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Pedagogical practices in a higher education context: case studies in environmental and science education.
Abstract: My study investigates opportunities that may currently be available to enable the transformation of post-apartheid teacher education. I examine two case studies of my own professional practice. The first case study involves in-service education work that I performed with teachers in a local community, Grassy Park. The second case study represents work I performed with students in a pre-service education programme at the University of Stellenbosch. My study aims to: • Critically examine the implications of social issues, particularly environmental issues, for pedagogical practices generally and for South African pedagogical work in particular. • Critically review the changing socio-historical determinants of pedagogical practices in South African teacher education. • Investigate changing pedagogical practices by describing and reflecting on work done in my own professional contexts as a science/environmental teacher educator at a historically Afrikaner university. With respect to teacher education, Pendlebury (1998) argues that we are seeing shifts in public space, evaluative space, pedagogical space and institutional space from insulated space (hidden from public scrutiny) to a more porous space. In this study I am concerned with pedagogical space that, in Pendlebury's (1998:345) terms determines 'who may learn (or teach), how and what they learn (or teach), when and for how long and where'. I use these categories of Pendlebury (1998:345) together with Turnbull's (1997) perspectives on knowledge production as conceptual tools to frame my analyses of the cases. Although a significant part of my study focuses on classroom practices, I take pedagogy to have a much broader meaning that incorporates in Hernandez's (1997:11) terms 'all spaces in which knowledge is produced and identities are formed'. This research report offers a brief insight into the complexities of change at the micro-level of classroom practices. But, importantly also contextualises these micro-level pedagogical practices within broader socio-historical determinants and provides praxiological comments on postapartheid education policies. The research also initiates an investigation into the social organisation of trust in post-apartheid South Africa.