Examining the Role of Narrative in Professional Development in KwaZulu-Natal

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Summer 2007

Project Description/Abstract

In June 2006, Bridgewater State College (BSC) and University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) researchers collaborated on a school-based model of professional development for 50 teachers in isiZulu-speaking Sobantu township of South Africa. We found that the township’s “English First” policy (a) positioned particular students as more- or less-skilled learners, (b) did not encourage ESL students to make connections between their existing knowledge and new concepts, and (c) conflicted with research on effective instruction for ESL students. To understand better, in June 2007, BSC and UKZN researchers will collaborate to examine extended use of narrative as an effective technique for helping isiZulu-speaking learners access discipline-specific concepts and ideas. Using ethnographies of communication, researchers will (a) look for a relationship between the degree of narrative in teaching with the degree of conceptual learning in reading, writing, and mathematics and (b) gather examples of narratives and classroom participation that dismantle systems of privilege and power.

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