Supporting teachers in becoming agents of social cohesion: professional development in postapartheid South Africa

07 Mar 2017

Policy and research have been advocating the importance of teachers in achieving equity and teachers are called to act as agents of social justice. This issue remains central to the development of a post-apartheid South Africa, where a need for reconciliation and healing still dominates the society. Such a landscape requires adequate support through transformative professional development. In this paper we analyse the design of the intervention ?Teaching Respect for All? that aims to empower teachers in South Africa to act as agents of social justice. Based on the literature review, content analysis of the intervention?s manual and resource book, and interviews with stakeholders we explore if the intervention outline can support teachers in becoming agents of social cohesion. The qualitative content analysis of the data unearthed four aspects of the intervention: the what, the how, the why, and the so what. We argue that while the intervention enables an alteration of teaching practice, altering teachers? beliefs is a long-lasting and more challenging task. We conclude the paper with recommendations for transformative professional development programmes and the value of such for socially just education in South Africa.