Life science teachers’ views and lived experiences of the Namibian junior secondary certificate (JSC) curriculum

Aloovi, Aloovi Onesmus (2018-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : This study was conducted to explore the views and lived experiences of life science teachers on the implementation of the 2013/2014 revised Junior Secondary Certificate (JSC) curriculum. It was guided by the main research question: What are life science teachers‟ views and lived experiences of the 2013/2014 revised JSC curriculum in the Khomas region? A mixed methods evaluation research design was adopted. This design is an approach to inquiry involving both quantitative and qualitative data, integrating the two forms of data, and using distinct designs that involve theoretical framework as per research design. This design has the potential of eliminating different kinds of bias by explaining the true nature of a phenomenon under study and improves various forms of validity or quality criteria. This evaluation study incorporated elements of all three paradigms: positivism, interpretivism, and critical paradigm. A quantitative method was adopted to construct data from all 62 life science teachers in the Khomas region on their views of the implementation of the 2013/2014 revised JSC curriculum. Three types of statistical analyses were used: descriptive statistics, Cronbach‟s alpha method to determine the internal consistency (reliability) of the Likert scale, and chi-square tests for associations. Quantitative statistical analyses were performed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25. Qualitative methods were adopted to help the researcher to create a holistic picture of the phenomenon within the context that it occurred. To understand the lived experience of teachers, an interpretive paradigm was adopted. A phenomenological epistemology was employed for the qualitative data whereby the researcher examined records and interpreted lived experiences through clear and detailed descriptions. Semi-structured interviews, field notes and professional development workshops evaluation questionnaire, were used to construct qualitative data from eight (8) purposively selected JSC life science teachers from four high schools in the Khomas region of Namibia. Data constructed through semi-structured interviews, field notes and professional development workshops evaluation questionnaire were analysed by means of thematic analysis. To check and test for the possible association between teachers' biographical variables and their views on the implementation of the 2013/2014 revised JSC life science curriculum, several chi-square tests for association were performed. The findings revealed that an association exists between the teachers‟ age, educational background, type of school and their learners‟ responses towards the revised 2013/2014 JSC life science curriculum. Likewise, the teachers‟ gender, educational background, class size, life science grade taught, and type of school, were associated with the instruction and assessment in the 2013/2014 revised JSC life science curriculum. The overall learners‟ enrolment of the school was associated with how well the teachers implement the 2013/2014 revised JSC life science curriculum. The teachers‟ biographical variables were not associated with how well the teachers were informed on the different life science topics of the 2013/2014 revised JSC curriculum. The findings revealed that the implementation of the 2013/2014 revised JSC life science curriculum was influenced by social and contextual factors. The study further revealed that lack of training and support, poor assessment policy guidelines, language policy, workload and frequent curriculum changes, were some of the challenges teachers experienced in the implementation of the 2013/2014 revised JSC life science curriculum. The findings revealed that teachers in the Khomas region of Namibia received little or no training at all after the implementation of the 2013/2014 revised JSC life science curriculum in 2016. Those who had attended the training sessions argued that the training was inadequate and did not prepare them to implement the 2013/2014 revised JSC life science curriculum effectively. It was also revealed that there was a need for aligning teachers‟ pre-service and in-service training programmes with national curriculum policies to enable better alignment between the current educational programmes for teachers, and the focused training required for successful curriculum implementation. Lastly, the findings revealed that participation in professional development, in the form of collaborative workshops that extended over a period of time, was effective in enhancing teachers‟ learning and changed the way in which they implemented the 2013/2014 revised JSC life science curriculum in their classrooms resulting in enhanced learners‟ confidence, participation and learning. Evidence reported in this study also indicated that collaborative workshops contributed to minimising teachers‟ isolation by bringing them together to collaborate and share professional ideas and experiences.

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