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Anita Padmanabhanunni ◽  
Tyrone Pretorius

In early 2020, school closures were implemented globally to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In South Africa, emergency remote teaching was not sustainable, and conventional teaching resumed in the context of the second and third waves of the pandemic, heightening fear and anxiety about infection among teachers. The pandemic necessitated shifts in the scope of a teacher’s job, potentially impacting their professional identity and job satisfaction. This study investigated the interrelationship between teaching identification, teaching satisfaction, fear of COVID-19 and perceived vulnerability to disease among a sample of South African school teachers (n = 355). A serial mediation analysis supported the hypotheses that teaching identification mediated both the relationship between fear of COVID-19 and teacher satisfaction and the association between perceived vulnerability to disease, fear of COVID-19 and teacher satisfaction. The findings suggest that teacher identification is a potential protective factor, and strengthening professional identification can potentially assist teachers as they negotiate the uncertainty and stress associated with the current pandemic.

2021 ◽  
pp. 008124632110583
Jacobus Gideon Maree

This article reports on challenges faced today by the South African schooling system due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the emphasis on the public school system. Its aim is to show the extent and nature of these challenges and how they exacerbate existing challenges and impact the quality of post-matric study and tertiary education. A number of specific challenges are focused on such as large class sizes, physical distancing requirements, and the use of online and digital learning platforms to facilitate education, and how this style of teaching and training is not practical for most of the South African school population. The discrepancy between the real situation in schools and the applicability of Covid-19 protocols is also examined. In addition, I discuss the problems posed by the schooling time that has been lost, the effect of curriculum trimming, and the long-term price post-Grade 12 study and tertiary teaching and learning may have to pay. Finally, looking through a positive, future-oriented lens, I endeavour to place the overall situation in South African education in perspective.

Janet Jarvis ◽  
Sarina De Jager

Life Orientation (LO) as a compulsory subject in the South African school curriculum (Grades 7–12) aims to develop the learner’s self-in-society. This implies a holistic approach that includes the personal, social and physical development of the learner. In most Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), LO is not offered as a specialisation that includes these three broad aspects of development. In many cases, the emphasis rests with personal development, focusing, in particular, on modules taken in Psychology. Physical Education, if it is included in any LO programme, usually falls within the ambit of Sports/Human Movement Science programmes. The social development aspect is, by and large, omitted and Human Rights Education, including Religion Education and Citizenship Education, is neglected. Alternatively, pre-service teachers are required to select from a smorgasbord of modules and they often graduate without having included all three broad aspects of this specialisation. This article speaks to the importance of collaborative relationships across HEIs with a view to meaningful boundary talk that can be transformative in nature and provide the platform for research ventures. This collaboration that commenced as a community of two in conversation, led to a community of many in conversation, in the form of a national colloquium in 2020 that focused on LO in the HEI space. This article presents the themes emerging from this colloquium and recommends that transdisciplinary knowledge can lead to transdisciplinary education that serves the mandate of the LO specialisation in HEIs, namely, to prepare pre-service LO teachers.

2021 ◽  
Vol 2 (2) ◽  
Lindiwe Maqutu ◽  
Adrian Bellengere

A racial incident revolving around the teaching of To Kill a Mockingbird in a South African school has prompted this examination of how set works are implicated in the dissemination race-related beliefs. The way the book is taught, it is argued, cements the continuation of the alienation of blackness by affirming ubiquitous white normativity. It perpetuates the notion that the fault lies in an ‘existential deviation’ that inheres in black people. This examination highlights how, through the purposive propagation of white normality, the book exhibits anti-black sentiments. The sympathetic white psyche that subsists simultaneously with the continuing enjoyment of racial favouritism, is appraised. The stance of the book is confronted by noting the contrived largely absent voices of black people in the narrative. This book positions the black characters as props, for the absolution of the white protagonists (and by proxy sympathetic white people) during circumstances of the unremitting and deadly racial oppression.

2021 ◽  
Vol 10 (2) ◽  
pp. 144
Maite Mathikithela ◽  
Lesley Wood

Rural schools in South Africa face many social and environmental challenges which impact negatively on learner wellbeing and performance. Given the severity and history of these problems, the situation is unlikely to change in the near future. Yet, schools are supposed to be enabling environments, providing holistic support to learners from communities plagued by severe economic, health and social challenges. A different strategy is clearly needed to promote the health and wellbeing of learners. Youth participatory action research (YPAR) appears to offer a plausible approach to kick start improved, health-promoting responses from within the school. We facilitated a YPAR process with volunteer learners from Grade10 to find out how they could begin to transform their rural school. Using arts-based methods, the learners were successful in raising awareness of the negative effects they were suffering as a result of the poor social-emotional climate in the school, the unsanitary facilities and the lack of opportunities to engage in physical exercise. The actions they took to address these issues were a catalyst for ongoing positive change in the school.  The findings add to literature about how YPAR can make schools more enabling spaces.

Eric M. Richardson

South Africa’s constitution, wider legal context, and educational policies should enable its teachers to help create environments in which the safety and welfare of all their learners are protected and in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or intersex (LGBTQI) learners, and other vulnerable leaners, can develop integrated identities. Life Orientation (LO) is the main learning area in which comprehensive sexuality education and human rights are addressed. But despite the supportive policy framework, research shows that the school curriculum only makes oblique references to gender and sexual diversity, and that for the most part schools are not ensuring that educators or schoolgoing youth learn how to respect the diversity of human sexuality and genders. Instead, heteronormativity, cisnormativity, homophobia, and transphobia remain prevalent in South African schools and textbooks, with very little intervention from teachers to challenge discrimination. How it is possible to make sense of the disparity between what the country’s laws and policies stipulate and what is actually happening in schools? Why is it that policies are not resulting in improved experiences for the vast majority of learners who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), are same-sex attracted or nonbinary, or assumed to be LGBT? Why have South African school governing bodies, principals, and teachers not been able to respond to the fundamental changes in the country’s democracy in ways which disrupt, or even challenge, hetero- and cisnormativity, making schools safer for all learners? There are a number of known challenges to the implementation of LGBT-inclusive practices and curricula in South Africa. More research is required to understand how best to ensure that teachers are willing and able to integrate topics around gender and sexual diversity into their curriculum without perpetuating heteronormativity, cisnormativity, homophobia, and other forms of oppression.

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