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Masters Research Reports (Science and Technology Education)

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    How teachers integrate environmental education into the curriculum.
    (2000) Lerm, Erika Rene.; Keogh, M.
    The purpose of the research was to determine how teachers integrate environmental education into the curriculum. In achieving this, the research set out to document answers to the following critical research questions: • What are the different ways in which teachers integrate environmental education into the curriculum? • How do teachers explain their particular strategies for integration? • To what extent does the resources context influence the ways in which teachers integrate environmental education into the curriculum? A survey was carried out in schools from the North Durban and South Durban Regions of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, who attended a workshop at the Durban environmental education centre. A questionnaire was administered to all the teachers who attended the workshop, followed by observations and a semi-structured post observation interview was held with a select sample of the teachers. All focused on documenting curriculum integration strategies with regard environmental education. The literature review revealed some strategies to integrate environmental education into the curriculum and highlighted some of the problems associated with the integration of environmental education into the curriculum. Data obtained, revealed that teachers are integrating environmental education into the curriculum using a variety of strategies and topics. The availability of resources does affect the extent to which environmental aspects are included, but this does not appear to be the only limitation to integrate environmental education into the curriculum.
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    Grade 9 learners experiences of the common tasks for assessment in mathematics literacy, mathematics and mathematical sciences.
    (2008) Khan, Mumtaz Begum.; Bansilal, Sarah.
    This was a qualitative study carried out with one Grade 9 MMLMS class. The purpose of the study was to explore the experiences of the learners with respect to the CTA that they completed for their summative assessment. The methods of data collection were classroom observation, document analysis and interviews. Data was gathered from 4 classroom observations, a document analysis of the 2005 CTA instrument, the detailed responses of 3 learners to the CTA as well as a focus group interview with the 3 learners. The document analysis was done against a framework of moderating criteria identified by the moderating board of the eTA. The 4 lessons were video taped while the researcher was a participant observer in the classroom. The transcription of the tapes, the field notes and observation schedules were analysed with the intention of providing answers to the main research question. Similarly the interviews were video taped, transcribed and then analysed to provide further insight into the research question. Finally the learners' responses to certain items were scrutinized for further details. The findings revealed that the task design, which relied on grounding each task within one context, was problematic for the learners. The learners struggled with the language used in the tasks and often could not pick out crucial information from all the details associated with the contextualization. The language of the tasks was set at a high level of readability, higher than the average Grade 9 level. Furthermore, the teacher's interventions often seemed to hinder rather than facilitate their understanding of the mathematics. The results of the study have implications for teachers (to be careful of how they mediate the tasks), curriculum developers (to take note of the criticisms levelled at assessment tasks set in real life contexts) and mathematics educators (to voice their concerns about national assessment instruments which may themselves not be valid indicators of what learners can and cannot do).
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    Links between content knowledge and practice in a mathematics teacher education course.
    (2009) Isaac, Vilvanayagie.; Brijlall, Deonarain.
    The link between content knowledge and how this influences classroom practice has been prominent in educational research in recent years. Shulman was the forerunner of research on this topic and his research dates back to 1986. Shulman’s views on content knowledge were contrary to the views of his time. In South Africa, however, the Presidential Education Initiative Report which was published in 1999 initiated research on content knowledge and brought this topic into the forefront of educational research. This study examined the link between content knowledge and practice from the perceptions of two university lecturers. The study was contextualized at a tertiary institution in South Africa where the two university lecturers were lecturing to a second year undergraduate teacher trainee class. The topic under discussion was calculus-rates of change. The research was located in the interpretivist paradigm since it focuses on the individual and tries to understand the phenomenon that is being investigated from the individual’s perspective. The research was also conceptualised in terms of Vygotsky’s educational theory and the process of scaffolding. A qualitative case study research methodology was employed. The data was gathered through semi-structured interviews with the two university lecturers and through the observation of video-recorded lessons that the lecturers conducted. The study revealed that the two university lecturers saw a link between a teachers’ content knowledge and his classroom practice. This study is by no means exhaustive, and is a case study of two university lecturers and their perception of the link between content knowledge and practice. This topic can be explored further, and suggestions for further research have been made.