Using an ancient Japanese collaborative concept to help teachers in South Africa integrate new technologies in their lessons may seem misplaced but it helped Dr Avash Juggernath earn a PhD in Science Education.
Juggernath’s study, supervised by Professor Nadaraj Govender, explored teachers’ experiences of Lesson Study which is a Japanese form of professional development for integrating Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in teaching.
Juggernath chose a career in education because he wanted ‘to make a difference in the world’, with his love of teaching leading him to consider things from various perspectives, especially those of the learner.
He says he noticed throughout his 22-year teaching career how learners interact with each other and learn, which resulted in his interest in ICTs.
During studies for his doctorate, his emphasis changed from his role as a science teacher to one of a digital learning initiator. Interactions with teachers had alerted him to how despite being competent in using ICTs, they often had difficulty integrating the technologies in their lessons.
Juggernath said a turning point occurred when a senior teacher asked him the following: ‘I know how to use the technology but how do I use it in teaching?’ This question resulted in research that launched Juggernath’s PhD journey. ‘I began researching professional development approaches and came across Lesson Study. Based on what I had read, it represented what seemed like a suitable way of helping teachers integrate ICTs in their teaching in a holistic manner.’
Commenting on his doctoral journey, he said: ‘The hard work and long hours helped me develop a deep sense of respect for academics and the challenges they face.’
Referring to Juggernath’s research, an examiner remarked: ’It is independent