The focus of this study is post-apartheid pedagogy in South Africa It addresses the questions: What is the nature of post-apartheid pedagogy? What factors have influenced the development and changes in post-apartheid pedagogy? What factors have contributed to the actual implementation of educational reform principles and ideals? Through an exploration of pedagogy this study provides a view of educational practice in the midst of historical, political, social, and cultural transformation. It illuminates the pedagogy of four educators by describing exactly what they are doing to help learners learn.
The principles and guidelines of the Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS), aimed to promote co-operation, critical thinking, social responsibility, and the empowerment of learners to participate in all aspects of society, while considered, do not drive the inquiry. However, given the context, the RNCS is relevant and used as an analytical mirror to reflect upon post-apartheid pedagogy within the historical, political, social, and cultural context.
The sites for exploration were four Intermediate multiracial classrooms located in schools throughout Johannesburg. The nature of inquiry for this study is a hybrid of grounded theory and principles consistent with ethnography. Using the constant comparative method data were simultaneously analyzed while collected through methods of observation, conversational interviews, focus group interviews with learners, photographs, video, document analysis, and field notes.
Reading across multiple and 'thick' datasets, patterns emerged with respect to various themes. Categorizing themes as deep, according to the source, opened new doors to the analysis by uncovering another layer in the complex world of post-apartheid pedagogy. Particularized themes also emerged from the data A theme was considered particularized when it was not found to be consistent or common across each of the four participants. Particularized themes include: (a) human rights; (b) accepting and respecting diversity; (c) ubuntu – humanity to others; (d) being proudly South African; and (e) inclusion and differentiated instruction. Although particularized themes are not included as part of the final theory on post-apartheid pedagogy, they play a critical role within the story. The three theoretical tenets that emerged from this research include the following: (a) learner-centeredness; (b) multilingualism; and (c) content relevance.