'How did a white girl get AIDS?' Shifting student perceptions on HIV-stigma and discrimination at a historically white South African university
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Classroom discussions with predominantly White, middle-class student teachers revealed that they still perceive HIV as a disease which Black, poor and promiscuous people bring on themselves. Unless such beliefs are problematized, they are likely to be perpetuated in their teaching of HIV and sex education in the Life Orientation classroom. To disrupt this thinking, I invited a professional White woman who has lived with HIV for the past 16 years to share her lived experiences. Students constructed drawings and narratives to reflect on their understanding of HIV before and after the guest lecture. These reflections served to disrupt student thinking about HIV. Thematic analysis indicated a shift in response from distancing, blame and rejection towards care, understanding, support and hope. This pedagogical strategy created an opportunity for trainee teachers to begin to think how they could contribute as teachers towards creating a more inclusive citizenry as a riposte to the history of division, discrimination and 'othering' in South Africa.
- Faculty of Education