Portraits of primary school pre-service teachers at a South African university: Implications for nuanced student support Sarita

Keywords: teacher education; primary school; first-generation students; portraiture; student personas; higher education support


In a study of low-income students of colour in a primary school teacher education program in South Africa, the authors aimed to portray the diverse students along the lines of the demographic information about them and their views of their experiences of education. The researchers were concerned about student achievement and progression and argued that the genre of portraiture research could yield sociological research outcomes, which may provide useful information for program coordinators. They constructed six ‘personas,’ representing some of the demographic characteristics of a cohort of first year students as well as the challenges they face when they enter into higher education. They found that many are first generation students, who are expected contribute to the extended family, enabling them to respond to what is sometimes referred to as ‘Black Tax’ in South Africa. The authors suggest a radical rethink of financial- and academic support for such students.

Author Biographies

Sarita Ramsaroop, University of Johannesburg

I am a lecturer at the University of Johannesburg in the Faculty of Education. My research interest is in teacher education, geography, environmental and social science teaching and learning.

Nadine Petersen, University of Johannesburg

Nadine Petersen is a Professor and vice-dean in the Faculty of Education, University of Jhannesburg. 

Research Articles