Enlivening pedagogical methods in the classroom through visual arts

Kim Berman, Shonisani Netshia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The call for 'decolonising' the curricula by the #FeesMustFall student-led protest movement, in response to an increase of fees at South African universities from 2015, presents educators with the challenge of engaging more relevant methodologies for teaching and learning local content that are appropriate for revised approaches in higher education. Our question in response to this challenge is: how do we enliven curricula and develop pedagogical approaches that can engender a sense of belonging for incoming first-year students and prevent polarising tendencies in the classroom? The visual arts are well positioned to disrupt divisions and stereotypes and offer creative ways to explore patriarchal and colonial power relations. Arts provide safe and empathetic ways for incoming students to gain perspective on their situations from both insider and outsider positions, and to develop a compassionate and enlarged view of the world. In this paper, we introduce some definitions and theoretical positions of decolonising frameworks in the classroom and present a series of first-year classroom interventions as examples of praxis. It is our contention that the arts create the conditions for equalising a classroom space through directing visual processes to engage issues such as the polarisation of race and class. Students are able to engage with ways of responding to their own understandings of how they see themselves as African students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-20
Number of pages17
JournalSOTL in the South
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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