Die implementering van die nasionale beleid van gedifferensieerde onderwys in die Oranje–Vrystaat
Steyn, I N
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1. Aim of the study: The following aims have been set for this study: a. to discover the criteria used by primary schools in dividing pupils of a specific standard into class groups; b. to discover in which standards subject-teaching has been implemented; c. to study the functioning of Guidance in the primary school; d. to find out by what means exceptional pupils have been cared for; e. to what extent the simultaneous presenting of Higher and Standard Grade subjects in the same classroom can be effective; f. the advantages and/or disadvantages in implementing the Practical course; and g. the functioning of Guidance in the implementation of differentiated education in secondary schools. 2. Study method: In this study the descriptive method is used. The development of differentiated education in South Africa as well as the foundations and techniques of differentiated education have been studied from sources of literature. The aim of the empirical research was to study the implementation of the national system of differentiated education in the Orange Free State. For this purpose questionnaires were sent to primary and secondary schools in this province, 3. Primary schools - presentation of responses: Questionnaires were sent to 115 primary schools, A return of 86,1% (99) of the questionnaires was obtained, 3.1 Grouping of pupils: The 62,6% (62) of the schools with more than one class-group in. a standard make use of different criteria in different standards so that responses could not be expressed in proportion to the total number of respondents. The following responses were expressed in connection with the junior primary phase: a. no schools prefer I.Q. as only criterion for dividing class-groups; b. 40 responses show a preference for schoolmarks as only criterion; c. 12 responses were in favour of I.Q. and schoolmarks as combined criteria; d. most responses (69) were in favour of dividing class-groups by means of alphabetical order according to pupils1 surnames; and e, 48 responses show a preference for dividing pupils into equal groups. In the senior primary phase: a. I.Q. was not selected by schools as criterion; b. most responses (62) were in favour of schoolmarks as criterion; c. 39 responses favoured I.Q. and schoolmarks; d. 53 responses indicated division by needs of alphabetical order; and e. equal groups were indicated by 48 responses. 3.2 Subject-teaching: Although subject-teaching in the junior primary phase has been forbidden by the Department of Education (O.F.S.) a small percentage has subject teachers for specific subjects. In the senior primary phase and std. 5 93,9% (93) of the schools have subject-teachers for English, in comparison with the 75,7% (75) for History and Geography. According to 52,5% (52) of the respondents subject-teaching ought to start in std. 4, while 36,4% (36) prefer std. 3 as starting point. Starting off with subject-teaching in std. 3 or 4 prepares the pupil for the junior secondary phase. In this way individual differences in specific subjects receive specialized attention of subject-teachers. 3.3 Guidance: Pupil's intelligence test results are available at 97,0% (96),aptitude test results at 85,9% (85) and interest questionnaire results at 41,4% (41) of the schools. Application of the tests have been done by staff members in 99,0% (98) of the schools and in 10% (1) by the school psychologist. Different procedures are followed in guiding pupil according to choice of high school and study course. The inspector psychologist/school clinic handles the whole matter in 2,0% (2) of the schools. In the majority of schools, 51,5% (51), the principal handles the guidance activities himself. Although a few principals might have appropriate training (academical and professional) in Guidance the majority can only rely on experience in connection with the primary school practice. The primary schools urgently need well trained Guidance teachers on their staff to fulfil this function adequately. Appropriately trained teachers handle the guidance of std. 5 pupils in 9,1% (9) of the schools. In 13,1% (13) of the schools the inspector psychologist/ school clinic applies the tests and the school uses-the results in later counselling with pupils and their parents. Other procedures are applied by 24,2% (24) of the schools in guiding std. 5 pupils. One of these is the visit by a secondary school principal to primary schools in the area. On such an occasion he informs the pupils about study courses at his school. This procedure does not take into account the pupil as a person with diversive personality traits. Only 38,4% (38) of the respondents prefer a Guidance teacher on the staff of the primary school. The need for a remedial teacher is expressed by 93,9% of the respondents. 3.4 Special and adaptation classes: Educable retarded pupils are cared for in special classes by 36,4% (36) and pupils with learning handicaps in adaptation classes by 37,4% (37) of the schools. 3.5 Advantages and disadvantages of the new system of differentiated education in the primary school: Subject-teaching and stressing of early identification of pupils with learning problems and mental retardation are seen as some of the advantages of the new system. Insufficient staff allocation, too extensive syllabuses and an unrealistic standard in subjects like Mathematics and Science are some of the mentioned disadvantages for the primary school. 4. Secondary schools - presentation of responses: Questionnaires were sent to 89 secondary schools. A return of 91,0% (81) of the questionnaires was obtained. 4.1 Functional Mathematics and Functional Science: Functional Mathematics is presented by 4,9% (4) of the schools, while 3,7% (3) of the schools present Functional Science. These subjects are mainly presented in te6hnical schools because all the pupils enrolled have to take Mathematics and Science up to matriculation level. 4.2 Higher and Standard Grade subjects: Responses indicated that 90,1% (73) of the schools offer subjects in Standard and Higher Grade simultaneously in the same classroom, while the remaining 9,9% (8) of the schools offer subjects in different rooms. Insufficient staff allocation is indicated by 67,1% (49) of the respondents as the main reason for the above mentioned practice. Small class-groups are seen as the barrier by 42,5% (31) respondents. Classroom facilities and problems in integrating the time table were also mentioned by a few schools. Pupils are grouped together for Higher and Standard Grade Accountancy, Mathematics, History, Geography and Biology. Responses clearly show that there cannot be efficient differentiation by offering subjects on Higher and Standard Grade simultaneously in the same classroom. From a total number of 75 respondents 50,7% (38) envisage the ideal number of pupils in a secondary school in South Africa from 401 up to 600 pupils. Responses were, however, influenced by the present number of pupils in respondents' schools. The majority of respondents, viz 56,8% (46) share the view that 5 to 10 pupils is the minimum number for establishing or continuing a subject in the senior secondary phase. 4.3 Organization of the Practical course: In 40 schools 51 Practical courses are presented in std.6 to 8 and 16 in std. 9 to 10. Most of the courses, viz 45,1% (23) in std. 6 to 8 and 37,5% (6) in std. 9 to 10 are Commercial. According to 40 schools 3 021 pupils follow the Practical course, boys being in the majority by 175. No schools group together pupils of different courses (Practical and Ordinary) except for compulsory non-examination subjects such as Physical Education, Singing and Guidance. From an educational view point grouping of pupils for Guidance is wrong. 4.4 Facilities, staff and text book sufficiency for the Practical course: According to 85,0% (34) of the respondents adequate facilities for all the pupils for practical work are available. The remaining 15,0% (6) experience specific problems in the following subjects: Business Methods and Industrial Arts (practical class), Science and Biology (laboratories). Staff allocation, according to 90,0% (36) of the respondents, is sufficient to implement the Practical course successfully. The remaining 10,0% (4) indicate staff insufficiency in connection with the following subjects: Typing, Cookery and Needlework and Handicrafts. Text book problems are experienced by 12,5% (5), 17,5% (7) and 17,5% (7), of the schools in stds. 6, 7 and 8 respectively. The following subjects were indicated: General Science, Practical Mathematics and Typing. The majority, viz 62,5% (10) of the respondents have problems in the availability of text books in most subjects. 4.5 Filling of occupations by pupils from the Practical course: Of the respondents 37,5% (15) inquired about the-occupations filled by pupils who left school after completing std. 8 in the Practical course. The remaining 62,5% (25) of the respondents have not been in the position to respond to this item, because their first group of pupils in the Practical course is in std. 8 during 1977. Findings are both positive and negative: most pupils succeeded in finding satisfactory work, while some respondents reported difficulties in this context as symptoms of a satiated labour market. 4.6 Advantages and shortcomings of the Practical course Pupils who could otherwise become frustrated and inferior are catered for by the Practical course. The course is designed to cater for their educational needs and is in keeping with their abilities, aptitudes and interests. Pupils in possession of a std. 8 or 10 certificate (Practical) have better occupational opportunities than pupils who would have to leave school before they reach std. 8. The extended school career for pupils in the Practical course also results in more mature persons entering occupations. On the other end of the scale 22,5% (9) of the respondents hold the view that syllabuses of subjects in the Practical course are too simplified. The course has also been stigmatised by parents and other persons who do not know the reason for the Practical course or the occupational possibilities for pupils from this course. 4.7 Organizing Guidance in secondary schools: The number of pupils in a class-group influences their frankness to take part in classroom discussions. Small groups (30 pupils) ensure more effective group guidance than classes grouped together for this purpose. Within class groups pupils also know each other relatively better. According to responses only a few schools group classes together for Guidance. In the vast majority of schools individual counselling is not part of an organized Guidance programme. It has an emergency pattern. Devoting 5 to 10 minutes weekly for continuous educational and personality counselling is not even enough time to establish contact with one pupil. The most important quality for successful handling of problems (study and learning, personality, study course and subject- and vocational choice problems) is appropriate training (academic and professional} in Guidance. According to responses the principal is viewed as the most important person to handle pupils with personality problems. No prerequisite, however, in connection with appropriate training in Guidance is set. Respondents also indicated that Guidance teachers with appropriate training and others who have only followed a holiday course(-s) in applying psychometric tests, are the most important persons in handling vocational choice problems. Principals should see the appropriately trained Guidance teacher as a professional man, a necessity on every staff. Problems previously mentioned should therefore be referred to him, he himself in turn giving an account of the matter to the principal. According to responses the New South African Group Test, C.V.-Interest inventory, Junior and Senior Aptitude tests, the Biographical Questionnaire and Proficiency batteries are being used in schools to assist Guidance teachers in giving objective information on personality aspects concerning pupils. 4.8 The Guidance teacher’s qualifications and qualities: Qualifications of Guidance teachers in secondary schools fall into the following three categories: a. Guidance teachers in possession of Guidance Psychology III and Higher Education Diploma (H.E.D.} or Psychology III and H.E.D. with specialization in Guidance or B.Ed. with specialization in Guidance; b. Guidance teachers who passed through a holiday course in applying psychometric tests; and c. Guidance teachers who do not have any training in Guidance whatsoever. According to responses only 7,4% (6) and 2,5% (1) of the schools respectively have appropriately trained Guidance teachers as Guidance teacher no. 1 and 2 an their staffs. There are also 49,4% (40) and 60,0% (24) of the schools which have Guidance teachers, respectively as no.1and 2, with no training in Guidance. lastly 43,2% (35} and 37,5% (15} of the schools have Guidance teachers, respectively as no. 1 and 2, who only received training in applying psychometric tests. Although schools differ in rating the most important qualities of a Guidance teacher, 50,6% (41) see appropriate specialized training in Guidance as most important, 46,9% (38) rate personality traits as second most important and 59,3% (48) see teaching experience as third most important. It can therefore be concluded that principals give priority to appropriately trained Guidance teachers for handling Guidance work, but that there are an insufficient number of Guidance teachers with specialized training in these posts. 4.9 The working schedule for a qualified Guidance teacher The majority of the responses, viz 55,6% (45) stated that Guidance teachers should also be involved in subject-teaching. The view that 30 to 50% of his time on the time table should be devoted to Guidance is shared by 44,4% (20), leaving the remaining time to subject-teaching. The explanation for these responses may lie in a poor understanding of the essence of Guidance (see par. 7.5). According to 86,4% (70) of the schools, psychometric tests should be applied by Guidance teachers on the staff, 8,6% (7) preferring the school psychologist. The remaining respondents stated no preference. The appropriately trained Guidance teacher on the staff remains the only professional man to apply and interpret psychometric tests. 4.10 Advantages and disadvantages (shortcomings) of the new system of differentiated 'education in' the secondary school: The most pertinent advantages of the new system appeared to be the following: Every pupil receives education according to aptitude, ability and interest; therefore more pupils are able to gain the school leaving certificate. The grade of subject-matter in Higher Grade groups extend to creativity and self-reliance. In the Standard and Practical classes pupils are able to live up to their own standard and ability of the group. According to respondents some of the most important shortcomings of the new system of differentiated education are the following: Insufficient staff allocation handicaps the fluent implementation of differentiated education: providing sufficient subject-choice, as well as the simultaneous presentation of Higher and Standard Grade subjects in different classrooms, has implications for more teachers. Respondents rate the simultaneous presentation of Higher and Standard Grade subjects in the same classroom as the most important problem. At present Guidance services do not succeed in effectively meeting the demands of the differentiated system of education. The same examiner should set papers in Higher and Standard Grade to ensure a satisfactory standard in differentiation. The syllabuses of Mathematics, Science and Bussiness Economics in general and for History and Geography in stds. 6 and 7 are too extended. Some of the syllabuses in the two Grades also differ only in scope and not in standard. Syllabuses for Higher Grade subjects should leave enough time for independent work. Some criterion should be developed to guide pupils in selecting Higher and/or Standard Grade subjects, since quite a number of pupils follow Higher Grade subjects only for prestige reasons. Available psychometric tests do not succeed in providing appropriate enough information in order to select a specific study course.
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