TEACHING CITIZENSHIP & DEMOCRACY IN A NEW DEMOCRACY: PEDAGOGY, CURRICULUM & TEACHERS’ BELIEFS IN SOUTH AFRICA
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In 2014, twenty years had passed since the first free elections, the birth of democracy and implementation of transitional educational reforms in South Africa. While efforts to create an education system based on human rights, democracy, equality, and unity were made, questions remain about how teachers should address these principles in their classrooms. It is difficult to determine, therefore, how citizenship and democracy education should be taught and how teachers perceive their role as educators of South Africa’s new generation of democratic citizens. Using Davies’ and Jansen’s concepts of post-conflict pedagogy, this dissertation investigates how teachers responsible for citizenship and democracy education in South Africa perceive the abstract topics of citizenship and democracy and how their beliefs, backgrounds, and life experiences influence how they present the national curriculum to their learners. In order to answer these questions, a multiple and comparative case study of sixteen teacher participants at three schools was carried out in Durban, South Africa. Using in-depth interviews, classroom observation, and document review as data collection methods, the dissertation investigates how teachers’ beliefs, the national curriculum and teaching methods intersected. Data analysis was conducted through thematic coding. Results suggest that teachers’ beliefs and experiences with democracy shape how they teach civic education topics, especially concerning their racial background and experiences during apartheid and the democratic transition. Inequalities in school resources also limit pedagogical choices, especially in methods designed to educate active and informed citizens.