Original Research

A foundation for foundation phase teacher education: Making wise educational judgements

Karin Murris, Clare Verbeek
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 4, No 2 | a201 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v4i2.201 | © 2014 Karin Murris, Clare Verbeek | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 December 2014 | Published: 24 December 2014

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Karin Murris, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Clare Verbeek,

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We start our paper with a critical exploration of the current ‘back to basics’ approach in South African foundation phase teacher education with its emphasis on strengthening the teaching of subject knowledge. We claim that such a proposal first demands an answer to the question ‘what is foundational in foundation phase teaching?’ We propose an answer in three stages. First we argue that teacher education should be concerned not only with schooling or qualification (knowledge, skills and dispositions) and socialisation, but, drawing on Gert Biesta’s work, also with subjectification (educating the person towards the ability to make wise educational judgements). Secondly, these three aims of education lead to five core principles, and we finish by showing how these principles inform our storied, thinking and multimodal/semiotic curriculum. Our answer to our leading question is that pedagogical ‘know-how’ and views of ‘child’ and ‘childhood’ constitute the subject knowledge that is foundational in the foundation phase curriculum.


Teacher education, childhood studies, foundation phase teaching, aims of education, child and childhood, making wise educational judgements


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