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An uncertain harvest: a case study of implementation of innovation

John M. Rogan Published online: 12 Mar 2007.

To cite this article: John M. Rogan (2007) An uncertain harvest: a case study of implementation of innovation, Journal of Curriculum Studies, 39:1, 97-121, DOI: 10.1080/00220270500532448


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J. CURRICULUM STUDIES, 2007, VOL. 39, NO. 1, 97–121

J . CURRICULUM STUDIES , 2007, VOL . 39, NO . 1, 97–121 An uncertain harvest:

An uncertain harvest: a case study of implementation of innovation


TaylorTCUS_A_153227.sgm10.1080/00220270500532448Journal0022-0272Original2006Taylor0000000002006JohnRoganjmroganza@yahoo.comand&ofArticleFrancisCurriculum(print)/1366-5839Francis LtdStudies(online)

Starting in 1997, a sophisticated, outcomes-based curriculum was to be implemented in South African schools. This study examines and analyses how science teachers in one rural school responded to the demands of this new curriculum. I consider the capacity of the school and the extent to which outside support and pressure was provided. The levels of implementation are analysed in terms of a proposed ‘zone of feasible innovation’, a hypo- thetical construct which suggests that innovation should not exceed current practice by too large a gap between existing practice and the demands of the innovation.

Keywords: change strategies; curriculum implementation; curriculum problems; school improvement; science education.


In 1994 the seemingly impossible was achieved in South Africa. Political power peacefully passed from the white minority to the majority and the new government wasted no time in reforming all aspects of the educational system, including the curriculum. As the National Department of Educa- tion said in its first major statement of education in post-apartheid South Africa, ‘It is time to declare that a new era has dawned. In publishing this document, the Ministry of Education opens not just a new chapter but an entirely new volume in the country’s educational development’ (Depart- ment of Education 1995). Curriculum 2005 (C2005), the new curriculum, unequivocally embraced outcomes-based education (OBE). The rationale was that for too long South African students had memorized content, which they then regur- gitated in tests and examinations. With the introduction of OBE, the focus supposedly shifted to what they could do with their knowledge, and in partic- ular whether they could use what they know to meet the specified outcomes. C2005 (Department of Education 1997) made the following assertions:

The move towards an outcomes-based approach is due to the growing concern about the effectiveness of traditional methods of teaching and training, which were content-based. An outcomes-based approach to teaching and learning, however, differs drastically. According to

John Rogan is a member of the Science Education Research Group, University of KwaZulu- Natal, Pietermartizburg Campus, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3202, South Africa; e-mail: During the period of the work described in this paper, he was attached to the Centre for Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education at Pretoria Uni- versity, South Africa. His research interests centre on curriculum development, professional development, and the implementation of innovation.

Journal of Curriculum Studies ISSN 0022–0272 print/ISSN 1366–5839 online ©2007 Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/00220270500532448

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Spady (1994) outcomes are high-quality, culminating demonstrations of significant learning-in-context.

An outcomes-based education and training system requires a shift from focusing on teacher input (syllabuses expressed in terms of content, etc.) to focusing on the outcomes of the learning process.

Outcomes-based learning focuses achievement in terms of clearly defined outcomes rather than mastery of syllabus content.

In outcomes-based learning, a learner’s progress is measured against agreed criteria. This implies that formal assessment will employ crite- rion-referencing, and will be conducted in a transparent manner.

The intention of the curriculum was to usher in a new era. The crucial ques- tion is ‘Will the “harvest” be as bountiful as anticipated?’ The policy documents do reveal a clear awareness of the magnitude of the ‘paradigm shift’ C2005 envisaged. However, as is all too often the case, the actual policy directives lacked detail on how the ideals might be realized in practice. As various commentators have noted, the attention and energies of policy-makers are focused on the ‘what’ of desired educational change, neglecting the ‘how’. Porter (1980: 75), speaking about the role of the national governments in educational change in the USA and Australia, says, ‘the people concerned with creating policy and enacting the relevant legisla- tion seldom look down the track to the implementation stage’. In the case of developing countries, Verspoor (1989: 133), in his analysis of 21 World Bank-supported educational change programmes, points out that ‘Large- scale programmes tend to emphasize adoption and neglect implementation’. He adds that, ‘in nearly all instances low outcomes resulted from poor implementation of what was essentially a good idea’. In South Africa, this lack of foresight was particularly unfortunate. The high ideals of C2005 were to be implemented in a system that was already under considerable stress. A vast majority of the schools lacked even the most basic human and physical resources, a consequence, in part at least, of the policies of the previous apartheid government. The situation in many schools had worsened during the 1980s and 1990s as schools became the battle-ground of the liberation struggle. Some schools were vandalized and burnt down, and the authority of teachers and principals was eroded. The educational system, taken as a whole, was hardly prepared for radical and sophisticated changes. Predictably (see for example Jansen 1998), the schools most in need of improvement struggled the most with the new curriculum. Only the most advantaged schools seemed able to reap some of the hoped-for benefits of C2005. One major source of difficulty for science teachers, for example, was the dictum that content was not important: any content could be selected at any time and at any grade level, as long as the outcomes were achieved. The resulting widespread confusion led to the revision of C2005, as described by Chisholm (2005). However, the revised version still represented a radical break with the past, both in terms of philosophical underpinnings and teach- ing practices. The case study described in this paper was undertaken while the first version of C2005 was still in force. It is too early to say whether the results might have been different had the revised version been in place.

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Professional development Change Monitoring forces Physical Resources Support to learners Outside influence
Professional development
Physical Resources
Support to learners
Science in
Physical Resources Capacity to Innovate Learner Factors
Capacity to

School ethos and management

Profile of Implementation Assessment
Profile of


practical work

Figure 1.

The framework of the study.

Theoretical framework

My purpose herein is to explore how science teachers in one rural school in South Africa responded to the demands of C2005. A framework developed by Rogan and Grayson (2003) provided the analytical lens through which I view and analyse the case. As seen in figure 1, the framework draws on the school development, educational change, and science education literatures to develop three constructs, with their sub-constructs. In the case studies we used the Profile of Implementation to help us understand, analyse, and express the extent to which the ideals of C2005 were put into practice. The sub-constructs of the Profile of Implementa- tion are: (1) the nature of the classroom interaction (what the teacher does and the learners do); (2) use and nature of science practical work; (3) incorporation of science in society; and (4) and Stiegelbauer assessment practices. (A specific example of a Profile of Implementation, the one used in this study, contextualized for the C2005 Natural Science learning area, is presented in the Appendix.) An essential corollary to the Profile is the recognition that the implementation of a new curriculum is not an all-or- nothing proposition. As Fullan (1991) points out, a key feature of the practicality of implementation is the ‘presence of the next steps’. Hence, the Profile posits four broad levels at which implementation might be said to occur. The Profile retains some of the notions of earlier developmental models (e.g. Beeby 1966, Verspoor and Wu 1990). Thus, the practices described at level 4 of the Profile are more sophisticated than those at level 1 in that they

FigureFigureFigure 1.2.3.


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approximate more closely the ideals of C2005. For example, in moving through the levels, on all four sub-constructs, there is an increasing emphasis towards learner-centred approaches. However, unlike the earlier develop- mental models, the profile does not imply ‘progressing’ from one level to another. Rather the higher levels are inclusive of the lower ones. Progression is seen as the judicious integration of the higher-level practices. Hence, the levels are not prescriptive of what should be done at any given point in time, but rather suggest the mastery and use of an ever-increasing array of teaching and learning strategies. The construct ‘Capacity to support innovation’ lists factors that are able to support, or hinder, the implementation of new ideas and practices in the case-study schools. As with the Profile of Implementation, levels of capacity are defined, enabling one to describe the ability of schools to implement C2005. Indicators of the Capacity to support innovation construct fall into four groups: physical resources; teacher factors; learner factors; and the school ethos and management. The ‘Profile of outside support’ describes the kinds of actions under- taken by organizations outside the case-study schools to influence their prac- tice, either by support or sanction. Material support is divided into two categories, the provision of physical resources such as buildings, books, or apparatus on the one hand, and direct support to learners on the other— which might include such things as school-lunch programmes and the provi- sion of safe, quiet places to study outside of class time. Non-material support is most commonly provided in the form of professional development, and is perhaps the most visible and obvious way in which outside agencies attempt to bring about changes in schools. Taking the above framework into account, Rogan and Grayson (2003) outlined six propositions that suggest the possible relationships that might exist between or within the constructs. One of the six propositions is of particular importance to this paper: ‘There is a Zone of Feasible Innovation. Innovation is most likely to take place when it proceeds just ahead of exist- ing practice. Implementation of an innovation should occur in manageable steps’ (p. 1195). The ‘zone of feasible innovation’ (ZFI) applies Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development to efforts to implement innovation rather than to the learning of new concepts. Vygotsky (quoted in Wertsch and Stone 1985: 165) suggests that ‘instruction is good only when it proceeds ahead of development, when it awakens and rouses to life those functions that are in the process of maturing or in the zone of proximal development’. By analogy, curriculum implementation strategies are ‘good’ when they proceed just ahead of current practice, i.e. are within the zone of feasible innovation. To be effective, a curriculum implementation strategy needs to take into account both the current level of curriculum and classroom prac- tice and the current capacity to support innovation. Wood et al. (1976) refer to the need for ‘scaffolding’ if learners are to be assisted to move beyond their current developmental level. Similarly, while innovation within the ZFI is taking place, scaffolding will be required. One of the purposes of the case studies was to develop some understanding of what the ZFI might look like for different teachers, and to determine what kinds of scaffoldings, if any, were in place.

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The context—the Mpumalanga Secondary Science Initiative (MSSI)

The case study on which this paper is based was part of a larger study of the implementation of a systemic project known as the Mpumalanga Secondary Science Initiative (MSSI). Mpumalanga (meaning the place where the sun rises) is one of nine provinces in South Africa. Rural and without any large cities, its economy is primarily based on agriculture and tourism. 1 The project’s goal is to improve the learning of mathematics and science in the 500-plus secondary schools in the province in line with the expected outcomes of C2005. However, in its initial 3-year phase it focused only on grades 8 and 9; at the time C2005 was not implemented in grades 10–12. The MSSI approach is strongly focused on in-school teacher develop- ment. The project adopted a cascading model of professional development:

During the first phase of the project (1999–2002), the Mpumalanga Depart- ment of Education employed about 10 science and 10 mathematics subject advisers. These persons received intensive training, both in Japan and in South Africa, and were the key persons in the cascading model. They ran courses for the heads of departments (or cluster leaders) in their areas, and the latter then conducted school-based professional development. The professional development focused on both science/mathematics content knowledge as well as teaching strategies to implement OBE. (None of the training entailed formal course-work for credit.) The school-based profes- sional development was conducted mostly after school or on Saturdays, while the heads of department/cluster leader sessions were usually held during school vacations. MSSI also had a research component. Data for the overall research project were collected in three ways:

Questionnaires were completed in 2001, 2002, and 2003 by a repre- sentative sample of secondary-school science/mathematics teachers and learners.

Researchers and curriculum implementers visited schools to observe (and to videotape some) specific lessons and conduct interviews with teachers.

In-depth case studies were undertaken in 2002 in 12 schools.

The data used in this study are drawn from one of the case studies. 2

Masifunde Junior Secondary School

Masifunde Junior Secondary School was selected for this case study because it was the school with which I was most familiar. I spent a full week at the school 3 , and, in addition, also visited it on a number of occasions, both before and after the case study. Compared to the other schools in the study, Masifunde was not the best, either in terms of capacity or the profile of implementation. However, it easily fell within the top half on both counts (Rogan and Aldous 2005).

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Masifunde School is situated in a rural circuit of Mpumalanga Province in an area that had been designated as a ‘homeland’ by the apartheid govern- ment. It is fairly densely populated as far as rural areas go, consisting of a number of smallish villages with open ‘farm’ land in between. There is some small-scale farming. Livestock graze in the area (including in the school grounds), while some houses are surrounded by maize (i.e. corn) fields and vegetable gardens. There are a number of services in the area, mostly small shops that sell food, and other personal service providers such as mechanics and hair-dressers. However, many of the people in the area are employed in the nearest city. Hence, many, including the parents of some of the children in the schools, live in the city and return to the area only on weekends or at the end of the month.

Specific outcomes for the natural science learning area

At the time of the case study, all teachers were attempting to put the outcomes of C2005 into practice. By way of example, the nine specific outcomes for the Natural Science learning area for grades 1–9 are given in table 1, along with the level at which these outcomes should be achieved by the end of grade 9. According to policy, these nine outcomes should frame the enacted curriculum in the science classroom. Similar outcomes and assessment criteria exist in all learning areas.


The presentation of the findings will focus initially on the school as a whole, using the framework in figure 1 as a basis, beginning with capacity factors and outside influences. As I proceed to implementation issues, the focus will narrow to ways in which the two science teachers reacted to the changes envisaged by the new curriculum. Finally, I will explore in more detail the lessons of the two science teachers in terms of the ZFI, and suggest scaffold- ing techniques that might be appropriate for the practices observed.

Capacity factors

Physical resources

Masifunde School had 392 learners in grades 7–9 and 15 staff-members at the time of the case study. There were three grade 9 classes, and four for each of grades 7 and 8. Hence, unlike some other schools in the area, class sizes were not excessive, averaging 35 per class. Since 1994, all South African state-run schools have been officially desegregated. However, inte- gration has predictably occurred in one direction only—towards the better- resourced, former white-only schools. Rural schools like Masifunde have remained 100% black, both in terms of staff and learners. The school itself is typical of many of the schools in the area having been built some 20 years ago. It consists of three single-story rows of classrooms,

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Ta b le 1.

The nine specific outcomes (SOs) of the natural science learning area of



Specific outcome

Examples of assessment criteria


Use process skills to investigate phenomena related to the Natural Sciences

Learners conduct explorative investigations in which:

• investigative questions are formulated,

• a plan of action is formulated,

• data are collected, and


Demonstrate an understanding of concepts and principles in the Natural Sciences

Apply scientific knowledge and skills to problems in innovative ways

data are analysed, evaluated, and interpreted. Learners show work in which:

acquired scientific knowledge, concepts and principles are used to inform actions. Learners show work in which:

• problems are identified,

• relevant scientific knowledge is selected,


• innovative options are generated, and

• decisions are made.


Demonstrate an understanding of how scientific knowledge and skills contribute to the management, development and utilization of natural and other resources.

Learners show work in which:

• the importance of sound management practices for resources is acknowledged, and

• science aspects within contested areas of management development and utilization of resources are explored.


Use scientific knowledge and skills to support responsible decision-making

Learners show work in which:

• issues are identified,

• information is prepared for the decision- making process, and

• reasons for decision are communicated.


Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of relationship between science and culture

Learners show work in which:

• science is acknowledged as influenced by cultural factors, and

• science is acknowledged as but one way of looking at and explaining phenomena.


Demonstrate an understanding of the changing and contested nature of the Natural Sciences

Learners show work in which:

contributions to a scientific theory by scientists from different backgrounds are acknowledged, and


Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of ethical issues, bias and inequities related to the Natural Sciences

Demonstrate an understanding of the interaction between the Natural Sciences, technology and socio-economic development

scientific explanations of phenomena are acknowledged as open to change. Learners show work in which:

a variety of origins of bias and ingenuity are considered, and

arguments are presented and evaluated. Learners show work in which:

• evidence is provided of how science and technology are used in society, and

• the link between scientific ideas and technological devices is explored.


one for each of the three grade levels. The third wing, home of the grade 7 classes, is somewhat newer than the other two. The principal’s office, staff- room and head of department’s office is found at right angles to the two older rows. The school had recently been partially renovated. All the

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buildings had been painted and the floors tiled. The ceilings had been repaired, and electricity restored to all rooms. (Previously most fittings had been stolen.) A water tank had been erected, which supplies water to two outdoors taps—the only running water available at the school. A security fence had been erected all around the school property, and lights come on automatically at night. The School Governing Board (SGB) paid for burglar bars to be installed in all windows and doors. According to the principal,

In the past vandalism was a problem … This year a new fence was supplied by the Department [of Education]. There are also lights on the school ground that come on automatically at night. Since these initiatives were undertaken, there has been no vandalism. Perhaps the thieves have to learn new tricks! (Mr Dlamini, Interview, May 2002).

Finally, toilets for the teachers (but not learners) had been built. The classrooms contained tables and chairs for the learners, and in all classrooms the tables were pushed together to accommodate group-work. Other than the chairs, tables, and a blackboard, the classrooms were completely bare and unadorned. One exception was the 7 th -grade wing, where some recent work of learners was displayed on the walls. The 8 th - grade row consisted of rooms separated by roll-down metal dividers. This arrangement makes it possible to convert the rooms into one long ‘hall’. However, even with the dividers down, noise in one room carries easily to the next. When we were visiting the school, the end room in this row was in the process of being converted into a ‘library’. However, all that the room contained was an improvised shelf, two tables, and some textbooks—new and old. The end room of the 9 th -grade row was in the process of being converted into a science ‘laboratory’. However, it contained only a set of improvised shelves and some boxes of micro-chemistry kits and chemicals, all unopened. The head of department for science and mathematics had made this room into her ‘office’, and it housed her table and cupboard. A small photocopier was available in the principal’s office to allow photocopy- ing materials for learners, though in a restricted number. The school grounds have a number of trees that provided shade. Part of the courtyard—the area between the 8 th - and 9 th -grade wings—was covered with a lawn that seemed to have lost the battle to survive in the sandy condi- tions prevailing throughout the grounds. The strip of ground along the edge of the three buildings making up the courtyard was marked off, using pipes from broken desks, as a ‘garden’. However, other than a few succulents, nothing was growing. The remainder of the courtyard consisted of sandy soil with no vegetation. The outer boundaries of the school grounds were used to store broken furniture and the remains of the building materials used in the recent renovations. The grounds were exceptionally clean and free of litter.

School ethos and management

The first impression that a visitor gains of the school is that it is run accord- ing to well-established and well-observed routines. The schoolday began

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Figure 2.

Learners line up for morning assembly.

with an assembly in the school courtyard at 7:45. Learners lined up accord- ing to their classes with late-comers assembled in a separate area (see Figure 2). Prayers, hymns, and scripture readings formed part of the proceedings each morning. Other topics ranged from being good citizens, coming to school on time, keeping the school clean, and reports on the on- going choir competition. Most teachers arrived in time for the assembly, although transport problems sometimes prevented their attendance. Teachers were required to sign-in and sign-out each day in a logbook kept in the principal’s office. There were other indications of a well-run school. The timetable is based on an 8-day cycle, and was strictly adhered to. Teachers and learners knew where they should be. Each classroom had a version of its particular timetable. The school had an active School Governing Body, which, according to the principal, had proved to be of great help in both the running of the school and fund-raising:

They meet quarterly, but more often than that if the need arises. They help with fund-raising. For example, they provided the money to install burglar bars on all doors and windows at the school. The school has a mission state- ment, which was drawn up with the help of all stakeholders. Parents were consulted, followed by the teachers and learners. The School Management Team then wrote a draft document, which was then circulated to all stake- holders for their input. The process occurred 2–3 years ago. (Mr Dlamini, Interview, May 2002)

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This document, which included a mission statement, departmental goals, and policies on issues such as admission, school fees, the curriculum, care of the school grounds, and so on, was approved in 1999. The school also had a discipline policy drawn up in conjunction with the learners’ representative council. It included a procedure for dealing with teachers and learners who might be guilty of misconduct. The principal was visibly present in the school most of the time. In fact he taught science to all four 8 th -grade classes. He was thus in a position to take care of problems as they arose, such as dealing with a fight or taking a sick child home. Staff meetings were held on an ‘as needed’ basis and at times had been

as frequent as three times a week. Thus, there appeared to be a viable mech- anism for communication between the various stakeholders of the school. Nevertheless, there was a mixed reaction on the extent to which the teachers felt they could influence school policies and management issues. Some expressed satisfaction; others were less positive:

The school principal is not always approachable and tends to be somewhat autocratic. There is no established forum through which teachers or learners can influence management on issues that they deem to be important. If you come with inputs, you are suspected of trying to become the manager. (Ms Mahlangu, Interview, May 2002)

Taken as a whole, the ethos of the school, and the way in which it is managed, did appear to be supportive of the kinds of innovations envisaged by C2005. While there was some dissatisfaction about teachers’ ability to influence policy, the overall impression was that of a well-functioning school.

Teacher factors

None of the teachers had university degrees, but all of the teachers of math- ematics and science were ‘qualified’, with 3-year diplomas from a teacher- training college. However, in the post-1994 era, most of these colleges were phased out—as a result of the poor quality of their programmes. One teacher was studying for a degree, and others intended to do so at some future date.

A strong desire to learn, both academically and professionally, was expressed

on a number of occasions. The notion of life-long learning was part of the teachers’ way of thinking and acting. In this respect, they were fine role models for the learners. However, for the most part, their study plans were not in the content areas in which they were teaching, but in non-teaching subjects such as ‘communication’ and ‘human growth’. According to the principal,

Teacher morale at the school is good. However, the threat of redeployment under the Department’s redistribution programme is a demotivating factor. Teachers co-operate well with one another and are hard-working. There is a good team spirit among teachers at the school. When one of them attends a workshop, they plough back what they have learned by passing on the knowl- edge to other teachers. This kind of collaboration occurs in all the learning areas. (Mr Dlamini, Interview, May 2002)

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As a rule, we saw the teachers as motivated and dedicated. They tried to find ways to come to grips with the implementation of C2005 by applying different teaching methods, using improvised resources in teaching, and providing extra classes to their learners. Conversations with them, both formal and informal, were often peppered with phrases that conveyed their concern and care for the learners. Interactions between the teachers and learners were relaxed and respectful. The teachers’ dedication extended to teaching for a full day, every day. All teachers expressed satisfaction with the in-service training, i.e. INSET, received from the Department and through the MSSI project. They

claimed to have found it very useful, and wished that they could receive more

of it:

The INSET that we have received is very effective. During the first training we were very confused. With more workshops, we started understanding. I am now comfortable with OBE. In the past the learners were too dependent on us. With OBE, most are now involved—even the introverts. (Ms Mamabolo, Interview, May 2002)

Nevertheless, while school-based INSET was in place in theory, it did not seem to have really gotten off the ground. Attitudes towards the implementation of C2005 were somewhat mixed. All of the teachers struggled with finding ways of coming to grips with the curriculum’s implementation. Nevertheless, for the most part they were

solidly in favour of C2005, and would continue to implement it even if it were made voluntary. They saw it as being very beneficial to their learners.

A minority position was that C2005 was ‘too weak’, and was implemented

before the subject advisors really understood it themselves. Given a choice, these teachers would like to see it phased in more slowly. In summary, the capacity to innovate, in terms of teacher capacity, appeared good. The teachers were qualified, motivated, and dedicated.

Learner factors

According to the teachers, language proficiency among the learners was poor to reasonable. The languages of instruction are both English and the dominant African language of the area, SeTswana, with both languages used by the learners for speaking and writing. As one teacher commented, ‘The learners’ level of proficiency in English is very poor. It is not possi- ble to teach continuously in English’ (Mr Mathebatha, Interview, May


In general, the learners were observed to be well-behaved, hard-working, and motivated. There were a few problem cases, but these were dealt with relatively easily with punishment involving manual work such as sweeping and scrubbing the floor (corporal punishment is forbidden by law). The school was a safe place for the learners—they were not bullied and there had never been a case of a gun being brought to the school. Learners attended school on a regular basis and absenteeism was not a major problem. (The average attendance probably ran at 90–95%.) Most

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absenteeism could be attributed to the older boys, who stayed away from school in order to associate with peers on the outside. Some stayed away to indulge in drinking, and others because they were not encouraged by their parents/guardians to attend school. As one teacher said,

Many learners stay alone, or with grandparents. At home they have chores such as fetching water, cooking, washing nappies, and so on. Some do come to school hungry and so cannot concentrate on school work. I had a boy fall asleep in class and so I helped him get food. Most come from home environ- ments where they receive very little encouragement to study. Many parents/ grandparents are illiterate. They cannot control the children, even at home. Only a few would have places at home where they can study in peace. (Ms Khutamela, Interview, May 2002)

Some learners lived on their own as a result of having both of the parents working far from their homes. The parents come back during weekends, or sometimes once a month to visit the children. Most of the learners did not get enough food at home, and the school did not have a feeding scheme. However, women from the local community had set up stalls just outside the school gates where food could be purchased at a relatively inexpensive price. Most learners could not afford to buy textbooks but acquired old photo- copies from their friends or sisters and brothers. The teachers seemed convinced that they were working with a large number of learners who were not motivated or serious about education. When asked about factors that made it difficult to implement C2005, the attitude of learners often topped the list. In summary, the learners presented both opportunities and challenges. The learners, in the classroom situation at any rate, were present and obedi- ent. They did what was asked of them and were respectful of the teachers and one another. They seemed keen to learn. Language was a barrier, especially since by grade 7 they are expected to learn in English. Lack of general background skills seemed to compound the problem. The pace of teaching/learning in general means that after 9 years of schooling, these learners are likely operating at about a grade-5 level, or in other words 4 grade-levels below where they should be.

Support from outside sources

Provision of physical resources

The Department of Education has been active in terms of the provision of physical resources. The school had been provided with barbed-wire fencing, water, and electricity. New classrooms had been built with support from the Department. New textbooks had been received, but only for grade 9 and not for all learning areas and not in sufficient numbers for every student. The school was still in need of science kits, chemicals, apparatus, and furniture for the ‘laboratory’ and the ‘library’. The ‘investment’ of the Department in the school had, for the most part, paid off. The renovated facilities were well looked after and used for

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learning. The area where the investment had the lowest dividends was in the supply of micro-chemistry kits and textbooks, neither of which were effec- tively used. The micro-chemistry kits came with grade 10–12 support mate- rials, and these grades were not present in this school, which might explain why the apparatus was not used. The reason for the under-utilization of textbooks was less apparent.

Teacher professional development

Workshops provided by the Department, both as part of general OBE train- ing and as part of the MSSI project, had been conducted for science and mathematics teachers. They had generally lasted from 2 days to 1 week and were conducted for clusters of schools. While the workshops were seen by teachers to be beneficial and well run, there was a feeling that help was still needed with the implementation of C2005 and with some content areas. The notion of school-based professional development was acknowledged as being valuable, but it was not clear how effective or sustainable it had become at the time of the case study.

Direct support to learners

Not much support is given to learners. Extra lessons were provided by the teachers on their own initiative. For example the mathematics teacher for grade 9 provided extra lessons if she felt that concepts were not well under- stood by some of the learners. Government-subsidized lunches are not provided by the school.

Change forces, accountability and monitoring

The changes that had taken place at the school were basically in response to outside, top-down directives about the implementation of C2005. While there was general satisfaction about the overall directions of these changes, there was also some disquiet about their pace and the lack of support. The teachers said they need total retraining to be able to implement C2005 effec- tively. More than that, C2005 was introduced very fast and there was no time for preparation in schools, physically, socially, economically, and professionally. Nevertheless, when asked whether they would continue with the implementation, most, but not all, teachers said that they would. In other words, although the impetus for change came from the outside, these changes found broad support within the school. Monitoring of the school by the Department had not occurred for 2 years, although, at a less formal level, subject advisors had visited the school twice. These visits were a follow-up to the INSET provided by the subject advisors to find out if there were any problems with the implementation of C2005 in the school. In other words, it appeared that the monitoring of

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progress in the implementation of C2005 was weak and sporadic, both internally and externally. During the case-study week, there seemed to be a great desire by staff at the school to know ‘how they were doing’. One surprising finding in response to questions as to whether the Department should revert to the system of having school inspections was that the teachers reported that if inspectors came to help, and not to ‘spy’, they would be welcome.

Profile of implementation

Classroom interactions

One striking feature of the implementation of C2005 was the mismatch between the intended curriculum and reality. The training provided by the Department was directed at teachers, many of whom are operating at level 1 or lower on the Profile (see Appendix), but were expected to move immediately to level 4 by achieving the outcomes given in table 1. The teachers were more than willing to change, but for the most part were overwhelmed by the task. They were not consulted about their needs—indeed these were often not considered. The focus of most of the training was on what policy required of them. Had they been consulted, they might have suggested some modest changes, which would have helped them onto the first rung of the ladder and boosted their confi- dence. Nevertheless, teachers at Masifunde reported that while at first they had found it something of a struggle, they were much more comfortable a year or so into the process. There was a general feeling that C2005 was being well implemented. As one teacher put it, ‘We are in favour of the vision of teach- ers owning the lessons, and the learners being responsible for their own learning. That is what I like. It has relevance’ (Ms Khutamela, Interview, May 2002). It was generally agreed that there was no going back to the old ways. In the 8 th -grade science classes taught by Mr Dlamini, we saw a clear pattern. At the time of the case study they were studying static electricity. Lessons were based on photocopied pages from a new OBE textbook: learn- ers read some information and then did an activity, such as rubbing a comb with a cloth (see Figure 3). Finally they answered a set of questions prepared by the teacher—written on a piece of cardboard and displayed on the board. Each group wrote down its answers—a scribe had been selected. When this part of the lesson was completed, groups were asked in turn to provide answers to the questions; these were discussed and the ‘final’ answer written on the blackboard by the teacher. The next lesson proceeded in much the same way, except the activity was done by means of a demonstration—two electrically-charged balloons repelling one another. Since the handout in this lesson included a passage on the formation of lightning, there was informa- tion that the learners were required to acquire. This was gained by reading the passage and then answering the teacher’s written questions. Overall, the only specific outcome (see table 1) addressed was SO2. However, it could

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Figure 3.

Learners doing a static electricity activity.

be argued that observing static electric phenomena is a very elementary level of SO1. Grade 9 science classes, studying human development, followed a some- what similar pattern. More than the other lessons observed, Ms Mamabolo’s lessons had the potential to address some of the specific outcomes—but for the most part the potential was not realized. Learners were not taught the skills that they needed to make sense of the tasks, and so they struggled, without producing the kind of work that would be expected of them in an OBE class. The teacher’s lesson strategy was based on the selection and discussion of

a topic, e.g. ‘What changes take place to your body between the ages of 10 and

15 years?’ The groups then got on with the task, some writing down their

answers, but most not. No resources, even a textbook, were provided. After

20 minutes or so, each group then reported its ‘findings’ verbally to the whole

class, and at times answered some additional questions put by the teacher. This process took about an additional 40 minutes. At the end of the hour, the learners for the most part only knew about as much as they started with. In reflecting on classroom interaction, Mrs Mamabolo said,

I believe that learning is more effective in groups. Compared to before, the learners seem more serious about learning. This is because they share and are active. They feel free to ask peers questions and can explain to each other. They even help each other with individual work. In the beginning, they did not like group-work—they wanted to be spoon-fed. (Ms Mamabolo, Interview, May 2002)

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Science practical work


In the science classes in grades 8 and 9, the teachers tried to use classroom demonstrations to help the learners develop concepts. Attempts were being made to make science more hands-on, making use of everyday equipment such as measuring tapes, combs, balloons, and electric plugs. In both classes the learners performed guided discovery-type practical activities and under- took group-work. The 8 th -grade learners were given photocopied sheets from a book, which showed them how to perform the activities and which had questions to answer. The 9 th -grade science teacher, Ms Mamabolo, made brave attempts to introduce some processes of science (SO1) into the lesson—an aspect of science teaching noticeably absent prior to 1997. However, these endeav- ours were often fumbling and ineffective. The doing of science was often minimal and low-level, not going beyond observation and simple measure- ment. Furthermore, simple logistical considerations often derailed the attempts to engage the learners in a hands-on experience. One of the lessons observed entailed getting groups to measure their heights, to average the results, and to display them by age. However, the learners did not know how to measure their height or to find an average. Once these short-comings were dealt with, some measured themselves in inches and some in centimetres, and averages were calculated regardless of unit of measurement. Finally, the graph on which to plot the results, which was supplied by the teacher, had axes with inconsistent and incorrect scales. Nevertheless, Ms Mamabolo was motivated and willing to innovate and to go out on a limb in attempting this strategy. The learners were active, and indeed probably learned quite a lot, both by design and happenstance. They participated enthusiastically in all ‘hands-on’ activities, but did not assist in the planning of them.

Science in society

As noted previously, while new teaching styles have been adopted, the actual content of lessons is mostly unchanged. Science lessons mostly focus on SO2, with some development of SO1. The SOs that deal with the interface of science and society were largely absent from the lessons. Nevertheless, Ms Mamabolo felt that making the link to everyday life is relatively easy in science:

It is not difficult to find applications of science in everyday life. What we are doing is practical. I use examples that the learners are exposed to every day. The learners are able to understand these applications, for example in intro- ducing electricity, which they are familiar with. When explaining that unlike charges attract, I used the analogy of male and female. (Ms Mamabolo, Inter- view, May 2002)

As this suggests, the attempts to introduce societal issues are largely super- ficial, and do not begin to address the levels outlined in the SOs given in table 1.

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The science subject policy of the school calls for two tests per quarter. It does not specify any other kind of assessment. Despite the lack of mention of other assessment strategies in the policy document, all the teachers used other sources to assess the progress of their learners. These included projects (e.g. the creation of a chart), classwork, homework, written reports, and oral presentations. The latter two are based on longer-term projects such as an investigation of the digestive system. No learner portfolios were seen in science.


In previous years, an observer at Masifunde might have expected to find teachers lecturing, reading from a textbook, questioning learners, and/or writing notes on the blackboard. The learners’ role would have been to answer the questions and to copy notes from the board. It is clear that some significant changes in teaching and learning have taken place—some positive and some less so. On the positive side, the learners are less passive than in the past. Group-work (not just sitting in groups) is a common practice. Learners help one another, especially in mathematics, and discuss answers to questions about the topic in science. Both teachers and learners seem comfortable with this practice and, more importantly, feel that it leads to effective learning. Teaching no longer consists of the teacher writing notes on the board with the learners copying. Meaning is made of a topic and learners construct their own notes, based largely on answers to questions that they have worked on in groups. Hence, significant changes in teaching styles have occurred in a relatively short space of time. Such a change is no mean achievement. There is, however, a tendency to make sense of the intended curriculum in superficial and even trivial ways. In the interviews it became clear that not many aspects of the new policy had been internalized, or even understood. However, one aspect has been latched onto with tenacity—students must work in groups. 4 There appears to be the serious misconception that imple- menting OBE means learners must work in groups and pool their knowledge about a particular topic. The teacher must not teach, but facilitate. While there is obvious merit in this position—and it has certainly been pushed strongly at workshops—it loses sight of the essence of OBE, which is that there are critical and specific outcomes to be achieved. There is no one way of achieving these outcomes—group-work is one way, but direct teaching (telling) is another. 5 Moreover, the new teaching styles are being used, for the most part, to achieve the same goals as before—the transmission of knowledge. The vessels may have changed, but it is the same wine. There is very little evidence that the specific outcomes of science are being addressed in any meaningful way (Rogan 2004). In other words, the understanding of OBE implementation is seen as a change in teaching style, and not the achieve- ment of the specific and critical outcomes.

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This low level of implementation, for the most part, cannot be ascribed to foot-dragging or lack of effort. The interviews, by and large, revealed an overwhelming desire to faithfully implement the new curriculum, but tinged with an enormous perplexity about how to do so, and an uncertainly as to whether their efforts in the classroom were ‘the right way’. A more fruitful way of interpreting the case-study observations is in terms of ‘sense-making’, a process which can occur both within the mind of an individual, as will as being socially constructed (Spillane et al. 2002). At the individual level, teachers have attempted to make sense of C2005 in terms of their past expe- riences, which in most cases could not be further removed from the intended curriculum. One manifestation of these attempts is to simply interpret an existing practice in terms of the new goals. Another is to take comfort in the view that ‘we have been teaching the C2005 outcomes all along’. Two other major problems seem to have developed in the implementa- tion of C2005 at Masifunde School, time and substance. In the example I cited earlier, the grade 9 science class considered questions about how their bodies had changed over the years. The questions were first answered in groups, and then each group reported back to the whole class. All in all the process took about 60 minutes. Since at the beginning of the lesson, most learners would have already known the answers to the questions (e.g. girls begin to grow breasts), what had been achieved by the end of 60 minutes? The implementation of C2005 does call for spending more time on fewer topics, and covering these topics in greater depth, but what is done in this time should not be trivial. Time-management and planning appeared to be an endemic problem, one that likely existed before OBE. Gauging by the pace of coverage observed during the week of observation, it is likely that the learners would cover about half of any textbook, new or old. Essentially then, in one calen- dar year, about half the work is done, when compared to schools that cover most of what is in the textbook that they are following—or in C2005 terms meet the expected levels of addressing the outcomes. If this trend is repeated year after year, then by the end of grade 9, the learners will in essence be at about grade 5 level.

The zone of feasible innovation

As I have suggested, the zone of feasible innovation (ZFI) comprises the new teaching and learning practices that emerge in response to calls for innova- tion, and are realistic and achievable, taking into account the capacity of the school (Rogan and Grayson 2003). In a situation where ‘developmental planning’ (Hargreaves and Hopkins 1991) is practised, a school-based team might make concrete plans for innovations to be attempted in a specified time-frame—and what will be placed on the back-burner. Alternatively, an outside change agent, such as a subject advisor or a representative of a curriculum project, might work with a cluster of teachers in defining achiev- able goals, and then providing the support required to realize them. In the case of Masifunde School, there was no formal attempt to define the bounds of a ZFI, or to articulate feasible goals as initial steps towards the

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full implementation of C2005. Rather individual teachers informally defined their own ZFIs, and changed their practices accordingly. In doing so, they responded to two outside influences. There was the C2005 policy documents, as mediated by the subject advisors who ran the introductory workshops where these were explained and interpreted. Hence, the science teachers at Masifunde were aware of the main features of the new policy, including the outcomes shown in table 1, and the timetable that they were expected to adhere to in its implementation. The second, and most influen- tial, influence was the new textbooks, in which teams of authors had rendered their own idealized interpretations of the new curriculum. Some of these texts were supplied to the school by the Mpumalanga Department of Education. The strategy adopted by both science teachers was to mine these new textbooks for activities that they felt could be successfully achieved, taking into account the reality of their situation—that is, the resources they had available, the cognitive level of their learners, and their own level of comfort with the subject matter. Those activities which were seen to fall within their self-defined ZFIs were photocopied and used. The rest were ignored. In terms of the Profile of Implementation, the practices of the 8 th -grade science teacher, Mr Dlamini, were mostly at level 1. The purpose of his prac- tical work was mostly to illustrate concepts, and he carefully controlled and orchestrated the work. For example, groups of learners were given instruc- tions on how to rub a comb and test to see whether it had acquired an elec- tric charge. There was no exploration or experimentation. These activities typically lasted only a few minutes, and were intended to reinforce the concepts in the photocopied sections of the textbook Mr Dlamini supplied. In other words, with the support of the text and using locally-acquired materials, Mr Dlamini was able to bring his practice up to level 1 on this sub- construct. On the other hand, he was approaching level 2 practices in terms of classroom interaction. His goals were clearly fairly traditional, in that the acquisition of conceptual knowledge seemed paramount. However, he did not rely only on the textbook; he carefully prepared a series of questions, written on a piece of cardboard, designed to engage the learners’ thinking processes. The self-defined ZFI of Ms Mamabolo, the 9 th -grade science teacher, was similar to that of Mr Dlamini, but with one notable difference. She seemed determined to achieve some of the level 2 practices by providing hands-on science activities for her learners. 6 The science activities that she organized, such as those described above, usually lasted the whole period, and can best be described as intending to promote guided discovery. However, on all the occasions we observed, logistical and conceptual prob- lems derailed her good intentions. The question becomes, ‘What kind of scaffolding and support, material and non-material, would be optimal in helping science teachers like these to operate effectively within their self-defined ZFIs, and then to broaden these zones?’ In terms of classroom interaction, not much support would be needed. Both were experienced teachers, and had excellent rapport with their learners. The scaffolding that would have been beneficial would have been directed at making group discussions more effective and incorporating

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more higher-level questions, and hence thinking, into those discussions. The question of time-management could also have been addressed here. Secondly, the provision of information-rich resources—books for the ‘library’—would have allowed the teachers to incorporate more information into their group discussions to supplement what the learners already know, or what was provided in the textbooks. The teachers themselves would have been assisted by help in finding and using information sources such as news- papers and magazines. In terms of science practical work, the need for scaffolding was far more evident. In both grades 8 and 9, the equipment used for the science activities consisted, without exception, of items brought from the teachers’ homes or from nearby shops, e.g. combs, balloons, tape-measures, etc. The willing- ness of the teachers to acquire these items is noteworthy, but far more use could have been made of the resources (science kits and chemicals) provided by the Department and already available in the school. It is possible that these science teachers never encountered any kind of practical work in either their own schooling or their teacher training. Professional development on how to use the available apparatus effectively and how to prepare and orga- nize hands-on/minds-on lessons should have been a priority. Once such practices become routine, additional professional development on the conducting more open-ended investigations and genuine experimentation, as called for in the policy documents, could be considered. Both teachers seemed aware of what their practice should involve, but actually getting there seemed daunting:

Open investigations could be an effective method, but I do not practise it myself. I am still planning to do it. It can be effective if they use their own ideas. It encourages them to think deeply and critically. (Mr. Dlamini, Interview, May 2002)

The 9 th -grade teacher had attempted some open-ended investigations, but not the kind that involved any hands-on experimentation:

I have not done any long-term investigations with my learners this year, but am intending to do one on reproduction. Last year there was one on digestion. Groups gathered information from texts, the high school, and the clinic. They then presented their findings in the form of an oral presentation and a written report. They were assessed on what they understood. (Ms Mamabolo, Interview, May 2002)

In the long-term, support to the school should include the provision of appa- ratus and other curriculum materials, but only once the teachers have reached the stage where these can be effectively used. Rather than making blanket provision of equipment to all schools, targeted provision should be based on what is actually needed, and what capacity exists to use what is delivered. The incorporation of societal issues into the science curriculum is a new concept, and one which has not really taken hold in any meaningful way (Rogan and Aldous 2005). As with science practical work, the need for scaf- folding, in the form of professional development, in order to meet the required outcomes is clearly evident. Again, the awareness of the require- ments of C2005 is there. Ms Mamabolo (Interview, May 2002) said,

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It is possible to base a lesson on a specific issue or problem faced by a commu- nity. I have not done it, but it is something that I plan to do. There is a commu- nity nearby that does not have access to water. The water that they get is brak (i.e. salty). I want my learners to try and find out why this is the case. They will analyse the soil.

Despite these good intentions, such an undertaking is unlikely to succeed, even if attempted, due to logistical factors. None of the teachers at the school has ever attempted such an open-ended, problem-solving project, and most likely lack both the resources and the know-how needed to make it a worth- while learning experience. Such projects should initially be planned and undertaken with the help and guidance of persons such as the subject advisors. Finally, there is one form of scaffolding which undergirds all the proposed types of professional development. Many of the science teachers in Mpumalanga have at best a rather tenuous understanding of the subject that they teach. The textbook is their one life-line, and they do not have the confi- dence to let go and swim in the waters of OBE. (The few that have tried usually drown, so to hold on to the life-line is not an irrational decision.) In the long run, C2005 can only be successfully implemented if it is supported by a sustained effort to enhance teachers’ understanding of subject matter.


Words such as ‘transparency’ and ‘consultation’ are found frequently in the rhetoric of South Africa’s government policy statements. In fairness, it must be acknowledged that the Department of Education made every effort to encourage input from organizations and the general public on the both the original as well of the revised versions of C2005. On the other hand, the Department of Education introduced these changes under very tight, although self-imposed, time-frames. The haste with which the changes were undertaken inevitably limited the consultations that were possible, and lead to top-down approaches when it came to the implementation of the new policies. From the perspective of the teachers in the case study, their role was to implement policy that had been decided and mandated ‘higher up’ (Rogan 2000). For them little had changed in their day-to-day professional lives, despite the fact that they had been empowered to vote for the govern- ment for the first time. The question asked frequently during the case study, ‘Am I doing it right?’ is a manifestation of a perceived top-down hierarchy where the teachers’ role is to understand and then implement what others have decided. C2005 has ambitious and laudable goals, which in and of themselves are not problematic. What has proved to be disastrous is the expectation that these goals could be met almost overnight, despite the lack of capacity in many schools. No effort was made to map out a series of smaller steps that might be undertaken towards the eventual realization of the goals—steps that were at least attainable for most. Ministries of agriculture have long known that they cannot legislate good harvests. The best they can do is to work

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toward maximizing the yield within the circumstances given by rainfall, soil, knowledge of farming practices, access to agricultural resources, and so on, all of which differ greatly from one area to the next. Hence, the production of a good harvest becomes a local issue, where outside agents can only support and encourage farmers to make the best of local circumstances, using strategies appropriate to their capacities. There are lessons here that ministries of education can learn. One is to expend less effort on top-down policy-making and more on developing support structures that might facilitate implementation. The teachers in this case study (and in others) were certainly willing to change, but were overwhelmed by the enormity of the challenge. Pleas for more help were expressed both frequently and decisively. A second lesson is to realize the futility of one-size-fits-all planning of implementation. No ministry of agriculture sets a planting and harvesting date for all farmers country-wide! Schools differ in their capacity and readiness to implement innovation. Developmental planning should become the norm: schools should be empow- ered to set their own implementation plan, including both its scope and pace. The role of the department of education should then be to support these plans by building capacity, both human and physical. If adequate professional support is provided to teachers, and realistic, locally-deter- mined implementation targets are set, perhaps in time the harvest could indeed become bountiful.


1. MSSI is a project of the Mpumalanga Department of Education, supported both finan- cially and professionally by the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA), the University of Hiroshima, and the University of Naruto.

2. The Mpumalanga Department of Education provided the research team with a suggested list of 20 schools in which to undertake the case studies. The list contained both rural and urban schools, those that were well-resourced and those that were not. This list was used to select eight schools. The remaining four schools were not on the Department’s list, but were selected by the researchers to make the final selection as representative of the prov- ince as possible. All of the major types of schools found in the province were represented on the final selection, which also comprised schools in seven of the province’s 10 school districts.

3. During this period, a colleague and I observed many of the science and mathematics lessons taught by the four teachers responsible for these subjects. In addition, interviews were conducted with each of these teachers, and with the school’s principal. A focus- group interview was held with a group of learners. Finally, documents, such as the school vision statement, business plan, minutes of school-board meetings, etc. were collected and analysed. At the conclusion of the case study, a report was written and submitted to the principal and teachers for their input. The report was approved with minor changes, and is the main data source for this paper. The names used in the paper are pseudonyms.

4. Actually group-work is not mentioned anywhere in the policy documents but group ‘learning’ has become what I [2004] described as the ‘new orthodoxy’ of the implemen- tation of C2005.

5. For example, there are processes of science that form part of SO1, one of which is communicating data by means of tables, graphs, diagrams, and so on. Such skills have to be taught—they will not emerge from a group discussion. They then need to be applied— something that C2005 is very specific about. They are not taught just to pass an examination, but to be applied in real-life situations. The same reasoning applies to new knowledge. Concepts, which are not generally known, such as kinetic energy, will not

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emerge from a group discussion—they have to be taught. The curriculum needs to be framed by achieving the outcomes in the most effective and efficient way, rather than by adopting a particular model of teaching.

6. Her efforts in this respect were observed both during the case-study week, and on other occasions.


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Written tests include at least 50% of questions requiring comprehension, application, and analysis Some questions are based on practical work

Written tests are given that cover the topic adequately While most questions are of the recall type, some require higher- order thinking Tests are marked and returned promptly


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Appendix: An example of profile of implementation for a science classroom

ask questions about science in the context of everyday life

bases lessons on specific problems or issues faced by the local community assists learners to explore the explanations of scientific phenomena by different cultural groups

uses examples and applications from everyday life to illustrate scientific concepts

Science in society




uses demonstrations to promote a limited form of inquiry assists learners in planning and performing demonstrations

participate in closed (cook- book) practical work communicate data using graphs and tables

uses classroom demonstrations to help develop concepts uses specimens found in the local environment to illustrate lessons

Science practical work




presents content in a well- organized, correct, and well- sequenced manner, based on a well-designed lesson plan provides adequate notes uses textbook effectively engages learners with questions

use additional (to textbook) sources of information in compiling notes engage in meaningful group- work offer, on own initiative, contributions to the lesson

uses textbooks along with other resources engages learners with questions that encourage in- depth thinking

stay attentive and engaged respond to and initiate questions

Classroom interaction










based projects in final assessments

reports on activities undertaken; creation of charts and improvised apparatus; reports on extra reading assignments.

Written tests include questions based on seen or unseen ‘guided discovery’ activities Assessment is based on more than written tests:

investigations and community-

Learners create portfolios to

represent their ‘best’ work

Performance on open


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undertake projects in their local community in which they apply science to tackle a specific problem or to meet a specific need explore the long-term effects of community projects

actively investigate the application of science and

technology in their own environment, mainly by means of data-gathering methods such as surveys

Science in society



they can justify their conclusions in terms of the data collected

designs practical work in such a way as to encourage learner discovery of information

perform ‘guided discovery’ practical work in small groups, engaging in hands-on activities write scientific reports in which

design and do their own ‘open’ investigations reflect on the quality of the design and collected data, and make improvements interpret data in support of competing theories or explanations

Science practical work




facilitates learners as they design and undertake long- term investigations and projects assists learners to weigh up the merits of different theories that attempt to explain the same phenomena

take major responsibility for their own learning; partake in the planning and assessment of their own learning undertake long-term and community-based investigation projects

probes learners’ prior knowledge structures learning activities along ‘good practice’ lines (i.e.

engage in minds-on learning activities make own notes on the concepts learned from doing these activities

knowledge is constructed, is relevant, and is based on problem-solving techniques) introduces learners to the evolving nature of scientific knowledge

Classroom interaction