Multicultural diversity and OBE practices : a case study of the Harrismith region
Nyamane, Lawrence Laudonn
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The crucial issue in the new democratic South Africa was to change the type of education system that was based on social discrimination to one which is non- discriminatory, unbiased and accessible to all South Africans. However, to teach in a multicultural society and being faced with the challenge of teaching multicultural diverse classes, within an OBE paradigm, demands special knowledge, skills and attributes of teachers. Therefore, this study intended to investigate teachers’ OBE practices in multicultural classrooms in order to determine the strengths and weaknesses that could be useful for the improvement of teaching and learning within multicultural contexts. The study was approached from a socio-reconstructivist point of view and focused specifically on schools in the Harrismith region. The purpose of this study was thus to explore and come to a better understanding of how teachers’ OBE practices accommodate multicultural diverse learners in the Harrismith region. In order to direct the study towards the intended purpose, a literature study was undertaken to define multicultural diversity and to conceptualize OBE practices in order to operationalize the concept within the context of the study. The empirical research was done by following a qualitative research design in the form of a case study. Semi-structured, individual interviews and observations were used as data collection instruments. Interviews were conducted with teachers teaching Grade 8 and 9 learners as well as learners from the same grades, of five purposefully selected schools in the Harrismith region. By using maximal variation sampling, ten teachers and ten learners from the selected schools eventually participated in the research. Observations were recorded by means of anecdotal notes which were used to verify and supplement data obtained through the interviews. According to the findings of the empirical research, it appears that the research participants’ understanding of multiculturalism lack substance. The findings also revealed that multiculturalism is mainly accommodated by implementing the following OBE practices: working together with others, showing respect, cultural sensitivity, acknowledgement of individual learner differences, and by creating positive classroom climates. It was also evident that teachers act as change agents by discrediting discrimination and prejudice. Teaching in multicultural classrooms also poses some challenges. These included language problems, acceptance of different cultural practices, racial differences and “inherent” segregation. Though the findings revealed that teachers’ OBE practices still need to be refined in order to successfully accommodate multicultural diversity, positive attitudes were reflected in terms of improving their competence with regard to teaching in a multicultural diverse environment.
- Education