Integrated arts as a transformational medium of instruction in KwaZulu-Natal schools : a narrative self study
Peat, Beth Maureen
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South Africa’s dynamic post-Apartheid education climate is beset by a plethora of new policies designed to transform education. Our county’s educators are expected to be the alchemists of change to create the new and transformed society envisaged in these policies, albeit with insufficient logistical planning and support. Moreover, so many of our schools are operationally dysfunctional, with literacy and numeracy levels at an all time low. Under these daunting circumstances our Provincial Education Department Teacher Development Institution, Ikhwezi In-Service Training Institute, develops training materials and delivers courses aimed at implementing policy while at the same time modelling progressive, internationally recognized and democratic adult-based methodology. In this self-study project of my departmental work with a group of trained educators, I use action research to trace the potential of integrated arts to transform teaching and learning in under-resourced rural and township classrooms. An aspect of this self-study looks at the therapeutic potential of the arts in my own life and career as an arts educator. When my Masters research revealed the dramatic effect a project-like arts approach to teaching could engender, I was motivated by compassion to develop the work further to reach a broader base of learners. I also wished to educate the authorities into mainstreaming the default marginalising of the arts in schools by developing photographic, written and video evidence promoting the arts in schools, mainly to emphasize their holistic educational role, but also as an essential healing, a potential remedy for the ills of the past that continue to impact on the present.