Teacher narratives of social (in)justice: Early experiences shaping pedagogy

Zakeeya Limbada, Leila Kajee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper explores a sample of English language teachers' perceptions and practices of social justice in Johannesburg, South Africa. These teachers teach substantial numbers of learners who are not mother tongue speakers of English, learning exclusively through an English medium. This accounts for injustices that face learners regarding access to and performance in education. These learners are of various linguistic backgrounds and require support to meet the basic promotion and pass requirements for English proficiency. Guided by critical pedagogy, social justice education and multilingualism, this study explored teachers' narratives of their experiences of justice/injustice. In examining teachers' narratives this study explored whether these experiences of justice/injustice shaped teachers' perceptions of social justice and if teachers actively took up positions as agents of change through their teaching practices. Using a qualitative exploratory case study method, data in the form of written narratives was elicited from ten English teachers from two secondary school sites. This study found that teachers' views, values, and attitudes were shaped by their own experiences of injustices and marginalization. All teachers believed they play a critical role in the personal and academic growth of their learners and acknowledged the potential role they possibly play as agents of individual and social transformation. Curriculum demands and contextual factors for some made the enactment of social justice pedagogy challenging. Language was highlighted as a key area where learners were disadvantaged in the learning process and further support was needed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2020 International Conference in Multidisciplinary Research, MyRes 2020
PublisherSociety for Research and Knowledge Management
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9789994906154
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event2nd International Conference in Multidisciplinary Research, MyRes 2020 - Bagatelle, Mauritius
Duration: 14 Dec 202015 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Multidisciplinary Research
ISSN (Print)1694-3597
ISSN (Electronic)1694-3600


Conference2nd International Conference in Multidisciplinary Research, MyRes 2020


  • Agency
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Second and additional language learners
  • Social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Multidisciplinary


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