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The feasibility of critical pedagogy in the English Second Language classroom : comparative case studies of senior primary classrooms.

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The aim of the study was to explore the feasibility of critical pedagogy in a sampling of English Second Language classrooms in the Durban-Pinetown region of KZN. I was situated at the Abantwana Higher Primary School for eleven weeks for the first phase of my data collection. Access was negotiated with the Barnabas Shaw Primary School in Pinetown towards the end of August, this ESL-school provided me with a contrasting site for the purposes of comparison. At about the same time I commenced with my case survey of the English Second Language classrooms in the Model C (B) schools. The survey was viewed as a third site in the case study. The construct of "critical pedagogy" was placed within the context of critical theory as this theoretical vantage point was ideally suited to probing and exposing the underlying historical and social relationships of the education problem in KZN. Critical pedagogy is a specific instance within critical theory. The research was qualitative in nature, using comparative case studies of primary classrooms in KZN; supplemented by a case survey of 107 pupils. A popular children's novel was used to develop a critical curriculum suitable for Std 5 pupils. This workbook was used in the classrooms included in the study, and as a means of observing pupils' response to critical teaching processes. The research was described as an ethnographic case study because of the more bounded nature of the research and because of the fact that it was conducted over a fairly short period of time. Nevertheless, the principles of classical ethnography applied. Data was collected by means of sustained observation and participant observation, supported by interviews, questionnaires and document collection. Data analysis took place during the process of data collection and was ongoing and cyclical in nature. The research was initially described as an exploratory study, however, towards the end of the data analysis phase it appeared that the study was more explanatory in nature, as I had become aware of the inter-relatedness of the conditions which were required for the successful introduction of critical pedagogy in the English Second Language classroom. These linked conditions were described as causal links in the final chapter and a feasible set of recommendations were made in respect of the reconstruction and development of critical teaching in the senior primary phase in the historically disadvantaged schools of KZN. The inevitability of political influences on the curriculum and classroom pedagogy emerged during the final stages of the process of data analysis, and the recommendations thus included an appeal to the politicians of this province to address the issue of violence and racial integration in the province with expediency in order to normalise the provision of education for all its citizens.


Thesis (M.Ed.) - University of Durban-Westville, 1996.


Theses--Education., Critical pedagogy., Second language acquisition.