TEACHERS' BIO-GEOGRAPHICAL EXPERIENCES OF SOCIAL (IN)JUSTICE WITHIN SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLS
University of Johannesburg (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Teachers from various countries on the African continent are being employed in the South African education system. This qualitative study explores the biographical, geographical identities, ideologies and pedagogies that this diverse teacher cohort brings to the educational landscape warrants exploration into the varying experiences, interpretations and enactments of social justice that they experience within the South African context. This paper draws on the personal and professional experiences of teachers from South Africa, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Cameroon to explore how the contexts within which teachers practice their profession shapes their professional identities. Based on individual interview data this paper:
(i) sketches the biographical, geographical, and socio-cultural factors that frame the participants’ personal and professional identities; and
(ii) examines the strategies that these teachers employ in order to navigate the challenges that their current temporal and spatial locations present them with.
The study employs theoretical insights from Buell's (1995) exposition on place to discuss the participants' experiences in relation to the following constructs:
(i) place as environmental materiality;
(ii) how place shapes social perceptions or constructions of identity; and
(iii) the participants' emotional ties to place.
The findings of the study highlight the importance of recognising that the increase in teacher mobility and how this affects teachers personal and professional lives. It stresses the importance for discourses on diversity widen the lens to not only focus on student experiences but also teachers' experiences so that social justice is sensitive to both teachers and students. This study contributes to research on critical pedagogies of place, which view education as a contextualized social process that shape teachers’ identities, ideologies and behaviours.
Keywords: Teacher identities, foreign teachers, critical pedagogies of place, social justice.