The Intersect of Culture and Education: Probing The Views of Teacher Education Students At A Multicultural University
The Constitution of South Africa envisions a socially just society. However, realising this requires an education context that amongst other things, celebrates and promotes cultural diversity. Widely known as the rainbow nation, South Africa houses a multi-cultural population. This aspect poses particular challenges to education, which is not only required to provide a multi-cultural educational context conducive to effective teaching and learning, but also to promote quality education, equal opportunities and social justice. However, indications are that Teacher Education institutions in South Africa appear to be less effective in responding to these educational objectives. We argue that part of the reason for this seemingly ineffectiveness, is the inability of Teacher Education students to understand, acknowledge and validate the intricacies that exist between culture and education. As such, they hamper efforts to realise social justice through education. In this paper, we explore issues confined to the intersection of culture and education of third- and fourth-year education students at a multicultural university in South Africa. A quantitative research approach was adopted amongst a group of 266 Teacher Education students to gain knowledge of individuals’ views of the commonalities of culture and education. Findings revealed that Teacher Education students have a limited understanding of the issues prevalent at the intersect of culture and education, thisin spite of the efforts both this university, as well as the education authorities attempt. The paper concludes with suggestions for promoting an awareness amongst Teacher Education students about the issues which intersect culture and education, and the possible educational implications thereof. Commonalities may give Teacher Education students a new way of generating conversations with learners or ways to begin connecting subject contents to learners’ scholastic interests, classroom experiences and holistic development.
Key words- Culture, South Africa, Education, Social justice, Teacher Education Students