Written by Dylan Wray
Date of publication: 2015
Classrooms of Hope: Case studies of South African teachers nurturing respect for all
Twenty years of democracy have not been able to undo racism, xenophobia, and sexism. Apartheid used education as a primary strategy to reinforce its twin messages of “white is right” and “separate is better”. Its impact was therefore more than personal, more than structural. It also influenced our respective cultures, our deepest ways of collective thinking and behaving, and our relations not only with self but with others. We urgently need to “un-learn” these apartheid messages if we are to heal our society. And if education was central to apartheid, it is also absolutely central to a reconciled society. This collection of case studies depicts real-life incidences where educators have sought to deal with discrimination and disrespect in South African classrooms in an effort to do exactly this—to overcome apartheid’s abiding influence on the thinking of a next generation. It is therefore an invaluable resource for those who believe that the classroom can become one of the most important spaces where South Africans learn to overcome intolerance and cultivate “respect for all”.
Apart from offering practical advice for educators based on real-life experiences, this resource also tells the story of how civil society, government and educators collaborated to generate these insights.