UJ: Prof Maropeng Modiba explores ethical curriculum practice

Two of the great sources of professional practice in the classroom for teachers are agency and ethical curriculum practice. Maropeng Modiba, a Professor in Education and Curriculum Studies at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), asked the question: What has ethical curriculum practice to do with a teacher’s agency?

​​​Prof Modiba will examine ethical curriculum practice when she delivers her inaugural address in the Council Chambers, Madibeng Building, Auckland Park Kingsway Campus on Tuesday, 28 July 2015.

She points out that if teachers are equipped with subject-content knowledge and heuristic devices it would suggest a capacity and agency for legitimate decision-making processes in teaching. According to her these aspects contribute to ethical curriculum practice.

“A teacher’s capacity for agency and ethical behaviour in teaching, specifically, significance of the individual teacher’s subject-content and education theory knowledge and its influence on practice, is of crucial concern,” says Prof Modiba.

Prof Modiba obtained her undergraduate degrees, a B.A. and B.Ed at the University of the North. She completed a M.Ed degree in History of Education at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and a MA in Social Science Research Methods and PhD at Keele University in the UK. Her career has been almost exclusively in teacher education. A paper co-authored from a PhD thesis she supervised, was recognised as the best multiple authored paper at the 2014 International Council on Education for Teaching (ICET) World Assembly. She currently regards herself as a scholar in Curriculum Studies, as reflected in her publications.

Prof. Modiba began her academic career as a lecturer in the Faculty of Education (Wits) in 1994. She joined the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in 2007, having worked as a senior lecturer for Wits. She was also a senior lecturer at the Soweto College of Education and history teacher at Mosupatsela, senior secondary school in Kagiso and Dr. W.F. Nkomo senior secondary school in Atteridgeville. At UJ she served as Head of Department for Education Studies for two years and a further two to the renamed Education and Curriculum Studies after the two merged.

She has been awarded teaching and research fellowships at Indiana University (Bloomington) and Penn State University in the United States and was also a visiting scholar in the sociology department at Duke University.

Prof Modiba is an author and co-author of several journal articles and co-author of two books, book chapters and research reports. Currently she is a co-researcher on a project commissioned by Wiley to the Oxford Ethnography and Education Conference, investigating “The development and value of Ethnography and Education in an African context” and lead researcher and co-editor for a book entitled: Curriculum policy for diverse South African classrooms: implications for teaching and learning.

She has received funding for research from the NRF Focus Area “Education and Challenges for Change” Programme Grant (2009-2011); URC (UJ) (2010), Mellon Postgraduate Mentorship Programme Grant (2002-2004); NRF Supervisor Allocation (2001) SHARE Fellowship from Penn State (2000); USIA Bart Rousseve-South African Internship Program Fellowship from Indiana University (Bloomington) (1998) and the Anderson Capelli Research [National] grant (2003) that enabled her to conduct research in 2004 on the National Teacher Awards.

Prof Modiba has served in various capacities as education specialist on various national education bodies, including the Umalusi Research Forum, NRF panel reviews and other evaluations and, recently the Council of Higher Education Accreditation Committee, in addition to serving on national and international editorial boards of journals.

She is a board member of the International Council on Education for Teaching with its headquarters at National Louis University in Illinois, USA. At its June conference, she was appointed as vice-president for the African region for the years 2015-2018.

Over a number of years Prof Modiba has continued to supervise and mentor higher degrees students across a number of countries, notably Botswana, Lesotho, Kenya, Swaziland and Zimbabwe in addition to her own South Africa. She has also been an external examiner for higher degrees at the following universities: Witwatersrand, KwaZulu-Natal, Pretoria, Western Cape, Vista and Venda. Recently, she was invited to examine a PhD by the University of Addis Ababa.

Ethical Curriculum Practice: What has it to do with a Teacher’s Agency? – Professorial Inaugural address, Maropeng Modiba.


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