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Educational Research for Social Change

On-line version ISSN 2221-4070

Abstract

MARX, Marelize  and  DELPORT, Aletta. "I am because we are" dancing for social change!. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2017, vol.6, n.1, pp.56-71. ISSN 2221-4070.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2221-4070/2017/v6i1a5.

In postapartheid South Africa, ideas of self, identity, and one's place in society pose a labyrinth of internal conflict and negotiation. In this article, we discuss the potential of a particular 7-week dance education course, offered to generalist preservice student teachers, as a possible location for self-transformation and, ultimately, social change. Our qualitative case study was rooted in symbolic interactionism, with social interactions becoming catalysts for transforming meanings of self in relation to the other. Participants, mostly nondancers, included 80 culturally diverse preservice student teachers (PSTs) enrolled in a first year bachelor's degree in education (BEd). Students shared personal reflections on their dance education experiences via open-ended questionnaires, focus group interviews, and reflective journals. Our data indicate that the students' dance education experiences generated transformative awareness of the self. This consciousness was primarily evoked by close interactions with diverse others through active, bodily involvement in dance education activities, which prompted more profound engagement with the self, stimulating discovery, liberation, affirmation and, ultimately, transformation of the self.

Keywords : multicultural education; social change; personal transformation; dance education; peace education.

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