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Educational Research for Social Change

On-line version ISSN 2221-4070


PILLAY, Ansurie  and  WASSERMANN, Johan. Espoused and enacted values of student teachers interrogating race, class, and gender in literary texts. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2017, vol.6, n.2, pp.29-44. ISSN 2221-4070.

While South Africa has embraced a democratic ideal for over 20 years, the dynamics of race, class, and gender have not been fully engaged with. In an educational setting, such as a university lecture room, active interrogation of these and other issues may present opportunities for understanding and change. In this article, the authors present findings from a participatory action research study that used literary texts as catalysts to interrogate issues of race, class, and gender. The study was underpinned by critical pedagogy and asserted an empowerment and transformation agenda. Using qualitatively analysed data from observations, interviews, focus groups, and written tasks, the authors found that while the student teachers in a teacher education programme espoused certain values related to characters, events, and issues in the literary texts studied, what they said they do in their daily lives proved contradictory. However, as the six cycles of the study proceeded, awareness of the complexities of the student teachers' lives and the contradictions inherent in their behaviours enabled the student teachers to interrogate issues of race, class, and gender from an informed position, and helped engender their journeys towards empowerment and transformation.

Keywords : race; class; gender; espousal; enactment; literature.

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