Arts and culture teachers' experiences of and responses to curriculum change

Lombard, Jeffrey J. (2012-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The provision of quality education for all South African learners has been an issue of central concern since the advent of the democratic dispensation in 1994. One initiative since 1998 was the implementation of a new curriculum for South African public schools, C2005 as it was then called. This curriculum was later revised and streamlined as the NCS. There was a mixed reception to this new curriculum. Some perceived it as a progressive initiative by the Ministry of Education, while others argued that it was ambitious and that it undermined the conditions and context of South African schools. Essentially the curriculum policy implementation was intended to change the entire system and introduce new ways of doing in all sectors of education. This links strongly to processes of systemic change and that is the considered policy backdrop to this research. In this study I work from an interpretive perspective and draw on the cognitive sense-making framework to develop in-depth, understanding of teachers’ roles as interpreters and enactors of education policy change in South Africa related to the implementation of the NCS. More specifically, the study examines the ways in which six Arts and Culture school teachers in six diverse South African educational contexts experienced and responded to the implementation of the NCS. Data from the study indicates that teachers found it difficult to adjust to the more complex and demanding teaching methodologies, which took up a great deal of time and required very different roles in the classrooms. Data from the study also suggests that the way teachers come to understand and enact policy or reform initiatives is influenced by their prior knowledge, the social context within which they work, and the nature of their connections to the policy or reform message. The study further suggests that teachers adapt a curriculum rather than adopt it as it is, and that their prior understandings and beliefs about knowledge, beliefs and experiences combined with their contexts in which they work frame their classroom practices explaining why policy is not enacted as intended. Conceptualising the problem of policy implementation in this way focuses attention on how implementing agents construct the meaning of a policy message and their own behaviour, and how this process leads, or does not lead, to a change in how they view their own practice, potentially leading to changes in both understanding and behaviour.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die voorsiening van kwaliteit-opvoeding vir alle Suid-Afrikaanse leerders was ʼnsentrale besorgdheid na die totstandkoming van die nuwe demoktratiese bestel in 1994. ʼnInisiatief was die implementering van ʼn nuwe kurrikulum vir Suid-Afrikaanse openbare skole sedert 1998, die C2005 of NKV soos dit tans bekend staan. Die instelling van hierdie kurrikulum was op verskeie maniere ontvang. Sommige het dit as ’n progressiewe inisiatief van die Ministerie van Onderwys beskou, terwyl ander verskillende perspektiewe het en geargumenteer het dat dit ambisieus is en die toestande en konteks van SA skole ondermyn. Vir onderwysers was die resultaat na die oorgang van meer komplekse en veeleiesende onderrigmetdologie moeilik, omdat dit baie tyd geverg het en swaar gerus het om hulle rolle in die klaskamer te verklaar. Wat belangrik was, is dat die doel van hierdie kurrikulum beleidsveranderinge daarop gemik was om die totale skolestelsel te transformeer tot ’n vernuwende manier van hoe dinge in alle sektore van die onderwysstelse egter behoort gedoen te word. Dit sluit sterk aan by prosesse van sistemiese veranderinge en hierdie is die oorwegende beleidsagtergrond van hierdie navorsing. Die doel van die studie was om maniere te ondersoek hoe ses Kuns en Kultuur onderwysers in verskillende onderwyskontekste die NKV ervaar en hoe hulle daarop reageer, veral in die Kuns en Kultuur leerarea omgewing. Die studie was meer spesifiek daarop gemik om te eksamineer hoe onderwysers die KK leer-area in die klaskamer aanneem, aanpas en implementeer. Die studie openbaar, deur die kognitiewe raamwerk te gebruik, dat die wyse waarop onderwysers die beleid of hervormings-inisiatiewe verstaan en begryp, beïnvloed word deur hulle bestaande kennis, die konteks waarin hulle werk en die aard van hulle verbintenis tot die beleid of hervormings boodskap. Die studie suggereer verder dat onderwysers ’n kurrikulum aanneem soos wat dit is en dat hulle bestaande begrippe en opvattings in verband met kennis en opvattings en ervaringe gekombineer word met die kontekste waarin hulle werk en dat dit hulle klaskamer praktyke vorm en hierdeur word verduidelik waarom beleid nie kan plaasvind soos wat dit beplan is nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/71700
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