Thursday Sep 01, 2022
Thursday Sep 01, 2022
This series of podcast episodes will focus on Decolonising Research, and feature talks from the Decolonising Research Festival held at the University of Exeter in June and July 2022.
The first epsiode of the series will feature Professor Chrissie Boughey from Rhodes University and her talk 'Decolonising the curriculum: Experiences from South Africa'.
Music credit: Happy Boy Theme Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Hello, and welcome to rd in the in betweens. I'm your host Kelly Preece. And every fortnight I talk to a different guest about researchers development, and everything in between.
Hello, and welcome to the latest episode of R D and the in betweens. This episode marks the first in a new series on decolonizing research. So this is off the back of a decolonizing Research Festival. I organized at the University of Exeter in June and July 2022. We recorded all of the talks as part of the festival and the turning all of those talks into podcast episodes so that whether you are able to attend the festival or not, you can still benefit from the rich and vibrant knowledge that was shared. So without further ado, here's our first recording. The first talk from the festival was called decolonizing, the curriculum experiences from South Africa. And it's a talk by Dr. Chrissy Bowie from Rhodes University.
Okay, everybody, we've now got what 18 people in the room that's including me, and some of the organizers, but I think I'm going to get going anyway. As I've already said, my name is Chrissy Bowie, and I'm joining you from I'm actually now in Stellenbosch in the mountains outside Cape Town, where it is very, very cold. Unlike England where I understand you're having a heatwave, or you were having a heatwave I am an emeritus professor of Rhodes University and I worked at Rhodes University for many years. And my field is higher education studies. So I've done a lot of research and supervision in higher education studies. But I also had the dubious honor of being Deputy Vice Chancellor at the end of my career at Rhodes University. And I was DVC. Academics, I was in charge of all matters related to teaching and learning. It was a time when South Africa was rocked by student protests. But I'll speak about those in the course of my presentation. Please could ask you to keep your camera's off. Just for the bandwidth. I'll switch mine off in a moment, I'm going to use a PowerPoint. I will be very happy to take questions at the end. If there's a burning point, stick your hands up. And I'll also try to monitor the chat. I hope I don't get too caught up in my own presentation. To do that. I'll try to manage to the chat and address anything as it as it goes along. One last point from me. And that is South Africa has waves of load shedding. And we just started a new load shedding run at the moment. And it's quite well, my area is sheduled for load shedding in an hour. So I'm quite likely to just disappear at one o'clock. So don't think I'm being rude. It's because the powers gone. And it takes and the Internet goes and it takes a while for the generators to kick in. So please, I'm sorry, if if I have an abrupt departure. But I'll always be very happy to speak to anybody on the email if you want to. And I'll put my email address, I'm CDOT Bowie at on you.ac A if you need to afterwards. So let's get going. I'm going to share my screen and I have a presentation. Okay. So what you can see on the screen is a picture of Rhodes University, which is in the Eastern Cape in South Africa. And you've only got to look at it to see how in appearance, how colonial it is Rhodes University. So some of Cecil John's Rhodes his money was involved in getting it going and it still bears the name Rhodes, which obviously is hugely problematic. I won't speak to the name changing stories, but needless to say they are ongoing So it's a historically white university. It is research intensive. So one of the small group of universities that produces the bulk of his research in South Africa. It's also one of the smallest universities in South Africa. And as I said, it's located in Eastern Cape, which is one of the poorest provinces in the country. So that's a little bit of background to where I worked. I was there for 22 years. But I also worked at the University of Zululand. And the reason I originally came to South Africa and bridge by birth, was that I came on an aid project in the 1980s, to the University of the Western Cape, which at that time, was at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid. And I found it impossible to leave just for all sorts of reasons. But mostly because I became hooked with the idea that I wanted to try to make a contribution in this country at a time of great social change.
So what you can now see on the screen is a picture taken at Rhodes University, from the student protests, and we had waves of student protests in 2015 16, and 17. And the protests were under a number of banners. So roads must fall. And you might be familiar with that, because of, obviously, there's Oriel College in Oxford, but also in South Africa. At the University of Cape Town, there were protests about the statue, the the Cecil John Rhodes statue on the campus, which was eventually removed. But there were also went into the banner of fees must fall. And then finally, the so called reference list, but I'll explain those. So what were the roots of the protests? Well, basically, a lot of it was about the inability of poor black students to pay tuition fees, as in other countries across the world, tuition free fees have risen steadily in South Africa. And as those fees have risen, more and more black students have managed to gain access to the higher education system. We are now rightly, a system where the majority of students are black. But the participation rate of 18 to 22 year olds still doesn't reflect the proportion of black people in the country. So basically, what that means is that if you're white, you're more likely to get to a university than if you're black, and particularly if you're poor, and black. The rising fees problem was exacerbated by lack of access to bursaries, and loans. So that there is now thanks to the protests, a much more established bursary system, some of it which is a loan system, but if a student passes, basically, a loan is converted to a bursary. But for black working class students in particular, particular, there was an inability to access loans from commercial banks, there's literally no collateral in families. So their families weren't able to access a loan to allow them to study. So there's this huge burden of fees. And at the same time, we've got data. And that data shows a really persistent pattern, and we haven't managed to shift it. And you'll find that in the council and higher education, vital stats series that some an analysis of performance in higher education produced year on year. And what that shows is that, regardless of the universities at which they're registered, regardless of the field of study, and regardless of the level of the qualification, black students don't do as well as white students. Now, many people, including myself, for many years have argued that it's the system that's problematic in South Africa. It's a higher education system. Historically, black students were understood as carrying problems inherited from their poor schooling with them into the universities. But from way back in the mid 1980s. And this was an idea that captured me. It was argued that the students aren't the problem, the system is the problem. It's the universities that have to change. And that idea of transformation of change was certainly picked up as South Africa moved into democracy. And you see it over and over again, in policy documents. But we're still seeking transformation. We're not a transformed system in so many ways. But of course, the other reason for the protests was decolonial theory. And I've cited machmood Mamdani. There. And Mamdani is actually in 1998, gave a lecture at the University of Cape Town.
He's a Ugandan scholar, and he was very, very critical of the curriculum at the University of Cape Town. But of course, Nanjiani is just one scholar. There are many, many other scholars who write about theorize decolonial ality many from the American Southern Americas. But I've cited Mamdani there. So it the protests came out of a hole, hear a lot of things. But basically, it was about black students being treated unfairly in the universities. And one of the things that you saw on the placards in the protests, were statements like you don't see us. We don't see black students. So, you know, people are teaching but they're teaching to a class. And they're not seeing that the majority of their students now are different to the students they sat beside, when they were students years ago. And another thing that was quite common on placards in the protests, were statements like you can say credit, but not her, Debbie. So characters in Afrikaans name, credit OB is a name in the Goony languages. So, you know, the claim there was well, okay, you, you white lecturers, you can use an Afrikaans name correctly, but you can't say my name. So that's the sort of thing that we saw in the protests. So I'm going to talk about the curriculum. And I'm going to begin with the assumption that the curriculum is not neutral. It's a structure that distributes access to knowledge.
And with that, access to the goods of the world,
and to power in all sorts of ways. I've kept the idea of knowledge vague there. But basically, I would see the curriculum as a structure that's implicated in power, through distributing access to knowledge. After the protests, most universities began some sort of curriculum review, or renewal projects, and Jonathan Jansen, who's a very well known South African scholar, he has a book and there's a list of references at the end of this presentation. And he, he did some research on what the universities were doing in order to start this process of curriculum review. I don't think it's got very far, I think most of those projects are floundering. If not, if he actually floundered. I won't go into the reasons for that. But I don't think it's been hugely successful. But what I wanted to do, and this is my own thinking, is draw on a sort of continuum of thinking about approaches to decolonizing the curriculum. And this comes from my own experience of being in South African higher education, reading the literature, going to conferences, and things like that. And I've arranged them along a continuum from what I've called weaker approaches to stronger approaches. And any any, if you look at Jonathan Johnson's book, I think what you could do is look at the work that's is reported in the book, and you could start to play some on this continuum.
let's begin. But I want to begin with the work of Bernstein, British sociologist basil Bernstein, who I think is really useful in thinking about the curriculum. And not only in relation to decolonization and what Bernstein does is he identifies equals to discourses to knowledge forms, if you like. And he The first is horizontal discourse, which is everyday common sense knowledge, closely tied to the context in which it arises. And it often exists only in spoken language. And you encounter that all over the place outside the university. So if I give you an example of horizontal discourse, South Africa is a big country. And it contains several weather systems, because different oceans, different ocean temperatures on either side of the country. So if you live on the eastern side of the country, in KwaZulu Natal, they then you might make a statement which says, In cuisine and sell it, or it rains in the summer. And that is true for the eastern part of the country. In the eastern part, rain falls in the summer months. And it's because it's water vapor clouds coming in off the Indian Ocean. That's not true for the western part of the country. In the Western Cape where I'm located, it rains in the winter, the summer is the dry, dry season. So that statement, it always rains in the summer, is tied to the context of somebody's experiences in the eastern parts of the country.
So very, very closely linked to a particular context text. It's true, but it's true of a particular context.
Vertical discourse, on the other hand, is theorized abstract, systematized knowledge that can cross contexts. Now, if I go back to my rain example, an example of vertical discourse would be the explanation of the weather system that is often given in schools to quite young children. And I'm sure you all know about that, you know, sun shines on the ocean, the water evaporates, it forms clouds, the clouds move over the land, the rain falls over the land, and it runs back into the ocean, through rivers. So obviously, that's a very simplified version of an explanation of weather. But it's been systematized, the knowledge has been systematized. It's abstract, you can't see the water vapor rising of the ocean. And there's a whole theory in it about heat and goodness knows what else to explain weather systems. Now that knowledge will explain rainfall, if I get keep in South Africa, in the eastern part of the country, and in the western parts of the country, which have very different weather systems. So of course, vertical discourse, this theorized abstract, systematized knowledge that can cross contexts. It's the stuff of schools were introduced with his children in schools. It exists in written forms, mostly one would argue in written forms. And what it does essentially is it acts as a lens that allows the world to be seen differently. So it's like it's theory put theory on, like a pair of spectacles, and then you can see the world differently, you can understand the world differently. And importantly, it will also allow us to predict. And of course, this theorized abstract system. acties knowledge allows us to make hypotheses, which then can be tested. And scientists do that all the time. So you can predict a world if you like the data jets exist. And because of all these features, vertical discourse is often cited by the likes of Lisa Wheeler, Han, and other scholars who draw on beans Bernstein as powerful knowledge. It's powerful because of its its power to explain and predict, whereas horizontal discourse is stuck to local contexts. So two kinds of knowledge identified by Bernstein. Okay, now let's get back to approaches to decolonizing, the curriculum. And one at one of the most early approaches, it was to introduce examples and texts into curricula, African examples and effort, African authors, African texts, bring those into the curriculum. So many of the textbooks that are used in the universities are, in fact imported from the Global North. And when you look at those textbooks, they'll have examples from the global Norse. But the theories that the textbook books teach, they're also mostly generated in the Global North. They're not theories that were produced in the global south in Africa. So so any textbook is likely to contain these examples and theories from from the global Norse. There are our South African textbooks written by South African academics, particularly in higher education. And they also may well drawn examples from the Global North. And they will draw on theory from the Global North. And the other thing, of course, is that literature is overwhelmingly generated in the Global North Africa produces less than 1% of the world's research. And one one of the problems is that researchers from the global north, often come selves. And they literally mined the continent for data. And they publish on Africa.
That they're not of Africa, they're not applicant. But but they they find Africa a really interesting place. And they'll come and do research here. And one of my colleagues in higher education studies, once told me that he loved doing research in South Africa, because the problems was so raw here. But that that research obviously, was being undertaken from a theoretical view series produced in the in the Global North by a British researcher. And it was mostly published in British journals and books, books, published publishers. And even when you get work done by African searcher researchers, it tends to draw on dominant theories generated in the in the Global North. So, you know, fine, you can cite African authors, but the thinking they are using thinking they are using theory. And to go back to my Bernstein slide, they're using the knowledge, the theoretical, abstract, systematized knowledge that's been generated in the global Norse. To do that research in African there might be publishing in Africa. So this was an approach to the decolonization of the curriculum that emerged very quickly following the protests. And I say that was a weak approach towards the left hand end of that continuum. I shown you I've shown you, and I hope that as I continue, you'll start to see why and how it differs from what I'll call stronger approaches. Okay, so another, also sorry, what does it do? What does that approach achieve? Well, of course, it does affirm Africans, African scholars, as researchers and knowledge makers. I think it does But then does it? If they're using theory from the Global North? I put a question mark there because of that, does it provide access to knowledge through local examples, many would argue, argue that if you, if you put an example in from Africa, students are probably better able to understand you'd have to have more evidence to support that claim, I think, I'm not aware of research that's been been done that will affirm that claim. But potentially, using African examples drawing on African research would have the potential to affirm and possibly provide greater access. But another approach, and this sort of leads on to providing access to, to knowledge to Western knowledge is is the use of Indigenous Knowledges as a kind of stepping stone. And I've got an example here. So a mercy. And it's a type of fermented milk, a bit like drinking yogurt is widely consumed in South Africa. And nowadays, you can buy it in supermarkets, but of course, historically, it was made at home. And when, when a Massey has been made and consumed, you need to clean the bowl, before you put more milk in to make more a Massey, because obviously, you need the right kind of bacteria to start the fermentation process. So an indigenous practice is to use a particular kind of leaf, an indigenous plant to sterilize the bill. And I've actually seen someone doing this, someone demonstrating it, and the leaf had a sort of silvery sheen on the back. And you could see as the role was cleaned with the leaf, some of the celebrates its sheen going off onto the inner surface of the bell. and Western science explains that as
the leaf having antibiotic properties, so the leaf has the potential to kill the bacteria that remain in the bowl, the wrong kind of bacteria, and then you can put the milk in, and the milk will ferment as you want it to. So with that sort of example, what's happening is that Western science is taking over and indigenous knowledge in the form of a practice. So okay, the knowledge is, if I clean my bowl with this particular relief, then I will be able to produce good MRC. If I do that, that's the knowledge and I clean my bow therefore, as a result of a practice that emerges from the knowledge. What Western science does is it takes over the knowledge and practice and it explains it in its own terms. It explains it in terms of the leaf, having antibiotic properties. And and there's a lot of this. Some of you might remember the the there was a lot in the newspapers about it about a plant who deer which is used by the sun to stave off hunger and Western pharmaceutical companies. We're find out the identified the compounds in the hoodia plant, and we're using it to produce what diet medication and medication to that would help people you lose weight. So the science the western science takes over indigenous knowledge and practice. And it explains it in terms of Western science. And I've got another example of that here. And this was a book published last year. Big project. killers that hotel. And what they were looking at was
Students really from quite remote parts of the country and their experiences as they came into institutions of higher education inside of Africa. But the approach that they drew on was very much using indigenous knowledge as a stepping stone to understanding dominant western knowledge, the knowledge of the universities. And another person who does this is Madonna and Fatima Dondo. And he was actually involved in the project, though he doesn't appear as an author of the book, and he has an article on it. I know that in Redondo he was teaching in a particular kind of program aimed at giving more access to students from poor black working class backgrounds in at Rhodes university. But what I've done here is I've cited from his data, and it's in this article here. And so this is one of his students he interviewed. And so the student says, there is a similarity between indigenous knowledge, like our grandpa, parents knowing how to diagnose cars, when they're sick from grazing, we went to a dam, so he's talking about his class, now. We went to a dam, we went there, they know back home, and he's talking about the village, they know back home, how do you detect climate changes that are affecting water, where you were not sure when you were growing up, you were not sure whether it's true or not. But when you experience it at university, you're like, Oh, I've actually heard about this. So what what madonn do uses that quotation from the student to illustrate is his approach to teaching, which was to get students to activate and ditch indigenous knowledge that they might have been introduced to and grown up with from being very small. And to use it as a basis on which to begin understanding the knowledge in the Bachelor of Science degree for which they were studying. And of course, you can see how, in this quotation, it's affirming, yeah, that I'd accept that as a some evidence of students being affirmed by by the use of indigenous
So you can use it as a stepping stone. And I put that approach as moving towards the stronger end of the curriculum that I'm talking about.
Okay. I want you to move on now.
To what I'd consider the strongest approaches, and a challenge, a real challenge. And I'm very conscious as I'm talking now, that I'm a white woman. I'm an aging academic schooled in western knowledge,
and conscious of that, but let me begin with
a story if you like I used to work up in Zulu lands in northern KwaZulu Natal and in eastern parts of the country. I was at the University of Zeeland. And I was told by a researcher there a botanist, who had written a Zulu herb theory. So she had categorized classified the plants used by traditional healers in their healing practices. And Anna Hutchings told me that traditional healers in the region treated high blood pressure, which they called the high high, very successfully using herbs so that they had a remedy for high blood pressure, what we know as high blood pressure. Interestingly, the healers were also drawing on Western knowledge when they named it the high high. What Works Hutchins told me was that the compounds in the herbs and remember she was a botanist, are the same as those incorporated into globe Global North manufactured medication. So if you go to a Western trained medical practitioner, and you get medication for high blood pressure, that medication will contain the same compounds that the traditional healers were using in the herps. But, and this is important point.
The traditional healers didn't recognize the heart as a pump. Now
I No had high blood pressure is about the heart. It's about something that the heart not pumping the blood as it should do that. But in western science, high blood pressure is is understood as emanating from a problem with the heart and its function as a pump in the body. The traditional healers in that part of the country didn't recognize God as a pump. And I remember and telling me that she'd been at ceremonies where a beast had been slain as beats bass was cut up to be consumed. She asked what does this do? Pointing to the heart and a completely different explanation was provided by the healers. So what I think you can see here is another theory of being and as a theory of physiology, underpins the practice of the traditional healers, they could treat what we know as high blood pressure and what they call the high high very effectively. But the theory underpinning that treatment
was different. What is the theory? That's what we need, what is the theory? Because that is a theory that is of the South is of Africa
but yeah, I know Hutchings was a white woman, a botanist. But she she worked in sunnah lamb for many years, spoke fluent Zulu worked with with traditional healers over a long time, and had enjoyed a high level of trust with them. But she herself hadn't actually been able to explicate the theory, she was more interested in producing this classification of herbs. But I would argue that that theory and other theories of a similar kind, not only for physiology for a theory of being but but for the world, other theories need to be identified and explicated.
So, to go back to Bernstein
indigenous knowledge currently exists mainly as practice and is communicated as horizontal discourse. That is, it's very closely tied to the context. Now, my domestic worker in I used to live in the Eastern Cape. When I was at roots university, my domestic worker was called to become a traditional healer. And her training as a traditional healer was a kind of apprenticeship. So she was apprentice to a sangoma to a traditional healer, over a period of many years. And she needed to go off and she would spend days in the bush, with with her, her mentor, with the Master, if you like the the knower would spend days in the bush. And she'd learned the practice of healing from from this expert. My domestic worker could read and write, but I'm sure that none of the knowledge that she gained as a result of this apprenticeship to a traditional healer was written, it was all communicated
orally. So why
indigenous knowledge exists, it exists as practice. It's communicated as horizontal discourse, and it will be closely tied to context. So if I look at the knowledge that my domestic worker developed through her training, as a sangoma, it would have been in relation to the plants that grew in the Eastern Cape. I'm not a botanist, but many of those plants would be different to the plants in other parts of the country, but closely tied to the context in which she developed the knowledge. So what I would argue along with others, and who am I to argue remember, I'm the white woman, trained in In Northern Western scientific methods, as it were, but but people like psycho camallo, and I've got a reference to his book. And if you're interested, I'd really advise you to look at Kamal as work. Very young scholar. But wow, his work is mind blowing. And Matoba Matoba has a chapter in commandos book, what they argue is that the theorizing, and the abstraction, making abstract, the systematization, of indigenous knowledge. And you can say the verticalization, if you're drawing on Bourbon Street, Bernstein, that's what needs to happen. We need African theory, we need African theory, which will travel across contexts. And we need to bring that theory into the university. So camallo and Matoba, argue that that's the task for African scholars for at least the next decade, at least the next decade. So it's not something that we're going to be able to do immediately. It's a huge task. And you can only I can't begin to say in any, you know, sort of rigorous way will lie about how you can proceed, you'd have to go, it would have to be ethnographic research, I think you'd have to go and engage with the healers, as my colleague John Hutchings did at zunar land, you'd have to go and engage there Or you'd have to go and engage with farmers, and so on, and explore through careful questioning, and so on and so on, to try to vertical eyes, this theory. So what I'm arguing is that a stronger and I would say, a more valid approach to the decolonization of the curriculum would involve drawing on indigenous knowledge that has been verticalized, systematized, systematized theorized and abstracted, it will be a completely different kinds of knowledge to the western knowledge, except it will, it will share these features of being able to explain the world across multiple contexts, it will be able to explain the world in the future predict worlds that we don't yet know. But it will do it from a perspective in African knowing.
But, as I've indicated, camallo argues task for at least the next decade, we're not there yet, by any means. So I'll come to,
to conclude what I'm saying. But I've got a few more thoughts. And this these sorts relate to work that I've been doing recently, and to a publication that I've been working on, and which is currently under review. So of course, curriculum isn't only the what of content, curriculum is a whole lot of things. It's who's being taught who's teaching, and it's also the how, of pedagogy, the how of teaching and learning. So what I've done so far, is very much focused on the watch of curriculum, because curricula in South African universities were imported, that the model of the even though African universities have existed on African soil for centuries, some of the oldest universities in the world were in Africa, but the so called modern university, it was an import thanks to colonialization. And as the the modern universities supposedly were established, so curriculum also came from the north. And with that importance of the watch the series and so on, you will also got the pedagogy.
You know, the idea that you've got a lecture
Standing in front of a class and lecturing, the tutorial system, the so called Oxbridge system of tutorials. Richard wants to draw on that extensively. So the curriculum also includes imported pedagogy. And because of my own background, I'm interested in pedagogy. And I'm interested in what pedagogy does to students. Okay, so here are some ideas. And again, who am I to do this, but some ideas that I think could be pursued in thinking about pedagogy in about decolonizing pedagogy. So, in that there's lots of work which looks at the roots of the so called independent, autonomous, rational thinker in the enlightenment of 16th, and 17th century Europe. And that idea that, you know, ideally, students should be independent, autonomous, rational, applying their logic, that dominates Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. I, if I think back, there's this work that's very popular. That's popular now. But it certainly was 10 years ago, so called approaches to learning research. And researchers identified two approaches to learning, which they call deep approaches and surface approaches, surface approaches involved rote learning, and just trying to remember stuff. Deep approaches involve trying to get to the meaning. And to use logic, and so on, and so on. And, and in those deep approaches where it was worthy, these independent thinkers, you know, and you'll hear academics saying, Oh, I'm not interested in spoon feeding my students or students wants to be spoon fed. Well, lots of those ideas, you can trace back to the privileging of this particular kind of thinking, a particular kind of thinker, or InLight, enlightenment Europe. And of course, that thinker wasn't emotional, you take emotion out of it, you take feeling you take being out of it, it's all about the head. It's about cognition. I think, therefore I am. Now that dominates Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, pedagogy. What would happen, if you d privilege the idea of the autonomous, rational thinker, in favor of understandings of learning as communal, and there's a concept in southern Africa, we've been through, and it means a person is a person through others. So you only gain your personhood through others, through being one with others. Now, many of the students in our universities will be deeply imbued in this concept of Ubuntu, they're very big, will draw on Ubuntu. So so the idea of, you know, excelling, being top of the class, and I am me, and you know, I've got 75%, I've got a first
you gain your personhood through others. And
in the struggle against apartheid, you saw some of the Ubuntu thinking coming out in the, in the claim that it we should pass one parcel. It was about the collective pass one pass all so so what would happen if you drew on that understanding of being and therefore of learning as communal?
I'm not, I'm not claiming to know how to do that. But what if you do
privilege this decentered this internet, Tom was rational thinker, and you you brought in the idea of being through others? And what would happen if you acknowledge that knowing can be more than cognition? You know, we do have some work in the global Norse, about embodied knowing and so on. But what would happen if you brought that in? Could you Could you build learning theories based on that? I'm beginning to think what I do think that you probably could, I don't know that I can do it or people like me to do it. But I think African scholars could do it. And then one more idea related to pedagogy relates to oracy and literacy. This is something that interests me a lot. So the development of the printing press in Europe eventually led to understandings of meanings as being fixed in a written text, before you got the printing press, press, and you got lots of printed texts, and most meanings were communicated orally. And typically they were communicated in poetry. And poetry has all sorts of devices, which allows it to be remembered, you know, rhyme, mnemonic devices, and so on. So if you go right back and look at, you know, the epic poems, the sagas of the Norseman, and so on, you'll see that leanings about society were communicated through poetry. Now, when you had oral poetry, you'd have a poet reciting. But the recitation would differ, depending on the poet. But that didn't matter. Because the same stories were narrated over and over again. And so the meaning resulted from an interaction between the text recited by the poet and the people in the context. So the meaning was, in the context, not in the text. Once you got the printing press, and the widespread availability of printed text, the belief grew, that the meeting was on the page. I mean, modern linguists wouldn't accept that. But that's the sort of common sense for you, it's there, it's on the page and you extract it from the page. It also the printing press, ultimately also led to the development of so called saps literacy. You know, you see that in the work of people like John Locke, Montaigne, and so on a particular style of writing, and you could track right that right through to writing essays in the university today.
particularly genres, ways of writing, and you're unlikely to pass unless you can write an essay. And the essay is literacy forms, will inform the writing of theses, even in the sciences,
and so on. However, we've got lots of work.
And I've cited golf there. He was actually my PhD student supervisor many years ago. So golf argues that creators of aural genres in South Africa compose original highly complex words as they speak, literally, in the act of speaking, they compose these original, highly complex works. And he gives all sorts of examples, one of which is particularly genre called releasing the widow, which, which is when the brother of a man who's died, releases his widow into the world at some point after the dance, and he analyzes them to show that this is the case. So my question is in relation to pedagogy, can we dissenter literacy in the university and explore the use of oracy in teaching and learning literacy rules, but what would happen if we dissented it? And explored the use of literacy? Can we shift from essays text to other genres to allow for students to draw and literacy practices that they carry into the university? I know that many students write poetry, and I have a geologist, friend at Rhodes University University, who allows his students to use poetry about rocks. And he's teaching I think it's geomorphology.
Fascinating, what would happen
if we allowed students to draw on an illiteracy form, which they felt happy with felt confident with
and we dissented the literacy.
So these are ideas that only ideas because not only if If you're thinking about decolonization, not only do we have to think about decolonizing, the watch of curriculum content, we also have to think about the how of pedagogy.
And that's it for this episode. Don't forget to like, rate and subscribe. And join me next time where I'll be talking to somebody else about researchers development and everything in between.
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