Reflections on Teaching in the New South Africa at Merrydale High School

By Everard Weber.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

I reflect on my book, Teaching in the new South Africa at Merrydale High School, published in 2006. It is a case study of a Cape Town school, based upon interviews, document analysis and classroom observations. The book analyzes teaching against the background of the legacies of apartheid and the education policies implemented since black majority rule in 1994. The topics dealt with include the history and politics of teaching in South Africa, school governance, teacher identities, classroom management, curricula and pedagogy, and racial diversity and integration. I argue that researchers must be accountable to research participants, peers and the public. They can learn to improve their conceptual frameworks, methods and findings through self-evaluation, self-reflection, and in dialogue with others. Trustworthiness and ethics in research are enhanced, the resultant knowledge is made more believable, and better work can in future be produced. Additionally, our work ought to promote social justice, community, diversity, and an informed citizenry. The paper deals with the difficulties of incorporating history into the existing literature on policy studies and implementing educational reforms. It critiques the de-historicized writing in the field of educational change. It examines the contradiction between teaching as a social activity and as transmission pedagogy at Merrydale High. It also reviews the school’s attempts at racially integrating poor students, coloureds and Africans. Methodologically, the paper discusses how I dealt with the problem of aligning research problems with methods, the relationship between fieldwork and data collection, and their presentation in written form. I also discuss the limitations of qualitative case studies and make suggestions about areas where future research might profitably be directed. I conclude by considering the political implications of the research.

Keywords: Self-Reflection on a Qualitative Case Study, Research Design, Methodology and Politics

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.279-286. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 531.310KB).

Dr. Everard Weber

Senior Lecturer, Curriculum Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

Everard Weber studied at the University of Cape Town and at Harvard University. He taught at Crestway High School and has worked in community organizations and in school governance in Cape Town. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of Pretoria and will soon be joining the Education Policy Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand.

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