A prolific writer and eminent researcher, Prof Nuraan Davids, Chair of the Department of Education Policy Studies, has been honoured by, among others, the National Research Foundation and also received awards from Stellenbosch University (SU) for her outstanding research outputs. As part of Women's Month celebrations at SU, Corporate Communication spoke to Davids about her research.
You are one of the top researchers in the Faculty of Education and at SU? Can you tell us more about your area of research?
My primary research area is Philosophy of Education which focuses on the meaning of education i.e. what, how and why we teach. My research interests include democratic citizenship education, Islamic education, ethics in education, and the inquiry into educational leadership.
As a teacher, I am especially interested in what our particular identities and worldviews bring to those we teach. I also am intrigued by the silences, which float beyond that which is obviously evident and known.
Why or how did you become interested in this specific field of research?
I think it was a convergence of many moments in my life that led me to philosophy of education. I wanted to try and understand why we educate; how we educate; and what that education might mean to oneself and others.
What do you enjoy most about your research?
I enjoy writing. I love the process of seeing an idea, or a problem, take life on paper. I also enjoy the not knowing of where my research might take me. In many respects, writing has become my refuge.
To what do you attribute your success?
I think success and passion are mutually contingent. I am passionate about my research, my writing, and my teaching.
What makes you tick?
My loved ones – I enjoy tremendous support from my family, and close friends. My children are also my fiercest critics; they demand a lot from me, and I attach a lot of value to this. I am also driven by a strong desire to give my best; to be the best person I can possibly be, and to do justice to the innumerable gifts that have been afforded to me. It is therefore important to me that I make a difference in the lives of others.
What things do you enjoy doing when you're not busy with research or teaching?
I am afraid that my natural recourse is to a book – reading is my escape for many things. I also enjoy long walks, and listening to jazz, and lazy conversations.
Do you have any words of advice for the next generation of women researchers?
Believe in the power and grace of your own thoughts. Women bring particular nuances to research, which have yet to be explored. It is up to women to claim their rightful place in research and in the academia.