Departmental Research Focus

Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education

  • Assessment and Quality Assurance (AQA)
  • Inquiry-based learning (problem-based learning)
  • Teacher knowledge and identity
  • Opportunity to learn (OTL) in classrooms
  • ICT in Education

Department of Humanities Education

  • Text and Context
  • Language Acquisition and Politics
  • Teacher Professional Development
  • Diversity and Social Cohesion

Department of Early Childhood Education

The well-being of the young child aged birth to nine years is the pivotal research focus of the Department Early Childhood Education (ECE). This focus is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as set by the United Nations, which involve matters pertaining to social and economic development. Within the broader focus the focal point of the Department of ECE is the social domain of the child, and particularly the diverse structural contexts in which the young child functions and which have a determining impact on the child’s development. When considering that South Africa is regarded as a “risk society” (Beck, 2000), where social ills, such as poverty, inequality, inaccessibility to education and violence, are some of the reasons why UNICEF regards South Africa as the worst country in the world in which to raise children between the ages of five and 14 (Fuzile, 2016), the nature and orientation of young children’s emotional experiences are significant. Taking into account that “what happens to children in their first days, months and years of life [not only] affects their development” but ultimately also “the development of our society and the development of our world” (Bernard van Leer Foundation, 2004:3), the nature and orientation of young children’s emotional experiences are significant as harmful experiences and other social adversities have a negative impact on children’s lives. We have identified a scarcity in South African research and literature relating to the differential risks children face, as well as in the documented perspectives, experiences and responses of children within diverse structural contexts.

The aim of our focus is to develop strategies to inform future policy, research and intervention strategies related to young children within the South African context.

The objectives of our research focus are to:

  • construct a profile of young South African children (birth to nine years);
  • identify how children shape and are shaped by their localities;
  • develop innovative methodological approaches in relation to children as social actors;
  • stimulate multidisciplinary early childhood research; and
  • inform future policy, research and intervention strategies.

Department of Educational Psychology

The four prominent foci are listed below:

  • Drawing on life design counselling to promote sustainable decent work
  • Research on inclusive education, disability and visual impairment studies
  • Enhancing learners' lifelong self- and career construction, well-being, learning, and development
  • Enabling positive learning, well-being and development outcomes of young people by supporting their pathways to resilience in school-community and family contexts

Department of Education Management and Policy Studies

  • Higher education management, including student engagement, support, development & well-being and doctoral education
  • Access to and realisation of human rights in education
  • Education policy and practice
  • Education law and educational leadership and management in the context of local autonomy
  • School culture, teacher identity and school safety
  • Doctoral education in South Africa
  • Leadership practice, leadership development, leadership in the context of rurality and deprivation, leadership transition
  • Education management in diverse contexts
  • School safety
  • School finances
  • School-community partnerships
  • The management of teaching and learning
- Author Sharon Mashau

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