School of Education

Self-Study on Collaborative Learning Earns PhD for Graduate

Dr Mandisa Dhlula-Moruri.
Dr Mandisa Dhlula-Moruri.

UKZN academic involved in pre-service teacher education Dr Mandisa Dhlula-Moruri graduated with a PhD in Education for a thesis involving a self-study project that she conducted.

The project explored her personal and professional history of collaborative learning and her understanding of how she could apply her new knowledge in a tertiary teacher education context.

Dhlula-Moruri traced her choice of profession, training and her journey as a teacher/lecturer and lifelong learner to illuminate times of collaborative learning.

These perspectives on learning assisted her recognise and acknowledge the power of the collective in raising children as well as for education in the classroom in the university/school context. ‘I also learned the importance of my culture, my upbringing, and my family history as drivers of my learning experiences,’ said Dhlula-Moruri. ‘I used the personal history approach in this self-study project to gain an understanding of my learning and, through reflection, to improve my teaching practice. I couched my study thesis in a visual arts-based format using an extended curated photo album.’

Photographs assisted Dhlula-Moruri on her journey back to her history and also helped her to paint mental pictures as she engaged in memory recall and reflective work during the study. ‘The self-study methodology is collaborative, and I needed my family and students for data generation and my critical friends to listen to my ideas and progress and give support by offering critique and help to broaden my point of view.’

She presented what she learned about collaborative learning in guides which emphasise indigenous socio-cultural understanding, values, uniqueness, teamwork, and the nurturing of self-confidence and self-esteem in collaborative learning.

Dhlula-Moruri thanked her family, friends and supervisor Professor Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan for their support.


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