Examining a School-based Professional Development Model in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Fall 2005

Project Description/Abstract

In collaborative research with faculty in the School of Education at the University of KwaZuluNatal (UKZN) we will investigate the effects of intense, rigorous, and authentic professional development on teachers and children in an under-resourced school in rural South Africa. In July 2006 Bridgewater State College (BSC) and UKZN faculty, along with undergraduate and graduate students, will function as a community of researchers providing week-long teacher courses (involving 100 teachers and 260 schoolchildren). The project takes seriously the integration of theory and practice and is designed to examine and analyze teacher and student responses to social-constructivist pedagogy in a post-colonial, post-apartheid setting. In particular we will explore and analyze the intersections and disjunctions among home and community, language and culture, and socially constructed approaches to learning. This ethnographic study will yield data for particular knowledge and skills that shape learning among those whose voices have been silenced by oppressive systems of education. Educators from greater Pietermaritzburg, children, their parents, and other community members will directly benefit from this professional development experience. Teacher educators and educational researchers will benefit from the findings of this study, as it will provide first hand information about classrooms that are unprepared to take ownership of inclusive educational practice, to meet the challenges of linguistic, cultural, and economic diversity.

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