On-line version ISSN 2309-9003
Y&T n.11 Vanderbijlpark Jan. 2014
Van Eeden, Elize
This edition of the Yesterday&Today interestingly features several contributions from some Capetonian and Gauteng researchers//educators of History. Equally so this edition include three very valuable hands-on articles, developed by HET and FET educators, as considerations for practising History.
The first article by Noor Davids, titled: Is action research coming of age? - The value of a history action research in professional teacher development emphasises the pedagogical journey from a product-oriented to a process-oriented teacher. The focus is on action research which should sensitise the teacher to alternative teaching practices and critically reflective dispositions. In a similar pattern Jared McDonald and Jenni Underhill, in: Making history familiar: The past in service of self-awareness and critical citizenship, explores the process of self-reflection undertaken by a lecturer of History as a kind of critical innovative pedagogy that offers a deconstruction of the past to be utilised as a vehicle for promoting self-awareness as a pivotal mechanism for critical citizenship. In turn the utility value of oral history in context is deliberated by Karen Horn in Oral history in the classroom: Clarifying the context through historical understanding. She also suggests a method in which oral history recordings and transcriptions may be used to enhance historical understanding among learners by making historical context clear. The oral memories of veterans of the Second World War (1939-1945) are used and demonstrated as history lessons in especially the Senior Phase classroom as preparation for the FET Phase.
Another contribution prepared for teaching History in HET and FET in a more local/regional context is that of Francois Cleophas', Writing and contextualising local history. A historical narrative of the Wellington Horticultural Society (Coloured). By using documentary evidence and applying oral historical accounts a narrative of the Society has been developed. From this narrative, aspects such as competition, family history and the garden culture of the Coloured people (within political and social dilemmas of the time) are contextualised as valuable indigenous knowledge.
In a similar vein, but with a much broader and a critical-towards-Western-knowledge-emphasis, Morgan Ndlovu discusses, Why indigenous knowledges in the 21st Century? A decolonial turn. The apparent inability of Western knowledge production systems to provide lasting solutions to the most pressing challenges of the 21st century, has led to the emergence of the question of whether a different model of the world outside the Western-centred one can be imagined. Ndlovu takes up this challenging question posed by other intellectuals to imagine the idea of indigenous knowledge as a possible basis for another world outside that of Western knowledge systems. The potential of teaching this topic within history curricula are also covered by the author. Thereafter the hands-on articles follow.
Gordon Brookbanks efficiently and passionately reports on: Inspiring learners beyond the classroom walls: The what, why, who, where and how for organising curriculum-based "History tours", History teacher. Educators of History are challenged to consider excursions as part of the curriculum which stretches far beyond the walls of the classroom. Perceived organisational hurdles, departmental obstacles, and several other obligations or difficulties are addressed in favour of taking up the challenge and organising history excursions. Gordon shares his experience in the organising of Grade 12 curriculum-based 'History Tours' for his learners, and provides the what, why, who, where, when and how for organising such tours.
In Rob Sieborger's Whatshould history teachers know? Assessing history students at the conclusion of the PGCEyear he considers how student teachers' pedagogical content knowledge may be assessed in History and how the knowledge and understanding of History may be assessed together with core history teaching abilities, as well as the interaction of history skills and content. In this discussion issues of lower and higher order thinking, as well as authentic, formative and summative assessment are also raised.
The last hands-on article in which especially the GET and FET Phase educators could benefit from is presented by Sonja Schoeman and Clarence Visagie, titled: Local history teaching in the Overberg region of the Western Cape: The case of the Elim Primary School. Because it has been perceived that the Grade 8 learners of the Elim Primary School exposes an attitude of insignificance towards school History, and its relevance to their everyday lives, a research question was formulated to address this perceived short-sightedness of the learners. The research result, amongst others, pointed out the value of local history, and that learners had to be more actively involved in the local history of their region to experience the practice of History and the relatedness of content to broader historical contexts. A series of four hands-on local history lessons with as topic Heritage were developed. The case study resulted in step-by-step guidelines for the preparation and implementation of a local history teaching strategy. The historical imagination of the learners was also operationalized. It is hoped that educators of History will embrace this example in their own regions to ensure that History as subject becomes and remains alive.
Lastly the book reviews that should be noted thanks to the input of our new Book Review Editor Mr Marshall Maposa. Firstly the work of Francois Vrey, Abel Esterhuyse & Thomas Mandrup, titled: On military culture: Theory, practice and African armed forces (published in 2013) and reviewed by Bheki Mngomezulu. Thereafter a critical review is provided by Betty Govinden on her broader historical experience of the multi-authored publication of Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed as editors titled: Chatsworth: The Making of a South African Township (also published in 2013).
This edition of the Yesterday&Today also includes several important SASHT documents (and valuable reports on some regional activities by regional representatives) to allow for its availability to all members closer to the conference of October 2014. We sincerely hope that all educators of History will engage in the SASHT and that the Yesterday&Today as Journal will remain every educator in History teaching's valuable reporting mechanism of peer-reviewed and practical articles.
As this is the very last edition that I have taken the "last word" responsibility for, I will always have good and nostalgic memories of what has been achieved. To the team who supported me so passionately and promptly (from the reviewers to the editors and the final lay-out and redistribution staff) I want to thank all for their patience and hard work behind the screens. From this end onwards the Journal with its new editor from the December issue, namely Dr Pieter Warnich with assistance of Prof Sonja Schoeman, can only progress from strength to strength. I have always believed, and still believe, that if everybody in the discipline/subject of History can just contribute their bit to empower the broader history audience, then we will be a strong community of informed and skilled educators as well as researchers of History.
My sincerest wishes to all members of the Editorial Team and the Journal!
Elize van Eeden