Talking about Communication and Education: A Case Study of a South African Classroom

By Harsha Kathard and Mershen Pillay.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper reports on a case study of a classroom with range of linguistic, cultural and academic abilities. It is part of an ongoing project that describes the barriers and opportunities for enhancing communication for education in the classroom. This project is located in the Western Cape (South Africa) within complex, culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. Methodologically, this case study examines a wide set of data that were collected and analysed and include recorded classroom interaction observation, educators’ and learner interviews, and learners’ written language samples. The focus of this paper is a response to the following question: What are learners’ and educators’ communication experiences in the classroom? Here, we report on how educators and learners have made sense of classroom communication. Specific communication interactions are discussed relative to several self-generated educators’ and learner’s theories of their communication in the classroom. Their voices illuminate the need to adopt an ecological view of communication for education. Ecologically, learners and educators identified interpenetrative social, political and cultural aspects of effective communication for education.

Keywords: Equity, Classroom Communication

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 9, pp.155-162. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 670.366KB).

Prof. Harsha Kathard

Deputy Director, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Professionally trained as a speech-language therapist and audiologist. Masters research and PhD professional research was focussed in the area of stuttering. Research interests have also included service delivery issues and disability studies with a multidisciplinary focus. Current research project is considering the collaboration between educators and therapists to enhance communication in classrooms in the Western Cape.

Dr. Mershen Pillay

Speech Pathologist Supervisor/Team Leader, Rehabilitation, Independent Practitioner, United Arab Emirates

Mershen Pillay is a speech-language therapist and audiologist. He is Speech-Language Pathology Supervisor at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He is also an independent practitioner (Durban, South Africa). He is a Senior Investigator for this National Research Foundation (South Africa) funded study focusing on enhancing communication in classrooms.


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