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Showing posts from September, 2012

Appreciating clichés: don’t judge a book by its cover

I recently watched the movie “Dangerous minds”  where Michelle Pfeiffer is a teacher to a group of high school learners who are bussed from poor communities into a privileged affluent school far from their own communities. As a teacher in a similar context, the movie left me thinking about my teaching experience thus far.  One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my teaching experience thus far has been the danger of assumptions. When I met my learners in January I made assumptions about them based on the behaviour I observed, how they expressed themselves in the classroom and how they applied themselves to the work I gave them. Observing my learners (especially when they are not looking or when they think there are no beady adult eyes around them) means that I make meaning of their behaviour based on what I know about being a teenager in 2012 and the kind of relationship I should have with my learners when they walk into my classroom everyday. If my children were book covers, man…

Musings...Waiting for the barbarians

I recently watched the play  “Waiting for the Barbarians”  based on J. M. Coetzee’s novel Waiting for the Babarians. Coetzee’s writing has often left me unsettled and disturbed therefore I didn’t watch the play as a fan of his work, but rather as a critic to see if the play would have the same effect on me as his books. The story is about “the empire”— that does not have a definite geographical location in the novel—  waiting for barbarians who are on the verge of attacking the last outpost. The relationship between the barbarians and the empire can be extended to current day South Africa where the question of safety, security and the need to identify who the real enemy is when we live in violent society such as ours. The story requires readers (and the audience who watch the play) to contemplate and question their idea of who are the real barbarians when we are in a context where the president is associated with the words “mshini wami” (give me my machine gun) or words “shoot to kil…