Interesting Research Earns Education Students PhDs
Six excited Education students supervised by Professor Simon Bheki Khoza recently graduated from UKZN with their PhDs in Education.
The graduates are Drs Boy Bongani Dlamini, Vusumuzi Ndlovu, Nonhlanhla Nduku, Petty Silitshena, Lerato Sokhulu and Dongwa Tshabalala.
Dlamini’s study: Voices of Eswatini General Certificate of Education Geography Teachers on Teaching Climate Change(co-supervised by Dr Makhosazana Shoba) looked at understanding the voices that drive teachers’ voices through the Currere model. The moments of the Currere model were theorised in relation to identified curriculum themes and categories. The main findings revealed that teachers were predominantly summoned by either professional or societal voices when enacting climate change. It was affirmed that most teachers were torn in two by the tension that exists between these two voices.
Ndlovu (co-supervised by Dr Cedric Mpungose) explored teachers’ experiences through descriptive, operational, and philosophical questions. The findings of this study revealed that there is a lack of teacher content knowledge, and technological and pedagogical knowledge. As a result, teachers are not aware that these aforementioned areas are under the proficient, common, and subjective experiences that they should always be taking into consideration if they want to improve learner performance in financial literacy/accounting.
Nduku explored Teachers’ Perspectives of Teaching Agricultural Sciences (AGRIS) in Secondary Schools in Two Districts of KwaZulu-Natal. The findings showed that not all three perspectives (prescriptive, communal, and habitual) drive teachers when teaching AGRIS. The study discovered that teachers were teaching under the influence of a prescriptive perspective rather than a communal and habitual one. They based their teaching on stipulated policies, documents, and textbooks to ensure that learners pass examinations. This implies that in South Africa, AGRIS teaching addresses the subject needs rather than those of the teacher and society/learner.
Silitshena, who is 65-years-old, focused on Employee Motivation Models on Organisational Performance in Government Primary Teacher Education Colleges in Zimbabwe. The major study findings revealed that all levels of motivation influenced employees. It was, however, affirmed that employees were by and large influenced by the system and process model rather than by the personal-needs model. There was limited knowledge of the personal-needs model, both from an operational level and documented literature. This led to a lack of balance between the system and the process models of motivation.
Sokhulu, a UKZN staff member (co-supervised by Dr Nomkhosi Nzimande), explored master’s students’ experiences of using digital technologies in research. This thesis established that with professional and social positions, academics missed the notion of individual internal intelligence as the most important ingredient of any action (personalisation). In other words, students learn when they are internally ready to learn (mindset) based on their individual needs and situations, irrespective of being with groups/friends or with their course content. Students learn through connecting relevant personalisation information that addresses their needs.
Tshabalala explored Lecturers’ Experiences of e-learning Resources in the Teaching of History at Universities in South Africa. Using an interpretive paradigm and the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology, this study reveals e-specialisation, e-generalisation, and e-connection as three important forms of e-learning experience for academics. This study recommends the application of the three forms of e-learning experience as taxonomies of e-learning in order to address professional, social, and personal needs. Taxonomies of e-learning are capable of helping universities to complete academic years in any situation.
Speaking as the group’s supervisor, Khoza said, ‘It is always difficult to supervise students because supervision, like teaching, needs different approaches that are relevant to what the students use in their learning to influence their research projects. My experience of supervising indicates that what informs my students’ performance is their individual reasons for doing their studies. They have been influenced by personal (habits), social (opinions) and professional (facts) reasons.’
Words: Melissa Mungroo
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan