Communication: A Focused Development Tool to Re-Contract Learning in MultilingualClassrooms

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This paper is based on an ongoing study of intermediate classrooms in ordinary schools in the Western Cape (South Africa - SA). Previous analyses of data have revealed the need to shift classroom practices toward socially responsive, ecological and collaborative practices, leading to the focus of the current paper. This paper is focused on the use of communication – as a classroom phenomenon – to engage the development of learning. A practice-generated framework is presented as a transitory solution toward forms of learning that privilege an axis of social justice. This “D4 development” framework proffers the following four focusing devices to assist learners and educators theorizing of their learning development, viz.: (i) deficit focus, (ii) disadvantage focus, (iii) difference focus and (iv) diversity focus. In acknowledging that multiple realities/complexities exist in SA (and other countries) classrooms, we promote self_, peer_ and collaborative (learner-educator) reflection on the use of four focusing devices. Schedule classroom-based reflexive practice activities are promoted. The theoretical rationale for this activity accounts for the dominance of a technocratic educational system seeking to shift toward democratic practices. It is discussed as a necessary practical step in this process. The practical rationale is sourced from current data where similar reflective processes have been engaged as part of the research process. Ultimately, communication toward developing learning is shared as a critical process to harness within the collaborative re-development of learning in schools. Toward re-justifying social communication contracts in classrooms, this hermeneutic activity is further refocused as a critical activity intent on disrupting traditional educator and learner power dynamics


Keywords: Classroom Communication, Learning Development, Deficit Focus, Disadvantage Focus, Difference Focus, Diversity Focus
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Mershen Pillay

UCT/SKMC
Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Prof. Harsha Kathard

University of Cape Town
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa


Ref: L09P1251