Quality School Education at the Centre of Honours Research
The search for quality school education was at the heart of research done by high school teacher Ms Faathima Desai who graduated with an Honours degree in Education summa cum laude.
‘I am ecstatic and relieved,’ said Desai. ‘All the stressful days, late nights and hard work have finally paid off. Most importantly, I am grateful to the Almighty for blessing me with such success.’
Desai believes that teachers need to be flexible and adaptable to meet the changing needs of learners in classrooms. ‘As teachers we need to provide an education that will promote and improve learner outcomes, both in the classroom and in their individual societal contexts. In order to effectively achieve these outcomes, it is crucial that as teachers we engage in lifelong teacher learning as it exposes us to new knowledge in our field.’
Her research, titled: “Aspiring For Quality School Education: Confounding Factors In Achieving High Learner Performance”, focused on understanding the persistency of poor learner performance while identifying and exploring factors within learners’ personal and social contexts and the consequent effect on their academic performance.
According to Desai, the South African Education Department has increased spending on education to conduct numerous interventions in an effort to improve the academic performance of learners. ‘Despite these interventions learners’ performance in South Africa is alarmingly poor and below normal literacy and numeracy levels.’
Desai, who teaches at an ex-Model C school in an urban area, noticed that a significant number of learners in the school perform poorly. ‘At this school learners have access to a wide variety of school resources and moreover qualified and well-trained teachers are employed. Quality education is maintained at the school by control measures that are put in place for teacher evaluation and improvement.’
Her research findings are primarily directed at fellow teachers. ‘It is important for teachers to understand the contexts of our learners and how it ultimately affects their learning. Having this knowledge allows the teacher to adjust their teaching methods in accordance with the needs of the learner, thereby creating a meaningful and nurturing teaching and learning environment,’ said Desai.
Her findings reveal that learners who maintain a positive attitude towards their learning attain academic success. Learners who have household responsibilities are often unable to allocate sufficient time to their studies which negatively affects their performance.
‘Parents often expect more than what the learners are able to attain academically. This pressurises and places a strain on the learner which affects their performance negatively,’ said Desai.
She thanked her parents, family, friends and supervisor for their support and encouragement. ‘My achievements would not have been possible without their support and more importantly their prayers for my success.’
Her parents, Abdurahman and Naseema Desai, added: ‘Our children are our pride and joy. Faathima’s hard work, dedication, passion and perseverance have earned her the achievement of graduating summa cum laude. Congratulations Faathima, you make us proud.’