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Thesis abstract: This study investigated teachers’ perceptions of non-national students. It consisted of semi-structured one-hour interviews with fifty Durban teachers of non-nationals. Perceptions of non-nationals were always relative to perceptions of South African students. I argue that teachers are using apartheid educational values to explain and promote non-national students’ performances in the classroom, while emphasising and essentialising South African students’ shortcomings. I explain this in terms of the new South African educational curriculum. This curriculum, while having undergone a radical shift in spirit, is not giving adequate attention to the environment and challenges that teachers face. These challenges are not addressed in an idealised and overly optimistic view of students. Moreover, the curriculum does not adequately help teachers to explain the impact of economic and social inequalities without resorting to racist justifications.