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Check back here regularly for details of the most recent publication associated with the School and its staff:

2013 Publications

Title: Large-Class Pedagogy: Interdisciplinary perspectives for quality higher education
Edited By: D.J. Hornsby,  R. Osman & J. de Matos-Ala

Large-class environments are a reality for many who teach at higher education institutions around the world. Such environments are commonly believed to pose real challenges for educators and students alike: the former, because they seek to deliver a meaningful learning experience; and the latter, because they not only seek to gain knowledge, but also to develop critical thinking skills. Indeed, large classes pose a potential threat to the quality of the educational environment and may have particular ramifications in developing countries, where higher education constitutes a core dimension of the economic and societal development process. The link between quality education and socio-economic development is almost a truism today, and it is safe to assert that quality education is a key component in the development of all countries and can be correlated with improved income levels and economic growth (UNESCO 2005). The provision of quality education is considered to instil key aptitudes and attitudes necessary for economic growth, from essential literacy and numeracy to (equally importantly) motivation and perseverance (UNESCO 2005). 

The notion of a citizen who is literate; capable of reasoning with numbers; and enthusiastic about, and able to stick to, the task at hand speaks to a type of person who is an active learner. Active learners think critically about their environment and consider knowledge to be an evolving state of being, where new information can fundamentally refocus one’s understanding of and approaches to everyday phenomena. If, then, quality education is in part defined by the presence of these characteristics, how does one instil them in learners in a context that appears to result in the opposite?

This volume seeks to challenge present-day perceptions that large-class learning environments are void of any pedagogical value. As one of the first books of its kind, it guides the reader through the conceptual issues facing large-class teaching in higher education environments, such as the role of the lecture as it relates to large classes. 

This approach is largely rooted in the experiences of scholars and practitioners in developing country contexts, and is interdisciplinary, considering as it does strategies adopted in social and biological sciences, media studies, library sciences, learning support, and education. The insights offered in this book not only address theoretical and conceptual issues, but also provide practical insights for those faced with teaching and supporting large-class environments in higher education. 

Title: Service Learning in South Africa
Edited By: R. Osman & N. Petersen

Service learning is a form of experiential learning in which students receive academic credit for addressing human and community needs in a way that benefits both provider and recipient of the service. Service learning can be seen as a philosophy, a model, or a pedagogical tool. 

The book Service Learning in South Africa is designed to include a theoretical component and a practical perspective. The book adopts a social justice framework and the theoretical component addresses why students do service learning, includes reflection, and discuss issues of power, such as the positioning between students and site managers. 

Case studies demonstrate how service learning has been implemented at various universities, providing guidelines on what institutions, lecturers and students have learnt from the experience. There is synergy between the theory of service learning and practical case studies that complement the theory by drawing out general principles related to service learning. 

Service Learning in South Africa is aimed at South African students taking courses in service learning in degrees as diverse as Education (B.Ed or PGCE), the B.Soc.Sci, B.Cur, B.Eng and Law; as well as lecturers and theorists of service learning, educational policy-makers and practitioners in non-governmental organisations. Service Learning in South Africa is the only South African book on service learning.


  • case studies based on research in the field of service learning, and which focus on addressing challenges that are faced in the field by offering practical guidance 
  • self-assessment questions which allow students to reflect on material covered in the chapter and ensure that they understand the content 
  • a 'take time to reflect' feature to encourage critical thinking about how the theory of service learning can be implemented in practice 
  • explanations of difficult words in the margin to make the text more accessible.

2012 Publications

Title: Research-led Teacher Education
Edited By: R. Osman & H. Venkat

The field of teacher education at universities finds itself at the intersection between the need for robust knowledge production through research on teacher education and schooling, and the need for broadening teacher development in a context of on-going inequality in South Africa. The authors address questions and criticisms about whether university based teacher development, set within institutions with the imperative to engage with research, can actually make a difference in the lives of teachers and learners in classrooms. They answer in the affirmative.

The key aim of Research-led teacher education is to provide research-based exemplars of how cutting-edge knowledge produced through rigorous research can be linked to improving conditions and practices of schooling and of teacher education. The exemplars provided are of research studies driven by problems of practice and which expose the complexities of practice. The exemplars ultimately show how to generate knowledge about practice.

Research-led teacher education will be of interest to those seeking to take practical action for qualitative improvements in schools and university teacher education across a range of disciplines. It also provides examples of problem driven research that can be used as a guide by teachers in schools who want to look critically at their own practice. It can also be used by university lecturers and students in teacher education programmes as a casebook of examples that demonstrate a research-based focus on improving teaching and learning within teacher education and in schools.Throughout the book, a team of researchers from a range of South African and international universities, led by Ruksana Osman and Hamsa Venkat from the Wits School of Education, critically explore aspects of their long experience of research and teaching within schools and teacher education

Title: Digital Video Conferencing to Support Teaching and Learning
By: Vasidevan Naiker

Whilst there are policies addressing the educational needs of the Deaf in South Africa, there are still gaps between policy and practice as a result of which Deaf learners do not have equal access and equal access to educational opportunities. Of concern is the lack of visual educational technologies that support the delivery of instruction in schools for the Deaf in South Africa.

This book explores how digital conferencing can support the teaching and learning of Deaf learners by providing access to an appropriate curriculum. It is based on qualitative research into the experiences of twelve Grade 10 (N1) Deaf learners from Tswane North whose teacher used digital video conferencing.

Finding from the study suggest that digital video conferencing can decrease the barriers that exist in Deaf education by affording learners the opportunity to make use of South African sign language. Based on this, the book offers recommendations for improving learning strategies in Deaf education.


Title: Exploring the English proficiency-Mathematics proficiency relationship: An investigation using instructional English
By: Dr Anthony Essien

Research studies and philosophies dealing with the relationship between language proficiency and mathematical proficiency have either positioned the one as dependent on the other or the two as autonomous. In South Africa, even though the constitution and the Language-in-Education Policy make provision for learners to learn in any of the 11 official languages of their choice, research has shown that due to economic, political and ideological factors, most learners prefer to learn mathematics in English which for most, is not their first or home language. Using both qualitative and quantitative (quasi-experimental) approaches, this book investigates whether and how improvement of learners' English language proficiency enables or constrains the development of mathematical proficiency. The present book, informed by an empirical study from classrooms, is a contribution to this debate as to whether or not developing learners' English language proficiency for mathematical proficiency is the key; or whether it is more important to harness the home languages which learners (most of whom are multilingual) bring to class. 


Title: Reconciliation and Pedagogy
By: P. Alhuwalhia, S. Atkinson, P. Bishop, P. Christie, R. Hattam & J. Matthews

Reconciliation is one of the most significant contemporary challenges in the world today. In this innovative new volume, educational academics and practitioners across a range of cultural and political contexts examine the links between reconciliation and critical pedagogy, putting forward the notion that reconciliation projects should be regarded as public pedagogical interventions, with much to offer to wider theories of learning.

While ideas about reconciliation are proliferating, few scholarly accounts have focused on its pedagogies. This book seeks to develop a generative theory that properly maps reconciliation processes and works out the pedagogical dimensions of new modes of narrating and listening, and effecting social change. The contributors build conceptual bridges between the scholarship of reconciliation studies and existing education and pedagogical literature, bringing together the concepts of reconciliation and pedagogy into a dialogical encounter and evaluating how each might be of mutual benefit to the other, theoretically and practically.

This study covers a broad range of territory including ethnographic accounts of reconciliation efforts, practical implications of reconciliation matters for curricula and pedagogy in schools and universities and theoretical and philosophical considerations of reconciliation/pedagogy. It will be of great interest to students and scholars of peace and reconciliation studies, educational studies and international relations.

2011 Publications

Title: Literacy, Power and a Schooled Body: Learning in time and space 
By: Kerryn Dixon

What effects do space and time have on classroom management, discipline, and regulation? How do teachers' practices create schooled and literate students? To explore these questions, this book looks at early childhood classrooms, charting the shifts and continuities as four-year-old children begin preschool, move from preschool into primary school,and come to the end of the first phase of schooling at nine years. The literacy classroom is used as a specific site in which to examine how children's bodies are disciplined to become literate.This is not a book that theorizes space, time, discipline, bodies, and literacy in abstract ways. Rather, working from a Foucaultian premise that discipline is directed onto children's bodies, it moves from theory to practice. Photographs, lesson transcripts, interviews, and children's work show how teachers’practices are enacted on children's bodies in time and space. In this way, teachers are offered practical examples from which to think about their own classrooms and classroom practice, and to reflect on what works, why it works, and what can be changed.



Title: Exploring deaf students experiences in higher education institutions: Discovering the experiences of deaf teachers of being students at an institution of higher education in South Africa (Deaf Experiences)
By: Lucas Magongwa

Due to the specialist nature of their use of a visual and spatial language, Deaf and hard of hearing students have unique experiences at institutions of higher education. This book provides information from a research study which explored the experiences of Deaf teachers as students at an institution of higher education in South Africa.

The book shows how in-depth interviews and documentary information were used to collect data from current and past Deaf and hard of hearing students. It also covers Deaf related issues in the existing theory, practice, implications and legislation designed to guide the creation of an inclusive education society. The findings which are recorded in this book provide valuable information about the academic challenges and potential among Deaf and hard of hearing students in mainstream higher education system. The book is especially useful to educators, higher education institutions in Africa, policy makers, prospective Deaf students, parents, educational interpreters and the general public interested in the field of education.



Title: Internationalisation of Higher Education in South Africa: A Phenomenograhic Study of Students' Conceptions at the University of the Witwatersrand
By: Emmanuel Ojo

This book is an empirical account of how students experience and conceptualise internationalisation of higher education at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. The conceptual framework presents the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) within three domains- the official, pedagogical and social- as the context within which the university operates. Adopting phenomenography as the research approach, four main constructs on internationalisation emerged from students' accounts. This book argues that, though students converge to four constructs, their differences on the emphasis and significance points to a scenario of unbalanced institutional mediation with strong mediation within the logic of the dominant pedagogical practice within the university constrained by forms of weak mediation in the social domain.


2010 Publications

Title: Retrieving teaching : critical issues in curriculum, pedagogy and learning
Edited By: Yael Shalem & Shirley Pendlebury

The emerging consensus is that the education system in South Africa is in crisis. Understanding how this happened is crucial to finding a way in which all South Africans, especially the poorest of the poor, can have meaningful access to quality schooling and improving the professional practice of teaching in South Africa. This book engages critically with some of the dominant conceptions of teaching that have given rise to the crisis, and evaluates the enabling conditions for a viable practice. The book is written in honour of Wally Morrow and as a dialogue with his project around the learning and teaching in post-apartheid South Africa. A substantial part of Wally Morrows work -- in papers and chapters, working groups and advisory committees -- has been devoted to retrieving the primacy of the practice of professional teaching in our thinking about the transformation of schooling and education. Together, the chapters in this volume advance the project of retrieval, hence its title, "Retrieving Teaching". It is in this spirit that the contributors to this volume engage in a critical debate with Morrows ideas and arguments. The authors have committed themselves to Morrows insistence that critique of knowledge claims, premises, reasoning, evidence and conclusions are the very grounds of critical thinking, rational argument and debate. Each chapter takes up an idea from Morrows framework of thinking and explains, extends or criticises it. Several of the chapters were first presented, in earlier versions, as part of the Symposium on Learning to Teach in South Africa at the Kenton Conference (Kenton at P[h]umula Olwandlein) -- an event in which lively critical debate at times stretched the principle of charity to its limits. While South Africa is the context and focus of this volume, the issues it addresses -- curriculum, pedagogy and learning -- are perennials in the field of teaching, teacher education and curriculum in many parts of the world.

Title: Teaching Mathematical Reasoning in Secondary School Classrooms
By: Karin Brodie

This book tackles the complex issue of how to teach mathematical reasoning in high schools. Mathematical reasoning is positioned as an important mathematical practice that all learners should have access to, as a key component of mathematical proficiency. In her foreword to the book, Jo Boaler makes the observation that "when students do not engage in reasoning, they often do not know that there are paths between different ideas in mathematics and they come to believe, dangerously, that mathematics is a set of isolated facts and methods that need to be remembered". The core of the book consists of five chapters, each co-written by a teacher with Karin. These chapters show the teachers' successes and challenges as they begin to foreground the teaching of mathematical reasoning in a range of school contexts in South Africa. The chapters ground the book in practice and serve as useful examples of teacher research in collaboration with each other and an academic. The beginning of the book frames these chapters in terms of the challenges of teaching mathematical reasoning in the context of South African schooling. The final four chapters provide an overview analysis of the teachers' practices, developing a language of description across the five teachers and dealing with teaching dilemmas and resistance to change. At the launch of the book Prof Marc Schafer said: "The book speaks to both teachers and researchers... It is also a work that inspires practitioners".

Title: The Imagination of Freedom
By: Andrew Foley

In The Imagination of Freedom, Andrew Foley explores the work of a number of writers who have responded from a liberal viewpoint to critical moments in contemporary political history when the freedom of the individual has come under severe threat. These writers have used the power of the creative imagination to provide a critique of the illiberal practices of their times and to reassert an alternative vision of a free and open society founded upon the ideals of individual liberty and social justice. The "imagination of freedom" thus refers both to the writers' critically independent analyses of their societies as well as to their ability to imagine and describe a more just and equitable social order. Foley presents a detailed, contextualized discussion of the work of Alan Paton, Chinua Achebe, Ken Kesey, Seamus Heaney, Fay Weldon, Athol Fugard, Mario Vargas Llosa, Ian McEwan and others, in order to pursue three interrelated aims: to reassesses the significance of the work of these writers from a contemporary perspective; to clarify their political vision as liberal writers; and more generally to develop a case for liberalism as a coherent and compelling political philosophy.

Title: The Moral Status and Rights of Animals
By: Kai Horsthemke

Do other-than-human animals matter morally? Most, if not all, reasonable people think they do. But, if they can be shown to possess characteristics and abilities that would qualify them for having moral standing, what exactly is the extent of this status? This book makes the case for the moral equality of animals. Their status may not be identical to that of normal adult human beings, but it is nonetheless equal, relevantly similar - in a surprisingly large number of instances. If sexism and racism are wrong, insofar as they involve the devaluation of certain individuals, on the mere grounds that they are not members of an elite sex or race, then speciesism is also wrong - insofar as it involves exclusion of other animals on the mere grounds that they are not human. This book argues, further, that inclusion and protection of nonhuman individuals is best achieved by the progressive legislative recognition of their moral rights. The realization of animals' rights and "animal emancipation" can be seen to imply "human liberation", the act of humans freeing themselves from the role of subjugators, from the dominant relationship they have with the rest of animate nature, and from dependence on animals at the expense of the latter's lives, freedom, and well-being.

Title: Literacy and Power
By: Hilary Janks

In this book Hilary Janks addresses the following questions and many more:

  • Is literacy a skill or a social practice?
  • In what ways is literacy embodied?
  • Do texts have designs on us and what can we do about it?
  • How does language construct reality?
  • What is "linguistic capital" and who has it?
  • Who gets access to new literacies and who is excluded?
  • How is literacy implicated in relations of power and questions of identity in our daily lives?

Janks shows how competing orientations to critical literacy education – domination (power), access, diversity, design – foreground one over the other. Her central argument is that these different orientations are crucially interdependent and need to work together to create possibilities for redesign and social action that serve a social justice agenda. Recognizing ongoing change in socio-historical conditions, in the communication landscape, and in the applications of critical literacy, she examines the theory underpinning each orientation, and develops new theory in the argument for interdependence and integration. Most important, Literacy and Power sits at the interface between theory and practice, constantly moving from one to the other. It is rich with examples of how to use these orientations in real teaching contexts, and how to use them to counterbalance one another.

In the groundbreaking final chapter, Janks shows ways of working ‘beyond reason’. Considering how the rationalist underpinning of critical literacy tends to exclude the non-rational – pleasure and play, desire and the unconscious – she makes the case that these need to be taken seriously given their power to cut across the work of critical literacy educators working from any orientation.