“Moments That Glow”: WhatsApp as a Decolonising Tool in EFAL Poetry Teaching and Learning
Keywords:moments that glow; EFAL teaching and learning; pedagogy; poetry; agency; decolonising pedagogy; WhatsApp
This article, based on a research project with learners in a township school in South Africa, seeks to discuss whether WhatsApp was able to transform the space of the poetry classroom in positive and productive ways. The project was designed in response to research in EFAL (English First Additional Language) classrooms that revealed the marginalisation of poetry as a component in the English classroom, a lack of enthusiasm for it on the part of teachers, and a lack of engagement and energy on the part of learners—all of whom seemed to find poetry remote, irrelevant, unengaging and difficult. The shift to a WhatsApp chatroom, after school hours and outside the classroom, revealed encouraging results. The article seeks to explore the transformative effects of that move, how the chatroom gave learners a creative space in which to express themselves, to speak with their own voice, in their own tongue and to take control of their learning—which seem to us to be decolonising effects. We use Maggie MacLure’s idea of selecting “moments that glow” from the text message conversations and the subsequent focus group discussions and questionnaires to show moments of pedagogic decolonisation.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Katharine Naidu, Denise Newfield
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