Providing support to student teachers to implement participatory pedagogies is vital for understanding the importance of listening to children’s voices and involving them in decision making.
At a local university in the Western Cape, South Africa, ten final year Foundation Phase student teachers studying toward the Bachelor in Education who enrolled in the Reception Year module participated in a project during work integrated learning using Harry Shier’s Pathways to Participation model in support of a participatory pedagogy.
After the first session of work integrated learning, student teachers participated in focus group interviews guided by open-ended questions on their experiences using Shier’s model.
Findings reveal that whilst student teachers were open to listening to children’s voices, they did not have the necessary opportunities in their training to listen to children.
Students were restricted to the confines of a Grade R class dominated by mentor teachers who adopted a transmissive pedagogy.
Student teachers also noted that children were not accustomed to having their voices heard and making decisions.