In the thesis we discuss South African teachers’ conceptions of democracy in general and school democracy in particular. The essay is based on interviews with twelve teachers, working in South African high schools. We have asked questions concerning different views of democracy, such as what the term means to the teachers and how they define a democratic school.
We take our stand in different theoretical approaches such as school being the ultimate link between a state and its people to make the citizens think and act democratically. We take our stand in Gunnar Sundgren’s theory about democracy in schools as being a question about a learner’s right to create its own process towards knowledge. To analyse the interviews we have used a phenomenographical approach. We found four themes containing different categories of conceptions. The themes are:
a. views on the term democracy
b. views on the term democratic citizen
c. views on democracy in school
d. views on corporal punishment
About theme a we found conceptions related to a minimalistic definition of democracy, as well as those related to a maximalistic definition. Concerning theme b we found conceptions related to “how it should be” and “how it really is”. Theme c showed five different kinds of conceptions: democracy in school as a question of hard facts, democracy in school as a question of developing certain skills, democracy as a way of arranging the teaching, democracy as a way of organising the school and democracy as a part of the teacher’s attitude. Concerning theme d we found two main conceptions, yes and no to corporal punishment. We found a wide range of arguments or subcategories supporting each side.
- Samhällsvetenskap (5)