An example of critical citizenship education in an arts curriculum

Costandius, Elmarie ; Bitzer, Eli (2015)

CITATION: Costandius, E. & Bitzwer, E. 2015. An Example of Critical Citizenship Education in an Arts Curriculum, in E. Costandius & E. Bitzer. Engaging Higher Education Curricula: A Critical Citizenship Education Perspective. Stellenbosch: SUN MeDIA. 73-105. doi:10.18820/9781920689698/05.

The original publication is available from AFRICAN SUN MeDIA, Stellenbosch: South Africa.

Chapters in Books

INTRODUCTION: If one considers the importance of global and local change and transformation for constructing just, sustainable and peaceful societies globally, initiatives such as the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (Kindzeka 2014) and The Earth Charter Initiative (2012) feature prominently. As discussed earlier, the need for such kind of transformation in thought and action in South Africa as an evolving democracy is vital, as underlined by several policy initiatives, both in higher education institutions and at a national level (DHET 2014; DoE 1997; NPC 2011). At Stellenbosch University (SU), where we both work as academics, the HOPE Project (see Botman 2011 for details on this initiative) was launched in 2008. Its aim was and still is to find concrete ways to reflect on historical influences on the current South African society and to address the need for change towards a higher education that significantly contributes to society. To correspond with this stated aim, a module called “Critical Citizenship” was introduced for first- to third‑year Visual Communication Design students at the Department of Visual Arts at SU. The case study in critical citizenship that we elaborate on involves the Critical Citizenship module in particular. The case study had as its aim to explore the perceptions and attitudes of students, a group of learners from a township school and two art lecturers who participated in the Critical Citizenship module regarding personal transformation through teaching and learning in the module. As a framework for the study, the importance of considering the emotional dimensions of learning (also see Chapters 3 and 4) was emphasised, thereby implying that students should be understood and treated as thinking, feeling and acting persons.

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