Playful pedagogy can enhance child development, promote a positive attitude towards life, encourage social interaction and bring joy to children.
These was among the findings of research done by Dr Nontuthuko Phewa who graduated with a PhD in Education for a self-study exploring playful pedagogy as a valuable teaching and learning approach in an under-resourced Grade 1 classroom.
The thesis, supervised by Professor Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan, was presented in a creative manner using artefacts, drawings, photographs, and collages.
Critical insights emerge from an in-depth examination of play memories and playful pedagogy practice, while the study demonstrates the power of self-reflective teacher research for educational change.
A socio-cultural theoretical perspective helped Phewa consider how social and cultural factors could influence teaching and learning. ‘This study helped me better understand why it is significant that children learn through play and how they might benefit from playful pedagogy. I worked with my learners on various lessons during which their classwork activities enabled me to observe and interpret the educational impact of playing. Engaging the learners assisted me in understanding how I could improve my teaching practice through playful pedagogy.’
Phewa thanked her family, friends and supervisor for their support. ‘Their encouraging words helped me to keep on going forward – even when I felt I couldn’t they believed in me.’
She plans to continue with research and publish widely in academic journals.