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TOWARDS A CRITICAL DIGITAL 
STORYTELLING MODEL FOR 
ENGAGING WITH DIFFERENCE 
BASED ON THE PEDAGOGY OF 
DISCOMFORT – A CAS...
Background
Background of the study 
 Transformation in 
Higher Education has 
led to racially 
integrated classrooms 
 Social and c...
Social engagements 
 Pattman study 2010: Investigating 'race' and 
social cohesion at the University of Kwa-Zulu 
Natal 
...
Explosive emotions 
 Many educators shy away from difficult topics 
such as race and privilege for fear of the 
emotions ...
Emotions 
 To engage in critical inquiry often means 
asking students to radically re-evaluate their 
world views. This p...
Emotions in education 
Megan Boler Michalinos Zembylas 
A professor at the University of 
Toronto, Megan Boler teaches 
ph...
Politics of emotions 
 Emotions are seen as relational, happening in 
a shared political space, ‘in which students 
and t...
Pedagogy of discomfort 
 Stipulates that for both 
educators and students to 
develop a deeper 
understanding for their o...
Pedagogy of possibility 
 Result of pedagogy of discomfort: negative 
emotional labour such as vulnerability, anger, 
suf...
Critical digital storytelling
Critical storytelling 
 Way to unearth students' historically situated 
and culturally mediated lived experiences is 
the...
No one escapes hegemony 
 A POD invites not only members of the 
dominant culture but also members of the 
marginalized c...
Sentimentality and critical 
emotional reflexivity
Sentimentality in digital stories 
 originate directly from participants lived 
experiences, and often deal with signific...
 ‘Somewhat paradoxically from a critical 
perspective, it is the very qualities that mark 
digital stories as uncool, con...
Danger of sentimentality 
 Zembylas: sentimental reaction by students 
identifying with the privilege feeling guilt / 
de...
Critical emotional reflexivity 
 ….a process of using emotions as catalysts, to 
allow the questioning of beliefs and 
as...
Aims and research questions
Aims of study /gaps 
 Theoretical aim: to contribute critically to an 
emerging body of work which theorizes difference, ...
Main research question 
 Explore the potential of a critical digital 
storytelling process to create a space in the 
Sout...
Sub-research questions 
1. What narratives do students construct in 
critical digital storytelling? (product) 
2. What are...
Theoretical framework
Theoretical framework 
 Critical pedagogy / Critical race theory 
 Foucault’s post-structuralism (later work) 
 Zembyla...
What is Critical Pedagogy? 
 Critical pedagogy is a teaching approach 
which attempts to help students question and 
chal...
Important concepts 
 Show how ‘schools perpetuate or reproduce the 
social relationships and attitudes needed to 
sustain...
Primacy of student experience 
 Assisting students to draw on their voices and 
histories as a basis for engaging and 
in...
Critical race theory 
 giving voice to normally silenced people and 
subjugated knowledges, to provide ‘a way to 
communi...
Limitations 
 CP takes sides 
 Sides with the marginalised / oppressed party 
 Alienates students of privileged status,...
Post-structuralism 
 Michel Foucault 
 Helps critiquing our own thinking, meta-level 
 Important concepts 
 Importance...
Power / knowledge 
 Intricate relationship between 
power/knowledge 
 People and bodies are sites where power is 
enacte...
Emotions 
 Rejects Descartes ‘cogito ergo sum’ 
 Importance of affective experiences to come 
close to one’s real truth ...
Zembylas’ Politics of Emotions 
 Aim: to ‘problematize assumptions and 
expectations about emotion talk and the ways 
emo...
Genealogy of emotions 
 a ‘form of history which can account for the 
constitution of knowledges, discourses, 
domains of...
Research design 
 Critical research (Carr and Kemmis 1986): 
knowledge generated through this mode of 
research is an ide...
Characteristics of qual research 
 Inductive research: finding theory to match the 
data 
 Sampling: usually nonrandom, ...
Case study: 4th year ISP 
professional course 
Cycle Students Focus of digital story 
2010 29 students Reflection on 7 rol...
Site of study 
 2013 4th year ISP pre-service teacher 
education students on Mowbray campus 
 Snapshot, highly contextua...
Diverse groups 
 Easier to talk about trace in mono-racial focus 
groups, but it is important to facilitate dialogue 
in ...
Pilot studies 
 Cycle 1: focus on logistics, process of 
developing digital stories 
 Cycle 2: introduction of River of ...
Guilt 
 It suddenly made me realise like - how 
hard some of the people work here 
and how strong some people actually 
a...
Anger 
 Sitting there with them, 
looking at the story for me the 
aim was not for them to feel 
pity for me, because tha...
 Now in fourth year you know they expect us 
to be all integrated and be a happy family 
and it’s such a false. I feel li...
Critical Digital Storytelling
Data collection methods cycle 4 
 2 phases 
 4 day workshop 
for student 
facilitators (Aug 
2013) 
 Actual project 
(S...
Data analysis 
 Variety of data collection: various methods of transcription 
and analysis 
 Critical discourse analysis...
Transformation? 
 Set of analytical tools that allows the traceing 
of resemiotization of discourse across 
conversations...
Validity 
 Video recording of discussions (?) 
 Triangulation of data 
 Member checks
Ethical considerations 
 Ethical clearance obtained from the Faculty of 
Education and Social Sciences (2010-2015). 
Ethi...
References 
 Boler, M., & Zembylas, M. (2003). Discomforting Truths: The 
Emotional Terrain of Understanding Difference. ...
 Pattman, R. (2010). Investigating “race” and social cohesion 
at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. South African Journal...
Acknowledgement 
 CPUT Research into Innovations in Teaching 
and Learning Fund (RIFTAL 2011, 2012) 
 CPUT University Re...
Towards a critical digital storytelling model for engaging with difference based on the pedagogy of discomfort – a case of...
Towards a critical digital storytelling model for engaging with difference based on the pedagogy of discomfort – a case of...
Towards a critical digital storytelling model for engaging with difference based on the pedagogy of discomfort – a case of...
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Towards a critical digital storytelling model for engaging with difference based on the pedagogy of discomfort – a case of pre-service education students in South Africa

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PHD proposal presentation at UCT, November 2012

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Towards a critical digital storytelling model for engaging with difference based on the pedagogy of discomfort – a case of pre-service education students in South Africa

  1. 1. TOWARDS A CRITICAL DIGITAL STORYTELLING MODEL FOR ENGAGING WITH DIFFERENCE BASED ON THE PEDAGOGY OF DISCOMFORT – A CASE OF PRE-SERVICE EDUCATION STUDENTS IN SOUTH AFRICA Daniela Gachago Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  2. 2. Background
  3. 3. Background of the study  Transformation in Higher Education has led to racially integrated classrooms  Social and cultural integration are lagging behind (Jansen 2010, Soudien 2012)
  4. 4. Social engagements  Pattman study 2010: Investigating 'race' and social cohesion at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal  Students identified strongly with racial background and actively constructed entities in opposition to each other (960)  Schools not the melting pots one wants to see, but where differences along race lines might even be reinforced (964)  Subtle everyday forms of racism ‘encoded in the norms and behaviour of institutional cultures are notoriously difficult to change’ (Pattman 2010: 954).
  5. 5. Explosive emotions  Many educators shy away from difficult topics such as race and privilege for fear of the emotions that might come up, be it bitter feelings, anger, resentment and real pain (Burbules 2004)  But also growing interest in literature around practices that unsettle established beliefs and assumptions
  6. 6. Emotions  To engage in critical inquiry often means asking students to radically re-evaluate their world views. This process can incur feelings of anger, grief, disappointment, and resistance, but the process also offers students new windows on the world: to develop the capacity for critical inquiry regarding the production and construction of differences gives people a tool that will be useful over their lifetime. In short, this pedagogy of discomfort requires not only cognitive but emotional labor. (Boler and Zembylas 2003: 110)
  7. 7. Emotions in education Megan Boler Michalinos Zembylas A professor at the University of Toronto, Megan Boler teaches philosophy, cultural studies, feminist theory, media studies, social equity courses in the Teacher Education program, and media studies at the Knowledge Media Design Institute. Dr. Michalinos Zembylas is Assistant Professor of Education at the Open University of Cyprus. He is particularly interested in how affective politics intersect with issues of social justice pedagogies, intercultural and peace education, and citizenship education.
  8. 8. Politics of emotions  Emotions are seen as relational, happening in a shared political space, ‘in which students and teachers interact with implications in larger political and cultural struggles’ (Albrecht-Crane & Slack, cited in Zembylas 2007, xiii).  ‘The social control of emotions, and emotions as a site of resistance to oppression, are underexplored scholarly disciplines as well as within pedagogical practices’ (Boler 1999, xii)
  9. 9. Pedagogy of discomfort  Stipulates that for both educators and students to develop a deeper understanding for their own and their shared past, it is necessary to move outside their comfort zone, to start to unpack their understanding of norms and differences (Boler 1999, Boler and Zembylas 2003).
  10. 10. Pedagogy of possibility  Result of pedagogy of discomfort: negative emotional labour such as vulnerability, anger, suffering.  Emotional labour can produce favourable results, including self-discovery, hope, passion an a sense of community.
  11. 11. Critical digital storytelling
  12. 12. Critical storytelling  Way to unearth students' historically situated and culturally mediated lived experiences is the telling of stories (Aveling 2006)  Critical storytelling (Solorzano & Yosso 2002) aims at telling stories about uncomfortable issues, stories of marginalised and often silenced people.  Counter vs stock stories
  13. 13. No one escapes hegemony  A POD invites not only members of the dominant culture but also members of the marginalized cultures to re-examine the hegemonic values inevitably internalized in the process of being exposed to curriculum and media that serve the interest of the ruling class.
  14. 14. Sentimentality and critical emotional reflexivity
  15. 15. Sentimentality in digital stories  originate directly from participants lived experiences, and often deal with significant episodes in somebody’s lives  tendency to be very emotional  danger of ‘sentimentality of digital stories’, arguing that it promotes ‘individualistic, and naively unselfconscious accounts of personal stories’ (Hartley and McWilliam 2009: 14)
  16. 16.  ‘Somewhat paradoxically from a critical perspective, it is the very qualities that mark digital stories as uncool, conservative, and ideologically suspect – ‘stock’ tropes, nostalgia, even sentimentality – that give them the power of social connectivity, while the sense of authentic self-expression that they convey lowers the barriers to empathy.‘ (Burgess 2006:10)
  17. 17. Danger of sentimentality  Zembylas: sentimental reaction by students identifying with the privilege feeling guilt / defensiveness in privileged party and anger in the victim, leading to desensitization & disengagement (2011: 20)
  18. 18. Critical emotional reflexivity  ….a process of using emotions as catalysts, to allow the questioning of beliefs and assumptions, exposing privilege and comfort zones, with the aim for learners to find new ways of being with the ‘Other’, and ultimately leading to transformed ‘relationships, practices, and enactments that benefit teaching and learning for peace, mutual understanding, and reconciliation’ (Zembylas 2011: 2)
  19. 19. Aims and research questions
  20. 20. Aims of study /gaps  Theoretical aim: to contribute critically to an emerging body of work which theorizes difference, education and identity in South Africa (Carrim 2000; Soudien 2001; Walker 2005b; McKinney 2007).  Practical aim: to develop a practical model for exploring difference based on a pedagogy of discomfort (critical digital storytelling)  Methodological aim: contribute to narrative emotional inquiry approach which is underdeveloped
  21. 21. Main research question  Explore the potential of a critical digital storytelling process to create a space in the South African classroom to engage across difference in a way that can lead to transformation among students
  22. 22. Sub-research questions 1. What narratives do students construct in critical digital storytelling? (product) 2. What are conditions need to be in place for critical digital storytelling? (process)
  23. 23. Theoretical framework
  24. 24. Theoretical framework  Critical pedagogy / Critical race theory  Foucault’s post-structuralism (later work)  Zembylas’ development of a politics of emotions, genealogy of emotions
  25. 25. What is Critical Pedagogy?  Critical pedagogy is a teaching approach which attempts to help students question and challenge domination, and the beliefs and practices that dominate them.  How do you teach critical thinking in a way that transforms consciousness (Boler 1999, Freire 1978)?  Critical consciousness requires ‘knowing thyself’ as part of the historical process’ (Fishman and McCarthy 2005)
  26. 26. Important concepts  Show how ‘schools perpetuate or reproduce the social relationships and attitudes needed to sustain the existing dominant economic and class relations of the larger society’ (McLaren 2009: 77)  Hegemony is ‘ the maintenance of domination not by the sheer exercise of force but primarily through consensual social practices, social forms, and social structures produced in specific sites such as the church, the state, the school, the mass media, the political system, and the family’ (McLaren 2009: 67).
  27. 27. Primacy of student experience  Assisting students to draw on their voices and histories as a basis for engaging and interrogating the multiple and often contradictory experiences that provide them with a sense of identity, worth and presence (Giroux 2009: 453).  Resistance: difficulty to break out of hegemonic discourses
  28. 28. Critical race theory  giving voice to normally silenced people and subjugated knowledges, to provide ‘a way to communicate the experiences and realities of the oppressed, a first step on the road to justice’ (Ladson-Billings & Tate 2006: 21).  stockstories and counter-stories: ‘challenge social and racial injustice by listening to and learning from experiences of racism and resistance, despair and hope at the margins of society’ (Yosso 2006: 171).  potential of healing through the communal hearing of counterstories (Yosso 2006; Delgado 1989).
  29. 29. Limitations  CP takes sides  Sides with the marginalised / oppressed party  Alienates students of privileged status, reaffirms established beliefs and assumptions  Essentialises difference (Ellsworth 1989)  Assumes a position of rationality, discards emotions  ‘Relation of teacher / student becomes voyeuristic when the voice of the pedagogue himself goes unexamined and unreflected’ (p.312)
  30. 30. Post-structuralism  Michel Foucault  Helps critiquing our own thinking, meta-level  Important concepts  Importance of history to understand the present  Power/knowledge  Individual agency  Role of affective experiences  Identity as constructed and constantly changing
  31. 31. Power / knowledge  Intricate relationship between power/knowledge  People and bodies are sites where power is enacted and resisted  ‘Opposition leads to resistance and resistance yields agency’  Constantly negotiated / potential for disruption  Power as discourse
  32. 32. Emotions  Rejects Descartes ‘cogito ergo sum’  Importance of affective experiences to come close to one’s real truth  Idea of limit experiences
  33. 33. Zembylas’ Politics of Emotions  Aim: to ‘problematize assumptions and expectations about emotion talk and the ways emotions are expressed in order to reveal the role power relations and ideology play in the formation of emotions as discursive practices’ (2005: 29).  Teachers need to develop a critical emotional knowledge about pedagogies and themselves (p.38), by exploring how emotional discourses are constructed and how those constitute a teacher’s subjectivity.
  34. 34. Genealogy of emotions  a ‘form of history which can account for the constitution of knowledges, discourses, domains of objects etc.’ (Foucault 1980: 117) Individual reality (intrapersonal) Social interactions (Interpersonal) Sociopolitical context (intragroup) The history of how teacher emotions are constructed How teacher emotions are used in teaching and what possibilities they open for teachers and students How teacher emotions are relational, historical and social Zembylas 2005: 97
  35. 35. Research design  Critical research (Carr and Kemmis 1986): knowledge generated through this mode of research is an ideological critique of power, privilege and oppression (Merriam 1998)  Qualitative research design: interested in understanding the meaning people have constructed, how they make sense of the world and their experiences, meaning is embedded in people’s experiences and mediated through investigator’s own perceptions
  36. 36. Characteristics of qual research  Inductive research: finding theory to match the data  Sampling: usually nonrandom, purposeful and small  Time intensive, researcher is in close contact with participants  Researcher : primary instrument of data collection and analysis  Findings are richly descriptive Merriam 1998
  37. 37. Case study: 4th year ISP professional course Cycle Students Focus of digital story 2010 29 students Reflection on 7 roles of the teacher 2011 55 students (4 student facilitators) Reflection on 1 role of teacher, focusing on 1 critical incident on journey to becoming teachers (River of Life) 2012 67 students (7 student facilitators) Critically reflect on 1 critical incident on journey to becoming teachers (Critical pedagogy and River of Life) 2013 ????? Use emotions as catalysts to make meaning of difference
  38. 38. Site of study  2013 4th year ISP pre-service teacher education students on Mowbray campus  Snapshot, highly contextualised, but methodologically framework can be applied to other settings in South African HE context  Sampling: convenience (student facilitators)  Better relationship  Deeper understanding  Longer engagement  Easier to work in small group than in large group
  39. 39. Diverse groups  Easier to talk about trace in mono-racial focus groups, but it is important to facilitate dialogue in mixed race research (Pattman 2010: 967)
  40. 40. Pilot studies  Cycle 1: focus on logistics, process of developing digital stories  Cycle 2: introduction of River of Life, emotions and discomfort, nagging feeling, sentimentality  Cycle 3: introduction of critical pedagogy, difficulties, alienation of students, strategic empathy, easier to work in small groups
  41. 41. Guilt  It suddenly made me realise like - how hard some of the people work here and how strong some people actually are. You’d often say like - ah you know - look at this person they never come to class and things - or they don’t do their assignments but you don’t know that they’re not doing it because they were up working all night until five in the morning like trying to earn money - it’s very emotional… I was howling yesterday and then I - I felt bad when I got home I felt so guilty I thought but all I had to do was ask that person all I had to do was take an interest in them and I haven't for four years. (WF)
  42. 42. Anger  Sitting there with them, looking at the story for me the aim was not for them to feel pity for me, because that’s always been an issue for me. You don’t feel sympathy for me. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. This is my story and I’m proud of it. I’m not ashamed of it. So for you to feel pity it’s not going to help. It’s not going to help me - I don’t know if you will understand. (BM)
  43. 43.  Now in fourth year you know they expect us to be all integrated and be a happy family and it’s such a false. I feel like you know lecturers are crying we all crying but its false because we've been with these people for four years and we've never bothered to ask them you know and now we crying about their stories. (WF)
  44. 44. Critical Digital Storytelling
  45. 45. Data collection methods cycle 4  2 phases  4 day workshop for student facilitators (Aug 2013)  Actual project (Sept – Oct 2013) Pre-project workshop Project Recording (video taping) of discussions Debriefing sessions Debriefing sessions after workshops Reflective journals / free writing Reflective journals / free writing Initial digital stories Final digital stories Focus groups Focus groups Individual interviews? Individual interviews? Observation Observation Field notes (blog) Field notes (blog) Rich content with narrow focus (Cronje 2010)
  46. 46. Data analysis  Variety of data collection: various methods of transcription and analysis  Critical discourse analysis (Fairclough 1992, Gee 2006)  Describe, interpret, explain relationships between micro and macro processes within texts and discourses  Tracing patterning of modes within and across texts, pattern of power  Multimodal discourse analysis (Kress & Van Leeuwen 2001)  More and more multimodality in students’ lives, messages constructed with different semiotic modes  Taking cultural, social and historical background into account  Holistically orientated analysis of meaning, understanding the sum of parts can derive meaning
  47. 47. Transformation?  Set of analytical tools that allows the traceing of resemiotization of discourse across conversations and contexts, which signals learning and transformation (Chouliaraki and Fairclough 1999)
  48. 48. Validity  Video recording of discussions (?)  Triangulation of data  Member checks
  49. 49. Ethical considerations  Ethical clearance obtained from the Faculty of Education and Social Sciences (2010-2015). Ethics clearance from UCT to be obtained.  Informed consent to students written reflections, to interview them and use their videos for research  Release form for digital stories to be screen/published
  50. 50. References  Boler, M., & Zembylas, M. (2003). Discomforting Truths: The Emotional Terrain of Understanding Difference. In P. Trifonas (Ed.), Pedagogies of difference: Rethinking education for social change (pp. 110-136). New York: RoutledgeFalmer.  Bozalek, V. (2011). Acknowledging privilege through encounters with difference: Participatory Learning and Action techniques for decolonising methodologies in Southern contexts. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 14(6), 469-484.  Hemson, C., Moletsane, R., & Muthukrishna, N. (2001). Transforming Racist Conditioning. Perspectives in Education, 19(2), 85-97.  Jansen, J. (2010). Over the rainbow - race and reconciliation on university campuses in South Africa. Discourse, 38(1).  Lambert, J. (2010). Digital storytelling cookbook. Elements. Berkeley, CA: Center for Digital Storytelling.
  51. 51.  Pattman, R. (2010). Investigating “race” and social cohesion at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. South African Journal of Higher Education, 24(6), 953-971.  Soudien, C. (2012). Realising the dream. Cape Town: HSRC Press. Retrieved from http://www.hsrcpress.ac.za/product.php?productid=2291&free download=1  Zembylas, M. (2012). Teaching in Higher Education Pedagogies of strategic empathy: navigating through the emotional complexities of anti-racism in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, (April), 37-41.  Zembylas, M. (2011). The politics of trauma in education. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.  Zembylas, M. (2007). Five pedagogies, a thousand possibilities. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
  52. 52. Acknowledgement  CPUT Research into Innovations in Teaching and Learning Fund (RIFTAL 2011, 2012)  CPUT University Research Fund 2012  National research foundation 2012-2015  Facilitators and students of 2011 ISP Digital Storytelling project

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