discussing the theoretical and empirical connections between the sources and the topic. (MJP)
Diseth, A., S. Pallesen, et al. (2010). “Academic achievement among first semester undergraduate psychology students: the role of course experience, effort, motives and learning strategies " Higher Education 59(3): 335 – 352.
Abstract: This study investigated the relationship between multiple predictors of academic achievement, including course experience, students' approaches to learning (SAL), effort (amount of time spent on studying) and prior academic performance (high school grade point average—HSGPA) among 442 first semester undergraduate psychology students. Correlation analysis showed that all of these factors were related to first semester examination grade in psychology. Profile analyses showed significant mean level differences between subgroups of students. A structural equation model showed that surface and strategic approaches to learning were mediators between course experience and exam performance. This model also showed that SAL, effort and HSGPA were independent predictors of exam performance, also when controlling for the effect of the other predictors. Hence, academic performance is both indirectly affected by the learning context as experienced by the students and directly affected by the students' effort, prior performance and approaches to learning.
Everson, V. (2005). “Getting under their skin; towards a cross-cultural approach for the teaching of literature." Journal for Language Teaching 39(1): 52-63.
Abstract: The article starts with a brief overview of what and how French is taught in South African universities and attempts a critical appraisal of this teaching. Reference is made to the evolution of French didactics and methodology which has taken place in language teaching at tertiary level in this country and mention is made of the relative absence of any concomitant development within literature teaching. Chevallard's didactic triangle is explained and curriculum planners are advised as a consequence to establish learner profiles; the University of Cape Town's learners of French are used as an example of a typical South African tertiary student population. Reasons are advanced in justification of the teaching of literary texts written in French and a corpus of texts is suggested. Current assessment procedures are evaluated critically and a classwork-assessed, cross-cultural model with examples of pedagogical activities is proposed as the most appropriate form of literature teaching for French Sections of South African tertiary institutions.
Fowler, C. B. (1987). “What We Know about the Teaching and Learning of Music Performance." Music Educators Journal 73(No. 7, March): 24-32.
Abstract: No abstract
Fragnoli, K. (2005). “Historical Inquiry in a Methods Classroom: Examining our Beliefs and Shedding our Old Ways." The Social Studies: 247-251.
Abstract: This article reports on a study that concerns the way in which pre-service teachers negotiate historical inquiry-based teaching and learning in relation to their pre-existing conceptions of social studies as a discipline. Thoughts and opinion that form pre-service teachers' historical understanding at the start of a semester were examined. Data gathered from the examination was compared with students' thoughts and opinions at the end of the semester. Students were asked to write in their journals on how they believe social studies should be taught in elementary classrooms to learn the pre-service teachers' goals and perceptions of social studies pedagogy. A variety of instructional strategies that focus on history as an inquiry-based discipline was introduced.
Francis, D. & Msibi, T. (2011). Teaching About Heterosexism: Challenging Homophobia in South Africa. Journal of LGBT Youth, 8:2, 157-173.
This article, a critical review of a module on heterosexism and homophobia, sets out the challenges to be overcome if the oppressive conditions for lesbian, gay, and bisexual students and teachers in South Africa are to be changed. It draws on evidence from student assignments, records of participatory discussions and the notes of the authors, who taught the module. The authors argue that the participatory methods used in this course are essential if teachers are to become agents of change. However, these methods need to be linked to a clear and coherent theoretical foundation that enables students to draw links between different forms of oppression.
Gibson, K., R. Sandenbergh, et al. (2001). “Becoming a community clinical psychologist: Integration of community and clinical practices in psychologists' training." South African Journal Psychology 31(1).
Abstract: It has been recognised that South African clinical psychologists need to be trained in more community-oriented forms of practice. Training in this field however seems to involve particular difficulties for students who often struggle with disillusionment and feelings of incompetence that ultimately may in turn deter them from this important work. This article draws from the experience of a clinical psychology training course at the University of Cape Town. Firstly it describes the many sources of anxiety that may confront students in their initial exposure to community work and which might interfere with their capacity to learn. Students' adjustment to the inherent demands of this difficult work is often further hampered by an unproductive division between community work and more conventional forms of psychological practice. In the second part of the article we describe an approach to training which is designed to contain students' anxieties and increase their ability to manage and learn from their experience. This approach has three basic tenets: Firstly it stresses the need to provide students with a limited and carefully structured exposure to community work which matches their developing capacities; secondly it attempts to build bridges between the skills required in conventional psychological practice and those needed for community-oriented work and finally, it emphasises the need for on-going support for both students and their supervisors.
Gibson, P. R., A. S. Kahn, et al. (1996). “Undergraduate Research Groups: Two Models." Teaching of Psychology 23(1).
Abstract: Research suggests that participation in out-of-class research projects is a valuable experience for undergraduate psychology students. At many academic institutions, however, limited resources and large numbers of majors preclude requiring all students to participate in one-on-one research opportunities with faculty. In an effort to offer research experience to as many students as possible, some departments have instituted research teams. We describe two research team models that have worked well at a mid-size university. Model 1 is a single-faculty, single-project team, and Model 2 is a large multifaculty, multiproject team. Faculty and students find that this team approach is a valuable way to meet their research needs.
Goodier, C. and J. Parkinson (2005). “Discipline-based academic literacy in two contexts." Journal for Language Teaching 39(1): 66-79.
Abstract: This article considers the value of discipline-based academic literacy courses in Management Studies and Science. It outlines the most important genres in these two undergraduate areas of study, before going to describe two discipline-based academic literacy courses located in these two fields. It argues that basing academic literacy courses in the disciplines that students are studying is essential in assisting students to acquire discipline-specific genres, and is likely to be far more effective than a generic course in facilitating students' access into the discourse community of their disciplines. This is in line with the idea that language use is dependent on context and needs to be developed in context.
Isbell, L. M., J. M. Tyler, et al. (2007). “An Activity to teach Students about Schematic Processing." Teaching of Psychology 34(4): 241-244.
Abstract: We designed a classroom activity to foster students' understanding of what schemas are and how they function. We used a video of the instructor as an infant to illustrate how schemas influence gender stereotyping. Before the video, we told students that the baby was either a boy or a girl. After the video, students rated whether the baby would grow up to possess stereotypically male or female traits. Students in the video condition displayed a greater increase in schema knowledge than a control group that did not watch the video. Students also evaluated the activity favorably. We suggest other possible variations of this activity.
Lamprecht, S., G. Nel, et al. (2005). “The Effectiveness of WebCT as a progress-assessment tool in English Studies." Journal for Language Teaching 39(1): 132-147.
Abstract: Given the acceleration in the international and local information and knowledge revolution, the University of Stellenbosch (US) has implemented an e-learning strategy to gain maximum benefit from the developments in information technology. In support of this strategy the US has implemented WebCT as an electronic course management system. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the complementary learning and assessment techniques provided by WebCT are suitable for the evaluation of student responses in a subject like English. This was accomplished in conjunction with research of relevant literature, own experience, categories of student learning, and feedback from students. The WebCT assessment function was used as a complement to traditional lectures and traditional end-of-course written assessment to enrich teaching, promote learning and gauge student insight and progress. Bloom's Taxonomy was used to compare the validity of tests conducted through multiple choice WebCT assessment during the term with the results of the end-of-term traditional, written assessment to ascertain whether a reliable impression of student competence can be gained before students sit for their main test at the end of the term. It was concluded that WebCT is a constructive and effective teaching tool that motivates students both intrinsically and extrinsically and gives a fair reflection of student insight and progress. It can be a meaningful and enriching extension of a lecture course if the tool is used by willing lecturers in an innovative manner.
Leibowitz, B., Cilliers, F., Du Plessis, J., Kafaar, Z., Van der Merwe, A., Viljoen, S. & Young, G. (2011). Orientations to academic development: lessons from a collaborative study at a research‐led university. International Journal for Academic Development, 16:1, 19-32.
This study reports on a collaborative teaching enhancement project at a researchled university, within the context of a focus on the first-year experience. It demonstrates the kind of influence which a combination of managerial and collegial approaches can have on the collaboration. It illustrates the importance of working with a conscious understanding of the academic development orientations underpinning an educational change initiative. In the study, academic developers teamed up with lecturers from eight departments to embark on change endeavours to enhance teaching and learning in the lecturers' immediate settings. The adoption of an action research-oriented, interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to professional development was found to be appropriate at a researchled institution. Contextual and cultural factors inherent to the disciplines, departments and institution were shown to have an impact upon the involvement of participants in the project.
Mouton, J. and L. Wildschut (2005). “Service learning in South Africa: lessons learnt through systemic evaluation." Acta Academica 3: 116-150.
Abstrak: Diensleer in Suid-Afrika: lesse geleer uit sistematiese evaluering: Hierdie artikel is gebaseer op 'n evalueringsverslag wat geskryf is vir JET Education Services en dek twee jaar van 'n evalueringstudie van diensleerkursusse (of -modules) aan vyf hoëronderwysinstellings in Suid-Afrika. Die artikel ondersoek verskeie diensleermodelle asook die kritieke omstandighede vir doeltreffende konseptualisering en lewering van 'n diensleerkursus binne 'n akademiese program. Dit ondersoek ook sommige van die sleutelfaktore wat ter sprake is by die institusionalisering van diensleer sodat hierdie vorm van gemeenskapsbetrokkenheid 'n volhoubare en lewensvatbare element van normale akademiese aanbiedinge van Suid-Afrikaanse hoëronderwysinstellings kan word.
Murphy, M. C. and T. Reidy (2006). “Exploring Political Science's Signature Pedagogy." Academic Exhange: 130-134.
Abstract: The international political science community has demonstrated a reluctance to engage with the discourse of education. Academics tend to be concerned chiefly with political science as an academic discipline and not with political science as a form of education. This article explores the similarities and differences in the signature pedagogy of political science across a number of countries. It outlines the emergence and resilience of the pedagogy, its impact on student learning and its future evolution.
O' Donnell, M. (2006). “Blogging as Pedagogic Practice: Artefact and Ecology." Asia Pacific Educator(17).
Abstract: No abstract available
Pattman, R. (2007). Student identities, and researching these, in a newly 'racially' merged university in South Africa. Race Ethnicity and Education, 10:4, 473-492.
The paper reports on research conducted by third-year sociology students into student identities at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa. This university was formed as a result of a merger between two formerly 'racially' defined universities. The research, comprising interviews and observation and taking place at the University's Howard College (the formerly white University of Natal), was envisaged as a way of enabling the students to apply practically theories of identity, and as a means of generating local resources. In spite of the recent merger, 'race' emerged as a major influence on student identifications, affecting associations on campus, what people did, where they went to in their break times and their attitudes to others. The paper investigates racialised groupings and identities on campus, how they are forged in relation to each other and students' emotional investments in them. It draws, also, on the researchers' own experiences, as black, white and Indian male and female students, of engaging in this research, and the issues and problems they encountered, and reflects on some of the methodological implications of students researching students and 'race.'
Ritter, M. E. and K. A. Lemke (2000). “Addressing the 'Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education' with Internet-enhanced Education." Journal of Geography in Higher Education 24(1): 100-108.
Abstract: This paper evaluates the use of the Internet to enhance learning and to promote good practice in undergraduate education according to Chickering and Gamson's (1991) principles. Results from a survey of 236 geography students over the past 2 years indicate that the Internet can facilitate good educational practices. Students believe use of email encouraged student-faculty contact. Active learning is encouraged, but is not overwhelmingly favoured by students. Prompt feedback is facilitated. Students also believe the Internet materials allow more efficient use of time in and out of the classroom, and enhance their learning.
Schwartz, S. (2004). “Time to bid goodbye to the psychology lecture." The Psychologist 17(1).
Abstract: No abstract available
Schweder, W. and C. A. Wissick (2009). “The Power of Wikis." Journal of Special Education Technology 24(1): 57-60.
Abstract: […] everyone who contributes to the wiki has ownership and, as a result, is more invested in a project. […] wikis are an ideal medium for those who are dedicated to improving education but cannot find time to attend meetings, who do not feel comfortable sharing in group settings, or who want to feel invested in a project. First grade students then draft reviews and the fourth graders edit the reviews for spelling and grammar.
van Dyk, J. (2007). “Teaching of Sight Translation to French Foreign Language Learners." Journal for Language Teaching 41(2): 99-110.
Abstract: Contrary to the communication process in their first and second languages, students who try to speak a foreign language such as French tend to attempt a literal transfer of their various languages to compensate for insufficient language knowledge and intuition. This is a highly inefficient communication strategy which can be detrimental to language performance, resulting in an imperfect reflection of students' actual knowledge of language. The problem does not lie in the fact that they translate mentally before speaking, but that they tend to translate literally. Whereas the pedagogical or linguistic translation generally practised in the language class encourages literal transcoding, an interpretive translation approach enables to re-express the meaning of the original text. Such a professional translation approach should be applied to translation in the language class, notably through the technique of sight translation, in order to teach students to avoid a literal reproduction of their reference languages, whether they translate verbally or mentally.
Wilson, J. H. and S. B. Wilson (2007). “Methods and Techniques: The first day of class affects student motivation: an experimental study." Teaching of Psychology 34(4).
Abstract: Teaching experts assert that the first day of class impacts students, with potential negative effects lasting the entire term. However, no empirical research supports this supposition. We randomly assigned students to view a video of their professor either providing a positive or negative first-day experience. Students with the positive experience reported better attitudes and more positive expectations at the end of the first day. Although several differences dissipated by the end of the first week, students with the positive first-day experience reported higher motivation for the majority of the course, and their grades were significantly higher by the end of the term.