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Prof Lara Ragpot

Prof Lara Ragpot
Faculty of Education
Department of Childhood Education
Associate Professor

Contact Details
GNA 222
+27 11 559 5105
Soweto Campus



D Ed (Psych) – University of Johannesburg
M Ed (Psych) – University of Johannesburg
B Ed Honours (Psych) – University of Johannesburg
HED –University of Pretoria
BA – University of Pretoria

Research Expertise

Scientific Domain: Social Sciences
Primary Research: Field  Educational Psychology & Teacher Education
Specific Focus:  Childhood Cognition, Childhood Mathematical Cognition, Teacher Education

Grant Awards

NRF URC 2014
NRF Thuthuka: 2014 - 2016
DHET PhD bursary 2012 – 2013
NRF PhD bursary – 2010 – 2011

Other Awards

University of Johannesburg: Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence 2014​

Editorial appointments

2010 – 2012: Intern, Education as Change Journal of Curriculum Development
2013-current: Member Executive Committee South African Journal of Childhood Education

Current Research Projects






Mathematical cognition

Prof Henning and Prof Fritz

Marko-D team: Prof Henning, Prof Fritz, Prof Ehlert, Dr Balzer, Prof Ragpot, Ms Herholdt

Marko-D instructional video

Instructional video to be placed in Marko-D test kit. This video will include instruction on how to administer the Marko-D test; focus on typical difficulties testers encounter on the administration of the test; & look at typical behavioural issues children have during the administration of the test, etc.

Prof Henning, Prof Fritz & Prof Ragpot

Marko-D team: Prof Henning, Prof Fritz, Prof Ehlert, Dr Balzer, Prof Ragpot, Ms Herholdt, Ms Nozipho Motolo, child actors, Professional film production company


Foundation Phase teachers' knowledge of children's mathematical cognition

Prof Ragpot

Prof Ragpot and Prof Henning

CFT – Culture Fare Intelligence Test

Development for a culture fair intelligence test for South Africa

Dr Fritz-Stratmann,

Prof Ragpot

Prof Fritz, Prof Ragpot, Prof Ehlert, Mrs Coppard (MEd student)

Test, Teaching and Intervention Material Development




Marko-D Mathematical Cognition Test

Diagnostic test to identify mathematical barriers experienced by young children.

Pre-service education students, practicing teachers, learning support specialists, remedial teachers, psychometrists and Educational Psychologists

CFT – Culture Fair Intelligence Test

A non-language based diagnostic test to identify a young to middle aged child’s general cognitive ability.

Learning support specialists, psychometrists  and educational psychologists

#TaxiMaths – How young children make their worlds mathematical

A five episode instructional documentary video, based new ideas proposed in cognitive psychology, neuroscience and education on young children’s mathematical development.

Pre-service education students, practicing teachers, learning support specialists (remedial teachers) and Educational Psychologists

#Taxiscience – How young children see their world scientifically

A five episode instructional documentary video, based new ideas proposed in cognitive psychology, neuroscience and education on young children’s development of scientific concepts.

Pre-service education students, practicing teachers, learning support specialists (remedial teachers) and Educational Psychologists

Book Publication

Ragpot, L. (2012). Grade R: Language and Literacy, Numeracy and Life Skills. Johannesburg: Vivlia Publishers

Articles In Refereed/Peer Reviewed Journals

Ragpot, L. (accepted in press). The essence of future teaching and learning in the foundation phase: knowing the developing mind of the child in the theory practice interface. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 5(1). Print ISSN code: 2223-7674. Online ISSN code: 2223-7682.

Fritz, A., Balzer, L., Herholdt, R., Ragpot, L., & Ehlert, A. (2014). A Mathematics competence test for Grade 1 children migrates from Germany to South Africa. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 4(2), pp. 121-135. ISSN code: 2223-7674. Online ISSN code: 2223-7682.

Ragpot, L. (2014). Film as teacher education genre: Developing student agency in the production of #TaxiMaths – how children make their world mathematical. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 4(2), pp. 114-134. ISSN code: 2223-7674. Online ISSN code: 2223-7682.

Henning, E. & Ragpot, L. (2014) Symbolic knowledge of pre-school children: the genesis of a cognition lab at a South African University. South African Journal of Psychology (SAJP). Available online URL: ISSN code: ISSN 0081-2464. DOI: 10.1177/0081246314545199.

Ragpot, L. (2012). Assessing student learning by way of drama and visual art: A semiotic mix in a course on cognitive development. Education as Change, 15(1): S1, pp. 63-78. ISSN code: 1682-3206. DOI: 10.1080/16823206.2011.643625.

Pillay, J. & Ragpot, L. (2011). Values, Education and Democracy: Manifesto or Myth? Journal of Educational Studies, 11(1), S1, pp. 104-120. ISSN code: 1680-7456.

Pillay, J. & Ragpot, L. (2010). Violent schools in violent Gauteng: Where the right to learn has to be defended. Education as Change, 14 (1) S1, pp.33-44. ISSN code: 1682-3206. DOI: 10.1080/16823206.2010.517912.

Invited Keynote Address at a Conference

Rusznyak, L., Petersen, N., & Ragpot, L. (2014). Using organising concepts to coherence between coursework and the practicum: Examples from the Wits & UJ B Ed programmes.. WITS Symposium on Academic Depth and Rigour in Initial Teacher Education Programmes, 31 October, 2014. Wits Education Campus, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ragpot, L. (2014). Getting to know the child’s mathematical world: a bridge between social science and social responsibility? University of Namibia International Education Conference, 11 September 201, Rundu, Namibia.

Ragpot, L. & Fritz, E. (2010). Nurturing the Professional Self – exploring the world of spices and medicinal plants. National SAPSAC Conference, 19 March 2011. Pretoria: South Africa.

Fritz, E. & Ragpot, L. (2010). Nurturing the Professional Self – who plays in your team? Presented at the National SAPSAC Conference, 19 May 2010. Pretoria: South Africa.

Refereed/Peer Reviewed Conference Outputs

Ragpot, L. & Henning, E. (2015). Young children’s mathematical conceptual development. JvR International conference of Psychology, 17-20 May 2015. Skukuza, Kruger national Park, South Africa.

Ragpot, L. (2014).  Film as pre-service teacher education genre in the teaching of developmental cognitive psychology: the case of mathematical cognition studies. European Learning and Instruction Conference Sig 5 (EARLI-Sig 5), 25-27 August 2014. Jyvaskyla, Finland.

Henning, L. & Ragpot, L. (2014). Iterations of translations from German to four South African languages in a mathematics competence test. Symposium: Testing the mathematical Competence of Young Children in Germany and South Africa. European Learning and Instruction Conference Sig 5 (EARLI-Sig 5), 25-27 August 2014. Jyvaskyla, Finland.

Ragpot, L. (2013). Playing Out Theories of Cognitive Development: Student Teachers Learning With Theatre and Dance. AERA Symposium: Innovation in Pre-Service Teacher Education in South Africa: Towards Intellectual and Material Poverty Reduction. AERA Annual Meeting, 22-24 April 2013. San Francisco, USA

Henning, L. & Ragpot, L. (2013). Getting Close in Translation between German, English, isiZulu and Sesotho in a German Mathematics Test. Symposium: Testing the mathematical Competence of Young Children in Germany and South Africa. European Learning and Instruction Conference (EARLI), 26-30 August 2013. Munich Germany.

Ragpot, L. (2013). At the interface of neuroscience and teacher education: utilising the arts for future teachers is not child’s play. South African Research Association for Early Childhood Education (SARAECE) Regional Conference, 30 April 2013. Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ragpot, L. & Fritz, E. (2013). Utilizing Ego State Therapy with an Eight Year Old through a Board Game in Addressing Technological Pornography. MEISA International Congress for Psychotherapy, 20-22 February 2013. Pretoria, South Africa  

Ragpot, L. (2013). Multi-modal assessment and ‘bootstrapping’ in a course on cognitive development in childhood. South African Research Association for Early Childhood Education (SARAECE) National Conference, 10 September 2012. Grahamstown, South Africa

Public Lectures

Ragpot, L. United we stand: How school communities can address bullying. Teacher’s Upfront (University of Johannesburg, Wits University, Sci Bono, Mail & Guardian, Bridge, University of the Witswatersrand) 10 March 2015.

Balzer, L., Henning, E., Ragpot, L., & Herholdt, R. (2014). How can valid tests contribute to children's learning of mathematics in the foundation phase? Faculty of Education Winter School, 26 June 2014. Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ragpot, L. (2014). Young Children’s Learning: Then and Now. READ Foundation, 24 April 2014. Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ragpot, L. (2012). Beyond words using language versus communication. Teacher’s upfront Conversation Series on Language in Education, 26 August 2012. Johannesburg, South Africa.

Ragpot, L. (2011). Multi Modal Assessment in the Classroom.  Harvard Graduate School of Education, 8 December 2011. Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA.


#TaxiMaths – an instructional innovation
The #TaxiMaths – how children make their world mathematical, instructional documentary film series was produced in 2013 in the UJ Centre for Education Practice Research under leadership of Prof Elizabeth Henning. I was the main creative director and co-script writer of the series. The film content is about early mathematical conceptual development in a hierarchical model and can be used as an instructional tool for pre-service teacher educators, in service teachers and educational psychologists [the official #Taximaths film trailer is also available online on YouTube at The DVD containing the five episode series is available for viewing upon request].

We are currently in the process of conceptualisation of a second film in the series, for which we had received funding from the Oppenheimer Foundation. The series continues in the #Taxi-concept and will focus on young children’s development of science concepts. It will be called #Taxiscience – how children learn to see their world scientifically. A colleague in the department (Mr Francois Naude) is joining Prof Henning and me in this venture and he will work on the film creation and production as part of his doctoral studies. Prof Henning is his main supervisor.

Media Publications
Own Publications

  • Ragpot, L. (2015). Bullying at School. Caxton Press. (17 June, 2015)
  • Ragpot, L. (2015). Bullying at School. Caxton Press. (19 February, 2015)
  • Ragpot, L. (2015). How to support your child’s learning in their first year of school. Caxton Press. (27 January, 2015)
  • Ragpot, L. (2013). How can I support my child’s learning? Caxton Press. (4 March, 2013)
  • Ragpot, L. (2013). Childhood Drug Abuse. Caxton Press. (22 Feb, 2013)
  • Ragpot, L. (2013). How can I contribute to my child’s physical development? Caxton Press (12 Feb, 2013).
  • Ragpot, L. (2013). School readiness. Caxton Press. (29 Jan, 2013)
  • Ragpot, L. (2012). What is bullying at school? Caxton Press (23 Aug, 2012)
  • Ragpot, L. (2012). Going to school for the first time. Caxton Press (12 Jan, 2012)
  • Ragpot, L. (2012). Cell Phone Awareness. Chiawelo Urban News (24 Aug, 2012)
  • Ragpot, L. (2011). How to be a creative parent. Vrouekeur (May 13, 2011)
  • Ragpot, L. (2011). When is my child old enough for a cell phone? Lig Magazine, (11May, 2011)
  • Ragpot, L. (2010). How can I contribute to my young child’s education? Caxton Press (25 Feb, 2010)

Publications – Consulted and Quoted as an Expert in the Field

  • Mahlangu, B. (2012). Girl (9) forced to be a nanny. Sowetan (May 4, 2012).
  • Monama, T. (2012). Success begins in Grade R. Sowetan (Jan 17, 2012).
  • Monama, T. (2012). Seven-year-old molests classmate. Sunday World (Jun 4, 2012)
  • Hamman-Le Roux, C.H. (2011). Ouerskap in die 21e eeu. Rooi Rose (14 Nov, 2011).
  • De Villiers, J. (2011). ‘Dis oor Mammie streng is’ Rapport (Feb 2, 2011)
  • Kruger, K. (2011). Kind sien bekendes kry nie skaam. Rapport (20 Aug, 2011).
  • It’s not the Music. Heat Magazine (September, 2008).
  • Ferrao, A. (2008). Violence on the rise in all schools. The Star (May 5, 2008).
  • Kempen, A. (2008). Are there lasting alternatives to the traditional rod? Servamus Safety and Security Magazine (May 2008).

More about my personal and professional development:

Employment history at UJ

My practice work as an educational psychologist
I received my MEd in Educational Psychology in 2008 and I registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, first as an Intern Psychologist (working in the ICAG (Institute for Child and Adult Guidance) on the Auckland Park Campus in 2006. Then in 2007, after I had successfully passed by board exam I registered as an Educational Psychologist. I have been involved in practice work since then. At first on a more full time basis, but since my contract appointment with UJ in 2009 and beyond, I have done occasional practice work. I have found that my practice work continuously affords me new insights into current issues in schools and children’s learning successes and challenges. I always integrate this insight into my teaching in the form of practical case studies.

Utilising examples from my practice in my lectures
In my lectures with pre-service education students I often use examples from my practice work to inform students about possible issues and difficulties children will present with in their classrooms. We use examples from my practice as the case studies to discuss how they, as teachers, would address certain issues. I have always received good feedback from my students with regard to the real-life examples we discuss in class. They deem these authentic examples invaluable to their understanding of children’s development. It is also most interesting that the issues children present with, differ from year to year and by working with children in my practice I can “keep my ear on the ground” and keep up to date with new difficulties children typically encounter at school as 21st century life impacts their learning and behaviour. An example is that many children presented with attentional issues when I started my practice in 2007, then difficulties shifted to an influx of children diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. The most recent phenomenon is that children present with executive functioning difficulties and also many children have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). I utilise this practically encountered information to structure students’ assignments accordingly and in this way ensure they will be equipped with skills to address the most recent array of typical difficulties they will encounter in their future classrooms.

Clinical supervision
In terms of the MEd Educational Psychology and BEd Honours (School Counselling) students whom I supervise in their clinical work, I have accumulated a collection of cases to use as a library of examples throughout the years of practice work. It is often of much value to these students and intern psychologists if I could show them similar examples to the cases they are involved in, in order to teach them skills and show them very practically what worked and what not in practice. In utilising examples from my practice work in different settings with different students (future teachers, school counsellors and psychologists) I believe the theory practice divide (Henning & Gravett, 2011) is bridged in a very concrete and hands on manner. 

Networking and the building of a community of practice
Through my practice work I have also built an invaluable network of stakeholders in the education departments and districts and also in schools. These contacts have proved to be most helpful in research work, where schools and districts are much more inclined to allow researchers access to schools if the person who is initializing the process is someone whom they know and trust. One example of this was noticeable when I recently had to organise schools in the Johannesburg area for the last bout of testing in the norming process of the MARKO-D Mathematical Cognition Test (see Appendix C1). I am part of a research team, under the leadership of Prof Elizabeth Henning, who are in the process of norming a mathematical cognition test for young children in South Africa. For this year’s round of testing we had to assess over 600 children in different languages and also in the categories of ‘fee paying’ and ‘non-fee paying’ schools. I quickly realized that it did not help to contact schools directly as principals were often quite reticent to allow testing at their school (even though we had an approval letter from the Gauteng Department of Education). A possible reason might be that that they were fearful that negative results in testing might compromise the status of the school; even if one explains to them that none of the results would be used as judgement of their teacher’s or the school’s academic performance. Luckily I could call upon my colleagues in the districts, who act as Special Education Support Specialists (ESS’s). They were particularly helpful and approached the schools and met with the principals to explain the nature of the research project. In this manner the 15 schools in which we tested were very welcoming and accommodating. 

I will continue to use my practice work as a positive partner in my teaching, supervision, research and networking.

Co-Ordination Of Modules And Programmes At UJ

Diploma for Grade R Teaching
I have been in responsible for the development of the Diploma for Grade R teaching. I had to develop the program and coordinate and consolidate input from different staff members to complete the curriculum. The Diploma for Grade R Teaching has been approved. 

Masters in Neurocognitive Science
I am one of two committee members (representing the Faculty of Education) in the process of the development of an interdisciplinary Master’s degree in Neurocognitive Science. The degree will be housed in the Faculty of Humanities.

Six Education Studies Modules’ Coordinator (Foundation Phase and Intermediate Phase)
I coordinate the Education Studies modules that are delivered on the Soweto Campus in the Foundation Phase (FP) and Intermediate Phase (IP) programmes. The Education Studies modules focus on childhood development in different domains over six semester courses in year one to three of the B.Ed undergraduate programme. The lecturers who deliver the modules are from the Department of Educational Psychology and the Department of Childhood Education.

Coordinator of Education Studies Practicum at Funda UJabule Teaching School
During their practicum at the Funda Ujabule School on the SWC the Foundation Phase (FP) and Intermediate Phase (IP) students have to follow a child in his her development over a period of the four years of their study. Each student is assigned a specific child in his/her first year. The child will be in Grade R for FP students and Grade 4 for IP students. The student will then each year continue observing and doing assignments in the different domains of childhood development as per the BEd Education Studies module curricula. In this vein FP students will follow their children’s development from Grades R-3 and IP students will follow their children’s development from Grades 4-7. This novel way for the students to gain an in depth understanding of a child’s development in a particular phase entails a lot of organisation and planning and monitoring. I am in charge of pairing the students with their learners in the school and for continuing monitoring of the process and coordinating the Education Studies assignments linked to the observation at Funda UJabule School.

Chair of the Foundation Phase Focus Group (FPFG)
In my capacity as chair of the foundation phase focus group I have to oversee and monitor all modules in the B.Ed Foundation Phase qualification.

Contact Details
Tel: +27(0) 11 559 5105
Fax: +27(0) 11 559 5549
Office: Soweto Campus D-217
Twitter handle @doclarara