Investigating grade 3 learners' perceptions and attitudes toward skin colour in two schools in the Western Cape - a case study

Alexander, Neeske (2016-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: During my time as an educator in the Western Cape I noticed that learners named a certain light-coloured wax crayon menskleur (‘human colour’) or ‘skin colour’. This occurrence is troublesome within the context of post-colonial, post-apartheid South Africa because it perpetuates colonial and apartheid race hierarchies. This case study was an investigation of learners’ and educators’ perceptions and attitudes about the naming of skin colour in South African art classrooms. This was done in order to promote more just recognition and representation of races in Foundation Phase educational contexts. Theoretical perspectives of Critical Race Theory (CRT), social justice, and critical citizenship were used to inform the research. Case study was used as research design. Non-probability sampling and qualitative data collection techniques were used. The sample included two ex-model C schools in the Western Cape. Learners from two classes per school participated in several art classes, discussions, and reflections concerning the naming of skin colour. Educators and an educational psychologist were interviewed. Inductive content analysis was used to understand data that were collected. It was found that learners named the colour for white skin menskleur (‘human colour’) and that learners showed a preference for light skin colours over darker skin colours. The data also reflected that participants found it difficult to discuss race and to handle diversity in the classroom. There were some participants who felt the name menskleur (‘human colour’) was problematic and they made recommendations. Implications based on the findings and conclusions include changing the language used to describe skin colour, just recognition and representation of different races in educational resources, and an increase in self-reflection by educators. It is also implied that the lesson plans should reflect the racial distribution across South Africa and that a safe space should be created for learners to discuss race issues. Implications further contain the promotion of critical citizenship and artistic processes in educator training and the creation of clear and practical curriculum guidelines for addressing race issues.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Gedurende die tyd wat ek gewerk het as opvoeder in die Wes-Kaap, het ek agter gekom dat leerders ʼn seker ligte kleur vetkryt ‘menskleur’ of ‘velkleur’ noem. Hierdie gebeurtenis is kommerwekkend in die konteks van postkoloniale, post-apartheid Suid-Afrika, want dit perpetueer koloniale en apartheid rashiërargieë. Hierdie gevallestudie het leerders en opvoeders se waarnemings en houdings teenoor die benoeming van die kleur van die vel ondersoek. Dit was gedoen om meer regverdige herkenning en verteenwoordiging van rasse in die Grondslagfase in opvoedkundige kontekste te bevorder. Teoretiese perspektiewe van Kritiese Ras Teorie (KRT), sosiale geregtigheid, en kritiese burgerskap is gebruik om die navorsing in kennis te bevorder. Gevallestudie is gebruik as navorsingsontwerp. Nie-waarskynlikheids-toetsing en kwalitatiewe dataversamelingstegnieke is ook gebruik. Die steekproef het twee eks-model C skole in die Wes-Kaap ingesluit. Leerders van twee klasse per skool het deel geneem aan verskeie kunsklasse, besprekings, en refleksies wat verband gehou het met die benoeming van die kleur van die vel. Onderhoude is gevoer met opvoeders en ʼn opvoedkundige sielkundige. Induktiewe inhoudsanalise is gebruik om die versamelde data te verstaan. Dit was bevind dat leerders die kleur wat wit vel verteenwoordig ‘menskleur’ noem en dat leerders ʼn voorkeur vir ligter vel wys. Die data reflekteer ook dat deelnemers dit moeilik gevind het om ras te bespreek en om diversiteit in die klaskamer te hanteer. Daar was deelnemers wat gevoel het dat die naam ‘menskleur’ problematies is en hulle het voorstelle gemaak hieroor. Implikasies gebaseer op bevindinge en samevattings sluit die volgende in: verandering van die taal wat gebruik is om die kleur van vel te beskryf, regverdige herkenning en verteenwoordiging van verskillende rasse in opvoedkundige bronne, en ʼn toename in self-reflektering deur opvoeders. Verder word dit ook geïmpliseer dat die rasse verdeling oor Suid-Afrika gereflekteer moet word in leerplanne en dat veilige ruimtes vir leerders geskep moet word waar hulle rassekwessies kan bespreek. Verdere implikasies bestaan uit die bevordering van kritiese burgerskap en kunsprosesse in opvoeder-opleiding en die skepping van duidelike en praktiese kurrikulumriglyne om rassekwessies aan te spreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98499
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