Investigating systemic factors affecting science learning in Curriculum 2005 : case studies of two schools

Wilkinson, Warren George (1998) Investigating systemic factors affecting science learning in Curriculum 2005 : case studies of two schools. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The thesis illustrates the contention that an outcomes-based system with its underlying philosophy of social constructivism cannot operate effectively within a traditional school system. Restructuring of an institution is necessary to accommodate the outcomes-based system. Using the research instruments of interviews, questionnaires, journals, participant observations and collection of physical artefacts, two case studies investigating systemic factors as they influence science learning were conducted in two South African schools. The one school, St Sebastian's College, was an extremely well resourced school while the other, Mtunzini High School was a middle class school in comparatively deprived circumstances. Attempts were made to introduce an outcomes-based education course involving a group of grade 8 learners in the respective schools. Difficulties in implementation were encountered and at best only very limited success was achieved. There were two reasons for this. First, particularly in the case of St Sebastian's College, I designed a course which was over ambitious in that it was not suited to the developmental stage of the learners. Second, traditional schooling systems follow a perspective of education termed 'the structure of the disciplines' which fosters a system of rigid time tabling, compartmentalisation of subjects and emphasis upon summative assessment. In contrast, the curricula I designed involved a 'cognitive' perspective which required flexible time scheduling, integration of subjects and developmental assessment. The conflicts which arose include time constraints and resistant attitudes on the part of learners and teachers. The thesis culminates with some suggested steps to follow should a school community wish to restructure. These include a shared vision, employing organised abandonment, capacity building and commitment to a systemic perspective.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Curriculum change, Study and teaching of science, Curriculum planning, Education, South Africa, Competency-based education
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
ID Code:2767
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:08 May 2012 09:17
Last Modified:08 May 2012 09:17
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