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The use of <i>ubuntu</i> pedagogy to facilitate academic support in a higher education classroom

Nomalungelo Isabel Ngubane
Mzuyabonga Gumede


In this paper, the authors provide accounts of a study that implemented ubuntu pedagogy as a strategy to facilitate the development of academic literacy practices among 50 firstyear Engineering students in a higher education institution. Using open-ended questionnaires and interviews the authors explored the extent to which academic reading and critical thinking can be improved through active co-learning within ubuntu-centred environment. Authors found that a supportive learning environment grounded on the core values of ubuntu such as survival, solidarity, cooperation, compassion, communalism and love was vital for the learning of challenging academic literacy skills among English second language students. Students acknowledged the importance of ubuntu pillars of cooperation, togetherness, support, respect and caring as a driving force for sharing of ideas, resources and expertise. The spirit of ubuntu among students created a warm and non-threatening learning environment for interaction among students and with the lecturer and to engage meaningfully with learning tasks. Finally, the findings suggest that ubuntu pedagogy stimulated motivation for learning academic literacy. The study identified the benefits and difficulties of ubuntu pedagogical strategy within the context.

Keywords: ubuntu pedagogy, Collective Fingers’ Theory, academic literacy