ORAL HISTORY SOURCES AS LEARNING MATERIALS: A CASE STUDY OF THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Knowledge presented by Oral History (OH) is unique in that it shares the tacit perspective, thoughts, opinions and understanding of the interviewee in its primary form. While teachers, lecturers and other education specialists have at their disposal a wide range of primary, secondary and tertiary sources upon which to relate and share or impart knowledge, OH presents a rich source of information that can improve the learning and knowledge impartation experience. The uniqueness of OH is presented in the following advantages of its use: it allows one to learn about the perspectives of individuals who might not otherwise appear in the historical record; it allows one to compensate for the digital age; one can learn different kinds of information; it provides historical actors with an opportunity to tell their own stories in their own words; and it offers a rich opportunity for human interaction. This article discusses the placement of oral history in the classroom set-up by investigating its use as a source of learning material presented by the National Archives of Zimbabwe to students in the Department of Records and Archives Management at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST). Interviews and a group discussion were used to gather data from an archivist at the National Archives of Zimbabwe, lecturers and students in the Department of Records and Archives Management at NUST, respectively. These groups were approached on the usability, uniqueness and other characteristics that support this type of knowledge about OH in a tertiary learning experience. The findings indicate several qualities that reflect the richness of OH as a teaching source material in a classroom set-up. It further points to weak areas that may be addressed where the source is considered a viable strategy for knowledge sharing and learning. The researchers present a possible model that can be used to champion the use of this rich knowledge source in classroom education at this university and in similar set-ups.
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