Early Learning

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Monica Lakhwani, Multicultural Specialist, DEP, Jefferson County Public Schools, United States

Research as High-impact Pedagogy in Undergraduate Studies

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Desiree Scholtz  

Research in undergraduate studies is a high-impact educational practice that develops knowledge and skills to support lifelong learning and should, therefore, gain its rightful place as pedagogy for self-regulated learning. Furthermore, research knowledge and skills should be scaffolded strategically across levels of study. This paper derives from an evaluation of research knowledge and skills taught in business studies Bachelor of Technology qualifications at a university of technology. The purpose of the study was, firstly, to determine the extent to which the research content and output adequately prepared graduates for academic studies, and secondly, to determine whether there was alignment with research knowledge and skills taught in preceding qualifications. The data generated from semi-structured interviews with lecturers, were analysed using thematic content analysis. Document analysis of subject guides and research assignments completed the data set. Brew’s research model of undergraduate research was used as an analytical lens to interrogate the data. The findings revealed similarities, but also distinct differences in research content and output across similar qualifications in the faculty. While academic research was foregrounded, the data reveal gaps in research knowledge and skills taught in preceding years of study. Undergraduate research calls for purposeful reflexivity and critical thinking for problem-solving in academic and professional contexts. As such, this study foregrounds the need for undergraduate research to be planned, purposeful and relevant across all levels of learning for it to be afforded its rightful place as core to curriculum.

Practitioners’ Perspectives on the Challenges Encountered in Maintaining Mobile Early Childhood Care and Education Centres

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Chinedu Ifedi Onochie Okeke,  Christian Ugwuanyi,  Charity Okeke,  Blanche Ndlovu  

Due to the scarcity of literature on the educational activities of mobile ECCE centres, this research explores the challenges encountered by the practitioners in maintaining mobile ECCE centres. The researchers adopted explanatory sequential mixed methods research approach to guide the research. A sample of 10 practitioners in one organisation providing mobile ECCE in the Free State Province participated in this research. Necessary data for this research were collected using a structured questionnaire and semi-structured interview guide. The instruments were properly validated and trial tested. The analysis of quantitative data was done using appropriate descriptive statistics such as mean, bar charts and percentage, while the qualitative data were analysed using ATLAS.ti software. The results among others showed that one of the most challenges faced by the practitioners in operating a mobile ECCE programme is the language barrier as most children speak Sotho as their home language, while other children speak Tswana and Xhosa as well. Besides, it was found that practitioners deal with many psychosocial challenges, especially alcohol abuse by parents and poverty, which have grave effects on children’s social and educational development. Other challenges found are rain, wind, cold and dust. Thus, these findings have strong policy implications for the fact that there is a need to have an ECCE policy framework that allows in-service training of practitioners in the different home languages of the children. This helps to equip them with the knowledge of the different home languages of the children to avoid the challenge of language barrier.

Perspectives of Early Childhood Educators Regarding Parental Involvement in Mobile Early Childhood Care and Education Activities

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Christian Ugwuanyi,  Charity Okeke,  Chinedu Ifedi Onochie Okeke,  Zukiswa Nhase  

This research explores early childhood educators’ perspectives regarding parental involvement in mobile ECCE activities. The researchers used an explanatory sequential mixed methods research approach with a sample of 10 early childhood educators from one organization in the Free State Province that offers mobile ECCE was used. With the aid of a structured questionnaire and a semi-structured interview guide, the necessary data for this study were gathered. The psychometric properties of the quantitative instrument and the trustworthiness of the qualitative instrument were sufficiently guaranteed. While ATLAS.ti software was used to analyze the qualitative data, relevant descriptive statistics such as mean, bar charts, and percentage were used to analyse the quantitative data. It was found that a lot of parents are very concerned about their children's early learning. Most of the participants reported that some parents normally help in cleaning and washing the carpets and mats when they become dirty. Moreover, parents are involved because sometimes when there is an introduction of new themes, the parents take over the teaching of the themes to the children, especially the days when the educators are not there. This finding has practical implication in the sense that the more the parents are involved in the early education of their children, the more opportunity the children have in their early cognitive development. Therefore, the policy implication of this finding is that an adequate policy framework that will cover the active involvement of parents in the activities of mobile ECCE needs to be made and properly implemented.

English Language Teaching to São Paulo City School Network Primary Students: Some Notes

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session
Sandro Silva Rocha  

In São Paulo municipal network of schools, students are grouped differently from how the Brazilian Federal documents propose student groupings should be structured in the primary level of school education. This oral communication aims to highlight the main distinctions of both proposals and reflect on how those differences affect primary students English Language Learning. The data presented is based on a bibliographical review on the official documents of both Brazilian Ministry of Education and São Paulo City Secretary of Education and on preliminary findings of my doctoral research project still in course.

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