Transforming teacher education: Using community mapping to read the word and world

Keywords: community mapping, critical participatory action research, teacher education, critical literacy; transect walks


The development of critical pedagogical approaches in teacher education (TE) in the South African context is imperative given the deepening crisis in the public schooling system in the country. Public discourse and debates amongst scholars suggest that education for critical citizenship and the development of substantive democracy are under threat. In order to advance education in support of substantive democracy, TE requires critical reflection and engagement with teaching practices that promote the development of citizenship for critical engagement and participation in the socio-economic transformation of South Africa.

This paper argues for the development and application of innovative approaches to teacher preparation that challenge the neoliberal attack on public education and the suppression of emancipatory practices amongst teachers. These approaches include a conscientious examination and application of community mapping as a pedagogical instrument that acquaint student-teachers with, and deepen their understanding of, the contextual realities of educational experiences in poor and working-class South Africa. Drawing on case studies of community mapping, this paper argues for critical engagement within the teaching academy with the theory and practice of teacher preparation towards transformative work and an exposure to educational praxes that better prepare student-teachers for a vocation that embraces the philosophies, methodologies and ethics of critical pedagogy. The main thesis of this paper is that community mapping is a critical and transformative pedagogical tool which should be integral to teacher preparation in South Africa.

Research Articles