Decolonising continuing teacher professional development in the teaching of physical science through improvisation in rural areas
AbstractCalls for the decolonisation of higher education in the world and South Africa in particular, has gained momentum since the student protests in 2015 and 2016. This takes place after some efforts have been made to transform and democratise the higher education landscape. Efforts made include: National Commission on Higher Education, White Paper 3 1997, The Higher Education Act of 1997 and the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Act of 1995 which led to the creation of National Qualification Framework (NQF). The policies had promises on issues of access, equity, equality, inclusivity and social justice. After 20 years of democracy, students started to question the progress or lack thereof in the transformation of higher education in South Africa. They started to make demands for access, free education, decolonisation of the curriculum, changes in the pedagogy and epistemic practices. They also demanded the removal of certain statues on some of the campuses. The protests jolted some academics to start debating and writing about the decolonisation of higher education in South Africa. This was done by picking up different aspects that were made points of focus in terms of decolonisation. Consequently, some academics focused on the decolonisation of the curriculum, some on the higher education system whilst others focussed on teacher education. In this article, we intend to contribute to the debate by focusing on Continuing Teacher Professional Development (CTPD) that is an aspect within teacher education. The focus on CTPD was prompted by the fact that not much has been done on the decolonisation of CTPD in South Africa. Furthermore, this is a critical area, because unless teachers are empowered and reskilled to drive the decolonisation process, they may resist and ultimately render the whole process unworkable. It is based on the study that was conducted, focusing on CTPD in the teaching of physical sciences in some of the rural schools in Limpopo Province. The choice of physical sciences was because physical sciences is a gateway subject and most physics sciences teachers in Limpopo Province are based in rural areas. Generally, these schools do not have the appropriate facilities and equipment to teach physical science. Physical sciences teachers also face many challenges such as negative perception about the subject, lack of resources, limited room for professional development, poor teacher training, and inadequate support from within the school and the Provincial Department of Education.This study focussed on creativity and teacher empowerment by enabling physical sciences teachers to reflect on their implementation of science inquiry. Physical sciences teachers were empowered to be creative in handling scientific inquiry especially in the absence of the necessary scientific equipment. The study was conduct at a Higher Education Institution (HEI) in Limpopo Province where teachers, from rural schools, are specifically invited to the university for the National Science Week, which included a component of ongoing Continuing Teacher Profession Development (CPTD). During the National Science Week physical sciences teachers attend an in-service workshop on Improvisation in Science. Ninety (90) physical sciences teachers participated in this study. Data were generated by using a questionnaire and unstructured interviews. The findings of the study revealed that the success of CTPD is not so much in spending more funds in CTPD programmes, but it is in the approach that is used to prepare teachers to respond appropriately to the needs and the demands of the classroom environment. The article argues that the decolonisation process should prioritise the CTPD programmes at universities. This is due to the fact that teachers as agents of change need to be empowered and reskilled, so that they can be in the forefront of the decolonisation process. This can be achieved by adopting a transformative approach that encourages improvisation in science teaching. This approach to CPTD demands that teachersâ€™ professional development should shift from the traditional approach to an approach that empowers teachers to be able to make a meaningful contribution to the classes that they teach.
Alshenqueeti, H. 2014. Interviewing as a data collection method. English Linguistics Research 3(1): 39â€’45. www.sciedu.ca/e/r (Accessed 6 March 2019).
Andrade, A. D. 2009. Interpretive research aiming at theory building: Adopting and adapting the case study design. The Qualitative Report 14(1): 42â€’60. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi (Accessed 4 March 2019).
Astalin, P. K. 2013. Qualitative research designs: A conceptual framework. International Journal of Social Science & Interdisciplinary Research 2(1): 118â€’124. https://pdfs.semanticscholar. org/baa7 (Accessed 4 March 2019).
Baily, J. 2008. First steps in qualitative data analysis: Transcribing. Qualitative Data, Family Practice, Oxford Academic 25(2): 127â€’131. https://academic.oup.com/fampra/article (Accessed 6 March 2019).
Brace, I. 2018. Questionnaire design: How to plan, structure and write survey material for effective market research. 4th Edition. London: Kogan Page.
Cherrington, A. M., M. Botha and A. Keet. 2018. â€œDecolonisingâ€ education transformation. South African Journal of Education 38(4): 1â€’4.
Coe, K., A. Carl, and L. Frick. 2010. Lesson study in continuing professional teacher development: A South African case study. Acta Academica 42 (4): 206â€“230.
Cook, D. 2004. Adorno, Habermas and the search for a rational society. London, Routledge.
Department of Education. 2002. Revised National Curriculum Statements: Grade R-9 (Schools): Natural sciences. Pretoria: Government Printer.
Department of Basic Education. 2011. Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement: Grades 10-12 Natural Sciences Grade 7-9. Pretoria: Government Printer.
Fataar, A. 2018. Decolonising education in South Africa: Perspectives and debates. Educational Research for Social Change 7: viâ€’ix. www.scielo.org.za (Accessed 27 April 2019).
Hargreaves, J. D. 1988. Decolonization in Africa. London: Longman.
Hartshorne, K. 1992. Crisis and challenge: Black education 1910â€’1990. Cape Town: Oxford University Press.
Hoppers, C. A. O. 2017. Of sediments and trails in decolonizing the curriculum: A transformative response from an African perspective. National Education Collaboration Trust Education Dialoguesa.
Jacob, A. K. 2013. Instructional materials and improvisation in physics class: Implications for teaching and learning. Journal of Research & Method in Education 2(5): 38â€’42.
Jansen, J. 2017. Decolonising the university curriculum given a dysfunctional school system? Journal of Education 68: 3â€’14. www.scielo.org.za (Accessed 27 April 2019).
Kirk, S. 2007. Methodological and ethical issues in conducting qualitative research with children and young people: A literature review. International Journal of Nursing Studies 44: 1250â€’1260. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org (Accessed 6 March 2019).
Koti, M. 2016. Challenges experienced by physical science teachers with the implementation of the curriculum and assessment policy statement in selected Eastern Cape Schools. Unpublished MEd Dissertation. Pretoria: UNISA.
Lange, L. 2017. 20 Years of higher education curriculum policy in South Africa. Journal of Education 68: 31â€’58. www.scielo.org.za/pdf/jed/n68/04.pdf (Accessed 4 May 2019).
Legari, K. 2004. Teaching physical science in rural (Under-resourced) Secondary Schools. Unpublished MEd Dissertation. Durban: University of Durban-Westville.
Le Grange, L. 2016. Decolonising the university curriculum. South African Journal of Higher education 30(2): 1â€’12. http://dx.doi.org/10.20853/30-2-709 (Accessed 27 April 2019).
Le Grange, L. 2018. Decolonising, Africanising indigenising and internationalising curriculum studies: Opportunities to (re)imagine the field. Journal of Education 74: 4â€’18. doi: http//dx.doi.org/ 10.17159/2520-9868/i74a0/
Mahabeer, P. 2018. Curriculum decision-makers on decolonising the teacher education curriculum. South African Journal of Education 38(4): 1â€’13.
Malathi, S. and R. Rohini. 2017. Problems faced by the physical science teachers in doing practical work in higher Secondary Schools at Aranthangi Educational district. International Journal of Science and Research 6(1): 133â€’135.
Miles, M. B., H. P. Huberman and J. Saldana. 2014. The qualitative data analysis: A method source book. 3rd Edition. London: Sage.
Mkimbili, S. T., D. Tiplic and M. Odegaard. 2017. The role played by contextual challenges in practising inquiry-based science teaching in Tanzania Secondary Schools. African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education 21(2).
Mohajan, H. K. 2018. Qualitative research methodology in social sciences and related subjects. https://mpra.ub.uni-muechen.de/85654
Molapo, M. R. 2016. How educators implement curriculum changes. Unpublished MEd Dissertation. Pretoria: University of Pretoria.
Moeketsi, F. T. 2017. Creating sustainable physical sciences learning environments: A case for decolonised and transformative learning-research. Perspective in Education 35(2): 85â€’98. https://journals.co.za/content/journal (Accessed 11 May 2019).
Mudaly, R. 2018. Towards decolonising a module in the preservice-science teacher education curriculum: The role of indigenous knowledge systems in creating spaces for transforming the curriculum. Journal of Education 74: 47â€’66. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2520-9868/i74a04 (Accessed 27 April 2019).
Mudulia, A. M. 2012. The relationship between availability of teaching/learning resources and performance in Secondary School science subjects in Eldoret Municipality, Kenya. Journal of Emerging Trends in educational Research and Policy Studies 3(4): 530â€’536.
Oâ€™Connor, H. and N. Gibson. 2003. A step-by-step guide to qualitative data analysis. Pimatiziwin: A Journal of Aboriginal Indigenous Community Health 1(1): 63â€’90.
Oelofsen, R. 2015. Decolonisation of the African mind and intellectual landscape. Phronimon 16(2): 130â€’146. www.scielo.org.za (Accessed 27 April 2019).
Ono, Y. and J. Ferreira. 2010. A case study of continuing teacher professional development through lesson study in South Africa. South African Journal of Education 30: 59â€’74.
Patton, M. Q. 2015. Qualitative research and evaluation methods. 3rd Edition. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage.
Ramnarain, U. and D. Fortus. 2013. South African physical sciences teachersâ€™ perceptions of new content in a revised curriculum. South African Journal of Education 33: 1â€’15.
Rahman, S. 2016. The advantages and disadvantages of using qualitative and quantitative approaches and methods in language â€œTesting and assessmentâ€ research: A literature review. Journal of Education and Learning 6(1): 102â€’112. http://www.researchgate.net (Accessed 3 March 2019).
Saunders, C. 2017. Decolonization in Southern Africa: Reflections on the Namibian and South African cases. Journal for Contemporary History 42(1): 99â€’114. https://dx.doi.org/10.18820/ 24150509/JCH42v1.6 (Accessed 27 April 2019).
Sayed, Y., S. Motala and N. Hoffman. 2017. Decolonising initial teacher education in South African universities: More than an event. Journal of Education 68: 59â€’92. www.scielo.org.za (Accessed 27 April 2019).
Steyn, G. M. 2008. Continuing professional development for teachers. Koers 73(1): 15â€’31.
Waghid, Z. and L. Hibbertimagemaqui. 2018. Decolonising preservice teachersâ€™ colonialist thoughts in higher education through defamiliarisation as a pedagogy. Educational Research for Social Change 7. www.scielo.org.za (Accessed 11 May 2019).
Wilson, S. M. and P. Peterson. 2006. Theories of learning and teaching what do they mean for educators? Washington: National Education Association.
This journal is an open access journal, and the authorsÂ and journal should be properly acknowledged, when works are cited.
Authors, copyright holders, may use the publishers version for teaching purposes, in books, theses, dissertations, conferences and conference papers.Â
A copy of the authorsâ€™ publishers version may also be hosted on the following websites:
- Non-commercial personal homepage or blog.
- Institutional webpage.
- Authors Institutional Repository.
The following notice should accompany such a posting on the website: â€œThis is an electronic version of an article published in SAJHE, Volume XXX, number XXX, pages XXXâ€“XXXâ€, DOI.Â Authors should also supply a hyperlink to the original paper or indicate where the original paper (http://www.journals.ac.za/index.php/SAJHE) may be found.
Authors publishers version, affiliated with the Stellenbosch University will be automatically deposited in the University Institutional Repository SUNScholar.
Articles as a whole, may not be re-published with another journal.
The following license applies:
Attribution CC BY-NC-ND 4.0