Productive pedagogies in expressive arts lessons in Malawi

Devika Naidoo, Grames Chirwa
The national government in Malawi implemented a new Curriculum: the Primary Curriculum and Assessment Reform in 2007. The purpose of this study was to investigate the enactment of one of the Learning areas, Expressive Arts in three urban and three rural schools in Zomba district where teachers were first trained to teach Expressive Arts. The study is framed by the Productive Pedagogies framework (Lingard, Hayes, Ladwig, Mills, Bahr et al., 2001). Following a qualitative research design, data
more » ... e collected through observation and post-observation interviews. Data analysis showed limited productive pedagogies in most lessons. The majority of lessons were predominantly characterised by lower intellectual quality, a focus on instrumental knowledge, integration at a superficial level, dominance of communalising and gendered practices rather than 'engagement with difference', prevalence of localising discourses 'rather than connectedness to the world' and a pedagogy aimed at national examinations. It appears that dominant pedagogic practices in the Expressive Arts classroom serve to position learners in parochial orientations and issues. There was an obvious disjuncture between the intended curriculum and enacted curriculum. The overall findings is that the enacted curriculum gave students limited opportunities for the acquisition of knowledge and development of skills, values and attitudes required for them to actively participate in the changing Malawian context and to be able to compete successfully in other contexts.