Authors: Jugathambal Ramdhani and S Ramsaroop
Stimulating passion and creativity in pre-service teachers is sometimes a difficult task. Many of these students may not have internalised positive teaching experiences which they can model. However, it is clear that aesthetically enjoyable teaching strategies that involve students creatively have a very positive effect on their understanding of content knowledge taught in lectures.
Many people associate the world aesthetics with an appreciation of beautiful art. However, the term is used in education to mean the critical evaluation of art; as well as of sensory experiences (visual, aural and tactile). The idea of aesthetics as involving sensory contemplation or reflection on sensory experiences has opened up opportunities for teacher training.
In this research, pre-service teachers were expected to reflect on their aesthetic understanding and identify aesthetic teaching techniques that they enjoyed in their coursework. They were then required to use these techniques in their practice.
The teachers found that reflecting critically on the aesthetic enjoyment of lessons provided useful answers to teaching for lifelong skills, and not just for examinations and tests.
The findings indicated the positive influence of aesthetically enjoyable and engaging teaching strategies on pre-service students’ understanding of content knowledge taught in lectures. Reports by pre-service students regarding their application of these strategies at schools during their school experience were equally positive. It was evident that their personal, first-hand experiences with the selected strategy had made it possible for them to reflect critically before, during and after the lesson.
It is recommended that for effective teaching to take place, pre-service teachers need to take ‘full account of the multi-dimensional cultural world of the learner’ and therefore adopt a multi-dimensional approach that includes aesthetics in their practice.