Teachers as curriculum developers : a case study of natural sciences teachers in a school district
Thesis (MEd (Curriculum Studies))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.
This investigation reports on the extent to which teachers became curriculum developers while participating in a collaborative research project with a university based researcher as facilitator. The aim of this study was to examine teacher’s interaction with learning support materials, fostered by a process of professional development, to gain insight into their potential to engage in the activity of curriculum development. To support this whole process, the research strategy of Action Research was employed. Teachers were introduced to the learning support materials during initial workshops, and links were established with the RNCS and the three learning outcomes for the learning area of Natural Science. They were then requested to draft a lesson plan, and following the implementation of the materials, observation of the teachers engaging with the materials, and a process of reflection, they were once again requested to re-draft the initial lesson plan. Three frameworks for analysis, situated within the interpretive paradigm, were employed to ascertain to which extent both professional and curriculum development was evident at the conclusion of the program. The analytical framework used to ascertain the measure of professional development was the model proposed by Bell and Gilbert (1994), consisting of three aspects namely, personal, professional and social development. The two frameworks employed for the analysis of possible curriculum development were firstly, a model adapted from the research by Boomer (1992) consisting of five stages for mapping the curriculum, and secondly the model proposed by Remillard (1999) that includes three arenas of curriculum development, namely curriculum design, construction and mapping. The conclusions of this investigation were that teachers partially engaged with the activity of curriculum development, and that a certain measure of professional development was achieved by the participating teachers. Recommendations for further research was that a more sustainable effort over a longer period of time constituting the aspects of action research, and even added different learning support materials should be engaged in. Also that could be conducted on a larger scale involving more schools, and also closer links to be established with the educational structures and authorities.