On bridging the gap between theory and practice: a conceptual analysis of practice in relation to a teacher professional learning programme at Stellenbosch University

Jeram, Ramesh (2018-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : There are extensive efforts to improve the quality of teaching and learning of teachers in South African schools. The South African government has experienced numerous challenges to address the educational neglect of the previous 350 years. Since 1994, there have been curriculum changes coupled with various training initiatives, to enhance the capacity of teachers in South Africa. The focus of these training initiatives has been on improving the efficacy of teachers. However, many of these training initiatives have been decontextualised and without support to teachers, that is, these teacher training sessions took place outside of the context within which the teachers practice their profession and without the required support to make the paradigm shift from learning as a finite activity, to learning as a lifelong activity. It has now become necessary to explore other means of teacher professional learning to make this paradigm shift. Practice-based professional learning has increasingly been offered as an approach to continuous professional learning through which the impediments (overly theory-laden contents, not relevant to the context within which teacher work, no clear link between theory and practice) of conventional mostly transmission-mode training could be addressed. After an in-depth survey of the literature as well as critical reflection on own practice, the intention of this research was to find ways of improving continuous teacher professional learning initiatives by utilising a practice-based approach to teacher professional learning, using practice theory as a theoretical and conceptual framework. Using conceptual analysis and phenomenology as research paradigms, this study explored the current research on practice theory and offers suggestions on how to improve the efficacy of teacher professional learning programmes within the South African context. The study examined the effectiveness of the current abstract, theory-laden modes of teacher professional development initiatives in South Africa, and suggests alternative ways of effective professional learning that has been proved to elicit changes in teachers’ practices, taking into account the contexts within which teachers learn while they interact with others on practice-based issues. This study therefore recommends a practice-based professional learning approach where teachers could learn in and from practice rather than in preparing to practice.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Daar is grootskaalse pogings om die gehalte van onderrig en leer van onderwysers in SuidAfrikaanse skole te verbeter. Die Suid-Afrikaanse regering het reeds talle uitdagings om die opvoedkundige verwaarlosing van die voorafgaande 350 jaar uit te wis, die hoof te bied. Sedert 1994 was daar kurrikulumveranderings, tesame met verskeie opleidingsinisiatiewe, om die kapasiteit van onderwysers in Suid-Afrika te verbeter. Die fokus van hierdie opleidingsinisiatiewe was om die doeltreffendheid van onderwysers te verbeter. Baie van hierdie opleidingsinisiatiewe is egter gedekontekstualiseer en sonder ondersteuning vir opvoeders, met ander woorde hierdie opvoeder opleidingsessies het plaasgevind buite die omgewing waarin die onderwysers hulle beroep beoefen en sonder die nodige ondersteuning om die paradigmaskuif te maak vanaf leer as ’n eindige aktiwiteit na lewenslange leer. Dit het nou nodig geword om ander maniere van onderwysers se professionele leer te verken, ten einde hierdie paradigmaskuif te maak. Praktykgebaseerde professionele leer word toenemend aangebied as ’n benadering tot deurlopende professionele leer waardeur die belemmerings (uitermate teoriegelaaide inhoud, nie relevant vir die omgewing waarin onderwyser werk nie, geen duidelike verband tussen teorie en praktyk nie) van konvensionele opleiding hoofsaaklik met behulp van die oordragmodus die hoof gebied kan word. Ná ’n grondige literatuurstudie sowel as kritiese besinning oor eie praktyk, was dit die bedoeling van hierdie navorsing om maniere te soek om deurlopende professionele leerinisiatiewe vir onderwysers te verbeter deur van ’n praktykgebaseerde benadering tot professionele leer vir onderwysers gebruik te maak met behulp van praktykteorie as ’n teoretiese en konseptuele raamwerk. Deur van konseptuele analise en fenomenologie as navorsingsparadigmas gebruik te maak, het hierdie navorsing ondersoek ingestel na die huidige navorsing oor die praktykteorie, en bied dit voorstelle oor hoe om die effektiwiteit van onderwysers se professionele leerprogramme in SuidAfrika te verbeter. Die navorsing het die effektiwiteit van die huidige abstrakte, teoriegelaaide modusse van professionele ontwikkelingsinisiatiewe vir onderwysers in Suid-Afrika ondersoek en stel ’n alternatiewe wyse van doeltreffende professionele leer voor wat reeds bewys het dat dit veranderinge in onderwyserspraktyke teweeg kan bring, met inagneming van die omgewings waarin onderwysers leer terwyl hulle met ander oor praktykgerigte vraagstukke in interaksie tree. Hierdie proefskrif beveel ’n praktykgebaseerde professionele leerbenadering aan waar onderwysers in en van die praktyk kan leer eerder as in voorbereiding vir die praktyk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/104817
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