Recentering the Teacher From Transmitter of Knowledge to Mediator of Learning

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The educational reforms that have been evolving in South Africa since 1996 incorporate the principles of Outcomes-based education. One of the ideals of South African Outcomes-based education indicated in the National Curriculum Statement is to instill thinking abilities amongst all learners. One implication linked to the aforementioned is that teachers have to base their teaching on, amongst others, constructivist principles that will provide learners with the opportunity to develop as thinkers. On account of the proven ineffectiveness of traditional teaching practices which promoted rote learning, teachers of today have to accept their role as mediators of learning (Fraser, 2006:1). Unlike teaching and learning taking place through transmission and reception, a mediational approach to teaching and learning aims at helping learners to construct their own knowledge, solve problems on their own and to understand their own thinking processes (Fraser, 2006:13,21). This implies recentering the teacher from a transmitter of knowledge to a mediator of learning during the teaching and learning process. Teacher training programmes should therefore be developed to provide the necessary knowledge, skills and moreover attitudes to pre-service teachers to become mediators of learning in order to ensure the development and growth of thinking skills. The linked purposes of this paper are:

  1. to determine to what extent practicing teachers enrolled for a BEd honours degree at a South African university reflect competence in the ability to act as mediators of learning;
  2. to evaluate opportunities built into the teacher training programmes offered at a South African university to develop knowledge and skills required for a mediational approach to teaching and learning; and
  3. to explore ways of nurturing a mediational approach to teaching and learning in teacher training programmes.


Keywords: Transmission and Reception Teaching Mediation, Constructivism, Critical Thinking
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Mary Grosser

Senior Lecturer, Teaching and Learning, School of Educational Sciences: North-West University: Vaal Triangle Campus
Vereeniging, Gauteng, South Africa

Completed BA degree in 1976 and the Higher Education Diploma in 1977. Completed BEd in 1984, MEd in 1997 and PhD in 2000. Teaching career started in 1978 until 1992. From 1992-2002 appointed as lecturer at a College of Education. Since 2003 appointed as Senior Lecturer in Teaching and Learning at the North-West University. Board member of The International Association for Cognitive Development in South Africa. Main interest of research is Critical Thinking - especially the developing and nurturing thereof. Have presented several papers nationally and internationally and published articles on the topic.

Dr Elda de Waal

Senior Lecturer, Education Law, North-West University:Vaal Triangle Faculty
Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


Ref: L08P0569