Negotiating Challenges and Constructing Digital Identities: Suggestions for Pedagogy and Practice

By Leila Kajee.

Published by The Learner Collection

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

This paper reports on the implications for pedagogy and practice, of a technology-based English course that incorporates face-to-face and online modes of delivery at a South African university. The aim of the paper is to examine how the only blind participant among a group of sighted participants positions herself and engages with the technological practices of the university, as well as the course. Included is a discussion of how she constructs her identity and negotiates meaning in the course. The construction of identity is explored from a post-modern view that old identities, which stabilised the social world are in decline, giving rise to new identities and fragmenting the modern individual as a unified subject (Hall, 1992). I explore Norton (Pierce’s) (1995, 1997, 2000) views of identity as how people understand their relationship in the world, how that relationship is constructed across time and space, and how people understand their possibilities for the future. I also draw on Davies and Harré’s (1990) discussion of positioning and self. Finally, I suggest implications such a study might have for pedagogy, practice, and policy in higher education institutions in South Africa.

Keywords: Online Learning, English in Higher Education, Blindness, Construction of Identity, Negotiation of Meaning, Positioning and Self, Suggestions for Pedagogy and Practice

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 10, pp.457-468. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.284MB).

Prof. Leila Kajee

Senior Lecturer, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Leila Kajee teaches Educational Linguistics in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. Her research focus includes negotiation, participation and constructing identities in online communities of practice.

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