The role of beliefs, conceptualisations and experiences of OBE in teaching practice

Ramukumba, Mokholelana Margaret (2010-12)

Thesis (PhD (Curriculum Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.



The implementation of OBE has significant implications for teachers’ work; adopting an OBE approach entails reconstruction of professional knowledge and a redefinition of planning procedures, teaching approaches and assessment practices. A teacher attempting to make sense of OBE, learning outcomes, assessment standards, band levels, NQF, etc. will inevitably bring his/her worldviews, past experiences and beliefs into the process of teaching and learning, and would also need to engage with new concepts to keep track of the changes in meaning and priorities. Within this changing education scenario OBE, as an initiative, offers opportunities for new pedagogies to flourish, marking a departure from the safe haven of traditional pedagogy. Therefore a perspective on teachers’ beliefs regarding OBE can provide an alternative interpretive lens for researchers through understanding teachers’ actions and thoughts. Purpose: The aim was to examine strategies teachers employ in their classrooms in response to their beliefs about OBE. Teachers’ epistemological beliefs were explored and linked to OBE pedagogical frameworks and classroom management practices. Their belief systems were divided into three categories – the teachers’ views about OBE, mathematics knowledge, and the teaching and learning of mathematics. This study was based on the belief that conceptions are specific meanings given to phenomena, derived from different experiences involved in helping individuals make sense of their world. Furthermore, those worldviews in turn influence how new information is perceived. Methodology: The researcher adopted a qualitative exploratory design. The method of choice for this study was a combination of elements of phenomenology and ethnography. Nineteen teachers were interviewed and observed. The sample was drawn from two former Model C schools and three township schools. Data were analysed qualitatively. Findings: The findings confirmed that there are multiple beliefs that constitute a personal epistemology. Therefore, to investigate some unique entities of the belief system such as OBE requires examining the broader belief system. The majority of teachers responded to OBE implementation with uncertainty, anger, frustration and anxiety. In the absence of certainty about OBE and faced with a myriad of classroom iv challenges, teachers relied on their experience to make decisions regarding what was important to know, they drew on their own personal teaching theories more than what they thought about OBE to make judgments of learning processes. This study concludes that the link between teachers’ beliefs, conceptualisation of OBE and teaching practice is weak. Their beliefs about the nature of mathematics knowledge, teaching and learning mathematics had stronger connections with, and represented the basis for teachers’ pedagogical purpose behind their preferred teaching practice.

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