TD: 2018 Volume 14 No 2
Vol 14, No. 2 2018Articles
- Beginner teachers’ experiences of transdisciplinary demands of a school curriculum / Woes, Y
- ‘From History Project to Transdisciplinary Research’: District Six as a case study / Davids, MN
- Restorying for transdisciplinarity: a proposed teaching-learning strategy in a context of Human Rights Education / Jarvis, J
- South African Social Sciences teachers’ views on the integration of History and Geography in the General Education and Training phase / Iyer, LM
- The representation of the temporal notion of post-colonial Africa in South African history textbooks / Maposa, MT
- Crossing disciplinary boundaries: students’ experiences of facilitating a learning support programme at a South African university / Ntombela, SS & Mngomezulu S
- The ‘firstness’ of male as automatic ordering: gendered discourse in Southern African Business Studies school textbooks / Pillay, P & Maistry, S
- A transdisciplinary exploration: reading peace education and teaching English to speakers of other languages through multiple literacies theory / Kruger, F & Evans, R
- A comprehensive model for assessing student teachers’ professional competence through an integrated curriculum approach / Mpofu, N & Maphalala, MC
- Linguistic challenges faced by rural Tshivenda-speaking teachers when Grade 4 learners transition to English / Evans, R & Nthulana I
- First-year History Education students’ personal narratives of the history of South Africa / Wassermann, J
- Reflecting on more than 20 years of involvement in a postgraduate higher education qualification for academics: may I dare use an auto-ethnographic lens? / Du Toit, P
When analysing the structures of faculties of education in South Africa, one cannot but be struck by the wide range of appellations, for example departments, clusters or units used for purposes of demarcation. Some are logical academic categories or groupings, for example Mathematics and Science Education, Educational Psychology, Education Studies or Leadership and Management Education. However, such neatness is not shared by Humanities, Social Sciences or Social Studies Education as they include a plethora of fields such as Sport Science Education, Life Orientation Education, Music Education, History Education, Tourism Education, Geography Education, Gender Education, Social Justice Education, Commerce Education, Language Education and Art Education, to name the most common fields. Often academics in these disciplines not only teach the academic content but also the subject-specific methodologies. This is contentious as in-depth transdisciplinary expertise is expected.
Academics and students in the above-mentioned disciplines are invariably left to create some form of internal cohesion and logic that might explain their academic work and justify the existence of the Humanities, Social Sciences or Social Studies Education departments, clusters or units they find themselves in. This is a hard row to hoe when compared to the neat epistemologies embedded in the more clearly demarcated academic departments, clusters or units. A possible way of creating cohesion among the disciplines embedded in Humanities, Social Science or Social Studies Education is by means of transdisciplinarity. Drawing on the works of Jantsch (1972) and Godemann (2006), ‘transdisciplinarity’ refers to contexts that require academics to work together across disciplinary boundaries, also known as ‘boundary talk’. This transfer or integration of knowledge and understandings is limitless and can ensure wide engagement with scholarly ideas shared from diverse knowledge bases. Transdisciplinarity can also manifest itself in other forms of ‘boundary talk’ related to, for example university policy, information communication technology usage, pedagogy and student relations. It can, however, also bring about tension and resentment when disciplinary identities are threatened.
In light of the above, this special edition of The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa – an accredited DoHET publication (ISSN: [Online] 2415-2005, [Print] 1817-4434) dealt, in 12 articles, with ‘Transdisciplinary manifestations in Humanities, Social Sciences or Social Studies Education’.
In his article, Davids mapped out how a history project on the District Six removals evolved into a collaborative transdisciplinary inquiry that transcended disciplinary boundaries. This resulted in the use of a myriad of conceptual frameworks of research approaches across disciplines. This is followed by an article by Jarvis in which she argues that restorying can be used as a teachinglearning strategy to engage Social Sciences students, in the context of Human Rights Education, in transdisciplinary boundary talk. Such talk happened in the space between, across and beyond academic disciplines. Crossing disciplinary boundaries was also the focus of the article by Ntombela and Mngomezulu. In their contribution, they interrogated a learning support programme at a South African university that transcended disciplinary boundaries. For their part, Kruger and Evans engaged with the transdisciplinary possibilities on how to read peace education and teach English to speakers of other languages through multiple literacies theory. Linguistic teaching was also the focus of the contribution by Evans and Nthulana. This article focussed on the linguistic challenges faced by Tshivenda-speaking learners and teachers when they have to transition disciplinary boundaries to English in Grade 4.
Textbooks as transdisciplinary constructions also came under the spotlight. Maposa, in his article, investigated the representation of the temporal notion of post-colonial Africa in South African History textbooks. He laid bare the ambiguous manner in which temporal notions of post-colonial Africa were framed – which creates a challenge for learners who have to engage with the textbooks. Pillay and Maistry focussed on gendered discourses in Southern African Business Studies school textbooks. Overall they found that gendered ideologies continued to prevail in a remarkably overt manner in the textbooks analysed.
The idea of integration as a form of transdisciplinarity was foregrounded in two articles. In her contribution, Iyer investigated attempts at integrating History and Geography and how it led to disciplinary commonalities and teacher discongruity. On their part, Mpofu and Maphalala proposed an integrated curriculum approach for assessing student teachers’ professional competence. An original slant on transdisciplinarity was adopted by Woest, who in her contribution, investigated the demands placed on beginner teachers to teach subjects that they were not qualified in. This resulted in amongst others, fear and frustration.
In his article, Wasserman reasoned that the personal narratives of the History of South Africa of the History students who participated in his study shunned a broader disciplinary framework. Instead they favoured a form of political history dominated by race. Finally, Pieter du Toit turned the educational research lens on himself and reflected on his more than 20-years of involvement in a postgraduate higher education qualification for academics.
Although the 12 articles which appeared in this special edition speak of transdisciplinarity in numerous ways, they were held together by an internal cohesion and logic that speaks about the nature of Humanities, Social Sciences or Social Studies Education in South African universities. The fulcrum around which Humanities, Social Sciences or Social Studies Education revolves is the rich transdisciplinary nature of their make-up.
Reflecting on more than 20 years of involvement in a postgraduate higher education qualification for academics: may I dare use an auto-ethnographic lens? (AOSIS, 2018)As a proponent of action research for more than 20 years, I reflect on my scholarship of higher education using an auto-ethnographic lens. The research reported focuses mainly on my facilitating of learning as a lecturer ...
(AOSIS, 2018)This article is based on a free writing exercise given to 31 first-year History Education students in which they were, asked to write ‘The history of South Africa according to me’. Using narrative enquiry, the stories of ...
Linguistic challenges faced by rural Tshivenda-speaking teachers when Grade 4 learners transition to English (AOSIS, 2018)The general complaint of teachers in rural monolingual communities is that teaching becomes problematic after learners are promoted to Grade 4. While the transition to a next academic phase places new cognitive demands on ...
A comprehensive model for assessing student teachers’ professional competence through an integrated curriculum approach (AOSIS, 2018)The purpose of this concept study was to propose a comprehensive model for assessing student teachers’ competences in teaching practice. The study answered the following question: How can student teachers be holistically ...
A transdisciplinary exploration: reading peace education and teaching English to speakers of other languages through multiple literacies theory (AOSIS, 2018)Since the early 1990s peace education has increasingly informed the field of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). More recently, this transdisciplinary dialogue has found expression in approaches such ...
The ‘firstness’ of male as automatic ordering: gendered discourse in Southern African Business Studies school textbooks (AOSIS, 2018)There is little contention that gender equity continues to be a challenge in many societies across the Southern African region. Dominant discourses that perpetuate inequality are often reflected in school materials such ...
Crossing disciplinary boundaries: students’ experiences of facilitating a learning support programme at a South African university (AOSIS, 2018)Increased access to higher education has brought into focus the under-preparedness of students for higher education and vice versa. As such, various programmes have been developed to enhance students’ success in universities. ...
The representation of the temporal notion of post-colonial Africa in South African history textbooks (AOSIS, 2018)This article is premised on the current (2015–2016) developments in South Africa whereby the country’s youth are increasingly engaging in discourses of South Africa’s post-colonial condition and the need for decolonisation. ...
South African Social Sciences teachers’ views on the integration of History and Geography in the General Education and Training phase (AOSIS, 2018)With the cessation of apartheid in 1994, social transformation was one of the key objectives of the democratic South Africa. In light of this, the South African government believed that mass education would develop a ...
Restorying for transdisciplinarity: a proposed teaching-learning strategy in a context of Human Rights Education (AOSIS, 2018)Human Rights Education can provide a context for transdisciplinary boundary talk as a possible way to create cohesion among the multiple disciplines embedded within the Social Sciences. This article presents a teaching-learning ...
(AOSIS, 2018)This article expounds how a National Research Foundation (NRF) history project evolved into a transdisciplinary study. The article develops a case in favour of transdisciplinary research as a departure from strict ...
(AOSIS, 2018)This article focuses on the experiences of beginner teachers of the transdisciplinary demands evident in school curricula. A detailed inductive thematic analysis of open-ended interviews with ten beginner teachers from ...