As part of the CERM-ESA Staff Development Programme, two workshops on innovative methodologies for conducting educational and social science research took place at Moi University lately.

Drama in Education

Last Friday, Prof Logan Athiemoolam from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) introduced staff members of Moi University’s Faculty of Education to using drama-in-education techniques not only in teaching university students but also, for research purposes. The participants were amazed at how tableaus and frozen images could provoke stimulating discussions and reflections that enabled the development of new teaching and management strategies. After a number of exercises and practical assignments, the participants were convinced that using drama in education was an effective and innovative technique to employ in Action Research designs in school and school management projects. For instance, one of the participants said: “We benefitted a lot from the workshop and we will not forget the ‘tableaus’ as a method of data generation.” The facilitator also added that drama in education is not only effective for action research purposes but that it can promote a humanising pedagogy and makes learning fun.

Participatory Visual Methodologies

In May already, Prof Naydene de Lange of NMMU facilitated the first part of a workshop on Participatory Visual Methodologies: Photovoice.

The fifteen participants who enrolled for the Saturday 28 May workshop were introduced to Visual Participatory Methodologies and the idea of research simultaneously enabling both knowledge production and social change. The origins of photovoice were highlighted and examples of how photovoice has been used in various contexts in Africa to bring about social change.  The participants – working in three groups – tried out photovoice and were asked to “Take photographs of challenges and solutions to addressing HIV”. The photographs were printed and used to create poster-narratives which opened up interesting discussions. There was great excitement in taking the photographs and working with them.  One participant commented on the possibilities it opens up for real dialogue about crucial and sensitive issues. Another said that the photovoice process enabled her to talk about condoms to a male colleague without being embarrassed. Another participant commented on how all the participants worked together in their groups, shared their ideas, and how it seemed to act as an equalizer.

Prof Rose Ruto-Korir, Director of the Institute for Open Learning, said, “It was exciting to co-host the photovoice session and we are already thinking about how to engage with this emerging opportunity”. She continued, “I posted a piece on my fb page and people are asking me photo-what? I love the experience of exposing others to it!” The participants are looking forward to the second part of the photovoice workshop that will take place on the coming Saturday, 10 September.

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