Secondary school Geography teachers' understanding and implementation learner-centred eof ducation and enquiry-based teaching in Namibia

Awases, Cherly Lydia (2015-03)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study investigates the understanding of and experiences in the implementation of learner-centred education (LCE) and enquiry-based teaching of Grade 10 Geography teachers against the backdrop of curriculum reform in Namibia. The Namibian curriculum is premised on the view that there is a need for the holistic development and preparation of learners for a knowledge-based society. Globally, LCE, with its potential for broadening access to quality education, has been a recurring theme of national reform policies and has been promoted as an innovative way of teaching. The usefulness of the LCE approach and associated enquiry-based teaching is embedded in constructivism and is introduced with the promise that it will enable learners to develop investigative and critical thinking skills that will put them at the centre of learning. This interpretative study employed a case study approach that utilised qualitative methods to gather information on the experiences of the three Geography teachers at the sampled schools as they implement LCE and enquiry-based teaching. The main data-gathering techniques in phases 1 and 2 of the research respectively were semi-structured interviews and classroom observations. The findings revealed that the teachers have different understandings of what LCE and enquiry-based teaching approaches are, although their teaching employs some elements of it. The research also indicated that there is one big factor that impinges on their implementation of LCE and enquiry-based teaching approaches. The teachers admitted that, due to the pressure of learner success in the end-of-year Grade 10 examination, they rather teach to the test. This diverts their teaching from focusing on implementing approaches that actively involve learners in the learning process and nurture enquiry skills when these skills are not formally assessed in examinations. Consequently, teachers fail to implement the syllabus as intended by policy makers and curriculum developers. Even though the findings of this study may be specific to the sampled schools and the participating teachers, it can be assumed that similar situations exist in schools with comparable contexts. It is therefore important that education policy makers and relevant stakeholders strive to allocate sufficient support and resources for teachers to implement LCE and enquiry-based teaching effectively in schools.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie ondersoek die verstaan van en ervarings met die implementering van leerder-gesentreerde en ondersoek-gebaseerde onderrig van Graad 10 Geografie-onderwysers teen die agtergrond van kurrikulumhervorming in Namibië. Die Namibiese leerplan berus op die siening dat daar „n behoefte is aan die holistiese ontwikkeling en voorbereiding van leerders vir „n kennis-gebaseerde samelewing. Leerder-gesentreerde onderrig met sy potensiaal om toegang tot gehalte onderwys te verbreed, is „n tema wat wêreldwyd herhaaldelik in nasionale hervormingsbeleid voorkom en as „n innoverende wyse van onderrig bevorder word. Die nut van die leerder-gesentreerde benadering en gepaardgaande ondersoek-gebaseerde onderrig is in konstruktivisme gebaseer en word voorgestel met die belofte dat dit leerders in staat sal stel om ondersoekende en kritiese denkvaardighede te ontwikkel, wat hulle sentraal in die leerproses sal plaas. Hierdie interpretatiewe studie het 'n gevallestudie-benadering gevolg en kwalitatiewe metodes gebruik om inligting in te samel oor die ervarings van drie Geografie-onderwysers se implementering van leerder-gesentreerde en ondersoek-gebaseerde onderrig by skole wat as steekproef gekies is. Die belangrikste onderskeidelike data-insamelingstegnieke in fases 1 en 2 van die navorsing was semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude en klaskamerwaarneming. Die bevindinge toon dat die onderwysers verskillende begrippe handhaaf van wat leerder-gesentreerde en ondersoek-gebaseerde onderrigbenaderings behels, hoewel hulle onderrig sommige elemente daarvan toon. Die navorsing het ook aangedui dat een belangrike faktor inbreuk doen op hul implementering van leerder-gesentreerde en ondersoek-gebaseerde onderrigbenaderings. Die onderwysers het erken dat die druk van leerdersukses in die graad 10-eksamen aan die einde van die jaar hulle eerder met die oog op die toets laat onderrig gee. Dit verplaas die fokus van hul onderrig weg van die implementering van benaderings wat leerders aktief by die leerproses betrek en die koestering van ondersoekvaardighede, veral ook omdat hierdie vaardighede nie formeel in eksamens beoordeel word nie. Onderwysers slaag gevolglik nie daarin om die leerplan soos beleidmakers en kurrikulum-ontwikkelaars dit bedoel, te implementeer nie. Selfs al sou die bevindinge van hierdie studie slegs spesifiek op die betrokke skole en die deelnemende onderwysers betrekking hê, kan aanvaar word dat soortgelyke situasies in skole in vergelykbare kontekste bestaan. Dit is dus belangrik dat onderwysbeleidmakers en relevante rolspelers daarna moet streef om voldoende ondersteuning en hulpbronne vir onderwysers beskikbaar te stel om leerder-gesentreerde en ondersoek-gebaseerde onderrig effektief in skole te implementeer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97002
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