### Browsing by Author "Le Roux, Kate"

Now showing 1 - 10 of 10

###### Results Per Page

###### Sort Options

- ItemOpen AccessA multimodal social semiotic analysis of lecturer pedagogy for the physics concept of angular motion in physiotherapy education(2022) Gabriels, Sumaya; Muna, Natashia; Le Roux, KateAngular motion is a foundational concept in physiotherapy, applied when measuring joint range of motion (rom) in assessment and treatment of patients. Accordingly, first-year physiotherapy students are commonly taught rom measurement skills in their applied Physiotherapy course and are introduced to the concept of angular motion in their Physics course where their learning is primarily assessed through problem-solving. However, studies of student learning of angular motion show that while students can solve problems, they do not always have the necessary conceptual understanding to use their procedures appropriately and flexibly in other disciplines. Physics education researchers also demonstrate that accessing, learning, and communicating the conceptual and procedural knowledge involves using the affordances of multimodal language. Thus, a promising line of inquiry is how lecturers use the affordances of multimodal language in pedagogy to create opportunities for students to develop both conceptual and procedural understanding. My study focuses on a lecturer's pedagogy for the concept of angular motion in a Physics course for first year physiotherapy students at a South African university. Specifically, I use a multimodal social semiotic perspective to describe what and how she uses the affordances of multimodal language − verbal talk, written text, images, symbols and symbolic equations, gestures, and objects − to give presentational, organisational and orientational meanings. I also explain her pedagogical choices in the meaning-making process. In this focused ethnographic study, I observed lecture recordings to produce data on the lecturer's pedagogy. A subsequent semi-structured interview with the lecturer was analysed to understand the lecturer's choices. The multimodal social semiotic analysis shows that the lecturer organised her pedagogy to develop both conceptual and procedural meaning, while also relating these meanings to problem-solving, and to orientate students to the relevance of angular motion in physiotherapy. This organization was informed by her comprehensive understanding of the physics content, and its relation to the Physiotherapy course and physiotherapy practice, and the experiences and resources of the students in the class. Evident in her pedagogy was a pattern of starting with a focus on conceptual meaning using verbal talk, images, and gestures, following which she integrated symbols and symbolic equations which functioned as a link to focussing on procedural meaning as applied in problem-solving. This study contributes to existing physics and physiotherapy education research, an in-depth description and explanation of a lecturer's motivated, contextualised use of multimodal language to give meaning to the physics of angular motion for physiotherapy. These learnings and the multimodal social semiotic tools by which they were produced can be put to work in education development practice with disciplinary lecturers. Specifically, they serve to make explicit the affordances of various language modes for communicating particular conceptual and procedural meanings as a relevant for physiotherapy for planning pedagogy.
- ItemOpen AccessA critical discourse analysis of a real-world problem in mathematics: looking for signs of change(Taylor & Francis, 2008) Le Roux, KateThe concepts of 'access' and 'relevance' feature prominently in the discourse of change in mathematics education in South Africa. One way in which these concepts have been played out in mathematics classrooms is in the use of mathematical problems with real-world contexts. This paper presents a Critical Discourse Analysis of one such problem, selected from a first-year university access course in mathematics at a higher education institution in South Africa. Fairclough's three-dimensional model for the Critical Discourse Analysis is used to identify traces of different texts within this problem. The author argues that, in spite of evidence of texts that point to recent reforms in mathematics education and some possible signs of change, the mathematics text and the text of the school mathematical word problem remain dominant, and position the student in a particular way. The results of this analysis challenge some of the prevalent assumptions about 'access' and 'relevance' in mathematics education. The paper also highlights the potential for using Critical Discourse Analysis in mathematics education research.
- ItemRestrictedA critical discourse analysis of practical problems in a foundation mathematics course at a South African university(2016) Le Roux, Kate; Adler, JillMathematical problems that make links to the everyday and to disciplines other than mathematics—variously referred to as practical, realistic, real-world or applied problems in the literature—feature in school and undergraduate mathematics reforms aimed at increasing mathematics participation in contexts of inequity and diversity. In this article, we present a micro- and macro-analysis of a prototypical practical problem in an undergraduate mathematics course at a South African university. This course offers an alternative route to a mathematics major for students considered disadvantaged by enduring educational inequalities in South Africa. Using a socio-political practice perspective on mathematics and critical discourse analysis—drawn from Norman Fairclough’s critical linguists—we describe what mathematics and mathematical identities practical problems make available to students and compare this to what is valued in school mathematics and other university mathematics courses. Our analysis shows that these practical problems draw in complex ways on sometimes contradictory practices in the wider context, requiring the student to work flexibly with the movement of meaning within and across texts. We raise for further consideration the possible consequences of this complexity and offer suggestions for practice that take into account issues of power.
- ItemOpen AccessFlu viruses a lucky community and cosine graphs: the possibilities opened up by the use of a socio-political perspective to study learning in an undergraduate access course in mathematics(Taylor & Francis, 2009) Le Roux, KateIn this paper I present a perspective of mathematics education and learning, termed a 'sociopolitical perspective'. Classroom mathematical activity, in which certain ways of acting, behaving and knowing are given value, is located in a wider network of socio-political practices. Learning in mathematics is regarded as coming to participate in the discourse of the community that practises the mathematics. I argue that the use of a socio-political perspective allows the researcher and teacher to view classroom mathematical activity as a product of the network of socio-political practices in which it is located, rather than as a product of individual cognitive ability. I illustrate the use of this perspective by drawing on a study of learning in a first-year university access course in Mathematics at a South African university. Fairclough's method for critical discourse analysis, supplemented with work by Sfard and Morgan in mathematics education, was used to analyse both the text of a 'real world' problem in mathematics and a transcript representing the activity as a group of five students solved the problem. This analysis suggests that, despite containing traces of discourses from outside of mathematics, the problem text constructs the activity as solving a mathematical problem with features of a school mathematical word problem. When solving the problem the students draw on practices associated with school mathematics and their university mathematics course, some of which enable and others constrain their participation. For example, they refer to named functions learned at school, they have difficulty making productive links between the mathematical functions and the 'real world' context, and they have varied opportunities for mathematical talk in the group. The study identifies as key to the students' progress the presence of an authority (in this case a tutor) who can make explicit the ways of thinking, acting, and talking that are valued in the discourse of undergraduate mathematics, and who provides opportunities for mathematical talk.
- ItemOpen AccessAn investigation of what knowledge in valued and how it is communicated in a mathematics support course for first-year engineering students(2016) Rix, Renee; Le Roux, Kate; Jaffer, ShaheedaThere is longstanding and widespread concern that students find the transition from school to university mathematics difficult. There have been various practical responses to supporting students in this transition. Research conducted on these responses tends to focus on student perceptions and the impact on academic performance. However, research which explores the pedagogy implemented in support courses is lacking. Yet such research is needed if we are to understand what knowledge is valued and how it is communicated in support courses, which is an important first step in establishing whether these courses are replicable and whether they might indeed provide access to the knowledge valued in mainstream mathematics courses. My study investigates the implemented pedagogy of one particular mathematics support course for first-year engineering students. The pedagogy intended for the course is similar to the problem-centred approach (PCA), which is a competence pedagogy popular in selected white primary schools in South Africa in the 1990s. Critiques of school-level PCA - such as that it affords students insufficient "guidance" and that it is difficult to replicate – highlight the importance of understanding this support course's pedagogy. I made video records of one activity of the course in order to explore what knowledge the course values and how that knowledge is communicated to students. My theoretical framework is founded on Bernstein's (1996) theory of the pedagogic device, since it affords a language for speaking about the transformation of knowledge into pedagogic communication. I adopted theoretical tools from Davis's (2001; 2005) investigation of PCA at the primary school level. My study demonstrates the generalisability of these theoretical tools. Regarding what knowledge is valued in the course, I found that the central notion is problem solving. Problem solving serves as a vehicle for developing "sense-making". However, the notion of problem solving remains implicit since it is not discussed with students and students do not have an opportunity to solve the given problem independently. Regarding how knowledge is communicated, I found the implemented pedagogy to be a hybrid of Bernstein's competence and performance models. The former emerges in that much of the privileged knowledge remains implicit and the hierarchy between teacher and student is apparently flattened. The performance model is seen in teachers guiding students, both explicitly and implicitly. For example, they explicitly tell students to draw a diagram and how to check their answers. They implicitly guide students by modelling the problem-solving process and subtly positioning the students in complex ways. My results raise questions about whether students acquire the notion of problem solving in the course. Furthermore, the pedagogy identified may mitigate against students acquiring the sense-making disposition that the course intends to develop. My results bring into question the replicability of the course and how it may support students in their transition to university mathematics.
- ItemOpen AccessQuantitative Literacy for University students in South Africa(2016) Lloyd, Pam; Frith, Vera; Jaftha, Jacob; Rughubar-Reddy, Sheena; Le Roux, KateThese activities and exercises are most appropriate for Humanities and Law students, but the contexts used should be of interest to any citizen. The mathematical content covered does not include data analysis, statistics and probability. Understanding these topics is essential for quantitative literacy, but are not included here. Thus these materials do not provide the basis of a complete quantitative literacy course, but cover the work of approximately one semester in a first year programme.
- ItemOpen AccessStudent negotiation of an undergraduate accounting assessment(2017) Hyland, Tarryn; Paxton, Moragh; Le Roux, KateIn South Africa (SA), access to the accounting profession is characterised by inequality, resulting from a multitude of socio-economic and historical issues. Assessment serves as the primary gate-keeping mechanism of the profession. However, more than twenty years after the end of apartheid, pass rates remain skewed by factors such as language and race. Accounting education research offers some quantitative studies which investigate diversity in academic performance by school-leaving results or by race, for example, and a number of studies which consider language in the accounting curriculum. The quantitative studies, however, do not provide insight into the complex socio-cultural issues operating in accounting education, and the work on language in accounting education is largely focused on action research projects and the documentation of communication interventions. While some accounting education studies acknowledge that specific disciplinary conventions exist, these practices are not analysed or described. This study asks the question: how do students negotiate undergraduate accounting assessments? To explore this problem, the academic communication practices in a second-year accounting assessment at a wellestablished, English-medium university in SA are investigated by analysing what is valued in accounting assessments, what students are doing in the assessment event, and why. Academic literacies research and a theory of language as social practice, including the work of Theresa Lillis and Norman Fairclough, are used to develop the theoretical framework of this study. Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is used to analyse the assessment texts, explore the dominant disciplinary practices in accounting higher education and explain the power behind professional accounting education discourse. This study outlines elements of the valued disciplinary literacy, such as the genres of accounting assessments and the accounting discussion answer, and specialised test-taking reading practices, including how to identify the valued task response. The overarching feature of the dominant disciplinary practices is its linguistic complexity, largely shaped by professional accounting institutions. To investigate students' literacy practices, the answer texts of three students from different backgrounds are analysed using CDA, together with ethnographic data from "talk around text" (Lillis, 2008: 355) and "literacy history" (Lillis, 2008: 362) interviews with students. This study shows that students with language practices aligned to the valued professional education discourse have power in the assessment, while English additional language students from poorer schooling backgrounds in particular struggle to grasp and demonstrate the valued discourse. This study contributes to research on language practices and student experiences in a professional curriculum. It is my hope that the insights offered by this paper can be used to improve teaching and learning by encouraging educators to be aware of, and facilitate access to, the dominant accounting disciplinary practices. Educators need to acknowledge the diverse language practices of students, make explicit the complex elements of the valued disciplinary practices in the teaching and provide opportunities to develop students' knowledge of business and legal concepts, for example, which are recontextualised in the accounting curriculum. Until these steps are taken to make the epistemology of the discipline clearer, access to the accounting profession will remain unequal.
- ItemOpen AccessStudent perspectives on group work in support of the learning of mathematics at high school and at a university of technology(Taylor & Francis, 2010) Armien, Mogamat Noor; Le Roux, KateDebates on improving performance in science and engineering at higher education institutions have stressed the need for institutions to adopt pedagogic practices appropriate for the setting. In this paper we contribute to this debate by presenting the results of empirical research conducted in a first-year foundation mathematics course for Civil Engineering students at a University of Technology in South Africa. Using the perspective of learning as participation in a community as a theoretical framework, the paper focuses on a particular type of student learning community, that is, small group work for the learning of mathematics. We use individual interviews to investigate students' perspectives on small group work in support of their learning of mathematics at high school and in the foundation mathematics course. The results suggest that students have considerable experience of working in groups inside and outside the classroom at school, and they identify conditions conducive for group work, including having a sense of belonging in a group. They value group work for providing support that may not be provided by the lecturer, for example, by obtaining alternative explanations (often in their home language), sharing ideas on problem solving, and getting immediate feedback. We argue that higher education institutions should draw on students' experience of group work and create the space for this type of student learning community both inside and outside the mathematics classroom. We also use the empirical results to develop the notion of “community” as described in the theoretical perspective of learning.
- ItemOpen AccessA study of Grade 8 and 9 learner thinking about linear equations, from a commognitive perspective(2016) Roberts, Anthea; Le Roux, KateThe problem of poor learner performance in school mathematics in South Africa is persistent. Many studies have pointed to learner difficulties with algebra and their inadequate access to mathematical properties as a problem-solving resource. This small-scale qualitative study focuses on how, in an interview, fifteen Grade 8 and 9 learners at two South African schools think about linear equations. Sfard's theory of commognition, and particularly her concepts of ritualized and explorative discourse, are used as a framework to analyse how learners' words, gestures, narratives and routines intersect to build a picture of the mathematical objects they perceive. Many national and international research studies focusing on functions and linear equations from a cognitivist perspective, suggest that the reason for poor performance can be ascribed to a lack of relational understanding. Using a discursive rather than a cognitive lens, the study concludes that learners' discourse is ritualistic and that learners favour working with whole numbers, even when the context is negative integers or algebraic terms. Furthermore, they do not make a link between the solution of the equation and the function. As a result they have limited flexibility to adapt their routines.
- ItemOpen AccessUnderstanding University of Technology foundation students' perspectives on their learning in mathematics, with a focus on group work(2007) Armien, Mogamat Noor; Le Roux, Kate; Breen, ChrisThis study investigates students' perceptions of their learning experiences at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) as well as their perceptions of their previous high school learning experiences. Eight first time entering Black township-schooled foundation Civil Engineering students were interviewed. The students indicated that they had difficulties with the medium of instruction, English. It also appears that certain teaching and learning practices at school do not prepare students for study at a tertiary institution. Social factors, such as transport and residence issues, were also named as issues influencing students' learning. An important focus of the study was on students' perceptions of group work, since the study took place during a period in which a group work intervention was conducted in the class from which the eight participants were selected. Seven of the eight participating students in the study made use of some form of group work at high school. The students had a positive disposition towards group work at school and towards the group work intervention programme at CPUT. They also had particular views of what group work is. The study also claims that students benefited from group work and that group work had a positive effect on students' performances in Mathematics. This study advocates for and contributes to a theoretical perspective on student communities, an aspect of the community perspective (Allie et al., 2007) on student learning. Group work as a form of participation that was investigated in this study was beneficial in student learning. Thus the theoretical perspective for the study, student communities, is appropriate. The study makes a contribution to the existing theoretical perspective in that it provides some insight into the school communities from which students entering higher education come; it suggests what classroom communities at tertiary level might look like; and it argues for the importance of the development of student communities outside the classroom.