Education Academic Receives Research Honours Award
Professor Kathleen Pithouse-Morgan of UKZN’s School of Education has been awarded the prestigious South African Education Research Association (SAERA) Research Honours Award for outstanding contributions to educational research in South Africa over a sustained period.
This national award is made annually to an individual or research entity for an extraordinary impact on educational research in the country.
‘The award recognises my work over the past decade in facilitating transdisciplinary self-reflexive research locally and internationally,’ said Pithouse-Morgan. ‘I have collaborated with many other academics to support and guide communities of university educators and postgraduate students interested in enacting self-reflexive methodologies, using creative and participatory approaches.’
Serving as Chair of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP) Special Interest Group (SIG) and Convener of the SAERA Self-Reflexive Methodologies SIG, has allowed Pithouse-Morgan to witness the collective creativity of the global self-reflexive community of scholars. These collaborations have supported and extended her research in professional learning.
In turn, she has a passion for and strong commitment to mentoring newcomers to self-reflexive research.
‘I trust that this award will offer encouragement to other self-reflexive scholars, whether beginners or more experienced, who wish to gain insight into their professional selves and practices using creative approaches,’ she said. ‘The award is a validation of how imaginative inquiry in the company of diverse others can produce new ways of knowing that have significant implications for educational and social change. I am inspired to move forward in opening new spaces for self-reflexive research that can change the status quo for professional knowledge and practice on a global level.’
Pithouse-Morgan’s scholarship is in the field of professional learning, with a specific focus on better understanding and supporting teachers as self-directed and self-developing learners. Through the self-reflexive methodologies of self-study research, narrative inquiry, and autoethnography, her work documents and theorises how teachers can gain vital insights into their professional selves and practices - with critical implications for personal-professional growth and social transformation.
Using creative and transdisciplinary approaches, Pithouse-Morgan has collaborated across contexts and continents to study methodological inventiveness in professional learning research. Her academic work has given rise to a unique design of “poetic professional learning” as a literary arts-inspired research mode.
She was recently named as an executive editor of the international and multidisciplinary journal, Teaching and Teacher Education (TATE) – among the first academics from an African university to be appointed to the position on the publication, one of the most prestigious educational research journals globally.
In 2018, Pithouse-Morgan received UKZN’s Distinguished Teachers’ Award and in 2019, was awarded the coveted National Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award by the Council on Higher Education (CHE) and the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa (HELTASA).
Words: Melissa Mungroo