Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

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Tracing the benefits of multimodal learning in a self-portrait project in Mitchell’s Plain, South Africa

Liesel Hibbert


This article describes a project in which it was demonstrated how multimodal practice benefits learners in their social and educational development. The self-portrait project was conducted in order to assess the impact of a theatre training project called Brown Paper Studio, on the participating learners at Glendale High School in Mitchell’s Plain, South Africa. The ethnographic data consisted of diaries, interviews, questionnaires and photographs which were collected from learners in a series of workshops. The data provided insights regarding youth in the area which are not easily accessible through the fairly negative ‘factual’, statistical reports which exist of the area and its people. The results demonstrated the importance of positive self-concept which is nurtured through theatre and life skills training, as evidenced in participation in the Self-Portrait Project. The self-portrait project also revealed how opportunities for creative expression have helped the youth to shape  identities which engage positively with the perceived and conceived boundaries of existing socio-economic constraints.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2009, 27(2): 203–213
AJOL African Journals Online