Mathematics teachers’ experiences of the influence of the changing curriculum on their professional practice in grades 10 - 12 in the Cape Winelands district
Joseph, Jenead Diana Nicole
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Education in South Africa is a concern to many stakeholders, including government, teachers, teacher unions and non-governmental organisations, owing to the poor academic performances of learners. Mathematics teachers, the focus of this study, are confronted with a constantly changing curriculum. Teachers are often targeted by the education authorities and general public as the primary cause of the poor outcomes of education in South Africa. This study considers the experiences of Grades 10–12 mathematics teachers in the Cape Winelands regarding curriculum change and its influence on their professional practice. The basic assumptions of social constructivism served as overarching theory. The researcher judged that a conceptual framework would make for a clearer and more systematic way of dealing with the constructs that underpin this study. The conceptual analysis framework, which was developed by combining the work of Rogan and Grayson, as well as that of Remillard, which is a perfect fit to this study, guided the interpretation and analysis of the data. A deductive approach in data analysis was applied in accordance with the conceptual framework used in this study. Being explorative in nature, this study is a qualitative design and therefore an interpretive methodological approach was followed. A purposive and convenience sampling method was used whereby teachers from six schools were pre-selected: two from ex-Model C schools, two from previously disadvantaged black schools and two from previously disadvantaged coloured schools. Semi-structured interviews were conducted. The findings of this study pointed to teachers’ acceptance of education reform and changes in the curriculum, provided they were not too radical. Teachers requested involvement on a broad spectrum throughout the planning and implementation process, and proper training and support prior to implementation. Factors that militated against implementation were, among others, poor facilities, resources and instructional aides; poorly trained change facilitators; poor leadership and management at schools; and the many constraints that the learners brought to the school and the classroom.