Teachers' perceptions of quality education in a low-income primary school

Smit, Carien (2014-04)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) put many interventions in place to provide quality education to all schools, but barriers still remained in low-income communities. Most barriers developed due to inadequate resources such as: poor teacher training, lack of community involvement, lack of transportation, poor service delivery and sustainability within the community. Numerous communities suffered discrimination in the form of unjust distribution of social benefits and resources. The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), however, expects all learners to follow the same curriculum and achieve the same type of quality education. This is impossible when schools have inadequate resources. The aim of the research was therefore to explore how teachers understood the concept of quality education through their lived experiences at a low-income school. This exploration took into account what teachers viewed as contributing to or hindering a quality education, both at personal and interpersonal levels in the school. It also considered how the school system, the WCED and the social environment contributed to positive or negative outcomes regarding quality. This was important as teachers were seen as the key agents towards change in quality education. Social constructionism and a social justice approach provided the foundation of this research and enabled the voices of previously disadvantaged communities to be heard. In keeping with the theoretical frameworks of the study, a qualitative, interpretivist research approach was used. Participants were selected through purposive sampling and focus group discussions as well as individual interviews were used to generate data. Digital audio recordings were made of the group and individual sessions, which were then transcribed. The data collected in this study were analysed through thematic analysis. The research findings indicated that teachers experienced numerous barriers with regards to contextual factors and unjust distribution of resources. Furthermore, teachers reflected that with good pedagogy they were able to maintain quality education, by teaching a curriculum that was relevant to the context of the learner, even when resources were limited. This process was very time-consuming and not cost-effective. However, even though teachers were able to recognise the barriers present in their school they insisted that there were many positive aspects to working in a low-income school. These findings led to recommendations that were centred largely on meeting some of the support needs of teachers in low-income communities.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Wes-Kaapse Onderwysdepartement (WKOD) het baie intervensies in plek gestel om gehalte-onderrig te verskaf aan alle skole, maar baie hindernisse was steeds teenwoordig in lae-inkomste gemeenskappe. Baie van die hindernisse het ontstaan as gevolg van onvoldoende hulpbronne soos: swak onderwysopleiding, gebrekkige gemeenskapsbetrokkenheid, onvoldoende vervoer, swak dienslewering en volhoubaarheid in die gemeenskap. Daar was teen talle gemeenskappe gediskrimineer in terme van ongelyke verspreiding van sosiale voordele en hulpbronne. Die Kurrikulum- en Assesseringsbeleidsverklaring (KABV) verwag egter dat alle leerders dieselfde kurrikulum volg en dieselfde tipe gehalte-onderrig behaal. Dit is onmoontlik om te bereik indien skole onvoldoende hulpbronne het. Die doel van die navorsing was dus om onderwysers se konsep van gehalte-onderrig te verstaan deur hulle beleefde ervaring in ʼn lae-inkomste skool te ondersoek. Die ondersoek het in ag geneem wat onderwysers beskou het as ʼn bydrae of ʼn hindernis tot gehalte-onderrig, op sowel persoonlike as interpersoonlike vlak in die skool. Daar is ook gelet op watter positiewe of negatiewe invloede die skoolsisteem, die WKOD en die sosiale omgewing op gehalte-onderrig het. Dit word as belangrik geag omdat onderwysers gesien word as die belangrikste agente vir verandering in gehalte-onderwys. Sosiale konstruksionisme en ʼn sosiale geregtigheidsbenadering is die grondslag van hierdie navorsing en stel die stemme van voorheen benadeelde gemeenskappe in staat om gehoor te word. In ooreenstemming met die teoretiese raamwerke van die studie is ʼn kwalitatiewe, interpretivistiese navorsingsbenadering gebruik. Die deelnemers is deur middel van doelgerigte steekproeftrekking geselekteer en fokusgroepbesprekings en individuele onderhoude is gebruik om data te genereer. Digitale klankopnames is gemaak van die groep- en individuele sessies, wat toe getranskribeer is. Die data wat in hierdie studie ingesamel is, is ontleed deur middel van tematiese analise. Die navorsing het aangedui dat onderwysers talle struikelblokke ondervind het met betrekking tot kontekstuele faktore en onregverdige verspreiding van hulpbronne. Verder het onderwysers weerspieël dat hulle met goeie pedagogie in staat was om gehalte-onderwys te beoefen deur die kurrikulum binne die konteks van die leerder te onderrig, selfs wanneer hulpbronne beperk was. Hierdie proses het egter baie tyd in beslag geneem en was nie koste-effektief nie. Selfs al was onderwysers in staat om die struikelblokke in hul skool te herken, het hulle steeds die positiewe aspekte van werk in ʼn lae-inkomste skool uitgelig. Hierdie bevindinge het gelei tot aanbevelings wat grootliks handel oor ondersteuning van die onderwysers in lae-inkomste gemeenskappe deur vervulling van hulle behoeftes.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86273
This item appears in the following collections: