An Exploration Of Life Orientation Teachers Role Education Essay

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The literature review in a research study accomplishes several purposes: It shares with the reader the results of other studies that are closely related to the study being reported. It relates a study to the larger ongoing dialogue in the literature about a topic, filling in gaps and extending prior studies (Coopera, 1984; Marshall and Rossman, 1999).

In this chapter, the concept of career skills with particular focus on 21st century careers and their accompanying 21st century skills will be explored, using as reference the work of a number of pioneers in the field of educational research today. The theoretical framework upon which this literature study is based will be introduced; and the role of the educator in developing these 21st century skills will then be explored, with specific focus on the FET life orientation teacher, and the preparation of learners for work and careers in the 21st century. Professional teacher development will also be discussed looking at both local and global initiatives in training teachers as a means to adequately prepare their learners for the 21st century. An in-depth exploration of the Life Orientation Learning area will then be demonstrated, with specific focus on the Life Orientation teacher's role in preparing learners in the FET band of the secondary school private learning institutions in South Africa, as intended by the national curriculum statement, for life and careers in the 21st century.

In accordance with The Norms and Standards for Educators(2000) all teachers are expected to take on various roles in ensuring the adequate development of their learners (see section....); however, this study has been delimited to life orientation teachers in particular as it is recognised that this learning area makes specific accommodation for these teachers to engage learners in essential 21st century skills and development. In addition, though it is also expected that these skills be introduced to learners in the foundation phase and developed throughout their schooling career, for the purpose of this research study, the FET band (Grades 10-12) will be referred to specifically, as these learners are steadily approaching the world of work and careers in the 21st century, and are in what Erikson (1950,1959, 1968) originally described as the process of identity formation - where these individuals consolidate earlier roles, identifications, skills, values, beliefs and talents, both consciously and unconsciously, in order to successfully prepare for the social roles, relationships, and responsibilities of adulthood (Mahler pg 17). The FET band is therefore deemed by the researcher as a critical phase in career choice, and the most appropriate for the purposes of this study.

Theoretical Framework

Theories describing career behaviour have been in existence for the past 75 years, and provide the "conceptual glue" for, as well as describe where, when and for what purpose, career counselling, career education, career guidance and other career interventions are to be implemented. (REF???)

Various disciplines such as Personality, Sociology, Developmental Psychology, and Differential Psychology have contributed to the development of these theories, the most prominent being the Career Development Theory (Super 1957; 1996). This theory provided a more developmental perspective to the traditional individual differences view of occupations which, according to Super, ignored the longitudinal vantage point from which one can observe how individuals improve their vocational coping repertoires and move into jobs which provide increasingly better opportunities to use their abilities and gratify their needs (Super, 1953 in Savickas 2001:2).

It then evolved in accordance with the theorists' comprehension of careers, and can be traced in its name changes from the original Career Development Theory to the Development Self-Concept Theory and then to the current Life-Span, Life-Space Theory (Savickas - adaptability pg 2). Each name change signified an elaboration of the theory to address more completely the complexity of vocational behaviour in manifold settings across diverse groups (Savickas - adaptability pg 2).

The life stages highlighted in this theory are as follows:

Growth Stage: learning about occupations and developing work habits and attitudes

Exploration Stage: learning tasks that will assist in crystallizing and specifying occupations

Establishment Stage: developing skills to consolidate and advance in a job

Maintenance Stage: decisions are made about whether to remain in a job or move to another job or occupational field

Disengagement Stage: planning for retirement

(Maree and Ebersohn, 2002 pg 157)

Unfortunately Super passed away before integrating the major segments in his own life-span, life-space theory. His work was however continued by his student, Mark Savickas (1989, 1993, 2000), who elaborated on Super's previous work and developed it further, integrating the segments of the life-span, life-space theory and placing more focus on the developmental tasks necessary to master career stages, as opposed to the linear progression across the stages. Such tasks include career exploration, career decision-making, career adaptability, and overcoming perceived career barriers (Maree &Ebeersohn, 2002: 158). These challenge assumptions of stability of personal characteristics and secure jobs in bounded organizations - No matter how stable individual characteristics might be, the environment and consequently traditional work ethic is rapidly changing. 'Insecure' workers in the information age must become lifelong learners who can use sophisticated technologies, embrace flexibility rather than stability, maintain employability, and create their own opportunities. These new conceptions of work life recognize that career belongs to the person not the organization (Duarte, 2004). (Savickas et al 2009; pg 239 webpage NEW article). In addition, career stages as defined in extant theories such as Super's Career Stage Theory (1957; 1996 listed above) are mainly shaped by societal needs, and these needs are changing with the rapidly changing environment (Savickas et al 2009; pg 240 webpage NEW article) and the changing nature of work, rendering these stages unrealistic in the order in which they are presented. These changes require workers to develop skills and competences that differ substantially from the knowledge and abilities required by 20th century occupations. Today, occupational prospects seem far less definable and predictable, with job transitions more frequent and difficult (Savickas et al 2009; pg 240 webpage NEW article).

As the career becomes more internally defined, stage theory will focus more on internal, individual decision-making processes rather than the relationship of the individual to an employer (Wrobel et al, 2003), with modern theoretical models emphasizing human flexibility, adaptability, and life-long learning. (Savickas et al 2009; pg 240 webpage NEW article).

The theoretical framework upon which this study is based is that of Mark Savickas, who termed his approach 'Career Construction Theory' which is rooted in post-modern social constructivism. Social constructivism, strongly influenced by Vygotsky's (1978) work, suggests that knowledge is first constructed in a social context and is then taken up by individuals (Bruning et al., 1999; M. Cole, 1991; Eggan & Kauchak, 2004); a theory which informs the way in which learners acquire information in the classroom and learning environment. Constructivism is a psychological approach that has developed out of post-modernism, a philosophical stance emphasising the idea of 'no fixed truth. Followers of this theoretical construct believe that individuals create and perceive their own

reality or truth, relflecting a multiculturally diverse world in which different individuals can have their own view of what is real for them (Richard S. Sharf: pg 263) Constructivism in essence implies that:

There are no fixed meanings or realities in the world, there are multiple meanings and multiple realities. Individuals create or construct their own meaning/reality of the world through the experiences they have.

People "construct" themselves and the world around them through the interpretations they make and the actions they take. These "constructs" or perceptions of events may be useful or may be misleading.

Individuals differ from each other in their construction of events. Two people may participate in the same or similar event and have very different perceptions of the experience.

People are self-organizing and meaning-makers. Their lives are ever evolving stories that are under constant revision. An individual may choose to develop "new constructs" or write new "stories" in their life.

To be an empowered or fulfilled person requires critical reflection of the assumptions that account for our daily decisions and actions.

[Big Picture View of Career Development Theory retrieved 26/11/12]

Career construction theory provides a way of thinking about how individuals choose and use work. This theory is an extension of Super;s career stage theory, where there is an acknowledgement of how our environments affect our realities and the life role we find ourselves in; yet at the same time, a recognition that we can, and do, occupy various life roles at various stages of our lives. This is not a linear or stable progression, but rather a fluid transition from role to role - it is what Savickas refers to as life-long learning. Like Super (1957; 1996), Savickas ( 1989, 1993, 2000) presents a model for comprehending vocational behaviour across the life-cycle (Savckas - carrer construction article), but emphasizes flexibility and mobility rather than the traditional vocational model's view of careers as representing commitment and stability. While Super's career stage theory proved to be useful at the time, with many people entering jobs and organizations hoping to progress up the corporate ladder (Maree & Ebersohn, 2002:158), the rungs of that metaphorical

ladder are fast disappearing in response to deregulation, fewer trade barriers, destabilization, continual technological innovation, organizational downsizing, outsourcing, and flatter governance structures (Mahler, 2008:1). The new job market in our unsettled economy calls for viewing career not as a lifetime commitment to one employer but as selling services and skills to a series of employers who need projects completed. (Savckas - carrer construction article) In Western societies, we witness a growing diversity of individual realities, far from the traditional pathways - During a major part of the 20th century, individual careers were shaped by prevailing societal norms: first education, then work, and finally family. Social integration and recognition were mainly based upon these systems of reference. Today, people at all ages return to school, obtain training, lose their jobs and get divorced, without necessarily losing social recognition. Co-existence of multiple identities and subjective realities therefore seems to be a natural consequence of such societal evolutions. Savickas is particularly interested in investigating how to live a life in a postmodern world shaped by a global economy and supported by information technology (Life Design Article - webpage). His theory focuses attention on adaptation to a series of transitions from school to work, from job to job, and from occupation to occupation.

Career construction theory views adaptation to these transitions as fostered by five principal types of behaviors: orientation, exploration, establishment, management, and disengagement. As each transition approaches, individuals can adapt more effectively if they meet the change with growing awareness, information-seeking followed by informed decision making, trial behaviors leading to a stable commitment projected forward for a certain time period, active role management, and eventually forward-looking deceleration and disengagement. (Savckas - carrer construction article).

In the learning context, this theory emphasizes the importance of the learner being actively involved in the learning process, unlike previous educational viewpoints where the responsibility rested with the instructor to teach and where the learner played a passive, receptive role. According to the social constructivism approach, instructors have to adapt to the role of facilitators and not teachers (Bauersfeld, 1995 in WIKIPEDIA). It is also important for instructors to realize that although a curriculum may be set down for them, it inevitably becomes shaped by them into something personal that reflects their own belief systems, their thoughts and feelings about both the content of their instruction and their learners (Rhodes and Bellamy 1999 in WIKIPEDIA). They are required to be flexible and adaptable, and create a collaborative learning environment - known as 'collaborative elaboration' (Meter & Stevens, 2000 in WIKIPEDIA), which results in learners building understanding together that wouldn't be possible alone (Greeno et al., 1996 in WIKIPEDIA).

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) (2006) provides a framework within which this 21st century skill preparation can take place. P21 was developed in the United States with the goal of positioning 21st century skills at the centre of 21st century education. P21 is an international organization formed in 2001 with the sponsorship of the United States government and several organizations from the private sector (e.g., Apple Computer, Cisco Systems, Dell Computer Corporation,Microsoft Corporation, National Education Association). P21 recommends the emphasis of a specific set of competences - regarded by this framework as "learning skills" (i.e., information and communication; thinking and problem solving; interpersonal and self-directional skills) - the acquisition of which can be best supported by specific pedagogic techniques, such as problem-based learning, cooperative learning, experiential learning, and formative assessment. (REF)

This is rooted in social constructivism, a theory strongly influenced by Vygotsky's (1978) work, which suggests that knowledge is first constructed in a social context and is then taken up by individuals (Bruning et al., 1999; M. Cole, 1991; Eggan & Kauchak, 2004); a theory which informs the way in which learners acquire information in the classroom and learning environment.

With emphasis placed on the importance of mentoring and facilitating learners in acquiring the necessary 21st century skills (P21), and ultimately empowering them through active and collaborative acquisition of information (Social constructivism) to navigate their way in a largely unpredictable 21st century work environment, the Career Construction Theory together with the the P21 framework will form the basic theoretical construct upon which this study is based.

Careers in the 21st Century

What are 21st century careers? In a narrative study defining career success in the 21st century, Elizabeth Mahler describes today's career world as 'complex and boundaryless' (Mahler pg 8). Roles have shifted - women are now a significant part of the workforce, in addition to being mothers and wives; entrepreneurs, non-profit workers, the self-employed, culturally diverse workers, and other nontraditional workers in nontraditional settings make up the 21st century workforce (Mahler pg 9). In addition, a longer life translates into extended time in the workforce, accompanied by additonal education, re-visiting of career goals and changing of career paths (Mahler pg 9). Today's life and work environments thus require far more than thinking skills and content knowledge. They require what is being referred to today as life-long learning. According to Renck Jalongo (1991), the highest purpose of teaching is to promote those types of learning that encourage children to continue to learn, not only inside the classroom but also outside the classroom and throughout life (Renck Jalongo, 1991:3 - 'ROLE OF TEACHER' BOOK) - This is lifelong learning. Technology will continue to change the world in ways we cannot imagine; and in this increasingly complexworld, creativity and the ability to continue to learn and to innovate will count as much as, if not more than, specific areas of knowledge liable to become obsolete. (COMMISSION ARTICLE PG 5??). Employees no longer remain in the same job/position for forty years. "Secure lifelong employment in a single job is a thing of the past" (Robinson, 2011:6). The ability to navigate the complex life and work environments in this globally competitive information age requires students to pay rigorous attention to developing adequate life and career skills. Technology and the ease with which new skills can be acquired create a need for more career flexibility and innovation. From an economic perspective, workers are now required to command a new set of aptitudes - "Mere survival today depends on being able to do something that overseas knowledge workers can't do cheaper, that powerful computers can't do faster, and that satisfies one of the non-material, transcendent desires of an abundant age" (Pink pg 51). Workers are reacting to these changes by shifting their focus away from organizational careers to more personal roles, 'more localised and portable sites for vesting the self' (Ashforth, 2001 in Mahler pg 1). According to Mahler, this shift in career focus requires an increased capacity for self-direction, the ability to adapt to constantly changing circumstances, and an understanding that identity will continue to evolve as an individual navigates multiple work roles over the course of a career (Ashforth et al in Mahler pg 2). In accordance with the principles of the Chaos Theory which, along with The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) serves as the theoretical framework for this study (see section...), individuals are defining their career paths within an unpredicatable and changing environment: "Workers are increasingly finding that they have to manage their own careers, become more flexible in the sort of work they seek, and be willing to learn new skills throughout their lives (Maree and Ebersohn 2002 pg 155). P21 recognises that in order to ensure the development of these skills and attitudes, learners should be exposed to the following:


The ability to be flexible and adaptable is an essential skill in the culturally diverse and nontraditional 21st century workplace. "the predictable and stable boundaries of a single organization career are evolving into a less secure, and often 'boundaryless' series of shorter, portable, and transactionally based work roles and relationships (Mahler pg 4). Thus the ability to work in a 'climate of ambiguity' and the ability to 'adapt to varied job roles' in 'multi-cultural environments' [( retrieved on 24/10/12] is an essential 21st century skill.

This is emphasised in Savickas's Career Construction Theory, and his focus on Career Adaptability This concept was introduced by Savickas approximately three decades ago, with the intention to replace Super's 'career maturity' stage. This is still a relatively new concept that is still being explored and refined (pg 120) yet Iit has been described by Savickas as 'the readiness to cope with the unpredicatable tasks of preparing for and participating in the work role and with the unpredictable adjustments prompted by changes in work and working conditions (Savickas, 1997 in Maree 2010 pg 120). It also requires the need to engage proactively in a process of self-development in order to choose suitable opportunities and become the person you want to be (Maree, 2010 pg 120). This is an extension of Super's emphasis on self-concept and the importance of identity formation in vocational development.


The concept of life-long learning is emphasised here, again drawing attention to the shift in traditional career roles and opportunities: individuals today can expect to hold five to eight jobs within a working lifetime - the traditionally recognised contract between an employee and employer no longer guarantees lifelong employment in exchange for loyalty and performance (Mahler, pg 5-6). Demonstrating both a 'commitment to learning as a lifelong process', as well as 'initiative to advance skill levels towards a professional level' [( retrieved on 24/10/12] is a skill necessary to develop self-direction and active management of work roles. The ability to 'work independently at one's highest level of mastery' is also an essential 21st century skill, due to increased competition in the workforce as a result of continual technological innovation, organizational downsizing and outsourcing (Mahler, pg 1).


Social and cultural skills such as conducting oneself respectably and professionally, and responding open-mindedly to different ideas and values [( retrieved on 24/10/12] are critical life skills required for the 21st century. As discussed in section ….. today's work environment is less predictable than it was traditionally and requires workers to be able to adapt and innovate and collaborate with others effectively. Collaboration requires respect in order to engage in open-minded discussion.


Being accountable for one's actions or decisions and behaving in a professional manner are skills that are difficult to teach. These are skills that should be role-modelled, by both parents and teachers. Today's generation of learners is in the throes of the technological era, where roles and values are shifting and changing. Identity formation for adolescents in particular "requires dependence on and a critical connection to the social world, while also bestowing on the individual a sense of autonomy and self-determination" (Mahler pg 17). It is therefore essential that they are provided with the guidance to find their career path and that they are shown how to manage themselves effectively in the world, displaying the abilities to:

-Work positively and ethically

-Manage time and projects effectively


- Participate actively, as well as be reliable and punctual

-Present oneself professionally and with proper etiquette

-Collaborate and cooperate effectively with teams

-Respect and appreciate team diversity

-Be accountable for results [( retrieved on 24/10/12]


Today's learners are our future leaders, and thus appropriate behaviours and skills such as acting responsibly, inspiring, influencing and guiding others, demonstrating integrity and ethical behaviour [( retrieved on 24/10/12] need to be modelled for them so that they can enter the world of work as selfless role models and leaders.

( on 24/10/12

-21st century skills

The skills outlined in the P21 Framework (above) reflect the changing realities of the 21st century , which is frames in the theoretical construct of social constructivism (in section....) and are echoed in

the writings of a number of educational researchers and pioneers pertinent to this research, such as Sir Ken Robinson (2009; 2011), Daniel Pink (2005) and John Taylor Gatto (2010) who are the leading voices in '21st century skills' and the transformation of the 21st century workforce. Their advocacy has been supported by thorough research in both the education and global economic spheres. Voogt (2008) for example, believes that through information and communication technology, our society has changed from an industrial society to an information or knowledge society, where learning requires collaboration and group work, directed by the learners themselves and facilitated by the teachers (see comparative table in appendix). While in the industrial society the main focus of education was to contribute to the development of factual and procedural knowledge, in the information or knowledge society the development of conceptual and meta-cognitive knowledge is increasingly considered important (Anderson 2008). Today's generation needs to be able to think critically and independently in order to function successfully in the 21st century - "individuals will have to be able to function comfortably in a world that is always in flux...people will be faced with greater individual responsibility to direct their own lives" (Gato, pg xxxiv). This, Robinson believes, can be attributed to two main factors: the major advances in technology - which is referred to by Voogt (2008), Gatto (2011), and Pink (2005) - as well as the rapid growth of the world population: "this great new mass of humanity will be using technologies that have yet to be invented in ways that we cannot imagine and in jobs that don't yet exist" (Robinson, 2009:19). This change has inevitable implications for our education systems (voogt article pg 11) - one of which is "a need to change curricula so that students develop competences which are needed in the 21st century (Anderson 2008; Voogt & Pelgrum, 2005)". (VOOGT PG 2)

Robinson believes that education has three core purposes: to develop individual talents and sensibilities, to deepen learner's understanding of the world around them and to enable them to earn a living and be economically productive (2011, pg 249). In order to achieve this, certain skills need to be developed, namely, flexibility and adaptability (pg 6), entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity (pg 11) good communication skills, team work and collaboration, and self-confidence (pg 69). This corresponds with the skills highlighted by P21 (see table above), which is the theoretical framework upon which this study is based. Other educational researchers and authors, such as Mary Renck Jalongo (1991), agree that "Collaboration, cooperation and teamwork, rather than individual achievement, will be the mark of an advancing society" (pg 73). The ability to collaborate and effectively communicate with others is a crucial skill in the 21st century, yet the competitive nature of the school environment could possibly be preventing the future generation from developing the appropriate and essential collaborative and communication skills that are necessary for successful functioning in the 21st century. These skills, namely collaboration, communication, teamwork, require largely practical and reflexive competencies (see section...) - they are skills that cannot be studied and tested, but rather experienced, explored and facilitated. Hence the envisaged role of in the context of this study, especially Life Orientation teachers as mentors - "mediators of learning, interpreters and designers of Learning Programmes" (DoE pg. 5) - as opposed to deliverers of content and learning outcomes. No longer is it effective for the teacher to take on the role of the 'painter', who fills in the spaces on a blank canvas, synthetically, producing an image. The teacher needs to take on the role of the 'sculptor' - chipping away carefully and gently until the artwork is revealed. (Gatto, pg xxxiv).

Daniel Pink (2005) is an advocate for empathy as a teaching strategy and essential 21st century skill in the learning and work environment. Empathy, says Pink, "is an ethic for living...a universal language that connects us beyond country or essential part of living a life of meaning" (pg 165). Robinson concurs: "students are simply not learning the personal skills they need to deal with modern life" (2011; pg 78). According to Kathy Beland (2007:69 BOOK 1), social and emotional competence and skills are "crucial to success in school, work, and personal life" - These skills include self-awareness and relationship skills, assisting the individual in recognizing and managing emotions.

"Education should not be knowledge-based but child-centered" (Robinson, 2011:179). This means that the whole child should be developed, not just his/her academic abilities. According to Robinson (2011:179), education "should engage [learner's] feelings, physical development, moral education and creativity". These authors are emphasising again the shift in skill requirements for the 21st century, and the necessity for personal growth and development over and above content and curriculum knowledge acquisition. "The lessons of school prevent children from keeping important appointments with themselves and with their families to learn lessons in self-motivation, perseverance, self-reliance, courage, dignity and love - and lessons in service to others, too" (Gatto, pg 19). This type of content-based curriculum, with a set body of information to be imparted to students is, Gatto believes, entirely inappropriate as a means of preparing children for their adult roles" (Gatto, pg xxiv). What often happens in during the school lesson is that teachers tend to become overwhelmed by 'topic information', leading to lessons that often try to cover too much content, at the expense of depth (resource doc pg 29).

The challenge therefore is for teachers to transform their roles. The curriculum is merely a vehicle with which teachers can drive transformation. The Life Orientation curriculum in particular is geared towards both critical and personal development of the learner, as is seen in the learning outcomes table in section...... - it is the role of the teacher to ensure that this development takes place. The essential skill that teachers need to possess, is the ability to adapt the curriculum to the current social, economic and technological environment. As the above-mentioned researchers have demonstrated in their work, The 21st century is an environment that requires very different skills to that of the mid-20th century/Industrial Era, where individuals werlewe relegated to a more passive role , which "required some decision making and knowledge of self to ensure an initial fit within an organization or profession, with the organization then actively defining the individual's roles and criteria for career success" (Mahler pg 21). No longer does our economy depend on the mass production of factory workers and craftsmen - these positions are now being filled by the computer. No longer does our society require a generation of passive and loyal workers who are unmotivated, lacking in passion and creativity, and fearful of authority - workers today need to be flexible, adaptable, creative and prepared for change; able to provide the work environment with skills and values that are unmatched by today's technology and outsourced skills and resources. These 21st century skills generally involve personal and ethical awareness, and motivation driven by passion. Skills that cannot be taught or tested, but rather role-modelled and facilitated by mentors. In order to assess the acquisition of these skills, as intended by the curriculum, the Life Orientation teacher is required to use various assessment methods, such as "tests, examinations, projects and assignments" (doe 2003, pg. 39), which form part of a continuous assessment (CASS) process [1] and are ultimately included in a final portfolio. Although the curriculum makes provision for practical exploration in the FET phase, the majority of tasks are written and content-based. "School systems tend to be preoccupied with certain sorts of critical analysis and reasoning, particularly with words and numbers...children everywhere are under intense pressure to perform at higher and higher levels on a narrow range of standardized tests" (Robinson, 2009:13). Students' abilities to transfer their understandings to real world situations are not assessed, nor are capabilities related to various aspects of teamwork. The use of technological applications and representations is generally banned from testing, rather than measuring students' capacities to use tools, applications, and media effectively. Abilities to effectively utilize various forms of mediated interaction are typically not assessed. (Dede pg 3). Irrespective of the approach adopted for its integration, all frameworks suggest that 21st century skills demand significant changes in the curriculum. These changes are related to restructuring the curriculum in order to make room for 21st century skills, but also to the need for new teaching methods and assessment procedures. According to P21, the acquisition of 21st century skills can be best supported by specific pedagogic techniques, such as problem-based learning, cooperative learning, experiential learning, and formative assessment. Next to these innovative teaching approaches, most frameworks also emphasize the need for a comprehensive use of technology to enhance student learning and to promote the mastery of 21st century skills (Voogt pg 29). Standardized tests alone can measure only a few of the important skills and knowledge students should learn. A balance of assessments, including high-quality standardized testing along with effective classroom assessments, offers students and teachers a powerful tool to master the content and skills central to success. Chris Dede (pg 4-5) Young people need a wider range of competences than ever before to flourish, in a globalised economy and in increasingly diverse societies. Many will work in jobs that do not yet exist. Many will need advanced linguistic, intercultural and entrepreneurial capacities.(COMMISSION ARTICLE PG 5??)

Teachers therefore need to be promoting 'enquiry-based learning' (Robinson, pg 268), where learners are able to explore and discover their own learning experiences. "Education should not be knowledge-based but child-centered"; it should "develop the whole child and not just their academic abilities" (Robinson pg 179). This is particularly relevant to the teaching of Life Orientation, which emphasises the importance of self-exploration and identity-formation, and allows for more flexible teaching and learning to take place (see learning outcomes).

Teachers' attitudes, beliefs, competences and practices are determinant factors in the realization of change in teaching and learning. (Voogt pg 30). This idea will be explored in more detail in the following section, where the role of the teacher in preparing learners for the 21st century workplace will be discussed.

"Teachers are not only expected to facilitate the acquisition of 21st century skills in their students, but they are also expected to possess these skills"(Voogt pg 30).

Role of the Life Orientation teacher

"Great teachers have always understood that their real role is not to teach subjects but to teach students" (Robinson, 2008:249)

Educators as agents of change are central in learners' acquisition of 21st century skill and knowledges. The teacher is the ultimate key to educational change and the acquisition of essential life and work skills. Teachers don't merely deliver the curriculum; they develop, define it and reinterpret it too. It is what teachers think, what teachers believe and what teachers do at the level of the classroom that ultimately shapes the kind of learning that young people get [Hargreaves, 1994, ix]. (PG 47). The question is: Are LO teachers equipped for this role?

This question has been prevalent since the 1990's, and according to the Education White Paper 4 (August 1998), "Professional commitment and morale amongst many educators, administrators and managers are poor". In order to model professionalism and motivation for change, one has to experience this on a personal level. This will have negative implications for the South African educator's role as key driver of change The Report of the President's Education Initiative Research Project (1999) concludes that the most critical challenge facing education in South Africa is the limited conceptual understanding many teachers had of the subjects they teach. This is a result of both the inequalities and distortions of our apartheid past, as well as the evolution of our modern industrial society (White Paper 4, 1998:13), which has shifted the way in which information is acquired through rapid global technological advancement. Chapter four of the White Paper 4 document states that "Our learning and teaching system must undergo urgent change for it to...develop into the 21st century learning and teaching system that our country needs" (pg 21). In order to achieve this outcome, the training and development of teachers is recognised as a matter of urgency, as is the bridging of knowledge learned at school with knowledge and skills required in the workplace: all the knowledge, skills and values taught in the classroom are to be "transferable to different work and learning contexts" (pg 21). In addition to this, the document stipulates that access to up-to-date labour market information be provided to FET learners, "indicating skill shortages, careers opportunities and trends in the job market" (pg 33).

In response to this, The Norms and Standards for Educators was gazetted on 4 February 2000. This policy provides an outline of the knowledge, skills and values that are seen as the hallmarks of a professional and competent educator. It is intended as a flexible instrument that can provide a basis for the generation of qualifications and learning programmes (Parker, 2001 IN ROBINSON, 2003:4). This policy describes the competent educator as a subject specialist, leader and manager, whose role "has strategic importance for the intellectual, moral, and cultural preparation of our young people" (gov gazette 29832 pg 4).

The cornerstone of the policy is the identification of the following seven roles and accompanying competencies for educators:

• mediator of learning: "construct learning environments that are appropriately contextualised and inspirational";

• interpreter and designer of learning programmes and materials: "understand and interpret provided learning programmes, design original learning programmes, identify the requirements for a specific context of learning and select and prepare suitable textual and visual resources for learning"

• leader, administrator and manager: "manage learning in the classroom, carry out classroom administrative duties efficiently and participate in school decision making structures"

• scholar, researcher and lifelong learner: "will achieve ongoing personal, academic, occupational and professional growth"

• community, citizenship and pastoral role: "will practise and promote a critical, committed and ethical attitude towards developing a sense of respect and responsibility towards others"

• assessor: "design and manage both formative and summative assessment in

ways that are appropriate to the level and purpose of the learning and meet the requirements of

accrediting bodies"

• learning area/subject/discipline/phase specialist: "The educator will be well grounded in the knowledge, skills, values, principles, methods, and procedures relevant to the discipline"

(gov gazette Vol. 415, No. 20844, 4 February 2000 pg 6-7; 13)

In combination with these seven roles, a set of associated competences provides key organisers for the design of teacher education programmes. These are divided into practical, foundational and reflexive competences and are aimed at removing the dichotomy between theory and practice. (ROBINSON, 2003:4) Foundational competence refers to an understanding of the knowledge and content areas; whereas practical and reflexive competences require the ability to make decisions and adapt to unforeseen changes. The Department of Education makes reference to the fact that "the majority of teachers have not yet been sufficiently equipped to meet the education needs of a growing democracy in a 21st century global environment" (REF???). This may perhaps be a result of greater emphasis being placed on foundational competencies in the South African curricula, where the majority of teachers appear to deliver content knowledges according to curriculum expectations, and have knowledge of a range of assessment approaches - yet tend to leave the development of essential skills, attitudes and values (as mentioned in section 1.??) to fall to the wayside.

Practical and reflexive competencies require more developed and professional skills, such as teaching strategies that engage higher level questioning and critical thinking; reflection on teaching practices and learning experiences; designing original learning programmes that are context-appropriate; critically evaluating different programmes; constructing a democratic classroom environment; engaging in participative decision-making; developing life-skills, work-skills, and a healthy lifestyle in learners; operating as a mentor; and facilitating the transfer of knowledge into different contexts. These competencies require the development of those critical skills mentioned in the P21 framework (see section....)

The role of the teacher is to develop all three core competencies in order to assist their learners in acquiring not only content knowledge, but the necessary skills and values as well, in order to prepare them for life and careers in the 21st century. The role of the teacher is therefore twofold: a deliverer of the national curriculum and corresponding knowledges and skills; as well as role-model, demonstrating a solid value system, free of bias and judgement, held firm by personal beliefs - (which are constantly being evaluated and redefined as values are being explored and modelled).

According to the P21 framework, Professional development programs should ensure that teachers / educators:

Understand the importance of 21st century skills and how to integrate them into daily instruction.

Are aware of how deeper understanding of subject matter can enhance problem solving, critical thinking and other 21st century skills.

Have the ability to identify students' particular learning styles and intelligences.

Develop their abilities to use various strategies to reach different students as well as to create environments that support differentiated teaching and learning.

Have the opportunity to see how 21st century skills look like in real classrooms.

Have the ability to take advantage of 21st century tools, such as rich media examples, video, simulations, etc.

Have the opportunities to share knowledge within communities of practitioners using face-to-face, virtual and hybrid exchanges.

(Voogt pg 31)

Teacher training programs should thus give teachers the opportunity to develop 21st century skills themselves, and at the same time experience how these skills can be brought into the classrooms.

This brings along high expectations from teachers and poses many challenges to them. Teachers need intellectual, emotional and social support to meet these challenges and to cope with the uncertainties and complexity of change. (Voogt pg 32) These teachers need to be flexible and adaptable, demonstrating a strong value system that corresponds with the constitution and Bill of Human Rights. They need to possess the qualities of role models, counsellors and compassionate leaders, as it is their role to lead and guide the future leaders of our country.

While all teachers are expected to display qualities of sound administration, leadership, management and lifelong learning (see seven roles of teachers) a successful Life Orientation teacher should reflect the following qualities:

• Should be approachable

• Should be a good listener

• Caring of learners and colleagues and show empathy

• Should be trustworthy and able to keep confidentiality

• Demonstrate a healthy life style

• Be able to guide the learners towards making morally responsible decisions

• Good communication skills

• Passion for the fundamental values of our constitution

• Be sensitive to the community values

• And be non-judgemental


These qualities, often in-born, can be strengthened or developed through intensive training and professional development programmes in order for educators to be able to provide both counselling and teaching services to their learners. Those educators working in the FET band (Grades 10-12) specifically, should be aware that these learners are at a crucial developmental stage, and require support and guidance with their life choices and career paths.

This phase will be discussed in more detail in the following section as it forms the focus of this research.

FET phase in senior schools

At each developmental life stage, learners will experience particular emotional and cognitive shifts and uncertainties. In the final phase of traditional schooling, the FET band, learners are transitioning from middle to late adolescence, where they begin "to focus [their] thinking on making career decisions" as well as "on [their] emerging role in adult society" ( retrieved 4/05/12). Salyers and McKee (2007) describe adolescence as a time of "simultaneous emotional conflicts", where the individual is searching for the answer to "Who am I?" while at the same time showing optimism and "hope for the future" (pg 4). According to the critical outcomes of the FET Life Orientation curriculum (see section....), personal and physical well-being is discussed and explored, as well as careers and career choice. Through this process, critical questions regarding identity formation and life stage transition are intended to be answered, or at least explored. These young adults are currently in a stage described by Erikson (1950, 1959, 1968) as an "identity crisis" - this is often a confusing personal path of exploration that culminates in one's initial commitments to vocation, ideology, and relationships (Mahler pg 17). It is therefore crucial that life orientation teachers guide and mentor these learners appropriately through this critical transitional life stage.

In addition to being a critical life stage, the FET phase is also the most complex and diverse phase of education and training. FET consists of all learning and training programmes from NQF Levels 2 to 4, or the equivalent of Grades 10 to 12 in the school system. Learners enter FET after the completion of the compulsory phase of education at Grade 9 or Level 1 of the NQF. FET is not compulsory education. By definition, it has no age limit. Its goal is to promote lifelong learning and education on-the-job (Green Paper, The Ministry's main objective and vision of a future FET system is that "it will promote the development of human talents and abilities, the redress of past inequalities, and the building of a just, democratic and prosperous society" (Green paper,

According to the Education White Paper 4, "FET is an important allocator of life chances...Accordingly, the purpose and mission of FET are to respond to the human resource needs of our country for personal, social, civic and economic development" (DoE, 1998:6).

It is therefore essential that the role of the teacher in this process be considered, as it is their professional and ethical duty to ensure that their learners are adequately prepared for life in the outside world. It is the intention of the Green Paper to ensure that FET becomes more relevant and responsive to the needs of its three major client-groups - the pre-employed, the employed and the unemployed (Green paper,

An important question that therefore needs to be asked is whether today's learners are being prepared not only for the world of work, but also for possible unemployment.

Unemployment is a global issue. In January 2012, the International Labour Organization (ILO) published its report on Global Employment Trends 2012. In this publication, it is said that 74.8 million youth aged 15-24 were unemployed in 2011, an increase of more than 4 million since 2007. It adds that globally, young people are nearly three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. The global youth unemployment rate, at 12.7 per cent, remains a full percentage point above the pre-crisis level ( Published 24/01/12 - article in 'DOCUMENTS') ****stats***** According to Daniel Pink, 2005, Forrester Research has found that "at least 3.3 million white collar jobs and $136 billion in wages will shift from the U.S to low-cost countries like India, China, and Russia by 2015" (pg 39). And research findings suggest that nations such as Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom will see similar job loss (Pink, 2005:39). This shifting of labour to low-cost countries is known as outsourcing. And if we are to survive in our changing global economy, we will need to adopt a new set of aptitudes, such as "forging relationships rather than executing transactions; tackling novel challenges instead of solving routine problems; and synthesizing the big picture rather than analyzing a single component" (Pink, 2005:40). Future workers need to be able to do what overseas workers cannot do cheaper, and that computers cannot do faster. They need to be able to provide a service or a product that fulfils the desires of the new 'abundant age'. These new aptitudes will ultimately require the development of new skills - 21st century skills. "[W]e've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we're progressing yet again - to a society of creators and empathizers, of pattern recognizers and meaning-makers" (Pink, 2005:50). Within the South African curriculum, Life Orientation and Life Skills and their teachers can facilitate this paradigm shift.

Life Orientation -defining the learning area

2.1 What is Life Orientation?

A key to understanding the term lies in the components of the title, Life Orientation. Life includes capacity for growth and continued change. Orientation refers to an ability to adjust to circumstances such as political, social, psychological and economic aspects (Maree & Ebersohn, 2002:28 - find source). .

South African learners face the complex challenge of living in an increasingly demanding and rapidly changing world, where they have to make informed decisions, particularly about their health and well-being, lifestyles, relationships and careers. (PG 9) In our emergent democracy, learners have a responsibility to acknowledge and enforce human rights and social justice, applying democratic principles to their daily lives and interactions. These learners have a range of needs, particularly social needs such as protection from abuses and knowledge about self-management and empowerment. Life Orientation has the potential to respond to many of these needs from a preventative, promotive and an ameliorative perspective. (PG 9???)

Life Orientation is one of the four fundamental learning areas in the Further Education and Training Band, which means that it is compulsory for all learners in Grades 10-12 (NCS, 2005:8).The rationale for Life Orientation is fundamental in empowering learners to live meaningful lives in a society that demands rapid transformation (DoE, 1997b:220). Life Orientation is a process-driven learning area where learners are expected to cope with and adjust to changes in their environment through the acquisition of certain critical and developmental skills. This learning area makes a unique contribution to the Further Education and Training Band as it sets out to:

guide and prepare learners to respond appropriately to life's responsibilities and opportunities;

equip learners to interact optimally on a personal, psychological, cognitive, motor, physical, moral, spiritual, cultural and socio-economic level;

guide learners to make informed and responsible decisions about their own health and well-being and the health and well-being of others;

expose learners to their constitutional rights and responsibilities, to the rights of others and to issues of diversity;

equip learners with knowledge, skills and values to make informed decisions about subject choices, careers, additional and higher education opportunities and the world of work;

expose learners to various study methods and skills pertaining to assessment processes and

expose learners to an understanding of the value of regular participation in physical activity.

Grades 10 - 12 Life Orientation Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS, final draft:8)

2.2 The origin of the learning area

The introduction of Life Orientation as a learning area/subject in the South African FET curriculum became fundamental in ensuring that all learners were treated equally, and that they should recognise themselves as worthwhile human beings. It intended to promote social justice, human rights, and inclusiveness, as well as a healthy environment (Department of Education, 2003b:5) by "equipping learners to engage on personal, psychological, neuro-cognitive, motor, physical, moral, spiritual, cultural, socio-economic and constitutional levels, to respond positively to the demands of the world, to assume responsibilities, and to make the most of life's opportunities" (DoE, 2003:9). This also includes preparing learners and equipping them with necessary life skills for the world of careers.

South Africa's unique situation - a new democracy following years of oppression and exploitation, leaving in its midst social problems such as extreme poverty, drug and alcohol abuse and urgent health problems - coupled with the new global market and rapidly changing economic structure, requiring new knowledges, skills, values and attitudes to compete in this constantly evolving society - contributed to the creation of the Life Orientation learning area. If properly implemented, the Life Orientation learning area has the potential to improve the quality of life of all learners as future citizens by establishing a society based on democratic values, social justice and human rights. (Panday - thesis example pg 7)

With the introduction of this learning area, Guidance services originally offered in school institutions throughout South Africa were officially phased out. These services incorporated a number of activities aimed at the vocational and general development of students, namely group guidance - which focused on career, educational, social and personal development - as well as life-skills programmes, individual psychometric testing, and counselling (Booklet 1:15).

Guidance was couched within apartheid educational philosophy of the National Education Policy Act (39) of 1967. This act imposed that, as part of its guidance curriculum, Whites should be encouraged to aspire to guard their identity, placing emphasis on self-evaluation rather than self-empowerment. Career guidance in most South African schools was primarily a directing and controlling process, typified by socialisation and social control, rather than by the strengthening of personal and individual qualities [Burns, 1986a]. (PG 76) Guidance was used simply to perpetuate the apartheid regime's value system, ultimately providing the youth of South Africa with very little guidance at all. The needs of employers were viewed as being paramount, while the needs of workers were ignored [Naicker, 1994]. Ultimately providing poor vocational and personal guidance with regards to future career and life opportunities.

Since the birth of democracy in 1994, many policies and laws have been put in place in South Africa to protect South African individuals and ensure equality and democracy for all. This transformation occurred at a time when the world was transforming economically and technologically, and as a result, many of the policies have included recognition of the changing roles of educators in the 21st century as well as the needs of today's generation of learners. The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is one such example.

One of the primary objectives of the NQF is " To enhance the quality of education and training" (Reference???) so that learners and educators are provided with hope and optimism in a constantly evolving global society. This piece of legislation was the first to be adopted by our new democratic government through the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Act, No. 58 of 1995. (NQF document, 2005). The intention is to create opportunities for a system "that supports lifelong learning, social justice and democratic participation". In theory, the NQF appears to provide many of the answers to the current issues we are experiencing in our school systems - such as enabling the outcomes or standards of competence achieved in all learning programmes to be registered at the appropriate level - However, it is unfortunately still in its infancy stage, and idealistic at best; and according to the policy document, it is the responsibility of SAQA "to oversee the development and implementation of the NQF", as well as the responsibility of our society to encourage and support this initiative. (Reference???)

One of the main driving forces behind the NQF is the South African Council for Educators (SACE). A statutory body and public entity that has the responsibility to contribute towards achieving government's mandate, national priorities, goals and outcomes (SACE, 2011/2012: pg2). One of the main focuses of this strategic plan is to drive the objectives of the NQF by "[improving] teacher capacity and practices" (pg 3). One of its core functions is development of the teaching profession in order to "establish and maintain a register of professionally qualified educators" (pg 11). SACE and SAQA are key stakeholders in the National Policy Framework for Teacher Education and Development in South Africa (2007). This policy framework aims to provide an overall strategy for the successful recruitment, retention, and professional development of teachers (pg 9). It aims to ensure that teachers are appropriately qualified, properly equipped and adequately competent to take on required tasks and duties, and are able to continually enhance their professional competence and performance. It is within this policy framework that the Norms and Standards for Educators describe the role of the competent educator (discussed above in section...). The role of the educator is recognised in this policy document as having "strategic importance for the intellectual, moral, and cultural preparation of our young people" (pg 12). In addition, the National Qualifications Framework Act 67 of 2008 pays close attention to the various types of knowledge that underpin teachers' practise, while encapsulating all of these in the notion of integrated and applied knowledge. This should be understood as being both the condition for, and the effect of scrutinising, fusing together and expressing different types of knowing in the moment of practise; thereby explicitly placing

knowledge, reflection, connection, synthesis and research in the foreground and giving

renewed emphasis to what is to be learned and how it is to be learnt (NQF, 2011). This acknowledges the shift in the 21st century educator's role and the requirement of these teachers "to have new knowledge and applied competencies, including the use of new technologies, and radical change in the demographic, cultural and linguistic composition of our classrooms" (pg 12). This requires not only competent teachers, but also a relevant curriculum.

The next section will look in more detail at the changing curriculum, from the early 1990's until the present day.

-Life Orientation learning outcomes

The 1990's in South Africa saw the beginnings of a shift in the education and economic realms. The country had emerged from years of repression, and democracy was securing its place. In addition to this, rapid advances in technology and global communication had begun to surface - affecting the world of business and ultimately the existing economy. There was the drive by trade unions, supported by businesses, in linking the worlds of education and training, so that learners eventually transitioning from one to the other would have their knowledge, skills and qualifications recognized in the world of work. Learners were required to be exposed to different and higher level skills and knowledge than those required by the previous South African curricula (NCS, 2005:2 - booklet 3). This was supported by the sound educational philosophy of shifting the focus away from what teachers were required to teach, to what the child is required to understand and be able to do, after the teaching has taken place. (

The result of these changes and demands was the introduction of curriculum 2005 by the new ministry of education. The role of Curriculum 2005 was to redress the imbalances of the past and overcome the stultifying legacy of apartheid education by ensuring a deeper knowledge, values and skills base for South African citizens (Chisholm, 2002:39 - find source BOOKLET 1:16). The challenge for this curriculum was to provide for the development of skills and competency for innovation, social development and economic growth in the 21st century. The goal of what was being referred to as Outcomes-based education (OBE) was to phase in the ideal of lifelong learning for all South Africans (Department of Education 1997:1) shifting from content-based learning to outcomes-based learning; thereby developing "curious, critical, analytic and reflective thinkers - problem-solvers who are quick to learn, as well as flexible and able to add value to their organizations" (Ibid., 2000:238 in Lombard & Grosser, 2008). In addition to these critical skills, there was also an intention to provide developmental skills to the learners of the new South Africa,such as the ability to participate as responsible citizens, the opportunity to explore career options (particularly entrepreneurial), and the importance of cultural sensitivity (doe 2003, pg 2).

Reviewed in 2001, curriculum 2005 was however found to be problematic in both its approach and implementation: it concentrated too much on skills and the processes of learning, without sufficient specification of content and knowledge. ( These new critical and developmental ('transformational')outcomes had proven too technical for the teachers in the school systems and many had begun to voice their concerns about lack of resources for implementation, workload and a lot of paperwork for which insufficient time was allocated (News Bulletin, 2003:17 Booklet 1:16). According to Jansen & Christie (1999:81 Booklet 1:16), the main problem with Curriculum 2005 was the lack of consistent coordination and application of the learning outcomes since teachers were not familiar with the new approach.

According to the review committee established in 2000 to investigate C2005, implementation of this curriculum was hampered by:

· a curriculum structure and design that was distorted, lacked alignment with assessment policy, and lacked clarity

· a policy that was complex, used confusing language, and overused jargon

· a crowded curriculum

· deficient orientation, training and development of educators and shortages of personnel and resources

· policy ov