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Volume 7, Issue 2, 2016
Drawings as imaginative expressions of philosophical ideas in a Grade 2 South African literacy classroom : original researchSource: Reading & Writing - Journal of the Reading Association of South Africa 7, pp 1 –11 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/rw.v7i2.127More Less
This article reports on a philosophy for children (P4C) literacy project in a South African foundation phase classroom that introduces an important new focus in the P4C classroom: the visualisation of philosophical ideas provoked by the picture book The Big Ugly Monster and the Little Stone Rabbit (2004) by Chris Wormell, giving voice to young children's own imaginative ideas and beliefs (in this case about death). This research shows how a particular use of the community of philosophical enquiry pedagogy combined with the making of drawings necessitates a rethinking of what 'voice' means. We conclude that the children's drawings bring something new into existence, thereby offering unique material and discursive opportunities for all children, including those who otherwise might not have expressed their ideas.
'You're in FunDzaland' : pre-service teachers (re)imagine audience on a creative writing course : original researchAuthor Belinda MendelowitzSource: Reading & Writing - Journal of the Reading Association of South Africa 7, pp 1 –11 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/rw.v7i2.106More Less
This study explores how collaborative writing for a digital platform can enable students to (re) imagine audience. Although in the context of process writing peer feedback is foreground, in practice, its effectiveness is uneven. The digital revolution offers new opportunities for alternative peer feedback through collaborative writing and re-imagining self and other in the process. This study examines data from a creative writing course in which pre-service teachers wrote collaborative short stories for the FunDza digital site and individual reflective essays about the process. The study's research questions are the following: (1) what were the affordances of this multi-layered audience for engaging the students' imaginations? (2) How did this process of (re)imagining audience impact on students' conceptions of themselves as writers? The data set comprised 16 collaboratively authored stories (published on the site) and34 individual reflective essays. Six of the latter were selected for detailed analysis. Hence, the data for this study encompass detailed analysis of two groups' reflective essays on the process of writing their stories. These groups were selected because they exemplified contrasting collaborative, imaginative writing processes. Group 1 was familiar with the FunDza audience and context, while Group 2 struggled to imagine it. Thematic content analysis was used for analysis. Each essay was read first in relation to the entire data set, then in relation to the other reflections in the author's group. The combination of gearing stories towards the FunDza audience and writing stories collaboratively created two sets of audiences that writers needed to hold in mind simultaneously. Analysis indicates that both audiences challenged students to make imaginative leaps into the minds of an unfamiliar audience, deepening their understanding of the writing process. It also highlights students' mastery of writing discourses and increasing awareness of the choices authors make for specific audiences. Theoretically, this study theorises audience in relation to imagination. A number of concepts have emerged from this research that may enable a more fine-tuned analysis of the audience - imagination nexus. Structured freedom is an important thread that connects the central concepts of audience, imagination and collaboration, foregrounding the idea that imaginative freedom needs to be understood and worked with in nuanced ways. While freedom and imagination are closely related, the provision of free pedagogic spaces with specific constraints in creative writing courses can be extremely productive, as illustrated by the data analysed in this study.
Languaging in and about Lunyole : African Storybook materials as a catalyst for re-imagining literacy teaching and learning in two Ugandan primary schools : original researchSource: Reading & Writing - Journal of the Reading Association of South Africa 7, pp 1 –8 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/rw.v7i2.115More Less
Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, many children are not learning to read competently in the first 3 years of primary school; thus, both 'reading to learn' and 'reading for pleasure' in these early years, and in higher grades, are constrained. Two of the many reasons for reading failure are the absence of suitable materials in languages with which learners are familiar and teachers' limited knowledge of pedagogic practices that support reading development. In this article,we describe the African Storybook (ASb) initiative as one imaginative response to the dearth of interesting and accessible stories in local languages and report findings from the first phase of a professional development project in which teacher-researchers in two Ugandan schools are using ASb materials to 'language' in Lunyole at the meetings of their action research group. We argue that their investment in extending their literacy in a language which they speak more fluently than they read or write, and the contestations over written forms of this language that have surfaced in some of the discussions, are likely to be productive for their professional development as teachers and for their participation in ongoing community debates about theorthography of a recently codified and standardised language. By languaging together in Lunyole, with ASb materials as the main object of their conversations and activities, the teacher-researchers have begun to develop capabilities that are likely to benefit the Lunyole/ English biliteracy of the learners whom they teach. They are imagining new possibilities for themselves and for the learners.
'I got content with who I was' : rural teachers' encounters with new ways of practising literacy : original researchAuthor Toni GennrichSource: Reading & Writing - Journal of the Reading Association of South Africa 7, pp 1 –9 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/rw.v7i2.109More Less
In a context where Foundation Phase literacy teachers' personal literacy often involves operational and technicist practices rather than creative, this paper argues that it is by exposing teachers to experiences of working with different genres of text for an extended time, in different fields, that teachers are able to imagine the possibilities these genres afford. Using a Bourdieusian framework of habitus, field, capital and doxa and applying imagination to the theorisation of these concepts, I examine the effect on a group of rural teachers from Limpopo province of being removed from their classrooms, and being given the opportunity to complete a 4-year Bachelor of Education degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. This case study used reflective journals and focus groups to trace shifts in the ways these teacher-students enacted literacy and thought about teaching literacy. Findings from this study suggest that teachers of literacy can change deeply entrenched ways of thinking about and valuing literacy by reflecting on the discontinuities between old and new ways of practice and, through anticipatory reflection, to imagine possibilities of teaching and enacting literacy differently. This requires critical imagination, awareness and agency. This paper discusses, in particular, Elela's experience with poetry and Kganya's experience with a drama script, assessing the effect this had on their personal literacy practices and how they imagine teaching literacy in the future.
Imagination, Waldorf, and critical literacies : possibilities for transformative education in mainstream schools : original researchAuthor Monica ShankSource: Reading & Writing - Journal of the Reading Association of South Africa 7, pp 1 –9 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/rw.v7i2.99More Less
In the face of transmission-oriented national curricula, this study explores possibilities for claiming space for imagination, as 'the most powerful and energetic of learning tools' (Egan 1986), in early childhood education in mainstream Kenyan schools. Drawing from Egan's work on imagination and Cummins' Nested Pedagogical Orientations framework, this study interrogates the indispensable role of imagination in transformative education, as well as its utility in the 'transmission' of the government curriculum. This study draws insights from an initiative integrating imaginative, Waldorf-inspired pedagogies into mainstream pre-primary and early primary classrooms to explore how imagination-based pedagogies, including storytelling, creative play, poems and verses, drawing and painting, can support the development of critical literacies in young children.
Source: Reading & Writing - Journal of the Reading Association of South Africa 7, pp 1 –5 (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/rw.v7i2.136More Less
The book The Little Prince by writer, poet and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery (published in 1943) has delighted readers of all ages and continues to fascinate and enthral until today. The story draws on Saint-Exupery's own experiences as a pilot who crashed his plane in the desert in 1935, but in the novella he recounts this moment as involving a meeting with a small and surprising interlocutor (the little prince). Much of the book consists of their conversations and of then arrator's experiences of being reminded through the dialogues with the little prince what he had lost in becoming adult. Like many young people in our classrooms, the little prince might not give the answers adults want to hear and instead asks the questions adults believe are of no consequence. The narrator takes us back to his own childhood when, at the age of six and inspired by a non-fiction book on the primeval forest, he drew a picture of a boa constrictor who had swallowed an animal, which appeared as the outline of a hat:
I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked them whether the drawing frightened them. But they answered;
'Frightened? Why should anyone be frightened by a hat?' My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But since the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of a boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained. (De Saint-Exupery  1994:5-6)