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Staff Profile

Associate Professor Yael Shalem

QualificationsPhD, BEd, BA
Phone 0117173191
Organisational Unit Curriculum

• Occupational and professional knowledge • Curriculum design and evaluation • Teacher education and teacher work • Assessment

Y ael Shalem is an Associate Professor of Education at the Division of Curriculum in the Wits School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand. Her research interests include occupational and professional knowledge, curriculum design and evaluation, teacher education and teacher work, and assessment. Yael is the first of two editors of 'Retrieving Teaching: Critical Issues in Curriculum Pedagogy and Learning', a book which engages critically with conceptions of teaching that have given rise to a crisis of poor access to meaningful education in South African schools, and which evaluates the enabling conditions for a viable teaching practice. Her PhD (1991) 'Educated Labour - A Case Study with English Speaking Teachers in Secondary Schools on the Witwatersrand' (Wits University) examined the relation between teachers' work and their social and political identity. Currently she is co-leading a professional knowledge project, based at the REAL Centre at Wits (Researching Education and Labour). This project investigates the relation between professional knowledge, curriculum, labour market trends and labour process in a few occupations (including nursing, teaching and law). Together with other colleagues at Wits University, she is using a large set of data to investigate the social profile of student teachers, their experiences and difficulties in moving from school to university. The project investigates how student teachers are coping with the social and academic challenges they are facing and their mode of reasoning regarding these challenges. This project followed from an investigation into assessment practices in higher education and students' understanding of evaluative criteria. She is also involved in a project which examines teachers' use of scripted lesson plans, intending to establish the ways in which teachers' professional knowledge enables and/or constrains how teachers enact scripted lesson plans. Before that, she was involved in a teacher development project (Data Informed Practice Improvement Project, DIPIP Phases 1&2), which used the results of a large-scale standardized test in Mathematics as learning opportunities for teachers to develop their understanding of the curriculum and of learners' conceptual errors.

Research Topics supervised (completed): 

  • Selma Nagen: The experiences and challenges of black and white women teachers’ lives. (PhD) 
  • Carola Steinberg: Teacher emotions towards assessment: What can we learn from taking emotions seriously? (PhD) 
  • Tracy-Lynn Field : 'Legal professional identity formation: An exploration into representation of legal professionals in classroom talk'. (PhD) 
  • Lee Rusznyak: Learning to Teach’: Developmental Teaching Patterns of Student Teachers (PhD) 
  • Nazir Carrim: Human Rights and the Construction of Identities in South African Education (PhD)
  • Juliet Perumal : Enacting Feminisms in Academia (PhD)
  • Makola C Phurutse: Rural Schooling: A case study of the Instructional Approaches of Secondary School Teachers in Limpopo province (PhD)
  • Chaya Herman: Prophets and Profits: A Case Study of Jewish Community schools in Johannesburg – South Africa” (PhD).
  • Glynnis Vergotine: Understanding oral hygiene knowledge and curriculum issues at training institutions in South Africa (MDIS) 
  • Anthea Cereseto: Caught in the “nest”: teachers: Teachers experiences of layered regulation of quality improvement (MDIS) 
  • Estelle Buys: In what ways teachers’ attitudes affect learners’ engagement in their learning? (M Ed RR) 
  • Lucinda Pinto: Using formative assessment tasks diagnostically in the Numeracy Learning Programme in the Foundation Phase (M Ed RR).
  • Kamal J Bhagwandas: Perceptions of the national review of the Master of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand (M Ed RR).
  • Louise Sheinuk: An investigation into a teacher’s relationship with content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge (M Ed RR)
  • Linda Master: Unit standards and the question of knowledge. (M Ed RR)
  • Nthabiseng M Moseme:  Reassessing assessment practices in Lesotho. (M Ed RR)
  • Tsepang F  Semata:  Perspective on girls’ performance in mathematics in Lesotho: A case study. (M Ed).  

 Research Topics supervised (current):

  • Leigh-Ann Naidoo: Intellectuals and Professionals: Questions of black teacher consciousness in South Africa between 1970 and 2013’. (PhD) 
  • Anthea Cereseto: What and how do teachers learn in professional learning communities? A South African case study (PhD, submitted) 
  • Grace Moletsane: ‘The alignment between assessment practices and student perfo

    • De Clercq, F. and Shalem, Y. (2014). Teacher knowledge and professional development in F. Maringe and M. Prew (Eds.) Twenty Years of Education Transformation in Gauteng 1994 to 2014. (African Minds and Gauteng Department of Education). 
    • Shalem, Y. and Slonimsky, L. (2014). Practical knowledge of teaching practice – what counts? In Barrett, B. & Rata, E. (Eds.), Knowledge and the future of the curriculum: International studies in social realism. (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan) 
    • Shalem, Y. (2014). What binds professional judgement? The case of teaching in (Young, M. & Muller, J) (Eds.). Knowledge, Expertise and the Professions. (Taylor and Francis Books, London). 
    • Shalem, Y., Sapire, I., & Sorto, M.A. (2014). Teachers’ explanations of learners’ errors in standardized mathematics assessments. Pythagoras, 35(1) 46-54.  
    • De Clercq, F. and Shalem, Y. (2014). Teacher knowledge and employer-driven professional development: A critical analysis of the Gauteng Department of Education programmes. Southern African Review of Education, 20(1): 129-147. 
    • Shalem, Y. and Slonimsky, L. (2013). Practical knowledge of teaching practice – what counts? Journal of Education, 58: pp.67-86. 
    • Shalem, Y. Dison, L. and Reed, Y. (2013). Towards successful participation in academic writing: What can we learn from assessment? South Africa Journal of Higher Education, 27(5) 1071-1080.
    • Shalem, Y. Dison, L. Gennrich, T. & Nkambule, T. (2013). ‘I don’t understand everything here ... I’m scared’: Discontinuities as experienced by first-year education students in their encounters with Assessment. South Africa journal of Higher Education, 27(5) 1081- 1098. 
    • Shalem, Y. and Rusznyak, L. (2013). Theory for teacher practice: a typology of application tasks in teacher education. South Africa journal of Higher Education,  27 (5): 1118-1134. 
    • Shalem, Y. Sapire, I. & Huntley, B. (2013). Mapping onto the mathematics curriculum – an opportunity for teachers to learn. Pythagoras, 34(1): 11-20.
    • Brodie, K. and Shalem, Y. (2011). Accountability conversations: Mathematics teachers’ learning through challenge and solidarity. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 14(6), 419–439. 
    • Shalem, Y. & Pendlebury, S. (Eds) (2010). Retrieving Teaching: Critical Issues In Curriculum, Pedagogy And Learning. Juta:Cape Town.
    • Shalem, Y. and Slonimsky, L. (2010). Seeing epistemic order: construction and transmission of evaluative criteria. British Journal of Sociology of Education, Volume 31, Number 6. pp 755-778. 
    • Slonimsky, L. and Shalem, Y. (2010). Reading below the surface- students organization of content and form. in Higher Education Monitor No. 10 pp81-110.
    • Brenner, E. and Shalem,Y. (2010). Immediate response to mediated learning: the use of technology for continuous assessment in Higher Education in Higher Education Monitor No.10 pp 65-80. 
    • Shalem, Y and Hoadley, U. (2009). The dual economy of schooling and teacher morale in South Africa. International Studies in Sociology of Education, Vol. 19 (2) 119–134. 
    • Cross M., Shalem Y., Backhouse J., and Adam F. (2009). How undergraduate students ‘negotiate’ academic performance within a diverse university environment. South African Journal of Higher Education, 23 (1): 21-42.
    • Slonimsky, L. and  Shalem, Y. (2006). Pedagogic Responsiveness for Academic Depth. Journal of Education, (40): 35-58.
    • Shalem, Y. Allais, M. and Steinberg, C. (2004). Outcomes-based quality assurance: what do we have to lose? Journal of Education (34): 51-75
    • Shalem, Y. (2004). Sign, frame and significance: studying student teachers’ reading of the particular. Journal of Education, (32): 49-80.
    • Shalem, Y. (2003). Do we have a theory of change? Calling change models to account. Perspectives in Education, 21 (1): 29 –49.
    • Shalem, Y. and Steinberg, C. (2002) Invisible criteria in a portfolio-based assessment of prior learning: a cat and mouse chase. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 10 (3): 427-450.
    • Shalem, Y. (2001). Recognition of prior learning in and through ‘the field’ of academic practice.  Perspectives in Education, 19 (1): 53-71.
    • Shalem, Y. (1999). Epistemological labour: The way to significant authority. Educational Theory, 49 (1): 53-70.
    • Shalem. Y and Slonimsky,L. (1999). Can we close the gap? Criteria and obligation in teacher education. Journal of Education (24): 5-30.
    • Shalem, Y. and  Carrim, N. (1999). School effectiveness in South Africa. Qualitative Studies in Education 12(1): 59-83.
    • Shalem, Y. and Bensusan, D. (1999). Why can’t we stop believing? in S. Appel (Ed.) Psychoanalysis and Education, Westport: Greenwood publishing.  
    • Bensusan, D. and Shalem, Y. (1996). The reflective teacher re-visited. Journal of Education, (21): 17-38.  
    • Bensusan, D. and Shalem, Y. (1994) The crooked path of pedagogy. Perspectives in Education, 15 (2): 313-32
    • Shalem, Y. and Bensusan, D. (1994) Civil Society: The traumatic patient. Angelaki, 1(3): 73-92.
    • Bensusan, D. and Shalem, Y. (1994) "The crooked path of pedagogy" in W. Flanagan et al (Eds.) Vintage Kenton: A Kenton Education Association Commemoration, Cape Town: Maskew Miller. 
    • Shalem, Y. (1992) Teachers’ struggle: The case of white English-speaking teachers in South Africa. British Journal of Sociology of Education 13 (3): 307-327.