Environment as integrating organiser : a case study of curriculum 2005 in KwaMhlanga, South Africa

Khumalo, Four-Ten Enock (2001) Environment as integrating organiser : a case study of curriculum 2005 in KwaMhlanga, South Africa. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




Curriculum 2005 is an attempt by the South African government to create and implement a strategic plan to change the formal school curriculum. The new curriculum has 'integration' as one of its focal features. This study is an investigation of the use of' environment' as an integrating' organiser' in the senior phase of Curriculum 2005 in a selection of schools in the Mpumalanga province. While the Curriculum 2005 framework encourages curriculum integration, this is an area which might be neglected during implementation, because there is so little experience among teachers of working in an 'integrated' way. Environmental education is an approach to education which requires and facilitates curriculum integration. This study has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the integration of environmental learning across the new curriculum. Questionnaires and vignettes based on document analysis, follow-up interviews and classroom observations, involving a small group of teachers, were used in conducting the study. The investigation has revealed that participating teachers show a limited understanding of the constructs 'environment' and 'phase organiser'. Teachers do not take or introduce a critical perspective on the nature and causes of environmental issues. They treat the construct 'environment' and associated issues quite superficially when working with learners. Participating teachers generally misunderstood the concept 'phase organisers' and tended to interpret it in concepts associated with the curriculum framework they were used to. Curriculum 2005 also requires teachers to take on a more active curriculum development role. This study looked at four teachers' attempts to develop learning programme units, and at the way in which two teachers implement their curriculum plans focussing on 'environment', in the classroom. It was found that participating teachers do not always follow the same sequence or steps when developing a learning programme. Learning programme units were not considered in developmental sequence, they lacked some form of continuity and links between intended learning outcomes and teaching activities were also lacking. There was inadequate integration between learning areas. Furthermore, integration between knowledge, skills, values and attitudes was also not quite clear among the teachers, and they tended to deal with environmental knowledge in a rather limited way, focussing instead on the awareness and attitudes. These findings are of concern, and they are in keeping with the Curriculum 2005 Review Report, which highlighted the danger of inadequate focus on curriculum content. On overall teachers seem to be struggling with the whole notion of 'integration', even though environment as a phase organiser is meant to assist with curriculum integration. The thesis ends with recommendations on how teachers might be assisted to achieve meaningful curriculum integration, through using learning outcomes as well as content knowledge relevant to environmental learning.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Education, Curriculum 2005, Framework, Schools, Integration, Environment, Organiser, Mpumalalanga Province, South Africa, Teachers, Environmental education, Questionnaires, Interviews, Classroom, Observation, Learning, Programme units, Knowledge, Skills, Values, Attitudes, Outcomes
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Janse van Rensburg, E.
ID Code:3026
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:22 Jun 2012 07:11
Last Modified:22 Jun 2012 07:11
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