The Interpretation of Curriculum Policy by a South African Teacher: A Case Study

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The South African educational landscape has undergone dramatic changes in the last decade. Nowhere is this change more clearly reflected than in the adoption and implementation of Curriculum 2005. Curriculum 2005 is modelled on outcomes-based educational principles, and incorporates many practices that have gained favour worldwide, such as child-centred learning and continuous, performance-based assessment. For many, curriculum carries the burden of transformation and change in education. In this paper I locate the views and classroom practices of a South African teacher and her struggle to interpret the new curriculum within the broader literature on educational change and summarize salient aspects of literature related to schools, educational change and implementation. The empirical data on this teacher confirmed the insights contained in the literature that it is difficult to translate curriculum policy into classroom practice. In sketching the trajectory of the disjuncture between curriculum policy and classroom practice, I will argue that an important part of the explanation for the spectacular lack of success in the translation of educational policies into classroom practices of teachers can be found in conventional views of educational policy. I will conclude by suggesting strategies that could soften the boundaries between policy and practice.


Keywords: South Africa, Curriculum, Education
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , Interpretation of Curriculum Policy by a South African Teacher, The


Dr. Sylvan Everton Blignaut

Senior lecturer, Faculty of Education, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

I am a former high school teacher and deputy principal. I currently hold the position of senior lecturer in the Department of Advanced Studies in Education that resorts under the Faculty of Education of Nelson Mandela Metroplitan University in South Africa. I lecture a taught M Ed degree in Curriculum Policy, Development and Management at centres across Southern Africa. I completed my Masters in Education at the former University of Port Elizabeth in 1993 and my PhD in 2006 at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. My special interest and writing have focused on educational change, curriculum policy, classroom-based research and teacher epistemologies.

Ref: L08P0261