Teacher education and the challenge of diversity in South Africa
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Conflicts in schools over race, fees or language frequently make headlines in South Africa. Such conflicts reflect the multifaceted issue of learner diversity, encompassing racial, class, gender, religious, linguistic, physical and other differences. The need to handle such differences in equitable ways poses new challenges for teachers and teacher education. How are teacher education institutions preparing students for teaching in schools that are different from the ones they experienced as learners? What kinds of skills are they providing to enable teachers to deal with diversity and difference amongst learners?
This study focuses on how teachers are being prepared through the Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) at three different universities. Documentary and oral sources, a small survey, focus groups and interviews, provide the basis for an analysis of the context and history of each institution: the profile of staff and students in teacher-education courses; and the ways in which issues of diversity are addressed. A well-grounded set of recommendations provides direction for the road ahead.
Intelligent, eloquent and concise, this monograph will be invaluable for educationists, academics and policy-makers.
Teacher Education and the Challenge of Diversity in South Africa is part of a wider, cross-disciplinary School Integration research project initiated by the Human Sciences Research Council. The aim of the broader research project is to investigate the ways in which teachers, texts, managers and policy-makers consciously and creatively make sense of and actively address the challenges posed by integration.