South African Teacher Voices: Recurring Resistances and Reconstructions for Teacher Education and Development

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Oct. 01, 2014

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Volume 40, Issue 5, 2014, Pages 610-621

This article will focus on the shifts in discourses about teacher education and teacher voice within the South African research and policy environment over the last four decades. The alignment of the political and educational agenda in providing resistance to the apartheid system culminated in 1994, the start of the new democracy.

The preceding 20 years (1974–1994) were characterised by defiance of the subjugation of teachers’ voices, and the need to find agency amongst teachers. The shifting agenda of the strong teacher union movement during these resistance years and within the post-apartheid 20 years (1994–2014) is the subject of this paper.


The attempt to generate a focus on teacher professional quality agendas is presently becoming increasingly challenging. Has the teacher agency agenda produced a disregard for teacher professional development? Are teachers protective of their own inadequacies to enact the transformation for which they campaigned? Are the new educational authorities reverting to yet another form of earlier accountability and performativity regimes to regulate teachers? The paper traces a critical account of these shifting historical trends in activating teacher voice. It argues for ‘deliberative action’ to reassert teacher voice.

Updated: Feb. 23, 2017
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