Life orientation teachers' experience of context in the implementation of the curriculum

Wasserman, Jessica (2014-12)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since 1994, and the dissolution of the apartheid era, South African curricula have seen many revisions and adaptations to subject statements, learning programmes, and assessment guidelines. The most recent occurred in 2009, when the previously revised curricula statements (RNCS, 2005) were to be replaced with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) for all approved subjects listed (including the subject of Life Orientation), taking effect in January 2012. These revisions have influenced curriculum implementation across contexts throughout the country – contexts that vary in culture, politics, and socio-economic status due to the inequalities of the past. It is these varied contexts, and the implementation of the current CAPS curriculum therein, that led to the formulation of this research study. The implementation of the subject of Life Orientation was of particular interest to the researcher as it is this subject that has been designed, throughout the many curricular revisions, to prepare learners for life and work in the outside world (i.e. in their specific contexts external to the primary education system). This research study attempts to explore the experiences of Life Orientation teachers, focusing specifically on the role that context plays in their implementation of the curriculum. Teachers working in the FET phase (grades 10-12), within two different contexts, were selected to participate. Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model (Bronfenbrenner, 2005) was used as the theoretical framework for this study because of the overlapping and interrelated systems that influence the development of the child and the context in which learning takes place. This is informed by Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism, which emphasises the social aspect of development and the influence that specific social contexts have on learning. For this research, the learners were placed in the centre of Bronfenbrenner’s model; while the school, family, and broader social community were placed in the outer systems. This study made use of a basic qualitative design and a qualitative methodology which is rooted within an interpretive paradigm. Purposeful sampling was used to select participants from the two respective school contexts in the Western Cape province, and three measures were used to collect data: (1) a self-administered questionnaire, which teachers were asked to complete in their own time; (2) semi-structured individual interviews with the principals and heads of Life Orientation from the two respective schools; and (3) focus group interviews with the teachers in their respective contexts. Qualitative content and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data generated by means of these three data collection methods. The findings of this research paper suggest that the delivery of the current Life Orientation curriculum within particular contexts was a challenging experience for the teachers who participated in the study. However, with appropriate and professional teacher training and/or a more flexible and adaptable curriculum design, the participants felt that these challenges could be overcome. While the findings of the study cannot be generalised to all schools in South Africa, recommendations can be made, based on this study, for the relevant schools as well as the Department of Education to assist in ensuring that appropriate measures are taken in order to improve curriculum implementation – whether through professional teacher training and development, curriculum design, or both.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert 1994, en die ontbinding van die apartheidsera, was daar verskeie wysigings en weergawes van die Suid-Afrikaanse kurrikulum ten opsigte van beleidsverklarings leerprogramme en assesseringsriglyne. Die mees onlangse wysiging het in 2009 plaasgevind, toe die voorheen Hersiene Nasionale Kurrikulum Beleidsverklaring (HNKV, 2005) vervang is met die Kurrikulum en Assesseringsbeleidsverklaring (KABV) vir alle goedgekeurde vakke (insluitende die vak Lewensoriëntering) – wat in Januarie 2012 in werking getree het. Hierdie wysigings het die implementering van die kurrikulum oor kontekste heen dwarsdeur die land beïnvloed – kontekste wat wissel in kultuur, politiek en sosio-ekonomiese status as gevolg van die ongelykhede van die verlede. Dit is die implementering van die huidige KAVB kurrikulum binne hierdie verskillende kontekste wat gelei het tot die formulering van hierdie navorsingstudie. Die implementering van die vak Lewensoriëntering was van besondere belang vir die navorser, aangesien dit hierdie vak is wat ontwerp is deur al die kurrikulumhersienings heen om leerders vir die lewe en in die wêreld daarbuite voor te berei ( in hul spesifieke konteks). Hierdie navorsingstudie poog om die ervarings van Lewensoriëntering-onderwysers te verken, met spesifieke fokus op die rol wat konteks speel in hul implementering van die kurrikulum. Onderwysers wat werk in die VOO (Verdere Onderwys en Opleidng)-fase (grade 10-12) binne twee verskillende kontekste is gekies om deel te neem aan hierdie studie. Bronfenbrenner se bio-ekologiese model (Bronfenbrenner, 2005) is gebruik as die teoretiese raamwerk vir hierdie studie weens die oorvleueling van en onderlinge verhoudings tussen sisteme wat die ontwikkeling van die kind en die konteks waarin leer plaasvind, beïnvloed. Dit word toegelig deur Vygotsky se teorie van sosiale konstruktivisme, wat die sosiale aspek van ontwikkeling en die invloed wat spesifieke sosiale kontekste op leer het, beklemtoon. Vir hierdie navorsingstudie is die leerders in die middel van Bronfenbrenner se model geplaas; terwyl die skool, gesin en die breër sosiale gemeenskap in die perifêre sisteme geplaas is. Hierdie studie het gebruik gemaak van 'n basiese kwalitatiewe ontwerp en ‘n kwalitatiewe metode wat gewortel is in 'n interpretatiewe paradigma. Doelbewuste steekproefneming is gebruik om deelnemers uit die twee onderskeie skoolkontekste in die Wes-Kaap te kies. Die studie het gebruik gemaak van drie metodes om data in te samel: (1) ‘n self-geadministreerde vraelys wat die onderwysers gevra is om te voltooi in hul eie tyd; (2) semi-gestruktureerde individuele onderhoude met die skoolhoofde en hoofde van Lewensoriëntering uit die twee onderskeie skole; en (3) fokusgroeponderhoude met die onderwysers uit die onderskeie kontekste. Kwalitatiewe inhouds- en tematiese analise is gebruik om die data wat gegenereer is deur middel van hierdie drie data-insamelingsmetodes te ontleed. Die bevindinge van hierdie navorsingstudie het aan die lig gebring dat die lewering van die huidige Lewensoriëntering kurrikulum binne hulle bepaalde kontekste 'n uitdagende ervaring vir die onderwysers was wat aan die studie deelgeneem het. Die deelnemers was egter van mening dat hierdie uitdagings oorkom kan word met toepaslike en professionele opleiding van onderwysers, en/of ‘n meer buigsame en aanpasbare kurrikulumontwerp. Hoewel die bevindinge van hierdie studie nie veralgemeen kan word tot alle skole in Suid-Afrika nie, kan aanbevelings tog gemaak word aan die betrokke skole, sowel as die Departement van Onderwys om te help verseker dat die nodige maatreëls in plek gesit word om implementering van die kurrikulum te verbeter– hetsy deur professionele opleiding en ontwikkeling van onderwysers, of deur kurrikulumontwerp, of albei.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96109
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