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Teaching approaches adopted by teachers in multicultural classrooms in secondary schools in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Logamurthie Athiemoolam (Department of Education, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
Annaline Vermaak (Department of Education, Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)

Journal for Multicultural Education

ISSN: 2053-535X

Article publication date: 5 May 2021

Issue publication date: 9 August 2021

184

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine teaching approaches adopted by teachers in ex-Model C English medium secondary schools (former mono-ethnic White Schools) currently in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, after schools became desegregated in 1994 and changed from being mono-ethnic to multi-ethnic.

Design/methodology/approach

This study was conducted through a qualitative research approach against the backdrop of a phenomenological design according to the interpretivist paradigm. Data were elicited through in-depth semi-structured interviews with 16 teachers from four ex-Model C English medium secondary schools (former White schools) who had experiences of teaching both pre-1994, when schools were mono-ethnic, and post-1994 when the schools were multi-ethnic. The interviews were transcribed, and the data were analysed and categorised into themes and sub-themes.

Findings

The findings indicated that although the teachers were positive towards teaching in multi-ethnic contexts, the majority of them tended to adopt approaches that militated against multicultural education in their classes; such as assimilationist, colour blind and business-as-usual approaches, while a minority incorporated various aspects of multicultural education in their teaching to a limited degree.

Originality/value

The study is original in the sense that it focused on the application of Castagno’s framework of typologies to teachers’ approaches to teaching in multi-ethnic classes. Research of this nature, which explored teachers’ approaches to diversity within their multi-ethnic contexts according to Castagno’s framework, has not been previously undertaken in South Africa.

Keywords

Citation

Athiemoolam, L. and Vermaak, A. (2021), "Teaching approaches adopted by teachers in multicultural classrooms in secondary schools in Port Elizabeth, South Africa", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 168-183. https://doi.org/10.1108/JME-01-2021-0003

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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