Teaching in the COVID-19 era: Understanding the opportunities and barriers for teacher agency

Perspectives in education

Published On 2021/3/12

The school closures necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic created a rapid shift to alternative modes of educational delivery, primarily online learning and teacher-supported home-schooling. This shift has revealed deep inequities in education systems worldwide, as many children lost access to teachers and schooling. An effective response to these changes has tested teachers’ personal capacities and individual and collective agency intensely. The research lab we report on within this paper aimed to develop a better understanding of teacher agency in meeting the challenges of the pandemic and the physical and relational enablers and constraints of their environment. Drawing on case study reports from six international contexts and a series of online discussions with research lab participants, this study explores teachers’ enactment of agency in the context of various circumstances and environments. The …

Journal

Perspectives in education

Published On

2021/3/12

Volume

39

Issue

1

Page

61-76

Authors

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Position

Professor in school and educational governance

H-Index(all)

30

H-Index(since 2020)

23

I-10 Index(all)

0

I-10 Index(since 2020)

0

Citation(all)

0

Citation(since 2020)

0

Cited By

0

Research Interests

accountability

inspection

improvement

evaluation

assessment

University Profile Page

Paige Fisher

Paige Fisher

Vancouver Island University

Position

Professor Teacher Education

H-Index(all)

3

H-Index(since 2020)

2

I-10 Index(all)

0

I-10 Index(since 2020)

0

Citation(all)

0

Citation(since 2020)

0

Cited By

0

Research Interests

assessment

teacher education

rural

remote

alternate

University Profile Page

Other Articles from authors

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Perspectiva Educacional Formación de Profesores

Turning around'stuck'schools in England: effective leadership in extremely challenging circumstances

Turning around 'stuck' schools in England: effective leadership in extremely challenging circumstances - UCL Discovery UCL Logo UCL Discovery UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery Enter your search terms Advanced search Browse by: Department | Year UCL Theses | Latest RSS feed Deposit your research Open Access About UCL Discovery UCL Discovery Plus REF and open access UCL Press UCL e-theses guidelines Statistics FAQs Notices and policies Contact us Bookmark & Share Turning around 'stuck' schools in England: effective leadership in extremely challenging circumstances Munoz Chereau, Bernardita; Ehren, Melanie; (2024) Turning around 'stuck' schools in England: effective leadership in extremely challenging circumstances. Perspectiva Educacional Formación de Profesores (In press). [thumbnail of Munoz-Chereau & Ehren, 2024.pdf] Text Munoz-Chereau & …

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Professional development in education

International policy borrowing and the case of Japanese Lesson Study: culture and its impact on implementation and adaptation

Japanese Lesson Study (JLS) is a professional development method, involving teachers collaboratively planning lessons, observing their enactment, then discussing observations of teaching and learning. This paper explores translation of JLS internationally, seeking to understand how and why it is adapted and how an understanding of national culture and implementation paradigms might support translation.We begin by examining evidence on adaptation and challenges of JLS implementation internationally, finding both deviation from the seven components of JLS, and qualitative evidence of perceived challenges to successful implementation.Further we explore two bodies of the literature explaining how and why such adaptations occur. First, implementation science reveals that full fidelity appears not to be amenable to the complexity of education innovations like LS, but that adaptation is fraught with …

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

HIGHER EDUCATION TEACHERS’UNDERSTANDINGS OF AND CHALLENGES FOR INCLUSION AND INCLUSIVE LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS: A SYSTEMATIC LITERATURE REVIEW

Since the 1990s, there is a rise in attention to inclusion in education encompassing inclusion in Higher Education (HE), which is an important element of-/ and leads to equity in society. HE-teachers are a key factor in improving inclusion in higher education, but little is known about 1) their understanding of inclusion, 2) the challenges they experience for establishing inclusion, and 3) how they characterize inclusive learning environments. In this study, these three aspects were explored using a systematic literature review. From the selected 36 peer-reviewed articles was concluded that even though there is a rise in attention to inclusion in HE in recent years, most attention is still on integrating students with disabilities in regular education instead of the newer broader definition of inclusion ‘for every student’. When HE-teachers’ understanding of inclusion was discussed, they more often had a positive attitude toward …

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

European Journal of Education

A conceptual framework for trust in standardised assessments: Commercial, quasi‐market and national systems

This article presents a conceptual framework for trust in standardised assessments. Standardised assessments play an important role in many education systems as they inform decisions about students' future schooling career or entry to the labour market. Also, standardised assessments are often used for teacher performance reviews and school accountability, or to monitor learning outcomes on the national level. Various stakeholders rely on the accuracy of assessment outcomes when making decisions about students' competences, or seek to improve the quality of education. Such reliance implies a need for trust in those who design and administer standardised assessments and make decisions on the basis of the outcomes. The framework presented in this article describes the type of relational and macro‐level trust that is relevant for three types of assessment systems: national, quasi‐market and commercial …

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

School Effectiveness and School Improvement

Place-based disparities faced by stuck schools in England: a contextual understanding of low performance and the role of inspection outcomes

In 2017 the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) identified stuck schools that have failed inspections continuously since 2005. Our study used quantitative methods to identify factors associated with improving or remaining stuck by analysing a sample of 580 primary and secondary stuck schools and their matched comparison group. We found that not only geographical location, student population, and deprivation play a part when explaining stuckness, but critically, persistently receiving less than good inspection grades contributed to this through two negative cycles: Schools located in more challenging places or with more disadvantaged pupils received worse inspection grades, which triggered increases in teacher turnover, and further received less than good Ofsted inspection judgements. These findings call for place-based inspections that consider school location and …

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Brain Injury: A Practical Guide for Clinicians

One size fits all?

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) approaches may play a useful role in supporting people following brain injury. However, these approaches may not be appropriate for all–geographical, racial, ethnic and cultural barriers and disparities in accessing rehabilitation and treatment exist across the world. This chapter has been written by professionals working in the UK and Uganda; the authors will discuss pertinent issues in their countries to highlight the breadth of the challenges faced in terms of access to and availability of services supporting people following brain injury. This chapter will consider some of the potential challenges of applying ACT principles, considering issues of culture, language, spirituality and religion at institutional and individual levels. We will discuss the importance of working in a flexible and culturally sensitive way, alongside culturally competent peers within communities.Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) was developed to incorporate acceptance and mindfulness strategies with values-based approaches to behavioural change, to increase psychological flexibility. Along with the corresponding theories of human behaviour–relational frame theory (RFT) and functional contextualism (FC)–upon which it was developed, ACT was created in the USA. Although mindfulness principles and techniques have their origins in Buddhist traditions and Eastern spirituality has exerted some influence on psychological therapy in the introduction of “third-wave” cognitive and behavioural therapies (Hook et al., 2017), ACT is undeniably a branch of therapy developed within a Western culture, largely used with English …

2021/11/29

Article Details
Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The impact of Ofsted school inspections: A systematic review of the literature

The impact of Ofsted school inspections: a systematic review of the literature - UCL Discovery UCL Logo UCL Discovery UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery Enter your search terms Advanced search Browse by: Department | Year UCL Theses | Latest RSS feed Deposit your research Open Access About UCL Discovery UCL Discovery Plus REF and open access UCL Press UCL e-theses guidelines Statistics FAQs Notices and policies Contact us Bookmark & Share The impact of Ofsted school inspections: a systematic review of the literature Munoz Chereau, Bernardita; Ehren, Melanie; Hutchinson, Jo; (2023) The impact of Ofsted school inspections: a systematic review of the literature. Eduction Review (In press). [thumbnail of Munoz Chereau_SLR_draft_nov_2022.pdf] Text Munoz Chereau_SLR_draft_nov_2022.pdf Access restricted to UCL open access staff until 5 March 2024. …

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Frontiers in Education

Factors contributing to and detracting from relational trust in leadership: The case of primary schools in South Africa

Trust in leadership is a key element in organisational effectiveness and the foundations of a successful school. However, this element of leadership is underexplored in terms of empirical work, concomitantly, distrusting school cultures have been identified as inhibitors of school improvement. This paper explores trust in leadership through a relationship-based perspective of trust, taking by taking the case of 8 primary schools, in South Africa, to examine: Which factors positively influence trust in leadership of primary schools and which undermine it. The paper begins by conceptualising trust and relational based trust in leadership before moving on to analyse trust in educational settings. It explores trust between leaders and staff and within staff member groups . From there the paper discusses the implications of the findings within the particular cultural context of South Africa. The paper concludes with a summary of factors detracting from and contributing to trust in leadership, and to what extent these align with relational trust in leadership and the construction of effective learning communities. In so doing, the paper raises awareness of the importance of trust in leadership in the context of South African Primary Education and how it can undermine leadership if not established throughout relationships in schools, offering insights for primary leaders working within the African context. It also questions the appropriateness of adopting a relational understanding of trust in distributed leadership in relation to this particular context.

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Toezicht in 2023: het publieke belang voorop

Toezicht in 2023: het publieke belang voorop — Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Skip to main navigation Skip to search Skip to main content Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Home Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Logo Help & FAQ Home Profiles Research units Research output Courses Projects Datasets Activities Prizes Press/Media Search by expertise, name or affiliation Toezicht in 2023: het publieke belang voorop Melanie Ehren Educational Studies LEARN! - Educational governance, identity and diversity Research output: Web publication or Non-textual form › Web publication or Website › Professional Overview Original language Dutch Publication status Published - 2023 Persistent URL (handle) Copy link address Other files and links https://www.toezine.nl/toezicht-in-2023-het-publieke-belang-voorop/ Cite this APA Author BIBTEX Harvard Standard RIS Vancouver Powered by Pure, Scopus & Elsevier Fingerprint Engine…

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

British Educational Research Journal

The impact of Ofsted accountability pressure on ‘failing’schools: a multiple-case study

The impact of Ofsted accountability pressure on ‘failing’ schools: a multiple-case study - UCL Discovery UCL Logo UCL Discovery UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery Enter your search terms Advanced search Browse by: Department | Year UCL Theses | Latest RSS feed Deposit your research Open Access About UCL Discovery UCL Discovery Plus REF and open access UCL Press UCL e-theses guidelines Statistics FAQs Notices and policies Contact us Bookmark & Share The impact of Ofsted accountability pressure on ‘failing’ schools: a multiple-case study Munoz Chereau, Bernardita; Ehren, Melanie; Hutchinson, Jo; (2023) The impact of Ofsted accountability pressure on ‘failing’ schools: a multiple-case study. British Educational Research Journal (In press). [thumbnail of Munoz Chereau_case study paper_october.pdf] Text Munoz Chereau_case study paper_october.pdf Access …

2023/11/30

Article Details
Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

European Journal of Education

Trust in standardised assessments.

The article presents the discussion on standardised assessments playing an important role in many education systems. Topics include administration recieving all test-takers the same directions and having the same time restrictions and resources; and school leaders expected to track performance over time and allocating resources for improving outcomes in specific subjects, grades or student groups.

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Doe Iets!

De kansenongelijkheid is toegenomen na Covid en inconsistent beleid van OCW helpt niet. Toch weten we volgens Ehren en Meeter uit onderzoek welke interventies meer kwalitatief goede leraren zullen opleveren.

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Catchup programmes in primary education in the Netherlands: overview of programmes (first tranche) and a literature review of effectiveness of programmes

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, school pupils were no longer able to attend school physically from around half-way through the school year, and teaching was then mainly provided online. Any learning losses that have accumulated as a result will have to be repaired, and schools could, and still can, apply for subsidies from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Currently, 1,550 of the requests for funding have resulted in interventions that are already being implemented and schools will have a further two opportunities to submit new funding requests. The LEARN! research institute was commissioned by NRO (the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research) and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science to carry out a monitoring study if the first round of funding requests and, based on a review of the literature to investigate their effectiveness.In part 1 of this report, we start by presenting a literature review into the effectiveness of the most common intervention types to repair learning loss: one-on-one tuition, remedial teaching, additional support materials, summer/holiday schools, teacher professional development, strengthening parental engagement, support during school hours, extended school days and peer tutoring.

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

International Journal of Educational Research

High and low performing schools in South Africa: Metaphors as a lens to understand teachers’ views of school organisation

Given their influence on school staff behaviours, their decision-making and communication, metaphors provide an important lens through which to understand the wide disparity in school quality and performance in South Africa.

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

'Stuck'schools: Can below good Ofsted inspections prevent sustainable improvement?

Introduction. Our two-year mixed-method research project “‘Stuck’ schools” funded by the Nuffield Foundation was designed to explore if receiving a series of below good Ofsted ratings can act as a barrier for improvement. More precisely, by exploring the characteristics and trajectories of ‘stuck’ schools we answer the research question ‘Can a series of below good Ofsted grades prevent sustainable improvement?’ / Context. How to solve the underperformance of around 580 schools in England that have consistently received less than good Ofsted overall effectiveness inspection grades is high on the government’s agenda. The White Paper ‘Opportunity for All: Strong schools with great teachers for your child’ sets out the government’s plans to address schools with successive ‘requires improvement’ (RI) grades (HM Government, 2022). Yet this not a new issue. In 2017 Ofsted highlighted schools that had been consistently judged as below good from September 2005 to August 2017. ‘Fight or flight? How '‘Stuck’' schools are overcoming isolation’ reports a qualitative case study of 10 ‘stuck’ and 10 ‘unstuck’ schools. Ofsted concluded that ‘stuck’ schools needed targeted assistance and thorough inspections that are not tied to overall grades (Ofsted, 2020). Our mixed-methods study expands Ofsted work by providing a robust methodology that combines quantitative and qualitative methods to understand patterns of change over time and stakeholders’ experiences in ‘stuck’ schools and their comparison group. / Methodology. Our two-year study used a Sequential Explanatory Mixed Methods Design (SEMMD). Phase one used quantitative methods …

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

" Stuck" schools: Can below good Ofsted inspections prevent sustainable improvement?

Sample: 580 ‘stuck’schools that consistently received less than good Ofsted inspection grades between 2005 to 2018 and their comparison Data: secondary data (Ofsted management information records for inspections, School performance, value-added progress) and pupil demographics, School workforce teacher data (School Workforce Census (SWC)), School governance and location data from Get Information About Schools, DfE academy and sponsor pipeline and School finance data on income and expenditure. Analysis: Propensity Score Match, Cluster analysis and Path analysisMethodology: Sequential Explanatory Mixed Methods Design (SEMMD)(Creswell and Creswell, 2017) multi-site case study in 16 schools

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Didaktief

SER wil daad bij het woord

SER-voorzitter Mariëtte Hamer en VU-hoogleraar Melanie Ehren troffen elkaar in de Tweede Kamer bij een zitting over kansenongelijkheid. Voor Didactief leggen ze uit dat het echt tijd is voor actie.

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Receiving Ofsted ratings ‘below good’can act as a barrier to school improvement

Receiving Ofsted ratings ‘below good’ can act as a barrier to school improvement — Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Skip to main navigation Skip to search Skip to main content Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Home Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Logo Help & FAQ Home Profiles Research units Research output Courses Projects Datasets Activities Prizes Press/Media Search by expertise, name or affiliation Receiving Ofsted ratings ‘below good’ can act as a barrier to school improvement B Munoz-Chereau, J. Hutchinson, Melanie Ehren Educational Studies LEARN! - Educational governance, identity and diversity Research output: Book / Report › Report › Academic Overview Fingerprint Abstract On UCL IOE Blog. Original language English Publication status Published - 7 Jun 2022 Access to Document https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/2022/06/07/receiving-ofsted-ratings-below-good-can-act-as-a-barrier-to-school-improvement/ …

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Eindrapport, v. 0.5

Beschrijving ingezette programma’s. De eerste deelstudie was gericht op het beschrijven van de inhaalprogramma’s die scholen in het PO en VO hadden opgezet. Hiervoor brachten we de aangevraagde programma’s in kaart naar type interventie (verlengde schooldag, herfstschool etc) en werkzame elementen zoals geïdentificeerd in een eerdere literatuurreview door ons team (duur, gekwalificeerde leerkracht etc). Vervolgens onderzochten we waarom scholen voor de aangevraagde interventies hebben gekozen, met welk doel en voor welke doelgroep en waarom ze verwachtten dat de interventies effect hebben; oftewel hun ‘theory of change’. Deze reconstrueerden we met telefonische semi-gestructureerde-interviews en een korte online vragenlijst bij een steekproef van scholen.Effecten op leergroei. De tweede deelstudie bestond uit een analyse naar de effecten van de inhaalprogramma’s op leerprestaties. Bij het PO is hierbij gebruik gemaakt van het Nationaal Cohort Onderzoek (NCO), een voorziening voor onderwijsonderzoek met minimale inspanning van scholen. Informatie over de aangeboden inhaalprogramma’s op schoolniveau koppelden we aan de individuele leerling-gegevens van het NCO, om een schatting te kunnen geven van de effecten van de inhaalprogramma’s op leerprestaties. Voor VO was dit niet mogelijk. Daarom is aan de scholen die mee deden aan de case studies (4e deelstudie hieronder) gevraagd om cijferbestanden waarmee het effect op leren van het programma kon worden schatten. De effecten per school zijn vervolgens samen genomen via meta-analyse.

Melanie Ehren

Melanie Ehren

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Family? Factory? How metaphors help make sense of school life

Family? Factory? How metaphors help make sense of school life — Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Skip to main navigation Skip to search Skip to main content Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Home Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Logo Help & FAQ Home Profiles Research units Research output Courses Projects Datasets Activities Prizes Press/Media Search by expertise, name or affiliation Family? Factory? How metaphors help make sense of school life Melanie Ehren Educational Studies LEARN! - Educational governance, identity and diversity Research output: Web publication or Non-textual form › Web publication or Website › Professional Overview Original language English Media of output Online Publication status Published - 2022 Access to Document https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/ioe/2022/05/10/family-factory-how-metaphors-help-make-sense-of-school-life/ Handle.net Persistent link Cite this APA Author BIBTEX Harvard …

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Prof Elizabeth Archer

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Article Details
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Patricia Agnes Ovigueraye ETEJERE

University of Ilorin

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sekanse ntsala (PhD)

sekanse ntsala (PhD)

University of the Free State

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Raisuyah Bhagwan

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Dr. Moeniera Moosa

Dr. Moeniera Moosa

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Aditi Hunma

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University of Cape Town

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CC Wolhuter

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Perspectives in Education

Strategies to support progressed South African Grade 12 Mathematics learners

The introduction of progression policy, which prohibits the repetition of a grade to more than once within each of the four phases of Basic Education, was enforced in South Africa in the Further Education and Training phase in 2013, but appropriate strategies which could be applied to support progressed learners are not addressed.This research was qualitative by nature and approached according to the interpretative paradigm. It was a comparative case study, which investigated strategies to support Grade 12 progressed Mathematics learners using Information Communication Technologies in comparison with other strategies that do not apply ICT instructional technologies. Data collection strategies were semi-structured interviews, questionnaires and support policies. The study population was sixteen FET Mathematics educators from five schools in Ekurhuleni North district.The findings indicated that connectivism …

EC (Corlia) Janse van Vuuren

EC (Corlia) Janse van Vuuren

University of the Free State

Perspectives in Education

Flexible curriculum design for quantitative skills development: Building on the insights gained during COVID-19

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, technology-enhanced learning and its relation to student engagement, and the necessity of good student-staff relationships for creating a successful education environment were evident. The COVID-19 pandemic forced higher education to adapt to a challenging technology-led learning environment that demanded, inter alia, high levels of flexibility and human-centredness. Valuable lessons were learned that highlighted new perspectives on curriculum design and delivery in a normalised, technology-driven environment. Against the background of COVID-19-related literature on teaching and learning, the authors reflect on their insights regarding curriculum design and delivery of two quantitative skills modules during the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on further curriculum planning. The focus of the article is on the intentional flexibility built into curriculum offerings during 2020 …

Martina Van Heerden

Martina Van Heerden

University of the Western Cape

Perspectives in Education

‘Sometimes I wonder if our best really is our best’: Tutor reflections on shifting to online tutoring during the COVID-19 pandemic

Tutors play an important role in higher education, as they may facilitate learning, promote engagement, and assist with student success. Students also often feel more comfortable seeking assistance from them than from lecturers. Yet, tutors tend to be sidelined in the literature on teaching and learning, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper is framed by an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach and seeks to understand how three tutors in an online academic literacy module experienced the shift to online learning. Data, in the form of personal reflections, were collected online and analysed thematically. It was found that the tutors experienced the shift negatively and they raised practical concerns, as well as interpersonal ones. Implications for tutor training are discussed.

Lynette Jacobs

Lynette Jacobs

University of the Free State

Perspectives in Education

Cross-cultural collaboration through virtual teaming in higher education

Scholars from three universities in three different parts of the world – North America, Africa, and Eurasia – across different cultures, disciplines, and contexts, collaborated with the objective of advancing transversal skills and intercultural competences through immersing their students in international virtual teamwork. Students and lecturers represented the Appalachian State University (United States of America), University of the Free State (South Africa), and Novgorod State University (Russia). In this article, we share our lessons learned from the challenges we faced in the hopes of deepening understanding in higher education concerning what can be accomplished through remote learning across continents and cultures. This work allowed us to be ahead of the collapse of traditional teaching on campuses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as we had prior experience of online pedagogies reaching across …

Cedric Bheki Mpungose

Cedric Bheki Mpungose

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Perspectives in Education

Technology-mediated advising for student success: Exploring self-mediated academic support for undergraduate students using AutoScholar Advisor System

This article explores the use of the AutoScholar Advisor System (Auto-Ad) to provide useful learning support analytics for self-mediated student academic support. The study is part of a pilot project for enhancing student success in a four-year undergraduate degree (BEd) programme. Adopting students’ self-authorship as an organising framework and using the Auto-Ad implemented on the learning management platform, the study involved 200 high-performing undergraduate students (cum laude or summa cum laude trajectory) in a School of Education at one university. A mixed-methods approach was used to collect and analyse the data. Quantitative data were analysed based on the students’ interaction with the Auto-Ad as academic learning support tool to enhance their performance through automated advising. Qualitative open-ended comments allowing in-depth insight into the students’ perceptions of their …

Ben de Souza

Ben de Souza

Rhodes University

Perspectives in Education

Regular schools as a straitjacket for zone of proximal development: A Vygotskian perspective of Malawian inclusive secondary education

Malawi has a twin-track system of primary and secondary education. In this system, some learners with special educational needs are enrolled at regular schools while others are still in special schools. Research has shown that regular schools receive learners with special educational needs into the system, but with the possibility of enabling and constraining their developmental and learning abilities. Put metaphorically, when learners with special educational needs are placed at regular schools, they are dressed in straitjackets that may enable or constrain their development and learning. A straitjacket refers to the freedom and limitations that regular schools give learners with special educational needs. When prisoners and people with mental health conditions are dressed in straitjackets, the foremost reason is to ensure that they can easily be restrained once they turn violent. This situation can be understood …

gideon nomdo

gideon nomdo

University of Cape Town

Perspectives in Education

The social uses of the online chatroom as a boundary object for the acquisition of academic literacy in pandemic times

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for ongoing pedagogic changes in the higher education landscape, especially with the use of online modes of delivery. The digital shift triggered questions around student engagement and the need to ensure that, despite physical distancing, students did not feel alienated from online learning spaces. This was part and parcel of our ethics of care prerogative. In the context of teaching academic literacy online, our teaching experiences have prompted us to interrogate how we understand student participation and sense-making in online spaces during the pandemic. This is particularly important for us, as we view academic literacy as a set of socially embedded practices rather than decontextualised skills (Street, 1983).We argue that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the online chatroom as a boundary object was recruited as a proxy for the traditional classroom. We focus on …

Cherrel Africa

Cherrel Africa

University of the Western Cape

Perspectives in Education

Crisis leadership: Reflecting on the complex role of academic (middle) leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic

This article examines the experiences and coping strategies of four university middle-managers during the unprecedented time of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We use the research approach of autoethnography to reflect on our experiences and decision-making processes. To reflect on how we managed the rapid change and moved from survivalist actions to more systemic responses in a new and uncertain reality, we draw on concepts which highlight the importance of connectedness, distributive leadership and communicating clearly. Intuitively following these principles, and being decisive and pragmatic are what enabled all four departments to stabilise and move out of a survivalist reactive mode. Two clear patterns emerged from our reflections. Firstly, it is evident that the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing challenges and shone a bright light on existing shortcomings. A second pattern was …